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Favorite Cookbooks for Farm to Table Recipes

I wish I was talented enough to come up with all my own original recipes. Alas, I am not. Thankfully there are a many excellent resources out there. These are my favorite cookbooks for farm to table recipes.

Too Many Cookbooks

Our home has over 100 cookbooks in it. I’m not kidding. Mostly this is due to my husband loving to collect cookbooks but ironically rarely, if ever, cooking.

We have Martha Stewart, Mark Bittman, Julia Child, Christopher Kimball, etc. Then we have restaurant specific cookbooks like Chez Panisse and the original Moosewood Cookbook from the 70s. There are books focused on breads, desserts, vegetarian cooking, and so forth. Then of course there are the almost biblically thick church cookbooks gathered from who knows where.

Most of the cookbook hoard lives on a bookshelf in the basement. In our dining room I have a smaller collection of cookbooks, maybe fifteen or so. This smaller collection includes books I am getting to know better. I work through them over a few months to see if I actually like the recipes and if the book is worth keeping or not. If not, I pass them along to friends or donate them.

There are a few books, however, that are the elites. They remain in the dining room because I use them all.the.time.

If you haven’t tried these books out before you can take my word for it. They are better than about 100 other options.

homemade pastry dough rough and tumble farmhouse

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Favorite Cookbooks for Farm to Table Recipes

I cook mostly from scratch, using seasonal options and what my garden grows. I also have a husband, children, small farm, blog, and another part time job I juggle. These are some of my favorite cookbooks for farm to table recipes that have healthy, from scratch recipes, and don’t take four hours to perfect.

Simply in Season

I was introduced to this cookbook when I worked as an apprentice at an organic vegetable CSA. For many years, they would include a copy of this cookbook in the first box of produce their customers received. I can understand why, as it is an excellent primer for anyone trying to cook more seasonally.

The book is arranged by season starting with spring. If you flip to the first page of the chapter, it will list all the vegetables that are in season. As we come into fall they list broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, celery, collard, cranberries, grapes, kale, etc.

Best Features of the Book

This book’s greatest asset is how it is organized and color coded. Each season has a different color. Green for spring, red for summer, orange for autumn, and purple for winter. No need to look at the index or table of contents. You can easily flip to the right section immediately.

simply in season rough and tumble farmhouse

The end of each chapter also features a few complete meal options including all recipes from the book.

Additionally the index is organized in two different ways. First by recipe title, and then by key ingredients. They even include an index for recipes that heavily feature specific herbs.

Most Used Recipes

I love the easy Pumpkin Dip recipe on page 234. Another great one is the Sweet Potato Crescent Rolls on page 243!

Check with your local bookstores to pick up a copy or you can buy it here.

Puerto Rican Cookery

I don’t know about you, but if I see really good looking food in a movie I find myself craving it for a few days after. I had this happen years ago when I watched Chef. The Cuban food looked amazing. Unfortunately I live in rural Minnesota and Cuban food isn’t readily available.

There are tons of Latin American cookbooks out there but I wanted the most authentic book I could find.

Enter Puerto Rican Cookery! I remember reading that this book was the classic cookbook given to a young woman when she got married.

If you are looking for classic Latin recipes using simple ingredients that taste amazing, this book is for you.

Best Features of the Book

This book is the only cookbook I have ever seen that lays out ingredients in groups. In the Smothered Turkey Recipe (page 79), category B includes 12 peppercorns, 7 cloves of garlic, 5 tsp whole oregano, 10 tsp salt, and 2 tablespoons of vinegar. These ingredients have a note next to them that says “crush and mix in a mortar”.

Then later it simply says, “season with ingredients included in B.

It sounds confusing, but when you look at it on the page it is such an efficient and easy way to read a recipe.

puerto rican cookery rough and tumble farmhouse

Most Used Recipes

My favorite recipe in this book is the Black Beans Pottage or Frijoles Negros on page 240. It has to cook low and slow for a long time but the incredible flavors you get are well worth the wait.

healthy dinner options rough and tumble farmhouse

The Prairie Homestead Cookbook

Because we have so many cookbooks I tend to be pretty choosey about which ones actually come home with me. I first checked out Jill Winger’s the Prairie Homestead Cookbook from the library to give it a once over.

I realized pretty quickly that it would be joining my permanent cookbook collection. Jill is a homesteader, mom, entrepreneur, horsewoman, and more. Her cookbook is filled with down to Earth recipes that are low frills but no less delicious.

Best Features of the Book

I am the type of person that will read the introduction to recipes in cookbooks. Since Jill and I have very similar lives, I really enjoy reading the paragraphs at the start of each recipe.

While this is a cookbook, Jill also includes a fairly comprehensive section on farming/homesteading. She covers information about dairying, raising chickens, meat animals, and more. It’s a great primer for folks that are new to a homestead lifestyle.

Most Used Recipes

I often use the Maple Oat Sandwich Loaf recipe on page 158. Another favorite in our house is the Honey Whipped Carrots on page 130. I can also highly recommend the Maple Glazed Pork Chops on page 74.

How to Cook Everything

It would be impossible to make this list of favorite cookbooks for farm to table recipes without including this one. I find that whenever I’m looking for a recipe, Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything is one of the first cookbooks I go for. This was yet another cookbook I was introduced to at the farm I used to work at.

This book can be a little intimidating because it is a whopper and has next to no pictures included. Still, if you only have room for a single cookbook on your shelf I’d say this should be it.

Best Features of the Book

This book really does include just about everything. With such a vast collection of recipes, the back includes an entire section on menus to get you started.

I also appreciate Bittman’s quips and tips throughout the book that are helpful and at times hilarious.

Most Used Recipes

My favorite recipes from this book (though I’ve barely scratched the surface of using all the recipes) are definitely the overnight waffles and the cream puff recipe on page 704.

overnight waffle recipe rough and tumble farmhouse

Again, check with your local bookstores or buy it here.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks Dinnertime

I know, I know. This seems like an odd addition to a from-scratch focused cookbook list. However, I find that well over half the time Ree Drummond’s recipes are from scratch. Or if they do call for something (like a can of Rotel) you can typically sub in your own garden produce or canned goods easily enough.

I don’t have any of her other cookbooks, but this one never leaves my kitchen.

Best Features of the Book

There are two sections of this book that I use often. First is the 16 Minute Meals chapter. Why 16 minutes I don’t know, but the recipes are quick and delicious. There is a great mix of hearty recipes like pizza burgers combined with lighter and healthier recipes like cashew chicken.

The next section I use is the freezer meals chapter. Ree shares ten different freezer staple options along with multiple recipes for each of those meals. I used this chapter a ton when preparing for the birth of my daughters.

A final section I appreciate is her “Recipes for Everyone” list. This breaks down all the recipes into lists you can quickly scan when needing something specific. Cooking for your friends? Try the recipes listed under “Casual Company”. Feeding a bunch of kiddos? There is an index of “Kid Friendly” options. I also love that she has a “Neighbors in Need” section with recipes that can feed a crowd and freeze well.

Most Used Recipes

The dirtiest pages of this cookbook are probably the Chow Mein recipe on page 174 or the Cajun Chicken Pasta recipe on page 188.

Ree Drummond books are widely available or you can pick up a copy here.

Do you have favorite cookbooks for farm to table recipes? Let me know in in the comments!

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best garden to table cookbooks rough and tumble farmhouse

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  1. I can’t wait to check out the Pioneer Woman cookbook you recommend. The sections you highlighted are exactly what I am looking for!

  2. I have a pretty healthy cookbook collection as well, glad to know someone has more than me!

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