Near and Far is one of those cookbooks that I’ve been anxiously waiting for since I read this post. Even though I’m not a vegetarian, I love plant-based dishes and have drawn from Heidi’s blog for culinary inspiration over the past few years. The dishes featured in this book are inspired by Heidi’s San Francisco home as well as travel to Marrakech, Tokyo, Paris, Jaipur, Rome, Kyoto, Palermo, and New Delhi. I love the stories behind the recipes as well as the beautiful photography of the aforementioned destinations.
With regard to recipes, her dishes reflect her philosophy on making natural food delicious and feature lots of fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. After perusing Heidi’s book, I had mad craving to create a meal with Middle Eastern influence so I made the red lentil hummus and harrisa farro from her book as side dishes to the lamb kofta that we usually eat. Traditionally, hummus is made with chickpeas so the use of lentil was quite clever. The combination of flavors through judicious use of spices made her dishes sing. The spring rolls were a hit even though they’re vegetarian. The addition of mushrooms made them filling and delicious. The one recipe that I was hoping to work is the whole wheat waffle since it’s something I’ve tried perfecting ever since we got a waffle maker but no luck. The waffles turned out a bit bland due to the lack of sugar and too much flour. There are so many more recipes that we can’t wait to try from Near and Far. The pozole verde, quinoa blini, lilikoi curd, and saffron lassi are next on the list. Another thing that I appreciated about this book is Heidi’s deliberate effort to keep the integrity of the regional ingredients and giving a lot of room for substituting seasonal ingredients. I also like the fact that many of the ingredients are available through Whole Foods and you don’t need to find a specialty store.
By far, Near and Far is my favorite book from Heidi Swanson and also one of my favorite vegetarian books. I own over 200 cookbooks and this is one of three vegetarian cookbooks in my collection (the other two are Green Kitchen Travels and A Modern Way to Eat). I can’t rave enough about Near and Far. The photography, writing, and recipes are awe-inspiring. Even if you’re not a vegetarian, this cookbook will inspire you to seek out the freshest ingredients, explore different flavor combinations, and bring Heidi’s dishes to life.
*I received this book to review complementary of the publisher