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Two New Cookbooks Offer Local Flavors and Far-Flung Adventure

Two Bloomington foodies have new cookbooks out this spring! Annie Corrigan, WFIU Morning Edition host and producer of WFIU’s weekly sustainable food program, Earth Eats, has compiled your favorite Earth Eats recipes into one cookbook. And local food blogger and photographer Shelly Westerhausen is releasing her new vegetarian cookbook in June. Ruthie Cohen, writer of the Limestone Post food column Stirring the Pot, gives us a look at both.

“Did you know that you can tell the color of the eggs a hen will lay by her earlobes? White earlobes mean white eggs and red earlobes mean brown eggs,” says Jana Wilson.

Wilson, a chicken farmer and blogger (The Armchair Homesteader) is one of the contributors to Earth Eats: Real Food Green Living (Indiana University Press, 2017) by Annie Corrigan with Chef Daniel Orr. This just-released book from WFIU radio announcer and producer Corrigan, along with FARMbloomington owner and head chef Orr, is a compilation of segments and recipes from the Earth Eats radio show and more. It pays homage to local sustainable food movements throughout the country.

Corrigan has assembled the book by season, with recipes using fresh ingredients available during that season. She features interviews with the show’s contributors — both local and far flung — followed by their recipes. You may even recognize a recipe from a story you heard on the radio while driving home but forgot to look up!

The covers of "Earth Eats: Real Food Green Living" and "Vegetarian Heartland: Recipes for Life's Adventures." | Courtesy images

The covers of “Earth Eats: Real Food Green Living” and “Vegetarian Heartland: Recipes for Life’s Adventures.” | Courtesy images

While Corrigan admits that our food will never be completely local — “A southern Indiana source of olive oil is probably not on the horizon,” she writes — her mission is to stay as true as possible to choosing ingredients that are grown close by, picked at their freshest, and prepared in the home kitchen. The book also includes tips for cooking up a hearty compost heap and building the bin where it will reside, how to forage for ramps, and what to do with that bumper crop of tomatoes. Not to be overlooked are our very own paw paws and persimmons. Lively interviews and vibrant photographs flesh out this tribute to a great radio show and our vibrant local food culture.

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In the lushly photographed Vegetarian Heartland: Recipes for Life’s Adventures (Chronicle Books, 2017), Shelly Westerhausen also looks to the seasons for her inspiration — and then leaps! Westerhausen subdivides her categories by adventure: farmers market day, road trip, snowed in, hiking, holiday hosting. She takes the reader on a journey through the Midwest, writing a love letter to our farms, but also to our waterfalls and cliffs, beaches, lighthouses (!), caves, music, and art scenes. And she does all this without meat.

A prodigious food blogger (Vegetarian Ventures), recipe developer, photographer with no formal training, and co-founder of the Midwestern magazine Driftless, Westerhausen, 27, believes in cooking with intention. “I don’t just enjoy what I’m eating, but I enjoy the process of preparing it, too,” she writes. “I consider it an adventure any time you can jump into the unknown with all senses firing.”

Corrigan (left) and Westerhausen. | Photo by Mark Anthony Kathurima

Corrigan (left) and Westerhausen. | Photo by Mark Anthony Kathurima

Whether she is instructing her reader on the execution of whipped goat cheese and pistachio pesto dip or coconut curry shakshuka, her delight and care are evident. She draws from a great pantry of grains and vegetables, legumes and beans, and what she refers to as flavor boosters — herbs, lemons, oils, and spices — all of those special touches that make for a sublime dish. You want to be at that cookout or brunch potluck. How delicious would it be to bite into apple bread cheddar grilled cheese or to take a sip of citrusy Pimms Punch laced with cucumbers, strawberries, and mint? You want in!

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Often, cookbooks hold up a mirror to who we are through the foods we eat. They cater to our sweet tooth or asceticism, our gluttony or our self-righteousness. The best cookbooks, though, invite us on a quest of discovery. These two authors introduce us to new ingredients and reacquaint us with the old. They offer up carefully constructed recipes peppered with stories and reminiscences. And we are drawn in. We can’t wait to befriend the bounty and play in the kitchen. We revere that feisty, scarlet red tomato. We perk up at the caress of an earnest sprig of fuzzy, green mint. We succumb to seductive, velvety maple syrup. 

Let the adventure begin!

Events

The Earth Eats: Real Food Green Living launch party will be Wednesday, May 10, from 5-7 p.m. at The Root Cellar, 108 E. Kirkwood (behind FARMbloomington). Both Annie Corrigan and Chef Daniel Orr will be there for a meet and greet and to sign books. The event is free but ticketed. Corrigan and Orr will also be appearing for a book signing and light refreshments on Thursday, May 11, at 7 p.m. at Wylie House, 307 E. 2nd St.

Shelly Westerhausen’s Vegetarian Heartland: Recipes for Life’s Adventures launch party will take place Friday, June 2, from 6-9 p.m. at Rainbow Bakery, 201 S. Rogers St. 

Paw Paw Cookies

Recipe by Chef Daniel Orr from Earth Eats: Real Food Green Living
by Annie Corrigan with Chef Daniel Orr, courtesy of Indiana University Press

I remember my grandma and grandpa singing “Way Down Yonder in The Paw Paw Patch” when I was a kid growing up in southern Indiana. Back in that time, they didn’t have all the candies we have now, and they lived out in the country. So when the paw paws ripened up, they would eat these until they got sick!

I grew up foraging for these fall treats. I don’t have as much time now, so thanks for the local forager who provided us with the paw paws for these recipes.

When you slice the paw paw open, you’ll see several large black seeds. I use a food mill to remove the seeds and pulverize the fruit into a puree, but you can do this by hand if you’d rather.

Chef Daniel Orr's Paw Paw Cookies. | Courtesy photo

Chef Daniel Orr’s Paw Paw Cookies. | Courtesy photo

Ingredients:

1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried dates
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1 cup oatmeal
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup flour
2 eggs
3/4 cup paw paw puree
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder (a combination of cinnamon, cloves, fennel, star anise, and peppercorns)

Directions:

Combine raisins, dates, and water. Boil for 3 minutes to soften the dried fruit. Add softened butter. Mix together oatmeal, eggs, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and walnuts. Add paw paw puree and the fruit and butter mixture. Blend all ingredients and refrigerate overnight.

Bake dollops of cookie dough on a cookie sheet in a 350˚F oven for 10 minutes.

Coconut Curry Shakshuka

Recipe by Shelly Westerhausen from Vegetarian Heartland: Recipes for Life’s Adventures
by Shelly Westerhausen, courtesy of Chronicle Books

Serves 4 to 6 as a main.

Shelly Westerhausen's Coconut Curry Shakshuka. | Courtesy photo

Shelly Westerhausen’s Coconut Curry Shakshuka. | Courtesy photo

This is one of those dishes that arose from my inability to make a decision about what to cook. One evening, I had leftover pita bread and couldn’t decide whether to make curry or shakshuka to go with it. I finally just made a hybrid of the two. The end result is a creamy, aromatic tomato sauce that has just a kick of heat. Top it all with poached eggs, fresh basil, and lime juice, and use the pita bread for dipping.

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded, deribbed, and diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
One 28-oz [794-g] can diced tomatoes
One 13 1/2-oz [398-ml] can full-fat coconut milk
6 eggs
Fine sea salt, freshly ground
Black pepper
Fresh basil leaves for garnish
6 pieces pita or naan, warmed, for serving
Lime wedges for serving

In a 12-inch [30.5-cm] skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the bell pepper and onion and sauté until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the curry powder, paprika, and ginger and sauté for 30 seconds more. Add the honey, red pepper flakes, tomatoes, and coconut milk; stir to combine; and simmer until the sauce thickens, 20 to 25 minutes.

Crack the eggs and slide them into the sauce, distributing them around the pan. Gently push some of the tomato sauce over the eggs to keep them from drying out. Cover the pan and cook until the eggs are completely set, 5 to 7 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with basil. Serve immediately with pita and lime wedges.

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Contributors
Ruthie Cohen
Ruthie Cohen moved from New Jersey to Bloomington in November 2011. Every day she marvels at her good fortune to be living in this gem of a town. When she isn’t concocting recipes in her kitchen, you can find her teaching and practicing at Ekah Yoga and VibeYoga and Pilates studios; wielding a hammer or a paintbrush with the mid-week crew folks at Habitat for Humanity; or hanging out with future chess masters at the Crestmont Boys and Girls Club.
Mark Anthony Kathurima
Mark Anthony Kathurima of MarkOneStudios is an internationally traveled, award-winning wedding and portrait photographer, who started his photographic journey shooting people on film. He has photographed all manner of subjects, from fashion to commercial work for architects and designers. Mark’s current business focus is to get back to his roots, photographing people as well as weddings and events, but he loves to travel and still shoots a wide variety of subjects for his other photographic pursuits and interests.
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