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The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center Cookbook

Fresh-from-the-Garden Recipes for Gatherings Large and Small

Foreword by Alice Waters

Categories: Food & Drink

Celebrating biodiversity through the Mother Garden’s collection of rare, open-pollinated varieties and wild edibles from OAEC’s ecological preserve

2016 IACP Cookbook Awards WINNER!  (“Food Matters” category)

More than anything, food brings us together—as families and as communities. So there is no better place to begin creating a healthier and sustainable community than around a shared table.

The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center Cookbook is a beautifully illustrated collection of 200 unique and delicious vegetarian recipes from the renowned California-based farm, educational retreat center, and eco-thinktank.

OAEC has a passionate ethos about eating seasonally, and this book shows readers how to cook based on what is available in the garden. This unique cookbook incorporates ingredients from all seasons, including weeds, flowers, herbs, nuts, fruits, mushrooms, and other forages. The recipes also include the quantities and measurements necessary to cook for a crowd—making each dish perfect to cook at home, or to share at parties, potlucks, and community events.

With sample seasonal menus to inspire cooks throughout the year, The OAEC Cookbook offers a wide range of recipes such as: Carrot and Chamomile Soup, Summer Squash Ribbons with Purple Shiso, Roasted Asparagus and Nettle Risotto with Pea Tendrils, and Pepita-Encrusted Squash Blossoms Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Mint. There are cold vegetable plates for warm summer picnics, and readers will learn how to create delicious salad dressing recipes for garden-fresh greens, including Loquat Ginger, Golden Tomato Cumin, and Preserved Lemon Brine. There are comfort foods like pots of savory Biodiversity Beans and Winter Sourdough Pizza, and warming snacks like Toasted Hazelnuts with Thyme. Readers can top a plate of veggie sides with a generous dollop of one of OAEC’s famous sauces and pestos, and learn how to infuse their own Honey Syrups for homemade cocktails. Last but not least, delicious standout desserts like Fresh Fruit Fools, a Dark Roast Winter Squash Tart with Hazelnut Crust, or the Cardamom-Rose-Plum Bars.

This informative cookbook will help gardeners find new ways to cook with their vegetables, farmers’ market shoppers looking to expand their repertoire, home cooks who want to cook healthy for their family or host a big dinner party, chefs looking for inspired recipes using weeds and perennial fruits and vegetables, and community-based organizations who cook for crowds on a regular basis.

Reviews and Praise

  • Foreword Reviews-

    "The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center (formerly the Farallones Institute, and then the Center for Seven Generations) has been pioneering the American organic agriculture movement since the early 1970s. Set on eighty acres in California’s Sonoma County, it includes one of the first certified organic farms in the state and first agricultural easements in the country. When they are not farming or making art, OAEC members are teaching kids and adults about environmental issues or are engaged in eco-activism—the preservation of heritage seeds, for example, or advocacy against genetically modified crops. These guys also know how to feast! The vegetarian recipes naturally showcase the enormous variety of vegetables, herbs, grains, and fruit which are grown in their gardens, including many unfamiliar plants like yacons, mangels, lovage, mitsuba, and a slew of wild edibles. There’s a recipe list preceding each of the four seasonal chapters and each has ingredients sized both for families and a crowd of thirty to forty persons. Studded with gorgeous still-life food photos worthy of a Dutch Master, as well as many shots of OAEC members out in the gardens, this is a cookbook as delicious to peruse as it is to use.”

More Reviews and Praise

  • Booklist-

    "Vegetarians, rejoice! One of California’s first certified organic gardens, known as the Mother Garden, now has a cookbook. And it’s an impressive one, offering some 400 pages of veggie-centric dishes for every season. First, though, the reader gets a history lesson about the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center, as well as a lesson in biodiversity and eco-activism. Then come the recipes—from soups to sweets and everything in between. This beautifully photographed book practices what it preaches about biodiversity. Many of the recipes call for out-of-the-ordinary vegetables like borage, nettle, and cistocera (a type of seaweed). No worries if some of the ingredients are hard to find in your area; plenty of the recipes (such as garden-vegetable frittata and quinoa confetti salad) demonstrate simple techniques that work with many different vegetables. Vegetarians—and even omnivores who appreciate the diversity of veg-focused cuisine—will find much to love in this book from the Mother Garden."

  • "Throughout human history, food has been intimately tied to community. At the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, this vital connection is renewed. Reading this book and cooking these recipes will transport you to a magical place, where deep and important work is being done, beautiful and delicious food is being cooked, and the earth is being healed in a thousand ways each and every day."--Jessica Prentice, author of Full Moon Feast and Co-Founder of Three Stone Hearth Community Supported Kitchen

  • "I am wildly excited about The Occidental Arts & Ecology Center Cookbook! This handsome book shows how you can eat and live when you take gardening and community seriously. It’s not about a restaurant, but about living and working with others, about being surrounded with gardens and the beautiful, nourishing meals made from the plants that grow in them. I found this to be a deeply inspiring and wise chronicle."--Deborah Madison, author of Vegetable Literacy and The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

  • "If feeding a hungry crowd a healthy, delicious non-hippie stir-fry is your quandary, The Occidental Arts & Ecology Center Cookbook offers many a charming solution. These inventive, scrumptious recipes show you how to weave a rich tapestry of varietals and flavors in your garden–and onto your table–with playful presentation techniques that crack open a new paradigm for eating and building community."--Novella Carpenter, author of Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer

  • "The gardens and kitchen of the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center are magical places which have been nourishing and inspiring visitors there (myself included) for decades. This compilation of recipes from their kitchen opens this magic to a broader audience of people looking to cultivate values like sustainability, seasonality, and wholesome goodness into their kitchens. This broad-ranging and skill-building book has lots of great ideas for using acorns, garden weeds, less common vegetables and fruits, and parts of garden plants at different stages of development, rather than just the usual vegetables."--Sandor Ellix Katz, author of The Art of Fermentation

  • "The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center is one of the most successful and established permaculture sites in the world. This cookbook introduces readers to their work and their irresistible cuisine. Want to learn how to cook gorgeous, healthy, delicious food from your permaculture garden? This book is for you.”--Eric Toensmeier, author of Paradise Lot and Perennial Vegetables

  • "Cookbooks inspire us in creative ways for feeding family and friends, but this one goes further. The recipes are uninhibited, rich, and earthy, derived from a deep communal relationship with soil and sun and air and water. Some of them even show us how to live with each other more considerately on this earth. We all talk about community and sustainability, but talk is cheap. The folks at OAEC are walking it, they’ve dedicated their lives to it, and now with this book they are sharing their experience in all of its complex, imperfect, delicious, and nutritious ways.”--Michael Ableman, author of Fields of Plenty

About The Author

About The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center

The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center’s 80-acre site in Sonoma County California serves as a model of sustainability for the greater San Francisco Bay Area and an inspiring meeting place for social changemakers from around the world.  Affectionately referred to as the “Mother Garden,” OAEC curates a collection of over three-thousand rare food crop varieties and multiuse plants, and through this open-air classroom of gardens and wildlands, has provided training, inspiration, and support for thousands of individuals and “daughter gardens” since its inception in 1994.  OAEC’s diverse suite of interwoven programs—restorative agriculture and heirloom seed saving, watershed health, traditional ecological knowledge, permaculture, community resilience design, democratic self-governance, and multicultural organizing methods, to name a few—combine research, demonstration, education, and policy advocacy to develop community-based strategies and regional scale solutions to the pressing environmental and economic crises of our time.  OAEC is well respected in the nonprofit world for its dedication to participatory decision making, so in true collaborative fashion, this book is written with input from many voices including current and former residents, cooks, artists, gardeners, educators, and visionaries.

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About Olivia Rathbone

Olivia Rathbone, lead author and project manager of The OAEC Cookbook, currently manages the dynamic kitchen at OAEC and has tended the vibrant hearth of the community from the garden to the table for over a decade.  Life-long farmer and cook, she orchestrates the inventive meals inspired by seasonal produce from the OAEC Mother Garden.  Formerly, she directed vocational education programs and authored curriculum projects in the culinary arts and holistic health in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Books By Olivia Rathbone

Pages:416 pages
Book Art:Color photos throughout
Size: 8 x 10.25 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Pub. Date: April 11, 2015
Hardcover: 9781603585132

Available In/Retail Price

Hardcover, 416 pages, $40.00

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