Every once in a while a cookbook comes along that speaks to me, in a language I know and love: the language of seasons, gardens, homsteading, family and food. And when Brown Eggs and Jam Jars, a newly released cookbook by Aimée Wimbush-Bourque of Simple Bites, it spoke that language, a language of love and family and good cooking. As I thumbed through its pages, stumbling across recipes for Blueberry Cardamom Butter, Slow Cooker Cider Ham, and Caprese Salad with Fresh Thyme Drizzle, I knew that its a language that you'd appreciate as much as I do.
Brown Eggs and Jam Jars is more than a cookbook; rather, Aimée expertly interweaves a primary focus on whole foods recipes with tips on homesteading, preserving the harvest, and celebrating local foods. Yet, still, at the heart of the book is another message, one deeply rooted in love: that of returning to the family table, of teaching children where their food comes from and why it matters. It's simple home cooking with a purpose and a message.
Wholesome, Family-Friendly Cooking
While the recipes in Brown Eggs and Jam Jars are blessedly simple in their approach (think: Cinnamon Applesauce, Peaches Preserved in Honey Syrup, and Strawberry Lemonade), they are also inventive as little additions like cornmeal added to the Crispy Rosemary Roast Potatoes below elevate everyday family cooking into something worth celebrating. More than that, Aimée brings us back to the table with her emphasis on the old-fashioned Sunday dinner, a tradition that makes wholesome foods, togetherness and family a priority.
We are making slow family food a priority, one week at a time. Sunday dinner is a tradition that carves out a healthy family food culture to last for generations. -- Aimée Wimbush-Bourque in Brown Eggs and Jam Jars
Me? I couldn't agree more.
Actionable, Practical Tips for the Whole Family
What I appreciated the most, beyond the many recipes included in the book, was the many practical, and actionable tips that are included with in its pages. She discusses how to talk to your kids about where their food comes from, including sometimes touchy and emotional revelations about meat. The pages are also peppered with tips and guidance about how to regularly involve children in the kitchen and in sourcing their food: whether making taffy, helping with compost, going on orchard tours or just learning how to cook as a family. It's particularly helpful information for families with young children.
Crispy Rosemary Roast Potatoes
So, inspired by her book, my family included one of her recipes in our regular Sunday dinner this past week: Crispy Rosemary Roast Potatoes. Again, simple and uncomplicated, wholesome cooking that everyone in our family enjoyed. It paired beautifully with Roast Chicken, and a homemade gravy.
Crispy Rosemary Roasted Potatoes
- Position a rack on the lowest level of the oven and preheat oven to 425°F.
- Cut each potato in half, then in half again, until you have 4 evenly sized chunks per potato. Place in a medium pot with 1 teaspoon of the salt, cover with cold water and set over high heat. Bring potatoes to a boil, then reduce heat slightly and boil for 2 minutes.
- In a large bowl, mix together cornmeal, remaining 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Drain potatoes, then transfer to the bowl with the cornmeal and toss gently to coat.
- In a 12-inch cast-iron pan or heavy skillet, heat olive oil over high heat. When small bubbles begin to rise (but before oil is smoking) and oil is very hot, add rosemary and garlic. Stir carefully with tongs for a minute to infuse the oil.
- Carefully add cornmeal-crusted potatoes all at once to the hot oil and arrange them with your tongs so that they are evenly distributed around the pan. Place the skillet in the oven and roast for 15 minutes. Carefully remove pan from oven and turn each potato so the crispy side faces up. Roast for another 20 to 25 minutes or until golden all over.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer potatoes to a serving platter. Sprinkle with chopped fresh rosemary and a sprinkling of sea salt if desired. Serve at once.