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Cookbook review: 'Recipes Inspired By Our Garden' is bountifully delicious

By Tara Creel

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 12 2013 4:48 p.m. MST

"BOUNTIFUL: Recipes Inspired By Our Garden," by Todd Porter and Diane Cu, Stewart, Tabori and Chang, $35, 304 pages

"Bountiful: Recipes Inspired By Our Garden" is a cookbook that looks like a coffee table book and reads like a storybook. Authors Todd Porter and Diane Cu said on their blog, www.whiteonricecouple.com, that their cookbook "is an extension of our heart, lives and everything that we love. It’s a reflection of who we are, and that’s what really matters."

In "Bountiful," Porter and Cu share bits of their history with food and how they came to love growing their own produce. They tell how this eventually led to them sharing the passion with each other, and then with the world on their blog.

The cookbook includes tips on how to plan, start and use a home garden, no matter one's circumstances in regards to space or money. Porter and Cu share ways for all who are interested to grow and use their own produce.

The chapters are easily navigated and organized by vegetables and fruits and their various subgroups. Vegetables include such categories as tomatoes, herbs and leafy greens and squashes. The fruits include sweet berries, citrus, stone fruits and other tree and vine fruits.

Each of the 100 recipes includes an introduction describing the ingredients, why Porter and Cu love them, and alterations readers can make to the recipe to fit their lives. The recipes are easy to follow, with each step and multiple photographs to document the process. Porter and Cu believe there is a story behind every recipe, so their cookbook is full of them.

The quote by Cesar Chavez at the beginning of "Bountiful" says, "If you really want to make a friend, go to someone's house … the people who give you their food give you their heart." In this cookbook, Porter and Cu invite readers into their lives with stunning photography that includes not only the finished product of their simple, yet sophisticated recipes, but their garden, their home, their friends and even their dogs.

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Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Sausage

Serves: 4

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 spaghetti squash (about 3 pounds or 1.4 kg)

¾ pound (340 g) uncooked sausage (any kind)

5 or 6 medium shallots, thickly sliced

3 cloves garlic, crushed or minced

1 cup (100 g) coarsely grated

Parmigiana Reggiano

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano, or other herb complementary to the sausage

Kosher or sea salt

Freshly cracked black pepper

Note: Use the tip of a knife to first pierce the squash and get the cut started. Then the rest of the squash should slice easily.

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Oil a sheet pan with one tablespoon of the oil.

2. Slice the squash in half lengthwise (see note). Scoop out the seeds and stringy bits, then place the squash, cut sides down, on the prepared pan.

3. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a fork easily separates the squash flesh into strands. Loosen and remove the “spaghetti” from the shells and set aside.

4. Pinch and pull small balls of the sausage out of its casing, arranging them so they stay slightly separate.

5. In a large sauté pan, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic. Cook until soft, stirring, then add the sausage. Cook, untouched, until the sausage starts to brown, then stir. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes.

6. Add the squash strands to the sausage and continue cooking until heated through, about one minute.

7. Remove the pan from the heat. Toss in the Parmigiana Reggiano and oregano. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

— "Bountiful: Recipes Inspired by Our Garden" by Todd Porter and Diane Cu

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If you go ...

What: Todd Porter and Diane Cu book signing

When: Saturday, Nov. 16, 2 p.m.

Where: The King's English, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City

Web: kingsenglish.com, whiteonricecouple.com

Note: Places in the signing line are reserved for those who purchase a copy of the featured book from The King's English.

Tara Creel is a Logan native and mother of three boys. Her email is taracreel@gmail.com and you can find her blogging at www.taracreelbooks.wordpress.com.

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