There are Buffalonians who act like we invented winter.
Yet every culture that sees snow has its own ways of coping with – or even enjoying – the time between harvest and planting. Dutch author Yvette van Boven, who won a wide audience with “Home Made,” her first cookbook, has written a second dedicated to the comforts of winter.
Drawing on her Dutch childhood and experiences living in Ireland and France, van Boven delivers a cozy, intimate collection of recipes and illustrations that ought to ably arm anyone looking to cook their way out of the January blahs.
First, readers can get busy. There are well-illustrated sections on making your own butter, yogurt and cheese, followed by recipes to help cooks properly exploit their own artisanal ingredients. Cardamom and orange scones and bannock bread start off the breakfast baking.
Holidays like Epiphany and St. Nicholas Eve have their characteristic treats, like Sintercookies, and drinks, alcoholic and not.
Soups like butternut creme, mushroom soup with spelt and creme of white beans and celeriac with chile oil promise to warm bellies. Beet blinis with marinated salmon and trout cured with beets show off the root vegetables’ crimson power.
For mains, van Boven suggests shaking up classics, like a baked risotto of cauliflower with crisp bread crumbs, and a slimmer version of tartiflette, the French gratin of cheese, potatoes, onions and bacon, made with cod in place of the smoked pork.
A few of the recipes call for significant reserves of ambition, such as the deboned chicken stuffed with sausage. Most of the recipes are well within the reach of an average home cook.
Much of the artwork and typography is homemade, too. Van Boven created some of the typefaces, and her husband, Oof Verschuren, took the book’s photographs.
At times, preciousness trumps usability, as thin-lettered, handwritten fonts on dark backgrounds can be difficult to read. Despite that, the lasting impression of “Home Made Winter” is one of idiosyncratic charm.
Find the recipe for butternut creme soup here.
Home Made Winter
By Yvette Van Boven
Stewart Tabori & Chang
253 pages, $35.