Near & Far by Heidi Swanson: Cookbook Review

1118_harira
1118_ryequickbread

Heidi Swanson is kind of the queen bee of food blogs, and I’m basically an endless trove of 101cookbooks jokes that only a very specific set of people find funny. I mean, my most used blog category is one of them. You guys know what I’m talking about.

But the thing is, as much as I discuss how I’d like to go a little bit further than “just a kiss” with cheese, the thing is, her dominance of the market is actually sort of warranted. Her blog is beautiful, and her recipes are wholesome without being hateful (mostly), and they’re all really good. A lot of my oft-requested dishes are Heidi recipes, or, as I do it, Heidi riffs. And, to be fair, she seems like a totally decent human being. My bitterness is all my own creature.

So, yeah, I finally caved, and I now own one of her cookbooks. Near & Far is split up by regions, which was appealing to me since I like cooking “internationally,” though the premise did feel like a bit of a humble-brag about how often one travels the world. But, goddamnit, the recipes are actually good. The book takes flavors from various regions of culinary note: Japan, Italy, France, Morocco, and Heidi incorporates them into her own kitchen style. It’s the sort of thing I love to cook at home: Californian-style cooking with a little bit of influence from international cuisine. The San Francisco section of the book is obviously super-appealing to me. (God, I hate being predictable.)

Pictured above is my version of Heidi’s harira, a hearty Middle Eastern stew that was lovely. I didn’t include pasta like she did, for eating-fewer-white-things purposes, but it was meal-worthy all the same. Below is her rye quickbread, which is a pretty solid improvement on her easy little bread, which used to be a standby of mine.

So, yeah, Near & Far is a hit. Obviously. Cue envious eye roll here.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in return for my honest review.