Maryjo Koch has a life many of us would envy. She teaches painting in idyllic Northern California where her beautiful garden inspires both her art and her cuisine. Koch chronicles her plantings and recipes in The Artist, The Cook, And The Gardener: Recipes Inspired By Painting From The Garden.
Her recipes make ample use of her garden's seasonal bounty. She also plans plates with an artist's eye including edible flowers in some of her recipes. A garden bento box with quail eggs in nest of frisée mimics a cabinet of curiosities. The recipes are mostly light and sunny, California cuisine at its most natural and appealing.
It is the type of food served at many of the cafes and restaurants in California wine country: light salads with fresh dressings, flavorful sandwiches on crusty bread, silky soups, and vegetable tarts. The desserts are similarly delicate but deliciously tempting with options such as strawberry tarts and dark chocolate, orange, and pistachio cookies. The book finishes with simple recipes for great foodie-friendly staples such as orange Champagne vinegar and candied walnuts as well as details on specific preparation techniques.
Fans of Susan Branch's illustrated Vineyard cookbooks/memoirs will adore this book which delights as much through its paintings as through its recipes.