If you’re a New Orleans junkie like me, you’ll want to get your hands on the new Crescent City Farmers Market Cookbook by Poppy Tooker. It’s got great pictures and profiles of local farmers and producers, along with interesting recipes from regulars at the market and local chefs.
New Orleans–style food can be very rich, at times complicated, and, if Cajun, can involve things like frog legs, duck fat, and game birds you might not have at your local Safeway. The thing I like about this one, besides the fact that you can almost smell the city in the quirky descriptions and beautiful photos of its residents, is that there are lots of “I can make this right now, and I want to” recipes. Like a simple vegetarian red beans recipe (yeah, you read that right: vegetarian), shrimp with Cognac and local legumes, and hakurei turnip and pork fricassee over hot cooked rice.
Author Poppy Tooker is the head of the Crescent City’s chapter of Slow Foods and, when it comes to that city’s past and present food scene, she’s one of the smartest people around. So you’ll find some good historic stuff in there, like how to make real Creole cream cheese (a vanishing classic), as well as a portion of the book’s recipes representing the relative newcomers to New Orleans: Indian, West Indian, and Mexican immigrants.