I take a seasonal approach to eating for a multitude of reasons. First off, it’s delicious! Seasonal foods are fresh, and we all know that fresh foods offer the most depth of flavor. Beyond taste, seasonal eating is an environmentally conscious approach to eating. While I’m not perfect at it (I do love bananas all times of the year!), eating seasonal foods often means that you are eating local foods. Blueberries in January or acorn squash in July are often shipped from a different hemisphere, since they cannot be grown in America during that time of year. Shipping food that far uses a lot of gas and other resources! Additionally, seasonal eating keeps a steady variety of foods in your diet. You’re not eating the same five foods everyday if you eat seasonally, which is good for you both nutritionally and mentally. Finally, seasonal eating is a budget-friendly way to enjoy a healthy diet!
The author, Kristin Sollenne, is a celebrity chef and nutritionist in New York. She has appeared on NBC’s “Today” show, on Beat Bobby Flay and Kitchen Casino on the Food Network, and on season ten of Food Network Star as a mentor to finalist Luca Della Casa. Sollenne also received a place on Zagat’s Top 30 under 30 list in 2013. Domestic Chic is her first cookbook.
Domestic Chic divides its recipes into sections based on the four seasons. Each section uses key ingredients from that season’s fruit and vegetables, with an introduction to each chapter listing the seasonal items for easy grocery shopping. Within each section, Sollenne provides menus, complete with appetizers, salads, soups, entrees, and desserts, for specific special events. For example, you can enjoy winter’s best produce at New Year’s Eve with Endive Salad and Cioppino, spring fresh Italian Stuffed Artichoke and Raspberry Clafouti at Mother’s Day, or Clam Chowder and Sweet Potato Pie for Thanksgiving.
Many of the recipes in Domestic Chic are Italian-style dishes: Seafood Risotto, Penne al Gorgonzola, Curried Linguine Al’Vongole, Veal Scallopini, and Panelle, amongst many others. The recipes is Domestic Chic will provide you with an authentic, healthy, and seasonal Italian meal in the comfort of your own home.
(Since many of the recipes are Italian, most of the recipes are not vegan, dairy free gluten free, or Paleo friendly. That’s not the goal of the book nor the eating philosophy of the author, so it’s by no means a fault of the book. Rather, this is just a note for any readers with dietary restrictions.)
I was able to ask a few questions to Kristin Sollenne about her cookbook and her experience as a chef and nutritionist. Her answers describe the food philosophy behind Domestic Chic, along with giving you an idea of the types of recipes she creates.
Where do you find your inspiration for your recipes, both those you create as a chef and those shared in the cookbook?
KS: My inspiration stems from my family and desire to create wholesome, well balanced, great tasting meals. Simple and satisfying!
Expanding on the previous question, describe the process you used for creating and testing the recipes in the cookbook. How long did it take for you to create all of these delicious recipes?
KS: This has been a process for several years. The inspiration for the format of the book stemmed from my customers at Bocca Di Bacco, always feeling overwhelmed by traditional cookbooks to cook for a dinner party. I wanted something simple and easy, like a one-stop shop for cooking and entertaining, which is why I included great entertaining tips as well!
What advice would you offer to aspiring chefs, nutritionists, and recipe developers?
KS: Always keep trying! A lot of good comes out of trial and error!
What is your favorite recipe in Domestic Chic?
KS: This is such a hard question!! It would have to be my Sollenne family sauce recipe and meatballs! Because everyone needs good sauce!
Describe your food philosophy and how you approach healthy eating.
My philosophy is farm-to-table and to let the seasons guide your palette. My favorite thing to do is browsing the farmer’s market and picking the ripest and best produce to center a meal around.
What is one kitchen tool you could not live without?
KS: Food Processor! Really speeds the process up when you’re cooking in a rush!
What are your five must-have ingredients?
KS: Good extra-virgin olive oil, basil, garlic, Italian flat leaf parsley, salt & pepper.
You organized Domestic Chic according to seasons. Can you talk more about why you as a chef prefer seasonal cooking and the benefits of seasonal eating?
KS: First of all, produce tastes best when it’s at its prime! Also, you can always find an abundance of it usually at a bargain. I prefer simple seasonings, and your dish is only as good as the ingredients you use, so why not pick them when they’re at their best!
One of the recipes I tested was the pumpkin bread. Few things are more seasonal during autumn than pumpkin! The recipe was simple to follow (I halved it to create one loaf, since the recipe was for two) and within 90 minutes I had a fragrant and tempting loaf of pumpkin bread ready to eat! The bread was sweet with a soft, cake-like texture and a mild pumpkin flavor. It was much sweeter than anything I’ve baked in a while and reminded me of the pumpkin cupcakes Ryan and I served at our wedding. Definitely a great treat to have during my birthday week!
Waldorf Publishing is also releasing a boxed gift-set that includes this book and one of Kristin’s new aprons from her apron line, Cellini. The book will be released on September 4th 2015, via Hardcover, eBook and Audio book, and will be for sale on Amazon.
I’m partnering with Waldorf Publishing to give away 2 copies of Domestic Chic for you to enjoy! You can enter by commenting on this post and filling out the Rafflecopter below. After you comment, the Rafflecopter will offer you with more options for additional entries.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
(Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Domestic Chic in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.)
Question of the Day:
What season has your favorite foods? —> Fall. Bring on the acorn squashes, apples, and pumpkins.