Golden, pan-seared scallops surrounded by juicy, sauteed oranges.  Slices of tender avocado tucked in with plump, pink grapefruit sections and topped with delicate crabmeat.  Paper-thin, ruby-hued watermelon radish slices, dressed with fresh lemon juice.

While it may have been the title that prompted me to pull the book from the shelf, it was the amazing beauty of the produce, and the simple-yet-inspiring preparations that convinced me I couldn’t leave the store without it. 

This latest cookbook from Williams-Sonoma is a study in the pleasure of “farm-to-table-cooking.” At farmers’ markets you meet the cultivators in your area – farmers and food crafters who bring you the season’s freshest organic produce.  Even now, with farmers’ markets closing for the season, the book is relevant, encouraging us to enjoy vegetables and fruits in new ways.

The book begins with the benefits of eating seasonally, organically and locally.  It includes helpful information on selecting the best produce, storage tips, and descriptions of over 100 vegetables and fruits.  The photography, by Maren Caruso, is good enough to make you want to eat the pages.

The recipes cover all courses, from tasty appetizers like Avacodo, Bacon and Tomato Tartines and starters like Cream of Cauliflower Soup to main dishes such as a scrumptious looking Acorn Squash and Chorizo Tart and Pork Medallions with Roasted Figs.  Desserts are fresh and delectable, from Blueberry-Vanilla Panna Cotta to aromatic Pear Tarte Tatin with Winter Spices.

Cooking from the Farmers’ Market is a fantastic way to freshen up winter meals. It is now at the top of  my rather large stack of cookbooks.  Tomorrow’s lunch?  An Apple and Artisan Cheddar Panini.  I can already taste the melty cheese and crisp apple slices.

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