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Eric Skokan’s book, Farm, Fork, Food: A Year of Spectacular Recipes Inspired by Black Cat Farm (Kyle Books, October), is much more than a cookbook: It’s a recipe for living. “[This project] evolved into more than just a book of recipes,” the chef and co-owner of Black Cat Bistro and Bramble & Hare Restaurant says. “It’s a journey of a farmer, a chef, a restaurant, and a family as it captures all of our favorite flavors of each season.”
Throughout the pages, Skokan deftly describes each season with insightful prose and a well honed combination of recipes, including spring pea soup with mint, lemon, and crème fraîche; stuffed summer squash with ratatouille and Taleggio; and winter roots roasted in embers. “One of the secrets to cooking seasonally…is the use of ‘building block’ recipes,” he writes. “These recipes are the ‘glue’ that can hold a collection of fresh produce together and turn it into a memorable meal.”
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Add the stunning photography of Con Poulos, and readers get a glimpse into life on the 130-acre Black Cat Farm where Skokan and his family nurture the produce and animals raised for the two restaurants, the CSA, and the Boulder Farmers’ Market stand.
Skokan credits Jill Skokan, his wife and business partner, for serving as his inspiration and for holding down the businesses and family life while he devoted time to the book. Questions from his loyal patrons—particularly ones regarding how to use fresh produce—also worked their way into the book. “I want [my customers] to know which recipes to use to coax out the best in their market produce, I want to offer great substitutions for hard-to-find or foraged ingredients and how to choose the best salt, fat, or oven temperature for each recipe,” Skokan says. “But most of all, I want them to experience what it is like to live the journey from the farm to their fork.” The beautiful, coffee-table-quality book achieves all that and more.
Black Cat Bistro, 1964 13th St., Boulder, 303-444-5500
Bramble & Hare Restaurant, 1970 13th St., Boulder, 303-444-9110