The Forest Feast, Strawberry Salsa + Giveaway
A few weeks ago The Forest Feast: Simple Vegetarian Recipes from My Cabin in the Woods by Erin Gleeson landed on my doorstep and I instantly deemed it the most gorgeous cookbook I’d ever seen. Not only is it full of delicious vegetarian recipes, it is a colorful feast of Erin’s watercolors, typography, photography, and more. Each recipe features it’s own watercolor by Erin, a unique layout, and original photography. On top of that, the recipes feature vegetables in ways I haven’t seen before. The butternut caprese, for example, is the perfect twist on an everyday favorite. I also love her cool watermelon “cake”, and ideas for vegetable ribbon salads. The first recipe I made from it was the strawberry salsa, it was such a hit at our block party!
Today I am sharing a great chat I had with Erin, the delicious salsa recipe, and a chance to win a copy of this book. I swear, once you crack the cover you won’t be able to stop reading it and you’ll tab just about every recipe to try tout de suite!
1) Living in the cabin in California looks like a dream. Where do you buy all the wonderful produce you feature in your book?
The recipes are generally inspired by whatever comes in my weekly local farm box (CSA box). I am usually drawn to the most colorful item in the box and build recipes based on that. But I also supplement with ingredients from the farmers market and the grocery store.
2) This book is a visual feast – the colors, flavors, design – it is all so inspired and detailed. How did you work on each recipe? Did you complete the whole thing – testing, artwork, layout – one at a time? I admire that you were involved in so much more than just writing the recipes.
Thank you! When working on the book, I would often have shooting days, where I’d cook and shoot several recipes, and then I’d have studio days, where I’d edit the photos and do the watercolors to accompany each recipe. Then I compile the layouts using Photoshop. I am lucky in that my publisher let me do everything- I even laid out the whole book.
3) I eat a mostly vegetarian diet whenever possible and I love how you truly break away from the normal vegetable serving ideas in this book. I’d have never thought of the eggplant “tacos.” What inspires you when you develop recipes?
I think my background in art often has me approach a dish as a little sculpture, so I am always trying to think about the shapes of the vegetables and how they can be reimagined or arranged in a more interesting way. The circles of roasted eggplant reminded me of mini tortillas and that’s what inspired the dish. This is one of my favorite things to make when eating solo! The eggplant is also great when cooked outside on the BBQ.
4) What are some of your favorite recipes in here for summer entertaining? I made the strawberry salsa for our block party last weekend and it was amazing!
I have an upcoming outdoor dinner party and I am making the Nectarine Tomato Salad, the Watermelon Salad and the Honey Pepper Fresh Figs. I love fruit paired with cheese and fresh herbs in the summer (and all the time, really!).
5) What is next for The Forest Feast? We hope another book…and maybe an art class!
I am in the beginning stages of thinking about another book, actually, and I am thinking it will have a more entertaining angle. Also, I have a line of paper products (stationery, art prints, placemats, etc.) coming out next year. They blend my watercolors and photography in a really fun, unique way – they are going to be beautiful and I can’t wait to share them! I am also expecting a baby in August (our first!), so teaching might slow down a bit, but I hope to teach again in the Spring. (Each Spring I usually teach a Photography + Photoshop course at Stanford University.)
Thanks for stopping by, Erin!
To enter to win a copy of The Forest Feast:
1) Leave a comment sharing your favorite vegetarian meal.
2) Contest runs from July 10th at 7:00am ET through July 17th at 7:00am ET. Winner will be announced in the July 18th newsletter.
serve with crackers or tortilla chips!
- 1 roma tomato, seeded and chopped
- ¼ cup cilantro, washed, dried, and finely chopped
- 2 cups strawberries, hulled and finely chopped
- ¼ red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 large pinch salt
- Juice of ½ lime
- Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl, stir in the lime juice, and serve!
adapted from The Forest Feast by Erin Gleeson