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One of my favourite ways to unwind at the end of the week is to stop by my local big-box bookstore on the way home from work.

Once there, I have a strict routine that I follow each and every time. First, I peruse the food section of the magazine rack. From there I make my way to the discounted cookbooks table and from there I travel to the epicentre of my world: the cookbook section.

Now it should be noted that I rarely buy cookbooks at my local big-box bookstore because Toronto has one of the very best cookbook stores anywhere, aptly named The Cookbook Store.

Still, though, I do enjoy my Friday after-work relaxation sessions and it was during one of these sessions that I picked up a cookbook that I fell instantly in love with: Jeanne Kelley’s Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes: Recipes From a Modern Kitchen Garden.

I’m not quite sure what it was that drew me in. I don’t know if it was the brilliant cover photo of a pair of hands holding blue eggs (blue eggs!) and yellow tomatoes. I don’t know if it was the gingham design on the book’s spine (Cream Puff looooooooooooves gingham)! I don’t know if it was the size and weight of the book (something so comforting about the book’s heftiness).

I don’t know what it was.

All I know is that I marched to the cash register and happily handed over my money so that I could take this little piece of cookbook heaven home with me.

To say that I fell in love with this book is to put it mildly. The best way that I can sum up my feelings is that in my wildest dreams, were I ever to write a cookbook, this book is exactly how I would want it to look and feel and the recipes are exactly the kind of recipes I wish I could write.

All manner of beautiful photographs sit beside recipes that are a dream to me: Curried Yellow Split Pea Soup with Mint Yogurt, Green Been, Corn and Farro Salad, Broiled Iberico Cheese, Serrano Ham and Romesco Tartines, Alsatian Bacon and Onion Pizza, Albacore Kebabs with Charmoula and Moroccan Chicken Skewers.

Want more?

Okay.

How about Stuffed Turkey Breast with Achiote, Poblano Chiles and Feta Cheese? Or how about Spiced Lamb with Mint, Date and Apple Pear Relish? Rose and Orange-Scented Honey-Nut Tart? Any takers?

A sizeable cookbook, the paper is thick and glossy and the fonts used are so very pretty! The palette of colours used in the book’s design are warm and inviting, just like the very best of kitchen gardens.

There’s even a section on how to keep your own chickens.

Such a beautiful, beautiful cookbook.

Prior to purchasing it I had no idea who Jeanne Kelley was and wherever she may be in the world, I’d like to thank her for her vision in creating such a book.

It’s truly a thing of beauty.

Ciao!

Ricotta, Honey and Pecan Tartine
Inspired by Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes: Recipes From a Modern Kitchen Garden by Jeanne Kelley.

Note: In case you hadn’t figured it out this book is my choice for Flavour of the Month for July 2008. A tartine is an open-faced sandwich. There is a recipe in the book for Whole Grain Tartines with Ricotta, Walnuts, Cherries, Honey and Mint. This is my pared down version (serves 2) of that recipe.

two 1 to 1-1/2-inch thick slices of good bread, grilled or toasted (I used a fabulous sourdough but you can use whatever you like)
1/2 cup ricotta
1/4 cup chopped pecans
3 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. chopped mint

Divide the ricotta in half and spread half on one slice of bread and the other half of the ricotta on the second slice of bread.

In a small bowl, mix the pecans and the honey and then divide it equally amongst the two slices of bread, covering the ricotta with the pecan and honey mixture.

Sprinkle both tartines with mint.

Enjoy!