Texas Hill Country Cuisine Defined and Made Doable
Difficulty of finding ingredients: Because the cookbook is focused on the Hill Country and using as many local ingredients as possible, people who live in that area (and are cooking seasonally) should have no trouble finding items like Ruby Red Texas grapefruit. Some items that may be more difficult to acquire are the specific cheeses mentioned in the recipes, like Veldhuizen Texas Gold Cheddar, but the ingredient listings note that similar cheeses can be substituted.
Some of the pages are a little too busy with text.
Production value: The book is lovely to look at, with glossy pages, full-color photos and a clear attention to design (even though it is a bit overworked). It comes with a book jacket and a hard cover, and it retails for $34.95, which seems to be about average for a hard-back cookbook based on a restaurant. I'm most impressed by the quality of the photos included with the recipes.
Recipes I want to try: One of the first things I'm going to try is warm Texas goat cheese with roasted garlic and herbs. I know I can get fresh, local cheese from Blue Heron Farms, and the recipe dresses it up simply with sundried tomatoes, herbs, kalamata olives and garlic, before baking the whole thing in the oven and serving with toast. It's a great simple party dish. I'm also eager to try the Fredericksburg honey-lavender-peach crisp as soon as peach season is once again upon us.
Verdict: As someone who regularly pines for the Hill Country, I'm happy to have this book in my possession, partially for the recipes and partially for the landscape and cityscape photos that remind me of the area. This would make a great gift for people who know and love the Cabernet Grill or people who, like me, miss that beautiful country out west.
You can buy the book at the Cabernet Grill in Fredericksburg or online at the restaurant website.