Spring 2021 Cookbook: Ruffage by Abra Berens

Spring is all about the excitement of fresh vegetables heading back to farmers markets and farm stands, and we’ve chosen a book to highlight the excitement of cooking with vegetables! Ruffage by Abra Berens explores springtime seasonal eats like sunchokes, radishes, ramps and asparagus, and is perfect for our Spring Cookbook Club! 

About the Author: 

Abra Berens is a Michigan chef who focuses on seasonal, local ingredients. She currently is Executive Chef with two Michigan restaurants located on farms: Farm Club in Leelanau County, and Granor Farm in Three Oaks, MI. She also co-founded a farm in Northport, MI and started her culinary journey at Zingerman’s Deli in Ann Arbor, so she knows her way around the Michigan table! 

Why It’s Great: 

Beren’s book is well-used in my CSA kitchen! Because it is separated by ingredient, it’s easy to flip to what I want to focus on. Kohlrabi, ramps, and sunchokes all have their own chapter, with multiple recipes varied on cooking technique. 

Besides having entire chapters for “difficult” vegetables, Berens also has creative ways to cook Michigan seasonal staples: beets make a delicious pasta sauce, and the radish chapter has a recipe for pan roasting and poaching. Beyond that, the book starts with a must-read pantry section, and variations on most recipes that get your culinary brain moving (“oh! I’ll use my smoked whitefish here.”) Her protein additions are thoughtful, like in this Duck with Radicchio and Parsnip Puree recipe, but are easily removed for vegetarian and vegan eaters.

Which Recipe to Flip to: 

The condiment section of this book is not to be ignored. Flip to the Pickle Liquid Dressing on page 58 for an easy refrigerator-hack dressing that can be easily made a go-to for weeknight salads. 

Spring recipes are abundant and as joyful as the season in Ruffage. Flip to page 378 for a recipe that practically screams Spring seasonal eating: Sauteed ramps with morels, spinach and cream on toast. Springtime eating simply does not get much better than that. 

If you are a Local Food Club member, you’re invited to join us for a virtual Cookbook Club meeting May 7th at 6:30! Bring a dish to share with the group and bring your questions for author Abra Berens for this virtual meetup. RSVP here to let us know if you’re coming!

Pick up a copy at your local bookstore or order online here.

If you join us for Cookbook Club this spring, make sure to snap a pic! Tag us in your social media post so we can see your creation! Let’s get #tldcookbookclub with it!

Claire Butler is the Communications Coordinator with Taste the Local Difference. Contact her at [email protected].

See our Winter feature on Zingerman’s Bakehouse‘ cookbook here.

Photo credits: Plant Life Balance, Fooditor, Lucy Engelman Illustrations