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The Arrows Cookbook    by Clark Frasier & Mark Gaier order for
Arrows Cookbook
by Clark Frasier
Order:  USA  Can
Scribner, 2003 (2003)
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

After reading the Foreword to The Arrows Cookbook, I put this restaurant on the top of my list of places to eat. Now I just need to convince my significant other to join me on that long drive.

Don't skip the Introduction. It details the metamorphosis of a Maine farmhouse into a premiere restaurant with an acre of gardens dedicated to growing its own ingredients. These are planted at the end of winter in cold frames - raised beds covered with Plexiglas. The owners have been known to garden in snowshoes! A tour of the gardens is not uncommon before entering the lovely restaurant.

Recipes begin with Asparagus Soup with Lobster, Morels and Chervil and A Fresh Look at Lobster (tips a non-Mainer might not know) follows. I've often created Brown Butter but never used it over tiny green vegetables as suggested here. Peekytoe Crab Cakes are made just the way I like them - no fillers, just pure crabmeat. Most of the recipes (prepared with the freshest of ingredients) are prefaced with background and tips on the dishes suggested.

I can't begin to mention each dish - too many. But some simply clamor for recognition. Like Polenta Lasagne! Wow. And Pecan Pound Cake with Basalmic Sabayon and Strawberries - I'm ready to head north right now. There's Pumpkin Soup with Curried Pumpkin Seeds. How about Pork Loin Confit as a change of pace from Duck Confit? Works for me. I love the idea of using toasted pine nuts with Green and Yellow Beans.

For my dessert I want Zucchini Bread with Lemon Verbena Curd. It'll be worth the nine-hour drive. Can I change that order to Chocolate Carrot Cake with Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting? Or maybe Steamed Pumpkin Pudding with Vanilla Cr8me Anglaise? Tell you what. I think the best way would be to present yourself at Arrow and allow them to choose for you. Their simple, elegant foods are complemented by an extensive wine list and a selection of port. The lush flower arrangements enhance the 1765 farmhouse.

Can't make the trip? Then get a copy of The Arrows Cookbook and treat yourself and yours to some very fine eating.

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