What I thought my kitchen wanted was a food processor — but apparently my kitchen needs a mortar and pestle. That’s what I learned while reading Chez Panisse’s uber eco-chef Alice Waters‘ new book, In the Green Kitchen, which features 30 basic cooking techniques from Alice’s fellow eco-chefs. A mortar and pestle’s called for in the basic recipes for balsamic vinaigrette, pesto sauce — and even guacamole!

Much like a How to Sew a Button for eco-foodies, In the Green Kitchen is about getting back to the basics, using simple local, organic, and seasonal ingredients to make food that’s easy to create and delicious to eat. The book kicks off with the most basic technique — Washing lettuce (sans paper towels!) — and moves on to everything from making bread, blanching greens, pickling veggies, and roasting a chicken.

Each techniques comes with scrumptious-sounding recipes — The filleting a fish section has recipes for fish soup and baked rockfish with lemon and parsley butter, for example — illustrated with gorgeous drool-worthy photos of organic food and profiles of eco-chefs whose restaurants you’ll want to visit.

In the Green Kitchen’s like a book version of the Green Kitchen webisodes, which visual learners can still watch online. I’m more of a reader — and despite my mortar-and-pestle-less-ness, I couldn’t resist attempting the guacamole recipe contributed by Gilbert Pilgram of Zuni Cafe in San Francisco. I made do with a big ceramic bowl and a muddler I bought for a Mojito party. Voila:

organic guacamole with LeafOrganic raw flax seed chips

The results: Yummy. In the Green Kitchen hits bookstores today; the hardcover book costs $28, with proceeds benefiting the Chez Panisse Foundation in support of Edible Education.

Bottom photo by Siel

Alice Waters: 'In the Green Kitchen'
Chez Panisse's Alice Waters gets back to basics in a new cookbook highlighting simple kitchen techniques.