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Often, cookbooks that are self-published and slated for a locals-only demographic tend to be...how can I put this nicely...not something to drool over. That's for sure not the case with From Terra's Table: New American Food Fresh from Southern California's Organic Farm, a hefty instructional piece put out by chef Jeff Rossman last year.

Going by page count alone, the book weighs in as an entrée, but there's more than a lot of paper to speak of, recipes plucked from Rossman's decade and a half at the helm of his restaurant, Terra (which recently relocated from Hillcrest to the College East area).

No expenses nor effort on Rossman's part were spared in the production of the piece, which my colleage Naomi Wise noted in a review last year. In addition to recipes, there is information on local farms and artisanal food and beverage producers, driving home Rossman's assertion that From Terra's Table is his love letter to San Diego growers.

Recently, Rossman got a little of that love he's been putting out back. His book earned top honors as the Best Cookbook of 2011 from the San Diego Book Awards Association. Considering Rossman's tenure as a chef on the local scene and the work he put into showcasing himself and other food folks in San Diego County, I'd say the book awards group got this one right.

If you want to get a look for yourself, From Terra's Table is available online at www.fromterrastable.com or amazon.com and at Rossman's new digs, Terra American Bistro, at 7091 El Cajon Boulevard.

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