My guesses? 1. Ingredient quality, and 2. Presentation.
But I went ahead and looked for something showy from the Crossroads cookbook anyway.
This beet salad with apple, Kite Hill ricotta, walnuts, microgreens, and balsamic vinegar is super pretty and super tasty. I did NOT make it as sweet (or complicated) as their recipe: toasted walnuts instead of candied; plain balsamic vinegar instead of an agave-sweetened reduction. I don’t care for salads that are too sweet, and the textures and flavors of the base ingredients offered plenty on their own. And they’re all fancypants organic, locally grown, blah blah blah. (I suppose the vinegar could’ve been a fancier kind, but it’s our go-to not-too-cheap balsamic anyway.)
I did like their method of cooking the beets: in a sort of light brine with peppercorns, thyme sprigs, bay leaves, and a little vinegar. The aroma and the taste are really nice and mellow.