Fresh and Seasonal

Lorraine Wallace’s MR. & MRS. SUNDAY’S SUPPERS

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by Nancy Ellison

MrSundaySuppers“Chris loves Pork Chops anyway they are prepared.”

My friend, Lorraine Wallace, seems utterly dedicated to making her husband happy on Sundays! Chris anchors Fox News Sunday live each week, and Lorraine has taken that as her cue to make the evening meal especially welcoming.

I love comfort food and I love pork chops, so when I got my copy of Mr. and Mrs. Sunday's Suppers, the first recipes I checked out were for Pork Chops. I wasn’t disappointed: Pork Chops with Glazed Sweet Onions (perfect – Vidalia onions are coming into season) and Pizza Pork Chops!!! HUH?? Don’t expect pizza dough, but do count on all the delicious flavors that go into pizza sauce enhancing the chops.

(And, surprise! Next to the newly discovered recipe for Pizza Pork Chops, I see another fabulous recipe: “Linguini Con Vongole From the kitchen of Nancy Ellison.” That’s me!)

Lorraine’s cookbooks - besides MR & MRS SUNDAY’S SUPPPERS - include Mr. Sunday’s Soups, and Mr. Sunday’s Saturday Night Chicken. All of them emphasize fresh ingredients, simple recipes that compliment our busy, contemporary life style, and a sense of wellbeing.

A Cookbook and a Souvenir from the Green Spot

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by Amy Ephron

brendabookI always think one of the nicest things to bring home from vacation is a souvenir cookbook from a spot you love. Miz Wilkes’ Boarding House in Savannah comes to mind and on the other end of the spectrum, Nobu or Suzanne Goin’s pick one (AOC, The Tavern, The Larder...).

But I was particularly charmed by Life One Tablespoon at a Time by Brenda Athanus, owner with her sister Tanya of the secret gourmet shop in Lake Country in Oakland, Maine.

It’s part memoir, part recipe, part an homage to other great food writers like MFK Fisher, Amanda Hessler and Calvin Trillen.

Make your own truffles. Celebrate Fiddle Head Ferns, assuming you can find them. The most perfect lobster roll ever! New Year’s Chinese noodles (not sure if that’s for Chinese New Years’ or the regular one) but delicious nonetheless.

It also includes a wonderful tribute to her cooking teacher Madeline Kalman and is sprinkled with stories about their travels, their local “walnut man” (wish I had one of those), their friends, and Brenda’s total love and understanding of excellent food, fresh ingredients, entertaining, laughter, and love.

Pomegranate Cookbook

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by Amy Sherman

pomegranatebookWould you be inclined to buy a cookbook devoted to burgers, fondue or toast? I wouldn't. None of those things are all that challenging to make in the first place. A whole book on grilled cheese sandwiches? Gimme a break.

Cookbooks on single subjects have to be something special to catch my eye. They have to be varied, cover more than just one meal, and they should intrigue me to try something new and way out of the ordinary.

Pomegranates: 70 Celebratory Recipes is just such a book. Kleinberg's book includes recipes appropriate for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. Not to mention beverages. Pomegranate juice and syrup is all over the place.

No wonder as it is filled with antioxidants, used in many different cuisines and amazingly versatile. You can use the jewel-like seeds or the juice in recipes that are sweet or savory.

Turmeric-Spiced Root Vegetables from the AOC Cookbook

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by Suzanne Goin

AOCcookbookcoverTurmeric is a rhizome or rootstock of a South Asian member of the ginger family. As the major ingredient in curry and a cheaper alternative to saffron, it is commonly used in Indian, South Asian, and Middle Eastern cooking as much it seems, for its color as for its flavor. In fact, in the past turmeric was used for dyeing textiles and fabrics, for making cosmetics, and even for religious and cultural ceremonies, Hindu and other, especially in India. Turmeric is considered to have medicinal uses and is even being studied currently for its potential cancer-fighting properties.

In this dish, the turmeric pairs up with cumin, coriander, and paprika to spice up roasted root vegetables and give them an unexpected and exotic twist. First the vegetables are roasted in a very hot oven, an unorthodox method we first came up with at Lucques. We were having problems when working with baby vegetables, unable to get the sear and caramelization we wanted without overcooking the vegetables. Even with our deck oven cranked to 550°F, the results were either tender and pale or nicely browned and mushy.

My longest-running kitchen employee, Rodolfo Aguado, who started working for me as a surly fifteen-year-old dishwasher at Campanile and now runs our very busy catering department (and has three kids of his own), came up with the brilliant idea of preheating the sheet pans before placing the vegetables on them. It really works wonders: you get a great roasted sear and can control the tenderness-versus-mushiness issue as well.

Heather Christo's Generous Table

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by Susan Salzman

generoustableWhen Heather Christo asked me if I would be interested in checking out her new book, Generous Table, my answer was an exuberant, YES! Heather and I have been reading each other’s blog for years and witnessing the birth of her new “baby” was a wonderful journey to watch her go on.

After drooling over her recipes, it was a toss up as to what I was going to make first. It was between the Chocolate Caramel Mousse, Blackberry Jalapeno Margarita, and this caramel sauce.

Anyone who knows me, knows that caramel “anything” is my drug of choice. On the dessert menu it is the dessert with the word caramel in it that I gravitate toward and a Sees Scotch-Mallow is all I really need to take me to that happy place.

With some homemade ice cream in the freezer and a batch of freshly made dark chocolate almond bark, caramel sauce seemed like the perfect accessory. And the perfect accessory it was, especially with that little bit of a tequila kick!

I am so in love with Heather’s book, which is filled with stories, rich recipes, and super easy entertaining ideas.

Power Foods

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by Matt Armendariz

power-foodsYou’d never know by looking at my chubby exterior, but during the week we focus on a variety of healthy meals at home in an effort to balance the overindulgence, tastings, and big dinners that usually fill our weekends. And even if it weren’t for this health focus, if anything it’s to give my palate a rest from overactivity. But that doesn’t mean I enjoy sacrificing flavor because I do not; I need meals that incorporate great tastes as well as make me feel fantastic.  When I read that the editors of Whole Living Magazine were compiling their best recipes that feature the healthiest ingredients possible I knew I’d be in for a treat. And Power Foods: 150 Delicious Recipes with the 38 Healthiest Ingredients doesn’t fail.

The book contains recipes that incorporate key ingredients that are not only delicious but good for you — things like berries, tomatoes and nuts. These foods have a tremendous impact on our health but none of that means a thing if you can’t find ways to actually prepare them and like them, a key to maintaining a successful diet. Power Foods gives you hundreds of ideas, but a favorite thing for me is the inclusion of the book’s Golden Rules, a collection of best practices for shopping and the kitchen.

'The Art of Cooking With Vegetables' by Alain Passard is a keeper

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by Russ Parsons

From the LA Times

vegetablesIn a world overstuffed with weighty, glossy celebrity chef cookbooks, it would be easy to overlook Alain Passard's newly translated "The Art of Cooking With Vegetables." But it would be a mistake.

Granted, it's a slim book — 100 pages even. There are no tricky Space Age twists — not a gel, juicer or immersion circulator in sight. And perhaps most damning for some, there isn't even a single food photograph.

But take it into your kitchen — and leave it there. This is one of those rare books that might actually change the way you cook.

Passard has always been one to go his own way — several years ago, he famously decided to stop serving meat at his Michelin three-star restaurant l'Arpège, instead emphasizing produce he grew on his own farm.

Meat was simple, he explained. Vegetables are complex. But that doesn't necessarily mean that they're complicated. Indeed, what's so shocking about "Art" is just how much Passard gets from simple techniques and ingredients. Again and again, you'll find that by employing a simple twist, he reveals a wholly unexpected side of an ingredient.

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Ripe: A Fresh, Colorful Approach to Fruits and Vegetables

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by Susan Russo

Ripe: A Fresh, Colorful Approach to Fruits and Vegetables

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If the sun-drenched yellow of summer sweet corn or the regal purple of ripe blackberries makes you flutter with anticipation, then the stunning new book, Ripe: A Fresh, Colorful Approach to Fruits and Vegetables, by Cheryl Sternman Rule, is for you.

Arranged by color, Ripe takes you on a dazzling visual journey of produce, in all its natural glory. The book begins boldly with audacious red and pink (beets, rhubarb, strawberries) and ends serenely with calming white (cauliflower, coconut, turnips). In between it travels through orange and yellow (corn, pineapple, nectarines), green (broccoli, edamame, fava beans) and purple and blue (bluberries, eggplant, plums).

Each fruit and vegetable is beautifully photographed by Paulette Phlipot. Some like the exposed heart-shaped red strawberry, the water-dappled kale leaf and the once-bitten green apple remind us what real food porn looks like. Phlipot does the impossible: she makes celery look sexy.

Patricia Wells' "Salad as a Meal"

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by Amy Ephron

salad-263x300.jpgPatricia Wells’ “Bistro Cooking” is a staple in our kitchen. The hearty, fresh, robust, easy-to-follow recipes were inspired by the famous bistros in France and, now, we could make them at home.

So, I was incredibly excited when Patricia Wells’ Salad as a Meal: Healthy Main-Dish Salads for Every Season arrived on our doorstep. It was summer. And she was Patricia Wells. And she understands that salad as a meal isn’t simply two slips of lettuce and a tomato from the garden. It’s salad as a meal!

The salmon gravlax with potato and parmesan galettes. The idea that you could make salmon gravlax at home was incredibly appealing. Okay, it takes three days, but it’s really fun and it’s completely delicious. And what could be wrong with potato and parmesan galettes?! The lobster salad with green beans, apple, and avocado is divine. (My method, order a really large lobster at a restaurant because you’re celebrating something and bring home the leftovers for a salad!) But you can also buy two small lobsters (which aren’t that expensive in the summer) and make the whole thing at home.

Cookbook Review: Parents Need to Eat Too

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by Susan Russo

parentsneedtoeattoo-pb-cWhile most moms spend their entire pregnancy worrying about how and what to feed their newborn, they often neglect themselves. While baby is fortified with breast milk and organic mashed veggies, mom has the number of the nearby Domino's memorized. Lucky for new moms and dads, there's Debbie Koenig, proud mom of 5-year-old Harry, and author of the remarkably useful new cookbook, Parents Need to Eat Too.

The idea for the book grew organically from Koenig's own life. As a sleep-deprived new mom, she found herself resorting to too many fried egg sandwiches and Clif bars instead of nutritious homemade meals. So she started making a few changes: During Harry's morning and afternoon naps, she'd chop and roast vegetables or whip together a cheese or tomato sauce so that when dinnertime came, she'd be way ahead of the game. Miraculously, it worked! So well, that you're now reading this review of her cookbook.

Parents Need to Eat Too has over 150 delicious, nutritious, easy-to-make recipes divided into creative chapters including "Nap-Time Cooking, "Un-Recipes for Partners Who Can't Cook," and "Galacta-what? Recipes to Support Breastfeeding." It also gives new moms tips on how to stock her pantry, which cooking tools and gadgets to buy, and how to shop with a baby.

Harvest to Heat

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by Amy Sherman

ImageThere were a lot of "farm to table" cookbooks this year, but this is the only one I am keeping. It balances the voice of farmers, chefs and artisans. The book is filled with contemporary American recipes that are genuinely appealing and unique.

Bookmarked recipes: Angel hair pasta with oyster butter cream sauce and caviar, Creme fraiche galette with heirloom tomatoes, Goat cheese panna cotta with caramelized figs

Why?
I always get nervous with "chef" recipes. But in this case seasoned test kitchen director from Saveur, Kelly Kochendorfer has clearly made sure these recipes will WORK in a home kitchen. They are straight-forward and don't have a million ingredients.

Who?
This is for creative cooks looking for new flavors and excited to use the best ingredients but who don't see the point of torturing them.

Radically Simple

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by Lisa Dinsmore

ImageLike many home cooks, I'm always looking for new recipes and cookbooks that will elevate the quality of the meals I cook. The trouble is I want great food without having to buy a ton of ingredients or spending hours in the kitchen. I know, I should just stop being lazy and encourage my inner chef, but after cooking over 10 recipes from Rozanne Gold's new book, Radically Simple, I think I've found what I've been looking for. Though she's new to me, apparently Gold has been around and acclaimed for quite some time, mostly for her 1-2-3 cookbook series that delivers delicious recipes simply and with only a few, usually three, fresh ingredients.

She continues that model here, but takes it up a notch on the sophistication scale. The point in this book isn't just to use a minimum of ingredients, but to get the best results with the necessary ones with as little work as possible.

 

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Church and State
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by Jo Stougaard

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Redrum Burger
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by Scott R. Kline

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