World Cuisine

noodleseveryday.jpgNoodles Every Day features quick and easy recipes. For these recipes you will need the basics of an Asian pantry which are explained in detail in an early chapter. All are available at an Asian grocery store or online. However a few recipes have some more exotic ingredients like garland chrysanthemum leaves or silver pin noodles. All the recipes are titled descriptively so Pad Thai becomes Stir-Fried Rice Sticks with Tamarind Sauce, Dried Shrimp, Tofu, Sprouts, and Eggs.

Over the years I've had very good luck with author Corinne Trang's recipes and this book is no exception. Her Somen Noodles with Shrimp Curry and Peas uses less than 10 ingredients and is the perfect kind of one pot meal you'll likely be able to make with peas and shrimp in your freezer and without a trip to the store. The book is divided into sections based on the type of noodle you are using--egg, rice, buckwheat, etc. and it also has a section on buns, dumplings and spring rolls.

lastchef2.jpgLong before I was a cooker, I was a reader and a writer. I was one of those kids who had to be told not to read at the dinner table, and I was writing “novels” on my red Olivetti Valentine typewriter in fourth grade. The reading and eating experiences are paralell for me insofar as I reject “junk” in both areas of my life (most of the time).  This doesn’t mean that I am re-reading all of Shakespeare on a monthly basis, any more than I eat nothing but seared Ahi tuna and flageolets with shaved truffles. I read all of the Twilight books, I read mysteries as an escape when I am stressed, and I used to enjoy the odd Cheeto and french fry before they were banned from consumption in this life. Mostly, though, as I prefer a well-prepared meal with beautiful, whole ingredients, I prefer a well-written book with beautiful, thoughtful ideas.  After consuming either of these, I am well nourished.

I first heard about The Last Chinese Chef on “The Splendid Table,” when author Nicole Mones was interviewed by host Lynne Rosetto Kasper. I was intrigued by the discussion about “real” Chinese food, the Chinese food that we rarely see in this country, and about the emphasis on characteristics like texture for the sake of texture.

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SalsasMolesCookbbokLast spring I had the pleasure of interviewing chef and restaurateur Deborah Schneider about salsas for a San Diego Union-Tribune article “Simply Salsa.”At the time, her award-winning 2006 cookbook, Baja! Cooking on the Edge!, named one of the “Best Cookbooks of the Year” by Food and Wine magazine, had just been re-released.

I was tickled. Schneider’s cookbook was the first one I bought after moving to San Diego eight years ago. I thought, I’m gonna talk salsas with Deborah Schneider! Followed seconds later with, It’s salsa. How much can we possibly say about about it?

The interview lasted an hour, though Schneider readily admitted that she could have talked for several more. (Her passion about salsas and their place in Mexican cuisine is deliciously genuine and contagious.)

Now, you too can talk salsas (and moles) with Schneider with her latest cookbook, “Salsas and Moles: Fresh and Authentic Recipes for Pico de Gallo, Mole Poblano, Chimichurri, Guacamole, and More.”

In her introduction, Schneider says this book “is designed to teach you essential Mexican cooking techniques and one very important skill: how to introduce and balance big flavors to create sensational effects.” As someone who has made several of the book’s recipes, I can say that the design works.

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ImageIndia: The Cookbook
The amount most of us knows about Indian cuisine is miniscule. And yet, who doesn't love Indian food? Making it at home using the best ingredients is a revelation. This book has the largest collection of Indian recipes that I have ever seen. The introductory sections on the regions of India alone is wonderful.

Bookmarked recipes: Dry cabbage in masala, Lamb in chickpea flour and curry yogurt, Coconut filled pancakes

Why?
This encyclopedia of 1000 recipes will be your go-to Indian cooking reference.

Who?
Those who love Indian food but want to experience a wider variety of fresh, tasty food than they can find in any given Indian restaurant.

where chefs eatWhen my lovely daughter, Hillary was a Malibu pre-teen, I gave her what I thought was a total slam-dunk-she-is-going-to adore-it-Christmas present: A beanbag sofa in the shape of a large sneaker bought from the Neiman Marcus catalog. Fortunately, Neiman’s has always been gracious about returns, but my daughter still hesitates before she opens a gift from me. Bill and I on the other hand bask in the unexpected delights of her choices… though, how does one carry a 1000 page book (in small print yet) in a back pocket?

Please understand, this is not just your ordinary gift book; this is a bible - a primer from the Real Experts, and it is Where Chefs Eat: A Guide to Chefs' Favorite Restaurants (2015).

The cover is a visually busy almanac-styled side show tent chock full of promises: “Where to Eat, When to Go, What to Order, From more than 600 of the best chefs, From Fast Food to Haute Cuisine, A Truly Global Guide, Expert Local Knowledge. Forget the restaurant guides compiled by a panel of mysterious experts, this international guide is by the real insiders, over 600 of the world’s leading chefs. From Late-Night Hangouts to … (but we will never know as there is a big faux sticker saying … Brand New) If that is not enough to stuff this tome of tomes in one’s back pocket, try cruising the contents. Oh Boy, this beats the original Preppy Handbook for feeling in the know!

I mean, really, I know all the cool spots in Auckland, Shanghai, London, Berlin, Estonia, Latvia and The Russian Federation, Cyprus, Istanbul, West Hollywood and Tanzania – just to name a few. So, if you want to name drop where Daniel Boulud, David Chang or René Redzepi or Yotam Ottolenghi hang, then this book is for you… and you… and you. (OMG It even has maps!)

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