All Posts In Books

The Slanted Door — Off the Shelf

by in Books, September 26th, 2014

The Slanted Door - Off the ShelfThere are so many wonderful things to say about Charles Phan’s new cookbook, The Slanted Door, it’s almost impossible to pick a place to start. The Slanted Door tells the tale of the San Francisco restaurant of the same name through its storied 20-year history. It follows Phan and his beloved eating establishment as he built it, brick by brick and dish by dish, taking The Slanted Door through three locations in the City by the Bay. The pages are ripe with bright stories, honesty about the struggles that come with starting and maintaining a restaurant, and a rich appreciation for elegant food, wine, tea and cocktails.

The book is broken down into acts of the restaurant’s history, highlighting dishes as they became popular at each of the establishment’s locations. Act One is from Valencia Street in the Mission. Act Two features dishes from the Brannan Street location. Act Three features dishes from The Slanted Door’s final and permanent home, The Ferry Building. Within each location-based act, you’ll find select recipes from the restaurant’s menu, including starters, cocktails, the raw bar, salads, soups, mains and desserts. It also includes essays about how the tea, wine and cocktail programs were all developed to give customers the best possible dining experience.

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Flour + Water — Off the Shelf

by in Books, September 19th, 2014

Flour + Water CookbookFlour + Water by Thomas McNaughton is the ideal cookbook for the home cook who loves a good food story and wants to give homemade past a try. The book features recipes from the renowned Flour + Water restaurant in San Francisco, along with the history of the establishment. It perfectly captures the thought and detail that go into opening and running a restaurant, and building a seasonal menu from the ground up.

The book sings with the possibility of turning inspiration into actualized dreams, and that’s what sets it apart as a restaurant cookbook. It beckons readers to step into their kitchen with their pasta makers and do the same: Have a little culinary adventure inspired by seasonal ingredients. The prose stops just short of being whimsical, an enjoyable mix of good-humored practicality and well-timed comedy. McNaughton takes you step by step and story by story through the launch process for Flour + Water, tying details of the restaurant and menu tightly together with their local and global inspirations in the pages of the book.

As is usually the case when talking about pasta, the recipes will bowl you over with their variety and deliciousness. The majority of the storytelling takes place in the introductions of the book (there are three, each more entertaining than the last). Then it gets down to business with sections for dough and composed recipes. The dough section takes you through the heritage and science of pasta making, and features stunning photo tutorials, easy-to-follow instructions and even an email address you can message if you have questions. It covers everything from equipment to how to cook fresh pasta, and you’ll be crazy with cravings before you crack a single egg thanks to Eric Wolfinger’s immaculate photographs.

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Tacolicious — Off the Shelf

by in Books, September 12th, 2014

Tacolicious CookbookSara Deseran’s Tacolicious is a fiesta cleverly disguised as a bright, colorful cookbook. The book is inspired by the heart of the menu of the collection of taquerias in San Francisco and Palo Alto, Calif. of the same name: tacos, snacks and cocktails.

The recipes you’ll find are admittedly a mix of authentic Mexican cuisine and Californian variations on Mexican-American dishes. The book is broken into themed chapters, starting with Salsas, Pickles and More, then focusing on Snacks and Sides, Tacos, Tacos and Tacos, and finishing with Cocktails, Aguas Frescas and More. Peppered throughout the book are fantastic factual tidbits that reveal the deep roots of the food’s heritage, as well as tips and tricks that make the recipes easier to execute. Tucked into these little asides you’ll find everything from tips for cooking beans to an in-depth look at corn tortillas and a comprehensive guide to quick and easy taco dinner recipes. The book has all the information you need to cook delicious Mexican-style food at home, regardless of your past experience with the cuisine.

Deseran also introduces you to vendors that have become friends, the chefs and bartenders that keep their eatery running, and a colorful assortment of characters that bring life to the restaurant and the pages of the book. The recipes in Tacolicious feel like they’re meant to be shared among friends and family (like the Guajillo-Braised Beef Short Rib Taco, recipe shared below). This cookbook is perfect for the busy home cook who wants vibrant, flavorful, fuss-free food. You can order your copy here.

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Huckleberry — Off the Shelf

by in Books, September 5th, 2014

Huckleberry CookbookHuckleberry by Zoe Nathan is an all-around stunning book. From the immaculate food photography to the craving-inducing recipes to the yellow polka-dot pattern adorning the pages, Huckleberry is everything you could hope for in a bakery cookbook — and then some. Nathan’s witty stories bring you right into the heart of her kitchen, and it’s easy to feel like she’s unlocked her bakery doors for you and invited you in for a tour.

The chapters roll out based on what time in the morning Nathan and her team start which baked goods, from muffins at 3:30am to biscuits and scones, rustic cakes and tea cakes, breads and other things that rise, flaky dough and its many uses, things baked in a dish, fried stuff, pancakes, cereals, sandwiches, hearty plates each topped with an egg to 10am coffee and other beverages. The substance of each chapter is a marvel, and the book features more than a hundred recipes that you can easily make at home. Nathan gives detailed notes on ways you can change things up, and the balance between sweet and savory dishes ensures that the book has something that will speak to any craving. With food photographer Matt Armendariz’s stunning food images, there’s no way to escape craving the Chocolate Chunk Muffins, the Vanilla French Toast with Brown Sugar-Cranberry Sauce, or My Dad’s Pancakes. The recipe for Black and Blue Oat Bars is included below, in case you just can’t wait to try one of the recipes.

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In the Kitchen With: Katie Workman

by in Books, Family, September 2nd, 2014

In the Kitchen With: Katie WorkmanFor thousands of us, fall is the real season of renewal, when back-to-school planning encompasses everything from freshly sharpened pencils to visions of easier, tastier — and saner — mealtimes. If those visions are starting to blur a couple of weeks into the new routine, take heart and meet Katie Workman. The mother of an 11- and a 14-year-old, she is the author of The Mom 100 Cookbook: 100 Recipes Every Mom Needs in Her Back Pocket.

The book’s frank and funny tone, elevated comfort food and down-to-earth suggestions for involving kids in the kitchen have endeared Workman to legions of fans (and helped spawn a sequel due out next summer). Last month, she stopped by Food Network Kitchen in New York’s Chelsea Market to make her Taco Night tacos and dish on late-night cooking, the one kitchen tool she can’t live without and annoying food habits all parents should avoid. Here are some questions and answers from our conversation, plus three family-friendly recipes worth incorporating into your repertoire right now. (For more on Katie’s visit, check out The One Recipe: Katie Workman’s Taco Night Tacos.)

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Barbecue: A Classic and a New Kid

by in Books, September 1st, 2014

Barbecue: A Classic and a New-Kidby Michelle Park

There is arguably no other American cooking tradition quite as lore ridden as barbecue. This month, we’ve handpicked two cookbooks devoted to that mouthwatering marriage of meat and smoke that will urge you to partake before summer officially ends. The first is one of the most-classic books we have on the subject, and the second is sure to become one.

The Classic
The Complete Book of Outdoor Cookery, James A. Beard and Helen Evans Brown (1955)

When navigating something as American as barbecue, who better to turn to than quintessential American cooks? A little antiquated on some fronts, pheasant being less common than it used to be, The Complete Book still has much to offer anyone entering the foray of outdoor cooking — something tells me corn pudding and grilled sausages won’t go out of style anytime soon. Inside, you’ll find a handy guide of times and temperatures for nearly every cut of meat you can put over a fire. True to its title, the book also dedicates entire chapters to tried-and-true sauces, marinades, appetizers and sides to round out your all-American feast — each, of course, matched with its ideal meat pairings. At once authoritative and approachable, this book is the trustworthy friend you’ll consult before any cookout. The American palate may have since graduated beyond French dressing, but we think this book is here to stay.

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A Mouthful of Stars — Off the Shelf

by in Books, August 29th, 2014

A Mouthful of Stars CookbookPack your bags and grab a fork, because this week you’re heading on a trip around the world with Kim Sunée’s new book, A Mouthful of Stars. Part travel diary and part cookbook, A Mouthful of Stars covers a vast and intriguing amount of ground in its pages. It also offers up an impressive and delectable selection of food from Sunée’s favorite destinations.

The chapters are broken down into location themes, but you won’t simply find the usual suspect destinations in A Mouthful of Stars. Instead, Sunée takes you on what really feels like a personal guided tour of her favorite international (and a few domestic) food spots. Chapter one takes you to Seoul; chapter two whisks you off to North Africa, India and Mexico.

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B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery Cookbook — Off the Shelf

by in Books, August 22nd, 2014

B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery CookbookFlipping through Alexe van Beuren’s B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery Cookbook is like wandering down the friendliest small-town Main Street in the country. Hailing from Mississippi, the book is a love letter to small-town life and the food that goes along with it. The stories and recipes are vibrant, jumping right off the page. Van Beuren founded the grocery to fulfill a need for the town, but it was the establishment’s addition of a lunch counter that led to the genesis of the recipes collected in the book. The B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery Cookbook tells the tale of both businesses in a charming and honest way. The foundation of the book and the moral of van Beuren’s stories always lead back to a willing and supportive community coming together around plates of delicious food.

That brings us to the most-important part of the book: the food. Alexe Van Beuren makes one thing incredibly clear: the B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery wouldn’t be the same without the recipes brought to the table by Dixie Grimes. The magical spell a good Southern dish casts over the senses is laced throughout each of Grimes’ recipes. The book starts off with a bit of town history and a welcome to the store, then covers breakfast, seasonal soups, salads, spreads and sandwich fixings, casseroles, mains, sides and “Southern sweet thangs.”

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The Soda Fountain — Off the Shelf

by in Books, August 15th, 2014

The Soda Fountain CookbookOpening The Soda Fountain by Gia Giasullo and Peter Freeman is like taking a step back in American culinary history. The book takes you on a fascinating tour of the American soda fountain, a traditional establishment that has roots far deeper than a lot of the cola drinkers and ice cream lovers of today realize. It hits the mark of being “a slice of history with a double scoop of how-to.”

The Soda Fountain is divided into two primary sections, Stories and Recipes. The Stories chapters take you through the evolution of the soda fountain as an American culinary institution, from its first days as a pharmacy staple (yes, you read that right) through its Golden Age and into the Great Depression, right on to its second coming in small shops around the country. The stories are fun and charming, featuring tales of jazz and Prohibition. You get the sense as you flip through the pages that Giasullo and Freeman love and respect American food history as much as they appreciate a well-made ice cream float.

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