by Mallory Viscardi in Books, October 24th, 2014
by Mallory Viscardi in Books, October 17th, 2014
Sean Brock’s new cookbook, Heritage, is easily one of the most-anticipated books of the year. Sean Brock, the Virginia-born executive chef of Husk restaurants in Charleston, S.C., and Nashville, is quickly becoming a titan of Southern cuisine, and the dishes in this book carry his signature blend of elegance and hearty Southern charm. It should be noted right up front that Heritage is not a Husk restaurant cookbook; it’s so much deeper and more thorough than that. Heritage is an edible historical guide to Southern cuisine, and if you give it a chance, it’ll be your new favorite cookbook in no time.
The book is broken down into chapters based on where the ingredients are sourced, including The Garden, The Mill and The Yard, and the introduction includes a whole aside detailing the history of and a recipe for Low-Country Hoppin’ John. Brock also includes for his readers his Manifesto on food, but don’t be fooled: The book doesn’t read like a stuffy, overly structured culinary curriculum. The whole book reads like a love letter to the raw ingredients and agrarians of the South, and getting an inside look at Brock’s passion for preserving Southern heritage seed breeds is a real treat.
by Mallory Viscardi in Books, October 10th, 2014
Dominique Ansel made his mark on the dessert world with the invention of the Cronut and its subsequent and meteoric rise to culinary fame. He’s been lauded as the Willy Wonka of modern pastry, and, flipping through the pages of his new cookbook, Dominique Ansel: The Secret Recipes, it’s not hard to see why. The book is fun, imaginative and innovative. Ansel’s penchant for playing with food is written into every recipe, and when you bring this book into your kitchen, you’re unlocking delicious possibilities for you and your family.
The book begins with a foreword by Daniel Boulud and an introduction by Ansel himself. Then seven chapters cover the tenets on which he rests his baking philosophies: Time is an ingredient; Beyond the comfort zone; Don’t listen; What’s in a name?; Create and re-create; Everything but the flavor; and Never run out of ideas. After that come the recipes, separated into sections based on difficulty: beginners, intermediate and advanced. The book closes with a section on additional techniques called for in the recipes, skills like cooking custard, tempering chocolate and piping.
Ansel’s tour through his approach to pastry is fascinating. The insight he lends to his inspirations and process for developing new, innovative desserts is enthralling. Take, for example, the casual retelling of how the Popcorn Chouquettes came to be: He was inspired by customers who came into his bakery late and wanted a snack that they could enjoy while watching a movie they were en route to catch. A light bulb switched on and a new treat was born. The recipes are a lovely mix of classic favorites (like the Mini Madeleines, the Cannelé de Bordeaux, the Pink Champagne Macarons and the Mini Mes meringues) and inspired new bites (like the Ibérico and Mahon Croissant, the Frozen S’mores and the Angry Egg, which resembles an adorable popular mobile-phone game character). Give the Chocolate Pecan Cookies a try at home (recipe below) and make some magic for yourself. Dominique Ansel: The Secret Recipes goes on sale October 28. You can preorder your copy here.
by Mallory Viscardi in Books, October 3rd, 2014
Yotam Ottolenghi’s newest cookbook, Plenty More, could very well be one of the most-anticipated books of the year. It’s not hard to see why. The book is gorgeous, and the recipes will change the way you approach eating vegetables — taking them from simple side dishes and turning them into stars worthy of center plate. Expectations for Plenty More were high, and Ottolenghi exceeded them at every turn.
The introduction is touching and endearing, as Ottolenghi pulls back the curtain on his hesitation to be pegged as a chef that specializes in vegetables. With his restaurant and in his other books, Ottolenghi has made it apparent he’s capable of much more than a delicious vegetable dish, but the way he plays in the vegetarian space is nothing short of enchanting.
by Mallory Viscardi in Books, September 26th, 2014
Joy Wilson (of Joy the Baker) is back with a new cookbook, Homemade Decadence. Joy’s signature spunk and personality are all but effervescent in this newest collection of recipes.
The book separates the recipes into Brunch, Cookies, Brownies and Bars, Pies, Crumbles and Cobblers, Layer Cakes, Cupcakes and Skillet Cakes, and Ice Cream Social. The recipes are a mix of classic favorites and new spins on tried-and-true dishes. Mix up your next brunch with Hawaiian Sweet Pineapple Breakfast Rolls or keep things simple with Vanilla Sugar Donuts; you can’t go wrong either way. Tickle your sweet tooth with something new, like Buttered Popcorn Crispy Treats, or stick with something more familiar, like the Classic Lemon Bar. Or maybe you want something a little more refined, like the Peach, Brie and Dark Chocolate S’mores.
by Mallory Viscardi in Books, September 19th, 2014
There 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.
by Mallory Viscardi in Books, September 12th, 2014
Flour + 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.
by Mallory Viscardi in Books, September 11th, 2014
Sara 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.
by Mallory Viscardi in Books, September 5th, 2014
One of the best things about autumn rolling in are all the new cookbook releases hitting shelves, and the Fall 2014 season includes some exceptional culinary titles.
by Mallory Viscardi in Books, August 29th, 2014
Huckleberry 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.
Pack 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.