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COOKBOOK SPOTLIGHTS

An enormous number of cookbooks are published each year making it extremely difficult to decide which cookbooks to welcome into our kitchens. To help make that process easier, Project Foodie Cookbook Spotlights present and describe interesting cookbooks along with example recipes from those cookbooks.

‘Tis the Season…

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Written by Peggy Fallon   
ImageFor anyone who loves to bake, each season of the year unlocks a new range of opportunities. When the fruits of summer become little more than a memory, it’s time to start peeling apples. No sooner do you become accustomed to that rhythm, than it’s time to puree persimmons and explore the wonders of winter squash. Consciously or not, much of our everyday baking reflects the change of seasons. And so it goes.

In The Seasonal Baker, Chef John Barricelli, author of the acclaimed SoNo Baking Company Cookbook, takes us on a very personal journey. But don’t dismiss this as just another baking-by-the-seasons-from-the-farmers’-market sort of book. Nor is this a collection of intimidating recipes for the sometimes-elaborate creations produced at the author’s bakery. This book focuses on what Barricelli cooks for his family and friends during his leisure hours. Tried and true favorites made with love, from a discriminating home baker.

It’s no surprise this third-generation pro shares plenty of tips right along with his recipes. His impressive résumé includes stints at River Café, Le Bernardin, and Four Seasons; followed by years as an integral part of Martha Stewart’s Omnimedia team. A natural-born teacher, Barricelli’s recipes are clear, concise, and inspirational—for both the novice and accomplished cook. In addition to the predictable sweets made from seasonal produce, there are plenty of basic desserts suitable to serve year ‘round. And beyond all the picture-perfect baked goods, there are home-style frozen and “other fruit spoon desserts” that don’t require an oven. Chapters like “Tarts, Quiches, Pastas, and More” and “Focaccia and Pizza on the Grill” add a significant number of intriguing savories to the mix.

There’s a little something for everyone, with originals like Nola’s Five-Fruit Granola; Cherry-Nut Cantucci; Eleanore’s Mardi Gras Apple Crêpes; Hazelnut Semifreddo with Raspberries; Spinach and Feta Turnovers; and the decadent Grilled Pizza with Bananas, Nutella, and Chocolate. And—Shhhhh!—please don’t spoil the surprise for my grandchildren, but I’m pretty sure Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Cinnamon Cream will be part of our Thanksgiving dessert buffet. We may celebrate on opposite coasts, but Barricelli’s recipes share deliciously universal appeal.

Recipes to try: 2 viewable recipes from "The Seasonal Baker".

Disclosure: Review copies of books discussed in this post may have been provided to Project Foodie by publicists and/or publishers.

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Ending Summer on a High Note

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Written by Team Project Foodie   

Ready, set, go--let's get cooking for the remaining weeks of summer! This month's cookbook picks provide a mix of farmers' market finds, cooking with kids, and an array of delectable desserts. While these cookbooks will keep you cooking all year-round, each contains summertime-specific recipes perfect for the hot days of August and the remaining bounty from our summer gardens.

At the Farmers' Market with Kids by Leslie Jonath & Ethel Brennan

This compendium of "recipes and projects for little hands" is utterly delightful. Trips to the farmers' market are not only fun, they teach kids where good food comes from, and often encourage them to try things they might otherwise eschew. Divided by season, the book is carefully thought out and filled with kid-friendly recipes like Sweet-and-Salty Dried Corn Bites, Strawberry Freezer Jam, Watermelon Gelatin with Summer Berries, and Five-Spice Zucchini Bread; as well as fun educational projects like Dried-and-True-Homemade Raisins and Blackberry Tie-Dye T-Shirts. Wonderful color photos by Sheri Giblin complete the deliciously whimsical vibe. - picked by Peggy Fallon

Recipes to try: 2 viewable recipes from "At the Farmer’s Market with Kids".

The Sugar Cube by Kir Jensen

If you think your kitchen is too small or not fancy enough to bake great desserts, consider this: Kir Jensen bakes amazing (and highly sought after) confections in a food truck! In The Sugar Cube she shares the recipes and techniques needed to make these great goodies at home. Her novel take on baked goods will make even ardent home bakers take a second look at this small gem of a cookbook. - picked by Foodie Pam

Recipes to try: 2 viewable recipes from "The Sugar Cube".

Desserts in Jars by Shaina Olmanson

Recipe servings vary from 4 to a whopping 18; and some recipes are simply baked conventionally and stacked into jars for serving, but there are still enough yummy concepts in this book to satisfy anyone's need for cute. Recipes for Cherry Almond Crumbles, Rustic Rhubarb Custard Pies, and Almond Poppy Seed Cakes are enough to send me to the hardware store for another box of canning jars. The book also contains plenty of tips and clever ideas for presentation; and a chapter on homemade dessert mixes decoratively assembled in jars for gift-giving will be especially inspirational around the holidays. picked by Peggy Fallon {pfCookbookRecipe 1424}

Hazan Family Favorites by Giuliano Hazan

The latest book by Marzella Hazan's son, Giuliano Hazan, is packed with his family's favorite Italian recipes, including those from his mother and grandparents. Following the traditional Appetizers, Primi, Secondi and Dolci format, Giuliano introduces us to classic Italian recipes as well as some more modern adaptations that are his own children's favorites. Both classic and new, I can't wait to try my hand at making dozens of these tempting dishes. - picked by Foodie Pam {pfCookbookRecipe 1406}


Disclosure: Review copies of books discussed in this post may have been provided to Project Foodie by publicists and/or publishers.

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Cookbooks to Add Sizzle to Your Summer

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Written by Team Project Foodie   

Looking to grill, cool off, savor some of summer's bounty, and maybe learn some new techniques along the way? This month's cookbook picks will provide all that, plus a bit more....

Charred & Scruffed by Adam Perry Lang

What would summer be without barbecue? Adam Perry offers up an amazing collection of summer's best to challenge your skills. He begins with his twists on classics (such as Smoked Brisket on the Bone with Chimichurri Crust), and moves on to combine high and low heat with dishes like Rib Roast Done Like Steak; and truly pushes the envelope with Clinching--a technique used to cook directly on coals. Mix in some recipes for great sides and sauces, and the result is possibly the only book an avid griller will need this summer. -- picked by Foodie Pam

Recipes to try: 2 viewable recipes from "Charred & Scruffed".


People's Pops by Nathalie Jordi, David Carrell & Joel Horowitz

When you're trying to beat the summer heat, what's better than lapping up an icy-cold treat? In fact, frozen treats are pretty irresistible all year long; so People's Pops serves up an ingenious collection of frozen pops to highlight the fruits of each season. With pops ranging from rhubarb to apricot to corn--and even pumpkin for the fall--your inner child will remain pleasantly cool throughout the year.-- picked by Foodie Pam

Recipes to try: 2 viewable recipes from "People’s Pops".

 

Ripe by Cheryl Sternman Rule

Ripe is part cookbook; part coffee-table book. You will be taken in immediately by all of the brilliant colors--for this book is not divided by the usual course, season, or produce-type. Instead, it is divided by color. In the "red" section, there are breathtaking beets, blood oranges, cherries, cranberries, and pomegranates. The "green" section is packed with bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and fava beans; and so the sections continue, with foods indicative of every color of the rainbow. Beyond this unique color-based organization, the book is visually appealing with photos so inviting I was often tempted to lick the pages. The recipes are not over the top, but simple and easy to prepare, with flavor combinations that showcase seasonal fruits and veggies at their peak. Another unexpected bonus is the addition of lighthearted stories--a combination of preparation tips and mini personal essays sure to make you smile; but most times, will make you laugh out loud,..all the way to your closest farmers' market. -- picked by Heather Jones

Recipes to try: 2 viewable recipes from "Ripe".

 

Masala Farm by Suvir Saran, Raquel Pelzel, and Charlie Burd

Whether you've got a hankering to move to a farm or simply want to cook according to the season, the recipes and stories in Masala Farm are sure to charm. Farmhouse Crispy Cream Potatoes; Chunky Eggplant Dip; and Summer Tomato Pie are just a few of my favorites. Suvir Saranhas not only filled this book with tempting recipes, but his recipe headnotes and "Farm Yarns" make a fascinating read, as well. This book has definitely earned a place on my shelf. -- picked by Foodie Pam

Recipes to try: 2 viewable recipes from "Masala Farm".

  

The Art of Living According to Joe Beef by David McMillan, Frederic Morin, & Meredith Erickson

While it is factual to say that Joe Beef is just a restaurant in Montreal, it is also an understatement. Acclaimed chef David Chang describes Joe Beef as having "an amazing vibe"; "it's hard to eat anywhere else in Montreal"; and that Joe Beef is "special" to him. (Chang is not known to dole out praise lightly. And that is another understatement.) If you've ever been to Joe Beef, then most likely you understand the accolades. But even if you haven't been to the restaurant, be prepared to be enchanted--for the book reveals not only recipes, but the distinctive culture and vibe behind Joe Beef. Recreating restaurant food at home is often difficult, and if that's your sole mission here, you could end up disappointed. (Although you'll surely have some mouth-watering fun along the way!) But if in addition to trying some perfectly delicious dishes you also want to read some fascinating foodie tales, you're bound to fall under the spell of The Art of Living According to Joe Beef. -- picked by Foodie Pam

Recipes to try: 2 viewable recipes from "The Art of Living According to Joe Beef".

 

 

Disclosure: Review copies of books discussed in this post may have been provided to Project Foodie by publicists and/or publishers.

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The Homemade Pantry

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Written by foodie pam   

ImageEven if you have never made your own bread or pickles, no doubt you have at least whipped up a batch of cookies from scratch. It is likely, however, that most of our grandmothers or great-grandmothers made these items--and lots more--on a weekly or even daily basis. Yet for better or for worse, modern grocery stores provide us with pretty much everything we need on a day-to-day basis. Convenience, particularly when our lives are busy, is a great thing; but great-tasting food ranks even higher on my list. The unexpected pleasures of common, everyday foods can be a revelation.

A couple of years ago I started baking my own bread. At first I did it because it was fun (which it still is), but now I also do it because it tastes fabulous...and doesn't contain any hidden additives. This was driven home recently when I purchased bread at a local store; a loaf that I used to eat all of the time. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but in this case it was quite the opposite. The bread I once enjoyed had an off-taste, from some type of preservative, I presume. A big disappointment.

Bread isn't the only staple that tastes better when homemade. Jams, jellies, pickles, cookies--and even pasta, butter and cheese--can be made at home without a lot of fuss. Pickles are a good example. Store-bought sweet pickles are often cloyingly sweet. When you make your own, you can adjust the sugar level to suit your taste. Likewise for ketchup, where not only can you make it less sweet but you can spice it up with chiles if you choose.

Of course, I'm not the only one who has discovered that homemade is better. Each year more and more newly published cookbooks provide inspiration for experimentation at home. Earlier this year I shared my thoughts on recent bread books (and one pasta book) for those interested in trying their hand at those particular foods. For a more general-purpose resource, I am quite taken with the recently published The Homemade Pantry by Alana Chernila. I appreciate the way Alana boosts the reader's confidence by guiding us step-by-step through the recipes. I also like the wide variety of foods presented, and the stories of how her homemade cooking evolved as her family developed. The book truly has something for everyone, and will no doubt make you eager to try out new things. It has motivated me, for example, to venture into making my own oatmeal, cheese, and even yogurt.  

If you suspect this involves a lot of extra time in the kitchen, you may be surprised. In this book, for example, the homemade oatmeal is actually a recipe for instant oatmeal; so you make one large batch and not only will it cook-up quickly, it will also last in the cupboard for a quite a while. Many other recipes similarly utilize the pantry and freezer for make-it-once-and-enjoy-it-multiple-times. And I can tell you from personal experience--and Foodie Husband will attest--even frozen homemade bread tastes better than freshly-baked store-bought.

Recipe from The Homemade Pantry by Alana Chernila (Clarkson Potter, 2012)

Recipes to try: 5 viewable recipes from "The Homemade Pantry".

Disclosure: Review copies of books discussed in this post may have been provided to Project Foodie by publicists and/or publishers.

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The Right Cookbooks

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Written by Team Project Foodie   

ImagePicking out which cookbooks to share with you each month can be a difficult process. Should we go with a book we love, but know only a small number of you will find interesting?  Or should we go with something everyone may like, but few will love? You get it -- not every book is for everyone; and some books appeal to only a limited number of foodies. That said, we must admit we love this month's picks...and we hope you will, too.

Hot & Cheesy by Clifford A Wright

If you love cheese, then you're sure to be lured in just by the title of this latest book from James Beard award-winning author Clifford A. Wright. But did the title live up to our expectations? You bet. Wright provides lots of scrumptious cheese-centric recipes using a wide variety of cheeses. (To my gleeful surprise, even I was introduced to some new ones.) The dishes range from the expected cheesy casseroles, to the more subtle uses of cheese in tarts and as flavor enhancers for vegetables. The flavor pairings also span the traditional to the less familiar. I was delighted to learn new ways to use cheese, including an absolutely delicious Kabocha squash dish enhanced by 3 Mexican cheeses. End result: this cheese lover loves Hot & Cheesy. - written by Foodie Pam

Recipes to try: 2 viewable recipes from "Hot & Cheesy".



Momofuku Milk Bar by Christina Tosi

Crack Pie. Compost Cookies. Cereal Milk™ Ice Cream. Kimchi & Blue Cheese Croissants. The recipes are all here. This long-awaited cookbook unlocks the secrets to making these cult favorites—and plenty more—in your home kitchen. But if your taste in desserts involves “healthy,” “easy,” “uncomplicated,” or “natural,” this may not be the book for you. Diehard Milk Bar fans and those with a fully developed sense of whimsy, however, will undoubtedly appreciate Tosi’s innovative, drool-worthy recipes. She is a pastry chef with the soul of a mad scientist and the heart of a 7-year-old. - written by Peggy Fallon

Recipes to try: 3 viewable recipes from "Momofuku Milk Bar".



Home at 7, dinner at 8 by Sophie Wright

Getting a great tasting dinner on the table on a weeknight without spending a lot of time is a constant challenge.  And it's one that Sophie Wright tackles with a wide-ranging collection of enticing meals. Each recipe states the total time, preparation time, and cooking time along with helpful comments on using seasonal ingredients, mixing things up with other ingredients,  and other ways to serve the meal. While no single cookbook will solve the weeknight cooking challenge, recipes like Spicy Beef Sausage and Ricotta Naan Pizzas, Pea and Salmon Fishcakes and Roasted Halibut with Lentil, and Semi-Dried Tomato Ragu are a great start. - written by Foodie Pam

Recipes to try: 2 viewable recipes from "Home at 7, Dinner at 8".


Grow, Cook, Eat: A Food Lover's Guide to Vegetable Gardening by Willi Galloway

Having grown-up with dirt beneath my fingernails (from trailing behind my grandfather in his 60-year-old Victory Garden), I honestly didn't think there was too much more I needed to know about growing my own food. But I have been proven wrong. Former Organic Gardening magazine editor and creator of the popular blog "DigginFood", Willi Galloway, shares with us her time honored gardening techniques and ways to use every part of the plant, seed to root, in the kitchen. For Willi, the key lessons in this book all began with a radish and her discovery that she could eat the seedpods that appeared after she'd forgotten to harvest a few rows of the just-ripe veggies. The question that followed was "What else can I eat?" and so the journey began, as Willi explored Fava Greens, Fennel Pollen, and Kale Flower Buds. The book is broken down by varietals...herbs, greens, legumes, squash, warm-season vegetables, and fruit. Each chapter combines advice on planting, growing, harvesting, storing, and cooking, with recipe details for using every single edible part of the plant. Growing sweet peas this year? Those tender shoots create a memorable Spring salad. Don't harvest your basil often enough? Use those purple or white flowers in a breakfast omelet. With this book by your side, very little of your harvest will end up in the compost pile. - written by Heather Jones

Recipes to try: 2 viewable recipes from "Grow Cook Eat".


Making Artisan Pasta by Aliza Green


It's about time!  Finally, a cookbook devoted to making artisan pasta! Whether you want to make flavored pasta, stuffed pasta, noodles, or even "laminated" pasta, Aliza Green has it covered. She starts with general details on pasta making and numerous types of flavored pasta doughs, followed by chapters on dumplings, sheet pasta, cut pasta, hand-formed pasta, and stuffed pasta. Each recipe has lots of photos demonstrating technique and detailed instructions. Whether you continually seek ever more challenging pasta recipes or are a beginner at pasta making, you will find plenty to keep you busy in Making Artisan Pasta. - written by Foodie Pam

Recipes to try: 2 viewable recipes from "Making Artisan Pasta".



Disclosure: Review copies of books discussed in this post may have been provided to Project Foodie by publicists and/or publishers.

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Rising to the Occasion

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Written by foodie pam   

A few years ago I was bit by the bread-baking bug. While I own several stellar bread-focused cookbooks, I can't help myself from pouring over every new release--always searching for ways to improve my technique, or for unique bread varieties I've yet to tackle. This newest batch of books offers a bit of each for experienced bakers like myself, as well as enough basic information to ease the nerves of a novice. Whether you already enjoy baking bread at home or simply aspire to learn how, the following cookbooks provide a wealth of valuable information.
The Italian Baker Revised by Carol Field

Originally published in 1985, The Italian Baker was a trend-setting book that introduced Americans to making rustic breads at home. Nearly twenty years later Carol Field has updated her classic with details on new equipment, photos, and instructions on natural yeast methods. Though the narrative and descriptions that accompany each recipe provide incentive enough to lure me into the kitchen, I also find the recipes well-written and easy to follow. I've had delicious success with the breads I've tried so far, and--time permitting--plan to make nearly everything in the book. Many of these recipes definitely fall into my "try new bread varieties" category, as there are numerous styles of Italian bread. I'm amazed at what Field is able to achieve with a simple combination of flour, water, yeast and salt (and, in one case, salt-free bread). Bottom line: this book is a keeper, and has earned a prominent place in my kitchen library. Too bad it took a revision to get my attention…I could have started exploring Italian breads a long time ago!

Recipes to try: 2 viewable recipes from "The Italian Baker, Revised".



Fundamental Techniques of Classic Bread Baking by The French Culinary Institute

Looking to improve your bread-baking skills? As its title suggests, this book focuses on technique, though for the most part I found the recipes to be geared toward moderately-experienced bakers. For example, if you're interested in learning to work with fresh yeast, this book will give you plenty of practice--as all the doughs are made with fresh rather than dry yeast. (The publisher does provide a yeast conversion guide, but given that some recipes use such small amounts of the leavener, I suspect you'd get more accurate results using the fresh yeast as specified.) The book covers a wide selection of breads, but you might be disappointed if you're looking for detailed descriptions of how each of these loaves differ in taste and texture. For the avid bread baker, however, this may well be part of the draw, because ultimately these differences can be identified only through working with the doughs and tasting the end results. Many of us view this as an irresistible pursuit.

Recipes to try: 2 viewable recipes from "The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Bread Baking".



How to Make Bread by Emmanuel Hadjiandreou


Whether you are setting out to make your first loaf of bread or looking for some different recipes to try, How to Make Bread is a good option. The book focuses on the basics, complete with a detailed introduction and clear instructions throughout. With recipes that span the typical to the unusual--beet bread or tomato sourdough anyone?--even jaded bakers will find something new and challenging to try.  

Recipes to try: 3 viewable recipes from "How to Make Bread".





Disclosure: Review copies of books discussed in this post may have been provided to Project Foodie by publicists and/or publishers.

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Cookbooks for the February Kitchen

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Written by Team Project Foodie   

Looking for some seasonal cold-weather dishes to warm-up your kitchen this month? Roasting is a perfect choice, as well as the focus of two recent cookbooks. But even if roasting isn't what you're after, we've got some other choices sure to keep you equally cozy and happy in the kitchen.

All About Roasting by Molly Stevens

I am generally not drawn to single-subject cookbooks. Typically I prefer the variety and element of surprise that comes with an assortment of recipes focused on different meal courses and the various seasons. But Molly Stevens' latest release is clearly an exception to my rule, since it is unabashedly technique-focused. As a follow-up to Stevens' All About Braising, All About Roasting re-familiarizes us with this time honored and often undervalued cooking technique. (And this technique is pretty darn perfect as the snowstorms and cold weather are in the forecast for much of the nation.)

All About Roasting will inspire you with new ideas for both special occasion dinners and hearty weeknight meals. On the special occasion side, I made the Porchetta for my family--and the requests for a repeat performance haven't stopped coming in. Beyond the wonderful recipes, I like that Stevens puts as much emphasis on the quality of the protein to use as she does in helping you master the technique. — Heather Jones

Recipes to try: 2 viewable recipes from "All About Roasting".

Rotis: Roast for every day of the week by Stephane Reynaud

Interested in more roasting ideas?  How about a French twist?  Stephane Reynaud has a fun and adventurous manner befitting his French lifestyle. I've enjoyed each of his previous cookbooks and continue to look forward to the next. Rotis presents a collection of roasting recipes for practically any meat or fowl available. Accented with photos and Reynaud's trademark whimsy, meat lovers will be enticed by these decidedly French recipes.  — Foodie Pam

Recipes to try: 2 viewable recipes from "Rotis".

Corked & Forked  by Keith Wallace

Keith Wallace was born into a family of tee-totaling New England ministers who always assumed he would attend law school. But at age 13 he got his first taste of garlic (in pasta alla puttanesa, no less) and there was no turning back. He got a job as a dishwasher, and by 17 he was an executive chef. From there he dabbled in journalism, and is now the executive director of the Wine School of Philadelphia, a columnist for The Daily Beast, a professor teaching classes in restaurant management, and a full-time wine guru. In his spare time (!), he authored this book of entertaining menus with deceptively simple recipes and thoughtful beverage pairings. — Peggy Fallon

Recipes to try: 2 viewable recipes from "Corked & Forked".

The Food of Morocco by Paula Wolfert

Paula Wolfert's latest, The Food of Morocco, presents all that she has learned of this cuisine over the last 40 years. The recipes are typical of Moroccan home-cooking rather than drawn from current restaurant trends. This is a book of authentic, traditional, regionally-specific dishes with information about ingredients, sources for spices and cookware, and what to substitute when necessary. — Lisa Lawless

Recipes to try: 2 viewable recipes from "The Food of Morocco".

Disclosure: Review copies of books discussed in this post may have been provided to Project Foodie by publicists and/or publishers.

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Cooking without Borders

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Written by Lisa Lawless   
List of viewable recipes from "Cooking Without Borders" by "Anita Lo, Charlotte Druckman"

ImageRather than mixing cultural references in food for trendy effect, Anita Lo has created a cooking style that truly re-imagines dishes by drawing on flavors from different corners of the world. Her new book, Cooking Without Borders, presents her unique and sophisticated approach to delivering traditional flavor combinations in unexpected ways. Through her multicultural upbringing, world travels, and training in French cooking techniques, she has been influenced by many disparate culinary traditions.

Many of the recipes in the book are from past and present restaurant menus, but some are family favorites and dishes she prepares at home. Some recipes present a challenge with hard-to-find ingredients, and some are more time-consuming than others; but Lo always offers suggestions for substitutions or simplifications for the home cook.

Her inspiration ranges from what grows in her garden and whatever she catches from her fishing boat off Moriches Bay to a mix of Asian cuisines. Lo expanded beyond her background in classic French cooking by learning about Korean cooking in Seoul before opening a pan-Asian restaurant in New York. She might combine flavors common in Eastern European food while using Japanese ingredients, but the different influences come together in extremely refined ways. It's enlightening to read her explanation of how she built each dish the way she did.

A great example of Lo's approach is the Chilled Sweet Pea Soup with Smoked Sturgeon and Caviar. There are several ideas at play in this one soup. First, the Japanese flavor combination of peas, shiso, and wasabi is present. Next, the Eastern European tradition of serving smoked fish with horseradish is achieved with the smoked sturgeon and horseradish in the form of wasabi. From the American South, smoky flavors are often paired with peas, and here that smoked element is fish. And, lastly, the English mix of peas and mint is there due to the minty flavor of the shiso. The full recipe includes instructions for smoking the sturgeon yourself, and for all of the garnishes added when this is served at Lo's restaurant, Annisa. Of course, for serving at home, you could purchase pre-smoked sturgeon or other white fish and present the soup as simply or as accessorized as you wish.

Moving on around the globe, for her Zucchini Blossoms appetizer she looks to Spain and stuffs the blossoms with a grated young Manchego. The stuffed and fried blossoms are served with a pureed sauce made from piquillo peppers and sherry vinegar. Mediterranean and North African flavors are found in the Fried Mussels with Overnight Tomatoes, Harissa, and Saffron Sultanas. In the From the Sea chapter, you'll find Pan-Roasted Sea Scallops with Uni, Bacon, and Mustard Greens; Sautéed Fillet of Halibut with Fennel and White Anchovies; and Miso-Marinated Sable with Crisp Silken Tofu in a Bonito Broth, among others. In the Poultry chapter, there are dishes as diverse as Chicken Paprikash; Pan-Roasted Duck Breasts with Chestnut Puree and Honey Gastrique; and Chicken Wings with Korean Chile. In the Meat chapter, Lo includes her mother's BBQ Spareribs; Dry-Aged Ribeye with Raclette-Stuffed Rosti Potatoes; and the Annisa Beef "Pot-Au-Feu" made with ginger, soy sauce, Tokyo turnips, purple potatoes, boiled kombu, and wasabi.

My first trip to the kitchen with this book was to explore the Desserts and Drink chapter. I was intrigued by Lo's transformation of flavors usually found in a salad into a rich and sweet dessert. She started with the components of a beet salad with goat cheese and vinaigrette, and then turned the goat cheese into a cheesecake and candied the beets to bring out their natural sweetness. A citrus salad and candied citrus zest delivered the acidity. Like all of the dishes shown in the book, this one was stunning on the plate. It was a thoughtful composition of flavors from the richness of the cheesecake to the vanilla-scented sweetness of the beets and sauce and the freshness of the citrus. This dessert was eye-opening and fun to experience, and most importantly, it was delicious.

Read more from Lisa on Cooking without Borders on her blog Cooking with Lisa.

Goat Cheesecakes with Citrus and Candied Beets

Recipe from Cooking Without Borders by "Anita Lo, Charlotte Druckman" ("Stewart, Tabori and Chang", 2011)

At Bouley, where I held my first professional cooking position in Manhattan, my initial job was at the canape station. We made miniature terrines out of fresh goat cheese, roasted beets, and fresh herbs. It was a standard French combination, borrowed originally from Joel Robuchon, for whom David Bouley had worked. Each ingredient heightened the other: The saltiness of the chevre was offset by the earthiness of the beets. We drizzled a vinaigrette over the top of the bite-size savory. Made with mushroom juice, sherry, and red wine, the sauce's acid balanced the fat of the cheese and accented the saccharine notes of the beets. This dessert relies on the same concepts, but focuses on different aspects of each ingredient: the cheese's creaminess and the beet's sweetness. Here, the idea is to borrow the beet's sugar-not to draw out its vegetal nature, but instead to use it as a sweetener for dessert. The citrus adds further complexity while providing the acid that the vinaigrette had in the savory version. It's an interesting compromise between a dessert item and a cheese course, although it is pretty sweet; in fact, it's very much like a New York cheesecake.

Serves 8
For the cheesecakes:

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 15 ounces cream cheese
  • 15 ounces fresh creamy goat cheese (chèvre)
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped (bean pod reserved for below), or an additional 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

For the candied beets:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ vanilla bean pod (from above)
  • Pinch of salt
  • A few grinds of black pepper
  • 2 small beets, peeled and cut into thin slices
  • For the candied zest:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Julienned zest of ½ grapefruit, 1 orange, and ¼ lime, white pith removed

For the citrus salad:

  • 8 grapefruit sections
  • 16 orange sections
  • 8 lime sections

Make the cheesecakes: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Liberally spray 8 (4-ounce) molds with nonstick cooking spray. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugar and cornstarch and mix until the cornstarch is no longer clumpy. Add the cheeses, egg yolk, cream, vanilla-bean seeds, and vanilla extract and beat with the paddle attachment until soft and uniform. Using the whisk attachment and a clean bowl, whip the egg white together with the salt until soft peaks form. Fold the two mixtures together and transfer to the prepared molds. Bake until light golden brown on top. Let cool and refrigerate, covered, until use.

Make the candied beets: In a large saucepan, bring the sugar and 1 cup of water to a boil with the scraped vanilla-bean pod, the salt, and pepper. Add the beets to the pan and cook over high heat until tender and the syrup is reduced. Set aside.

Make the candied zest: In a saucepan over high heat, combine the sugar and 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Add the zests and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes, until cooked through and glossy. Drain, reserving the syrup.

Make the citrus salad: In a bowl, combine the sectioned fruit together with the zest cooking syrup. Place on one side of each serving plate. Use the beet syrup as a sauce on the other side and top with an unmolded cheesecake, garnished with the candied beets and candied zest.

Disclosure: Review copies of books discussed in this post may have been provided to Project Foodie by publicists and/or publishers.

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