Last year, The French Laundry Cookbook Team, published Under Pressure: Cooking Sous Vide, a book spearheaded by per se chef de cuisine Jonathon Benno and featuring the dishes of him, his French Laundry counterpart Corey Lee, and Thomas Keller.  The book was explicitly geared toward professional chefs (recipes are in metric weights) because this form of cooking was at the time most applicable to restaurant kitchens.  The capacity to cook food sous vide, that is vacuum sealed and submerged in water kept at low precise temperatures, is perfectly suited to the demands of cooking for large numbers because food hit a specific temperature and stays there, no real chance to overcook.  But also the equipment was prohibitively expensive, with chamber vacuum sealers and immersion circulators (the device that heats the water) costing several thousand dollars. Read On »

Share

Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg have been publishing innovative books about cooking and the chef world for longer than I have. Their popular Becoming a Chef was published the summer I was harrassing the Culinary Institute of America to let me in to write about, well, becoming a chef.  I was mortified they’d beat me to it. It proved to be not just a different book from what I was attempting, but a valuable research tool for me then and throughout the years (its history of American restaurants and chefs with opening dates or significant restaurants is something I’ve  returned to throughout the years).  It remains a valuable book especially for people considering entering the profession. Their most recent book, The Flavor Bible, published last year was one I kept hearing about.  Finally I got Read On »

Share

The most exciting cookbook of the season, to me, is without question, Momofuku, by David Chang and Peter Meehan.   Momofuku combines great cooking and restaurant kitchen photography in the journalistic style I love, recipes and techniques I was eager to learn about (steamed buns, spicy fried chicken), and an intense, passionate narrative by Meehan that captures the distinctive nature of this unusual chef.  My partner in Charcuterie, Brian Polcyn and I were lucky enough to find a seat at Chang’s noodle bar this fall and had a fantastic meal.  As soon as I read Momofuku, I bought a copy to send to Brian. I think it’s a sad state of affairs that Chang has been getting so much media attention that people have begun to grouse about it.  What I don’t like about it is Read On »

Share

I have two copies of Ad Hoc, signed by Thomas Keller, to give away, courtesy of Artisan (thanks, Amy!)  This is an even more valuable offer than I thought it would be because I see that Amazon is sold out until February, as are many bookstores.  More than 100,000 copies of this book have been printed, with more on the way, making Ad Hoc one of the best selling books of the season.  There’s a reason for it: it’s a fantastic book, with everything from burgers to bread pudding with leeks to cheesecake, and great discussion of cooking issues and technique from Thomas himself (who would have imagined a chef could be so uncommonly articulate on the page?!).  A few namby pambies in the media have whined that some of the recipes actually ask you Read On »

Share

We felt it was time to try to add video and here’s the first attempt.  WARNING: very low tech and echo-y sound but we couldn’t wait any longer so my friend Joe appeared one afternoon with a camera and there we are. Like the blog, the videos are a continual work in progress.  Maybe I’ll invest in a microphone! I chose pate a choux because I had  blogged about it (see this post for finished photos of all the preparations).  Also, it was an easy demo of an easy preparation I want more people to do for themselves.  Steamy recently blogged about it, as have others. Also, it’s a great recipe for the holidays and entertaining.  You can make the dough ahead and refrigerate till you’re ready to bake.  They make great canapes.  Fill them Read On »

Share