Finalist, James Beard Foundation Award, Baking & Dessert (2013) Since 2003, Valerie Gordon has provided Angelenos with award-winning sweets and baked goods from her boutique in Silverlake and her booths at the Santa Monica and Hollywood farmers' markets.Read more...
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Finalist, James Beard Foundation Award, Baking & Dessert (2013) Since 2003, Valerie Gordon has provided Angelenos with award-winning sweets and baked goods from her boutique in Silverlake and her booths at the Santa Monica and Hollywood farmers' markets. With two restaurants opening in 2013 and this comprehensive cookbook filled with her beloved recipes, now even more people can eat and bake the Valerie way. Favorite desserts like petits fours, cakes, truffles, and cookies have been perfected with the addition of candied rose petals, atomized chocolate, fleur de sel, matcha tea, and other special ingredients. Valerie re-creates desserts from Los Angeles's lost restaurants such as Chasen's and the Brown Derby; she simplifies the process of making jam; she provides an accessible way to mix and match components so readers can design their own luscious cakes and pies. Filled with helpful tricks, recipes for a range of tastes, and gorgeous full-color photographs, "Sweet" is destined to become every baker's favorite cookbook
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-09-02
- Reviewer: Staff
Gordon, founder of the acclaimed Valerie’s Confections, shares her passion for creating high-quality pastries and candies. Full-color photographs highlight the simple beauty of Gordon’s creations, which can be mastered by the home cook with a little effort. Recipes are divided into celebration and everyday cakes, pies, tarts, chocolates, confections, cookies, bars, spoon desserts, and jams, offering a varied mix of fruity, buttery, and chocolaty treats. In addition to painstakingly recreating once-famed but now-extinct desserts like Blum’s Coffee Crunch Cake, Chasen’s Banana Shortcake, and Bullocks’s Wilshire Coconut Cream Pie, Golden shares homey favorites such as lattice-topped berry pie, classic shortbread, and brownies. Her jasmine panna cotta, chocolate pot de crème, and tiramisu trifle are simply mouthwatering, as are her coconut-finger lime cookies and salted-peanut blondies. Golden’s confections are also truly exceptional and include almond fleur de sel toffee, chocolate-dipped coffee crunch, and single-malt-scotch truffles. To help the less practiced achieve more professional results, Golden offers helpful hints on everything from cake building and petit fours to tempering chocolate and working with dough. She also provides a useful section on ingredients and equipment that make for a well-stocked baking kitchen. This thoroughly delightful collection is a must-have for baking and confectionary enthusiasts everywhere. (Oct.)
Gourmet gifts, part II
With The Scarpetta Cookbook, Scott Conant, celebrity chef and creator of Scarpetta, a many-starred New York restaurant with affiliates in four other cities, offers you the chance to recreate 125 of his acclaimed signature recipes. Some are simple, like Warm Olives with Garlic and Herbs; others are truly worth the effort, like Sausage-Stuffed Fried Olives Ascolane. There are dishes with many components that take planning. Go for the whole thing, or just choose the parts you can’t resist. The instructions are designed for home cooks, but not simplified. What you make will reflect Conant’s quest for “sophisticated yet soulful” flavors.
Manresa, an elegant restaurant nestled in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and its chef/owner, David Kinch, are California cool and red-hot (dining destination-hot, not jalapeño-hot). Kinch’s devotion to perfection and to food that creates a deep sense of place has made him one of the most celebrated chefs in the country and a practitioner par excellence of using world-class local products seasonally. His gorgeously illustrated debut cookbook, Manresa: An Edible Reflection, is as much a “lookbook” as it is a cookbook. It’s a great gift for foodies, wannabes and serious ponderers of “modernista” cuisine. These are not easy, everyday recipes—just consider a Tartine of Unripe Tomato, Nori and Duck Liver, Sesame. So, read, dream and cook what you can.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME
To Kelly Alexander, all hometown food is special, but “Southern hometown food is extraordinary.” With the aid and expertise of Southern Living and their top-notch test kitchens, she’s collected the best hometown recipes from six Southern regions, from the Gulf Coast to the Appalachian Mountains, in Southern Living No Taste Like Home. This is real food from real folks—chefs and celebrities included. Just one bite of Watts Grocery-Style Spoon Bread, Texas-Style Barbecued Beef Brisket, Lowcountry Red Rice, Chocolate-Bourbon Pecan Pie or a Crab Cake Hush Puppy is guaranteed to take you home again, wherever you’re from. Along with solid cooking instructions, this book shares lots of local lore and colorful Southern characters.
TOP PICK IN COOKBOOKS
Sweet treats are welcome anytime, but they’re super-special for holiday parties and presents. So the arrival of Valerie Gordon’s Sweet is sweet, indeed. The 115 recipes, adorned with 120 eat-the-page-luscious photographs, range from sumptuous pedestal cakes, “everyday plate cakes” that are anything but everyday, pies, tarts, cookies and bars to divine chocolates and confections, soft desserts served in bowls, jams, marmalades and breakfast goodies. Silken Winter Luxury Pie or Tiramisu Trifle for Christmas dinner? Champagne Cake for New Year’s Eve? Raspberry Truffles in gaily wrapped gift boxes? A feather-light Carrot Cake for your next birthday party? Sophisticated, grown-up winners, all; you can’t go wrong.