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Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-01-02
- Reviewer: Staff
Virant, noted chef of Vie restaurant, on the outskirts of Chicago, offers a vibrant and inviting introduction to the world of preserving. After deciding to serve local produce in his restaurant year-round, Virant started preserving summer staples to extend the seasons. As a result, he experimented with canning and pickling everything from snow peas to watermelon rind and cherry tomatoes. The fruits of his experimentation are shared in this quirky yet useful collection. Virant devotes the first half of the book to the art of preserving, how to do it safely, and the various ingredients he utilizes for his year-round bounty. In addition to pickling, canning, and preserving, he covers the art of making aigre-doux, a French sweet-sour condiment that may be unfamiliar to many. He also includes numerous unusual but appealing jams such as beer, peach saffron, and raspberry chocolate. The second half of the book focuses on recipes that use these preserved ingredients including braised chicken legs in pearl pasta with Swiss chard and pickled stems, rainbow trout with creamed ramps and morels, and raspberry brown butter cake with yogurt ice cream and elderflowers. Those interested in making the foray into extending summer’s bounty through the cold winter months could have no better guide that Virant. (Apr.)
Rachael Ray's burgerama!
Let me confess upfront that I’m a burgerholic, a proud lover of these rounded patties, whether beef, tuna or mushroom, and a fierce advocate of all their accoutrements (that’s fancy-talk for onions, ketchup, relish, etc.). So, it’s a real treat to have Rachael Ray’s homage in The Book of Burger, a collection of her own favorites and a dozen doozies created by other burger-loving chefs. Rachael’s burgerosphere knows no borders; you’ll find Burgers all’Amatriciana, Goulash Burgers, pork Banh Mi Burgers, chicken Spanakopita Burgers, Falafel burgers and Garlic-Ginger Salmon Burgers with Wasabi Mayo, plus an ample array of super sliders, “sloppies,” and all kinds of sides and sauces, including Eggplant Fries and Roasted Jalapeño Poppers. More than 200 recipes, each with Rachael’s clear, thorough instructions, will keep you in burger bliss from summer when it sizzles to winter when it drizzles.
FIRE UP THE GARDEN
I’m not sure when Karen Adler and Judith Fertig, aka the BBQ Queens, were crowned, but this tiara-totin’ twosome has given us a ream of royal grilling and BBQ recipes in their many cookbooks. Now, in The Gardener & the Grill, they’ve married two of the best things about summer—garden-fresh food and the thrill of the grill. Whether you have a garden, a few pots on your patio, or simply shop at a farm stand for seasonal standouts, Karen and Judith will show you that grilling gives foods (even a head of romaine) that special super-concentrated flavor you just can’t get in the kitchen. Add their repertoire of “make-in-minutes” marinades, vinaigrettes, butters (don’t miss the Italian Parmesan Grilling Paste) and sauces to your own and you’ll be all set. Then you can fire your way from Grill-Roasted Edamame, char-grilled pizza, poppy-seed naan, Grilled Summer Slaw with Gorgonzola Vinaigrette, and Brats with Grilled Kale to Stir-Grilled Nectarines and Plank-Roasted Pears. Your garden and your grill will get a fabulous makeover and you’ll get salutes fit for a queen.
TOP PICK IN COOKBOOKS
Paul Virant, award-winning chef/owner of Vie—a Chicago restaurant that boasts a Michelin star—and an “Iron Chef” competitor, is passionate about preserving nature’s bounty. In his debut cookbook, The Preservation Kitchen: The Craft of Making and Cooking with Pickles, Preserves, and Aigre-doux, he becomes your personal coach, your guide to creating a “flavor arsenal” that prolongs the seasons and adds unexpected delights to weekday and celebratory meals. Virant offers both a canning manual, with the principles of safe preserving spelled out and the different techniques eloquently explained and applied to seasonal produce, and a superb cookbook with recipes for 16 complete dinners, plus a few “Happy Hour” cocktails. The book follows the cycle of the year, starring relishes, jams, marmalades, mostardas, sweet-sour condiments, sauerkrauts (cabbage and beyond) and preserved citrus you can make yourself. Yes, you can can—and this beautiful book proves it.