Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-11-03
- Reviewer: Staff
Chefs Balla and Burns, at their much-praised Bar Tartine, in San Francisco, have transformed the craft of drying all sorts of herbs, flowers, vegetables, fruits, and meats into an art form. They share their methods for creating dehydrated delicacies, be it via oven-drying, sun-drying, or a food dehydrator, and offer a selection of recipes that utilize those ingredients. It seems a very satisfying task to air-dry a batch of fresh red peppers, and then grind them into a powder to create homemade paprika, which can be used in fisherman’s stew full of catfish and egg noodles in a broth of fish stock and red wine. However, some of the techniques are perhaps best left to professionals. Black garlic is all the rage, but to make it at home, the fastest method is to place whole garlic heads in a slow cooker, set it to warm, and then check back in “about 2 weeks.” (Nov.)
Cooking: The one-pan panacea
Super, savory suppers (lunches and brunches, too) that can be cooked in one pan are always more than welcome. They save precious time, both in the prep and in the unavoidable end-of-meal clean-up. Molly Gilbert, a big fan of one-pot cooking, got fed up with the soupy-chili-stewy variety and turned to the multitalented sheet pan, whereon you can place a few compatible ingredients, paired with the versatility of the oven, wherein you can roast, bake or broil those compatible ingredients into delectable dinners for any occasion. Sheet Pan Suppers serves up 120 recipes for this easy procedure, with foolproof appetizers (Kettle Kale and Crispy Za’atar Chickpeas), some simple, worthwhile “serve-withs” (potatoes, polenta and pilaf) and crowd-pleasing desserts (a Stone Fruit Slab Pie for 24, crackly crusted Thinnest Brownies for 36). But the main events, starring poultry, fish, meat or no-meat wonders, take center stage and let you get a seriously satisfying meal on the table with less mess, no stress and more flavor.
When Nicolaus Balla and Cortney Burns took the reins of San Francisco restaurant Bar Tartine, their intense cooking curiosity and their special techniques for transforming a wild variety of ingredients into the building blocks that fill their larder created a new culinary universe, one that’s in constant expansion. Their lavishly, lusciously illustrated Bar Tartine: Techniques and Recipes explores this universe and offers adventurous home chefs the chance to learn to make everything from scratch—vegetable powders, spice mixtures, cheeses, sprouted seeds, grains and nuts, infused oils, vinegars, preserves, pickles, syrups, stocks and more. Make a few, make them all or buy high-quality ingredients instead. No matter which way you go, the 120 recipes take you into an exciting multilayered, multicultural gastrosphere, where new combos such as Black Garlic and Lentil Soup, Smoked Potatoes with Ramp Mayonnaise, Beef Tartare Toast with Bottarga or Sunchoke Custard with Sunflower Greens work their flavor-filled wiles.
TOP PICK IN COOKBOOKS
Stanley Tucci, the multi-award-winning actor who’s appeared in more than 50 films, is also a fabulous cook. Now, with his wife, Felicity Blunt, he’s written his second cookbook, The Tucci Table. It’s a comfortable, easy-to-approach book, filled with pleasing recipes that reflect both Tucci’s Italian-American heritage and Blunt’s British background. They both want to share the food they love and to do so without attitude or hauteur. So you’ll find classic English Sausage Rolls from Blunt’s childhood and slow-simmered Tuscan Tomato Soup, Shepherd’s Pie and a hearty Bolognese, light, fluffy Yorkshire Pudding and soul-satisfying Polenta (use any leftovers for Polenta Frites). Also featured are favorite dishes their friends have cooked, like Tony Shalloub’s Stuffed Grape Leaves and Natasha Richardson’s Pissaladière, as well as dishes Stanley’s talented, food-loving children have created, including Camilla’s Raspberry Ripple Lemon Cake and Nico’s Pasta with Prosciutto, Onions, Peas and Pancetta.