Cooking: Turn up the taste
Sara Moulton, chef, cookbook author, food writer and popular TV personality, happily admits that she’s spent long years in the cooking trenches. She knows her stuff and knows how to pass on that know-how. And that’s exactly what she does in Home Cooking 101: How to Make Everything Taste Better, a master class in maximizing flavor for cooks of every caliber. The recipes, more than 150, focus on everyday dinners (a Moulton spécialité), and each one subtly demonstrates a tip or method that will up the taste quotient of the dish and the confidence of the cook. While you’re sharpening your sense of taste under Moulton’s tutelage, you can sample some of her super supper suggestions: a meal-in-itself soup or salad; “quick & quicker” entrees (Salmon Baked in a Bag with Citrus, Olives and Chiles); one-pan wonders (Barley with Clam Sauce); vegetarian and vegan options; slightly more complicated dishes for special meals (Baked Arctic Char with Chermoula); a slew of savory sides and “ridiculously easy” sweets. Step-by-step photos, visits with guest chefs and “genius tips” all add shine to this sensational seminar.
SLICE ’N’ DICE
Butcher and vegetable are two words that usually don’t go together. But the publication of Cara Mangini’s The Vegetable Butcher: How to Select, Prep, Slice, Dice, and Masterfully Cook Vegetables from Artichokes to Zucchini radically changes all that. Though she comes from a long line of traditional butchers and probably has a gene for knife skills, Mangini prefers to cut “steaks” from cauliflower; veggie education (vegecation?) is her true calling. Mangini offers the must-know basics, including Butchery Essentials, Favorite Cooking Methods, cleaning, prepping, selection and storage info for more than 50 vegetables, a repertoire of more than 100 rewarding, flexible recipes, 250 step-by-step photos, plus her unique “Butcher Notes” highlighting vegetable-specific tips, tricks, substitutions and answers to prep problems. Get ready, get set, catch Mangini’s plant-based enthusiasm! Spring is here, and summer, with its lavish abundance, green markets and CSAs, is close behind.
TOP PICK IN COOKBOOKS
Francine Bryson, the down-home diva and proud redneck who shared her Southern baking secrets in her debut cookbook, is back. Country Cooking from a Redneck Kitchen serves up the thoroughly Southern recipes (125 in all) that she grew up with—the go-to dishes that her mother and grandmothers cooked that stay with you through a hard day’s work and more than suffice when company’s coming or you’re expecting a visit from the preacher. They’re all here, all spiced with Bryson’s sassy charm, from Redneck What-nots (the little somethings to keep you going as you chat, like Deviled Ham Dip and Cornbread Salad), Bourbon and Coke Wings, burgers and backyard BBQ, her great-granny’s Squirrel Pot Pie, Daddy’s Church Gathering Chili, velvety Creamed Corn, Sweet Potato Biscuits, Peachy Praline Pie and Upside-Down Apple Bacon Pie.