Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-07-18
- Reviewer: Staff
Prolific author and food writer Bittman (How to Cook Everything) brings the joy of baking to life in this comprehensive collection of 2,000 recipes demystifying the baking process. He explains its fundamentals, simple techniques, and foundation recipes that serve as springboards for “a number of easy twists” on from-the-oven homemade treats. Bittman is big on improvisational embellishments, adaptability, and recipe flexibility for every diet, and he creates useful “mix-and-match” charts for substitute ingredients, innovative variations, and add-ins. Sidebars contain advice on topics such as the advantages of milling nut flours at home and the importance of cooking with kids. There’s the lowdown on gluten, 18 flour types, sweeteners, fats and oils, dairy options, and types of chocolate. Flowcharts, lexicons defining baking terminology, and recommendations for tools and core items to stock in a baker’s pantry are also included. The marvels of eggs and every genre of pastry dough, especially puff pastry, are celebrated. This tour through the world of baking doesn’t skimp; it has 15 pages on pancakes alone, charts showing ways to dress up cookies, and 10 varieties of fritters. A section on savory baking features cabbage strudel and corn-filled chicken chile cobbler. There’s nothing half-baked about this impressive omnibus as Bittman delivers the promised “everything” in an epic homage to baking. Agent: Angela Miller, Miller Agency. (Oct.)
Cooking: Cock of the walk
There are plenty of big-name, beautiful cookbooks coming out this holiday season that are perfect for the gourmet on your gift list. The Red Rooster, Marcus Samuelsson’s thriving restaurant in the heart of Harlem, seems a far cry from his svelte Scandinavian restaurant, Aquavit, but both are products of Samuelsson’s unique culinary genius. Harlem is his home now; he’s wild about the food, the people and the history, and his new book, The Red Rooster Cookbook, celebrates the place where his pickled herring gets along well with cornbread. Vibrantly eclectic is an understatement for the mix of recipes here, from Fried Yardbird and Brown Butter Biscuits to Puerco en Cerveza, Trout with Ginger and Citrus and Ethiopian-Spiced Lamb. As a delicious treat, Samuelsson walks us though the lively Harlem scene in lyrical essays studded with photos.
A CHEF AT HOME
The “restaurant chef cooks at home” style of cookbook is very popular, but some are hardly believable. Nancy Silverton’s new cookbook is. She loves to cook at home for friends and family, and now that she’s established her flourishing restaurant empire, she’s had time to pour her zeal into a new cookbook. Mozza at Home is her ode to the joys of home-cooked dinners served at a big table piled with platters of food, all at room temperature, mostly made ahead. She offers over 150 recipes organized into 18 meals, plus one -Umbrian feast. Choose from among these tempting dishes, follow Nancy’s instructions, and host and guests will be happy, relaxed and very well fed.
BAKING WITH BITTMAN
The prolific Mark Bittman is back with How to Bake Everything. This time, he’s taking on the cooking domain often viewed as too rigid and precise for the casual cook and Bittman-ized it, showing us what is negotiable and what isn’t, focusing on simple core recipes with lots of variations, along with charts, lists and illustrations. His aim is to turn us all into confident, creative bakers who can improvise, adapt and customize, whether baking a tart, a cake, cookies, flatbread, a crusty baguette or a flaky croissant.
TOP PICK IN COOKING
You can never go wrong with Ina Garten. Cooking for Jeffrey, Garten’s latest, is a deeply personal tribute to her beloved Jeffrey, husband of nearly five decades, stalwart supporter and muse. There are new recipes from the imaginative Garten and updates of “Jeffrey-tested” classics. Brisket with Onions and Leeks and an Herb and Apple Bread Pudding that’s perfect for Thanksgiving are treasured treats from the past. More recent Jeffrey-inspired dishes include Moroccan Grilled Lamb Chops, Roast Chicken with Radishes and Bourbon Honey Cake. This is Garten at her foolproof, fabulous best.