According to James Beard-award winning cookbook author Michael Ruhlman, "Braising is what cooking is truly about--transformation. Read more...
According to James Beard-award winning cookbook author Michael Ruhlman, "Braising is what cooking is truly about--transformation. You start with a tough, often inexpensive, cut of meat, and through your care and knowledge as a cook, you turn it into something tender and succulent and exquisite. That is true cooking, cooking that engages both mind and soul."
Among the recipes featured in this second book in Ruhlmans's new "how-to" series are Moroccan Lamb Tagine, Classic Yankee Pot Roast, Mexican Pork and Posole Stew with Dried Chilis, Braised Fennel, and a Corned Beef and Cabbage Braise.
As with the other books in this line, practical information about essential tools and staple pantry items will be outlined, along with straightforward and clearly presented advice and dozens of colorphotographs showcasing both finished dishes and step-by-step cooking techniques.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-09-28
- Reviewer: Staff
In the introduction of this vibrant primer on the art of braising, prolific cookbook author Ruhlman (How to Roast) notes, "There is pleasure to be had in the aroma of floured meat sizzling in hot fat." Anyone who shares that sentiment will want to dive into this handy guide, and anyone without a Dutch oven would be well advised to purchase one along with the book. Ruhlman provides a 12-page overview of the basics, exploring proper searing techniques and the wide world of braising liquids, from beer to milk. Refreshingly, the recipe count is not overwhelming. There are a mere 20 dishes, most accompanied with succulent color photos by Ruhlman's wife, Donna Turner Ruhlman. Recognizable classics with French overtones include osso buco, braised lamb shanks, and beef stew, and there are a few intense international dishes as well, such as North African lamb tagine. Even the lowly turkey leg gets a royal treatment, served with leek and sage bread pudding. Less delightful is the typography used for the instructions, with every verb distractingly in bold-faced capital letters. "SALT and PEPPER the shanks," yells the osso buco recipe, belaying its delicate nature. (Feb.)
Cooking: Comfort from scratch
Aficionados of the popular first cookbook from Savannah bakers Cheryl and Griffith Day knew without a doubt that love was an active ingredient in every single recipe. Their second collection of “scratch-baked” delights, Back in the Day Bakery Made with Love, makes sure that “love” is front and center in this new array of sweet and savory treats that range from breakfast biscuits, muffins and biscones (a marriage of biscuit and scone) to cakes, cookies, cupcakes, pies, breads, rolls and crackers. Sandwiched in among the more than 100 recipes are the Days’ creative how-tos for making flavored syrups, yogurt parfaits, a tiered Celebration Cake, Ciabatta Rolls and some wild and crazy make-it-yourself projects like a marshmallow chandelier or vintage linen Snack Pockets. One look at the custardy Spoon Bread, Caramel Cake with Salted Caramel Frosting, Sweet Potato Lemon Bread or the Key Lime Short Bread Cookies and it’s desire at first sight, then comforting love at first bite.
Lots of cooks and cookbooks promise dishes that are easy, quick and delicious—but not all of them serve up the goods. Lorraine Pascale, #1 best-selling cookbook author in the U.K. and international fashion model, really makes good on what she promises in her third book, Everyday Easy. Her goal is to offer busy people tasty, quick-to-get-together main courses with sides included, made with accessible ingredients that will impress your family and friends, like Chicken Cacciatore with Harissa over pasta, Salmon Saltimbocca with Gremolata Potatoes and Butternut and Sweet Potato Lasagne—all on the table in under 35 minutes. She’s added recipes for canapés (try the irresistible Pancetta and Parmesan Puffs), cocktails, snazzy starters, snacks, soups, salads, bread and desserts to round out everyday or festive meals. Pascale’s cooking instructions are detailed and supportive, and almost every recipe is enhanced by a luscious photograph—of the gorgeous food, not her gorgeous face!
TOP PICK IN COOKBOOKS
Ruhlman’s How to Braise: Foolproof Techniques and Recipes for the Home Cook, the second in Michael Ruhlman’s single-subject series after How to Roast, is a lyrical (yes, cookbooks can be somewhat lyrical), practical ode that could have been called “Praising Braising.” It’s his favorite of all the fundamental cooking techniques, and he considers it a metamorphosis, a way of truly transforming food. As in all his many cookbooks, Ruhlman’s discussion and instructions, with tips and insider info, are meticulous and inspiring. You get all the braising details you’ll ever need, from the three musts—salting, searing, simmering—to the delicious nuances that variations in seasoning and choice of simmering liquid offer. The recipes are outstanding, beginning with iconic Braised Lamb Shanks with Mint Gremolata and classic Wine-Braised Beef Short Ribs, then on to Hot and Sour Braised Duck Legs, Osso Buco, a quartet of braised veggies and a marvelous Mexican Pork and Hominy Posole. The photos by Donna Turner Ruhlman are fabulous, step-by-step and the done deal, done to perfection.