Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-11-17
- Reviewer: Staff
Fans of The Tucci Cookbook hoping for another helping of Tucci’s rich trove of family recipes may not find this book very satisfying. The married coauthors pay homage to their respective Italian and British heritages in an attempt to “express the new culinary traditions we are in the process of creating for the next generation.” The book emphasizes the importance of the “family table,” and indeed the whole family shows up, with recipes from Tucci’s children, parents, in-laws, and friends. What could be a charmingly eclectic collection of favorite dishes comes across as disjointed and arbitrary. A chapter on salads includes puntarella salad with anchovy dressing (a very Roman dish inspired by a dinner in London) alongside Ryan’s Kale and Amino Acid Salad (credited to a friend’s personal chef). A section on side dishes features vegetable parmigiana as well as Yorkshire pudding. Desserts jump from tarte tatin to blondies to a Sbagliato granita. That said, the celebrity-obsessed may get a thrill from inclusions like Emily’s Chicken Noodle Soup (from Blunt’s sister, actress Emily Blunt) or a recipe for pissaladière from the late Natasha Richardson. Tucci and Blunt’s passion for cooking (and each other—their love story is described in the introduction and in anecdotes throughout) is evident, but it doesn’t shine through in every recipe. (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.