Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Chef cookbooks to satiate all tastes

by Maggie Shea, Chef Magazine

Whether you want to travel the globe tasting international dishes, learn the culinary masters' picks of who the next big chefs will be, pull up a chair in chef Rick Tramonto's home kitchen or learn how to launch a pastry shop with homemade sweets--Chef's Stirrings has compiled some of the latest cookbooks from chefs who've seen and done it all. And for a small sample of what the authors are cookin', we've included a recipe from each of the books.

Flying Pans: Two Chefs, One World. It's no secret that chefs Bernard Guillas and Ron Oliver, of The Marine Room restaurant at La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club, love to travel. Both have been trotting the globe since they were young, sampling the flavors of such places as Morocco, Turkey, Fiji, Brazil, Portugal, Vietnam and Japan. In their first cookbook, Guillas and Oliver take readers along on their travels through a collection of travel anecdotes and international recipes with mouthwatering photography by Gregory Bertolini. The conversational tone and kitchen-tested recipes encourage the home cook to fearlessly venture into new culinary territory.

Photo courtesy of Gregory Bertolini

Singapore: Blue Crab Eggplant Cakes with Radish Salad and Turmeric Tangerine Butter

Bernard Guillas, executive chef, The Marine Room, adapted from Flying Pans: Two Chefs, One World, page 114, with wine pairing by Marlene Rossman

Yield: 6 servings

1 1-lb. eggplant
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 c. crème fraîche
2 T. chives, minced
1/8 t. cayenne
1/8 t. ground cumin
1 lb. jumbo lump blue crabmeat, shelled
1/2 c. almond meal
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3/4 c. breadcrumbs
1/4 c. cornmeal
1/4 c. parsley, finely chopped
2 T. olive oil
Olive oil spray, as needed
Radish Salad (recipe follows)
Turmeric Tangerine Butter (recipe follows)

Method (1) Preheat oven to 350°F. Puncture eggplant 10 times with tip of knife. Microwave 5 minutes, or until tender. Cool. Cut off stem end, and peel off skin. Chop flesh, and transfer to colander to drain. (2) In mixing bowl, combine eggs, cream, chives, cayenne and cumin. Gently fold in crabmeat, eggplant and almond meal. Season with salt and pepper. Divide mixture into 6 portions. (3) Combine breadcrumbs, cornmeal, parsley and olive oil in mixing bowl. Grease baking sheet with olive oil spray. Place 3-inch round cookie cutter on baking sheet. Evenly spread 1 heaping T. breadcrumb mixture in ring. Tightly pack crabmeat into ring. Spread 1 heaping T. breadcrumbs atop. Remove ring. Repeat process, leaving 2" between each cake. Spray top of cakes with olive oil spray. Bake 10 minutes or until hot in the center. (4) Transfer crab cake to warm serving plate. (5) Arrange Radish Salad atop, and spoon Turmeric Tangerine Butter around.

Radish Salad
1 cucumber
1 green apple, cored
6 large radishes
1 T. lemon juice
1/4 c. mint leaves, julienned
1/4 c. cilantro leaves
1 T. sesame oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Method (1) Peel, seed, and thinly slice cucumber. (2) Cut apple and radishes into 1/8"-thick slices. Cut slices into matchsticks. Transfer to mixing bowl. (3) Toss apples and radishes with sliced cucumber, lemon juice, mint, cilantro and sesame oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Turmeric Tangerine Butter
1/4 c. shallots, chopped
1/4 t. ground turmeric
3 tangerines, zested and juiced
1 T. white vinegar
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 T. heavy cream
1/2 c. unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Method (1) Add shallots, turmeric, tangerine zest, tangerine juice, vinegar and thyme to saucepan over medium heat. Reduce by 2/3. (2) Swirl in cream. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer. (3) Vigorously whisk in butter, one piece at a time, until fully incorporated. Do not let boil. Season with salt and pepper. (4) Strain through fine sieve. Set aside, and keep warm.

Wine pairing: Amity Pinot Blanc 2007 (Oregon) is a crisp, juicy, Pinot Blanc with tropical fruit flavors that will pick up on the citrus and contrast with the creaminess of the crab cakes.


Coco: 10 World-Leading Masters choose 100 Contemporary Chefs. As its title suggests, this is no ordinary cookbook. In Coco, 10 culinary "masters"--including Ferran Adrià, Mario Batali, Alice Waters, Shannon Bennett, Alain Ducasse and Yoshihiru Murata--select 100 up-and-coming chefs, each of whom is profiled, praised and photographed. We get a sense of who they are as chefs and what their culinary style is, thanks to the wealth of information tucked inside this fascinating 448-page culinary encyclopedia. And with more than 500 recipes, we can attempt to recreate what the top 110 culinary minds of this moment might serve us.


Pork Neck with Succotash
David Chang, chef/owner, Momofuku, adapted from Coco, page 77, with wine pairing by Marlene Rossman

Yield: 4 servings

300 g. kosher salt
270 g. sugar
6 L. hot water
2 bay leaves
25 g. black peppercorns
6 L. cold water
10 g. pink salt
1 pork neck
100 g. ground (minced) smoked, thin-cut pork belly
12 g. chanterelle mushrooms
250 g. lima (butter) beans
175 g. corn (sweetcorn) kernels
Butter, for sautéing
1 T. tarragon, chopped
4 mL. buttermilk
120 g. butter
130 g. arugula (rocket)

Method (1) Mix salt, sugar, hot water, bay leaves and black peppercorns. (2) Mix the cold water with pink salt. (3) Add pork neck, and cover; confit 5 hours at 300°F. (4) When tender, press between 2 sheet trays. Portion into serving size pieces. (5) Crisp on a griddle or pan to heat through. (6) Sauté the pork belly, chanterelles, lima beans and corn in a pan. (7) Finish with a pinch of salt and pepper, chopped tarragon, buttermilk, butter and arugula. (8) To serve, pile some succotash on a plate, and top with crispy pork neck.

Wine pairing: Duckhorn Pinot Noir "Migration" 2007 (California) is a ripe, silky Pinot Noir with classic cherry, plum and baking spice flavors that pair beautifully with the earthiness of the pork and chanterelles.


Steak with Friends: At Home, with Rick Tramonto. Chef Rick Tramonto, of Tru in Chicago and Tramonto's Steak and Seafood in Wheeling, Ill., invites readers to pull up a chair in his home kitchen in his seventh cookbook. He offers 150 easy-to-follow recipes geared toward the home chef that reproduce the flavors of the high-end steakhouse food he's known for. He emphasizes proper selection and preparation of steaks and includes drink recipes and even music suggestions to play while you cook. The book is warmly accented throughout with light-hearted anecdotes and photography of Tramonto and his family.

Bread Pudding with Gruyère and Shiitake Mushrooms
Rick Tramonto, chef/partner, Tru, Chicago, adapted from Steak with Friends: At Home, with Rick Tramonto, page 225, with wine pairing by Marlene Rossman

Chef Tramonto says, "I like to surprise my friends with savory bread puddings; most people expect bread pudding to be sweet, and so this is a conversation starter. Essentially it is just another form of bread stuffing or dressing and is therefore a great way to use leftover brioche or any good, rustic bread. Have fun with the ingredients--you can add sausage or bacon to the pudding or use different herbs and other kinds of mushrooms. Let your imagination run wild!"

Yield: 12 servings

6 T. unsalted butter, divided
1 lb. shiitake mushroom caps, thinly sliced
2 large (about 2 c.) leeks, white and some green parts, trimmed and chopped
1 T. garlic, minced
1 T. thyme leaves, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 c. white wine
12 slices brioche bread, about 1/2" thick, torn into rough 1" pieces
1 c. Gruyère cheese, grated and divided
1 c. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated and divided
3 c. half and half
2 T. sherry, Madeira, brandy or Cognac
5 large eggs

Method (1) Butter an 8" square baking pan with 3 T. butter. In a large sauté pan, melt remaining 3 T. of butter over medium-high heat. When melted, add the mushrooms and leeks; sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, until softened. Stir in the garlic and thyme, and season to taste with salt and pepper. (2) Add the wine and stir with a wooden spoon, scraping up browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until nearly all the liquid evaporates. (3) Transfer to a large mixing bowl, add the bread, 1/2 c. Gruyère, and 1/2 c. Parmigiano-Reggiano, and toss well. Transfer to prepared baking pan. (4) In a small bowl, stir half and half with sherry. Add eggs, and whisk well. Season with salt and pepper, and pour over the bread. With the back of a spoon or spatula, press gently on bread to insure it is completely submerged. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 6 hours. Preheat oven to 350°F. (5) Top bread pudding with remaining 1/2 c. Gruyère and 1/2 c. Parmesan, spreading cheese evenly. Cover loosely with foil, and bake for about 1 hour. Remove foil and bake 20 minutes longer, or until pudding is golden brown. Let pudding cool for a few minutes before cutting into 2" squares for serving.

Wine pairing: A creamy Chardonnay with ripe peach and pear flavors, Chalk Hill Estate Chardonnay 2007 (California) will meld beautifully with the Gruyère and Parmesan in the savory bread pudding.


The Modern Café. This book is the first comprehensive reference for the aspiring café owner who doesn't want to miss the slightest detail. Chef Francisco J. Migoya, assistant professor at the Culinary Institute of America, has created the definitive volume for the successful, modern café. In addition to the nearly 250 recipes and more than 100 flawless photographs, The Modern Café extensively instructs on each component of the bakery, the pastry shop, the savory kitchen, beverages, the retail shelf, finances, human resources, food production and even décor. Migoya demonstrates all the essentials in order to run a successful café in the time of the increasingly informed, sophisticated and busy consumer.

Shortbread Cookies
Chef Francisco J. Migoya, the Culinary Institute of America, adapted from The Modern Café, page 282, with wine pairing by Marlene Rossman

Chef Migoya says, "These cookies originated in Scotland in the sixteenth century, and they were originally shaped into a round disc and then cut into triangles, as you would with a pizza."


Yield: 24 cookies

2 lb. 4.96 oz. all-purpose flour
5.29 oz. rice flour
0.63 oz. salt
1 lb. 15.75 oz. butter, soft
15.87 oz. sugar
Superfine or bakers' sugar, as needed

Method (1) Place a 1/2"thick Plexiglas frame on top of a sheet pan lined with silicone paper. (2) Sift flours and salt together. (3) Cream butter and sugar together in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until just incorporated. Make sure not to cream the mixture for too long. (4) Add sifted dry ingredients to butter-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until just incorporated. (5) Roll dough out to fit into the frame on prepared sheet pan. Chill until dough has hardened. (6) Preheat a convection oven to 320°F. (7) Cut cookies into 2" circles using a round cutter. Dock dough with a fork in an "X" pattern, making sure the fork goes all the way through the dough. (8) Place cookies on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, and sprinkle enough superfine or bakers' sugar on them to coat the surface. If cookies are soft, chill them. These cookies need to be very cold, almost frozen, to bake properly. (9) Bake until they are golden brown around the border. (10) Cool to room temperature. If cookies are baked properly, they will keep for up to 5-6 days in an airtight container at room temperature.

Wine pairing: Murphy Vineyards Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (California), a spectacular dessert wine to have with dessert, exudes jasmine, melon and tropical fruit flavors that simply dance with the shortbread!

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