BootLeg Betty

For Chef Bev And Those That Like To Cook!

The Arlington Advocate
Culinary greats relay their expertise in books
By Anne-Marie Seltzer
Thursday, March 3, 2005

This roundup is a tip of the toque to the culinary luminaries who help us prepare delicious and nutritious meals in our home kitchens.

Congratulations to all of these authors for sharing their time, talents and creativity.

“Feast: Food to Celebrate Life” (Hyperion, 2004; $35) is all about creating your own unique celebrations. Whether you’re preparing for Easter or for a Midnight Feast, author Nigella Lawson will help you make the occasion a success through inventive and unusual menu ideas and festive recipes, such as Crab Cocktail, Stuffed Chicken and Walnut Crescents. Lawson brings her own brand of joie de vivre to this book, enabling you and your guests to dine with ease, style, and fun.

With many holidays still to come in 2005, “Celebrations 101” (Broadway, 2004; $29.95) by Rick Rodgers is worth purchasing now. For years, Rodgers has been helping home cooks serve up delicious and creative meals while staying relaxed and having fun in the kitchen (Thanksgiving 101 and Christmas 101). With 20 menus and more than 100 recipes in this latest book, he covers every possible occasion. Delight guests on Memorial Day, for instance, with Cedar-Smoked Salmon with Cucumber Salsa and Grilled Pineapple Sundaes with Caramel Rum Sauce.

“David Rosengarten Entertains: Fabulous Parties for Food Lovers” (Wiley, 2004; $34.95) is another entertaining guide. An award-winning author, Rosengarten is considered a dazzling dinner party host and he now makes his spectacular ideas available to everyone. This book includes blueprints for 16 show-stopping dinner parties, ranging from Tunisia for Twelve and Love Me Tandoor to Totally Frank Party and Devon Cream Tea.

If you need a contemporary bartending guide, consider purchasing “Raising the Bar: Better Drinks, Better Entertaining” (Artisan, 2004; $27.50). A master mixologist, Nick Mautone covers the basics for a good home bar and offers 250 cocktail recipes for any and all occasions. There are also chapters on punches, non-alcoholic refreshers and snacks. Mautone emphasizes the importance of fresh ingredients, time preparations and the art of home entertaining.

“Barefoot in Paris: Easy French Food You Can Make at Home” (Clarkson Potter, 2004; $35) is the latest book by Ina Garten aka The Barefoot Contessa. Garten offers recipes that reflect her love of simple, country French food. Wow your family and friends with Boeuf Bourguignon, Blue Cheese Soufflé, Zucchini Vichyssoise, Creme Brûlée and Chocolate Orange Mousse. Garten is known for recipes that are simple to make, visually beautifully, imaginative and delicious and this collection is no exception. She also includes conversations on the art of French flower arranging and table settings and primers on French wines and cheeses.

Massachusetts resident Nina Simonds has been writing important cookbooks for years. In “Spices of Life: Simple and Delicious Recipes for Great Health” (Knopf, 2004; $35), she offers recipes that have a positive effect on one’s well being and shares practical tips for a sensible lifestyle. Simonds also includes interviews with experts who explain what part certain health-storing foods can play in our lives. For instance, did you know that cinnamon strengthens the heart and alleviates nervous tension?

In “Jacques Pepin: Fast Food My Way” (Houghton Mifflin, 2004; $32), classically trained French Chef Pepin offers fare that is elegant, straightforward and easily prepared. Suitable for dinner or a dinner party, Pepin’s offerings include Instant Beef Tenderloin Stew, Chicken Breasts with Balsamic and Shallot Sauce and Apple Skillet Cake. This unpretentious book is filled with timesaving tips and cooking techniques and recipes that won’t require a trip to the gourmet store.

“Jamie’s Dinners” (Hyperion, 2004; $34.95) is the fifth book by British culinary phenom Jamie Oliver, known to millions as the Naked Chef. In this volume, Oliver turns his attention to making real meals for real families. The 100-plus recipes focus on Oliver’s principles for cooking – availability, accessibility, regionality, affordability, simplicity and a delicious final result – and include Salmon and Couscous, Tomato Soup, Ultimate Burger and Chips and Apple Pie. Fun photos play up Oliver’s roles as chef, husband, and father.

“The Gourmet Cookbook: More Than 1,000 Recipes – Over 60 Years in the Making” (Houghton Mifflin, 2004; $40) is one of the most comprehensive and authoritative cookbooks ever published. Edited by Ruth Reichl, this book is meant to use for years to come. Every recipe was retested and the result is a collection of great American recipes and the best dishes from around the world. Reichl noted, “Nothing like this has ever been done before. The chocolate cakes alone took weeks.”

Colette Peters has been designing and creating original cakes for clients such as President and Mrs. Bill Clinton, Bette Midler, Joan Rivers, Sting and Whoopi Goldberg for years. (She just made the inaugural cake for President Bush.) In “Cakes to Dream On: A Master Class in Decorating” (Wiley, 2005; $40), this former painter and designer for Tiffany & Co. offers home bakers a comprehensive guide to designing and making cakes for all occasions. Learn how to incorporate elements of style and humor into an unforgettable cake.

“I’m Just Here for More Food: Food x Mixing + Heat = Baking” (Stewart, Tabori, & Chang, 2004; $32.50) is not your typical baking book and Alton Brown is not your typical author. In this sequel to “I’m Just Here for the Food,” Brown explores the science behind our favorite baked goods. He begins with a thorough discussion of ingredients – what they are, what they do and how they play together or not – and moves into recipes for everything from cookies to custard. This book is definitely worth reading.

For six years, editors Fran McCullough and Molly Stevens have been sifting through magazines, newspapers, Web sites, cookbooks and supermarket flyers for outstanding recipes and publishing the results in an annual cookbook. “The Best American Recipes 2004-2005” (Houghton Mifflin, 2004; $26) contains 150 dishes that are anything but boring. Their findings include Soy-Glazed Salmon Burgers, Pacific Rim Chicken Noodle Soup, Tiger Cake and Dirt Bombs, the specialty of a Cape Cod bakery.

Menu ideas and recipes that can make any occasion special and unforgettable is the premise of “Two for Tonight: Pure Romance from L’Auberge Chez Francois” (Bartleby Press, 2004; $26.95). Haeringer believes that “a natural and wondrous relationship exists between love and food; between the heart and the palate. No truly passionate life is complete without the pleasures that fine food provides.” He provides that pleasure through wholesome, nutritious and delicious recipes for dozens of dishes, including Chicken in Champagne Sauce, Wild Mushroom Napoleon and Frozen Raspberry Souffles.

For years, “The Inn at Little Washington” has been named one of the top 10 restaurants in the United States and the world. Chef Patrick O’Connell shares his expertise and recipes in Patrick O’Connell’s “Refined American Cooking: The Inn at Little Washington Cookbook” (Bulfinch Press, 2004; $45). This book features fish, poultry and meat dishes, sides and delectable desserts plus valuable tips for entertaining.

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