29 November 2008

"Knives Cooks Love Selection. Care. Techniques. Recipes.", by Sarah Jay

The importance of a good set of knives for safe and pleasurable food peparation can not be over-emphasized. A dull, poorly balance knife is more dangerous than a high quality, sharp cutting utensil. Investing in a good set of knives is as important as the selection of good cookware. And your investment will last with proper care. A new publication, "Knives Cooks Love Selection. Care. Techniques. Recipes.", by Sarah Jay, can guide you in choosing the correct cutlery. More from Jessica's Biscuit:

"Sur La Table's Knives Cooks Love focuses on some of the most versatile tools in the kitchen—knives. Knives Cooks Love offers instructions on how to buy and care for knives, and how to properly chop, dice, and slice with them to create delicious dishes.

Consider this Knives 101—lessons on everything you need to know to make your experiences behind the blade more straightforward, efficient, and enjoyable. In Knives Cooks Love, trusted cookware authority Sur La Table teams up with writer Sarah Jay to guide chefs of all levels so their knives will last a lifetime. The nuances between knife blades and handles are discussed, as well as cutting surfaces and an array of sharpeners and honers.

Numerous cutting techniques are also showcased with step-by-step instructions and photographs. These skills are then put to the test with more than 20 knife-essential, tantalizing recipes like Mango-Cucumber Salsa, Mediterranean-Style Mussels with Fennel and Tomatoes, Arroz con Pollo with Chorizo and Capers, and Bread and Butter Pudding with Rum and Crystallized Ginger.

Readers will learn what to look for when purchasing quality knives, the best culinary uses for each knife variety, as well as how to properly clean and store them. With sidebar advice from renowned chefs, including tips, tricks, and notes on their favorite knives, Knives Cooks Love is the ultimate guide to choosing and using the most important tool in the kitchen."

Knives Cooks Love Selection. Care. Techniques. Recipes.
by Sarah Jay
Hardcover: 192 Pages
Publisher: Andrews Mcmeel
Pub. Date: Nov 12, 2008
Photos: Color Photographs

Available online from Jessica's Biscuit or Sur La Table.

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And view a selection of knives is available from CHEFS and Sur La Table.

23 November 2008

Non Traditional Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Photo: Francesco Tonelli for The New York Times.

You can find a multitude of sites telling you how to cook and carve your turkey and prepare your yams and desserts for the Thanksgiving repast. For those of you who want to jazz up the fowl's accompaniments with something a little less traditional, an article for the adventurous chef, "Now, the Side Dishes: Quick and Simple or a Bit More Complex", by Kim Severson, from The New York Times is worth reading:

"As they do every year, people come to the Thanksgiving table with a wide variety of needs and expectations. Some, like the pilgrims, arrive with a sense of hope, and the energy to face something new. Others may want to hold on to tradition and avoid any extra drama."

A variety of recipes offered are worth trying with any meal.

Go to article.

17 November 2008

The Big Fat Duck Cookbook, by Heston Blumenthal

Time for some serious gastronomic reading and shopping. Not for the faint-hearted foodies, or penny-pinchers. But a great holiday gift: for that very involved food lover -- or yourself. The Big Fat Duck Cookbook, by Heston Blumenthal, has recently hit the shelves. From Jessica's Biscuit:

"Award-winning chef Heston Blumenthal's eagerly awaited The Big Fat Duck Cookbook is in. As a cookbook, this is not for the intrepid. The recipes are difficult, noteworthy for both the stunning photography and the sub-recipes within. Divided into three parts, History, Recipes, Science, The Big Fat Duck Cookbook is a glimpse into the mind of one of the world's leading chefs. As Jay Rayner wrote in The Guardian: "Blumenthal is big on the flavours of our childhood, the easiest way to open the door to our memories, and he is not afraid to investigate the emotional punch of that nostalgia through his tasting menu."

The Big Fat Duck Cookbook is the gift for the professional chef and consummate foodies we know."


The Big Fat Duck Cookbook
by Heston Blumenthal
448 Pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury Usa
Pub. Date: Oct 28, 2008
Photos: Color Photographs

Published at $250, deals abound, including Jessica's Biscuit and Barnes and Noble online.

09 November 2008

White Chocolate

White chocolate. You love it or hate it. It's chocolate. It's not chocolate. Whichever, it is a unique edible. And I enjoy it whether it's chocolate or not.

Here are a few facts from Wikipedia to help you decide:

"White chocolate is a confection of sugar, cocoa butter, and milk solids. The melting point of cocoa butter is high enough to keep white chocolate solid at room temperature, yet low enough to allow white chocolate to melt in the mouth. White chocolate thus has a texture similar to that of milk chocolate however is not technically a chocolate (see misnomers associated with white chocolate)...

...White chocolate is made of cocoa butter, milk, and sugar. Regulations also govern what may be marketed as "white chocolate": In the United States, since 2004, white chocolate must be at least 20% cocoa butter (by weight), at least 14% total milk solids, at least 3.5% milk fat, and less than 55% sugar or other sweeteners. Before this date, U.S. firms required temporary marketing permits to sell white chocolate. The European Union has adopted the same standards, except that there is no limit on sugar or sweeteners. White chocolate is made the same way as milk chocolate and dark chocolate -- the difference is the ingredients; however, because of the ingredients, many people (including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration) don't consider "white chocolate" to be chocolate at all...

...Because it does not contain any cocoa solids, one benefit of white chocolate is that it also does not contain any theobromine (Theobromine, also known as xantheose, is a bitter alkaloid of the cacao plant, found in chocolate), which means it can be consumed by individuals who must avoid theobromine for medical or religious reasons. Theobromine is only found in the cocoa solids and other ingredients of chocolate that give it the characteristic brown color. In contrast to white chocolate, dark chocolate contains the largest amount of theobromine, because it contains the largest amount of cocoa solids. The theobromine content of milk chocolate falls somewhere between white and dark chocolate."


Premium white chocolate is available in many stores or online at Hotel Chocolat.

The Urban Cookbook, by King Adz

Different approaches to food preparation, food presentation, food writing, or recipes, are some of the criteria I look for when featuring new publications. And this one, The Urban Cookbook, by King Adz, sounds intriguing enough:

"Here is an international culinary first, a cookbook with a difference: recipes to feed the creative appetite, born out of the edgy, rugged culture of the street. Jerk chicken with hot pepper gravy, Ras-elhanout lamb, Trinchada, Potjiekos, Rajad’s perfect steak: King Adz explores five of the world’s greatest cities to seek out and cook forty dishes in all.

From Paris, Berlin, and Amsterdam to London and New York, his road-trip rules were to use public transport, eat street food, and stay in cheap, locally run hotels, all of which allowed him to visit places that are seldom covered in traditional travel or food titles.

This being a cookbook unlike any other, once your appetite for food has been sated, you can go on to find all that epitomizes urban creativity through interviews with key photographers, illustrators, fashion designers, digital and street artists, skaters, DJs, club owners, musicians, street-savvy talent scouts, and Internet entrepreneurs", says Jessica's Biscuit.

The Urban Cookbook
by King Adz
Hardcover: 256 Pages
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Pub. Date: Oct 29, 2008
Photos: Color Photographs

Available online from Jessica's Biscuit and Barnes and Noble.