The O-town Scene

December 29, 2011

The O-town Scene - Oneonta, NY

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 9 of 22

Best Cookbooks of 2011 are Fun Reads Pull up a chair. This season's most appealing cookbooks are as much fun to read as they are to cook from. �The Washington Post "Plenty" by Yotam Ottolenghi This book is bristling with more purple sticky-notes than "Ruhlman's Twenty" by Michael Ruhlman "Thinking in the kitchen is underrated," says Ruhlman, who wrote an earlier book about studying at the Culinary Institute of America and has worked with Thomas Keller, the noto- rious kitchen brainiac, on his cookbooks. In chapters about 20 different ingredients or techniques, he gives advice to help us think better while cooking, as well as tips like this: "If you don't have homemade stock, use water rather than open a can of broth." That's what real chefs would do, he says. "When you cook with good ingredients, you don't need to rely on store-bought support liquids." The many useful pho- tos show how to slice onions and what they'll look like at all stages while caramelizing, among other things. 10 O-Town Scene Dec. 29, 2011 any other on my shelf. Broccoli and Gorgonzola pie. Caramelized fennel with goat cheese. Chickpea, tomato and bread soup. I've never been a big vegetable lover, alas, but (meat- eating) London chef Ottolenghi has written a veggie cookbook full of unexpected flavor combinations and lush photos. The cover shot of eggplant with buttermilk sauce topped with plump red pomegranate seeds will entice any carnivore. "Make the Bread, Buy the Butter" by Jenni- fer Reese When Reese lost her job as Entertainment Weekly's book critic, she was looking for ways to save money. Could she economize in the kitchen by making things she would normally buy: baguettes, bacon, ginger ale? She started experimenting and discovered that homemade Nutella is actually more expensive than store-bought, and "skinning hazelnuts is maddening." Bagels, on the other hand, aren't very hard to make, and they taste better than anything you can buy. "Cook This Now" by Melissa Clark Reading Clark is like having a friend in the kitchen. She begins each recipe with a mini-essay about her family. The book is arranged by season, and dishes such as white- bean stew with rosemary, garlic and farro are followed by chatty notes about what kinds of beans to use, what to do if you can't find farro, and how to change the stew into a soup. The summery crushed new potatoes and pea salad with mustard-seed dressing is a hit in my house. "The Food of Spain" by Claudia Roden The first recipe doesn't appear until page 125 of this tremendous book. Roden grew up in Cairo, the descendant of Spanish Jews who were expelled in 1492. After writing "A Book of Middle Eastern Food" and "The Book of Jewish Food," she's turned her attention to Spain, telling the story of a complex and fascinating country through its cuisine, which was strongly influenced by the Jews and Arabs who left centuries ago. Recipes like lamb stew with honey and a whole chapter on tapas will send you straight to the kitchen.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The O-town Scene - December 29, 2011