Friday, September 18, 2009

Recommended Reading

Dear Mailman,

You hold my nerves on end. Your 9-5 brings citizens pain, joy & junk. But when that brown package decorates my doorstep, I dismiss pain & junk.

The bills can wait and so can Puff Daddy's sample fragrance (although jet-skiing in a tuxedo while naming your cologne after Martin Luther King Jr. is quite intriguing). My latest arrival is Rick Stein's Complete Seafood. A complete and thorough guide to preparing, cooking and serving fish and seafood. The past 4 books purchased have been my most helpful culinary guidelines. Oprah may or may not agree, but I'm pretty sure these are some of the top books of the past few years.

Alinea Grant Achatz
This restaurant in Chicago has been at the forefront of "molecular gastronomy" and at the forefront of labeling it a misnomer. Yes, it is kind of a tired term. It's just food, folks. The difference here is experience and presentation and, in my opinion, Achatz does it the best. Proven more by releasing a cookbook to show that plenty of these can be done at home. Although a lot of recipes call for acetate, liquid nitrogen, Ultra-Tex 3 and sodium alginate (to name a few) there's plenty to attempt with common ingredients. I never really try full recipes from this book (or usually any book) but it's great for learning new techniques and turning your brain on it's side. (I'm also working on a list of places to buy these supposed far-fetched ingredients sans the internet). Plus, visually it makes a great coffee table read. Some of the best dishes I've ever witnessed.

Happy In The Kitchen Michel Richard
Michel clearly has a unique and dedicated love for his craft. This book has an easy playfulness with such dishes as "Low Carb-o-nara", "Virtual Eggs" and "Carrot Risotto". But every recipe i've tried from this book has turned out pretty successful. I mean it got me out of the weeds with my short rib problem. Plus, the "Faux Gras" is a great cheaper pate that is delicious (it also calls for a whole stick of butter)

Complete Seafood Rick Stein
Just received this one. I knew I had to purchase this immediately after flipping through it at the bookstore. It's one of the handiest fish and seafood guides I've ever seen. Thorough in it's visual demonstration, it even breaks down the break down of different fish for different use (broiled, raw, grilled, baked, wrapped in puff pastry) plus a complete index of where the seafood swims and it's visual identification.

On The Line Eric Ripert
Another sea-centric recipe log with half the book dedicated to the flow of an upscale, Michelin-rated, well-tuned professional kitchen. (Not just any, Eric has been acclaimed by most to be the best seafood chef in the world). Aligned with the dish conception process and a typical day, well, on the line. But besides that the recipes are awesome. Almost overwhelming, you don't know where to start. Every dish seems meticulously well-crafted and goes through many mouths before reaching the diners'. This kind of attention to detail is the greatest part of Ripert's rapport.

Other selections to soon be delivered by you: Charcuterie Michael Ruhlman, Michael Mina Cook Book Michael Mina, Under Pressure Thomas Keller, Il Viaggio Di Vetri Vetri/Joachim

Thank you, postal provider. Someday I'll invite you in for dinner.



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