We Review the Best of the Latest Books

ISSN 1934-6557

Art of Aureole by Charlie Palmer (Ten Speed Press) Charlie Palmer burst onto the culinary scene in the mid-80s—fresh out of culinary school, having studied at the Culinary Institute of America and apprenticed at Georges Blanc in France—and almost immediately earned three stars at the River Café from the New York Times. Growing up on a farm in upstate New York , Palmer was raised on quality produce, dairy, and meats, instilling in him a passion for the best ingredients long before it was fashionable. So with an education in classic European cooking, a commitment to hand-crafted foods, and a designer’s eye for creating art on the plate, he was perfectly primed to shed new light on contemporary American cuisine. At age 28, Palmer opened Aureole in Manhattan and was instantly showered with accolades, establishing its stellar reputation on his talent for blending uptown drama with country inn warmth. Now in its fifteenth year of unflagging popularity, the Art of Aureole’s cuisine has never been more brilliant.

The book dazzles with vibrant photographic spreads and features such recipes as:

·        Octopus Terrine with Pickled Lemon Rind and Verjus Vinaigrette

·        Halibut Cheeks with Beluga Lentils and Sorrel Puree

·        Veal Short Ribs and Sauteed Sweetbreads over Porcini

·        Asparagus Ragout

·        Barbecued Quail with Chipotle Glaze

·        Tart Apple-Onion Soubise

With more than 75 signature recipes, each photographed in a bold, artful composition inspired by the character of the dish, this collection captures the enduring qualities that have made Aureole a Manhattan classic. A beautiful browsing cookbook, Art of Aureole is for the gourmet, whether a chef or a window shopper hoping to visit the restaurant in New York someday.

Tadich Grill: The Story of San Francisco 's Oldest Restaurant, With Recipes by John Briscoe with a foreword by Michael Buich (Ten Speed Press) In 1849, an unassuming coffee stand was founded on the San Francisco waterfront. Enduring earthquakes, fires, and changes of name, location, and ownership, that establishment still stands, now known as the Tadich Grill , California ’s oldest restaurant. Complete with thirty of the Tadich’s signature recipes, Tadich Grill is more the story of the restaurant than a cookbook.

Constant throughout the Tadich’s evolution has been hearty seafood and other local specialties, and the stewardship of Croatian American families. John Tadich immigrated to San Francisco in 1872 and started working at the then New World Coffee Saloon, becoming sole owner in 1887. He sold the restaurant in 1928 to the Buich family, which has carried on the Tadich tradition ever since. A destination restaurant and a local treasure, the Tadich Grill continues to evoke an old-world feel.

Open Tadich Grill to step back in time. Surrounded by warm woodwork and greeted by longtime staff, you feel old San Francisco come to life. Seated in a semi-private booth, find yourself at the same table where Clark Gable, Cary Grant, or even Joe Montana dined. And just like in the days of the forty-niners, order a classic California dish such as Hangtown Fry and Dungeness Crab Cakes. Other possibilities:

  • Prawn Saute Chardonnay with Fresh Mushrooms
  • Shrimp Creole
  • Fillet of Sole All’Agro
  • Tadich Grill Seafood Curry
  • Baked Avocado and Shrimp Diablo with Rice
  • Crab and Prawn a la Monza
  • Oysters Kirkpatrick
  • Chicken Oregano
  • Rice Custard Pudding

The story of the Tadich is inseparable from that of the city, and so Tadich Grill includes a culinary review of San Francisco from the time the restaurant was founded.  
Written by John Briscoe, a San Francisco-based attorney whose father first took him to the Tadich at the age of five, a regular for 35 years, the book contains over 100 archival photos. Evocative and nostalgic, this feels like a book that Briscoe had to write for his now deceased father “who could not take me to Tadich’s…without regaling me with the restaurant’s history.” Tadich Grill captures that history, with ambiance and flavors, presenting a warm portrait as American as the Baked Apples on the menu.

Everyday Greens: Home Cooking from Greens, the Celebrated Vegetarian Restaurant by Annie Somerville illustrated by Mayumi Oda (Scribner) San Francisco 's beloved Greens Restaurant has been in the forefront of the vegetarian cooking revolution in America going on a half-century now. Through its endlessly inventive, ever-changing menus, Greens has introduced millions of delighted fans to a sophisticated cuisine packed with transcendent, satisfying flavor. Everyday Greens is the first Greens book in a decade, and author Annie Somerville, executive chef since 1985, has written the most accessible cookbook yet.
Mixing the influences of world cuisine, whether from the
Far East , Middle East or South American, Somerville blends and melds cuisine styles with ease, drawing her inspiration from the fresh and unusual ingredients that have now become readily available.
Greens high level of texture, taste, and creativity is everywhere, but the cooking is simpler, more relaxed. Here are more than 250 of the restaurant's most popular dishes fine-tuned for the home cook in straightforward recipes for the way we live today. This is cooking for every day – from casual lunches and quick weeknight meals to family feasts and elegant entertaining. There are main-dish salads; soups that make a meal; rustic ragoûts; satisfying stews; vegetables on the grill; quick stir-fries; casseroles layered with flavor; innovative side dishes; pizzas, tortilla dishes, and savory tarts; pastas and risottos; warm beans and grains; sandwiches; salsas; pickles; and the famous Greens desserts. 
The heart of Everyday Greens is to use the best, freshest ingredients – whether from the grocery store or your local farmers' market. Advice on finding and preparing these ingredients is combined with restaurant tips that simplify work in the kitchen. Through clever use of the freezer and pantry, Somerville shows how to minimize prep time with make-ahead dishes and born-again leftovers. Special features include pairing wine with Greens food; advice on stocking the pantry with Asian ingredients, cooking oils, and dessert-making essentials; a resource guide for locally made cheeses; and the Kitchen Tool Box, located at the back of the book, a decidedly low-tech list of invaluable equipment. A final section on worm composting brings everything back to the source, the earth, and is sure to delight the passionate gardener. 
Readers have loved Somerville 's warm, inspiring, friend-in-the-kitchen style. And Everyday Greens is more personal – so confidence-building that even beginners will want to dash into the kitchen and start cooking.

The Best of Gourmet: Featuring the Flavors of San Francisco by Magazine Editors Gourmet Magazine (Random House) Good ideas are hard to come by, especially when dinner should have been on the table ten minutes ago. Month after month, readers rely on Gourmet, the magazine, for quick solutions as well as planned feasts. The Best of Gourmet is a collection of 33 menus and more than 325 recipes that were created in Gourmet’s test kitchens during 2002.
As well-traveled foodies know, some of the most exciting, culturally diverse fare in
America can be found in San Francisco . Gourmet’s food editors gathered there to taste their way from one ethnic community to another in preparation for this year’s Cuisines of the World section. One was inspired by the Northern Italian dishes of North Beach to create an ambitious San Francisco Celebration. Her menu includes clams oreganata; pansoti (“little bellies” ravioli) with a rich cured ham, caramelized onion, and walnut filling; roasted leg of lamb infused with little pockets of garlic, fresh thyme, and rosemary; baby bell peppers stuffed with onions, anchovies, cheese, and capers; and finally – fluffy ovals of meringue with pistachio custard and chocolate drizzle.
Another envisioned the high life of
San Francisco from the glamorous detective films of the 1930s. Her Food Noir menu pays homage to the classics with some modern twists. Along with the Martinis and rumaki (broiled bacon-wrapped chicken livers) are beef tenderloin studded with pancetta, rum currant ice cream, and cinnamon chocolate “cigarette” cookies, plus a few surprise recipes from San Francisco, including Irish coffee, crab Louis, and chop suey, as well as a cooking primer on the artichoke.
The Menu Collection offers more year-round inspirations, for example:

  • Weekend in the Country – kale and white been soup, baked eggs and mushrooms in ham crisps, brined pork chops, cheddar shortcakes with corned beef hash
  • Tropic of Casual – island rum punch and coconut shrimp with tamarind ginger sauce
  • Sizzle in the City – grilled matambre (spinach-and-carrot-stuffed flank steak), key lime cheesecake with mango ribbons
  • Out of Africa – braised chicken and vegetables in peanut sauce, mango fool
  • The Art of Cool - steamed corn custards with crab, sushi-roll rice salad, green tea ice cream
From Gourmet’s kitchen to yours, The Best of Gourmet can be a source for new cooking ideas. The themed approach is entertaining, and with more than 120 full-color photographs, the reader is invited to “just open the book or turn to the index and let the inspiration begin.

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