After taking a trip around the world in yesterday five different cookbooks, today’s post features an eclectic mix of American based cuisine. Ranging from the critically acclaimed chef Marc Forgione to the down home cooking of Lisa Fain and her Homesick Texan’s Family Table cookbook each cookbooks has a mix of various different approaches to cooking and subject matter.
At the end of this post there are instructions on how you can win the Marc Forgione cookbook, generously supplied by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.[This giveaway is over!]
If you follow celebrity chefs at all, you are probably familiar with Marc Forgione, winner of season 3 of The Next Iron Chef. Those who live in New York may have dined at his eponymous restaurant or at least heard about the infamous story of how he kicked out a New York Times writer from his restaurant. But beyond all the hullaballoo and hype lies a great chef who creates even greater food. With his eponymous named cookbook Marc Forgione, this cookbook seems to be made for the home kitchen, unlike some restaurant and chef cookbooks. The recipes are approachable, the majority of ingredients (mostly) available at a well-stocked grocery store and the instructions written in a way that (gasp) are actually understandable. This is probably no doubt because of the collaboration with Olga Massov, the woman behind the critically acclaimed blog Sassy Radish and co-author of the book. Chock full of great recipes and solid techniques (how to truss a chicken is full explained with process photos for instance) this cookbook is not just any restaurant vanity project cookbook but a go-to reference guide for creating restaurant quality meals.
I often feel like lunch is the overlooked meal, one that is overshadowed by dinner (the meal you go out on dates with at the fancy restaurant) or breakfast (which, as everyone will tell you, is the most important meal of the day even though most of us just grab a bagel to go). But lunch, the meal that you often eaten at your work desk at work (cheap sandwich) doesn’t get the same sort of love. Enter Gale Gand’s Lunch. Full of great simple meal ideas (most of which would frankly also be suitable for dinner as well), Lunch is the sort of cookbook that you can reach for when you want to make an easy meal with minimal effort and basic ingredients. I’m especially fond of the little side bars that she includes for each dish, that tells you how to expand the one dish meal with various packing suggestions (combine two easy to pack dishes to make a greater complex meal at work) or how to eat it at home or expand it to become a multi-dish meal with dessert. No more deli sandwiches for me!
You don’t get more down home and comfort food than Texan cuisine and Lisa Fain of The Homesick Texan blog knows that. A transplanted Texan living in New York, Lisa has been sharing her love of her state’s food with her nationally recognized blog since 2005 (that’s ancient in the blogging world!). From the blog came two cookbooks including her second one, The Homesick Texan Family Table which features some the sort of food that you just can’t wait to dive into. Don’t expect fancy food or complicated recipes with this book, but do expect the sort of comfortable cuisine that you might get at a family dinner made from your best friend who grew up in Texas. Chipotle Blue Cheese Wedge Salad, Pico De Gallo Deviled Eggs, Pollo Asado are all recipes that look easy enough to make but fun enough to serve for a dinner party. There’s nothing in this cookbook that pushes the boundaries of contemporary cuisine, but sometimes the best recipe are those that you grew up with.
I’ve been a long time fan of James Peterson, having referenced his book Baking when I’m looking for a basic understanding of how certain recipes work, as well as his classic book Sauces which covers nearly every sauce out there. So I was thrilled to get his most recent book Done. A Cook’s Guide to Knowing when Food is Perfectly Cooked. With basic commonsense tips like covering the breast of the roast chicken with aluminum foil for a short time to keep it from overcooking (why has that never occurred to me before?) to making sure your aromatic vegetables are cut small when you roast a rack of lamb because it cooks fast, this book is destined to be a great go-to reference guide on how to properly cook everything to perfection. Of course, for experienced cooks in the kitchen, this book may be too basic (your fried chicken is brown on the inside but the inside is still raw? Then your oil is too hot.) but for those who still need a little help in the kitchen, or for that college kid who is just moving into his or her first apartment, this could be an invaluable resource to have on the shelf.
Of course, once you mastered making food in the kitchen, you need to learn how to make a decent cocktail at your bar right? Enter The Bar Book by Jeffery Morgenthaler with Martha Holmberg. More than just a collection of recipes for cocktails, this book is technique-driven, showing how to properly juice your citrus, what an infusion is and what the purpose of that egg white foam is on top of the cocktail. For anyone that aspires to make something more than a rum and coke this book is the one you want to impress your guests and win the admiration of your significant other. No other cocktail book that I’ve run across has this much in-depth description of the science and technique of making alcoholic mixed drinks. Now everyone can start calling themselves a mixologist (actually don’t. I hate that term).
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (home of my future cookbook in Fall 2016) has generously offered to give away a copy of the Marc Forgione cookbook to one lucky reader. To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment below and tell me what your favorite American dish is! Personally I’m a fan of biscuits and gravy but I’ll also have been known to order chicken fried steak when the opportunity presents itself. Just don’t make me choose between the two.[This giveaway is closed and over! Thank you!] The fine print – PLEASE READ
By leaving a comment below to enter, you are agreeing to the Official Rules.
▪ NO PURCHASE NECESSARY
▪ VOID WHERE PROHIBITED
▪ You must be over the age of 18.
▪ This contest is only open to U.S. Citizens. Sorry non-US people!
▪ The contest starts as of today, and will run until Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 9am PST.
▪ The retail value of Marc Forgione is $40.
▪ The winner will be chosen by a randomly selected comment. All comments will be numbered and I will use Random.org to pick a random number.
▪ The number of eligible comments below determines the odds of winning.
▪ If there’s a problem with contacting the winner, I reserve the right to award everything to someone else randomly chosen. So in other words, make sure you type in your correct email address if you want the membership and respond within a week to me when I contact you or I’ll give everything to someone else.
▪ The prize is being delivered directly from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. If they have not delivered the prize to you within three weeks of me notifying you of winning, please reach out to me again and I will do follow up to make sure everything is OK. Please keep in mind we are all human and things happen. I will do everything within my power to make sure the prize is delivered in a timely manner.
Special thanks to Chronicle Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Ten Speed Press for review copies of the books in this post. Though they provided the books complimentary, I was not monetarily compensated for this post and all opinions above are my own.
This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through the links above (with no added cost to you). If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the book yourself and purchase it that way.