Wednesday, February 27, 2008
(Whitecap, 2007, 160 pages, ISBN 978-1-55285-897-4, $35 soft covers) is
by David Adjey, a consulting chef on the ever-popular "Restaurant
Makeover". He has also appeared on other Food Network shows. He was
once Dan Aykroyd's personal chef, and Dan has endorsed the book. He
begins by stating "I dissect and explain each dish as comprised of
building blocks, each hidden within the finished dish". Exploring this
way will allow you to start from the centre (the principle) and work
out to the garnish, the vegetable, and the sauce. Adjey also promotes
12 rules, one of which is "Cook from a different region in the world at
least once a week". He has the book arranged from Fall to Summer. These
are all complex flavours, not for the faint of heart. Nor are they
quick and easy. You'll need to put some work into it. And that's a good
thing, for spin-offs and variations will later come to you. He has 40
mains and accompaniments or garnishes; there are no apps or desserts.
Ingredients are expressed in both US and metric forms. He has a
glossary and basic recipes for stocks.
Audience and level of use: other chefs, those looking for a challenge.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: duck twofer (roasted breast
and confit leg); grouper, yellow pepper, purple potato, pink
grapefruit; oxtail, red wine ragout, butternut squash ravioli, fried
parsley; turkey, oyster bread pudding, lima beans, white gravy; ancho
rabbit, pozole-poblano stew, epazote-hominy ensalada.
The downside to this book: some may decry the lack of apps and
The upside to this book: there is excellent photography, particularly
on building the dish and plating presentation.
Quality/Price Rating: 90.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
The Event: Cuvee Tasting of top scoring wines submitted to Cuvee from each
The Venue: BMO Strathcona Room, 68th Floor
The Target Audience: wine media
The Availability/Catalogue: all wines are available at the respective
winery. Some wines may be available through Vintages.
The Quote: "Corks still dominate as closures go, but it was gratifying to
see that there were very few corked wines."
The Wines: There were about 60 wines, three bottles of each. The tasting
also included seven wines from past award winners in celebration of the 20th
Anniversary of Cuvee. They had all aged very well. The best of these were
Cave Spring Off Dry Riesling 2003, Lakeview Cellars Chardonnay Reserve Vinc
Vineyard 2000, and the Pillitteri Estates Cabernet Franc Family Reserve 2002
**** Four Stars (90 - 93 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Cave Spring Gewurztraminer 2006 $19.95
-Chateau des Charmes Equuleus (50%CS/25%CF/25%M) $40
-Creekside Estate Reserve Meritage 2004 (55%CS/45%M) $34
-Featherstone Estate Bottled Gewurztraminer 2007 $18.95
-Fielding Estate Meritage Reserve 2005 (58%CS/24%CF/18%M) $35
-Hillebrand Trius White 2006 (33%Ge/29%R/27%PG/11%Ch) $18.95
-Inniskillin Montague Vineyard Chardonnay 2006 $18.30
-Niagara College Teaching Winery Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2006 $19.15
-Peninsula Ridge Fume Blanc 2006 $26.95
-Royal DeMaria Muscat Ottonel Icewine 2004 $279.95
-Stoney Ridge Estate Winemaker's Reserve Cabernet Franc 2004 $49.95
-13th Street Funk Blanc de Noir 2000 [sparkler] $40
-30 Bench Benchmark Red 2005 (50%CS/30%M/20%CF) $60
*** Three Stars (86 - 89 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Alvento Winery Elige 2005 (72%CS/28%CF) $29.80
-Birchwood Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 (85.5%CS/14.5%Zweigelt) $12.65
-Colio Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2006 $15.95 ++VALUE++
-Flat Rock Cellars Nadja's Vineyard Riesling 2006 $19.95
-Henry of Pelham Reserve Riesling 2006 $14.95
-Hernder Estate Riesling 2006 $10.95 ++VALUE++
-Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Proprietor's Grand Reserve White Meritage
2006 (87%SB/13%Se) $24.55
-Lailey Vineyard Old Vine Chardonnay Niagara River 2006 $29.95
-Maleta Estate Meritage 2005 (60%CF/40%CS) $29.95
-Mike Weir Estate Cabernet Shiraz 2005 (75%CS/25%Sh) $17.95
-Mountain Road Unoaked Chardonnay 2005 $14.95 ++VALUE++
-Peller Estates Signature Series Ice Cuvee Rose NV [sparkler]
(55%Ch/35%PN/10%CF, with Vidal Icewine as dosage) $35
-Stonechurch Riesling Dry 2006 (90%R/8%Ge/2%Muscadet) $12.95
The Food: upscale sandwiches, salads, grilled veggies, cookies and tarts,
The Downside: once again, I got lost finding the right bank of elevators.
The Upside: a great chance to taste some potentially award-winning Cuvee
wines and possible Ontario Wine Award winners.
The Contact Person: email@example.com
The Effectiveness (numerical grade): 91.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
The Event: Return to Terroir organic/biodynamic wine tasting, trade
component. The group was founded by Nicholas Joly, who also presented a
seminar on the urgent need for biodynamics. This was part of a world-wide
tour, which included Vancouver, Montreal, Los Angeles, Oslo, Madrid,
Düsseldorf, Verona, Bordeaux and Tokyo.
The Venue: Fermenting Cellar, Distillery District.
The Target Audience: wine trade, sommeliers, importers, wine press.
The Availability/Catalogue: it was a bit of a curate's egg - some parts of
the show were excellent; others were inconvenient and time-consuming. The
catalogue was extensive, with notes on each winery, with names of
principals, addresses, etc. But no wines were listed (and of course, no
terms of availability, no vintage years, no prices, etc.). It was a drag to
have to write it all down. I may have skipped the vintage years since just
about everything was recent. I certainly skipped recording the ABV since
that figure could be anywhere on the label and I was not about to go
scrounging - lack of time. The other drawbacks on the catalogue: the tables
were numbered, but the number was not the same as the page number in the
book! Also, what passed for page numbers in the book was white on black in
small typeface. The room was darkish, so it was hard to see even at the best
of times. I was not alone with this concern... We had three hours for the
show, but we were not told that we could have stayed longer - and tasted
right through to 8 PM. Consequently, I did not get around to tasting
everything. Kudos to The Merchant Vintner (Zind-Humbrecht) for having the
best walkaway notes: extensive background to the four wines, prices,
availability, vintages, etc. Other well-placed notes came from Frog's Leap,
Benziger, Cascina degli Ulivi, and Albet i Noya (Vinexx). I was disappointed
that no wines from Ontario, PQ or BC were displayed, nor were there any
wines from South Africa and Chile. But I guess these countries' wineries are
not members of the group? This was a group function, not an
organic/biodynamic roundup trade show. You had to be a member of the group
The Quote: from a consumer in the evening, "Is this wine organic?" Duh...
The Wines (not in any order):
**** Four Stars (90 - 93 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
- Domaine Cazes 2005 Ego Languedoc-Roussillion ($15 Vintages Fall)
- Domaine Cazes 2005 Alter Languedoc-Roussillion (P.O)
- Montirius Vacqueyras Le Clos 2005 ($29.95, Vintages Oct 2008)
- Tres Sabores Porque? No? 2004 Napa ($30)
- Tres Sabores Zinfandel 2004 Rutherford ($39)
- Tres Sabores Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 Napa ($60)
- Descendientes de J. Palacios Villa de Corullon 2005 Bierzo Spain ($63,
- Descendientes de J. Palacios Las Lama 2005 Bierzo Spain ($175, Woodman)
- Alvaro Palacios Finca Dofi 2005 Priorat ($89, Woodman)
- Domaine Josmeyer Riesling 2001 Alsace ($45)
- Champagne Fleury Brut NV ($80)
- Domaine Valentin Zusslin Riesling Grand Cru 2004 ($56.95)
- Albet i Noya Xarel-Lo Classic 2007 Penedes ($15, P.O. Vinexx)
- Compania de Vinos Telmos Rodriguez Altos de Lanzaga 2004 Rioja Alavesa
- Zind-Humbrecht Riesling Gueberschwihr ($39.65, +686246, also in half
- Zind-Humbrecht Gewurztraminer Herrenweg de Turckheim ($43.60, +993352)
- Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris Rangen de Thann Clos-Saint-Urbain ($89.25,
- Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris Clos Jebsal Vendage Tardive ($57, +70250 the
- Domaine Hauvette Les Baux Rouge 2004 Provence ($45)
*** Three Stars (86 - 89 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
- Albet i Noya La Milana 2005 Penedes ($29, P.O. Vinexx)
- Montirius Gigondas 2005 Terre des Aines ($34.95, Diamond Estates)
- Montirius Garrigues 2005 ($24.95, Diamond Estates)
- Castagna Vineyard Genesis Syrah 2004 ($94.20, +53298)
- Castagna Vineyard Genesis Syrah 2005 ($99)
- Castagna Vineyard Un Segreto Sangiovese/Syrah ($110)
- Domaine Marcel Diess Burg 2004 Alsace ($63)
- Domaine Marcel Diess Altenberg de Bergheim 2004 ($93)
- Domaine Marcel Diess Mambourg 2004 ($109)
- Chateau Romanin La Chapelle Romanin 2004 Provence ($21)
- Domaine du Traginer Cuvee Capates 2004 Languedoc-Roussillion ($70,
- Compania de Vinos Telmos Rodriguez Matallana Tempranillo 2004 Ribera del
- Frog's Leap Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 Rutherford ($99)
- Domaine du Coulet Cornas 2006 Billes Roires (?)
- Domaine de Villeneuve Les Vieilles Vignes Chateauneuf-du Pape 2005 ($42.70
licensees, Small Winemakers Collection)
The Food: the food stations were grouped together, except for one. They were
all excellent, with food and service from a variety of organic places about
Toronto: The Healthy Butcher (beef appetizers), Beretta Farms (ham and
chicken open face sandwiches), About Cheese-Provincial Fine Foods (four raw
cow milk cheeses, two of them organic), JK Restaurants (soup), and Czechoski
The Downside: the catalogue had no wines listed.
The Upside: it was a pretty fair turnout for a trade show on a Saturday.
Many people were actually well-dressed in the afternoon.
The Contact Person: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Effectiveness (numerical grade): 87 (it would have been higher with a
better catalogue - this score is, after all, all about "effectiveness").
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
everyone's favorite food (John Wiley, 2007, 276 pages, ISBN 978-0-470-
04282-3, $41.99 hard covers) is by James Villas, who was the food and
wine editor of "Town & Country" magazine for 27 years. He has won 2
Beards for journalism, and has authored innumerable cookbooks. Villas
is a specialist in Southern cuisine. The first principle here is that
bacon makes every meal better. 168 recipes are claimed here, and they
are largely French Provencal, Japanese, and other regions of the world.
All courses are covered, such as breakfast, lunch, dinner, and
desserts. Artisanal bacons are also covered, but there is nothing on
Berkshire pigs, the latest hot hog in North America. Basics are
covered, such as how bacon is produced and different international
styles from Europe, North America and China (lop yuk). The preps are
arranged by course, from apps to desserts. Most use bacon as a
substantial ingredient, not just as a flavouring. Both mail order
sources and measurements are US only.
Audience and level of use: ham and bacon lovers.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: zapallo calabaza; tarte a la
flamme; tourtiere; adobo; Serbian bacon, bean, and cabbage soup; Santa
Fe venison sausage and Canadian bacon stew; chocolate truffles and
The downside to this book: there are no conversion charts, nor any
mention of Berkshire.
The upside to this book: a single ingredient book is always welcomed.
Quality/Price Rating: 90.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
wine bottle (Scribner, 2007, 278 pages, ISBN 978-0-7432-9934-3, $26US hard
covers) is by George M. Taber, author of "Judgment of Paris" a book of the
year in 2006 for Decanter magazine. And hopefully, this current book too
will also be a Book of the Year. It is the first really significant wine
book to come along in quite some time. Here is this history of sealing
bottles, how cork was discovered, how corks are made, and why corks are
possibly the best and most effective stoppers of all. If it weren't for the
TCA and chlorine compounds, life would be jolly. But it isn't. Taber goes
into the reasons for cork's sudden rise in 2,4,6,-TCA levels, as well as
other chlorine goodies. Modernization has killed the old fashioned cork.
First, the musty taste and smell from TCA's reaction to
chlorine-as-sterlizer. Second, oxidation resulted from the new bottling
lines, which demanded speed for efficiency (they put silicone finishes on
corks in order to quickly seal a bottle, but the finish created gaps
allowing wine to be exposed to air). Both of these increase defective wines
to about 15% of the total. Yet about 10% is the profit margin, and wineries
lost money here. Taber examines the Portuguese cork industry, with its lack
of quality control in the early 1970s after the revolution. He looks at new
closures such as plastic corks and Corq, glass, screw caps (and the various
liners needed), and Zorks. The first test of screw caps for wine was at
Davis in 1950. Essentially, though, it all came down to marketing. Plastic
corks were more acceptable to consumers than screw caps - and they still
are. There is a concluding bibliography (but no end notes) and an index.
Audience and level of use: people who like to read about wine and the
Some interesting or unusual facts: TCA was first identified and named in
1981. A solution was possible, but Taber says that the Portuguese ignored
the problem, hoping that it would go away. They were also afraid that if
they examined their corks, too many of the corks would be rejected.
The downside to this book: a few niggling errors (Gall sold Hearty Burgundy
at retail in five-gallon jugs? Maybe 5 litre jugs. Tin capsules? Maybe lead
capsules for a 1961 Grand Cru Bordeaux. And others...Also, there was no
mention of the "Riesling with a Twist Campaign". The index is not as
comprehensive as one would hope. If you wanted to know about New Zealand
screwcap activities (and there are two whole chapters on this), you'd never
know from the index since there is no entry for New Zealand or any
initiatives. It has all been located within the "screwcap" entry, which is a
long series of sub-entries.
The upside to this book: a well-written, fascinating account of an
Quality/Price Rating: 98.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
3155-0, $25 paper covers) has been edited by the late Michael Jackson
(he died in August, 2007), the world's leading writer on beer. He was a
multiple-award winning specialist on barley, for he also wrote about
whiskies. The book is an "illustrated portable guide to global beers".
Jackson only goes after the best beers and the top producers, and
furnishes extensive tasting notes. There's material on beer styles and
history (lager, ale, porter, krieks, etc.), how to taste and enjoy a
beer, beer and food matching, and a glossary of terms. That leaves 210
pages for beers of the world. The Czech Republic, Germany, Belgium, and
the UK get the most space. Beers are arranged alphabetically within
countries. Each brewer gets a name entry, address, website, short
history-description, and a tasting note for one or more beer styles.
There are 18 breweries listed for Canada, from Amsterdam, Big Rock,
Brick, McAuslan, Moosehead, and Wellington among others. Illustrations
are colourful, and feature mainly bottles, labels, and adverts.
Audience and level of use: beer drinkers who read.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: the TN for Bud - "sweet,
grainy nose, with green apples, a light balanced body, but without
The downside to this book: major producers include Budweiser and
Miller, and they are here, adding nothing to the book.
The upside to this book: comprehensive and illustrative.
Quality/Price Rating: 90.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
The Event: Southbrook/Lailey Chardonnay Vertical Tasting
The Venue: Ontario Wine Society at U of T Faculty Club
The Target Audience: OWS members and guests. Fifty people attended.
The Availability/Catalogue: we tasted eight wines, four from Lailey
(2000-2006) and four from Southbrook (1997-2000). These are wines from two
different wineries, but using the same grape source (Lailey Vineyards) and
the same winemaker, Derek Barnett (for vintage 2000, he made the Southbrook
Chardonnay but did not bottle it). Both Derek and Bill Redelmeier
(Southbrook) commented on the wines. All wines were basically treated the
same way: French oak, barrel fermentation, barrel aging, and malo-lactic
The Quote: "Lailey Vineyards' chardonnay grapes have been growing since
1973, and they have achieved Old Vine status. But with the 2003 and 2005
vintages, a lot of the old vines died [Lailey lost 85% of all their vines in
2005], but they are being replaced."
The Wines: we began with some wines at the reception, mostly off-dry, such
as a Chardonnay Musque (too sweet), Pelee Island, Calamus, DeSousa Vidal,
etc, to a total of 9 wines. My fave - and driest - was the Hillebrand 2005
Sauvignon Blanc Barrel Aged. Here were the wines tasted; we did them all
blind (although by taste and sight it was pretty easy to figure out what the
years were; the best comparison was with the two 2000 wines as they came
from the same vineyard). We tasted them in the following order (and I was
able to guess them all except for two which I had reversed - I even managed
to distinguish between the two 2000 bottles. Write me and I'll tell you how
I did it):
* Lailey Chardonnay 2006 (not yet released, coming to Vintages in September
2008, $29.95): muted nose but full flavours, some acidity showing but not
yet balanced. Fresh fruit. QPR: 88.
* Lailey Chardonnay 2004 ($39.95, 65 cases made): good nose, toast and
butter, a bit shrill or bitter on the finish, suggesting more food than
sipping. QPR: 89.
* Southbrook Chardonnay 2000 ($33.95): new oak lends butter and
butterscotch, rich, full, voluptuous, balanced. QPR: 90.
* Lailey Chardonnay 2000 ($39.95): mute nose, good mouth feel, longer
length, some finishing acid demands food. Young at heart. No new oak. QPR:
* Lailey Chardonnay 2002 ($39.95): yellow sight, some age showing, buttery,
developing well, balance, overall a good wine. QPR: 91.
* Southbrook Chardonnay 1997 (magnum, n/a): gold sight, old, marmalade (some
said madeirized, and that could be with some bottles), chunky. QPR: 85.
* Southbrook Chardonnay 1998 (magnum, n/a): well-rounded and balanced,
off-dry smoothness, integrated, overripe tropicality, high alcohol, sort of
like California. QPR: 92. (my fave)
* Southbrook Chardonnay 1999 (magnum, n/a): cream, good length and detail,
an elegant wine, suggests food, a bit perfumed in that typical Ontario
taste. QPR: 88.
The Food: buns, polenta parcels and fish cakes to start, followed by penne
in a cheese and cream sauce.
The Downside: attendance was lower than I expected, given the price and the
quality of the wines, but I heard that some members just don't like white
The Upside: a great chance to taste these wines - verticals and commonalties
are hard to find any more in the local wine scene.
The Contact Person: www.ontariowinesociety.com
The Effectiveness (numerical grade): 91.
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Actually, they've been around for many years, but never in such
proliferation. They are automatic sellers, since the book can be flogged at
the restaurant and since the chef ends up being a celebrity somewhere, doing
guest cooking or catering or even turning up on the Food Network. Most of
these books will certainly appeal to fans of the chef and/or the restaurant.
Many of the recipes in these books actually come off the menus of the
restaurants involved. Occasionally, there will be, in these books, special
notes or preps, or recipes for items no longer on the menu. Stories or
anecdotes will be related to the history of a dish. But because most of
these books are American, they use only US volume measurements for the
ingredients; sometimes there is a table of metric equivalents, but more
often there is not. I'll try to point this out. The usual schtick is
"favourite recipes made easy for everyday cooks". There is also PR copy on
"demystifying ethnic ingredients". PR bumpf also includes much use of the
magic phrase "mouth-watering recipes" as if that is what it takes to sell
such a book. I keep hearing from readers, users, and other food writers that
some restaurant recipes (not necessarily from these books) don't seem to
work, but how could that be? They all claim to be kitchen tested for the
home, and many books identify the food researcher by name. Most books are
loaded with tips, techniques, and advice, as well as gregarious stories
about life in the restaurant world. Photos abound, usually of the chef
bounding about. But of course there are a lot of food shots, verging on
gastroporn. The endorsements are from other celebrities in a magnificent
case of logrolling. If resources are cited, they are usually American mail
order firms, with websites. Some companies, though, will ship around the
world, so don't ignore them altogether. Here's a rundown on the latest crop
of such books -
13. ELIZABETH FALKNER'S DEMOLITION DESSERTS; recipes from Citizen Cake (Ten
Speed Press, 2007, 230 pages, ISBN 978-1-58008-781-0, $35US hard covers) is
by the chef/owner of Citizen Cake, Citizen Cupcake, and Orson in San
Francisco. She was a pastry chef of the year in 2006 (Bon Appetit), and has
appeared regularly on the Food Network, including "Iron Chef America".
Notable log rollers for the book include Mario Batali and four other chefs.
But why also Robin Williams? Here are 65 or so dessert recipes, with lots of
colour photography for the preps and (too many) location shots. The 10
anime-style sequences can appeal to a young audience; they illustrate key
techniques and ingredient information throughout the book. Most of the preps
are elaborate and somewhat complex, but they have been adapted to home
kitchens. Each comes with a preparation timeline for organization and mise
en place, and there is also a "minimalist" version for those who are pressed
for time. Commercial chefs scale everything by weight. Falkner lists both
home cooking volumes and scaling for the ingredients, and this is a good
thing, since only scaling is accurate. Thus, under apple galettes, we read
that you can prepare the puff pastry up to one month in advance, make the
caramel sauce one week in advance, and what to do just before serving. The
minimalist version suggests making strip tarts rather than the puff pastry.
For the ingredients, you'll need 2 cups (or 10 ounces) of flour, 12
tablespoons (6 ounces) of cold unsalted butter, etc. She opens the book
with - what else? - chocolate chip cookies. She follows with chocolate
desserts, fruit, cupcakes, "classics", and heavy construction and layering.
The publisher has a metric conversion chart at the back. Check out
Quality/Price Rating: 90.
14. THE TEXAS HILL COUNTRY COOKBOOK; a taste of Provence (ThreeForks, 2008;
distr. Canadian Manda Group, 162 pages, ISBN 978-0-7627-4375-9, $24.95 US
hard covers) is by Scott Cohen, executive chef of Las Canarias and Pesca on
the River, both in San Antonio. Co-author Marian Betancourt is a freelance
food writer with an immense string of credits to her name. Notable
logrollers include Jacques Pepin and Ed Brown (Eight One Restaurant in NYC).
After 15 years in New York (this after a stagiaire in France), Cohen moved
out to Texas. Here they present about 100 recipes derived from his two
places, and they are reflective of the landscape. But I rather think that it
more Sonoma than Provence, since many of the dishes had that Southwest
flavour. Typical dishes include black olive tapenade with pickled nopalitos,
tuna tartare with sesame seeds and serrano, squash blossom roasted corn
huitacoche soup, red snapper cioppino, pissaladiere with goat cheese,
cauliflower mashes with mexican oregano. There is the usual equipment and
pantry inventory advice, condiments, sources in the surrounding Texas Hill
country area, and a metric conversion table. This is reliable and do-able
cooking. Quality/Price Rating: 89.
15. THE BOSTON CHEF'S TABLE; the best in contemporary cuisine (ThreeForks,
2008; distr. Canadian Manda Group, 234 pages, ISBN 978-0-7627-4514-2, $24.95
US hard covers) has been assembled by Clara Silverstein, a former food
writer with the Boston Herald. She has collected and highlighted over 100
recipes from chefs in the Boston area, including Todd English, Jasper White,
and Lydia Shire. Chapters are arranged by course (appetizers to desserts and
brunch), and the recipes - of course - have been modified for home use. Each
prep gets an entry for the restaurant, along with names and addresses and
web sites. Sometimes cook's notes are offered. And there is always a
mini-profile of the establishment, sometime with a photo. Thus, for New
England cheese pie there is an entry for Meritage at the Boston Harbor
Hotel, under Executive Chef Daniel Bruce. There's lobster and sweet potato
cakes from Ned Devine's at Faneuil Hall, scallops with turnip puree from
Blu, beet and kale risotto from L'Espalier, and baked lemon pudding from
Locke-Ober. Restaurants and recipes are indexed together, and there is a
metric conversion chart for the US measurements. Quality/Price rating: 90.
16. BISTRO LAURENT TOURONDEL; new American bistro cooking (John Wiley, 2008,
286 pages, ISBN 978-0-471-75883-9, $34.95US hard covers) is by the eponymous
Executive Chef who has more than six restaurants in the US. He was named
Restaurateur of the Year for 2007 by Bob Appetit. Food author Michele
Scicolone is the co-writer. Noted logrollers include the usual team of
Batali and Flay. Here, Tourondel has 150 recipes derived from his
restaurants, which have been described as "traditional French bistro with
the a la carte options of an American steakhouse." An initial response might
be: "how thrilling!" But ultimately this is global fusion cuisine with a
multiplicity of flavours centered around a core of meat or seafood tones.
The range, and table of contents, moves from appetizers through to desserts:
grilled white asparagus, egg, prosciutto, black truffle vinaigrette; green
papaya chicken salad; spicy curry duck noodles; potato-watercress soup, blue
cheese and bacon; roasted cod fish, herb-bacon crust; dried apricot bread
pudding. US volume measurements for each ingredient are used, but there is
no table of metric equivalents (except for oven temperatures). He has a
special section on techniques, but there are still too many extraneous
photos of the chef and his resto at work. Wine suggestions and cook's tips
are exceedingly useful. Mail order sources are all US, mostly within
striking distance of New York City. Quality/Price rating: 87.
17. NEW WORLD PROVENCE; modern French cooking for friends and family
(Arsenal Pulp Books, 2007, 216 pages, ISBN 978-1-55152-223-4, $22.95US soft
covers) is by the husband-and-wife team of Alessandra and Jean-Francis
Quaglia. They met while working at restos in Nice. They opened their first
Provence restaurant in Vancouver in 1997, and their second in 2002. Here are
130 healthy and simple recipes based on their resto menus. Antipasti comes
first (I'm allowing that word since the Italians were all over Provence
before the French were), followed by appetizers and the rest of the courses.
For some reason, there is a chapter on Brunch, between the Meat Mains and
the Desserts. Try sauteed squid with chili-citrus vinaigrette; salade
forestiere; roasted vegetable tartelettes with sun-dried tomatoes; fennel
pollen-dusted wild salmon with lemon aioli; pear and fig torte. The preps
are more Northern Mediterranean rather than Provencal, but it is all the
same related cuisine. The narrative material and cook's tips are a bit
memoirish, and there are extraneous photos of the authors and/or staff and
friends standing around or preparing something, rather than pictures about
the plated food. US volume and metric weight measures are mingled and
inconsistent; there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/Price rating:
18. ONE POT ITALIAN COOKING (Whitecap, 2007, 192 pages, ISBN
978-1-55285-900-1, $29.95 paper covers) is by Massimo Capra, co-owner and
chef of Mistura in Toronto. He appears regularly on the Food Network, and
this book is endorsed by two other Food Network regulars, Lynn Crawford
(Four Seasons in NYC) and Michael Smith. It is a strange book for Capra to
author, since he runs an upscale Italian resto at Av and Dav in Toronto. One
pot? Does Mistura even do one pot cooking? Well, yes it does:
balsamic-glazed lamb ribs, which has been and still is a fixture on their
menu. He says that lamb ribs are hard to find (probably because his resto
has cornered the market on them!) but worth the effort. Here are more than
100 "easy" and "authentic" recipes. One pot is also to taken to mean one
skillet or one sauce pan as well. So we get soups, stews and braises,
sautees, and desserts. Most of the food is definitely rustic. Try Tuscan
cabbage soup (ribollita), chestnut polenta, farmer's risotto, garganelli
with fava beans and prosciutto, chicken rolls with eggplant, or Lombardy
Quality/Price rating: 90.