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Feb 21, 2017

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Recent and Decent Cookbooks (Vol. 5.5)
by Laura Holmes
Magazine Issue: U.S. Vol. 5.5

How to Grill: The Complete Illustrated Book of Barbecue Techniques
by Steven Raichlen
(Workman; $20)

Barbecue season is upon us, and in the interest of saving your friends and family from black, tasteless, dry and otherwise inedible food from the grill, I urge — no, I beg — you to pick up a copy of Mr. Raichlen’s book and read it cover to cover. This is Grilling 101: the ways to grill, the differences between charcoal and gas, types of grills, heat control and helpful tips. The recipes are broken down by type of meat: how to grill prime rib versus filet mignon, and how to grill every other slab o’ protein — lamb, sausage, chicken, shellfish. There’s even a section on grilling veggies. And the photos and step-by-step instructions make it all so easy. Put down the tongs for a second, do a little required reading, and then fire up that grill and get cookin’.

The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating
by Fergus Henderson
(Ecco; $20)

Mr. Henderson, a renowned British chef, has opened a whole new world for the carnivore in you. Just published in the U.S., this cookbook, which has gained a cult-like following from chefs and foodies around the world, will convince you that the British can cook — especially large pieces of meat. The recipes aren’t for the gastronomically shy: Lamb Brains, Endive and Shallots; Roast Bone Marrow and Parsley Salad; Duck Legs and Carrots; and Pot Roast Brisket are just some of the offerings. A few salad, fish and veggie recipes have been thrown in (including Deviled Crab, Smoked Haddock, Mustard and Saffron, Roast Tomatoes and Crottins, Radishes to Accompany Duck or Goose), but they seem like add-ons — distractions from the main attraction. And an introduction by chef Anthony Bourdain is worth the price of the book alone. You’ll never look at a beef filet the same way again.

The Provence Cookbook
by Patricia Wells
(HarperCollins; $30)

True foodies know Ms. Wells as the author of a handful of French cookbooks, and Ms. I-Know-Everything-About-French-Cooking is back with recipes from the South of France. These are dishes for those moments when the only destination is your own apartment — you can practically see the Frenchmen on bikes and smell the fields of lavender when you flip the pages. With recipes for appetizers, salads, soups, fish and shellfish, poultry, meat, pasta, veggies and desserts, rest assured you can make these dishes after work or on a Sunday afternoon. And Atkins dieters beware: potatoes and bread even get their own chapters. Who can’t help but feel French when eating dishes like Fricassee of Chicken with White Wine, Capers and Olives; Golden Zucchini Galette; and Three-Pear Cake. The black and white photographs of life in Provence add to the armchair traveler experience. Since you don’t live there, buy the book and pretend you do.

The All American Cheese and Wine Book
by Laura Werlin
(Stewart, Tabori & Chang; $37.50)

Don’t know a gouda from a gruyere? A sauvignon blanc from a pinot grigio? If you need to brush up on your cheese and wine knowledge, check out this book by cheese expert Laura Werlin. She gives you the lowdown on how American artisan cheeses and wines are made, their characteristics and how to put ‘em together. And she does all this without making you feel like a dork for not knowing what emmenthaler is (a nutty-flavored cow’s milk cheese, by the way.) Ms. Werlin’s thoughtful enough to include a mega-list of who makes ‘em and where to get ‘em. Fifty-five recipes are included for those whose skills go beyond unwrapping a wedge of cheese and uncorking a bottle. Spring Pea, Ricotta and Basil Crostini, or Bacon, Tomato and Mozzarella Pizza, anyone? Color photographs throughout show you what you’re eating and drinking.

Bittersweet: Recipes and Tales from a Life in Chocolate
by Alice Medrich
(Artisan; $35)

Listen up, chocoholics (you know who you are!): everything you ever wanted to know about chocolate is in this book. Every technique, every flavor description and almost every chocolate recipe known to man is covered in detail by Ms. Medrich. Whether you like to read about the finer points of this confection or head to the kitchen and whip up your own chocolate treats, you must buy this book. Just don’t drool on the gorgeous color photographs.

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