The dishes at Grant Achatz’s award-winning Chicago restaurant Alinea are entirely new, yet what diners taste often resurrects their most cherished food memories. Achatz has said that flavor is memory, and of all the ways in which Alinea appeals to the senses, it’s flavor that he has harnessed and reinvented in a kitchen that never rests on its laurels. (Although, Achatz has employed everything from smoking oak leaves to cinnamon torches to impart flavor, so who’s to say that laurel branches are out of the question?) For a menu as ambitious as Alinea’s, its cookbook incarnation is as clear a window into a chef’s creative process as you could hope for, buttressed by stunning photography and thoughtful essays from Achatz and food literati Michael Ruhlman and Jeffrey Steingarten, among others. This doesn’t mean necessarily that you’ll cook from Alinea often, or perhaps ever: the 600 recipes are composed precisely to show that any motivated cook can recreate Alinea’s dishes at home, but to do so may be missing the point. What makes Alinea remarkable–and unlike any other cookbook on the shelf–is its passionate insistence that there isn’t just one recipe for being a cook. –Anne Bartholomew
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Archive for the 'The French Laundry' Category
Tags: Thomas Keller, The French Laundry, Yukon Gold, Louis François, Grant Achatz, Black Truffle Explosion, Granny Smith, Murray River, National Starch, Alinea Mosaic, Simple Syrup, unsulfured dark molasses, yellow pectin, steelhead roe, tapioca maltodextrin, gelatin sheets, black truffle juice, fresh juniper berries, elephant garlic cloves, sweet curry powder, kosher salt, percent cacao, yuzu juice, grape seed oil, glucose powder, star anise pods, fresh bay leaf, hot curry powder, gellan gum, bunch thyme, modified food starch, licorice extract, soy lecithin
Tags: Harold McGee, James Beard Award, Michelin Guide, per se, sous vide, The French Laundry, Under Pressure: Cooking Sous Vide
A revolution in cooking
Sous vide is the culinary innovation that has everyone in the food world talking. In this revolutionary new cookbook, Thomas Keller, America’s most respected chef, explains why this foolproof technique, which involves cooking at precise temperatures below simmering, yields results that other culinary methods cannot. For the first time, one can achieve short ribs that are meltingly tender even when cooked medium rare. Fish, which has a small window of doneness, is easier to finesse, and shellfish stays succulent no matter how long it’s been on the stove. Fruit and vegetables benefit, too, retaining color and flavor while undergoing remarkable transformations in texture.
The secret to sous vide is in discovering the precise amount of heat required to achieve the most sublime results. Through years of trial and error, Keller and his chefs de cuisine have blazed the trail to perfection—and they show the way in this collection of never-before-published recipes from his landmark restaurants—The French Laundry in Napa Valley and per se in New York. With an introduction by the eminent food-science writer Harold McGee, and artful photography by Deborah Jones, who photographed Keller’s best-selling The French Laundry Cookbook, this book will be a must for every culinary professional and anyone who wants to up the ante and experience food at the highest level.
About the Author
Thomas Keller has received yet another James Beard Award in 2006 (this time for Outstanding Restaurateur), and both The French Laundry and per se earned three stars from the Michelin Guide.
Tags: best chef in America, James Beard Foundation, Napa Valley, The French Laundry, The French Laundry Cookbook, Thomas Keller
To eat at Thomas Keller’s Napa Valley restaurant, The French Laundry, is to experience a peak culinary experience. In The French Laundry Cookbook, Keller articulates his passions and offers home cooks a means to duplicate the level of perfection that makes him one of the best chefs in the U.S. and, arguably, the world.
This cookbook provides 150 recipes exactly as they are used at Keller’s restaurant. It is also his culinary manifesto, in which he shares the unique creative processes that led him to invent Peas and Carrots–a succulent pillow of a lobster paired with pea shoots and creamy ginger-carrot sauce–and other high-wire culinary acts. It offers unimagined experiences, from extracting chlorophyll to use in coloring sauces to a recipe for chocolate cake accompanied by red beet ice cream and a walnut sauce. You are urged to follow Keller’s recipes precisely and also to view them as blueprints. To keep them alive, they must be infused with your own commitment to perfection and pleasure, as you define those terms.
Keller’s story, shared through the writing of Michael Ruhlman, shows how this chef was both born and made. After winning rave reviews when he was still in his 20s, it took a more experienced chef throwing a knife at him because he did not know how to truss a chicken to open his eyes to the importance of the discipline and techniques of classical French cooking. To acquire these fundamental skills, he apprenticed at eight of the finest restaurants in France.
Grounded in classic technique, Keller’s cooking is characterized by traditional marriages of ingredients, assembled in breathtakingly daring new ways, such as Pearls and Oyster, glistening caviar and oysters served on a bed of creamy pearl tapioca. Continually piquing the palate, his meals are a procession of 5 to 10 dishes, all small portions vibrantly composed. For example, Pan Roasted Breast of Squab with Swiss Chard, Seared Foie Gras, and Oven-Dried Black Figs require just three birds to serve six. The result: you are never sated, always stimulated.
The 200 photographs by Deborah Jones include more than just beauty shots: they show how to prepare various dishes; how Keller, shown stroking a whole salmon, respects his ingredients; and how the perfection of baby fava beans still nestled in the downy lining of their succulent pod, or the seduction of an abundance of fresh caviar, calls out the best from the chef. –Dana Jacobi
From Publishers Weekly
“Cooking is not about convenience, and it’s not about shortcuts. Take your time. Move slowly and deliberately, and with great attention,” writes Keller, the owner of the French Laundry in Napa Valley who was named 1997′s best chef in America by the James Beard Foundation. At a decidedly unhurried pace, Keller delivers 150 recipes that reflect the perfectionism that catapulted him to national acclaim. With few exceptions (e.g., Gazpacho, Eric’s Staff Lasagne), recipes are haute, labor-intensive preparations: Lobster Consomme en Gelee, Warm Fruitwood-Smoked Salmon with Potato Gnocchi and Balsamic Glaze, or Braised Stuffed Pig’s Head. Tongue-in-cheek recipe names like “Macaroni and Cheese” (aka Butter-Poached Maine Lobster with Creamy Lobster Broth and Mascarpone-Enriched Orzo) and “Banana Split” (actually, Poached Banana Ice Cream with White Chocolate-Banana Crepes and Chocolate Sauce) belie the complexity of the dishes. Throughout, Keller conveys his vision as a culinary artist in spare, meticulous prose, emphasizing form over expedience: “the great challenge [of cooking] is… to derive deep satisfaction from the mundane.” (Nov..
- is… to derive deep satisfaction from the mundane.” (Nov.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.