Appetite: 3 recent food books pique our palates - Page 2

Dive into Twain's Feast, Hungry Town, and the Sunset Cookbook

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Sunset magazine's food editor, Margo True, is also the book's editor and she maintains a cohesive standard of ‘farmers-market-fresh’ ingredients with regional Western foods. Yes, Sunset magazine is based in the Bay Area, so California ethos displays prominently with international influences married to a rich range of produce. But the styles of cooking cover the world, showcasing food of the West as what it truly is: global.

Many recipes tempt me here, including this snack and shake:

Avocado Fries
SERVES 6 | TIME 30 minutes

Canola oil for frying
1⁄4 cup flour
1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 eggs, beaten to blend
11⁄4 cups panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
2 firm-ripe medium Hass avocados, pitted, peeled, sliced into 1⁄2-in. wedges

1. Preheat oven to 200°. In a medium saucepan, heat 11⁄2 in. oil until it registers 375° on a deep-fry thermometer.

2. Meanwhile, mix flour with salt in a shallow plate. Put eggs and panko in separate shallow plates. Dip avocado wedges in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg, then panko to coat. Set on two plates in a single layer.

3. Fry a quarter of the avocado wedges at a time until deep golden, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer wedges to a plate lined with paper towels. Keep warm in oven while cooking remainder. Sprinkle with salt to taste.

California Date Shake
One of the great foods of the Sunshine State, the date shake is exactly what you want to be slurping while visiting baking-hot date country near Palm Springs. Our favorite shake is the one at Shields Date Gardens, in Indio. Shields uses its own date “crystals”—dehydrated Deglet Noor and Blonde dates (the latter is one of its signature varieties). You can order these online or substitute fresh, as we’ve done here. This shake is sensational with a shot of rum stirred in.

Makes 1 shake (11⁄3 cups) | TIME 10 minutes

4 pitted Medjool dates (about 3 oz.), coarsely chopped
1⁄4 cup very cold milk
11⁄4 cups high-quality vanilla ice cream

In a blender, blend dates and milk until smooth and super-frothy. Add ice cream and pulse a few times, until just blended.

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