Blue Bottle, SPQR, Foraged Flavor....: Fresh new cookbooks to spice up your repertoire
By Tama Matsuoka Wong with Eddy Leroux
224 pp, hardcover $25
At a recent intimate gathering at Coi, I was privileged to spend time with Tama Matsuoka Wong, forager for Daniel restaurant in NYC (Daniel Boulud wrote this book's forward), sampling bites made with ingredients she'd foraged with Coi staff while visiting the Bay Area. We celebrated Foraged Flavor, released earlier this summer. I learned of her career change from lawyer to forager in New Jersey (my former stomping grounds), where her three daughters are involved in her foraging and cooking lifestyle. The book's clean, classic layout includes botany-style plant diagrams, seasonal groupings, and approachable gourmet recipes like dandelion leaves with poached eggs and bacon. There are foraging and growth tips and info on key characteristics of each wild plant.
COOKING OFF THE CLOCK: RECIPES FROM MY DOWNTIME
By Elizabeth Falkner
Ten Speed Press
224 pp, hardcover $29.99
Longtime local favorite and Top Chef Master star Elizabeth Falkner recently moved to NYC and released her second book August 28. As a James Beard-nominated pastry chef, her first book, Demolition Desserts, focused on the sweet side, while new Cooking Off the Clock is a volume of everyday, accessible recipe favorites. There are sections on condiments (kimchee, tahini sauce), flavorful salads, playful snacks (three types of hot wings: Moroccan, Tabasco-honey, black bean-sesame-ginger), a few of her beloved desserts (two versions of cherry pie), and pizzas, including her amazing pastrami version — like a Reuben pie, with Russian dressing, shredded cabbage, and thinly-sliced pastrami — which I never forgot from her restaurant Orson.
DAILY DECADENCE: THE ART OF SENSUAL LIVING
By Sherri Dobay
Flying Archer Press
231 pp, paper $14.99
Sherri Dobay feels like a kindred spirit... although young, her romantic, sensual verbiage communicates that "old soul," the kind of view with which I've seen the world since girlhood. Food, wine, art, nature, horses (she's a rider) are her subject, and she is as inspiring as she is comforting. More memoir than cookbook — and published in a format that's hard to open while working in the kitchen — the book's draw is its tone, not its recipes. Sections are grouped around themes of decadence (Divine Decadence, Decadent Simplicity, Decadence of the Seasons, Decadence of Letting Go), and wine recommendations are explored from a right-brain perspective rather than thorough analytical tasting notes. Reading bits of the book at a time is like a sip of crisp, refreshing wine.
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