It’s a month plus since the BB&T Charleston Wine+ Food Festival and subsequent James Beard dinner. If you’re having a little celebrity chef withdrawal, round up these hot chef-authored cookbooks.
“Try This at Home.” Richard Blais, Atlanta’s ubercreative founder of Flip Burger, haute-dog HD1 and The Spence restaurants, may be best-known to the national audience for his Top Chef molecular gastronomy. In his cookbook, he includes modernist techniques by offering some variations titled “2.0,” which call for liquid nitrogen and soda siphons should you want to make his famous Mustard Caviar or turn things into foam. However, the standard version of the 125 recipes are squarely centered on techniques that can be employed by the home cook.
The same flair for flavor that has made Blais’ restaurants a success makes the book desirable. We by the sea can dig a tartar sauce ramped up with aioli, jalapeno and lemon zest. Old Bayonnaise — again, aioli spiked with Old Bay seasoning, fish sauce and sriracha — can enliven our crab cakes, especially if paired with Brussels Sprouts Slaw.
Blais doubles-down all across the menu. Corncobs infuse Creamed Corn Soup to intensify the corn essence. Red beets invigorate a cantaloupe and avocado salad. Sweetbreads shaped into nuggets are fried up Buffalo-wing style. Pastrami spices, brown sugar and mustard punch up a brisket. Cornbread is paired with Sweet Tea Ice Cream.
If you want to dial up the wow-factor in your cooking, look to Blais. Hardcover. Clarkson Potter/Publishing. $30.
“Old-School Comfort Food.” Chef Alex Guarnaschelli delivers low-tech recipes, many of which she learned at her famous mother’s knees — hence the book’s subtitle, “The Way I Learned to Cook.”
Familial comfort food includes Mom’s Mashed Potatoes “Chantilly” and Dad’s Little Spareribs. Comfort food Alex-style can be Crispy Squid With Garlic, Red Pepper Flakes and Basil or Pasta With Spicy Lamb Sausage and Yellow Tomato Sauce. The daughter of renowned cookbook editor Maria Guarnaschelli, Alex ate well. As chef of the New York restaurant Butter, Alex cooks well. Make these recipes and so will you.
Hardcover. Clarkson Potter Publishers. $30.
“The Family Table: Favorite Staff Meals From Our Restaurants to Your Home.” An established restaurant rule is that a nourishing meal fosters a better performing staff. The ingredients come from the restaurant’s supplies, and the dishes are cooked by rotating staff.
Michael Romano, culinary director of Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, offers collected recipes from the restaurants’ family-style meals in this cookbook. Representing a multicultural span from Yellow Bell Pepper Panzanella to Thai Beef, they provide great inspiration for what can be put together from a pantry.
Hardcover. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. $35.
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