My favorite cookbook this year, It's About Time,
is from one of my favorite restaurants in Boston, Radius. It is considered one of the top restaurants in the city, the service is exquisite, the food amazing. I've never had a bad meal, and have usually always been wowed, whether it's for martini's and a mussel appetizer at the bar, or a foie gras tasting menu. I took my mother to that, and it was one of our most memorable meals ever. It was the first time she'd had foie gras. She was treated like a queen, and savored every minute. The menu is modern French but an Italian influence sneaks in, especially for the occasional pasta dish, which the chef, Michael Schlow demonstrated at a cooking class I attended on site. It was a simple recipe, and is in the book. He also owns two other restaurants in Boston, an Italian one, Via Matta, and a seafood one, Great Bay. The book is called, It's About Time, Great Recipes for Everyday Life. Some of the recipes are simpler dishes that he cooks at home, others are 'greatest hits' from all three restaurants. A theme of the book is the effect that time has on food, and he believes in many instances that more flavor is coaxed from food when it is cooked longer, at lower temperatures.
I attended a charity dinner the other night, and Radius was one of the featured restaurants, along with No. 9 Park, and Pigalle, all great places. The dishes featured by Radius are also in the cookbook, which prompted me to buy it on the spot, since I was planning to anyway. We had slow roasted Salmon with cabbage, bacon and dill, and the most amazing pork dish which had an exotic sweet spicy flavor from a mix of honey, curry, and other spices. The broccolini served with it had a similar unusual taste, which reminded me of Chinese five spice and orange.
The cookbook explained that the broccolini recipe actually uses an interesting condiment called togarashi, which is made from Thai chiles, orange zest, white and black sesame seeds, fennel seeds, and hemp. It can be found in Asian markets often under the name schichimi togarashi. I actually blogged about it, and posted the pork recipe if you want to read further about it.
Some of the memorable dishes in the cookbook that I've either already had or are just dying to make, include,
Basil marinated tomatoes on crunchy eggplant
Steamed Prince Edward Island Mussels, the broth is great with bread
Pappa al Pomodoro
Mango and Spiced vinaigrette using togarashi condiment
Spicy Shrimp Salad
Red Wine Braised Brisket
Orzo Gratin with Black Olives, Tomato Confit, and Goat Cheese
Seared Foie Gras with Hazelnuts and Mango
Loin of Pork "A l'Apicius"...this is the one I've raved about
Brioche with soft-scrambled eggs and caviar
A cookbook I'm looking forward to getting soon is the Julie/Julia one, based on her blog.
Edited by pam claughton, 20 October 2005 - 03:26 PM.