Suzi’s Blog

Cookbook Review: Garlic by Jenny Linford

wc-Book-Cover

 

I was a deprived child. Severely deprived. My mother was deathly allergic to garlic. So I grew up with no garlic. Not a sliver. Imagine spaghetti and meatballs with no garlic. Never a Caesar Salad.

I remember being 23 and having my first bite of this cousin to onions. The fire was intense. My addiction was immediate.

Around the world, garlic is a key ingredient. Not quite as prominent as salt, I know, but it’s right there on that second tier of ingredients we use, not for substance or bulk, but rather for the ability to convey flavor and elevate a dish from ordinary to captivating.

Accomplished London author Jenny Linford takes us on a garlic odyssey in her latest book. The very word garlic has a fun meaning. It comes from the Anglo-Saxon gar, meaning spear and referring supposedly to the plant’s leaves but almost surely as well to the sharpness of flavor.

There’s some garlic lore at the beginning of the book, along with tips for buying and handling. It’s the 65 recipes here, from all around the world, that merit your consideration. Here’s a baker’s dozen, my candidates for first testing out this book:

Roast Garlic and Beet Soup

Roast Garlic Crab Tart

Roast Garlic Rosemary Focaccia

Ajo Blanco or White Gazpacho [bread, almonds, grape, and garlic]

Spanish Style Garlic Baked Beans with Chorizo

Kimchi Pancake with Black Garlic Crème Fraiche

Malay Garlic and Chile Prawns

Wild Garlic Goat Cheese Flan

Grilled Garlic Mussels

Wild Garlic Sweet Potato Mash

Black Risotto with Garlic Prawns

Rosemary, Garlic and Fennel Roast Pork Loin

Garlicky Chicken Livers with Pomegranate Molasses

The happy genius of Garlic is that, while there are some old recipe friends here to be sure, most of the recipes are new ones for me. And, in addition to being new, the garlic presence here has been carefully embedded. Take that Wild Garlic Goat Cheese Flan. No sane amount of garlic can overwhelm goat cheese, of course, but enough garlic can make the flan accelerate in new flavor dimensions. A garlic lover, Jenny has used her decades of garlic cooking experience to introduce us to recipes honed for garlic enjoyment.

If you don’t have an allergy like Mom, then you should not wait. New experiences, new favorite dishes await you in Garlic. One clove at a time.

 

Cookbook Review: Salmon by Diane Morgan

wc-Book-Cover

 

Diane Morgan has written 17 cookbooks. Do I have every one of them? No, just a majority. She wins awards but more importantly, she will win your heart.

Her latest book is Salmon, a head to tail tour of this unique fish. We all eat salmon. Well, most of us. Go to a wedding or a bar mitzvah, and salmon is somewhere on your table. Maybe in front of you, may next to you. You can’t miss salmon. There’s the color, of course. And the smell. No matter how prepared, “salmon” means fish to many of us.

The first quarter of this book is not recipes for salmon but the facts you need to know about salmon. The chapter Essentials talks about the life cycle of salmon, different species, wild versus farm-raised, and all the health benefits. Once you have bought or caught you salmon, you need the Preparation Primer to help you know how to store and prep the salmon before the cooking gets serious.

There are five chapters devoted to recipes. Raw and Cured lets you avoid the stove and the stovetop. So here you’ll find ideas like:

Salmon Carpaccio with Celery Root Slaw

Salmon Tartare with Fresh Herbs and Cucumber Ribbons

Pastrami Salmon

In On the Stove Top, quick but excellent recipes are provided. And, you just might be invested in stove-top smoker!

Tea-Smoked Salmon

Wine-Poached Salmon Steak

Crisp Rice-Coated Salmon with Citrus Siracha Sauce

Salmon Stir-Fry with Snow Peas and Shiitake Mushrooms

Whether it is a simple smoking or a richly diverse stir-fry, that dominant salmon taste is never lost.

If you go from the stove top to In the Oven, the ideas become more complex, more rich:

Whole Roasted Salmon with Lemon, Fennel, and Onion

Salmon Baked in Parchment with Tomatoes and Corn

Panko-Crusted Salmon Cakes with Jicama Orange Slaw

Outdoors, on our grills, we often go for beef but salmon is a wonderful protein choice. So On the Grill suggests for you:

Whole Salmon with Lemon and Bay Laurel

Alder-Planked Salmon with Lemon, Rosemary, and Thyme

Salmon Grilled on a Bed of Herbs

Salmon flavor lasts and lasts. Salmon leftovers can be spectacular. So, you can do one of the whole salmon recipes here and then, in a day or two, use the leftovers in creative, delicious ways:

Salmon Hash with Yukon Gold Potatoes and Herbs

Poached Eggs and Smoked Salmon on tapenade Mayonnaise-Smeared Bread

Salmon Salad Rolls

This post ends with a picture, those Salmon Salad Rolls. You may have been to a Thai place and marveled at these kinds of dishes. Now, all you have to do is [1] buy a whole salmon, [2] buy this book, and [3] make some Hoisin-Peanut Dipping Sauce. You’ll see the recipe here tomorrow. Get your salmon ready! Oh, yes, get Salmon. It’s as bright as a freshly caught Chinook.

 

wc-Salmon-Salad-Rolls

Kitchen-Sink Chocolate Chip Cookies from Elinor Klivans

wc-Kitchen-Sink-Chocolate-Chip-Cookies

 

Yesterday I did a TBT review of The Essential Chocolate Chip Cookbook. This is the very first recipe in the book. And this recipe is reason enough to buy the book. Elinor says the cookie dough is barely sufficient to hold together the chips, pecans, walnuts and almonds. See? Kitchen sink.

Whenever we want a decadent, totally decadent, chocolate chip cookie, we turn to this one. Actually, Elinor says you can double down on the decadence: add dried cranberries or other chopped dried fruit like apricots or raisins. Once you go down the path of “everything” then everything it is.

 


Kitchen-Sink Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: 36 if you don’t eat the batter before baking, which you will

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup [1 stick] unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups [18 ounces] semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup [4 ounces] pecan halves
  • 1 cup [4 ounces] walnut halves or large pieces
  • 1 cup [4 ounces) blanched whole almonds, toasted and chopped roughly in half

Preparation:

Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line 2 or 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until smoothly blended, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until blended, about 1 minute.

The mixture may look slightly curdled. On low speed, add the flour mixture, mixing just until it is incorporated. Mix in the chocolate chips, pecans, walnuts, and almonds until evenly distributed.

Use a tablespoon to drop well- rounded tablespoonfuls of dough (about 2 tablespoons each) onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies 2 inches apart.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the edges are lightly browned and the centers are just slightly colored, about 14 minutes. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then use a wide metal spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

The cookies can be stored in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Choices: You can add 1 cup of raisins, dried cranberries, or chopped dried apricots to the dough with the chips and nuts. White, bittersweet, or milk chocolate chips, or a combination, can be substituted for the semisweet chips.


Source: The Essential Chocolate Chip Cookbook by Elinor Klivans [Chronicle, 2008]