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- Publié sur Amazon.com
So many reasons to buy this book. About half the book is mostly Mediterranean-inspired recipes. The remainder is stories about living, adventure, and celebration in New York City. Most recipes begin with commentaries and stories.
If you live in New York City, or did live there, or visited for a long period of time, the stories and photos in this book will take you to the City, not to the tourist spots but to its residential experience. Many photos have you on the ground, in the middle of the hubbub, viewing iconic landmarks from streets, seeing what residents see, transported.
This is also a cooking book, and a few recipes are adventuresome, either dishes outside most mainstream homecooks' repertory or using foraged ingredients. The photos make you want to try the recipes, even if they are new to you. Recipes with foraged foods use easily found ingredients, such as sumac flowerheads or Japanese knotweed. Respecting seasonality, recipes are organized by month. Coincidentally, I suspect this encourages readers to try new foods. For example, July is the month to try cold white garlic soup, with grapes. In September let's try dipping raw vegetables in hot olive oil flavored with anchovies and garlic. In December we can make cocktails from vodka we infused with sumac in August. Want to a new take on your go-to recipes? There is a chicken with olives stew in January, buttermilk mashed potatoes in February, and roast asparagus along with strawberries with prosecco in May. You can be as adventurous as you like. I plan to try one new-to-me dish each month. Which month is Ajo Blanco month? Recipes are easy to find using the book's two-page index.
Do you like gardening? In NYC, if you are lucky enough to have a terrace, even a small one--or some other small, easily accesible space--you can build a garden as lush as you want, with potted plants: perennial flowers, roses, herbs, a fig tree; grass for your big, black, Dominican cat. Viljoen was determined enough to haul bags of pea stone up four flights to pebble the terrace floor, and painted the terrace walls a vivid Benjamin Moore Roseate. Add a small table, two chairs, pillows, candles, plus linen napkins, silver silverware, china to make this the adult dinner spot. See the book cover: a reminder that dining can be a moment in paradise, with the right food, wine, setting, and people. This book is inspiring.
Viljoen's writing is crisp, clever, funny, clear. It is full of love for New York City and her home there. She is a good storyteller. I keep my cookbooks in a kitchen cupboard, but my copy of this book will be in the kitchen only on recipe nights.