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I Do the Speed Limit
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Seems to me: Too much ado about simple, fresh flavors. Not that I'm against simple and fresh--I think those attributes are extremely important--but aren't they the norm now? So, what's new and exciting here? Unless, maybe, you don't associate "simple" and "fresh" with "French Bistro", and that is what makes it "New"? After scrutinizing and trying these recipes--there are only 32 of them--I'm just not feeling the love; not feeling the excitement that seems to be part of the hoopla for Frenchie and his recipes.
And, I've not been inspired. I can put up with a lot in a cookbook if I can find inspiration in it. But in this book, I'm more often saying to myself, "Hey, I've been putting those ingredients together, using those techniques, for years."
After way too many pages of background information and pictures of the chef and his life's experiences, and a few pages to introduce the recipes, I was almost 30 pages into the book before I saw a recipe--and that recipe was Foie Gras with Cherry Chutney. Along with three full pages of pictures, the Foie Gras recipe covered four pages! My heart sank...I was not going to get much out of this cookbook... The pound of foie gras called for in the recipe will set you back almost $100, and you'll need it in a sous-vide vacuum bag. You will also need two pounds of bing cherries and 16 brandied cherries, among other ingredients.
So, there are a lot of self-centered, sophisticated--and quite honestly--simply- and under-flavored restaurant-quality recipes in this book, with often expensive and often out-of-the-ordinary ingredients. It is not my style. If it is your style, you will probably be very happy with this book. And if you love lots of pictures, you are in luck, although you may be irked by the fact that the pictures and the recipes don't necessarily always match up. (Are those slices of fennel, Stone Crab claws and pea tendrils in the pictures for Wild Garlic Broth With Fresh Crabmeat? `Cause they are surely not in the 16-ingredient list!)
In each chapter (one for each season) you will find two or three starters, three or four mains, one cheese with fruit, one sweet: Eight recipes in each of four chapters. Yep, that's it. But you will love the photos!
To make the recipes in this book you will be looking for these not-quite-ordinary ingredients: Fresh jumbo lump crabmeat, wild garlic leaves or ramps, Pimenti d Espelette, vin jaune, trout roe, fresh mackerel fillets, Amarena cherries, beechwood smoking chips, skin-on boneless chicken, aged Mimolette, kafir limes, wild mushrooms like yellow-foot chanterelles, hedgehog, porcini and blewits, speck, burrata, blood sausage....
My favorite recipe in the book is the Beef Cheeks with Roasted Beets, Watercress and Grated Horseradish. What I found new in it was the use of fennel, star anise, cinnamon, orange and lemongrass in the braise, and buckwheat and raspberry vinegar in the beets. The watercress and horseradish are just garnishment.
There were some interesting touches in many of the recipes: Farro with pureed cauliflower, diced green mango in a mint chutney, for instance. But those interesting touches were not enough to bring excitement to a grilled fillet of mackerel or grilled lamb with a normal accompaniment of peas, fava beans and new potatoes.
A lovely, colorful tomato salad with currants is more a panzanella, with its tomato water, croutons, fresh almonds and heirloom tomatoes. But for all its loveliness and brothiness, it is still not exciting. And, good luck finding the fresh red and white currants at the same time you find the luscious, ripe heirloom tomatoes.....
And while Smoked Trout with Avocado Puree and Marinated Cucumbers sounds like something special, it is still just a lightly smoked trout fillet on a puree of avocado and yogurt, topped with a simple pickled onion and salted, sugared cuke. So, what's the big deal?
The Butternut Squash Risotto--haven't I seen that before? Okay, this one is different: It has lemongrass and fennel seeds in the chicken broth and is garnished with Brussels sprouts and amaretti cookies.
I was skeptical of cooking a 4 pound, bone-in rib eye steak on the grill in 16 to 24 minutes, so I did not attempt that recipe. And the accompanying grilled packets of sliced potatoes with onions and tomatoes, well, I didn't have to try that recipe--I've been grilling potatoes that way for over thirty years.
*I received a temporary download of this book from the publishers. I was able to post this review so soon after its release to the public because I've been working with it for months now. I will definitely not be purchasing a copy for my cookbook collection.