A New Way to Cook

( 3 )

Overview

Sally Schneider was tired of doing what we all do—separating foods into "good" and "bad," into those we crave but can't have and those we can eat freely but don't especially want—so she created A New Way To Cook.

Her book is nothing short of revolutionary, a redefinition of healthy eating, where no food is taboo, where the pleasure principle is essential to well-being, where the concept of self-denial just doesn't exist.

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Overview

Sally Schneider was tired of doing what we all do—separating foods into "good" and "bad," into those we crave but can't have and those we can eat freely but don't especially want—so she created A New Way To Cook.

Her book is nothing short of revolutionary, a redefinition of healthy eating, where no food is taboo, where the pleasure principle is essential to well-being, where the concept of self-denial just doesn't exist.

  • More than 600 lavishly illustrated recipes result in marvelous, vividly flavored foods. You'll find quintessential American favorites that taste every bit as good as the traditional "full-tilt" versions: macaroni and cheese, rosemary buttermilk biscuits, chocolate malted pudding. You'll find Italian polentas, risottos, focaccias, and pastas, all reinvented without the loss of a single drop of deliciousness. Asian flavors shine through in cold sesame noodles; mussels with lemongrass, ginger, and chiles; and curry-crusted shrimp. Even French food is no longer on the forbidden list, with country-style pâtés and cassoulet.
  • Hundreds of techniques, radical in their ultimate simplicty, make all the difference in the world: using chestnut puree in place of cream, butter, and pork fat in a duck liver mousse; extending the richness of flavored oils by boiling them with a little broth to dress starchy beans and grains; casserole-roasting baby back ribs to render them of fat, then lacquering them with a pungent maple glaze.
  • Scores of flavor catalysts—quickly made sauces, rubs, marinades, essences, and vinaigrettes—add instant hits of flavor with little effort. Leek broth dresses pasta; chive oil becomes an instant sauce for broiled salmon; a smoky tea essence imparts a sweet, grilled flavor to steak; balsamic vinegar turns into a luscious dessert sauce.
  • Variations and improvisations offer infiinite flexibility. Once you learn a basic recipe, it's simple to devise your own version for any part of the meal. "Fried" artichockes with crispy garlic and sage can be an hors d-oeuvre topped with shaved cheeses, part of a composed salad, or as a main course when tossed iwth pasta. It's equally happy on top of pizza or stirred into risotto. And by building dishes from simple elements, turning out complex meals doesn't have to be a complex affair.
  • A wealth of tips and practical information to make you a more accomplished and self-confident cook: how to rescue ordinary olive oil to give it more flavor, how to make soups creamy without cream, how to freshen less-than-perfect fish.
So here it is, 756 glorious pages of all the deliciousness and joy that food is meant to convey.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Are you tired of dividing up your food supply into Good and Evil, into foods you can eat (but don't want to), and foods you want to eat (but are afraid of)? Sally Schneider wants you to leave the food police at the door, as she explores -- through 600 recipes -- new techniques of cooking that result in food that is full of taste and still, amazingly, good for you.

If Schneider had an official T-shirt, it would surely say "Flavor First," for this is one cookbook author who wants to put the joy back in cooking. Schneider, a columnist for Food & Wine, has been working for ten years on new cooking techniques to replace the high-fat cooking methods she was trained. In general, she advocates balanced cooking and balanced eating, excluding no ingredient; using small amounts of fats (butter, olive oil, duck fat, goose fat) to deepen flavor and lightening up traditional dishes without sacrificing flavor. She uses salt, chocolate, white sugar, wildflower honey, bacon, and pancetta in small quantities, to good effect.

And she's got lots of worthwhile tricks. Schneider uses paint brushes (natural bristle) to coat foods with a small amount of fat before grilling or roasting. She slices boneless red meat very thinly and fans out the slices so that a little serving will look more ample. She loves to roast vegetables for a caramelized flavor, or she braises vegetables in a little liquid, then sautés them in a little fat for extra flavor. She also emulsifies fats to extend them, which sounds very Home Ec-ish (and not very tasty), but it does work. You boil the fat you're using with water or wine or broth and get a creamy liquid or sauce as a result. (Think of how this could pay off with certain pasta sauces.)

All this talk of technique downplays the recipes, but they are delicious, primarily American regional cooking with accents from the Mediterranean, and a heavy emphasis on vegetables, fruits, grains, and beans. Some of the recipes are so-called Essential Recipes, while others are noted as templates for improvisation.

A New Way to Cook is packed with information. There are double-page spreads that bring you up-to-speed on the properties and best cooking methods for all the new grains on the market, like Japanese red rice and black barley; nutritional analyses for most common foods; specific chapters devoted to flavor essences, dry rubs, and marinades; pages of menu ideas; and a little glossary of basic techniques. This is a whole lot of cookbook for the price. (Ginger Curwen)

New York Times Book Review
This is the "Silver Palate" for the new generation of sophisticated eaters but unconfident cooks.
Chicago Sun Times
The book has so much solid, practical information-and some truly revolutionary ideas-it deserves attention.
Publishers Weekly
Every era must have its cookbook, and the cookbook for the early 21st century has arrived. It is not that the recipes Schneider, a columnist for Food & Wine, has included are particularly or innovative. These are recipes that reflect the way Americans cook and eat today, or perhaps the way we wish we cooked and ate. Schneider sets forth a list of techniques for cooking healthful and tasty food, then presents 600 recipes that follow these guidelines. She includes nutritional information charts at the back of the book. Introductory material to each chapter is comprehensive, e.g., a chapter on beans opens with a guide to buying, soaking and cooking dry legumes and combining beans and grains, then follows up with Chickpea Stew with Saffron and Winter Squash and Fat Beans with Mole. Asian, Italian and other multiculti fare typifies modern American cuisine, which means that Oven-Steamed Whole Fish with Chinese Flavors, Thai Seafood Salad with Lemongrass Dressing, and Salmon Cured with Grappa coexist happily in a chapter on fish and seafood. Often Schneider provides a jumping-off point for variations, as in Open Ravioli with a list of possible fillings and sauces. A chapter on desserts tantalizes with such treats as Rustic Rosemary-Apple Tart. Final chapters on flavor essences, flavored oils, sauces and more, as well as instructions for doing anything from peeling citrus fruit to seasoning a cast-iron pan, round out this impressively substantial effort. (Nov.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
KLIATT
Move over, Joy of Cooking and Silver Palate-here is a cookbook for the future! Over 600 recipes are included in this highly informative book, which is sure to be read and reread many times by both novice and veteran cooks. Schneider offers a wealth of essential techniques and strategic ingredients in addition to innovative recipes that reflect our global society. Each chapter is organized in a logical progression of simple approaches or techniques, followed by recipes that illustrate them. Many recipes in each chapter can also be made as component parts of dishes that are more complex. For example: Rustic Garlic Toasts may be topped with Slow Roasted Tomatoes. Enhancing dishes by use of various components is a recurring theme in this book. Located in the back of the book is a section of highly comprehensive basic techniques, and there are comparative nutritional analyses of all the recipes in addition to comprehensive menus for every occasion along with additional books and Web sites for further information. Some of the recipes are: Scaloppine Marsala, Pan Smoked Fish, Crispy Saffron Noodle Gratin, Coriander and Orange Scented Scones, Fresh Corn Polenta, Baked Penne With Wild Mushroom Ragu and Ricotta Salata, Curry Crusted Shrimp, Herb Scented Tuscan Pork Roast, Rustic Free Form Fruit Tarts, and many more. Schneider is an award-winning food writer who has been a professional chef. She currently contributes to Food and Wine in addition to NPR. This book is destined to become a classic. KLIATT Codes: SA*-Exceptional book, recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2001, Artisan, 737p. illus. bibliog. index., Ages 15 to adult.
—Shirley Reis
Library Journal
Schneider's motto could be everything in moderation. Her ambitious new cookbook contains over 600 recipes for healthy and delicious eating. Schneider (The Art of Low Calorie Cooking, LJ 9/15/90) eschews dieting dogma and fake foods for a cuisine in which no ingredient is taboo, intense flavors dominate, and preparing food is considered rewarding, not drudgery. A quick look at the recipes Honey-Cured Pork Loin with Peppery Juniper and Fennel Seed Rub, Savory Rosemary Biscotti, and Mussels with Lemongrass, Ginger, and Chilies shows that most dishes rely on high-flavor ingredients for their impact, but Schneider also offers techniques that maximize the judicious use of flavorful fats and sugar. Several recipes are blueprints for improvising new dishes, in keeping with Schneider's desire to encourage creativity in the kitchen. Though she explains basic techniques throughout the book, experienced cooks will best appreciate this collection, which calls upon myriad ingredients and sophisticated flavors. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781579652494
  • Publisher: Artisan
  • Publication date: 8/15/2003
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 756
  • Sales rank: 505,170
  • Product dimensions: 6.78 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.95 (d)

Meet the Author

Sally Schneider is a food writer and stylist whose work has appeared in Vogue Elle, Saveur, Self, Working Woman, and Health magazines, as well as the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times. A professional chef for six years, she was a contributing editor to Food & Wine and the author of the monthly "Well-Being" column. Her first cookbook, The Art of Low-Calorie Cooking, won a James Beard award in 1991. An article for Saveur won her a second James Beard award in 1995. A New Way to Cook is the culmination of ten years of research. She lives in New York City.

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Read an Excerpt

FINDING A NEW WAY TO COOK

The purpose of this book is to introduce you to a way of cooking truly delicious food simply, easily, healthfully, and with pleasure, and to enhance the joy in sharing it. The impetus to write it-a ten-year endeavor-dates back to when I was a young chef, cooking and eating in wonderful restaurants and home kitchens in France, Italy, and the heartland of America. I adored all the rich, sumptuous food but realized I had to face the realities of weight gain, food allergies, and fluctuating blood sugar. As I grew older I became progressively more concerned about the long-term effects of a rich diet on my health and well-being.

Necessity set me on the path to find a way to cook and eat that would nurture my body as well as my soul and senses. I made myself a guinea pig for more diets and dreary "healthful" concoctions than I care to remember. I read widely on nutrition and diet, from the most iconoclastic to the most mainstream. Most of these bleak regimes addressed only the physical side of eating, ignoring the other hungers that good food satisfies: hungers for the connection it can forge to friends and nature, for its sensual beauty, its colors, aromas, flavors, and textures; for the cultural and historical meaning it expresses; and, most important, for comfort and well-being.

In order to satisfy these deeper hungers, I realized I had to devise new cooking techniques to replace the high-fat cooking methods I grew up with. I brought all my professional experience to bear on translating the recipes of memory into healthier adaptations, experimenting by radically altering classic techniques or using them in a new way. Because I believe that prohibitions against delicious fats such as butter and cream and against sugar only increase desire, I exclude nothing in my cooking and do not count fat grams. Instead, I have devised new ways to use fat's special qualities to enhance the deeper experience of eating while respecting the realities of its impact on diet and health.

The style of cooking that I have evolved is deeply influenced by the Mediterranean cooking of Italy, France, Greece, and Spain, with a good dose of American regional foods and a smattering of Asian influences. It is not simply my Greek heritage that attracts me to Mediterranean cuisines; they most closely mirror the way I like to eat and cook: simply and deliciously, in tune with the seasons. In addition, the traditional Mediterranean way of eating has proven to be profoundly wise. Without counting fat grams or calories, Mediterranean people are among the healthiest and longest-lived in the world, with low incidence of coronary heart disease and cancer. Theirs is the model for my everyday diet: largely based on plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes; moderate amounts of fish, poultry, nuts, and wine; with a small amount of red meat, saturated fats, dairy products, and sugar and a minimum of prepared foods. I eat moderately day to day, and periodically I eat with abandon.

MODERATION AND THE PLEASURE PRINCIPLE

Food clearly has a profound emotional, even spiritual, impact on human beings. It is a primal source of pleasure, comfort, and sharing with friends, a link to culture and our roots. But the "pleasure principle" is rarely considered in the determination of well-being, where indeed it may be as critical as the obvious nutritional content of foods. When people don't feel satisfied by the food they eat, they feel deprived, cut off from well-being. They often overeat lackluster foods in an attempt to gain a feeling of satiety. Yet many of the official recommendations for healthful diet would have us strip food bare of taste if need be in order to eradicate fat, commonly viewed as the dietary cause of woes from obesity to heart disease to cancer....

Szechwan Pepper-Crusted Steak Smothered with Onions

SERVES 4

A crusty seared steak smothered with fried onions is one of the simplest and most satisfying combinations imaginable. I rub the steak with a mix of finely ground Szechwan, white, and black peppercorns, which imparts an aromatic, slightly floral yet peppery flavor that goes wonderfully with the onions. Although it is delicious as is, this combination sings when drizzled with a rich winy sauce and served with potatoes, such as Potato Chips (page 47) or Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes (page 77).

You can use many cuts of beef for this recipe, as long as they are tender enough to be served rare. The most flavorful steaks for pan-searing are at opposite ends of the spectrum in price-shell and strip steak of beef or buffalo are quite expensive; skirt and hanger steak are inexpensive. (Buffalo steaks, either shell or sirloin, are a great alternative to beef; they are flavorful and tender, yet spectacularly lean.)

"FRIED" ONIONS

1 1/2 pounds Vidalia or Bermuda onions, peeled

2 teaspoons unsalted butter

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 to 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Freshly ground black pepper

SZECHWAN PEPPER RUB

1 teaspoon Szechwan peppercorns

1/2 teaspoon white peppercorns

1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

1/4 teaspoon allspice berries

1 1/4 pounds beef skirt, hanger, or strip steak or buffalo sirloin or shell steak, trimmed of all fat

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Kosher salt

Scant 1 teaspoon finely grated ginger

Port Wine Sauce (page 637), Balsamic Syrup (page 636), or Red Wine Essence (page 639) (optional)

To make the onions, slice the onions in half through the stem. With a mandoline or vegetable slicer or a thin sharp knife, cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch slices. (You should have about 6 cups.)

In a large nonstick skillet, melt the butter over moderately low heat. Add the onions, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and toss to coat. Cover and cook until the onions have released their liquid, about 13 minutes.

Uncover the pan, increase the heat to moderate, and cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle the onions with the sugar and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until they are golden brown and caramelized, about 10 minutes longer. Sprinkle with the balsamic vinegar and toss until the vinegar has evaporated. Add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and season generously with pepper. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.

Meanwhile, prepare the pepper rub: In a small heavy skillet, toast the peppercorns and allspice over moderate heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a blender or spice grinder and grind to a fine powder. Strain the spices into a small bowl and return the coarse bits to the blender. Blend again and strain.

Pat the steaks dry with paper towels; rub lightly with a little of the oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt and massage the ginger into the steak; then rub the pepper rub over them.

Heat a grill pan or heavy nonstick skillet over high heat. Lightly oil the grill pan, if using, or swirl the remaining oil in a nonstick skillet. Add the steaks to the pan and cook until little droplets of blood form on the surface, about 4 minutes. Turn the steaks over and continue cooking until droplets of blood form on the top again, another 3 to 4 minutes, for rare.

Transfer the steaks to a cutting board and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. With a thin sharp knife, slice the steaks on a slight angle against the grain. Sprinkle the meat with a little salt and arrange the slices on four warm dinner plates. Nestle a mound of onions next to the steak, drizzle a little of the optional sauce around the meat, and serve at once.

IN ADVANCE

You can prepare the Szechwan pepper rub up to 2 days ahead and the onions up to 6 hours ahead; cover and leave at room temperature. About 5 minutes before serving, sautT the onions in a hot pan until warm through.

VARIATION

"Wood-Smoked" Steak Smothered with Onions. Crust the steaks with Smoky Tea Essence (see below) instead of the Szechwan Pepper Rub to make the steak taste as though it was grilled over wood.

Smoky Tea Essence

Makes about 1/3 cup

This powder, my most exciting discovery with rubs, is made from Lapsang Souchong or Hu-Kwa, a smoked tea from China's Fukien province. It imparts a sweet, bacony, smoky flavor to foods. You can use it in just about any dish where a slight hint of wood smoke is desired. I've rubbed it on steaks to give them a grilled flavor, infused it into broths to impart a bacony flavor to soups, and added it to pots of beans or to roasted peppers. When I am cooking for vegetarians, I use it instead of bacon or ham to impart a smoky flavor. While it is great as a rub on its own, I often use it in tandem with many other Flavor Essences and Dry Rubs.

Smoky teas are readily available in supermarkets and gourmet stores.

1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) loose Lapsang Souchong tea or 20 tea bags

If you are using tea bags, cut them open. Empty the tea into a blender or spice grinder. Blend the tea for at least 1 minute at high speed, until you have the finest-possible powder. Let the mixture settle for about 30 seconds before removing the cover, so the fine powder does not fly into the air.

Use a dry pastry brush to push the powder through a strainer set into a clean dry container. Blend and strain the larger bits again.

IN ADVANCE

Store in a tightly sealed jar away from light for up to 3 months.

Warm Spilling Fruit

Serves 4

A GUIDE TO IMPROVISING

Ripe fruit gently cooked with a small amount of sugar and a little water releases its juices and melts slightly. A vanilla bean amplifies the fruit's own sweetness and perfume. The effect is like a pie filling and has many uses, both as filling and as sauce. The fruit is delicious served warm, with or without a small scoop of ice cream or a tablespoon of crFme fraeche. It can be spooned into a wide shallow bowl and topped with a baked pastry "lid" or used as a rustic sauce for Roasted Fruit (page 475) and plain cakes.

This method works wonderfully for many kinds of fruits, including pears, apples, peaches, nectarines, mangoes, plums, cherries, and berries, such as strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries.

3 cups fresh fruit (peeled, pitted, and/or sliced 1/2 inch thick, as appropriate), singly or in combination, such as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, peaches, nectarines, or plums

2 tablespoons water

1 to 4 tablespoons sugar, honey, or maple syrup (depending on the sweetness of the fruit)

1 vanilla bean

1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 to 3 teaspoons eau-de-vie, such as kirsch, framboise, or Poire William (optional)

1. In a medium saucepan, combine the fruit, water, and 1 tablespoon of the sugar. With a thin sharp knife, split the vanilla bean lengthwise in half. Scrape out the seeds and add the seeds and bean to the pan. Cover and cook over moderate heat until the fruit releases its juices, 2 to 4 minutes.

2. Taste the fruit for sweetness and add more sugar if necessary. Stir in the lemon juice. Uncover and cook over high heat until the fruit is tender and the juices are syrupy, about 2 minutes longer. Discard the vanilla bean and stir in the eau-de-vie, if desired. Serve warm.

IMPROVISATION 1

Warm Fresh Cherries with Kirsch

Pitting cherries seems like such a daunting task that people rarely eat fresh cherries these days any way other than out of hand. So we miss the extraordinary pleasure of cooked fresh cherries, when their fragrance is released in all its glory.

In this warm compote, pitted cherries are cooked with a vanilla bean and sugar just until they release their juices. A drizzle of kirsch (cherry brandy) accentuates their marvelous flavor. They are best eaten warm, spooned into shallow soup bowls, with a Scented Custard Sauce (page 530), Real Whipped Cream or CrFme Fraeche (page 533), ice cream, ice milk, or frozen yogurt. They also make an extraordinary sauce for plain cakes such as Fresh Lemon Cake (page 506) or Pistachio and Almond Cake (page 514).

Follow the Guide on page 472 using 3 cups pitted fresh cherries (see page 677) and 3 tablespoons sugar or honey. When the cherries are tender, discard the vanilla bean and stir in 2 to 3 teaspoons kirsch, rum, or cognac.

IMPROVISATION 2

Inside a Blueberry Pie

This wonderful stew of blueberries is indeed like the inside of a blueberry pie. Sprigs of fresh thyme make the blueberries taste like wild ones. Served warm, the sauce is particularly good with baked fruits such as Slow-Roasted Peaches (page 476) or Caramelized Roasted Pears (page 476) or with vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt. The sauce can also be made with black or red raspberries or blackberries. (The frozen sugarless blackberries available in supermarkets work wonderfully.)

Follow the Guide on page 472, using fresh or frozen unsweetened blueberries, 1 1/2 tablespoons honey, 1 tablespoon water, and 1/2 vanilla bean. Add 2 to 3 sprigs fresh thyme, cover, and cook over moderate heat until the berries have released their juices but are still whole, about 5 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean.

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Table of Contents

Finding a New Way to Cook viii
New Way Basics
Essential Techniques, Ingredients, and Tools 1
Techniques & Recipes
Vegetables 29
Beans and Other Legumes 85
Pasta 117
Grains 163
Fish and Shellfish 207
Poultry and Meat 281
Quick Breads From Pizza to Pancakes 351
Soups 383
Salads 409
Desserts 457
Flavor Catalysts
Flavor Essences, Dry Rubs, and Marinades 539
Broths 565
Flavored Oils 585
Sauces 599
Basic Techniques and Standard Preparations 673
Comparative Nutritional Analyses 687
Menus and Dishes for Every Occasion 705
Sources 711
Books and Web Sites 713
Acknowledgments 715
Index 717
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Recipe

PARSNIP FRIES

Ann Disrude, a friend and a spectacular natural cook with a fondness for crispy fried foods, serves these sublime parsnip fries with drinks before dinner. Cut into sticks, tossed with a little oil, and roasted to a supremely crisp-chewy treat, they could not be healthier or simpler to make, as in the potato variation that follows. I loved them as a side dish for roasts and grilled steak.

3 pounds parsnips, peeled and cut into 4-by-1/3 inch sticks
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fine sea salt

Preheat the oven to 375° F.

Place the parsnip sticks in a bowl. Using a lightly dampened brush, toss them with the oil; making sure each one is coated. Spread them in a single layer on one large or two smaller baking sheets, making sure they aren't touching.

Roast the parsnips, tossing once or twice, until tender and browned in spots, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Sprinkle with the salt, transfer to a platter, and serve at once.

In Advance:
Up to 4 hours ahead, toss the parsnips with the oil, spread them on the baking sheet(s), and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside at room temperature until ready to roast.

Variation:
Crisp Twice-Roasted Potatoes
Preheat the oven to 375 ° F. Pierce 1-1/2 pounds small Yukon Gold potatoes with a knife in several places, spread them on a baking sheet, and roast until very tender, about 1 hour. Halve the potatoes and smash them lightly on the baking sheet with the bottom of a glass. Using a lightly dampened brush, toss them with 1-1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (goose fat would be sublime) and roast, flipping occasionally, until browned and crisp, about 45 minutes. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon fine sea salt and serve at once.

FOOLPROOF ROAST TURKEY

I know of very few people who don't get anxious at the prospect of roasting a turkey. Because the breast cooks more quickly than the dark meat thigh, it is often dry and overcooked by the time the bird comes out of the oven. Nobody seems to be certain of what, exactly, the best roasting method is, whether high heat or low, tented with foil or roasted breast down.

Brining (submerging the bird in a salt-and-sugar solution before roasting) is one of the best ways I know of to ensure a succulent, flavorful roasted turkey. And the best brine for turkey was created by Alice Waters, the inspired and inspiring founder of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California, from whom this recipe was adapted. The seasonings In the brine bring out the turkey's natural flavor, making it taste more like a farm bird with subtle herbal overtones.

If you don't have a large (at least 16-quart) stockpot, you can use an inexpensive plastic bucket or new garbage pail. If necessary, adjust a rack in your refrigerator to make room for it.

If you wish, you can stuff the bird before roasting it; truss and roast the bird about 20 minutes longer.

Aromatic Brine
2 gallons water
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons kosher salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 celery rib, coarsely chopped
1 leek, white and light green parts only, coarsely chopped and washed
3 to 4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 imported bay leaves
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 star anise (optional)

One 12- to 14-pound organic free-range turkey, giblets, live, and neck reserved for another use, if desired
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
6 large rosemary branches, tied together to make a brush for basting (optional)

To make the brine, in a large stockpot, bring 1 gallon of the water to a boil. Stir in the salt and sugar until completely dissolved. Turn off the heat and add the onions, carrot, celery, leek, thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns, coriander, and fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, and star anise, if using. Stir in the remaining 1-gallon cold water. Let the brine cool completely, then refrigerate until cold.

Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water. Carefully place the turkey in the brine. To keep the turkey submerged in the brine, place a weight such as a heavy plate or pot lid on top of the bird. Refrigerate for 72 hours.

Remove the turkey from the brine and pat dry (discard the brine). Place the turkey on a rack in a large roasting pan and rub all over with olive oil. Let sit for 1 hour to come to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 425° F.

Roast until the turkey starts to brown, about 25 minutes. Turn down the oven to 350 ° F and roast about 10 minutes per pound, for a total of 2 to 2½ hours, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh reads 160° F. As the turkey roasts, baste frequently with the pan juices, with the rosemary brush, if using. If the bird begins to darken too much, cover loosely with foil.

Remove the turkey from the oven, transfer to a serving platter, and let rest for 20 minutes before carving.

In Advance:
You can make the brine up to 2 days ahead; cover and refrigerate.

REAL "JELL-O"

A homemade gelatin dessert without artificial flavors and synthetic dyes is a great thing that almost nobody gets to experience anymore. It is simple -- a good fruit juice jelled with unflavored gelatin.

An easy way to make real "Jell-O" is to buy some high-quality fruit juice, like imported pear, peach, passion fruit, or cassis, available at specialty and gourmet markets, or guava nectar from Goya, with its tropical flavor and lovely coral color. Or, juice fresh fruits with an electric juicer and sweeten to taste.

For a thicker, less limpid gelatin, puree the fruit in a food processor, strain out any seeds, and use the puree instead of juice. Frozen juice concentrates, especially purple grape juice, make great "Jell-O." I reconstitute them in a proportion of 1 part concentrate to 2 parts water.

Certain raw fruits have an enzyme that will prevent gelatin from setting. Pineapple, mango, kiwi, and ginger must all be cooked for 5 minutes to destroy the enzyme before using. Fructose is available at health food stores.

2 cups fresh or good-quality bottled fruit juice or puree
1 envelope (1/4 ounce) unflavored gelatin
2 to 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (optional)
Sugar, honey, maple syrup, or fructose to taste (optional)

Pour 1/2 cup of the fruit juice into a medium glass bowl or measuring up and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Let stand for 1 minute.

In a medium saucepan, bring the remaining 1-1/2 cup fruit juice to a boil. Stir into the gelatin mixture until dissolved. Add the lemon juice and sweetener to taste, if desired. Pour into individual bowls or into one bowl. Let cool, then refrigerate for several hours, until set.

Variation:
Stripes and Shapes
There are endless possibilities for creating colorful patterns using different fruit juice "Jell-Os." For layers in a glass container, pour one color "Jell-O" into the container to the desired depth and refrigerate until it is completely set. Then pour another color on top and let it sit. Repeat, using as many colors as you wish.

To make "Jell-O" that can be unmolded, use an additional 1-1/2 teaspoons gelatin. When the gelatin is set, dip the mold in hot water to the depth of the gelatin for about 10 seconds. Loosen the edges with a thin knife. Wet a plate with cold water (this will allow you to position the unmolded gelatin), invert the plate over the mold, and, holding them together, turn them upside down. The gelatin should slip out.

In Advance:
You can prepare the "Jell-O" up to 5 days ahead.

Copyright © 2001 by Sally Schneider.

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2001

    Great!

    I bought this book as a Christmas present for my stepmother who loves to cook. I spent most of Christmas reading her cookbook so I decided to buy it myself. Has great ideas for lowfat cooking of your favorite foods. The recipes range from traditional to gourmet and there are cooking tips for those of us with less gourmet experience. This cookbook is worth the price for any cook looking to make lower fat meals.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2002

    Great Book!

    I got this cookbook for Christmas and have already tried some of the recipes and they are all great. The recipes are all a 3rd lower in fat than traditional but you can't tell the difference.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2001

    Moderation Speaks

    What a great little book. I run the gamut of extremes in my cooking. I will go crazy with Cajun, full of fats and all manner of evil, then go on a fruit and vegatable juice fast. This book does a great job of covering the true middle ground. She knows how to use the good stuff (fats, butter etc.) judiciously without being terrified. Bravo. And this is after all, a 'COOKbook'.

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