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Jim Coleman's Flavors

Jim Coleman's Flavors

by Jim Coleman, John Harrisson (With), Candace Hagan (With), John Harrisson, Candace Hagan
Thirty minutes, three amazing courses, and one really nice guy who serves up some really mean food. This is what thousands have rightly come to expect when they tune in to the second season of Jim Coleman's public television series, Flavors of America, and what you'll find in this companion volume cookbook.

As the executive chef at Philadelphia's five-diamond


Thirty minutes, three amazing courses, and one really nice guy who serves up some really mean food. This is what thousands have rightly come to expect when they tune in to the second season of Jim Coleman's public television series, Flavors of America, and what you'll find in this companion volume cookbook.

As the executive chef at Philadelphia's five-diamond Rittenhouse Hotel, the host of the NPR show The Chef's Table, a weekly newspaper columnist, and a guest on various Food Network specials, Jim Coleman is definitely a star on the rise. But he is really just your average guy -- who happens to be an excellent cook. Each dish in his cookbook follows the same philosophy that governs his television show -- the food must be simple, delicious, and easy to re-create in the home kitchen. These recipes are meant to become your favorites and to be used.

His television show is a veritable culinary road trip, wending its way through the back roads and ethnic neighborhoods of America. Now Jim Coleman's Flavors expands upon the highlights of his travels, introducing readers to farmers, fishermen, chefs, restaurateurs, and the television show's production team -- all of whom share Jim's passion for good food. The famously gorgeous produce from the Chino family farm in southern California inspires a recipe for Poached Chicken with Farm Vegetables, while the freshly caught fish of Pike Place Market is the starting point for Seattle Salmon Provencal Style. From the ever-present corn dogs of sunbelt state fairs to the cool briny tang of Miami's ceviches, from the sizzling clay pots of Chinatown to the sweet goodness of Georgia peach cobblers, Jim Coleman's Flavors is a heartfelt anthem to America's richly diverse cuisine.

Sidebars bring you up close and personal to staples like butter and cheese or luxurious foodstuffs like American caviar and avocados, Madeira wine and mangos. Jim Coleman's Flavors takes you through the year, with Chinese New Year celebrations, Fourth of July blasts, children's parties, and Mother's Day breakfasts in bed. Done Jim Coleman's way, everything is easy, fun, flavorful, and decidedly American.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
If Coleman's latest effort was not cited as the companion volume to his Public Television series, Flavors of America, one would easily mistake it for a new world cookbook. This chef of Philadelphia's four-star Rittenhouse Hotel, surveys the U.S. and finds it to be a true melting pot, brimming with plantains, curry and kimchi alike. For a Fourth of July menu, he uses hoisin sauce and Chinese spices to concoct Asian Veal Burgers with Cilantro Roasted Corn. A Peanut Butter Soup, which sounds as if it might be Thai in origin, turns out to be an old Southern tradition well known in Georgia. Heading further south, Coleman draws upon Floridian influence to cook up a hot and sweet Old World appetizer, Little Havana Plantain-Pork Piononos as well as a "Nuevo Latino" Papaya and Brie Quesadillas. A calmer palate prevails with a New England Red Flannel Hash, a mix of diced corned-beef and root vegetables. And there is Seattle salmon, prepared Proven?al style with peppers, mushrooms and tomatoes. Not skimping on the dessertsm Coleman offers Hot Banana Shortcake cooked on a Texas grill, Galactoboureko (Greek Custard with Phyllo) and 26 others. Lest readers forget the PBS association, Coleman's recipes are interspersed with single-page essays that trace the history of various foodstuffs. A fine, informative cookbook, and a reminder that at this point, there is little difference between "American" and "international" cuisine. Two eight-page color photo inserts. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal - Library Journal
This is the companion volume to the author's PBS series, Flavors of America, now in its second year. Chef of Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Hotel, Coleman is also the host of a long-running radio show called A Chef's Table. For the television series, he travels throughout the country, focusing on a particular locale, such as San Francisco's Chinatown. Local ingredients, like the shrimp and crabs of Charleston, SC, or a regional style of cooking, such as southern Florida's "new World Cuisine," are highlighted. The recipes, organized by course rather than theme, come from both the TV series and the radio show; some of them are the specialties of featured guest chefs, but most of them are Coleman's dishes he includes several favorites from the Rittenhouse menu as well. Recommended for Philadelphia area libraries and other larger collections. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
1 ED
Product dimensions:
7.46(w) x 9.72(h) x 1.04(d)

Read an Excerpt

I am a card-carrying soup lover. Virtually every region in every country of the world claims a soup as its own, and America is no different. Soups are easy to prepare and they are an underrated way to begin a meal, in my opinion. They are the natural prelude to a three-course meal, and I appreciate their versatility. There's nothing like a hot, hearty, nourishing soup in the middle of winter, yet chilled soups can lend an air of sophistication as well as welcome refreshment on the hottest summer day.

One of the many good things about soups is that there is an acceptable amount of trial and error involved, especially compared to the more precise techniques required in baking, for example. You can use leftovers, stretch ingredients, and include favorite foods-or leave out those you don't like-and the results can still be magnificent. Although best results can be gained from making soup bases from homemade stocks, it's by no means necessary. Some excellent premium low-sodium, additive-free stocks and broths are available on the market (especially chicken stock), and canned vegetable juice or bottled clam juice also make a fine, simple soup base.

Soup can also be a wonderful medium for flavors, textures, and even colors. I generally prefer smooth soups to chunky ones, perhaps because when I think of chunky, I think more of stews and main courses or lunch dishes, but this is only a matter of personal taste. I created most of the soups in this chapter along themes for the TV show, so they feature-or at least include-a certain ingredient or local cooking style. When people ask me how I come up with ideas for soups, I tell them that my first rule of thumb is to make the most offresh, seasonal produce. Then if you use a good-quality stock or broth, you can't go far wrong. Don't be afraid to adapt to your taste the recipes that follow, or to include what's in your refrigerator.

Hearty Spinach Soup with Beets and Potatoes
Serves 4

When I lived in San Diego years ago, the Chino Farms produce stand in Del Mar was just a few minutes' drive away, and was it ever worth it! The fruits and vegetables on offer were incredible. Chino Farms is an institution in southern California, and their remarkable organic produce helped Alice Waters and her peers revolutionize American cooking thirty years ago. The company is still going strong today. I was fortunate enough to be able to interview Tom Chino, one of the second-generation family owners, for the TV show, and the information he shared with me about the cross-breeding programs, growing techniques, and handling procedures helped explain the remarkable quality of the farm's product. I created this soup using some of the vegetables they had available in April.

3 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups fresh spinach, cleaned and chopped
1 teaspoon paprika
4 cups Chicken Stock (page 266)
2 russet potatoes (about 1 pound), peeled and roughly chopped
4 beets (about 1 pound), peeled and chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 tablespoons low-fat sour cream
4 sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley

Place the butter in a large stockpot and melt over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the spinach and paprika and sauté for about 1 minute, until the spinach is wilted. Add the stock, potatoes, beets, and tomato and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a light simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes and beets are tender.

Transfer the soup to a food processor in batches and purée until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into serving bowls and garnish with the sour cream and a parsley sprig.


Spinach was first found growing wild near ancient deserts in Persia and was initially picked to satisfy the appetites of Persian cats. People soon caught on and by the sixth century a.d. the "Persian herb" made its way through trade to China. The Chinese refined its usage and it was exported to India and Nepal as the "China flower." Six hundred years later the Moors took it to Spain and the taste for spinach spread throughout Europe. French dishes made with spinach were called Florentine in honor of Catherine de Médicis, the sixteenth-century French queen imported from Florence, who insisted that spinach be served at every meal.

Spinach can be prepared in numerous ways, but it is easy to overcook. As one food writer observed, "For years spinach was not cooked in American kitchens, it was punished." Modern chefs have learned from classic French preparations to cook spinach briefly in order to bring out its best flavor and color and its ability to merge with other flavors. It beautifully enhances recipes by receiving the effects of other ingredients rather than imposing its own taste.

As children, many of us learned that Popeye got his muscles from all the iron packed in his canned spinach. Spinach is also a wonderful source of beta-carotene and is rich in other anticancer compounds such as folic acid. Its health benefits and a renewed respect for the vegetable in the kitchen have tremendously boosted consumption. By the end of the twentieth century, more than 170 million pounds of fresh spinach a year were eaten in America alone.

Artichoke Soup with Pine Nuts
Serves 4

The inspiration for this artichoke recipe comes from a Jerusalem artichoke soup I tasted once in Los Angeles. Although listed on the menu as artichoke soup, the dish that arrived at my table was in fact made with Jerusalem artichokes (also called sunchokes). These are not true artichokes at all, but a tuber belonging to the sunflower family. It was a good soup, though, and I have adapted the flavors to create this real artichoke soup! For a simpler recipe, use a half cup of frozen artichoke halves instead of fresh artichokes. Don't be tempted to use bottled artichokes, which come in a flavored brine that would not work well here.

4 fresh artichokes
3 tablespoons olive oil
12 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
3 tablespoons brandy
4 cups Chicken Stock (page 266)
1 russet potato (about 8 ounces), peeled and coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons dried tarragon
12 cup heavy cream
Salt and white pepper, to taste
14 cup toasted pine nuts (see page 269)

Cut off the top of each artichoke about one quarter of the way down and discard. Trim off the tougher outer leaves, leaving the tender pale inside leaves exposed. Open up the center of the artichoke and remove the prickly core. Cut each artichoke into sixths.

In a large saucepan, heat the oil and sauté the artichokes, onion, and celery over medium-high heat for 4 or 5 minutes, or until golden. Add the brandy and deglaze the pan. Add the stock, potato, tarragon, and cream. Continue cooking until the potatoes and artichokes are tender and the soup has thickened, about 30 to 40 minutes.

Transfer the soup to a food processor or blender in batches and purée until smooth. Using a medium mesh sieve, strain the soup into a clean saucepan. Season with salt and white pepper and reheat the soup. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle the pine nuts over the top.

Copyright 2001 by Jim Coleman With John Harrisson and Candace Hagan

Meet the Author

Jim Coleman is the executive chef at the four-star Rittenhouse Hotel in Philadelphia.

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