Kitchen Conversations is a double portion of culinary wisdom from one of the great cooks and cooking teachers of our time. It is filled with fabulous Mediterranean meals, as Joyce takes you on a luscious tour of her favorite cuisines: 160 sparkling and satisfying recipes from Italy, North Africa, Spain, Greece, and Turkey. But along the way, Joyce opens your senses to the essence of the chef's art. As you prepare each of her irresistible recipes, she draws you into a fascinating kitchen conversation, an ...
Kitchen Conversations is a double portion of culinary wisdom from one of the great cooks and cooking teachers of our time. It is filled with fabulous Mediterranean meals, as Joyce takes you on a luscious tour of her favorite cuisines: 160 sparkling and satisfying recipes from Italy, North Africa, Spain, Greece, and Turkey. But along the way, Joyce opens your senses to the essence of the chef's art. As you prepare each of her irresistible recipes, she draws you into a fascinating kitchen conversation, an exploration of each dish's complex flavor: the sweet, salty, sour, and bitter elements that contribute to it, how they are balanced, strengthened, muted, echoed - and ultimately perfected. Indeed, Joyce's passionate teaching is designed to help you develop confidence in your own palate. Through "aware tasting" and cooking practice, you can approach any recipe with an understanding of how its taste elements work. You can learn to bring flavors to their peak, even when ingredients vary: to rescue a dish if it has gone "astray," and to add the precise accent that your palate tells you is "missing." And you will learn to recognize when a dish is in balance - and to remember that perfect taste so you can make it again and again. And, since no meal reaches perfect balance without its attendant wines, Joyce's son, Evan (one of the nation's leading sommeliers), brilliantly analyzes the related taste components of wine and food, and shares a simple system to harmonize the two.
Reading this new volume from the author of Taverna (1996) and Mediterranean: The Beautiful Cookbook (1994) is indeed like sitting at a kitchen table listening to an authoritative and articulate chef discuss her trade. Goldstein, who recently closed her San Francisco restaurant, Square One, aims to help the home cook become "a culinary juggler, playing with the balance of flavors." In an eloquent introduction as well as in the short "conversations" that accompany the recipes, she instructs on using the basic tastes of sweet, sour, salt and bitter to create boldly flavored Mediterranean dishes. She explains why adding anchovy and lemon zest brings out the sweetness in spinach and suggests that an oregano- and garlic-spiked Pork Souvlaki profits from the addition of allspice and honey for "a subtle play of sweet and sour." In chapters from Appetizers to Desserts, Goldstein encourages creative thinking in rearranging flavors: Greek-Inspired Ouzo, Fennel, and Orange-Marinated Fish is a harmonious balance of bitter and sweet; Ciceri e Tria, (fresh pasta with chick peas and arugula from Apulia) is given a kick with hot red peppers. Evan Goldstein, the author's son and the family wine consultant, provides a creative introduction that adds wine to his mother's discussion of basic tastes and offers wine suggestions for nearly every recipe.
Until recently, Goldstein (The Mediterranean Kitchen, LJ 11/15/89) was chef/ owner of Square One, one of San Francisco's most popular restaurants. Her food is known for its vivid and intense flavors, and her new book is an exploration of flavor combinations and what makes them work in dishes from Tuna Carpaccio with Radishes, White Beans, and Mustard Vinaigrette to Roast Sea Bass with Radicchio, Olives, and Rosemary (her fish dishes are particularly delicious). Goldstein, who is also a cooking teacher, believes that "most palates are trainable" (not everyone would agree), and her enthusiasm for such training is evident in the headnotes and the "Kitchen Conversations" that accompany every recipe, explaining why the flavors work together, suggesting flavor experiments to try, and questioning the cook/reader ("Did you put in enough salt?"). Some cooks will be fascinated by the other possibilities she opens up; others will be content just to make her recipes as they are.