New American Cooking

New American Cooking

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by Joan Nathan
     
 

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Joan Nathan, the author of Jewish Cooking in America, An American Folklife Cookbook, and many other treasured cookbooks, now gives us a fabulous feast of new American recipes and the stories behind them that reflect the most innovative time in our culinary history.

The huge influx of peoples from all over Asia—Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, India

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Overview

Joan Nathan, the author of Jewish Cooking in America, An American Folklife Cookbook, and many other treasured cookbooks, now gives us a fabulous feast of new American recipes and the stories behind them that reflect the most innovative time in our culinary history.

The huge influx of peoples from all over Asia—Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, India—and from the Middle East and Latin America in the past forty years has brought to our kitchens new exotic flavors, little-known herbs and condiments, and novel cooking techniques that make the most of every ingredient. At the same time, health and environmental concerns have dramatically affected how and what we eat. The result: American cooking has never been as exciting as it is today. And Joan Nathan proves it on every page of this wonderfully rewarding book.

Crisscrossing the country, she talks to organic farmers, artisanal bread bakers and cheese makers, a Hmong farmer in Minnesota, a mango grower in Florida, an entrepreneur of Indian frozen foods in New Jersey, home cooks, and new-wave chefs.

Among the many enticing dishes she discovers are a breakfast huevos rancheros casserole; starters such as Ecuadorean shrimp ceviche, Szechuan dumplings, and Malaysian swordfish satays; pea soup with kaffir leaves; gazpacho with sashimi; pasta dressed with pistachio pesto; Iraqi rice-stuffed Vidalia onions; and main courses of Ecuadorean casuela, chicken yasa from Gambia, and couscous from Timbuktu (with dates and lamb). And there are desserts for every taste.

Old American favorites are featured, too, but often Nathan discovers a cook who has a new way with a dish, such as an asparagus salad with blood orange mayonnaise, pancakes made with blue cornmeal and pine nuts, a seafood chowder that includes monkfish, and a chocolate bread pudding with dried cherries.

Because every recipe has a story behind it, The New American Cooking is a book that is as much fun to read as it is to cook from—a must for every kitchen today.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
What makes a particular dish or technique uniquely American? Nathan, perhaps best known for Jewish Cooking in America, and the author of seven additional cookbooks, eschews the notion that agribusiness and fast food have commandeered the American palate. Rather, she says the influence of immigrants from diverse areas of the world has, over the past 40 years, made American food fresh, spicy and rife with flavor. Similarly, she notes that the spices and ingredients available to American home cooks are far more varied than they've ever been, as are the options on restaurant menus. In homage to the chefs, farmers, artisans and entrepreneurs who create and contribute to American food culture, Nathan traveled the country and visited the people who help ensure that "the world's food is now literally at our fingertips." The book is part cookbook, part travelogue; readers will surely be intrigued by Nathan's descriptions of a Cuban juice bar in Miami, the advent of Middle Eastern restaurants in Virginia and the Honolulu Fish Auction, where she provides fascinating food lore and a striking sense of place. Nathan covers every course, from Morning Glory Muffins for breakfast to main courses like Haitian Vegetable Stew and desserts such as Molten Chocolate Cake. She does an excellent job of balancing her own voice with that of her interview subjects, making this cookbook as readable as it is practical. 150 full-color photos. Agent, Gail Ross. (Oct. 26) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Nathan is best known for her books on Jewish cooking (e.g., Jewish Cooking in America). In this title, however, she reveals that she's always been "interested in the larger picture, of how other ethnicities have affected America and the way we eat." To quell her curiosity, she traveled around the country to discover people who are effecting change, interviewing farmers and purveyors, chefs and home cooks, bakers and caf owners and collecting close to 300 diverse recipes. There are Santa Fe Huevos Rancheros and Green Mountain Egg Foo Yung, as well as Rack of Lamb with Pomegranate Sauce and Korean Bulgogi. Throughout, there are interviews with the many people she met, from a Slovak baker in Minnesota to a butter maker in Vermont. Because the book is a travelog as well as a cookbook, it's too bad that addresses and contact information aren't provided for the places readers might want to visit. That aside, Nathan's latest title is both informative and entertaining, and the recipes are impressively wide-ranging. Highly recommended. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781400040346
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/25/2005
Pages:
464
Sales rank:
1,064,379
Product dimensions:
8.44(w) x 9.35(h) x 1.29(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chocolate Red Velvet Cake with Chocolate Icing

When I was growing up, I always wanted a simple chocolate cake for my birthday. I still do. This velvety chocolate cake gets its name from its smooth texture and reddish hue. The original recipe called for red beet juice—in some parts of the country it is called beet cake—but was altered by manufacturers who added red food coloring to the cake. "Red coloring is evil and dangerous for children and other living things," Carole Greenwood, a chef in Washington, D.C. told me. She refuses to use food coloring but loves this buttermilk-based velvety chocolate cake, and uses red wine vinegar or beet juice for the color. She also makes her version less sweet, using both good-quality cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate.

For the cake:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup good-quality cocoa powder
2 extra-large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 tablespoons pickled beet juice or red wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups bleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

For the icing:
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons sugar
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

Yield: 1 cake serving 8 people

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease two 9-inch round cake pans.

2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the water and cocoa powder, and allow the mixture to cool.

3. Beat the eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer, then add the vanilla, buttermilk, baking soda, and beet juice or red wine vinegar and stir well.

4. Sift together the all-purpose flour, cake flour, cornstarch, salt, and sugar into the bowl. Pour in the butter and then the egg mixture and blend thoroughly on low.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

6. Cool the cakes for a few minutes, then turn them out onto wire racks, and frost and fill the center with the chocolate icing.

Chocolate Icing

1. Place the cream, butter, and sugar in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until hot and bubbly.

2. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chocolate, stirring slowly until smooth and silky. Add the vanilla and the salt.Taste and adjust the sweetness to your taste. Cool for about 15 minutes before frosting the cake.

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