Gift Guide

Roasting-A Simple Art


When you're hungry, roast.
When you're in a rush, roast.
When you're in doubt, roast.
When you're entertaining, roast.

Crank up the oven and throw in a chicken; roasting is simply the easiest and best way to concentrate and deepen flavor, to seal in succulence, and make robust, crusty, and sweet all kinds of meats, birds, fish, fruits, and vegetables. Roasting offers more ...

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When you're hungry, roast.
When you're in a rush, roast.
When you're in doubt, roast.
When you're entertaining, roast.

Crank up the oven and throw in a chicken; roasting is simply the easiest and best way to concentrate and deepen flavor, to seal in succulence, and make robust, crusty, and sweet all kinds of meats, birds, fish, fruits, and vegetables. Roasting offers more flavor on its own than any other cooking technique. Everything you need for a lifetime of happy roasting can be found here in the pages of Barbara Kafka's ground-breaking new book. Even baby goat, a suckling pig, and loin of buffalo make it into this bible of roasting.

Roasting is absolutely essential, whether you're planning to roast a potato or leg of lamb, a turkey or a tomato, a pepper or a red snapper. Barbara's fussless high-temperature method caramelizes the surface of meat, the skin of birds or fish, or the outside of vegetables, transforming them into such savory sweet dishes as Roast Chicken with Pomegranate Glaze and Fresh Mint, aromatic Garlic Roast Pork Loin, moist and sweet Roasted Striped Bass with Fennel, and Whole Roasted Peaches with Ginger Syrup.

Nearly one hundred stellar recipes for roasted vegetables attest to the fact that Barbara Kafka's new book is not for meat eaters alone. The recipes for roasted vegetables begin where other books leave off. Try the Roasted Sliced Fennel Bulb and the Roasted Chinese Eggplant with Balsamic Marinade, the Roasted Portobello Mushrooms with Garlic Marinade, and more.

Roasting is packed with indispensable tips, techniques, and innovative cooking ideas. There are great recipes for marinades, salsas, vinaigrettes, and stuffings. You'll also find an inspiring assortment of simple but original recipes for sauces that will lift your everyday roasts into perfect party fare. You'll discover, too, the many joys of "companion roasting," learning when to add the carrots or the onions so they don't over- or undercook, and guaranteeing everything comes out at the same time.

Never a believer in unnecessary work, Barbara Kafka is a cook's best friend. Barbara never follows; she blazes new trails, challenging the sacred rules of roasting by never trussing a chicken or basting a turkey. She proves you can actually walk away from your oven and enjoy your food and your guests. It's all so quick and easy, most dishes don't need to go into the oven until your guests walk in the door.

Often the best part of the roast is the leftovers, and Roasting is overflowing with possibilities. In Barbara's knowing hands leftover onions become a smoky-flavored Roasted Onion Soup with Cannellini Beans; last night's roasted cod and boiled potatoes are transformed into a scrumptious Best Cod Hash; a deeply flavored Roast Duck Pasta Sauce is a rich reward to the cook for having made last night's duck dinner. Nearly one hundred recipes for leftovers show you how to build them into new meals of soups, salads, pasta sauces, hashes, fritters, fish cakes, and more.

Replete with all the tables, timing charts, and the encyclopedic wisdom that are hallmarks of every Barbara Kafka book, Roasting: A Simple Art is a dream of a cookbook, one that will soon bear the soils, stains, and well-worn pages of constant and creative use.

In her new book, the author of the bestselling Microwave Gourmet offers a unique approach to cooking that will bring the moist, crusty, and robust flavors of roasting back to the American kitchen. Includes roasting recipes and techniques for vegetables, meats, fish, fruit, and more. Color photos.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The first hairy hominid who discovered that fire rewarded the successful hunter with sublime pleasures of taste and smell could not have foreseen that that first rack of mammoth's rib might lead to Kafka's King Mackerel with Jalapeo Lime Sauce. Although the fish and vegetable dishes (Roasted Yellow Squash in Mint Bath) are enticing, this book addresses most valuably the often dismissed appetites of meat and fowl lovers. Along with recipes for racks of lamb, rib roasts and holiday turkeys come others for pheasant (``with liver-rich dressing''), bison (best served ``unbelievably rare'') and wood pigeon (stuffed with grapes). There are recipes for leftovers (Chutney Chicken Salad) and invaluable tips on how roasting enhances a stock, how to deglaze and how to control oven temperature. Kafka (Microwave Gourmet) is big on using every useful bit of a beast: she happily describes, in detail, how to butcher a baby goat and what to do with its head (some stocks are richer than others). Less ambitious cooks might do better to start with Kathy Gunst's Roasting (see below), because Kafka is as serious about her cooking as that hominid was about hunting. (Dec.)
Library Journal
Each of these books shows that there's a lot more to roasting than roast beef and chicken, although both volumes include recipes for these classics, too. Gunst (Leftovers, LJ 12/90) has written a less ambitious work than Kafka, but she includes dozens of good recipes that demonstrate the diversity of foods that lend themselves to roasting, from Roasted Mussels to Roasted Chinese-Style Green Beans. There are lots of recipes for roasted fruit, and roasted garlic even gets its own chapter. Kafka, of Microwave Gourmet (LJ 9/15/92) fame and the author most recently of Party Food (LJ 9/15/92), concentrates on technique and offers a detailed guide, with recipes, to roasting poultry, meats, and game, including a section on vegetables that is almost a book in itself. Although both authors emphasize how easy roasting can be, Kafka includes many more recipes for making use of leftoversfrom rich and elegant Roast Duck Pasta Sauce to a quick Sesame Ginger Salmon Saladso busy cooks can make two or even three meals from one roast. These books complement each other well, and both are recommended for most collections.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688131357
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 12/28/1995
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 308,980
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.41 (d)

Meet the Author

Barbara Kafka is the bestselling author of Roasting: A Simple Art, which won a Julia Child Cookbook Award, and Party Food. She writes on a regular basis for The New York Times, is a TVFN (Television Food Network) regular, and contributes to numerous food magazines. She lives in New York City and Vermont.

Barbara Kafka is a TVFN (Television Food Network) regular, a Gourmet columnist, and a frequent contributor to The New York Times. Her award-winning cookbooks have changed the way Americans cook. She lives in New York City and Vermont.

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Read an Excerpt

Roast Pork Loin in Onion-Rhubarb Sauce

Serves 8

Even though pork is not as fatty as it once was, it still welcomes a somewhat acid sauce. Come spring and the pushing up in the garden or the arrival in the market of the first rosy stems of rhubarb, what may often seem a wintry meat is transformed into a sunny presence.

3 1/2-pound boned and rolled pork loin (10 inches long), bones reserved for Basic Pork Stock (See Below)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 pound onions (3 medium), peeled, halved, and thinly sliced (3 cups)
1 1/4 pounds rhubarb stalks, trimmed and cut on the diagonal into 1/8-inch-thick slices (3 cups)
1/2 cup liquid

Place rack in center of oven. Heat oven to 500 F.

Rub loin generously with salt and sprinkle with pepper.

Place in a roasting pan just large enough to hold it. Cook 50 minutes, or until meat reaches an internal temperature of 140 F. The meat might still be slightly pink, but this is fine. Don't overcook the roast, or it will be dry and unappealing.

Transfer roast to a platter. Snip off strings. Pour off all but 1 1/2 tablespoons excess fat. Place the pan on top of the stove over medium heat. Add onions. Cook until onions are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add rhubarb. Cook 10 minutes, until soft but not soggy, scraping pan with wooden spoon to scoop up crispy bits that will flavor sauce. Add 1/2 cup liquid (juices that have collected on the serving platter and/or water or cream) and stir to combine. Cook until hot throughout. Season to taste. Serve in a sauceboat or bowl with the roast.

Total Roasting Time: 50 minutes plus 30 minutes for cooking thesauce

Basic Pork Stock

Makes 5 Cups

Total Roasting Time:

The bones and plate scrapings from Roast Rack of Pork make a surprisingly rich stock for deglazing, bean soups, and pork stews. Pork stock is virtually cheating, it is so easy.

All bones and scraps from Roast Rack of Pork
2 1/2 quarts water or to cover by 2 inches
1/2 cup red wine or other liquid, for deglazing

Place rack in center of oven. Heat oven to 500 F.

Put all bones and scraps in a small or medium roasting pan. Roast for 10 minutes. Turn. Roast 10 minutes more. This extra roasting gives the stock an even richer flavor.

Put bones and scraps in a stockpot. Add water to cover by 2 inches. Cover and bring to a boil.

While water is coming to a boil, put the roasting pan on top of the stove over high heat Deglaze pan with the wine or other liquid. Add to stockpot. Reduce heat so that the liquid is simmering. Using a metal spoon, skim off the scum that rises, to the, top. Cook 9 to 16 hours (9 is sufficient, 16 is even better); replenish water as needed.

Strain, skim, label, and refrigerate or freeze.

Total Roasting Time: 20 minutes plus stove-top cooking

Roasted Chinese Eggplant with Balsamic Marinade

Makes 10 halves;
Serves 4 to 6 as a first course

I like to make this with the slender, lavender, Chinese eggplants; but other slender eggplants such as the French Barbentane, or the Italian violetta lunga, or even the small Japanese make very satisfactory substitutes. The eggplants make an attractive addition to a mixed vegetable hors d'oeuvre, in which case, the ten halves should serve as many people.

Careful deep scoring of the eggplant flesh lets the flavors permeate it in a dramatic way. Score all the way down to the skin without cutting it.

4 cloves garlic smashed and peeled
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
5 Chinese eggplants (about 8 ounces each, 1 1/2 pounds total), stem end trimmed but with calyx left on, cut in half lengthwise, and flesh scored deeply in a diamond pattern

Place rack in lowest level of oven. About 20 minutes before roasting, heat oven to 500 F.

In a mortar with a pestle, or on a cutting board with a knife, smush the garlic with the salt and pepper until it is a smooth paste. Put the vinegar in a small bowl. Whisk in the paste until it is smooth. Whisk in olive oil until smooth. Pour mixture into an 18 x 13 x 2-inch roasting pan. Put the eggplant in the pan. Rub mixture all over, especially into the cut flesh. Arrange each half cut side down in the pan.

Leave eggplant to marinate at room temperature for 4 to 8 hours. Roast until browned, 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the freshness and size of the eggplant. I like them cooked a full 30 minutes to get a maximum of browning and caramel flavor. When stuck with the tip of a sharp knife, the eggplant should be soft throughout--there should be no resistance.

Eggplant may be served warm from the oven or made ahead and served at room temperature. If made ahead, reheat briefly in a 500 F oven about 10 minutes.

Total Roasting Time: 20 to 30 minutes

Roasting. Copyright © by Barbara Kafka. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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  • Posted May 22, 2010

    Joys of Roasting

    When I received this book as a gift from my sister, I'm certain I had a puzzled look on my face: how could an entire book be devoted to the "art" of roasting? How tough could it be to turn up the oven to 500 degrees?

    Thankfully, I was oh-so-very wrong.

    Barbara Kafka has written a cookbook that is both entertaining and practical. But, the best part: every single recipe works perfectly. (Has anyone else found that some cookbooks produce some pretty awful results?) Family and friend stories accompany most of the recipes and you are apt to smile along with Barbara as you begin your preparation.

    Beyond the short stories about how a recipe came to be are the recipes that reveal the glories of roasting. I now only my roast asparagus or carrots. Carrots are now glazed beautifully without a single teaspoon of sugar. My family of four gives the products of this book glowing reviews and my meats have never ended up so perfectly cooked - crispy on the outside, medium rare on the inside.

    If you've never thought roasting to be a standard operating procedure of your kitchen, try this cookbook and you'll be converted.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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