Over the past six decades, Gourmet magazine has published more than 60,000 recipes. From those recipes, editor-in-chief Ruth Reichl and her staff selected the best 1,200. Then, after reworking, retesting, and retasting, they present these recipes here, thus creating a landmark culinary reference with unparalleled variety. The 1,152-page illustrated cookbook features a sewn binding with two bound-in ribbons. It's a must-have for any ture food lover.
If you could dream up the perfect cookbook, it might look something like this: easy recipes for days when you're spent and just want something quick and filling; pull-out-all-the-stops recipes for when you want to spend an entire week working on Saturday night's meal; instructions for tasks like cleaning mussels and making pastry dough; introductions and mini-essays explaining recipes' origins and the techniques they involve; and an overall panache and intelligence. Gourmet magazine's editors have achieved such a feat with this sensational doorstopper of a cookbook, a sort of sophisticated cousin to the hallowed Joy of Cooking, and a savvy, cosmopolitan aunt to Mark Bittman's essential How to Cook Everything. Reichl, the magazine's editor-in-chief and the author of Comfort Me With Apples and other books, took on a monstrous task in creating the book, and the result is an assortment of recipes for practically everything you'd ever want to make. She and her colleagues including Gourmet executive food editor Zanne Stewart and executive editor John Willoughby ransacked 60 years' worth of back issues to come up with over 1,200 recipes (down from 50,000, says Reichl in her introduction) that encompass the best of American cuisine and by American we mean everything that's cooked in America, from burgers to baklava. Recipes come from chefs, food authorities like Marcella Hazan and Madhur Jaffrey, and readers. Reichl and her team tested and retested every one of them. Experienced and novice home cooks will find recipes for memorable versions of dishes they've heard about but never attempted: concoctions like Coq au Vin, Beef Wellington, Coulibiac, Chop Suey, Bananas Foster, and Black Forest Cake. They'll also come across intriguing alternatives, like Herbed Lima Bean Hummus, Tandoori Shrimp and Mango Salad, Mortadella- and Truffle-Stuffed Pork Loin with Rosemary Roast Potatoes, and Dark Chocolate-Caramel Ice Cream Sandwiches. Even basics get their due, in fabulous treatments of Pizza Margherita, Greek Salad, Pasta with Tomato and Basil, and Sugar Cookies. Every chapter begins with an overview of its subject; each recipe has an introduction; and many dishes feature helpful "cook's notes," which give tips for food preparation, technique and storage. Despite the book's heft (it's about as big as a Manhattan phone book, with two bound-in ribbons), and even though it contains no photographs, readers may find themselves bringing it to bed with them at night. They'll lazily consider making Currant Tea Scones when they wake up the next morning, or read up on how to make perfect chocolate cigarettes and if sugarplum fairies don't visit them in their dreams, perhaps Reichl and her posse of food angels will. 300 line drawings. 250,000 first printing. (On sale Sept. 28) Forecast: Houghton Mifflin is determined to make the book's release a publishing event, and rightly so. The house plans a $1,000,000 marketing campaign, national appearances by Reichl (kicking off with a September 28 Today Show appearance), national TV appearances by Stewart, a national radio drive-time tour with Willoughby, a 20-city author tour, and print ads in major newspapers and magazines. A video on the making of the cookbook will be available for use in bookstores. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Gourmet has long been the grande dame of food magazines. Here the editors have winnowed down their collection of over 50,000 recipes to a select 1200. Each had to surpass its peers for inclusion and be retested and modernized in terms of ingredients and techniques. The overall effect is a huge collection of high- and low-brow, simple and complex, and all-American and exotic recipes. Headnotes place each one in context; from standbys like Lobster Newburg to contemporary dishes like Stir-Fried Pea Shoots, the book covers the gamut of American cooking. While many recipes are either simple or include clear directions, the book assumes a certain level of comfort in the kitchen. The line drawings, while cute, don't adequately illustrate the procedures. In addition, the editing could have been tighter: some sauces are repeated without explanation. A good index (not seen) will be necessary to provide complete access. Quibbles aside, this fun and absorbing collection is highly recommended, and with a $1 million marketing campaign, expect demand. [BOMC's The Good Cook main selection.]-Devon Thomas, Hass MS&L, Ann Arbor, MI Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Very cook-friendly... An exhaustive record of the... explosion of America's food culture... A fascinating and tasty cultural artifact." The New York Times
"This is the sort of cookbook you want by your side whether you're attempting cucumber sandwiches or coq au vin" --Lisa McLaughlin Time Magazine
"A classic... encyclopedic yet enticing." Time Magazine
"Brings American cooking into the 21st century." Boston Globe
"New Gourmet tome aims to sizzle its rivals... the appetizing recipes will send you scurrying into the kitchen." Boston Herald
"Has it all... Reichl et al. have done an admirable job." The San Francisco Chronicle
"Ideas for every course, occasion, and budget." USA Today
"You'll be astonished." U.S. News & World Report
"Not your everyday white bread cookbook." New York Post
"A landmark-and a treasure trove." Napa Valley Register
"the end-all recipe encylcopedia." Entertainment Weekly
"If you could dream up the perfect cookbook, it might look something like this: easy recipes for days when you’re spent and just want something quick and filling; pull-out-all-the-stops recipes for when you want to spend an entire week working on Saturday night’s meal; instructions for tasks like cleaning mussels and making pastry dough; introductions and mini-essays explaining recipes’ origins and the techniques they involve; and an overall panache and intelligence." Publishers Weekly, Starred
"This book is good both as a reference material for the novice or experienced home cook." Newark Star-Ledger
Read an Excerpt
La Brea Tar Pit Chicken Wings
It's easy to understand why chicken wings are so popular
(as if all that crisp skin weren't enough of a reason).
Economical and sold in just about every market,
they capture the essence of relaxed entertaining: it's
hard to stand on ceremony while eating with your
fingers. Anyone who has ever visited the La Brea tar
pits in Los Angeles will understand how this great tasting
hors d'oeuvre got its name. The recipe came to
us from reader Metta Miller, from Boston, and it's a
4 pounds chicken wings, split at joint and wing tips
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Put a rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to
Arrange wings in one layer in a large roasting pan.
Combine remaining ingredients in a small saucepan
and heat over moderately low heat, stirring, until
sugar is dissolved. Pour evenly over wings.
Bake for 45 minutes. Turn wings over and bake
until sauce is thick and sticky, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10
minutes more. Transfer wings to a platter.
Serves 6 to 8 as a main course (makes about 14 cups)
Active time: 1 hour
Start to finish : 2 3/4 hours plus soaking time for beans (and additional time if
Real minestrone, with pancetta, Parmigiano-Reggiano,
and kale, is one of the best vegetable soups on the
planet. The secret is the kale, which grounds the soup
and gives it a sturdy underpinning. If you omit it, you
will have a perfectly nice vegetable soup, but it won't be
minestrone. Note thatthere's no need to add pasta to
stretch the soup.
We're particularly partial to the lacinato variety of kale
(see Glossary). Be aware that lacinato has more aliases
than a gangster on the lam. It can be called Tuscan kale,
cavolo nero ('black cabbage'), black kale, or dinosaur
kale. Its flavor is as deep as the color of its green-black
leaves, with a sweetness reminiscent of artichokes.
1/2 pound (1 1/4 cups) dried white beans, such as great
northern, picked over and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound boiling potatoes
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 pound pancetta or lean bacon (4 slices), chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 celery rib, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 zucchini (1 pound total), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 pound green beans, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 cups shredded green cabbage, preferably savoy
1/2 pound kale, stems and tough center ribs discarded
and leaves chopped (6 cups)
1 (28- to 32-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice,
drained well and coarsely chopped
4 1/2 cups (36 ounces) chicken stock or store-bought lowsodium
Freshly ground black pepper
accompaniment : 1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-
Reggiano (about 2 ounces)
Soak beans in cold water to cover by 2 inches, refrigerated,
for at least 8 hours (or see page 267 for
quick-soaking procedure); drain.
Transfer beans to a 3-quart heavy saucepan, add
cold water to cover by 2 inches, and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, adding more
water if necessary to keep beans barely covered, until
ten minutes. Add salt and simmer for 5
minutes more. Remove from heat and let beans
Peel potatoes and cut into I-inch dice; put in a
bowl of cold water.
Heat oil in a 6- to 8-quart heavy pot over moderate
heat. Add pancetta and cook, stirring, until crisp and
pale golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Add onion and cook, stirring,
until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add carrot, celery,
and garlic and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes. Drain potatoes
well, add to pot, along with zucchini and green
beans, and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes. Add cabbage
and kale and cook, stirring, until cabbage is wilted,
about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and stock and bring to
a simmer. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 1 hour.
Drain beans, reserving liquid. Puree half of beans
with 1 cup reserved liquid in a blender or food processor
(use caution). Stir into soup, along with remaining
drained beans and reserved liquid. Simmer soup, uncovered,
for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve soup with cheese.
c o o k ' s n o t e
The soup can be made up to 3 days ahead. Cool
completely, uncovered, then refrigerate, covered. Thin
with water, if desired, when reheating.
Panfried Red Snapper with Chipotle Butter
Active time : 15 minutes
Start to finish : 15 minutes
Chefs love red snapper for its inherent drama. The
fillets are often served skin side up because the skin is so
beautiful. The sweet, mild flavor of the fish contrasts
with the smoky heat of canned chipotle chiles in a
tomatoey adobo sauce. If you can't find red snapper, you
can substitute grouper, yelloweye rockfish, or onaga
(Hawaiian red snapper), as long as the fillets are the
same size and thickness, preferably with skin on.
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1/2–1 tablespoon finely chopped canned chipotle chiles in
adobo (to taste; see Glossary) plus 2 teaspoons
sauce from can
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 (6-ounce) red snapper fillets with skin
Freshly ground black pepper
About 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
accompaniment : lime wedges
Mash together butter, chipotles, adobo sauce, and
salt in a small bowl with a fork until blended.
Spread flour on a plate. Pat fish dry and cut each
fillet crosswise in half. Season with salt and pepper.
Dredge fish in flour and shake off excess.
Heat 1 ½ tablespoons oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet
over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking.
Add 2 fillets, skin side up, and panfry, turning
once, until browned and just cooked through, 4 to 6
minutes. With a slotted spatula, transfer to plates
and loosely cover to keep warm. Add oil to skillet as
needed, heat until very hot, and cook remaining 2 fillets
in same manner. Top fish with dollops of chipotle
butter and serve with lime wedges.