Welcome to My Kitchen: A New York Chef Shares His Robust Recipes and Secret Techniques

Overview

For more than 15 years, Tom Valenti has been creating innovative and critically acclaimed menus for some of New York's most popular restaurants. Here, for the first time, Valenti shares his creative kitchen secrets and recipes, helping every cook to master his bold, deep flavors.

Welcome to My Kitchen is both a teaching book and a recipe book. It focuses not only on good food that is easily made, but on simple, accessible techniques for creating flavor-intense dishes in home ...

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Overview

For more than 15 years, Tom Valenti has been creating innovative and critically acclaimed menus for some of New York's most popular restaurants. Here, for the first time, Valenti shares his creative kitchen secrets and recipes, helping every cook to master his bold, deep flavors.

Welcome to My Kitchen is both a teaching book and a recipe book. It focuses not only on good food that is easily made, but on simple, accessible techniques for creating flavor-intense dishes in home kitchens. Valenti reveals an array of culinary "tricks," from how to regulate heat for the best flavor and texture, to how to use sugar to flavor savory dishes. Both beginning and experienced home cooks are sure to learn new techniques, giving them the confidence needed to build their own culinary repertoires. Best of all, Welcome to My Kitchen offers 150 recipes, all of which illustrate the stunning success of Valenti's cooking style.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Tom Valenti has been a chef at a number of fine New York restaurants (Alison on Dominick Street, Cascabel, and now Ouest), but this book has his home kitchen -- and yours -- in mind. Valenti thinks that if he can teach you how to regulate heat properly and master the art of seasoning, you can make great dishes at home in your own tiny space.

It's easy to fall for Valenti's kind of food -- slow-cooked, robust dishes that gestate for hours, like Braised Short Ribs, Roasted Duck with Sweet Onions and Turnips, Braised Lamb Shanks -- and there are great side dishes too, like Lemon Orzo, Parmesan Flan, and Celery Root Purée. Soups and pastas also shine. You don't always find chefs paying attention to sandwiches, but Valenti does, with a section that includes Saut&eactue;d Spinach Sandwich, and a Grilled Ham and Cheese. Valenti adds a few homey desserts (Prune-Walnut Bread Pudding, Lemon Pound Cake) to round out the meal.

Unlike many chef books, this one is exceptionally well written and contains hard-to-find seasoning advice. Valenti is a fan of acids in general, and white vinegar in particular, for brightening many kinds of dishes. He also keeps a dish of sugar next to the salt and pepper to achieve a certain "roundness of flavor," and also to enhance caramelization of onions. (Ginger Curwen)

Library Journal
Valenti introduces himself as a New York City chef "not known for one particular restaurant, but [who has] cooked in several prominent ones." Actually, this is somewhat outdated, because he recently opened his own restaurant, Ouest, on Manhattan's Upper West Side, and it has received rave reviews and been packed from the start. In any case, he is known for hearty, flavorful cooking, with an emphasis on roasted, braised, and grilled foods: Charred Lamb Salad with Lentils, Roasted Sea Bass with Wilted Kale, and, of course, his Braised Lamb Shanks, which are famous. He and coauthor Friedman have adopted a relaxed tone, suitable for the comfort food Valenti likes so much, and they have attempted to make the recipes as accessible as possible, with helpful tips and suggestions for advance preparation throughout. For area libraries and other larger collections. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060198190
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/1/1902
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 7.66 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Wild Mushroom Soup



This perfect autumn recipe celebrates roasted wild mushrooms in a creamy soup that acts as a backdrop for them. You make the call here, selecting whatever wild mushrooms you like to suit your own taste. Feel free to combine varieties or to focus on one to really emphasize it. My advice is not to overthink the decision; go with whatever you are in the mood for and do it as boldly as possible.

Roasted Wild Mushrooms

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, smashed
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces assorted wild mushrooms, such as shiitake, oyster, hen of the wood, chanterelle, black trumpet, cut into bite-sized pieces



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the oil and garlic in a small mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Dip the mushrooms in the seasoned oil, shake off any excess, and place on a cookie sheet. (Be sure to shake off as much excess oil as possible to avoid turning the soup greasy.)

Roast the mushrooms in the preheated oven until golden brown, 12-15 minutes.

Remove the mushrooms from the oven, cover with aluminum foil to keep warm, andset aside.

Mushroom Soup and Assembly

3 cups Chicken Stock (page 23) or
Basic Vegetable Stock (page 24)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounces button mushrooms, thinly sliced
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2cup dry white wine, such as sauvignon blanc
1 cup heavy cream (use up to 1/2 cup less if you like by diluting it with water)
1 teaspoon minced fresh chervil leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon leaves
1 teaspoon minced chives
1 tablespoon sherry, or to taste



Pour the stock into a pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat.

Place the butter and garlic in another pot and cook over medium-high heat until the butter is melted.

Add the mushrooms to the butter and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook over medium-high heat until the mushrooms are tender but still white, 2-3 minutes.

Lower the heat and sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms, stirring as you do.

Cook the mushrooms for 5 minutes, scraping the pan and stirring every minute or so.

Raise the heat under the mushrooms to medium and add the wine to the pot.

Add the simmering stock to the mushrooms, 1 cup at a time, stirring to avoid lumps. Cook for 10 minutes.

If making in advance, allow to cool, then refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 1 month, keeping the button and wild mushrooms separate. When ready to proceed, allow to come to room temperature and reheat in a pot over low heat.

Add the cream, adjust the seasoning, and add the reserved wild mushrooms. If necessary, thin with some hot water. Add the chervil, tarragon, and chives to the pot.

Divide the soup among 4 soup bowls and drizzle with the sherry.

Options: This is a great vehicle for grated fresh black truffles. If you choose to shave some over each serving, omit the herbs.


Braised Lamb Shanks



This is without a doubt the most requested recipe I've ever created. Lamb shanks are one of the cuts of meat that benefit most from long, slow braising. Don't omit the step of turning the shanks every half hour; it causes them to caramelize even as they braise. If the braising liquid seems too reduced at the end of the cooking process, stir 1 cup of water into the liquid before straining.

Serve this Soft Polenta (page 199), Tomato-Thyme Risotto (page 148), Potato Puree (page 268), or White Bean Puree (page 259).

6 lamb foreshanks (see Food for Thought)
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup olive oil
2 ribs celery, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 large Spanish onion, roughly chopped
1/2 cup tomato paste
5 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
3 anchovy fillets
1 whole head garlic, cut in half
2 cups red wine
1 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups Veal Stock (page 32) or
1 cup demi-glace (see Note)
2 cups Chicken Stock (page 23)


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Season the lamb shanks liberally with salt and pepper. With a sharp knife, cut about 1 inch from the bottom (narrow end) of the shank bones down to the bone and all the way around; this will help expose the bone while cooking. Set aside.

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Add the celery, carrot, and onion to the pot, and cook until very soft, 8-10 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and cook 1-2 minutes.

Add the thyme, bay leaf, peppercorns, anchovies, and garlic, and cook another 2-3 minutes.

Add the red and white wine, vinegar, and sugar, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil.

Lower the heat to medium and add the veal and chicken stocks. Leave over medium heat while you brown the shanks.

In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, brown the shanks well in the remaining 1/2 cup oil on both sides, about I minute for each of 3 sides. Use tongs to flip them over.

Transfer the shanks to a roasting pan and pour the stock mixture on top. Cover with aluminum foil and cook in the preheated oven for 1 hour. Remove the foil and cook for another 3 hours, turning the shanks over every half hour until the meat is very soft.

Remove the shanks from the braising liquid and strain the liquid. Skim any fat that rises to the surface and use the liquid as a sauce.

Serves 6

Wine: Serve this with any full-bodied red wine.

Food for Thought -- What Fore? I use the foreshanks rather than the rear shanks because they are, as a rule, meatier.

Note: Demi-glace is veal stock that has been reduced by half High-quality prepared versions are available at gourmet shops.

Welcome to My Kitchen. Copyright © by Tom Valenti. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments IX
Introduction: Welcome to My Kitchen 1
Stocks and Other Bases 21
Starters and Salads 35
Sandwiches 81
Soups 92
Pasta and Risotto 113
Fish and Shellfish 154
Poultry and Game 194
Meats 223
Accompaniments 250
Vinaigrettes and Mayonnaises 276
Desserts 285
Index 315
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