Ray’s new cookbook brings readers into her home kitchen and offers more than 500 recipes that the celebrity chef cooked for family and friends over the course of a year. The book is organized by month, and also includes more than 100 cocktail recipes created by Ray’s husband, John Cusimano. Written as a food diary, Ray presents dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In addition, she gives readers a glimpse into her personal life with anecdotes of eating in restaurants and at friends’ homes. Examples: Passover dinner on April 20 at a friend’s house, with shorts ribs, root vegetable puree, and kale; and dinner with her husband at New York City’s El Parador Café, one of their favorite date night restaurants, on May 5. Recipes are the kind Ray is famous for: fast, simple, straightforward meals made with familiar, widely available ingredients. She gives readers plenty of options: classics like pizza night, November 27, with recipes for two pizza sauces (homemade marinara, and blender pizza sauce) and crust, as well as internationally inspired meals like the coq au vin rouge on February 2. There are plenty of Ray’s well-known Italian-inspired dishes such as Sicilian sauce with anchovy filets and red wine, to put over either homemade spinach cavatelli or garganelli made with frozen spinach. Cocktail recipes are fun and fresh, like the Blackberry Mule made with fresh fruit and ginger beer, and the Primavera Cooler with mint, basil, cucumber, and green Chartreuse. There’s nothing new, but Ray’s innumerable fans will surely enjoy her daily entries. (Nov.)
If you'd like to know what Ray had for breakfast on April 19, 2011 (Multigrain Pecan Waffles with Berries), or what she ate on any given day between April 2011 and March 2012, you can find out here. She's recorded the meals she cooked and ate when not working, and has used her own photographs to illustrate recipes like Cider Beef, Pumpkin Cheddar Mac & Cheese, and Cream Puffs with Berries. She shares brief entries with each recipe (e.g., "When we make simple fish…we often top it with peperonata, as we did this night with snapper."), and includes cocktails by John Cusimano, her husband. VERDICT Ray's fans will enjoy this inside look at her eating habits.