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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 AsiaThailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indiaand 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 froma must for every kitchen today.
|Publisher:||Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||8.44(w) x 9.35(h) x 1.29(d)|
About the Author
Joan Nathan was born in Providence, Rhode Island. She has earned a master's degree from both the University of Michigan and Harvard University. Ms. Nathan writes for The New York Times and other publications and is the author of numerous books, including Jewish Cooking in America, which won both the James Beard Award and the IACP / Julia Child Cookbook of the Year Award in 1994. Drawing on her research for The New Cooking in America, she was the guest curator of Food Culture USA at the 2005 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. She is the mother of three grown children and lives with her husband in Washington, D.C.
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.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is a beautiful collection of the most heart-warming stories to accompany the most delicious recipes. Ms. Nathan has successfully captured the hodgepodge that is America today, with recipes from Moo Shu to Apple Pie. I can personally vouch for the deliciousness of the Apple Torte featured on the cover, as well as the incredible Stuffed Grape Leaves. This is a cookbook that you'll find yourself coming back to again and again. For the novice as well as the expert, this book has fabulous recipes for entertaining as well as those 'homey' ones that you'll find yourself making over and over again. My copy is less than one month old and already the pages are dog-earred and stained -- the sign of a GREAT cookbook!
The New American Cooking does what no other cookbook has done to date. It answers through recipes--and the stories of the people who helped create them--how we went from meat and potatoes with some ethnic cooking on the side, to a nation of enthusiastic eaters with the most diverse palates in history. Since when did lemongrass and Thai become household items, or tortilla wraps and tofurkys? The author's time tested formula of informative narrative with clear, tasty recipes guides us through an incredible, edible journey across the nation. Each chapter is a blend of tradition and comfort with improvisation and adventure. Having personally prepared many recipes from it, I can say its one of the most satisfying cookbooks that I couldn't do without, and a great gift for those who love to cook. This cookbook is the American people in recipes.