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Weir Cooking in the City: More Than 125 Recipes and Inspiring Ideas for Relaxed Entertaining

Weir Cooking in the City: More Than 125 Recipes and Inspiring Ideas for Relaxed Entertaining

by Joanne Weir, Penina Meisels (Photographer)
The American city is thriving. In urban neighborhoods across the country you can find intriguing restaurants, gourmet and ethnic markets, farmers' markets, and artisanal breads and cheeses. In her new book, Weir Cooking in the City, chef and teacher Joanne Weir takes readers and home cooks into our nation's ethnically diverse and vibrant culinary and cultural


The American city is thriving. In urban neighborhoods across the country you can find intriguing restaurants, gourmet and ethnic markets, farmers' markets, and artisanal breads and cheeses. In her new book, Weir Cooking in the City, chef and teacher Joanne Weir takes readers and home cooks into our nation's ethnically diverse and vibrant culinary and cultural urban landscape.

Exploring her adopted city of San Francisco as a guide, Joanne invites readers to search their own cities for the myriad international flavors and tastes they will find there. From local ethnic neighborhoods to the butcher to the farmers' market, Joanne seeks out the best ingredients and most delicious dishes and shows how they can be re-created in home kitchens anywhere. A companion volume to her new series on public television, Weir Cooking in the City brings every city to life.

With chapters on Firsts, Soups, Mains, and Desserts, Weir includes more than 125 vividly flavored, inventive recipes, created with urban cooks in mind: those cooks with not enough time and too little space, but an appetite for creating memorable meals and social gatherings. Start your meal with Joanne's Straw Potato Cakes with Smoked Salmon and Caviar, Parmesan Flan, or Kale Soup with Pancetta and White Beans. Showcase beautiful salad greens in a Radicchio, Arugula, Golden Raisin, and Pine Nut Salad or a Duck Salad with Pecans and Kumquats, or spice things up with a Thai Beef Salad with Mint and Cilantro. Simple yet delicious main courses include Silver-Roasted Salmon with Sweet-Hot Relish; Pan-Seared Chicken Breasts with Mustard, Rosemary, and Capers; and Green Lasagna with Artichokes and Leeks. Sweets like WarmChocolate, Cinnamon, and Coffee Tart; Plum Cake; Double Chocolate Ice Cream with Dried Cherries; and Panna Cotta with Raspberries will complete your meal. Each recipe is accompanied by wine suggestions from wine expert Tim McDonald.

Filled with mouth-watering photographs throughout, Weir Cooking in the City is the cookbook for the modern home cook, with essential information on stocking your pantry, matching wine with food, and effortless entertaining. From creating a party of Mediterranean-inspired small plates to a simple but sophisticated supper after a movie or play, from bustling neighborhood markets to Joanne's welcoming kitchen, this excursion into city cuisine will inspire you to create a weekday meal or an impromptu dinner party.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This collection of Asian- and Mediterranean-influenced dishes from celebrated cooking teacher Weir (Joanne Weir's More Cooking in the Wine Country, etc.) succeeds on many levels. The recipes are solidly written; the dishes are appealing and flavorful. As Weir explains, "That range of possibility is so incredibly interesting to me and may be at the heart of why I love to be in the city, cooking and eating city food." She offers such recipes as Spicy Bulgur and Lentil Salad and Shanghai Noodles with Chicken, Cashews, Cilantro, and Mint, as well as Croutons with Tapenade, Orange and Fennel, and Autumn Cheddar, Apple, and Walnut Salad. Weir makes a valiant effort to develop the city theme by including quotes from the famous about cities, with a particular emphasis on her home, San Francisco. (Quotes such as Norman Mailer's "Chicago is a great American city," however, feel more like padding than insight.) And many headnotes refer back to urban living, like the one that introduces Grilled Squid Salad with Winter Citrus and extols indoor grilling. However, this loosely bound collection of modern dishes feels unfocused in the aggregate, and it's surprising to see such a practiced author playing fast and loose with language: a "Tuscany by Candlelight" menu consists of Bagna Cauda (from Piedmont), Prosciutto, Parmigiano, and Pepper Breadsticks (with main ingredients from Emilia-Romagna), Golden-Saut ed Veal with Arugula and Tomato Salad (from Milan, Lombardy's capital) and Warm Polenta Custard with Grappa-Soaked Golden Raisins (relying on ingredients from Friuli). (Mar.) Forecast: Despite the book's setbacks, Weir is a justly admired cooking teacher, and as the companion to a television series of the same name, this is likely to fare well. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In addition to two Cooking in Wine Country titles, companion volumes to her PBS series, Weir is also the author of From Tapas to Meze, one of the best books on these Mediterranean "small plates." Her new title, another companion volume, highlights the diversity of the markets and neighborhoods of her home, San Francisco. She begins with lists for three "essential" pantries-Mediterranean, Asian, and Latin-then moves on to easy, vibrant recipes that reflect those cuisines, from Fiery Peppered Feta with Pita to Japanese Pickled Vegetable Salad to her take on San Francisco's famous Cioppino. Weir provides useful suggestions for both impromptu, casual entertaining and more formal meals; menus for different occasions, such as "A Party of Small Plates," appear throughout. Wine suggestions accompany most recipes. Another appealing collection of imaginative recipes from an enthusiastic and knowledgeable cook and teacher, this is highly recommended. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
7.68(w) x 9.44(h) x 1.15(d)

Read an Excerpt

Weir Cooking in the City

More than 125 Recipes and Inspiring Ideas for Relaxed Entertaining
By Joanne Weir

Simon & Schuster

Copyright © 2004 Joanne Weir
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0743246632

Preface: City!

I don't think there's ever been a better time to live in a city. In just about every neighborhood, you can find dozens of interesting restaurants, gourmet food markets, farmers' markets and outdoor stalls selling seasonal produce, artisanal bakeries and cheese makers, and little shops stocked with shelves of amazing ethnic food specialties.

Don't think I have anything against small towns. I grew up in one and my mother would kill me if I said anything bad about our life there. In my books Weir Cooking, Recipes from the Wine Country, and Joanne Weir's More Cooking in the Wine Country, I write reverently about life in a pastoral California valley (where they just happen to make some of the best wines in the world, but still...).

Cities are where most of us live and something amazing is happening in them. New restaurants and markets are stocked with ingredients from all over the world; grocery shelves strain under the weight of specialty oils and vinegars; bins overflow with exotic grains and spices and dizzying arrays of fresh produce, breads, and meats.

Not surprisingly, our level of sophistication about ingredients, food, and wine is at an astonishing level. Our friends, our kids, for heaven's sake, know so much now about food. (I was in a supermarket delicatessen recently and watched a preschool-aged girl point at the dolmas and sushi with as much familiarity as I might have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich a generation ago.)

In the small New England town where I grew up, our choice of ethnic food was Chinese or pizza (and it wasn't very good at that), and the most unusual ingredient you could get at the market was, say, pickled herring. Nobody under the age of thirty will even believe that you couldn't buy coffee beans at the market then!

But all this sophistication comes at a price, and I think most of us would like things to be simpler, slower, easier. Wouldn't you like to be able to make food with a lot of style but without so much effort; to have friends over for dinner without having to plan it too many days in advance; to be able to entertain spontaneously for once; to be able to spend a whole day making something special and then leisurely enjoy it with people you care about?

I can help. You don't need more stuff to do. I can show you where to go and what to do to make fresh, delicious meals for every season and occasion. I'll give you ideas about how to talk to the fishmonger or butcher to get the best cut of meat or the freshest seafood. I'll show you how to pick the best wine for a dish or how to make the dish fit a favorite wine; how to incorporate specialty foods and how to put your own twist on ethnic recipes; how to entertain with greater ease and pleasure.

It all starts with learning to use the amazing cities we live in to their fullest. As I've traveled and cooked my way through many of the world's greatest cities, from Boston to Seattle to the cities along the Mediterranean and through Italy and France, I've learned to see the resources of the city much as a forager might, full of small treasures that are almost as much pleasure to seek as to find.

In San Francisco, where I live, I found one of the finest bakeries in the city just a few blocks from my house, and not much farther, a small, family-owned shop where I can buy the highest-quality meats and fish. Downtown, there is the new, permanent farmers' market where I can buy the very best produce from local organic farmers.

I can wander into Chinatown to my favorite place for Shanghai noodles and then into one of the tiny, crowded markets around the corner to buy all the ingredients to make my own at home. In the Italian neighborhood of North Beach, I found a bakery that sells fresh focaccia so now I can make my own panini. And in the Mission, I came across a produce stand selling the most beautiful Mexican limes and bouquets of cilantro for a dollar, and fresh plantains and plum tomatoes for a song.

When I make these trips through my city and into some of the neighborhoods that have been transforming themselves into mini food meccas, it's as though there is music playing in the streets. It's a city infatuated with food. As Julia Child said, "Who wouldn't become ravenous in such a place?"

But so it is everywhere. In my work as a teacher, I travel all over America and the world. I've seen it. Yeah, we're cooking in the city! This book honors all the amazing things that have been happening with food and the people all over this globe who are making our cities places where great food is being created and enjoyed and the differences between us are being celebrated and savored.

Most of you probably don't remember that old TV show that opened, "There are eight million stories in the naked city. This is just one of them." Well, I'm just one person, but millions of you are creating this incredible time in the life of cities. This is your book. Enjoy!

-- Joanne Weir

San Francisco

Spring 2004

Copyright © 2004 by Joanne Weir


Excerpted from Weir Cooking in the City by Joanne Weir Copyright © 2004 by Joanne Weir. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Meet the Author

Joanne Weir is an award-winning author, cooking teacher, and chef. She cooked for five years at Chez Panisse and has studied with Madeleine Kamman. She is the host of the popular public television series Weir Cooking in the Wine Country. Her new series, Weir Cooking in the City, begins in spring 2004. Weir was awarded the first International Association of Culinary Professionals' Cooking Teacher of the Year Award of Excellence in 1996. Her books From Tapas to Meze, You Say Tomato, and Joanne Weir's More Cooking in the Wine Country were nominated for James Beard Awards. She lives in San Francisco.

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