Wine, food's natural partner, is also integral to much of the world's best cooking. Recognizing this, Ann Willan's Cooking with Wine
offers 200 delectable recipes for dishes both casual and sophisticated; almost better, it provides direct, accessible information on choosing wine; cooking with it (for example, heat changes its character depending on degree); how American vintages stack up against French; and much more. Willan, founder of the renowned La Varenne cooking school and part-time Burgundy resident, is the ideal person to present her fascinating subject; the large-format book, illustrated throughout with color photos, proves to be a perfect vehicle for her lucid investigation.
Providing a full range of recipes, from appetizers and soups through desserts, condiments, and chutneys, the book offers such unusual temptations as Crisp-Skinned Salmon with Leek, Red, and White Butter Sauces, Lentil and Portabella Stew with Arugula, and Chicken Salad with Walnuts in a White-Wine Dressing. Earthier fare is also included, and readers will enjoy trying their hand at an exemplary version of Beef Bourguignonne, Classic Osso Bucco, and Chili on the Go, a savory rendition that can be quickly composed using ready-cooked beans. Desserts like sweet-wine pastry dough and a red wine and walnut tart with cinnamon include wine in interesting and successful ways, while traditional wine-based sweets like zablione and tiramisu also receive their due. With portraits and recipes from 24 American winemakers like Rhode Island's Sakonnet Vineyards, tips, and a marvelous chart detailing American wines and their counterparts, the book does its subject tempting justice. --Arthur Boehm
From Publishers Weekly
"This roast chicken looks perfectly sober," quips a photo caption for Drunken Chicken, adding a sense of humor to an otherwise stuffy text. Willan (La Varenne Pratique; Anne Willan's Cook It Right) teams up with the American Center for Wine, Food & Arts to offer us both recipes made with wine and wines to accompany those recipes. This high-concept book suffers a bit from too-much-of-a-good-thing syndrome (Drunken Chicken requires two types of wine and brandy in the marinade). Nonetheless, an extremely helpful introduction explains the ins and outs of tannins, evaporation and the chemistry of cookware. Many recipes are Willan's own and have a distinctly French feel, such as Stuffed Quail with Raisins, Fennel and a Walnut Pesto, Coquilles St. Jacques Parisienne and Taillevent's Spiced Veal Stew with Red Wine. Other less labor-intensive recipes come from vineyards in places like Livermore, Calif. (Lentil and Portabella Mushroom Stew with Arugula), or from Willan's acquaintances, such as Laura Calder's Grown-Up Cottage Pudding with Chocolate Wine Sauce and Randall Price's Spiced Red Cabbage. Those looking to replicate the Cook It Right experience will be disappointed: for Poached Eggs in a Red Wine Sauce the only guidance on egg poaching is to drop the eggs "into the places where the liquid is bubbling." A brief chart in the back lists American wines and some European counterparts, and recipes contain information on varieties and regions. 150 color photos not seen by PW.
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