I say often that I own more cookbooks than a small town library and I probably do. Some women collect shoes, this is my hobby.
With that said, there are still some I have that are real stand outs and this is one. Not only are the dishes crave-able and memorable, the cookbook is put together beautifully. There are photos not only of every dish, but also of Sonoma, where the chefs of the two restaurants the recipes are taken from, reside.
Many of the recipes are for full meals which I found actually helpful for dinner parties...no thinking of what works well together. For example this recipe: Lemon-Herb Roasted Chicken with Onion and Sage Cream Gravy, Braised Cabbage and Biscuits. I didn't think I'd like Braised Cabbage until I ate that...loved it although I'm not a cabbage fan, per se. Not that you have to do the entire recipe with all dishes either...it's broken up so that even if you only wanted to make the biscuits from that recipe you could...but that's a nice touch.
The recipes range from very easy to a few that would take more prep time to make, but all have turned out wonderfully for me.
Here are some examples: Meyer lemon cheesecake with coconut crust and blood orange syrup dark chocolate pound cake with jubilee cherries grilled rib eye with black truffle butter, watercress salad, and salt-roasted potates grilled gulf shrimp cocktail with celery salad and zin cocktail sauce chocolate peanut butter pie with chocolate ice cream pan roasted chicken breast with spaghetti squash carbonara
and that's just a small sampling.
The recipe book is not a large one...probably contains 60 recipes, but it shows they picked some of their best.Read more ›
Two Sonoma County chefs take the same main ingredients, interpret them based on their own personal style, come up with completely different dishes, and then share their recipes. That's the premise of the new cookbook Down Home: Downtown, published by Rodney Strong Vineyards.
The two chefs, Jeff Mall from Zin restaurant (Down Home) and Josh Silvers of Syrah Bistro (Downtown) with the help of Linda Murphy do a very nice job of explaining not only how to cook each dish, but also why certain components were chosen and how they went about assembling the flavors on each plate.
There are even sections on where the chefs source some of their key proteins, cheeses and veggies, which is a boon for local Sonoma County foodies like me. The wine pairings in the book are serviceable, but I would have liked to see more Pinot noir recommendations (Dry Creek Zin with Duck Breast? Whaaa? Pinot, baby!).
Photographer Alan Campbell's work is top notch, and what I like best is that every single dish is photographed. Too often cookbooks skimp on the photography, leaving home cooks wondering about things like presentation. Not so here, and that alone makes the book a keeper.
Get it for the Butternut Squash and Apple soup recipes alone (hint: bacon). Really good times.
It has to be said that I have been enjoying Josh Silvers (Syrah Restaurant in Santa Rosa) cooking for a couple of decades. I more recently discovered that Jeff Mall was doing things himself like pickles and pastrami and pulled pork of the type that I like and so I became a fan of his cooking as well. So, when this cookbook was written, I had a chance to see it prepublication one night as I was sitting in Syrah and once again enjoying Josh Silvers' crab cakes. I knew I had to have the book when I learned that it contained his crab cake recipe, and I love the concept of these two guys, who, it turns out are best friends and work on each others recipes together, collaborating on a work that explores thoughtful, sophisticated approaches to both fancy and countried approaches to the same raw ingredients.
Beautifully and profusely illustrated throughout with the color photography of Alan Campbell, "Down Home Downtown: Seasonal Recipes from Two Sonoma Wine Country Restaurants" showcases the recipes of chefs Jeff Mall (Zin Restaurant & Wine Bar) and Josh Silvers (Syrah Bistro). With informative commentary captions by Linda Murphy, "Down Home Downtown" is a 144-page compendium of seasonal recipes drawn from two distinguished restaurants in the Sonoma, California wine country. The dishes are elegant, gourmet, and thoroughly kitchen cook friendly. Ranging from such culinary delights as Spring Greens Salad with Bellwether Farms Pepato Cheese, Candied Pecans, and Pickled Onion; Butterscotch Creme Brulee; and Spicy Watermelon Gazpacho; to Grilled Rib-Eye Steak with Black Truffle Butter, Watercress Salad, and Salt-Roasted Potatoes; Grilled Peaches with Honey-Rosemary Sauce and Vanilla Ice Cream; and Whiskey Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce, "Down Home Downtown" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to personal, family, and community library cookbook collections.