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Flavorful foods, great eats 365 days a year
on March 10, 2012
If life could be full of sugarplums and endless possibilities, I think I'd pack my copy of the "Food & Wine Annual Cookbook" and spend the year eating only foods prepared from the recipes in this year's collection. An entire year of eating what Food & Wine thinks is the best. Seems like an appetizing idea to me.
The 700 recipes run the gamut from Apple Brown Betty to Zucchini-Ricotta fritters. My collection of the Food & Wine annual cookbooks goes back to 2004. There are a couple things that make the 2012 collection unique and a cook's compendium worthy of a special place on the kitchen shelf. A neat 100 of the recipes are from top chefs, Mario Batali, Rick Bayless, David Bouley, Jamie Oliver and even Jacque Pepin. Another 100 dishes are culled from the best cookbooks published in 2011.
Every food has a suggested wine (or beer) pairing and after trying a number of the recipes and their accompanying wine, you begin to feel like a sommelier ready to do the choosing for your dining companions.
The cookbook is liberally spiced with ingredient tips - cumin is best mixed with ginger and garlic and adds flair to Indian and Mexican fare. There are Do-It-Yourself instructions for making your own tofu and sidewalk vendor pretzels, for example.
The recipes are organized according to main ingredients, poultry, beef & lamb, pork & veal, fish as well as according type of food or meal, breakfast and brunch or breads, for example. Vegetables and vegetarian dishes, from Melissa Clark and others, take top billing in the 2012 edition. The vegetable chapter is nearly twice as large as last year's.
Back to my food odyssey: on Day One I think I'd start with "Eggs Baked Over Sautéed Mushrooms and Spinach." You should see the picture, caramelized leeks, dark green spinach, baked eggs with sunny yellow yolks all served up in a copper frittata pan. Looks very flavorful.
At the end of the first day, I think I'd finish up with a serving of "Apple Pie Sundae with Cheddar Crust Shards," tastes creamy and sharp with butter and sweet apples, all adding up to concoction that's decadent and delicious. And this is only day one, 364 more days of great eats to go. Tasty.
[Note: The publisher says the book will be available May 1, 2012.I pre-ordered the cookbook and it arrived in February; so it's apparently shipping now. Also the cookbook has a different cover than the one pictured on Amazon in March when I published this review. So there you go.]