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My Beverly Hills Kitchen: Classic Southern Cooking with a French Twist Hardcover – October 2, 2012


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My Beverly Hills Kitchen: Classic Southern Cooking with a French Twist + Make It Ahead: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook + Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 9.2.2012 edition (October 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307701522
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307701527
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 1.2 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,321 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Hitz has made a name for himself in the culinary landscape of America’s most luxuriously renowned city, Beverly Hills. Heir to a Coca-Cola fortune, Hitz early on felt comfortable around the famous. Partnership in a successful Atlanta restaurant introduced him to daily life in the food business. Moving to California, he feted his new neighbors with the southern food he had learned from the family’s cook, overlaying it with sophisticated sensibilities absorbed at Parisian culinary school. His tables became a hit with Beverly Hills’ social set, and he fed such fashionable luminaries as Nancy Reagan, Nan Kempner, and Betsy Bloomingdale, serving them elegantly presented southern fried chicken, she-crab soup, gussied-up grits, and hummingbird cake. His recipes lend themselves to entertaining and will attract anyone looking for dinner party menu inspiration. The book is peppered with photographs of the author, his California celebrity friends, and his stylish cooking. --Mark Knoblauch

Review

"It was love at first bite—with my first taste of Silver Queen Corn Pudding I knew Alex Hitz was a brilliant cook and knew I had to try everything in My Beverly Hills Kitchen. There are endless Southern cookbooks, but few really stand out. This one does. It’s Southern food on Alex’s terms, revived, revamped and revved up, grand old plantation recipes (plus a few newer creations) prepared to foodie-pleasing, haute cuisine specs. Charming and wonderfully opinionated, Alex supplies expert directions and expert advice on entertaining. Brought up in Atlanta, trained at Le Cordon Bleu, tested by the realities of restaurant cooking and now purveyor of prepared gourmet food, he takes us from Gruyère-laced Crab Tarts (no crab cakes here), lavish Millionaire’s Macaroni and Cheese and biscuit-crusted Chicken Pot Pie to Dorothy’s ambrosial Coconut Cake. Just promise to make the Corn Pudding first!"

   --Sybil Pratt, Bookpage, Top 10 Cookbooks of 2012

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Customer Reviews

The several recipes I have tried are over the top, new and welcome at my table, my guests loved them.
Allan
The introduction and kitchen notes are very informative and give points on ingredients, techniques and equipment.
Susan Williams
The text is well-written, informative and witty, the recipes are easy to follow and the results are delicious.
Bettina Zilkha

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Jesse Kornbluth TOP 500 REVIEWER on October 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
My quick way to figure out if a cookbook is worth writing about here is to leave it on my wife's desk for a few days. Then I count how many pages have been turned down. This year's record has been set by Alex Hitz's book --- really, it would probably have been simpler if she'd applied reverse logic and only turned down the pages with recipes she doesn't want to try.

It's not hard to see why.

"Always keep it simple, and give people what they want --- comfort food, nothing trendy or pretentious," Hitz says. "Save the test tubes for another time."

Ah, comfort food. Like, if you live in New York, the late lamented Mortimer's or its successor, Swifty's. Like Sunday lunch at the WASP country club in your town. Like a lot of the dishes you find in "Park Avenue Potluck.: Only, as I say, more and better.

Cheese straws with just two ingredients. A dip of hot artichoke custard. Shrimp bisque. Spinach soufflé. Twice-baked potatoes. Corn pudding. Chicken country captain. Billionaire's meatloaf. Salted caramel cake. Strawberry cobbler.

And the thing is, this is not an aspirational strategy for Hitz. He came from Atlanta, where there was Coca Cola money in the family and his mother was married to the orchestra conductor Robert Shaw. At home, the family cook produced legendary meals for visiting dignitaries; whenever Alex had a few days off from school, his mother took him to Paris. He liked the kitchen life, so he trained at Le Cordon Bleu and owned a restaurant in Atlanta before stints as a Broadway producer, real estate developer and clothing designer. Realizing that he "missed the kitchen," he began giving dinner parties in Los Angeles.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Carolyn W. on October 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just received this book in the mail yesterday and immediately sat down to look it over. I am usually considered to be a "healthy eater", but could never serve people the bland food I eat on a daily basis. When I go out, I am looking for something I would never fix for myself, and that is what this book is all about. My Bevery Hills Kitchen is full of recipies anyone would love. Yes they contain butter, etc...but when attending a party at someone's house that is exactly what people will want to eat. (A point the author makes several times).

This book contains something for everyone. Some of the recipies are more complex than others, but each one is accompanied with step-by-step instructions to make them easy to undertake. There are plenty of simpler ones that even the most inexperienced cook can attempt immediately. (Alex's cheese straws contain exactly two ingrediants, very few steps, and sound AMAZING!)

I also like the fact that Alex is not snobby about all ingrediants. While he says to use the highest quality you can obtain, he also recommnends Land-O-Lakes butter and Morton's salt. He has a good section on kitchen supplies that is also helpful.

My favorite part of the book is the stories of all of the people who have enetertained, or been entertained by Alex. (I was surprised to read how many fancy people serve some bacon as an appetizer!) Unilike most cook book authors, I found Alex to be an entertaining writer with a flair for storytelling.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who likes to entertain, as well as people who collect fun, readable cook books.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Goodloe T. Lewis on December 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I think the great misimpression of this book is that it is just a cookbook. It is much, much more than an excellent cookbook. It is a fabulous guide to entertaining in the modern era that is both essential and singular in this area. I do not know of any other book that occupies the field so thoroughly and in a more user-friendly manner.

The New York Times recently published an article lamenting the demise of the dinner party, which historically was a critical social opportunity for fun, community and good, simple food. Guy Trebay, Guess Who Isn't Coming to Dinner, N.Y. Times, November 28, 2012, at E1. Obviously, Alex Hitz strives for (and actively promotes) the return of this social convention. If you share an interest in this area, then this book is required reading. He not only provides several sample menus for both lunch and dinner parties in all four seasons, he provides a step-by-step guide to the proper execution of any dining occasion. Again, this is a truly unique entry into this area.

Do not be dismayed by the "Beverly Hills" in the title. These are not complicated recipes. In fact, they are specifically uncomplicated -- Hitz believes that simplicity is the key to success in entertaining. His staple offerings at his Los Angeles dinner parties are fried chicken, cole slaw, corn pudding and lemon squares. But the recipes are not simplistic. Hitz's recipes are definitely "punched up" versions of these Southern classics. Remember, Hitz's background and training is in French cooking, so there is a strong Creole and Low Country influence -- and all of the flavorful goodness that comes with it.

Another thing I really liked and appreciated was the specificity of the steps in the recipes. For example, he tells you to toss the pear salad 16 times.
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