Susanna Foo, the leading Chinese chef in America and the winner of two James Beard Awards, has been hailed as an innovator by Gourmet, Food & Wine, Esquire, the New York Times, and many other publications. By substituting fresh ingredients for canned ones and readily available items for hard-to-find imported ones, she has put a fresh face on Chinese food, first in her restaurant in Philadelphia, Susanna Foo Chinese Cuisine, then in her award-winning book of the same name, and most recently in her acclaimed restaurant in Atlantic City, Suilan by Susanna Foo.
In Susanna Foo Fresh Inspiration, she takes an even more revolutionary approach. Rather than recreating the dishes of the past, she redefines Chinese cooking and broadens its reach. "Although being Chinese defines who I am and the way in which I think about food, I refuse to be limited by a single tradition: my primary goal is to preserve the natural flavor and integrity of the ingredients," she writes in the introduction. "Cooking this way has resulted in an unexpected bonus: my food is even simpler to prepare than before." Indeed, the recipes in this book are so radically simple, so fresh and easy to prepare, that they may even change your ideas about what Chinese cooking is. Many of the recipes, such as Wok-Shaking Shrimp with Pink Peppercorns and Korean Pancakes served with Citrus-Cured Salmon, are reinterpretations of traditional dishes. Like much of Susanna's food, Ten-Vegetable Vegetarian Hot-and-Sour Soup, White Corn Soup, and Brussel Sprouts and Portobello Mushrooms were inspired by the wealth of fresh produce that she encountered for the first time when she came to this country. Some dishes, like Braised Pork Belly and Crispy Jumbo Shrimp with Caramelized Orange Sauce, are much-requested specialties of her restaurants, while others are homey and utterly approachable: Salmon Braised with Soy and Ginger, Roasted Five-Spice Pork Tenderloin, Grilled Lamb Chops with Roasted Sesame Marinade, and Roast Chicken with Peppercorn Rub. Still others, such as Mandarin Potato Salad with Cellophane Noodles, Sautéed Artichoke Hearts, and Beet, Rhubarb, and Grapefruit Salad, offer startling new treatments of familiar ingredients. With striking full-color photographs, Susanna Foo Fresh Inspiration is a fresh invitation to cooks at all levels to roll up their sleeves and head to the kitchen.