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Alfred Portale Simple Pleasures: Home Cooking from the Gotham Bar and Grill's Acclaimed Chef Hardcover – October 26, 2004
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In cooking, says chef Alfred Portale, simple pleasures are "satisfying dishes that are relatively, and often surprisingly, easy to cook." His Alfred Portale Simple Pleasures offers 125 recipes for a wide range of such fare, derived from his acclaimed Manhattan restaurant, Gotham Bar and Grill, with other favorites added to the mix. The dishes, which reflect Portale's ability to meld the sophisticated and earthy, couldn't be more attractive. In wideranging chapters, which include "Small Plates" and "Soups, Sandwiches, and Pizzas," Portale offers the likes of Spicy Shrimp Salad with Mango, Avocado, and Lime Vinaigrette; Pizza with Roasted Chiles, Manchego, and Scallions; Duck Vindaloo; and Roasted Monkfish with Green Peppercorn Sauce. Included also are useful variations, as well as "flavor building" advice--you can amp up that monkfish, for example, with the addition of cremini mushrooms, shallots, and garlic butter. Though the recipes require no special ingredients, many of the formulas are, as Portale hints, best kept for times when the cook isn't hurried. The reward of pursuing Portale's approach also yields desserts like Lime Meringue Tarts, Chocolate Grand Marnier Cake, and Summer Plum Pudding. Simple Pleasures also offers color photos plus a helpfully illustrated ingredient glossary. --Arthur Boehm
From Publishers Weekly
As in his two previous cookbooks, Alfred Portale's Gotham Bar and Grill Cookbook and Alfred Portale's 12 Seasons Cookbook, Portale uses the same flavor-enhancing principles he's used at his top New York City restaurant, Gotham Bar and Grill, for 20 years, but works his magic on home-style foods rather than dishes that require a team of sous chefs to be executed properly. Portale makes particularly good use of vegetables, in such intriguing concoctions as Israeli Couscous Salad with Grilled Summer Vegetables, and Crisp Vegetable Salad with Sunflower Seeds and Mustard Vinaigrette. His headers are informative, like the one for Roasted Chestnut Soup that offers a rundown of how to choose and store the nuts. Repeatedly, recipes that sound somewhat familiar reveal a twist or demonstrate a technique: Roast Turkey, Avocado, Bacon and Blue Cheese Sandwich sounds almost ordinary, but includes a clearly explained method for brining a turkey breast that is helpful beyond the confines of one recipe. Roasted Wild Striped Bass with Leeks, Fingerling Potatoes and Lemon calls for steaming the fish briefly, baking it to draw out its flavor, then reducing the juices into a sauce, but Portale manages to maximize flavor while still minimizing the number of pans dirtied. Photos.
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Top customer reviews
I have cooked my way through this book for the last year or so, during every season and from starters through desserts. It has the look of a glossy picture book, so you do not realize at first what a great book it is to cook from. The pages of mine are now grease splattered and well thumbed through. Many recipes have become my fall-back favorites. I may have to order a second copy, which I have only done with the "greats", like Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything, or my old Jacques Pepin, "Julia I", and the one that began it all, Craig Claiborne's New York Times Cookbook.
For starters try Asian Striped Bass (or flounder, halibut, or cod!) "en papillote"(which is to say an aluminum foil packet) accompanied by Sauteed Spinach with Garlic, Ginger and Sesame Oil. Or Grilled Marinated Pork Chops with the excellent pairings suggested, like White Beans with Apple Smoked Bacon. Or just a pasta. You will become a convert!
Most recent customer reviews
If you want to set your tastebuds alight, then go through some of the recipes in this book.Read more