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Alfred Portale's Twelve Seasons Cookbook: A Month-by-Month Guide to the Best There is to Eat Hardcover – October 17, 2000

4.8 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Alfred Portale is one of our foremost chefs. His cooking at Manhattan's Gotham Bar and Grill is widely acclaimed for its refined yet down-to-earth deliciousness. "When it comes to cooking," Portale says, "there are 12 seasons," a truth his 12 Seasons Cookbook explores in bountiful detail. Reflecting that each month embodies its own seasonal and psychological moment, and therefore makes its own demands in the kitchen, he presents more than 100 recipes matched to the culinary calendar. Though many of these require a cooking workout, a sufficient number are simple enough for most cooks to try when the mood strikes.

Portale characterizes the months. November means Thanksgiving and December Christmas, and for these he provides recipes like Pumpkin and Sweet Garlic Custards and Lamb Chops and Truffled Mashed Potatoes. The depths of February require a little "culinary sunshine" in the form of Lemon Risotto with Spot Prawns, among other dishes, while May is "the big bang of the culinary year," a rebirth celebrated with dishes including Grilled Soft-Shell Crabs with Asparagus, New Potatoes, and a Lemon-Caper Vinaigrette. July is "birthdays and barbecues"--Montauk Chowder salutes this height of summer--while September signals a return to school and work, demanding "recipes for busy times" such as Orichette with Chicken, Swiss Chard, and Reggiano Parmigiano. A wide range of dessert recipes, such as Coconut Panna Cotta, are also included. Throughout, Portale offers "flavor building" ideas for dressing up recipes, "thinking ahead" notes for staggering preparation, and dish variation suggestions. With 150 illustrations, thematic menus, what-to-drink advice, and a section on basics like stocks, the book presents a culinary calendar that works for year-round dining enjoyment. --Arthur Boehm

From Publishers Weekly

Three years after his IACP Julia Child Award-winning Alfred Portale's Gotham Bar and Grill Cookbook, the influential New York chef offers a winning, personal take on seasonal cooking from a Northeastern perspective. Mirroring his restaurant menu's monthly changes, Portale presents recipes that pay close heed to what's fresh throughout the year as well as bring together bold flavors in unexpected ways, as in Seared Foie Gras with Poached Quince, Tangerine and Pomegranate Juice. While this restaurant cuisine can intimidate - many recipes require multiple building blocks - it is not beyond the reach of enthusiastic cooks. The directions are clearly presented, even for such challenging fare as Soupe de Poisson and Trout Wrapped in Bacon with Braised Escarole, Green Lentils, Sage and Sherry Vinaigrette. In addition, many recipes are simple, yet sublimely accented, such as Grilled Chicken Marinated in Cumin, Lemon and Garlic, Cauliflower Vichyssoise and Mango Sorbet. In addition, Portale indicates which components can be prepared ahead of time. Many steps involved in Brandade with Radish, Red Onion and Olive Salad, for example, can be completed well in advance of the final baking. Then there are such uncomplicated savories as Bruschetta of Cherry Tomatoes, Fava Beans and Pecorino Toscano; and Prosciutto, Pear, Arugula and Honey Mustard Sandwich. Expectedly, luxury is celebrated lustily with frequent appearances by lobsters, caviar and truffles, and there's a cameo role of an expensive condiment in Bosc Pear Carpaccio with Microgreens, Pecorino Romano and 25-Year-Old Balsamico Tradizionale. Portale's upscale inspiration is alluring throughout.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway; 1 edition (October 17, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767906063
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767906067
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 1.3 x 10.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #470,095 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Having had enormous success with Alfred Portale's previous book-"The Gotham Bar and Grill cookbook", I couldn't wait to buy this one. 12 Seasons goes into detail about ingredients that are "in season" for each of the 12 months throughtout the year. Its as if every month is a "season" - what a delightful concept!! This book brings out the artestry in food and makes you appreciate it's beauty and flavour. The recipes in this book are easy to follow and the final outcomes have all been impressive. I have been using both of Alfred Portales books as guides and educational tools in my quest to be a greater cook - and they have helped me tremdously. I have learned so much. Unlike other famous chef's cookbooks that I have purchased - Mr. Portale seems to have taken a concerted effort to "teach" his readers. He helps you to realize the beauty in cooking. That's what makes him a food god.
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Format: Hardcover
I received this book as a gift from my mom for Christmas 2000...the timeline goes something like this: Voraciously read every recipe and narrative, groaning in ecstacy at the photos for the first 2 months. Displayed on cocktail table for guests to do the same for 2 months. Finally overcame intimidation and tried the recipes in 5th month! Dinner guests, who previously ooh-ed and ahh-ed over my cooking were stunned by the new circle of culinary bliss I had acheived. The recipes may be a bit initimidating, like you could possibly find baby turnips at the local supermarket to go with seared duck and roasted peaches (a winner - I subbed cubed, peeled turnips to good effect), but are well worth the effort. Honestly, invite guests who will be so grateful for the plates you set before them that they will jump up and volunteer to help clean up the kitchen later! Every recipe is worth the challenge and the mess... and its a good excuse to add new items to your kitchen equipment collection. If you don't cook, buy this book as a gift for your most kitchen-accomplished friend and ingratiate yourself in hopes of an invitation.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a fantastic book written by a fantastic chef. The physical quality of the book is terrific as is the layout of the pages. Especially striking are the pictures that accompany every recipe (Portale is known for creating some of the most stunning visuals in culinary, and all the recipes are captured splendidly). However, although he explains why he chooses a particular recipe for each of the "12 seasons", he does not go into any detail concerning the ingredients used. I was hoping for more of a "where and why" for the ingredients that make up each recipe. I will have to complement this book with another that details the peak seasons for ingredients that make up the recipes as well as how to select the best of them.
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Format: Hardcover
Alfred Portale's first book was a joy and inspiration. It personally elevated my own work and challenged me to push myself. 12 Seasons is even better. I couldn't believe that his work could surpase himself. It did. He use's simular ingredients from Gotham Bar and Grill, but twists them in a new direction. I believed Thomas Keller had taken the culinary riens, but I was wrong.
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Format: Hardcover
Alfred Portale is the world-renowned chef of the Gotham Bar and Grill who draws upon his many years of experience and expertise to present a remarkable, impressive, extensive collection of mouth-watering recipes suitable for all occasions, from simple family dining to special event celebrations. From Grilled Lobster with Grilled Corn, Potatoes, and Roast Garlic-Tarragon Butter, Grilled Tenderloin of Beef with Corn, Chanterelles and Chervil, and Pumpkin and Sweet Garlic Custards to Squab Roasted with Potatoes, Pancetta, and Sage, Roast Cod with Savoy Cabbage, White Beans, and Black Truffle, and Duck Confit with Frisse, Green Lentils, Beets, and Roquefort, Alfred Portale's 12 Seasons Cookbook has palate pleasing cuisines for all seasons and segments of the calendar.
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