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Chez Panisse Café Cookbook Hardcover – August 25, 1999
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In the 1970s, Alice Waters helped launch the revolution in American cuisine. She inspired a generation of food lovers with her passion for freshness and the best ingredients. Her influence helped infuse menus all over the U.S. with dishes rooted in Mediterranean cooking, often with a sunny, California twist. Dishes at the casual café, located upstairs in the same enchanting house as Chez Panisse, her more formal restaurant in Berkeley, California, include Wood Oven Baked Porcini Mushrooms, Tuna Confit, and Meyer Lemon Éclairs. Waters suggests making the mushrooms in your fireplace if you can, although recipe directions are for a conventional oven. Typical of the ingredient-driven cooking Waters encourages, the stunning tang of the éclairs requires Meyer lemons: a cross between a lemon and an orange, which are now exported beyond their native California. But the fresh tuna steak gently simmered in olive oil with garlic, fresh thyme, and fennel seeds and served with barely cooked green beans and aïoli, a pungent garlic mayonnaise, is sublime even made in an apartment kitchen. Her point is that you should use her recipes as guides, letting them inspire you to make the most of locally produced, seasonal foods in your area.
Alice Waters is an enchanting raconteur and an activist as well as a chef. In The Chez Panisse CaféCookbook, she weaves her beliefs about food as pleasure, sustenance, art, and politics in with over 200 recipes. Bringing you into the community she has been instrumental in creating to preserve the earth's resources as well as to provide great ingredients, Waters tells about the producers who share her passions. They respect the environment, using only sustainable production methods while delivering the freshest possible product, be it free-range poultry and eggs, acorn-fed pigs, impeccable oysters, or organically grown fruits and vegetables.
Jewel-colored Art Nouveau-style illustrations by David Goines give this book the same distinctive look as earlier Chez Panisse cookbooks, including those devoted solely to pasta, vegetables and desserts. --Dana Jacobi
From Publishers Weekly
Award-winning cookbook author (Chez Panisse Vegetables; Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook) and chef-owner Waters takes readers back to her highly lauded restaurant in Berkeley, Calif. This alluring 200-plus recipe collection is an innovative amalgam of Mediterranean, California, New American and Proven?al dishes. Waters shares her Chez Panisse vision: that all of the restaurant's ingredients be certifiable as "organically grown" by the year 2000. A culinary purist, Waters devotes herself to cooking with fresh, seasonal, organic ingredients, relying upon a choice network of purveyors, producers, farmers, fishmongers and ranchers. The clear and incisive recipes range from simple (Fresh Mozzarella Salad) to elaborate (Headcheese, a jellied meat dish with one small pig's head and two pig's feet) and time-consuming (15-day Home-Cured Pancetta), with an emphasis on incorporating seasonal bountyAfor example, Minestra Verdissima (spring); Venetian-style Pickled Sand Dabs (summer); Wild Nettle Frittata (autumn-winter); Spicy Baked Crab (winter). Despite Waters's militant stance on using organic ingredients and her exquisite attention to ingredient details, she suggests only two pantry essentials: kosher salt and quality olive oil. Aspiring to achieve a higher food karma, Waters successfully delivers a charmingly erudite yet accessible reference. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
The cookbook illustrates her ideas pretty well. There are simple recipes; there are others that (despite her words above) aren't. The very first recipe, on page 7, is a simple garden lettuce salad. And she notes that (page 6) "a restaurant is only as good as its simplest green salad." On page 55 is another salad recipe, one of only two recipes that have been continuously on her menu since the day her place opened--Baked goat cheese with garden lettuces.
There are nice hints for cooking, such as her description on page 44 about how to make a perfect hard-cooked egg.
Other recipes that strike me as interesting--Crostata de perrella (the other item that has been on the menu since Day One), a calzone; Yellowfin Tuna with coriander and fennel seed; Salted Atlantic cod baked with tomatoes; Roast pork loin with rosemary and fennel; Red-wine braised bacon; Grilled chicken breasts au poivre. And so on.
This represents, first, a good cookbook, with quite a few interesting recipes. It also represents a view of how to get the best quality out of one's cooking. For both reasons, this is a good buy for those interested in acquiring worthwhile cookbooks.
Traditionally, I believe cookbooks should have pictures to go along with the recipes but this book does not need it.
They are insightful stories which accompany the recipe and makes up for it in my point of view.
I am loving this book and am happy that I make the purchase from mass books. Great price; and prompt shipping. I will be ordering again!