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David Burke's New American Classics: Brilliant Variations on Traditional Dishes for Everyday Dining, Entertaining, and Second Day Meals Hardcover – April 4, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In this original and challenging cookbook, meatloaf is a starting point rather than a destination. Having introduced the world to smoked salmon pastrami and goat cheese lollipops, the executive chef and co-owner of davidburke & donatella is known for his quirky, often humorous sensibility in the kitchen. Here, he turns his attention to American comfort food. The guiding principal is that once a cook masters a classic recipe, he or she can transform it into haute cuisine—and then use the leftovers to create something else entirely. Eggs benedict is transformed into a Canadian Bacon and Onion Potato Cake with Poached Eggs and Spicy Tomato Salsa; the following day it becomes Bacon, Potato, and Eggs Strudel. It's in these second-day dishes that Burke displays his whimsy. Few cooks, after all, make Oatmeal Gougères, Barbecued Chicken Sticky Buns, and Coconut Cheesecake Beignets with Red Fruit Sorbet and Berries at home. These are convenient, creative solutions, but they are not shortcuts; even the "classics" go a few steps beyond basic and require considerable skill and time. The results, however, are almost always worth the effort. 16 pages of color photos. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
A unique and clever approach to cooking raises this cookbook above its rivals in the genre of cookbooks based on restaurant cuisine. Celebrated New York chef Burke presents each dish in three separate and distinctive guises: classic, contemporary, and second day (leftovers). This tripartite approach allows him to address cooks possessing different levels of expertise and sophistication. Burke creates a simple pot roast made from beef brisket festooned with standard root vegetables. The same piece of meat with ginger, spices, rice wine, and soy sauce becomes a very modern Asian pot roast. Leftovers from either of these recipes may be shredded and mixed with barbecue sauce and chopped peppers for an elegant Sloppy Joe. Burke's imagination roams free: his spareribs call for replacing the bones with asparagus spears. A large number of these recipes require advanced kitchen techniques so that only the most experienced cooks will have the skills to reproduce Burke's results. Color photographs help guide when the instructions alone fail to communicate the chef's intent. Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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I can generally recognize very good and very bad cookbooks after about two or three minutes of reading the table of contents and the introduction. I could tell this book was worthy of consideration even before I opened it, based on an appearance by Burke to promote the book on the Today show a few days ago. Being an inveterate watcher of both talk show food segments and Food Network shows, I have become jaded to most conventional rehashes of typical dishes where the segments are little more than shuffling swapouts. Due to the fact that lamb is one of my very favorite things to eat, Burke got my attention in that his segment was a new take on doing filleted leg of lamb. Having just done a leg of lamb for Easter with less than spectacular success, I was quite willing to listen to new ideas, and Burke hit the nail on the head. His solution is to easily fillet the rolled leg of lamb meat into its easily identified component muscles, saute the seasoned pieces almost as if you were doing a beef fillet, then pan-roasting the seared pieces to the correct temperature, requiring not much more than 10 minutes. I was hooked. Then I opened the book, and found the whole book to be chocked full of such ideas.
Burke's first attraction was the fact that his Table of Contents listed every major recipe rather than simply the usual tired chapter headings. This Table fully revealed his strategy of offering three variations on 39 classic American recipes.
The first recipe of the trio is a traditional dish, although not necessarily simple or easy dishes and not necessarily the most familiar traditional fare. It is more likely that the traditional recipe will be a tradition of great American restaurants than great American home cooking, although there are exceptions.
The second recipe of each trio is a contemporary take on approximately the same ingredients. The contemporary dish is always different enough from the classic that it is worth having and making both recipes without risking a boring `oh, that again' from your family or even yourself. Most contemporary dishes are also `restaurant grade' and not necessarily original to Chef Burke, but most are well within the capabilities of an experienced home cook.
The third recipe concept alone is worth the price of the book, in that it gives a recipe for remaking the leftovers from one of the two earlier recipes into an entirely new dish. The recipes for the leftover French toast and pancakes alone may be worth the price of the book, as I constantly find myself making a standard recipe for either and am left with about twice as much as I can serve at the time.
Speaking of pancakes and French toast, any good cookbook which covers breakfast almost automatically wins my heart, as breakfast is easily the most widely neglected meal in cookbooks, especially for those of us among the retired 60 Somethings who need to stay away from high salt and empty calorie dishes so common in breakfast fare. Our advantage is that we have the time to take an hour in the morning or some time the night before to do up oatmeal right.
All of this would be for naught if the recipes were not good, and I am certain that these recipes are more than good. My first clue was when I spotted Chef Burke's cooking times for potatoes. One of my biggest complaints about so many recipes is that their cooking times for potatoes, especially for fried potatoes or potatoes au gratin are too short. I see no such problems here. And, while the cooking instructions may be just a bit advanced for the total novice, there is no absence of careful detail to cover unfamiliar procedures. I am so impressed by the care with which the recipes are written that I will even sign on for some of the especially fussy techniques such as storing poached eggs in a warm water bath of a very specific temperature.
One of my surest signs of an important cookbook is that regardless of what page I open, I find interesting recipes, comments, tips, and impressions on ingredients. The section of tuna recipes is a case in point where the classic recipe is a tuna steak cooked all the way through, as it was always done before `nouvelle cuisine' got their mitts on the fish. The issue Burke points out is that while this is a very nice way to cook tuna, one must guard against drying out the flesh, almost as one must cook pork chops carefully to avoid creating shoe leather with dried meat. Thus, Burke supplies the appropriate sauce to keep your rather expensive fishy fare succulent.
Speaking of sauces, one of the very few ways in which I could think to improve this book would be to give a special index of supplementary recipes of sauces, condiments, and side dishes provided in each of the 39 main recipes.
This is a rare book composed primarily of recipes where I feel constrained by only being able to assign five stars, as it is better than many books to which I have already given five stars. This is a truly great foodie book in that there is a real risk that if a non-foodie reads it, they will turn into a foodie, the material is that alluring. This book is most like the two great collaborations between Mark Bittman and Jean-George Vongerichten and the collaboration between Patricia Wells and Joel Robuchon, except that it is better than both for the average cook!
Burke is a creative and imaginative chef, and the recipes and their photographs reflect this. As a professional, Burke uses these recipes as his mainstay, and their preparation is his joy. If you are a dedicated "foodie" with plenty of time, the desire to spend that time in the kitchen, and the metabolism that allows you to digest extremely rich foods, then this cookbook is one that you will treasure. Recipes for duck, partridge, pheasant, and quail exist side by side with those for barbecued chicken, spareribs stuffed with asparagus and served with corn crepes, and salmon "leaves" cooked with shrimp, grapefruit, and basil. The preparations are clearly described, the recipes are exact, and the list of ingredients, with sources, is clear.
This cookbook is not for everyone, however. The recipes are all very labor intensive, often with many time-consuming steps and separate preparations on the way to one spectacular meal. Frequently, a recipe will depend on your having small amounts of sauces left over from a previous preparation, and you are on your own for substitutions if you do not have these and do not have the time to make them. Most of the recipes are not make-ahead preparations, requiring time in the kitchen to put them together before presentation, a limitation if the chef is also the host/hostess. And some ingredients--quail eggs and salmon pastrami (for which there is a recipe), for example--are not readily available in the corner supermarket.
Heavily dependent on lots of butter, eggs, cheese, and heavy cream, these recipes may all be delicious, but they are loaded with saturated fats, and no ingredient substitutions are suggested. A fantastic cookbook for those who love to cook and who can tolerate an extremely rich diet, David Burke's cookbook will keep you enjoying interesting and imaginative foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, if you have the time to make them. n Mary Whipple
different next day even tho made from ingredients of your earlier dinner. No three days of same
old food in a row. Great!