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Kristen Kish Cooking: Recipes and Techniques Hardcover – October 31, 2017
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"I've always felt that Kish was one of the most talented chefs around. Her food hints at a classic American Midwest background and you catch glimpses of those old-school dishes in recipes like the Baked Potato Purée and the Roasted Whole Hen-of-the-Woods with Wild Rice. I mean these are the feel-good foods you wish your mom made. They are tasty, flavorsome, and familiar enough to be appreciated by both the professional and home cook alike."
—Dave Chang, chef and founder, Momofuku
"Here is the stunning first book from a young chef whom we have been impressed by for many years now. The results are nothing short of superb. The beautiful, thoughtful, and delicious food is baked in to each chapter, but it's the personal aesthetic and the impassioned revealing story of this rising star that ties together the recipes with a heartfelt point of view. I expected nothing less than a spectacular debut from my friend Kristen, and she over delivered. What we are gifted is a must have book for any home cook, and something to aim at for any professional seeking to clarify what makes food a personal journey."
"A lovely compilation of 80 plus recipes that captured the essence of Kristen. A window into her life as a cook and into the search for her own identity. I was captivated by the simplicity, details of her dishes, yet the elegance of her cuisine was shining through."
—Dominique Crenn, chef and founder, Atelier Crenn, Petit Crenn, Bar Crenn
"[Kristen's] followers will enjoy the personal insights, and diehard Top Chef fans will savor the peek behind the curtain."
"Kristen Kish Cooking: Recipes and Techniques a beautiful, easy-to-read text that can serve both as a Bible for Kish super-fans (guilty as charged) and an aspirational manual of recipes for more advanced home cooks."
"For Kristen, it's not about the food. It's about what the food can do. In her very first cookbook she shows us exactly what food can do: make us feel loved."
About the Author
KRISTEN KISH was born in Seoul, South Korea, and adopted by a family in Kentwood, Michigan, at the age of four months. After attending Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Chicago, she worked for Barbara Lynch in Boston, first at Stir and then at Menton. Kish won season ten of Bravo’s Top Chef in 2012, after originally being eliminated and then cooking her way back into the competition through the show’s Last Chance Kitchen online series. She was most recently the cohost of Travel Channel’s 36 Hours.
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To start, the introduction with Kristen’s life story is so interesting & inspiring, how could you not love her? Next, there’s a chapter on techniques and terms. Lots of fancy words to impress your friends (or know what they’re talking about when you’re watching a cooking competition) like brunoise or quenelle.. Plus info on pasta making, mother sauces, and more. All kinds of things that sound fancy but Kristen really explains it well & breaks things down, so you can pretend like you’re a chef now that you’ve read this chapter.
The first thing I made from this book was jasmine tea ice cream. It was so good & unique! Then I made rigatoni with walnuts, béchamel, sage, and fried shallot. Kristen gives the recipe to make your own rigatoni if you have a pasta extruder, but I don’t so I just used dried rigatoni. This was like the ULTIMATE gourmet mac & cheese! We are now in love with fontina cheese after this recipe! All the flavors were perfectly balanced, great textures, and it was the greatest “mac & cheese” ever! Next, I made tagliatelle with chapignon sauce. Kristen made a version of this dish for a Quick Fire on Top Chef & won! Her technique of twice-cooking the mushrooms in this dish was so easy but made for the most amazing texture! The whole-wheat pasta was the perfect accompaniment for this dish. I also made beef rib eye steak with leek fritters & mustard sabayon. Another perfectly delicious pairing that looked super fancy, but this recipe wasn’t difficult at all.
I am just getting started – this book is so inspiring & Kristen is such a great teacher, I feel like I can cook anything. We don’t have a whole lot of nice restaurants in our area, so it’s neat to get the ingredients for one of Kristen’s recipes & cook something that would blow a restaurant out of the water – and for cheaper & we don’t have to tip anyone! I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to up their cooking game, or anyone who wants a pretty coffee table book with lots of delish-looking photos.
My first run through of the book, I literally drooled over every dish. All I could think was has she opened a restaurant yet? If so, where is it? I'm making reservations. Actually making one of her creations seemed daunting.
Each plate is a work of art, each plate reminds why she is a chef and I am a home cook with kids, a dog and a job that will pay for a visit to wherever she ends up creating her beautiful food. Her presentation is stunning simplicity that belies the complexity and thought she puts into each dish. Each recipe is accompanied by a story from her life or how the recipe came about. I loved reading these little vignettes. Her description and use of a variety of techniques in each recipe will no doubt make anyone a better cook.
The second time I picked up the book I knew I had to gather up the guts to pick a couple of things to try, after all I needed to review the book. The book is divided first by snacks, salads, sweets and by protein-meat or from the sea. Each recipe contains liners on what techniques are used in the recipe and ingredients in one column and directions in the inner column. Very well organized.
Confession, I looked for the easiest recipe I could try. A dish that didn't require special ingredients or a multi-step process to make.
I decided on her Sour Cream Cake, Pecan, Malted Milk Creme Fraiche, baking is in my comfort zone. The batter was fairly straight forward, I have a 8-inch round cake pan and amazingly I also had the malted milk powder.
Things were going smoothly...right up until I put the batter in the pan. Hmm, it's a lot of batter, it's pretty dense, maybe it doesn't rise that much.
WRONG. Though I knew better I wanted to follow the directions explicitly. Halfway through baking the batter oozed over the sides of the pan like the BLOB and dropped onto the floor of my oven. I quickly shoved some foil underneath, a little smoke but at least the smoke alarm isn't go off, catastrophe partially averted.
I e-mailed Kristen and she was great. She recommended a springform pan or extending the walls of my pan with a parchment collar. Mine took well over an hour and was still undercooked in the center. The edge was delicious, the cake was buttery and tender. She texted me again after making the cake for her family. Hers took 49 minutes to bake and she used a deep 8 inch springform. Definitely going to try this again.
I tried a second time using a 9 inch springform and to prove you can teach an old dog new tricks I extended the sides with parchment. In my haste though I used butter that was still cold but I thought I could get by. WRONG AGAIN. Mea culpa. Ugh, the cake came out a little dense. It required around 50 minutes to bake despite the larger pan.
Note to self and everyone, use at least a pan with 3 inch sides or taller and room temp butter! No shortcuts.
I will try again as the third time is always a charm. I think I would use light brown sugar instead of dark for a milder flavor. I love the nuttiness and the crunch of the pecans and the hit of salt in the topping.
I then tried her recipe for Cavatelli, Corn, Roasted Tomato, Thai Basil.
Full disclosure. I CHEATED.
I bought pasta instead of making the cavatelli. The sauce was easy to prepare and delicious. I love the roasted tomatoes and charred corn and the creaminess of the sauce. Much like a carbonara, egg yolks and hard cheese (Romano) are stirred together and hot pasta is added to the mixture which creates a silky lovely sauce. I added a splash of the pasta water to thin it just a bit. Yummy. The Thai basil added color contrast to the dish but just a hint of flavor. I hope it's not blasphemous but I think I would add a bit of bacon or pancetta next time..yummy
I was about to try her recipe for egg pudding but for 8 eggs (4 servings) it calls for 10 tablespoons of butter, some creme fraiche and a brown butter drizzle on top. Luckily, within the directions I could only account for 7 tablespoons of butter, I'm ok with not using the remaining 3 tablespoons. Decided to save this for a day when I work out first.
There are recipes I am definitely going to try. Even a couple that look pretty involved but sound deliciously worth making. Roasted chicken thighs and Labneh (but first gotta get those Calabrian chilis), Braised Potatoes with Pancetta and Comte, the Potato Puree with Chicken Skin Crisps and the Hamachi, Sweet Onion, Bacon, Miso and Potato are on my bucket list. Until then I will keep her book on my coffee table to salivate over and enjoy.