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The Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival Cookbook: Recipes and Behind-the-Scenes Stories from America's Hottest Chefs Hardcover – November 16, 2010
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About the Author
Lee Brian Schrager is credited with creating one of Miami’s biggest tourist attractions, the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SoBe, as it is known), which has raised more than $10 million for the Florida International University School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, and the Southern Wines & Spirits Beverage Management Center. Schrager’s Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival benefits the Food Bank For New York City and Share Our Strength. He is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and is a vice president of Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. For more about the festival visit SoBeFest.com.
Julie Mautner was a founding editor of Food Arts. She has written for Travel+Leisure, Food & Wine, Bon Appétit, Wine Spectator, Condé Nast Traveller UK, and Epicurious. She divides her time between the United States and France.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Rachael Ray’s Cubano Burger with Mango–Black Bean Salsa
11⁄3 pounds ground turkey breast
1⁄3 pound deli-sliced smoked ham, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 red bell pepper, finely chopped
3 scallions, white and tender green parts, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon grill seasoning, such as McCormick’s steak seasoning
Vegetable or olive oil, for drizzling
8 slices (1⁄3 pound) deli Swiss cheese
4 Portuguese or kaiser rolls, split
2 large dill pickles, thinly sliced lengthwise
Sliced banana pepper rings, drained
1 12-ounce bag plantain chips, such as Goya, for serving
Mango–Black Bean Salsa (recipe follows)
1. In a mixing bowl, combine the turkey, ham, garlic, bell pepper, scallions, cilantro, and
seasoning. Form the mixture into 4 patties. Drizzle each patty with some oil.
2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the patties and cook until done
(5 to 6 minutes on each side), topping each patty with 2 slices of the cheese in the last 2
minutes of the cooking time.
3. Remove from the heat and place a patty on the bottom half of each roll. Top each with
some pickles and banana peppers. Slather some mustard over the inside of the top half of
each roll and place it on the burger.
4. Serve with plantain chips on the side. Pass the salsa for dipping the plantains or topping
Mango–Black Bean Salsa
makes 4 cups
1 16-ounce jar black bean salsa
1 ripe mango, pitted, peeled, and diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 red bell pepper, finely chopped
Place the salsa in a medium bowl, and top with the mango, cilantro, and bell pepper.
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The Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival Cookbook contains the following:
* A rather self-involved foreword by Anthony Bourdain in which he uses the entire second paragraph to recount the riches of his first "swag bag" of freebies which are given to celebrity participants.
* Introductions to the book and each chapter by Mr. Schrager which includes some charming stories about the founding of the festival as well as it's highlights and lowlights (including the sudden, unexpected rainstorm that ruined the 2006 Barbeque and Champange event known as the BubbleQ.)
* Short interviews with chefs and other luminaries such as Francis Ford Coppola, Rocco DiSpirito, Charlie Trotter and Alain Ducasse entitled "Grilled for One Minute" where they are asked questions such as "What do you eat or drink when no one is watching?"
* One page listings of wine-pairings such as "The Best Wines for Burgers" and "The Best Wines for Barbecue".
* Candid photographs taken at past SoBe Festivals.
All of this really gives the reader a feel for this "Summer Camp for Chefs". Then there are the recipes by famous television chefs such as Bobby Flay, Tyler Florence, Mario Batali, Guy Fieri, Cat Cora, Jamie Oliver, Martha Stewart, Ted Allen, Rachael Ray, Emeril LaGasse, Paula Dean, Masaharu Morimoto and more plus a host of equally talented restaurant chefs from across the nation.
The chapters mirror some of the events held at the festival itself:
* Chapter 1 Drinks
Since the first year of the festival wine has played an important part in the celebration, however cocktails are also a valued component. This chapter includes recipes for potent potables such as: Satsuma Margarita with Basil by Susan Spicer; Vermillion by Allen Katz; and Sandra Lee's Lemon-Cucumber Cocktail.
* Chapter 2 Starters and Small Plates
Most of the food offered at the various festival venues are served in small portions. This chapter features recipes for tapas, nibbles, hors d'oeuvres, first courses, starters, little bits, finger food... whatever you call them they are tasty little bites, including: Melon Salad with Lemon Grass Shrimp by Daniel Boulud; Wild Florida Shrimp Mojito by Allen Susser; and Chilled Scallop and Lychee Martini by Marc Ehler
* Chapter 3 Barbecue
The BubbleQ, a champagne and barbecue extravaganza, has become SoBe's signature event. Here you will find culinary creations including: Sambal Shrimp by Emeril LaGasse; Texas Hill Country Brisket by Elizabeth A. Karmel; and Swordfish-Bacon Kebabs with Cilantro Gremolata by Ming Tsai
* Chapter 4 Burgers
The Burger Bash, hosted each year by Rachael Ray, is the most popular event at the festival. Top Chefs participate with a zeal usually reserved for more prestigious fare, such as restaurant-style main courses. I have already made several of these recipes and they are outstanding. They include: Bobby Flay's Bobby Blue Burger Crunchified; Spike Mendelsohn's Colletti's Smokehouse Burger; and Michael Symon's Fat Doug Burger (Yummy!)
* Chapter 5 Comfort and Casual Food
Even professional chefs and the foodies that follow them will drop what they are doing for a well-prepared BLT, a great Grilled Cheese Sandwich or Mac 'n Chess done right. Here are some great, informal dishes, like: Shrimp and Grits by Howie Kleinberg; A Lobster Roll Sandwich by none other than Martha Stewart; and Cat Cora's Crab and Avocado Sandwiches with Mango Coulis.
* Chapter 6 Main Courses
This chapter includes dishes that you will find at some of the finest restaurants in the nation. Here is what's for dinner: Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Rack of Lamb with Green Chile, Mint, and Sweet Pea Puree (I made this and it was awesome!); Alan Ducasse's Foie Gras Tapioca Ravioli with Sunchoke Emulsion; and Chef Morimoto's Braised Black Cod
* Chapter 7 Desserts
Top pastry chefs and bakers round out SoBe's offerings with desserts such as: Claude Troisgros' Crepe Passion; Malka Espinel's Drunken Mojito Rum Cake; and Paula Deen's Double Chocolate Gooey Butter Cake.
In addition to the candid photos there are plenty of studio quality photos of the featured dishes by New York photographer Quentin Bacon. Although the photographs are very professional I found Mr. Bacon's lighting and set design to be tedious. He used the "very-shallow depth-of-field technique" to such a degree that I often had to really search for the one small point that WAS in focus. Also, I felt that there was too much "white-on-white" compositions, such as the Cubano Burger on page 122 and the Braised Black Cod on page 200, to name but a few. By the time I reached the end of the book I felt that I should have worn sunglasses.
I have prepared close to a dozen of the recipes here and have not been disappointed at all. Since this is really a "Foodie's Cookbook" it might have limited appeal to those that are looking for quick and easy recipes. However, for those that love not only good meals but also the community of people that prepare them, this is indeed a wonderful celebration of the world of food.
If I was able to award half stars I would give this book 4 1/2 but since I can't I will round it up to five. The recipes are really great and I will keep it on the top shelf of my bookcase!