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Stir: Mixing It Up in the Italian Tradition Hardcover – November 2, 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Product Description
Although Barbara Lynch was born and raised in South Boston, not Tuscany, many critics believe her food rivals the best of Italy. It has been praised by Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, and Gourmet, and many more.

Lynch's cuisine is all the more remarkable because it is self-taught. In a story straight out of Good Will Hunting, she grew up in the turbulent projects of "Southie", where petty crime was the only viable way to make a living. But in a home ec class in high school, she discovered her passion. Through a mix of hunger for knowledge, hard work, and raw smarts, she gradually created her own distinctive style of cooking, mining Italian and French classics for ideas and seasoning them with imagination.

The 150 recipes in Stir combine sophistication with practicality. Appetizers like baked tomatoes and cheese and crisp, buttery brioche pizzas. Dozens of the artful pastas Lynch is famous for, such as little lasagnas with chicken meatballs, and potato gnocchi with peas and mushrooms. Lobster rolls with aoli. Chicken wrapped in prosciutto and stuffed with melting Italian cheese. Creamy vanilla bread pudding with caramel sauce. Accompanied by Lynch's forthright opinions and stunning four-color photographs, these dishes will create a stir on home tables.



Amazon Exclusive: A Letter from Barbara Lynch

Dear Amazon Reader,

Growing up in public housing in a tough neighborhood in Boston, I couldn't afford culinary school. Cookbooks like Waverly Root's The Food of Italy not only taught me about new ingredients and techniques but were an escape. (They also helped me bluff my way through my first cooking job.) Now I get to do what I love best: making people happy by feeding them really delicious food.

In Stir, I share my passion and my hard-earned knowledge. And of course, I give you my recipes, which the regulars in my restaurants have been clamoring for over the years. Some are almost embarrassingly easy, like Gorgonzola Fondue, Baked Cheese and Tomatoes, and Slow-Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Thyme. Others are a little more involved but oh-so-worth-it, like Chicken and Vegetable Soup with Caraway Gnocchi. There's plenty of weekday cooking, including Green Bean and Seared Shrimp Salad with Spicy Curry Sauce, which I eat all the time, and Lemony Breaded Chicken Cutlets, which my daughter Marchesa loves.

Then there are my pastas, which are my very favorite things, such as Chicken Meatball Lasagnettes (a favorite of Julia Child's) and sauces that pair well with both fresh and dried pasta, such as my signature Bolognese (I share my secret ingredient).

All of my recipes are written with the home cook in mind and so are full of the details that make a difference. I hope Stir will inspire you.

Enjoy!

Barbara Lynch

(Photo © Justin Ide)




Recipe Excerpts from Stir


Roasted Fennel and Green Beans

Butcher Shop Bolognese

Creamy Vanilla Bread Pudding



From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. James Beard Award-winning Lynch, chef-owner of Boston's famed No. 9 Park and several other notable restaurants, delivers her much-anticipated first cookbook. An unlikely cook raised in the projects of South Boston, where she subsisted solely on processed foods, Lynch was introduced to cooking by her high school home economics teacher and was smitten. Since then, she's mastered her art, and the results are evident in this gorgeous, mouth-watering book, which includes her restaurants' signature dishes, such as prune-stuffed gnocchi with foie gras sauce and Butcher Shop Bolognese. She offers an ample selection of starters including quick chicken liver pâté, gorgonzola fondue, and brioche pizza dough. She also includes hearty and satisfying soups and salads, a substantial section on pasta, side dishes and desserts. Lynch's fish offerings are plentiful, including pan-fried cod with chorizo and clam ragout, and scallop and pureed celery root gratinée. Poultry dishes range from lemony breaded chicken cutlets to spice-rubbed roast goose. Lynch provides helpful tips throughout on everything from celery leaves to segmenting citrus. Lynch will delight fans who have been waiting patiently for this delectable collection.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (November 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618576819
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618576814
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1.1 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #297,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By George G. Gall on November 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I am lucky enough to live two blocks from Barbara Lynch's B&G Oyster, Butcher Shop and her test/demonstration kitchen Stir. I often pop into the Butcher Shop for some of their amazing house made sausages or a pint of their fantastic bolognese sauce, so when I heard that Barbara was writing a cookbook I was excited. Honestly, I was excited but concerned that this might be another restaurant chef sharing overly complicated recipes that don't fit into my busy lifestyle. Opening this beautifully photographed cookbook, I was instantly pleased to see that this was a cookbook for all home cooks.

Filled with mouthwatering recipes that are easy to follow, "Stir" turns intimidating foods, such as homemade gnocchi, into approachable, show stopping meals that can be made by just about anyone. One of the most fantastic aspects of this well written book, are the notes Chef Lynch shares regarding preparing the dishes ahead of time. Let's face it, when hosting a dinner party, there is nothing worse than having to slave in the kitchen while the guest are enjoying the cocktails and appetizers that have been prepared. Lynch offers tips on which recipes can be made ahead of time, and how to reheat the dishes so they may be perfectly served.

With wit and a no-nonsense "Southie" undertone, this cook book is destined to be a classic for cooks at any level. The Italian, meets French meets Boston cuisine offers everything from comfort foods to Barbara Lynch's signature Prune Stuffed Gnocchi with foie gras (btw... don't knock it until you've tried it!)

I'm thrilled to have added this cookbook to my collection and look forward to making even more recipes from it. Oh, and I might not need to stop by the Butcher Shop as often, since I now have the recipe for the Bolognese!
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Format: Hardcover
I usually don't like restaurant chef cookbooks because (1) they seem to be only fit for cooking on special occasions (hello, molecular gastronomy!) and require multiple internal mini-recipes and special equipment and (2) often the recipes are poorly tested for a home kitchen or just poorly tested, period.

I'm happy to say that Stir is an exception. I've made several recipes from it. They have all turned out nicely, received compliments, and none have been overly complicated. I find myself reaching for it when I'm in the mood to make something Italian and innovative. I highly recommend the recipes for Butcher Shop Bolognese (p. 121, who knew that livers made such a difference?), Spicy Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese (p. 91), and the Pappardelle with Tangy Veal Ragu (p. 138).

One special day I will make the gnocchi recipe (I had the gnocchi once at No. Park, and the texture was to die for). I've been to many of the Barbara Lynch Gruppo restaurants and had spectacular service and food each time. The recipes in Stir are the real deal, I think.
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Format: Hardcover
We live in Boston and frequent BL's restaurants- this brilliant cookbook includes some of her fabulous accessible recipes that she serves so we can try them at home i.e. bolognese sauce (to die for), poulet en pain, roasted winter squash with maple syrup and sage cream (perfect for Thanksgiving). Besides loving the layout and gorgeous photos, the tidbits and infectious tone from Barbara herself make this both gourmand and down-to-earth reading. I can't wait to curl up in front of a fire and peruse... the most difficult choice will be which recipe to try first!
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Format: Hardcover
The Gorgonzola Fundue was the first thing I made out of the cookbook, though Barbara Lynch's legendary bolognese is coming up soon. The photography in the book is especially good and is what initially caught my eye in the bookstore. But the recipes are well setup for the home kitchen. So many great restaurant cooks and their cookbooks have a difficult transition to the smaller quantities, the lower heats, and the impracticality of whole day cooking in the home kitchen. Aside from the photos and the recipes, the story of cooking as an escape from the projects and poverty via self-taught cooking is an inspiration. Quite a book!
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It's been 2 weeks since I bought this book and already my husband and I have cooked 6 dishes and I've tagged many more recipes to try. Every recipe has been superb! This book is accessible, modern and the recipes so original and delicious. I have learnt many new techniques from the few recipes we've tried so far and used some easy to find ingredients in some very original ways. Tonight we made the braised short ribs with some creamy mascarpone polenta and the olive oil glazed baby vegetables. Last week after dining at the Butcher's Shop and enjoying the duck confit we made it ourselves at home with Kumquat Marmalade. The Seared Sea Scallops with Sauce Verte and Toasted Hazlenuts was fabulous and my favorite so far has been the Green Bean and Seared shrimp Salad with Spicy Curry Vinaigrette - what a great summery salad and one we'll make again and again. I hope that Barbara Lynch puts out more cookbooks as wonderful as this one.
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I have made 14 of the recipes so far from this book and they all were complimented by guests. I am a fan of the simplicity of ingredients. While I do not have to go too far to get special ingredients anyway, most of recipes call for vegetables supermarkets carry year round. I also love how the leftover quality is just as good as the fresh, so I'm not afraid of making double amounts for future use.

The recipes are Italian in context, but I would say that the American spin on them is excellently fused so that no matter who you are serving to, kids and adults alike will love this food.
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