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Stir: Mixing It Up in the Italian Tradition Hardcover – November 2, 2009
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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.
Amazon Exclusive: A Letter from Barbara LynchDear 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!
(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.
Top customer reviews
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It's written in Barbara's inimitable and conversational style and peppered with anecdotes throughout. The recipes vary from super easy (baked cheese and tomatoes with toasted bread) to fairly complex (the famous prune stuffed gnocchi with foie gras) and there are great pictures throughout. They also really work. The first recipe I tried was Gruyere and Tuscan ham puff pastries and they were to die for. I also love that Chef Lynch includes short cuts and alternative options as well as indicate when it's really worth the effort of making something yourself. For example - in the puff pastry square recipe I just mentioned, the reasoning behind splurging on Dufour puff pastry vs. Pepperidge Farm pastry is explained and you can also use a ready made honey mustard or the recipe for homemade honey mustard is included (delicious!)
I'd highly recommend this recipe book for serious cooks and even newer cooks as the instructions are detailed and helpful and the food will be delicious!
Some of these recipes are very simple. The gorgonzola fondue isn't a whole lot more than melted cheese. The marinara sauce can be thrown together out of kitchen staples in under half an hour. A number of the soups (particularly the white bean and hazelnut and the spicy tomato) look interesting and uncomplicated. Tomato jam and tomato confit are on my experiment list for tomato season. Some of these recipes, by contrast, look like they would take a few hours a day for most of a week for a home cook to construct. Lynch likes olives more than I do, but she's the kind of cook who makes me wonder if maybe I'm just wrong about olives. She uses a lot more fat than I do, but I can see ways to trim it.
Best of all, Lynch has a charming willingness to draw back the curtain and expose the machinery of her work to the reader. Some of the recipes come neatly apart into building blocks for other recipes (the chicken soup could be a weekend lunch with whatever vegetables you have on hand thrown in), and she includes a few actual building block recipes (homemade pasta, chicken stock, tomato confit, cooked white beans, homemade ricotta). In many places, you have the option of using store-bought ingredients or making your own. The recipes are easy to follow: the results may look intimidating, but the instructions don't.
I think it is unlikely that I will ever make prune-stuffed gnocchi with foie gras sauce, but the chances have increased by an order of magnitude since this time last week, so who knows what will happen.