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Sunday Suppers at Lucques: Seasonal Recipes from Market to Table Hardcover – November 8, 2005
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Suzanne Goins is the chef-owner of Lucques, an acclaimed Los Angeles restaurant noted for its Sunday meal service. Sunday Suppers at Luques presents 132 recipes from the restaurant, arranged by seasonal menus and thus by market availability, with the likes of Hawaiian Snapper with Green Rice and Cucumbers in Crème Fraîche; Saffron Chicken with Parmesan Pudding, Spring Onions and Sugar Snap Peas; Bistecca California with Peperonata, Baked Ricotta, and Lemon; and Young Onion Tart with Cantal, Applewood-Somked Bacon, and Herb Salad. Home cooks should find these deft, light-handed creations immediately attractive, if not always readily reproducible, as many call for special ingredients like the aforementioned snapper, Kaboca squash, and roncal, a Spanish sheeps milk cheese, among many others. Reasonable alternatives aren't always suggested. Though the dishes themselves aren't difficult to make, reproducing whole menus, or even multiple dishes within them, will require a kitchen workout.
These things said, many cooks will want to try making the more approachable dishes apart from their "trimmings," not to mention such desserts as Warm Crèpes with Lemon Zest and Hazelnut Brown Butter, and Jessica's Favorite Meyer Lemon Tart with a Layer of Chocolate. With color photos, the book is also lovely to pore through. --Arthur Boehm
From Publishers Weekly
At Lucques, one of Goin's two Los Angeles restaurants, the Chez Panisse alumna cooks special Sunday fixed-price menus. Whiling away a wintery Sunday evening over Beets and Tangerines with Mint and Orange-Flower Water; Australian Barramundi with Winter Vegetables Bagna Cauda and Toasted Breadcrumbs; or Herb-Roasted Rack of Lamb with Flageolet Gratin, Roasted Radicchio, and Tapenade; and a Gâteau Basque with Armagnac Prunes sounds lovely. Preparing it, though, sounds like a hard day's work, and the organization of recipes in seasonal menus rather than grouped by appetizer, entrée, etc., leaves readers with little flexibility. Goin's recipes for hearty, vegetable-heavy, Mediterranean-style dishes such as an appetizer of Ragoût of Morels with Crème Fraîche, Soft Herbs, and Toasted Brioche; and First-of-the-Season Succotash Salad with fresh lima beans and watercress are clearly written. But most dishes are all-day affairs: Roman Cherry Tart with Almond Crust and Almond Ice Cream incorporates several components and follows on the heels of either Veal Osso Buco with Saffron Risotto, English Peas, and Pea Shoots, or Halibut with Fingerlings, Fava Beans, Meyer Lemon, and Savory Crème Fraîche. Goin does say, "Feel free to mix and match," but she seems to have missed Sunday's "day of rest" concept. 75 full-color photos. (Dec. 1)
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I always feel like I have this kind and fabulous chef standing in the kitchen with me giving me instructions when I am cooking from this book. The pictures are beautiful and the seasonal organization is helpful without feeling rigid. Most important though, the recipes are fantastic especially in the context of comforting meals you plan to prepare at home. They are the right level of fancy, something that will make your family (and guests if you have them) happy and satisfied.
The recipes themselves do not require difficult to acquire ingredients and many of the techniques are similar between recipes. They do tend to be prep heavy and use plenty of dishes and utensils, but nonetheless the results are so good, I'll wash a few extra pots and pans for the food. The book is set up in menus of 3 or so dishes, but I find often the main dish is plenty for my wife and I, maybe if we had guests I would make the accompanying dishes, but really haven't found the need to. I halve most of the recipes because she has them designed to feed six.
I already have her AOC cookbook on my wishlist for when I finish working my way through this one. Thanks Suzanne! You are awesome.