Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Before You Explore In the Kitchen You Have To Know THE BASICS

“Guaranteed to inspire the novice and reinvigorate the expert, this pleasing, award-winning volume serves up an appetizing postmodern twist on The Joy of Cooking.” ―ReadyMade Magazine

“This little gem of a book beautifully illustrates – and explains – cooking techniques and classic recipes, from bouquet garnis to the best mashed potatoes.” ―InStyle Magazine

Every cook or home chef reaches that defining moment when he or she puts away the cookbook and begins to experiment ‘off the page’ with flavors and ingredients. But without a full understanding of the rudiments of cooking, these explorations can be leaps of faith at best, and dishes from the simplest to most complex and ambitious risk failure.

This is the principle behind the indispensable and stylish cooking primer THE BASICS (Melville House, June 15, 2007, $29.95), with recipes by Filip Verheyden and photography by Tony Le Duc, which reveals simple recipes and instructions for 150 of the most vital building blocks of great cuisine, from principles of blanching, roasting, frying, smoking, and grilling, to how to make key sauces, gravies, stocks, soups, breads and much more.

Beginning with a chapter on techniques, THE BASICS explains and illustrates with gorgeous photographs essential cooking techniques, such as how to bard, marinate, poach, caramelize, and lard. Following chapters explain cutting techniques and both savory and sweet recipes for stocks, thickeners, light and hearty soups, potato preparations, rice preparations, cold, hot and sweet sauce preparations, mousses, pastries, spreads, sweet egg dishes and ice creams. And an Ingredients Index makes cross-referencing a snap.

Each page in THE BASICS is like a homily on the principles of great food. Learn the difference between a brunoise, julienne and a chiffonade cut. Follow simple instructions for preparing chicken, white, dark and game stocks. Make more than 30 of your own sauces, including mayonnaise, garlic butter, vinaigrette, pesto, white wine, and hollandaise. Prepare dazzling soups, breads, breakfasts, and desserts, using your own creative imagination and THE BASICS at your fingertips.

THE BASICS also includes innovative preparations and techniques which have only just been developed, but which are starting to claim their place in 21st-century cooking. These include foie gras foam, spinach jelly, pike mouse and light praline.

“Although we live in an ultramodern society where information on every subject is up for grabs, this information isn’t always reliable or even thorough. And that goes for cooking, too,” writes Verheyden. “There’s a lot of experimenting going on, with new ingredients and techniques. But basic recipes for chicken stock or tartare sauce are forgotten.”

Jonathan Hayes of The New York Times Magazine calls THE BASICS “a stylish little cookbook . . . a seductive object, beautifully proportioned and designed, but also remarkably comprehensive.”

Bound in black fabric with gold-embossed lettering, gilded-edged pages, and a red ribbon book mark for easy reference, THE BASICS is equal parts bible and hymnal for the kitchen, teaching the important principals of cooking and encouraging cooks to celebrate with their own explorations and creations.

“Our philosophy is simple: if you want to start cooking, you have to learn the basics. Only then can you build up a solid cooking repertoire,” says Verheyden.

About the Authors:

Filip Verheyden studied cooking at PIVA in Antwerp and has been a freelance food writer since 1998, contributing to many magazines and newspapers.

Tony Le Duc has been a food photographer since 1984, producing images for some twenty books, including The House of Books.

PAGES: 320
PRICE: $29.95 Hardcover
ISBN: 9781933633183

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