Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bistros and Brasseries Recipes and Reflections on Classic Café Cooking

Dark wood, zinc bars, gilt mirrors, and simple, satisfying dishes — this is the world of bistros and brasseries. The latest book from the Culinary Institute of America, is rich and redolent with the sights, sounds, aromas, and romance of classic bistro fare, BISTROS AND BRASSERIES: Recipes and Reflections on Classic Café Cooking (Lebhar-Friedman Books; July 2008; hardcover/$29.95; ISBN:987-0-86730-924-0). By traveling to some of the great bistros and brasseries in the United States and France, the authors truly harvested the crème de la crème of casual French food and warm eatery atmosphere.

Bistro cuisine takes its inspiration from the classic repertoire of every self-respecting French home cook, from simple soups to inspired salads and succulent stews, all prepared and served up with the delightful joie de vivre of CIA authors, John W. Fischer and Lou Jones. They have brought the bistro experience to home cooks everywhere with recipes such as:

§ Salade Niçoise
§ Warm Gravlax and Potato Salad
§ Provençal-Style Vegetable and Pasta Soup
§ Savory Shrimp and Asparagus Crêpes
§ Quiche Lorraine
§ Rabbit Stew
§ Duck Confit with Prunes and Apples
§ Cassoulet
§ Sous-Vide Spiced Pork Belly
§ Beignets
§ Cherry Clafouti
§ Peach and Goat Cheese Tarts

From simple dishes perfect for a quick and tasteful weeknight meal to more involved recipes like Coq-au-Vin and Cassoulet for special meals and entertaining, BISTROS AND BRASSERIES brings French cuisine home with style, and without intimidation. The authors suggest which recipe components can be purchased pre-made, substitutions for uncommon ingredients, and beverage pairings for every dish. “This is French comfort food,” they write, and with BISTROS AND BRASSERIES, they ensure that it be pleasure to prepare, serve, and savor.

And, luxurious French dishes need not be rich and fattening. Foie gras and cheeses, so important to French cuisine, are kept in balance by serving red wines to accompany them. Freshly harvested ingredients burst with flavor and satisfy in smaller servings. Fischer and Jones explore, in-depth, pairing cheese and wines, as well as provide information on how to pick cheeses, what to look for and how to store them.

BISTROS AND BRASSERIES helps turn staples of a French larder such as meats, poultry, fish, fresh cream, eggs, and seasonal fruits into dishes and meals for which bistros and brasseries are famous. Whether looking for a bit of French flair or a serious bistro experience from apéritifs to fromages, there is something for everyone in BISTROS AND BRASSERIES.


Founded in 1946, THE CULINARY INSTITUTE OF AMERICA (CIA) is an independent, not-for-profit college offering bachelor’s and associate degrees in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts. Courses for foodservice professionals are offered at the college’s main campus in Hyde Park, NY, and at its branch campuses, The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, in St. Helena, CA, and The Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio in San Antonio, TX. A network of more than 37,000 alumni in the foodservice and hospitality industry has helped the CIA earn its reputation as the world's premier culinary college.

John W Fischer has more than 10 years of experience in the restaurant industry. He holds an Advanced Certificate from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust and is the author of At Your Service: A Hands-on Guide to the Professional Dining Room. A 1988 graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, he returned to join the faculty in 2000, and is now an associate professor in table service.

Lou Jones, who hails from Great Britain, is assistant dean for culinary arts at The Culinary Institute of America. He has garnered a number of awards, including British National Chef of the Year in 1994, two Culinary Olympics gold medals in 1992, gold medals at the Culinary World Cup in 1990 and 1194, and was appointed a member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1994.

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