By Adam Roberts
Artisan Books, $27.95
If you've ever dreamed of apprenticing in your favorite chef's kitchen, you won't want to miss this extraordinary book. Author Adam Roberts (creator of the Amateur Gourmet blog) lived that dream many times over when he spent a year cooking alongside 50 culinary giants, from legendary Spanish chef José Andrés to Charles Phan, chef-owner of San Francisco's Slanted Door, arguably the nation's best Vietnamese restaurant. In his book, Roberts shares stories, wisdom, tantalizing recipes, and truly helpful hints from each of the chefs he cooked with, and his essays vividly capture the essence of these pros in action. There's truly something here for every cook: Beginners can make and serve Nancy Silverton's Prosciutto San Daniele with Warren Pear and Pomegranate Seeds with deserved pride while experienced cooks will relish making Marco Canora's Light-as-Air Potato Gnocchi or Sara Moulton's gorgeous French Apple Tart.
Hugh Acheson's Chicken Thighs Braised in Cider Vinegar with Fennel and Radish (page 346) This zesty dish is easy enough to make on a weeknight, and I really like how the cider vinegar amps up the flavor. It's comfort food, so you'll want to serve it with mashed potatoes.
Lidia Bastianich's Ziti with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage (page 46) This classic dish strikes the perfect balance with its ingredients, and Roberts rightly highlights Bastianich's technique for turning pasta and sauce into a unified whole.
|Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting||Swiss Chard and Ricotta Dumplings||Steamed Chicken with Preserved Black Beans and Ginger|