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September 27 , 2007

Artisanal Cooking

A Chef Shares His Passion for Handcrafting Great Meals at Home


Terrance Brennan's passion for simple yet flavorful cuisine has fueled the success of his two acclaimed New York City restaurants, Picholine and Artisanal. In this long-awaited cookbook, Brennan shares his approach to what he calls "artisanal cooking," reflecting a devotion to detail and reverence for the freshest ingredients, simple presentations, and an inspired blend of tradition and creativity, all of which leads to memorable meals at home.

Artisanal Cooking features 150 tantalizing recipes ranging from hors d'oeuvres and entrees - such as Miniature Grilled Cheddar, Apple, and Bacon Sandwiches; Soft-Shell Crabs with Mustard Sauce; and Beef Short Ribs with Olives and Orange-Cumin Carrots - to desserts, including Brennan's signature cheesecake and Chocolate Fondue. A cheese connoisseur, Brennan describes more than 30 of his favorites and suggests wines to pair with them. The cookbook is also a visual feast, with 75 lush color photographs by renowned food photographer Christopher Hirsheimer. Throughout, there are valuable tips that cooks can use to adapt Brennan's recipes or improve their own cooking, including:

THE REASON: explanations for why good cooks do things such as truss a chicken or let meats rest between cooking and serving

VARIATIONS: ideas for changing recipes to accommodate seasonal ingredients and personal taste

EMBELLISHMENTS: inventive ways to enhance the recipes

    TERMS AND TECHNIQUES: information about terms like "sweetbreads" and technique tips, such as a simple way to roll dough over a tart
The book's extensive pantry section, including recipes and how-to photos, further illustrates Brennan's point that delicious meals start with quality flavors and elemental techniques. Taking pleasure in the ingredients and the process makes cooking - and sharing the results - a joy.
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