Charlie Palmer may be most famous for the sumptuous meals he plans and prepares at Manhattan's Aureole and his other restaurants, and for the James Beard awards that he has won, but what does he make at home for his wife and four young boys? As anyone with children knows, kitchen time needs to be relaxed and flexible, ingredients must be easy to find, and one must always be aware of finicky eaters. By updating his most memorable childhood meals, and borrowing from those comfortable dishes to make almost any dish "comfort food," Palmer offers solution after solution without having to go to any extra trouble to make "special" meals for pintsize picky eaters.
Palmer is "crazy about deep, rich flavors," and he offers such satisfying dishes as Baked Lemon Chicken, which he recommends serving with lots of warm garlic bread with which to sop up the cooking juices, and Chicken Fricasee with Dumplings, a real old-fashioned, stick-to-your-ribs kind of dish that appeals to the child in everyone. He likes the "clean, clearly defined taste of a simple grill or roast," and shares recipes including Flank Steak with Grilled Vegetables and Perfect Roast Chicken.
For those who want to be inspired by Palmer's European style, there are wonderful savory dishes to learn from, such as Pappardelle with Rabbit Sauce, Grilled Asparagus and Spring Onions with Mustard Vinaigrette, and a wonderfully soothing and comfortable Winter-Vegetable Shepherd's Pie. Palmer's Super Macaroni and Cheese is well flavored with white wine and three cheeses; you'll fight your kids for the last luscious serving.
Because he is, after all, Charlie Palmer, even his casual cooking is perfect for entertaining. Roasted Wild Mushroom Salad, Saffron-Mussel Soup with Fennel, The Best Butternut Squash Soup, and Whole Roasted Salmon with New Potatoes and Leeks become manageable with Palmer's clear, easy-to-follow instructions. His lists of ingredients are remarkably concise, and the vast majority can be found on any supermarket shelf. And with desserts as old fashioned as Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, Strawberry Shortcake, and Fresh Fruit Cobbler, and as newfangled as Brioche Bread Pudding and Oven-Roasted Fruit with Caramel Sauce, this book has everything you need to make your family and friends happy, without getting too elaborate nor taking time away from those you love the most. --Leora Y. Bloom
Chef at several chic New York restaurants, including the highly-rated Aureole, Palmer (Great American Food) adds a most relaxed cookbook to the new niche of easy recipes by top professionals. As Palmer points out, when he cooks at home, he doesn't have a prep staff either, so for inspiration he recalls many of the meals his mother used to make and adds an updated twist with his passion for fresh seasonal ingredients. Decidedly unpretentious, the fare features such perennial favorites as Mom's Chicken Noodle Soup and Great Burgers on the GrillDwhich one can make more dazzling with minced red onion and fresh herbs. In Tuna MeltsDMy Way, Palmer calls for seared tuna steaks on sourdough toast slathered with tapenade and topped with Fontina cheese, and Perfect Roast Chicken (thoroughly rubbed with lemon juice) sounds irresistibly savory. Readers will be thrilled to find that Breast of Duck with Citrus Sauce and Mixed Fruit Chutney is deemed more demanding simply because extra prep time is required. For an informal brunch, Palmer offers Mile-High Shrimp Sandwiches glistening with Blue Cheese Dressing. Desserts are as comforting as Fresh Fruit Cobbler and as clever as Apple "Pizza" with Cider Sorbet. (Jan.)
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