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Restaurant Terra provides fine dining in a century-old former foundry. The very personal creation of husband-and-wife chefs Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani, the Napa Valley dining spot is noted for its relaxed yet sophisticated cuisine--French- and Italian-influenced cooking that also reflects Sone's Japanese culinary heritage. Terra tells the restaurant's story and offers over 175 of its recipes, from appetizers such as Goat Cheese and Artichoke Spring Rolls with Arugula and Tomato Salad to desserts such as Chocolate Mousseline on Pecan Sablé with Coffee Granité. The authors are unapologetic about the work required to prepare many of the recipes, but they've also made them models of clarity and, better still, instruction. Readers who like to cook and those who enjoy armchair restaurant touring will welcome the book.
Beginning with a day-in-the-life restaurant diary--work starts at 4:30 a.m. and ends some 20 hours later--the book then offers recipes organized by course or food type. Standouts include Mussel Seafood Soup with Caramelized Onions, Bone Marrow Risotto with Braised Veal Shanks, and Chinese Egg Noodles with Gulf Shrimp, Shiitake Mushrooms, and Pea Tendrils. Desserts, which should bring any meal to a delirious close, include Fig Fritters with Ginger Ice Cream and Feuilleté of Caramelized Bananas with Chocolate Fudge Sauce. Present also is a particularly useful chapter on basic techniques--photos depicting various vegetable cuts are a valuable bonus--as well as basic and pantry recipes. Illustrated with color photos throughout, the book provides a sense of a restaurant performing at the top of its game, plus a blueprint for preparing its most delicious fare. --Arthur Boehm
After more than a decade at their restaurant, Terra, inspired by a rustic 100-year-old former foundry in the midst of California's bountiful Napa Valley countryside, Sone and Doumani, proteges of international super-chef Wolfgang Puck, share their unique blend of French-, Italian- and Japanese-influenced cooking with this collection of ambitious contemporary recipes. There is no chicken on the menu at Terra--unusual ingredients are featured out of a conviction that diners should be "reconnect[ed]... with foods that have unfairly fallen out of favor" and a desire that dining out should be a truly "remarkable" experience. Sone creates beautifully complex layered flavors and textures with his dishes. His dishes include such rare ingredients as veal sweetbreads and skate wing, but also feature such rich and traditional classics as Panzanella and Veal Cheeks. Doumani showcases some of her fresh interpretations of classic desserts such as Almond Pithiviers with Meyer Lemon Ice Cream and Huckleberry Sauce as well as standouts like Orange Risotto in Brandy Snaps with Passion Fruit Sauce. The book contains many helpful insets detailing general cooking tips such as the principles of deep-frying and how to handle or clean raw ingredients like mussels. Filled with beautiful photographs and personal detail, this is more than just a cookbook; Sone and Doumani present an intimate memoir of their labor of love.
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