Beginnings: My Way To Start a Meal Hardcover – May 8 2012
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"Though long a fearless pioneer and innovator on the San Francisco Bay Area scene, Chris Cosentino's excellent book offers comfort, reassurance and an array of enticing possibilities. If you thought you had enough "Italian" cookbooks? You clearly don't." (Anthony Bourdain)
"Chris cooks with a lot of heart. And you see that in his restaurant, in his cured meats, and in this cookbook. He takes care with each and every ingredient and shows you how to make them astonishing." (José Andrés)
"When I met Chris, he was known as a chef with a peerless reputation for cooking offal and variety meats. Over the years of our friendship, I have come to love and admire him as a brilliant and creative technician, one of the best chefs in the country, a culinary daredevil without boundaries. That being said, the best thing he ever made me to eat was a humble bowl of noodles that remain the benchmark against which I measure all pasta courses. I am thrilled that Chris has put all of that genius into a book that is as satisfying for the food geek as it is for a family to pull weeknight dinners from. It's a stunning debut of workable recipe authorship from a thinking man's chef." (Andrew Zimmern)
"Chris built his reputation on cooking hearts, brains, and kidneys, but it's the soul in his food that sets him apart from his peers." (Tom Colicchio)
About the Author
Chris Cosentino graduated from the culinary program at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island and went on to build his résumé at several top restaurants in Washington, DC and in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he resides today. Chris took his first executive chef position at Incanto restaurant in 2002 where he continues to create inspired and innovative interpretations of rustic Italian fare. Chris is also the co-founder of Boccalone artisanal salumeria and has gained international acclaim as a leading expert and proponent of offal cookery. Chris has appeared on numerous television cooking shows, has been featured in many national publications, and has consulted on a line of clothing, shoes, and knives, to name just a few of his many ongoing projects.
Michael Harlan Turkell is a once-aspiring chef and now freelance photographer. Based in Brooklyn, he is the former photo editor of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan, and captures the inner workings of kitchens for his award-winning “Back of the House” project, which documents the working lives of chefs. Michael’s work has garnered industry awards and has been published in an array of magazines and books. He also hosts a show on HeritageRadioNetwork.com called “The Food Seen,” which touches on the intersections of food and art.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
It's winter. Do you know where your rose thyme is? There is this wonderful sounding recipe for "Asian Pear, Lardo & Rose Thyme" that I really want to try but I'll have to wait to plant rose thyme (assuming I can find it), let it grow and then either drive into the city or find a mail order source for high quality lardo. (Or a nice flight to San Francisco may be in sight.) ... It makes the simple recipe take significant effort to actually achieve. On the other hand "Acorn Squash, Stracciatella & Sage" is entirely obtainable ingredients although I might choose to make the cheese rather than make a special run to the cheese monger.
Need to hone your butchering skills? "Roasted Squab. Ancient Spice & Pickled Grapes" uses easily obtainable ingredients and I fell in love with the ancient spice mix (Aleppo pepper, cloves, juniper, allspice, cinnamon, long pepper). However, if you are not used to disassembling your own meat, the preparing of the squab is an interesting adventure in anatomy. Once you understand what you are going for it is not difficult ... but you must read and reread the instructions until you are certain you know what to do.
Want to show off the local grapes, assuming they are available? Consider "Pan-roasted grapes, Turnips & Grape Leaves". First, there is the trip to the greengrocer for Red Flame, Thompson, muscat and Nebiolo (or Concord) grapes. Then you need young grape leaves ... wait if the grapes are ripe how many young leaves are there? Then there is the 2 tablespoons of Brovada. I hope you planned ahead as this component is among the staples at the back of the book and requires a minimum of 10 days.
I hope you love to scour farmers' markets. The enticing "Cucumber, Radishes & Bottarga" looks like a wonderful way to introduce Bottarga (hey if it was in a "Chopped basket" we all have it in our fridge, right?) but the cucumbers are Armenian, lemon and Mediterranean ...
So is the cookbook usable? Very much yes. Most of the recipes have ingredients most of us can obtain easily. Most of the recipes are not time consuming although you need to read the recipes carefully to estimate how long it will take you personally. None of the recipes require kitchen skills that are outside an experienced home cook's skill set. Nearly all the recipes will inspire you to consider variations on what you already cook, to play with a few new flavor combinations, to think of "Italian" not as Italy but as an Italian cook living in your locale. And this makes it an excellent cookbook for any household.