Chef Michael Bennett’s New Healthy Cookbook: Interview with a Mango
Miami, Florida / August, 2017: Interview with a Mango is a Chef Michael Bennett’s healthy recipe cookbook that helps you become healthier by using food and recipes originating from the Caribbean and making them healthier by using Chef Michael Bennett’s modern Mediterranean cooking techniques.
From the mind of a Mango Man:
In the Chef Michael Bennett’s own words; “I’m trying to change dining habits and perception of what health food is and how it tastes.”
“I have developed a new recipe categorization: “Medi-bbean”.
Like my other healthy fusion cookery recipe books, this one combines healthy Caribbean foods with the healthy cooking techniques from Mediterranean counties; such as: Italy, Israel and Greece.” All healthy ingredients are meant to FUEL, NURISH, RESTORE, REVITALIZE AND SUPPORT a rich lifestyle.
“They will see a bright array of delicious artistic recipes presented in a 5 star manner.”
People know the key to a healthy life is a clean, simple whole fresh foods diet in some form or fashion. Chef Michael Bennett has lowered cholesterol levels by increasing the amount of plant base nutrition non vegans/vegetarians intake, increase their fiber, add a variety of fruits and vegetables to increase antioxidant intake and most recipes are deemed low glycemic healthy grain, dairy, oils and fats. Chef Michael limits beef the most recipes are prepared using healthier poultry, pork and seafood.
• I’m trying to get people back to eating fresh healthy clean natural whole foods and ingredients, catering to the young and the young are heart.
• These foods contain ingredients that fuel and support the athletic and still cater to a normal individual. Leafy greens, veggies, legumes, health fats and oils, fruits, grains and lean proteins make up all the recipes in this book. A variety of vegetables or fruits, and spices from these destination locations will be used in every dish.
• Meal categories will naturally include: *Gluten Free *Low Glycemic Diet *Paleo Diet *Vegetarian Diet and healthy *Kids meals.
• Recipes were formatted using this thesis: all ingredients that were researched and implement in this book mostly came from neighboring Latin, West Indies and Caribbean countries.
o Many popular cultural foods were place into this book’s recipe roster from counties like: Trinidad and Tobago (West Indian food); Jamaica, Virgin and the Cayman Islands (Caribbean foods); Cuba, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico (Latin foods).
o Healthy oils are used for this book’s recipes. Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), coconut oil and flax seed oil are used to discover the healthy alternative way to sautéing and cooking in oil.
o Recipe include healthy and mostly gluten free cooking techniques common in popular countries from; China, Japan, Thailand, Italy (and other Mediterranean basin distinctions), the Greek Islands, and Kosher (Israeli).
o Research mirrored extremely popular foods in the Caribbean then they were altered into a tasty healthy gluten free balance.
o Each meal will come with 3-5 suggestions of other ingredients that can be used in the recipe to alter or change the dish somewhat if need by the reader. Such as the use of Agave nectar instead of sugar.
o Most ingredients will be naturally GMO free, process and preservative free.
Baking, grilling, roasting, sautéing, boiling, steaming and slow cooking processes are used.
All breads, wraps, dessert, thickening or dusting flours are gluten free.
As commonly found in the Mediterranean diet, the use of combinations of leafy greens should always be included into each recipe if not stated otherwise.
Avocadoes are used in recipes to substitute for the missing fat content of original recipes that might have originally used high cholesterol / high saturated fat proteins.
To understand the beauty of Medibbean fusion recipes, we must first understand its core definition. Medibbean is all about combining distinctly different food elements from across the world into something new, healthy and tastes extraordinary. Cuisine is a specific set of cooking traditions and practices within a given culture or region. Medibbean alters this to include the best of the best.
From the introduction, we learn that “fusion” may be a term which has more recently been coined to refer to food, but in its broadest definition, we have seen this as an on-going characteristic for chefs throughout the centuries. For instance, when I think of Italian cuisine, pasta covered with a red sauce immediately comes to mind. Many of us know that Marco Polo brought pasta back to Italy from China; further, prior to 1492, there were little to no tomatoes in cooking throughout Italy. This means that at some point, possibly hundreds of years ago, pasta with red sauce was an example of fusion cooking.
Another incarnation of Medibbean cuisine is a more eclectic approach, featuring original Caribbean recipes using varieties of ingredients from various cuisines and Mediterranean regions and then combining cookery techniques and methodologies. A Medibbean cuisine restaurant might feature a wide variety of Caribbean food inspired by a combination of various Mediterranean regional cooking techniques with these new food pairing and preparation ideas.
A third approach uses foods with a history based on Caribbean food, but prepared using methods and flavors inherent to Mediterranean cooking or cuisines.
For instance, pizza made with cheddar and pepper jack cheese, salsa, refried beans and other common taco ingredients is often marketed as “Taco Pizza” or a similar concept, and is a fusion of Italian (pizza) and Mexican cuisines. Another example of this is Korean tacos. Similar approaches have been used for fusion-sushi, such as rolling maki with different types of rice and ingredients, e.g. cheetos, curry and basmati rice, cheese and salsa sauce with Spanish rice, or spiced ground lamb and capers rolled with Greek-style rice and grape leaves (resembling inside-out dolmades).
Since Medibbean fusion cuisine is a general term, it is legitimately applied to very few restaurants as of yet. While many diners feature dishes from Greek, Italian, and sometimes Asian cuisines side-by-side, these restaurants are generally not considered fusion as they fail to combine any elements of the cooking styles and also have no over-arching fusion or eclectic theme.
In fact, Chef Michael Bennett’s Medibbean cuisine has gone further, incorporating ingredients and methods from the Middle East, the Caribbean and Central and Southern Mediterranean countries into menus that, when successfully paired, begin to lose their national identity and become something like the diet for a culinary One World.
But there’s a problem with this notion: it assumes the existence of a cuisine that hasn’t been fused already. Take that weary emblem of Italian food, pasta with tomato sauce. Noodles, the story goes, were carried to Italy by Marco Polo on the backs of camels and tomatoes or “love apples,” were shipped from the Americas. There are myriad other examples, all demonstrating that cuisines themselves are in as much flux as languages and the nations that claim them both.
Can Medibbean cuisine be in flux and be fused? A region would have to be impregnable–as China once was or seemed to be–for its food to be continuously constant to register the change that flux in Medibbean fusion represents.
No, what we mean when we talk about “fusion” is a particular historical circumstance having to do with late-20th-century chefs and their urge to create. Of course, most high-rent chefs offer the recipes on their menus as their own, but these dishes are usually variations (often wonderful variations) on standard themes–Mediterranean, Greek, north African and bistro-style French. It’s not complicated: you sit down, open the menu and more or less know where you are–whether your protein will take the form of a slab or pieces; whether butter, olive oil or animal fat will smooth your tastebuds way; whether the palate temperature will be Arctic cool or tropical hot; whether you’ll be paying for food originally intended for the poor, the rich or the in-between.
Look at L.A.’s Spago’s early fusion dishes: pizza with artichokes, shiitakes, leeks, eggplants and sage; roasted duck with pears and ginger; marinated tuna with avocado, kaiware (daikon sprouts) and sweet onions; sweetbreads sautéed crisp with mustard greens and smoked pancetta. One can hardly predict where the separating semicolons should go
Fusion works not only by artfully combining flavors but also by reminding the eater of the gap that’s being breached. When the look and taste of such ingredients as nori become so familiar that they cease to challenge the Western palate–cease to seem “foreign”–then chefs may feel the urge to look elsewhere in order to invent. Chef Michael Bennett’s Medibbean fusion cuisine has succeeded so well in Miami distinctions of where the food was originally harvested will disappear.
Fusion cuisine has existed for centuries before people like Wolfgang Puck coined the term in the 80s and 90s. Whenever you have two or more cultures meeting and combining – either due to trade, conquest, immigration, etc. – the result has always been new culturally variegated recipes.
Technically, any dish that is composed of ingredients that aren’t from the same geographical area, could be considered fusion. I was a chef for many years and was schooled in Classical French and Italian cuisine before I worked with healthier French nouvelle cuisine techniques in the early 1980’s. Medibbean follows Northern Italian/Southern France cooking techniques, held to a higher standard by the 1980’s California cuisine craze that tend to marry it to two or three different cuisines on one plate like; a Japanese style cooking method with Thai spices and a Classical French plate presentation. Medibbean is mixing up these cooking techniques and seasonings; splicing them onto traditional Caribbean recipes by adding in our exotic fruit or spices to alter the color, texture and flavors.
Critics of the practice sometimes call it “confusion cuisine,”
arguing that chefs rely on novelty to carry the food,
rather than flavor, texture and presentation.
The roots of Medibbean fusion cuisine are ancient, since Pirates, Indentured servants and worldly travelers have been exchanging culinary heritage for centuries in the Caribbean Islands, but the concept became popularized in America in the 1970’s with the USA Culinary Team winning the Culinary Olympics in Germany.
Some of the most well-known fusion cuisine combines European and Asian-inspired Caribbean food. These distinctively different cultures have wildly divergent culinary traditions and combining the centuries of these cooking traditions can sometimes result in astonishing recipes because of their adventurous home cooks.
Miami-based cookbook Author releases America’s first Medibbean Cookbook: Interview with a Mango.
February 1st, 2017 ~ Miami, Florida | The Professional Image, Inc. announces that Chef Michael Bennett’s latest Medibbean cookbook: Interview with a Mango (ISBN: 978-1-5323-3069-8) is a cookbook that features a new Medibbean cookery ideal. Medibbean recipes pair Caribbean food (like… a Mango) with Mediterranean cooking techniques. Chef Michael says, “You will be amaze with the healthy living choices that this Medibbean cookbook will teach you.
Since Chef Michael Bennett return to Miami – from a four year journey through the Caribbean – Chef Michael started promoting Miami menus featuring Caribbean cookery.
He first developed Miami’s “Caribb-ican” recipes – that filled his previous two healthy cooking books – with recipes featuring gluten free, tropical cookery of American food. Now he is again working with Caribbean food in an All-Natural, Mediterranean way. Medibbean!
Since Chef Michael Bennett always wanted to revisit the console of utilization only the best locally-harvested ingredients; to procreate a matchless and dynamic dining choice, this past year Chef Michael Bennett has been concentrating on developing an extensive healthy Medibbean cookery style mirroring the “Spa-Cuisine” cooking trend of the 1990’s.
In the Chef’s Words:
As Chef we pride ourselves in knowing the source of the all our fresh harvests
only striving to purchase from local Miami artisan growers.
….. a dialogue with the Chef Michael Bennett
You have been developing healthy recipes for the past decade….Why?
Chef Michael Bennett tells a story, “actually more than 20 years but, I have been concentrating on healthier basis of cooking in most every menu I have used for the past decade.”
Chef Michael Bennett developed a new Medibbean cookery ideal, one of community and belonging; that strives for fresh and healthy dining decisions. This new Medibbean cookery trend is one that provides healthy sustenance as it is entertainment for your taste buds.
Chef Michael was asked, “20 plus years working as a South Florida chef, you left Miami to live in the Caribbean. After spending four years there, were you able to learn the secrets of tropically-inspired cookery?”
His response was telling about the future of this new Medibbean cooking style. “I have had the greatest adventure any chef could have. Being able to go to live and work in the place where my favorite cookery style evolved. It compelled me to begin writing heart-healthy Caribbean food inspired cookbooks for all the rest of America to enjoy.”
Other questions that Chef Michael Bennett answered in various interviews:
Are you are a third-generation Florida Restaurateur?
“My entire family have all been in the restaurant business. My grandfather started in the business so he could keep his family fed during the depression. My Father, Uncle, Wife, both of my Brothers and my two Daughters all worked in restaurant business.”
You have been a long time chef-member of the Rare Fruit Council International, James Beard Foundation and the American Culinary Federation (ACF). Why?
“I am a true believer in being a part of the fabric that makes up our culinary world. Being the regional South Florida restaurant reviewer for the James Bread Foundation enabled me to get into the back door of my peer’s kitchens; writing more than 300 South Florida restaurant reviews. Working as a newsletter publisher for the A.C.F. was great way to get to know all my comrades around South Florida and informing these professional alliances about cooking in Miami led me to strive to tell other Americans about what it is like being a chef in South Florida.”
You have taught and judged culinary peers throughout Florida.
“It is this giving back to our community that makes me whole. It is something every chef should do.”
What it all comes down to…
Chef Michael Bennett endorses all of his culinary posts through his writing via local and International social media channels. This year, Chef Michael Bennett has released his fifth recipe book: Interview with a Mango, ISBN: 978-1-5323-3069-8 by honing his tropical-inspired, Mediterranean fusion cuisine cookery to be All-Natural and Gluten-Free to match his dedication to a lifelong heart-healthy cooking emphasis.
All five of Chef Michael’s books are found online on the Amazon.com website as a downloadable version or old fashion printed cookbook.
· Interview with a Mango (ISBN: 978-1-5323-3069-8) is a 212 page | four-color | 100 + Medibbean recipe cookbook that has an emphasis on America’s newest healthy Fusion-Cuisine dining trend. Medibbean recipes capture a distinctive and inventive new 2017 healthy tropical fusion-cookery heritage, while keeping to a vigorously-vibrant taste profile. As with all Chef Michael’s cookbooks; the Professional Image, Inc. published this new cookbook exclusively with interactive internet-based QR codes that link electronically to websites that help explain unfamiliar terms to everyone. This book makes use of this highly specialized way of interactivity with the reader with the use of QR codes printed directly on the pages alongside the recipes that directly link your smart phone/device to the Internet so your interactive experience is as fun as it is informative.
The Professional Image, Inc. has published America’s first interactive QR code cookbook – where QR codes are inlaid directly into the pages of “a Gluten Free FLAVOR Quest” – ISBN: 978-1-4951-1761-9.This new technology enables the recipe reader the ability to directly connect to the Internet to see information about recipes and cooking techniques.
Chef Michael Bennett, born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida to first generation Floridians, has spent most of his adult life in the food and hospitality industry.
Chef Michael Bennett earned critical culinary kudos as the Executive chef for Left Bank and Bimini Boatyard restaurants in Fort Lauderdale. Under his auspices he brought Left Bank – the 26 year culinary tour d’ force its first ever “Best of” (Zagat Survey), “Four Stars” (AAA) and “Four Diamonds” (Mobil) to add to the 20 year era of three star ratings.
He is affiliated with several culinary and food-related organizations. Chef Michael regularly lectures on Florida’s “Caribb-ican” Fusion cuisine.
Chef Michael Bennett is a well-known, award winning (Chef of the Year-1995) Florida chef whose clients are a Who’s Who of Media and Sports personalities. Some of his clientele is comprised of celebrities from the entertainment and sport industries including; Wilt Chamberlin, Roger Stubb, Oprah, Jayda and Will Smith, Patrick Stewart, Andy Rooney, Michael Caine, Daryl Hanna, George Hamilton, Walter Cronkie, Morgan Freeman, Elton John, Snopp Dog, Madonna, Trina, Beyonce and others…..
About The Professional Image, Inc.
The Professional Image, Inc. is America’s first QR code enable cookbook publisher. TPI was founded in 1991 and as a “budding” Chef | Author PR services provider for chefs and soon to be authors. The Professional Image, Inc. was formed to help Chefs and Authors publish food related articles and their own books. TPI provides Chefs | Authors with direct and personal access to quick, quality orientated publication in trade paperback, custom leather-bound and full four-color formats.
“We have been planning this pop-up restaurant event for more than two month now”, says Chef Ricardo Passarelli the owner of 170 Bistro in Itajuba, Brazil.
Itajuba is a budding international (business) city a few hours outside the financial capital of Brazil.
Chef Ricardo Passarelli owner of 170 Bistro in Itajuba, Brazil invited cookbook author and Miami chef Michael Bennetthere because we knew his latest cookbooks were exactly what we wanted to feature at our restaurant to ensure our grasp as the best restaurant in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais.
at the end of this article
that will be apart of my new Cookbook
Interview with a Mango
Before all this can happen….
Getting into Brazil usually means journeying to the booming affluence that anchors the country — São Paulo.
Our 96 hours in Brazil (#96hoursinbrazil) starts in the the city that is the powerhouse in Brazil that pays the tab for the rest of the Brazil’s material comfort. The São Paulo (Sampa) failings — of incredibly high prices and most prolifically your non-stop awareness that you could end up being a statistic of street crime; even when added together, are still not enough to deter the millions of noteworthy vagabonds seeking out São Paulo’s artistic and business energy snarled mutually together with a relentless and, stimulating 24 hour a day joie de vivre.
Where to Start Your Travels in SamPa (São Paulo – as locals call it) – Brazil…
A São Paulo suburb – Brooklin, is an area just a stone’s throw from São Paulo’s Wall Street (Paulista Avenue) is being celebrated for its rise among the ranks of São Paulo’s best neighborhoods to experience South American culture and it’s food.
If you are here on Sunday you’re in luck if you are visiting Sampa than that means one thing Pizza. You should never leave this city without trying your closest pizza palace. São Paulo has become home to over five million folks from Italy and, they brought their food heritage – that has delivered to the tune of more than 5000 pizzerias, strewn across this mega-metropolis of 15 million South Americans. This city’s favorite is a New York City stylized restaurant called Braz. When you go, bring a heavy wallet and the empty stomach because São Paulo’s best will tempt your tastebuds with the revelation that Brazil is a damn good place to find a (Brazilian) wood-fire pizza.
Sampa’s incessant compulsion for eclectic fare is reinforced with the pervading din of Brazil’s most significant Foodies. This single-minded contagious energy, that invigorates these frenzied metropolitan denizens, seemingly always has these perpetually tanned, wide-eyed smiles that always great you with an never-ending thumbs-up signs by everyone you stumble across.
Brazil’s Table… it is a harmony of diversity
Brazil is a country that is unified by its indulging yet, it is regionally divided by the deficiency of the practice. It is if you deliberate the contradictions in food heritage; culture, accolades and antipathies of the people who live in Iowa to those who live in Florida. This dissimilar display of fluctuating regional preferences at times share our American dining habits, yet a pattern in Brazil illustrates a harmony that is a diverse as it is similar. How can a culture be so diverse and at the same time similar? Food brings the well-off and deprived together in common ways! Rice, beans, coffee and cakelink all Brazilians as they sit down to a meal.
If you are traveling in Brazil on a weekend, you will have to try the nationalized recipe called; feijoada – that can be found on any weekend dinner table and, seemingly has to be overindulged in to taste the heritage of Brazil, is the classic Brazilian recipe of black beanstew brimming with every part of a pigand is as much as part of the National Brazilian past time, as it is a daily fiscal necessity for the Brazilian populace.
Bolo:Brazilians love cake, which they call Bolo. In fact, it is one food that can be eaten at any time of the day. It is available at restaurants, corner shops, street vendors, gas stations, road stop intersections and generally any place that sells food. Bolo is often made with corn flour (like polenta) instead of wheat flour and is sometimes made with a combination of the two, giving it a different texture than what you expect in the USA.
Brazil has always been recognized as being the world’s best source of great coffee. It is part of the Brazilian culture andyou should neverrefuse a cup of coffee when one is offered to you at a restaurant or, by a new S.A. friend. So, downplay your state of consciousness and simply enjoy the rich roasted flavors of the humble coffee bean.
Shopping in the Centro Market in São Paulo – is where we started our Pop-Up restaurant mission.
Located in São Paulo’s Centro district, our culinary journey starts with more than just a starling acknowledgement that this is a city the screams FOOD! São Paulo’s Marketplace is where we start our culinary excursion…..
São Paulo’s #96hoursinbrazil
Get here early – before 12 PM.
The place is almost empty after 4 pm and a lot of the vendors move their products out of the confines of the walled marketplace and set it out onto the surrounding streets for sale during the rest of the evening.
Once we completed our hunting and gathering for our pop-up restaurant event, we jumped in the SUV and headed out of the city. Depending on the time of day, it might take you as much time getting out of downtown at rush hour as it would crossing the entire state of São Paulo’s in the middle of the night. So my hint for you is to grab some pizza or, fuel up at a Churrascaria, before gassing up and starting off.
Itajuba, Brazil;a place that speaks to what it is like to live all of your life in the same village you grew up in.
Finding your way to this provincial town might be one that was a happy mistake by any adventurous Brazilian trekker. There are copious explanations yet unseen that will make you happy you found this animated village among the Minas Gerais highlands.
Itajuba, Brazil is about half way between Rio De Janeiro and São Paulo’s on the north side of the Serra da Mantiqueira mountain range – that runs between the capital of Brazil and Brazil’s quasi capital (Rio). It is also the intersection of the other two cities that I came to love; Campos Do Jordao (the city that Switzerland lost during the continent drift) and Sao Lourenco (the water city) both are equally separated by Itajuba yet; seem similar because of the city’s welcoming residents.
Why we are here today…
Miami Nights is the pop-up restaurant that was the brain child of Chef Ricardo Passarelli, the owner of Itajuba’s 170 Bistro. Chef Passarelli wanted to make his restaurant the “Zero Point” for culinary awakenings in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. He decided that the menu had to reflect love of the city chef Passarelli once called home – Miami, Florida.
Chef Michael brought to the Chef Passarelli’s Bistro 170 recipes that were conceived by mingling ideas from two of his four cookbooks. The Miami Nights menu was highlighted by the fact that some of the food enjoyed would never have been seen in Itajuba without Chef Michael Bennett packing them up in his suitcase and bringing them with him from Miami. It was not a specific ingredient that made this culinary expo unique, it was the cookery techniques and artistic food pairings that made taste-buds stand up and take notice.
The meal started with two choices of appetizers, continued with three entrees picks and finished with two options in dessert. A Miami favorite, an appetizer of Mahi Mahi ceviche was at times the most popular of the night. This recipe was paired with one of Chef Michael favorite recipe side dishes; baby greens en vase. This is where Chef Michael places baby greens – that are rolled into a bouquet (like a bouquet of wild flowers) – and squeezes them into a vase cut from a cucumber.
The second appetizer selection was one of Chef Michael’s favorite cookbook recipes called Lucky 13 curry spiced shrimp. A sugarcane stalk is cut down to form a skewer and the shrimp is threaded onto this skewer. This sugarcane is not only the implement use to eat the shrimp with but it also becomes a taste altering, marinating and moisturizing maneuver to safeguard the texture of the shrimp while grilling. Because of the fragrant and honeyed flavor of the sugarcane shrimp, Chef Michael needed to place this atop an approachable taste-variance counterpoint of Kimchee made with green (under-ripe) papaya that he learned about in the Caribbean while living there (circa 2006-2009).
Entrees were a South Florida milieu consisting of a certified Angus NY strip steak, with an extraordinary three-day sprouted mustard seed~Robert (row-bair) sauce and Angry pommery-balsamic, pan-roasted potatoes.
Another of Chef Michael Bennett’s favorite cookbook recipes that became a bombshell best seller on the third night of this culinary exposition was a Caribbean sweet spiced Mahi Mahi with a Caribbean avocado and Italian scampi salad. Last but not least was the apogee of a true South Florida and Caribbean cookery ideal; Brazilian espresso marinated, grilled pork loin and lobster-saffron (Miami-style) Paella risotto made with an infusion of locally produced in the city just a stone’s throw away from Itajuba; Mascarpone cheese.
Citrus is extremely important in this area of Brazil as is cheese so to highlight this, Chef Michael Bennett paired his recipes to reflect the locally available foods for Itajuba’s first culinary expo. The aftermath of all this was the dinner’s finishing touches of Chef Michael’s Saint Maarten, FIVE-liquor Tiramisu made with local Brazilian espresso and locally produced Mascarpone cheese.
The second dessert choice of a Brazilian chocolate and cardamom seed ganached base of a passionfruit – that is always extremely popular in Brazil – Tart; with a cardamom-ricotta cheese (also a locally produced cheese) Mousse dressed with a caramelized citrus sauce was a fitter selection proving Chef Michael use of localized ingredient theory.
The dinner was of course topped off with a multiple red and white Chilean wine selections.
An Afternoon in another Country or, it just seems that way….
Campos do Jordao; the city that Switzerland lost during the last continental shift.
This is a city that if you did not drive here yourself, you would believe that you were secretly discarded in Switzerland by alien abductors.
Traveling a little more than an hour from our Itajuba gastronomic haven we ventured out early in the afternoon to Campos Do Jordao and toured the city’s mountainous (elevation: 6,000 feet) neighborhoods and after we crossed the city’s gates anyone can tell that this city was going to be very different.
This city is known to be Brazil’s fashionable Swiss hot chocolate and fondue capital.
This is a place that in the wintertime (June and July –where the population quadruples) is filled with Brazilians fleeing the warm climes of equatorial Brazil to feel as though they absconded the South American continent to vacation in Switzerland’s Alps. This town is purely a vacationer’s paradise. Even in the Brazilian summer, the nights are chilly at this altitude. The town is filled with gift stores, restaurants, bars and seems to be the only reason that people are on the streets, rambling between one watering hole to another. Some people actually use the city’s antique commuter train to do this like a metro trolley.
Sao Lourenco (the Water City) and the Hotel Brasil
This city is the ultimate spring (September to October) afternoon city. A trip to Brazil’s water city can’t be complete without touring it greatest asset – the Water Park.
The park is a walking tour of nine different tastings of naturally occurring springs. All have of the water stations have different tasting water because of the changing mineral content of each spring. To me it was just amazing to see an adjoining park district separated by little more than a few hundred yards yet, the taste from the wells were completely dissimilar.
Description for the naturally sparkling water spring.
Each spring has different medicinal purposes.
Opposite the park (Parque das Águas) district of São Lourenço; in the city center is a tradition in São Lourenço, Brazil – the Hotel Brasil.
An afternoon at the park will lead to a family in need of replenishment. Directly in front of the Water Park is the Hotel Brasil (com – Certificate of Excellence 2014). Since the founding of this area and the discovery of the healthful spring water, the Hotel Brasil has been there.
The hotel stands out for its gentle care. This has been the branding the hotel exemplifies since the end of WW1.
He who evaluates this hotel can not lose sight that Hotel Brasilhas a full life story and during its existence it has been home to media and social personalities to Presidents of Brazil. Charming and this hotel today still keeps the glamour of the 1920’s DECO era despite several generational renovations and expansions.
The building is antiquated and flows with (the) DECO style of Rio de Janeiro and South Beach of the 1920’s and 30’s
The ambiance is kick started with the ageless marble that surrounds you like a luxurious frock, in every sector of the hotel. Timeless flooring instigates your eyes to notice to original artisan-crafted windows and doors.
Don’t want to compare Hotel Brasil network hotels like; Holiday Inn, Hilton or Marriott. The hotel stands out for his gentle care and this branding is what the hotel exemplifies. It is a place that provides good moments of peace, beautiful photos with friends or family.
Since 1917 this family has been keeping the doors of Hotel Brasil open for road warriors and the summertime family vacationer. This will be the hotel you’ll want to come back to year after the year cared for by the same waiters that have been there for over 30 years. Reserve a stay on the south side of the hotel… to get views of the water park and its lake. The north side of the hotel has views of the city.
Recipe example from #96hoursinBrazil
96 hours in Brazil salad
Like so any other things in this book, this recipe is as twisted in its conception, carry through as it is as diverse as the ingredients that are in the recipe itself.
My edification in the Culinary Arts led me to explore South America and the Brazilian cookery culture. I have found the cookery culture of northern Brazil’s traditions and recipes are akin to the Caribbean cookery heritage because these states were originally made up of peoples escaping Caribbean slavery. Mango, pineapple and dozens of comparable fruits and vegetables in the Brazilian pantry are the same as the Caribbean’s pantry.
Many parts of Brazil have a residential heritage of people from the Mediterranean and Middle East. This is why I have included traveling to Brazil in my research for recipes in this book. Sao Paulo, the financial capital of Brazil, has over 15 million people and 5,000 eateries with Mediterranean cookery heritages.
Cheese and dairy is a large part of the culinary culture of the centric states in Brazil. There are more dairy cattle in States like Minas Gerais than in any other part of Brazil. The addition to cheese to any meal in Brazil is as common as adding salt and pepper to your steak. I have based this recipe in a slightly different form to represent the Mediterranean experienced in this Brazilian recipe.
1 each Romaine lettuce, heart only, chiffonade finely
½ cup Kale, shred into a razor-fine chiffonade, see note
6 logs Hearts of palm
2 each Bell pepper, red, roasted, cut into chunks
2 each Mangos, diced
1 cup Pineapple, sliced thin into 2”x1/2” pieces, caramelize, see directions
1 each Shallot, fine chopped
2 stalks Scallions, sliced finely, on the bias
1 cup Labneh, yogurt cheese, buy in gourmet market or, see note 2
As needed Pecans, see sub-recipe
As needed Microgreens, assorted
As needed Grape-cherry Tomatoes, halved
Sub-recipe: candied nuts:
1 cup Pecans, halved and pieces (you can substitute walnuts)
1/3 cup Sugar
2 Tbs. Water
½ tsp. Vanilla
Sub-recipe: the Dressing:
4 each Passion fruit pulp, Brazilian P.F. is much sweeter than in USA
1 Tbs. Lime juice
1 Tbs. Mirin, sweetened Rice wine
2 Tbs. Shallots, diced
2 Tbs. Honey (if using P.F. pulp from the USA)
½ cup EVO
Wash and dry lettuce, and cut into thin ribbons. Place in bowl. Save to the side. When the other parts of the recipe (main recipe) are accomplished toss together in the bowl and then scoop up all the ingredients and place into a 2 inch stacking tube with a 2 ½ inch diameter. Place an appropriate sized bottle (ketchup bottle) over the top and with a light pushing motion slide the stacking tub up the bottle while removing the salad contents into a stack in the center of the plate.
Drizzle the plate with dressing and garnish the plate with Microgreens and halved cherry tomatoes.
Prepare candied nuts: Place sugar, water, and salt in small saucepan and bring to a boil on medium heat. Add the nuts and cook, stirring constantly. As the water evaporates, the sugar will turn granular in appearance. Keep stirring until sugar starts to melt and caramelize. Once the sugar has melted and you can see a light brown caramel color forming on the bottom of the pan. Stir in the vanilla and pick out the nuts onto a piece of parchment paper to let cool. Add to main recipe.
To caramelize the pineapple; quickly dip the pineapple pieces in the same liquid and remove after one minute. Place on parchment and let cool as well. Add to main recipe. Prepare the dressing: Place passion fruit and the rest of the ingredients (except oil) in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Add the oil is slowly to incorporate fully. Check for seasoning and place in a container that can be used to easily apply the dressing to the plate. I use a squirt bottle. Follow directions above. NOTES:
In Brazil I found that in all the Farmers markets where I visited, street hawkers and little old ladies behind the shamble they called a booth, there were small bags of shaved greens. The greens were shavings of Kale. A great green for garnishing plates, salads and it could be used to bolster the vitamin content of any main dish by quick sautéing and placing aside an entrée.
In this recipe, I am going to use it as a thickening Hay in the recipe, like the Egyptians used hay in the mud mortar blocks to build the Pyramids.
Labneh, yogurt cheese is made by taking 1 ½ times as much yogurt for the amount of cheese that the recipe calls for, and add a couple pinches of salt, stir it in and place in a cheesecloth. Gather up the ends of the cheesecloth and tie into a hanging bundle. Place in your refrigerator with a shallow pan underneath the bundle to catch the moisture that escapes.
Tip: Tie the cheesecloth with twine and hang the cheesecloth from the rack/shelf with the twine, to increase Gravity’s pull on the cheese thus increasing the rate and the amount of liquid oozing out from the yogurt.
Miami, SOUTH BEACH, Fla.–(The Professional Image, Inc.)—Chef Michael Bennett has wined and dined across the Caribbean in gourmet restaurants and hotels stationed on unique tropical destinations around the world to gather recipes for his latest cookbooks.
Today, Bennett maintains a remarkable 50-pound weight loss while continuing to enjoy the absolute best in exotic tropical recipes, coupled with an active lifestyle.
“Gourmet, Gluten Free and Healthy are no longer mutually exclusive,” said Chef Michael Bennett. “I use only the finest, freshest tropical ingredients I can find to create some of the healthiest Gluten Free gourmet recipes comparable to five-star resort menu offered in the best Caribbean restaurants.”
Chef Bennett believes that you should never have to sacrifice quality, taste, enjoyment, or satisfaction when attempting to lose 10, 50 or even 150 pounds.
Chef Bennett’s vision is simple: you deserve the best and you, too, can enjoy gourmet foods and lose and maintain a healthy weight – complimented by regular exercise. Chef Michael features delicious and healthy gourmet gluten free recipes that he developed from seven of the Caribbean’s top resort locales. His recipes have namesakes like: Antillean (Haiti-French) and Dominican (Spanish), St. Barts, Martinique (French), Blue Mountain (Jamaica-English), Belize (Central American) and St. Croix (an Island governed by 7 different countries).
Chef Bennett’s inaugural signature use of these restaurant proven recipes was at Bimini Boatyard in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and, his three generations of menu (circa 2009-2012) exemplified authentic, healthy gluten free tropical fare. After returning from his four year journey across the Caribbean, Chef Michael Bennett used only the finest and locally available quality ingredients that reflected his recipe pursuit in the Caribbean. Chef Michael first embarked offering a lighter fare for patrons who expect the best – outstanding taste and exquisite presentation – using All-Natural Seafood. His dishes soon featured gluten free as the predominate footing in future seasonal menus that eventually evolved into an entirely separate bill of fare for the restaurant.
Bennett’s recipe development namesake unify into two cookbooks: All-Natural SURF Cuisine; May, 2014 and a Gluten Free FLAVOR QUEST; July, 2014 that are being published by The Professional Image, Inc. Bennett debuts these published recipe memoirs as part of a series of healthy gourmet tropical cookbooks. Bennett intends to launch another healthy gourmet recipe cookbook later this summer earmarked “Interview with a Mango”. His groundwork and signature recipe assertion will introduce a fresh audience of Mango devotees to healthy gluten free mango recipes.
All-Natural SURF CUISINE (ISBN: 9781495105982) features 160 page, 100 plus Gluten free Seafood recipes and 40 + Full color pictures are as vigorously innovative in the use of fresh seafood as they are ceaseless examples of a beneficial diet strategy.
A Gluten Free FLAVOR Quest (ISBN: 9781495117619) features 170 page, 125 plus gluten free recipes with over 50 Full color pictures that include pantry busting chapters in spice and marinade combinations, salads, and one just on sauces – that will astonish – paired with any food you would normally serve for dinner in your home tonight.
BEGINNING OF A CAREER:
From the time when chef Michael Bennett directed South Beach’s Epicure Gourmet Market’s healthy Spa-Cuisine menu expansion (circa, 1989-95), he has always wanted to revisit the console of utilization only the best locally-harvested ingredients to procreate superlative healthy All Natural, Gluten Free, Seafood-based Cookbook. In the past two years Chef Michael Bennett has been concentrating on developing and extending his solidarity of “All-Natural” and “Gluten Free” cookery with his culinary consultancies in America and in the Caribbean.
This commenced stemming from a family history where Chef Michael Bennett’s father suffered from massive heart problems. Thirty years ago his family decided to get away from beef-related dinner table but the choices in the 1970’s were limited to chicken, turkey or frozen seafood from the north. Air transportation wasn’t as advanced as today so the only seafood they ever had on the dinner table was what they caught themselves. This is how Chef Michael fostered his love and matured his knowledge of Tropical seafood.
CHEF Michael Bennett – SUBSTANTIVE:
Michael Bennett is a well-known award winning (Chef of the Year-1995) South Florida chef whose customers have been the Who’s Who of Media and Sports personalities. He earned critical culinary kudos as the Executive chef for the 26 year-local culinary force Left Bank restaurant. Under his auspices he brought “Best of” (Zagat Survey), Four Stars (AAA) and Four Diamonds (Mobil) to the long-standing three star rating. He also holds culinary affiliations with several culinary and food-related organizations. He regularly lectures on Gluten Free and Natural “Caribb-ican” cuisine.
Chef and Author Michael Bennett, an acclaimed South Florida chef has made a name for himself by mixing culinary traditions from diverse parts of the World.
Press Only: Rebba Pusckor
The Professional Image, Inc.
Summer cookbooks are fanciful creatures — high on whimsy and shamelessly devoted to making a good life better. For some that means lingering in the farmers markets or gardening with the kids. For others it’s indulging in some usually forbidden pleasures —the icy sweet, the charred and fishy. And for some, it means crossing oceans to sample less familiar fare — without ever leaving the porch. There’s something for everyone, but all go just fine with bare toes and a sun hat.
The Quick-Fix Way to Turn Everyday Food into Exceptional Fare, With 400 Recipes
by Lucy Vaserfirer
Paperback, 320 pages
Ah, the glow of the charcoal! the ring of the tongs! The romance of grilling may center around a Weber kettle, but some of its most powerful secrets lie in a zip-top bag. Marinades offers page after page of simple, devastatingly effective baths — and just in case you’re not so sure what to do with your Madeira-Thyme Marinade once you’ve got it — afterward points you in the direction of some nice veal rib chops or other appropriate cuts. Lucy Vaserfirer knows that for all the fire and flair at the end, the success of a grilling adventure often starts hours before, with the silent, humble art of wet baths and dry rubs. Chops and medallions, steaks and kebabs — there’s hardly a cut of protein that doesn’t benefit from a good long soak in an emphatically-seasoned liquid. Five minutes of forethought while you’re cleaning up from lunch is all it takes. After that, deliciousness is in the bag. Meanwhile, you can go for a bit of a soak yourself.
All Natural SURF Cuisine
A Study in Seafood Cookery
by Michael Bennett
Paperback, 186 pages
You will love how the Chef’s narratives are paired up with the recipes. It was like reading a recipe guide and journal from this chef on his journey through cooking seafood. You will also like the idea that the book is broken up into segments like; spices, salads, sauces and entrees. So, besides having 100 or more recipes squeezed into 188 pages, you actually get a multiple of at least 3 times that much if you interchange the sub-recipes into the entree section. This book is of course featuring healthy cooking of Seafood. Since it is a tropical seafood natural cooking cookbook you expect that but, it is also a GLUTEN FREE cookbook. The chef explains that the recipes are mostly grilled so the need for adding wheat flour is not needed. Chef Michael Bennett goes out of his way to create sauces that are as healthy as they are exotic – to pair with the grilled seafood. Once you investigate the recipes you’ll see that this book might be your favorite cookbook for your weekend family dinners.
The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook
100 Delicious Heritage Recipes from the Farm and Garden
by Brent Ridge, Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Sandy Gluck
Hardcover, 275 pages
The “lifestyle company” Beekman 1802 celebrates the better bits of farm life (fresh eggs and rustic antiques, not manure spreaders and drought). This third Beekman cookbook outing is suffused with nostalgic, agrarian spirit, from its seed-packet endpapers to its fluted-china still lifes. Even if you can’t be bothered to jot down “Fall Recipes From Your Family” into the quaintly lined journal pages provided, the recipes here go a step beyond your average vegetable ode and are worth exploring: green beans with frizzled scallions and ginger, butternut squash crostini with raisins and brown butter. It’s not vegetarian and heirloom vegetables are not actually required — for Beekman 1802 is all about the joys of the harvest, minus the backache from weeding and the gritty fingernails. To be used in a spirit of indolence.
Vegetarian for a New Generation
Seasonal Vegetable Dishes for Vegetarians, Vegans, and the Rest of Us
by Liana Krissoff
Paperback, 272 pages
This third offering in Krissoff’s “New Generation” series may look just like any other vegetable book, but don’t be fooled! Once you get past the bland title and tiny print, there are some surprising, wickedly effective flavor combinations just waiting to be discovered. Brussels sprouts waltz through a tamarind-ginger dressing; a tamari-butter glaze clings to potato wedges. Even the kale chip, which everyone agrees has overstayed its welcome, gets an alluring makeover in coconut. Not every recipe shines with newness — there are fine old friends like miso eggplant and butternut squash soup — but Kassoff never lets comfort devolve into boredom.
The Better Bean Cookbook
More than 160 Modern Recipes for Beans, Chickpeas, and Lentils to Tempt Meat-eaters and Vegetarians Alike
by Jenny Chandler
Hardcover, 272 pages
Protein-filled, healthy beans — everybody wants to love them, but why do they make it so difficult? Even perfectly cooked beans can exhaust your appetite long before you get to the bottom of the bowl, for the blandness of a bean calls for aggressive seasoning to blast open its beige palette. Here at last is a bean book that’s more tempting than earnest, brimming with cosmopolitan flavors and vivid photography. Forget about your hippie-era three-bean dip and boiled lentils — in these pages, dosas and tagines, falafels and burritos rub shoulders. Some are generously herbed, some are richly spiced, but all deliver novelistic detail on the plate compared to the leguminous one-liners of years past. The right-minded should be warned that this is no vegan — or even vegetarian — compendium. Decadent beanery is afoot in these pages; proceed accordingly.
Simple Thai Food
Classic Recipes from the Thai Home Kitchen
by Leela Punyaratabandhu
Hardcover, 227 pages
I have generally found “Quick,” “Easy,” and “Simple” to be disingenuous labels when it comes to Thai cookbooks. They might be actually easy, but then they’re likely more Chinese than Thai. Or they’re not actually easy at all — just easy compared to the hours you’d spend pounding spice pastes in the old country, with no electricity or running water. But Punyaratabandhu seems to pull it off, coming up with recipes that are weeknight-doable yet electric with ingredients you can just about find if you try hard (dried shrimp, kaffir lime leaf, palm sugar). Shortcuts or not, they’re desperately delicious. And as to those curry pastes? Store-bought is fine, according to the author. But diehard readers will still find complete recipes for each in the back of the book. In other words, you can have it both ways.
We get dozens of cookbooks each week at SAVEUR magzine, and every month we share our favorite new releases—books that, through one avenue of greatness or another, have earned a place on our over-stuffed shelves. This time, those books that piqued our interest came from all over the world—the Middle East, Myanmar, Paris, the American South—and covered a variety of recipes, from Gluten Free cooking to Palestinian mezze.
OLIVES, LEMONS & ZA’ATAR: THE BEST MIDDLE EASTERN HOME COOKING
by Rawia Bishara
I have long been a fan of Tanoreen, Rawia Bishara’s Palestinian restaurant tucked away in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, where her inventive mezze, like fried Brussels sprouts drizzled with fresh tahini and pomegranate seeds and eggplant napoleons slathered in babaganoush cream, make the forty-five minute trek from Manhattan well worthwhile. So, I was thrilled when I finally got my hands on her cookbook, and the secrets behind the delectable dishes I’d eaten at her restaurant. The recipes for my favorites turned out to be shockingly easy, 5-ingredient affairs, and as I flipped through the pages of mouthwatering photographs and lovely asides about local culinary folklore and her own food memories, I also discovered simplified recipes for many Palestinian classics. For example, her recipe for Musakhan, a complicated festival dish of sumac-rubbed roast chicken served on rounds of fresh-baked taboon bread, is transformed from weekend project to weeknight meal with a simple pizza-like flatbread recipe and smart substitutions like quick sautéed boneless chicken breast. Bishara’s modern, approachable take on classic Palestinian food makes Olives, Lemons, & Za’atar a book I’m glad to have on my shelf as a source for doable, exciting dishes and tried and true favorites that I will be reaching for again and again. —Felicia Campbell
Available February 13 from Kyle Books; $29.95.
IN THE LAND OF MISFITS, PIRATES AND COOKS
by Chef Michael Bennett
It is akin to cooking and eating with a conscience. Chef Michael Bennett carefully weaves the art of cooking with the science of achieving a healthy body and sane mind. He introduced to his readers an approach in eating that has been inspired by the wisdom of the ages.
As a person who has been making the transition toward a more natural diet, I was naturally drawn to this book. Overall, I would say that it was a helpful book at inspiring readers to eat healthier. I liked the personal introduction that discussed the author’s motivation for writing the book as well. It set the tone of a book as a regular guy who has learned things about Caribbean tropically-inspired healthy cooking while discussing what it is like to travel and work throughout the Caribbean. After reading so many books from “experts”, this was a nice little break. All the Gluten Free recipes like —spiced pecans, crab beignets, silky onion dip, and my favorite, bacon and Parmesan gougères—transformed my kitchen table into a fruit laden maple Butcher’s block sideboard.
The book is just as interesting reading as it is interacting. The author has published this book with interactive QR code links that connect your directly to the Internet’s database of cookery terms and grocery websites where you can find the more rare food novelties.
This book will take you on a 1000 mile journey across the Caribbean in an innovative technological and healthy way.— FoodBrats.com
Available from FoodBrats.com; $35.95
DOWN SOUTH: BOURBON, PORK, GULF SHRIMP & SECOND HELPINGS OF EVERYTHING
by Donald Link and Paula Disbrowe
I grew up in the South, and on cold, blustery days in New York, I long for it. The Gulf Coast holds particular charms for me, and whenever I go to New Orleans a visit to one of Donald Link’s restaurants is a must. So when Link’s latest cookbook, Down South, arrived, I grabbed it off the shelf and headed to the liquor store, inviting a few friends over along the way. Oftentimes, cocktails are relegated to the back of cookbooks, ancillary to the “real” stars of the show. In Down South, however, cocktails proudly set the stage for all of the deliciousness to come. Meyer lemon French 75s were my favorite, but the punch from the famous Flora-Bama bar (whose wallop I have felt on a few youthful road trips down the coast) was the crowd pleaser at my house. Following the initial cocktail section of the book, Link takes you inside an “old-school Southern cocktail party” with dishes—spiced pecans, crab beignets, silky onion dip, and my favorite, bacon and Parmesan gougères—that transformed my Brooklyn kitchen table into a groaning Southern sideboard. The rest of the book is just as inviting, and Link’s enthusiasm for the region is palpable. Cooking from this book took me a thousand miles down south and out of the northeastern cold. —Kaylee Hammonds
Available February 25 from Clarkson Potter; $24.63
UNDER THE SHADE OF OLIVE TREES: RECIPES FROM JERUSALEM TO MARRAKECH AND BEYOND
by Nadia Zerouali & Merijn Tol
This playful romp through Arabia comes from the hosts of a Middle Eastern cooking program in the Netherlands who, through their travels, have come to see the area that stretches from the Mediterranean and North Africa to Iran, as a multicultural tapestry united by an ancient culinary history. In their latest book, Under the Shade of Olive Trees, they incorporate historic dishes such as Iraqimadfuna—a ground lamb-stuffed eggplant dish spiked with rose water that was popular in the Middle Ages—with easy, contemporary riffs on Middle Eastern cuisine, including their two-ingredient tahini-halva ice cream. Informative sidebars provide short histories of ingredients such as sumac and argan oil, along with tips on incorporating them into all manner of cooking. Nadia and Merijn’s inventive energy comes through in recipes like a modified Arabic flatbread, which uses an upside-down wok in place of the traditional rounded metal griddles used by street vendors in Lebanon. They have even included a special section in the back of the book where friends like Kamal Mouzawak, the founder of the first organic market in Lebanon, and Ingmar Neizen, an expert on African cuisine, share their favorite recipes. Though many of the recipes are basic, this book is full of surprises, my favorite of which was Niezen’s Sudanese falafel, a spicy, sesame encrusted version of the ubiquitous Middle Eastern snack served, in her version, with a tart-hot African peanut sauce. This cookbook offers a modern, innovative perspective on an amazing culinary region.—Felicia Campbell
Available March 18 from Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $31.50
LA MERE BRAZIER: THE MOTHER OF MODERN FRENCH COOKING
by Eugenie Brazier
Simple French fare is my preferred comfort food: an omelet with salad, a slice of pâté, perfectly-executed moules marinières—for me, these simple bites can transform a drab day into something else entirely. My collection of French cookery books has swallowed my bookshelf to the degree that I’ve had to enforce an “only if it’s extraordinary” rule on my purchases, but La Mère Brazier: The Mother of Modern French Cooking is just that. Available in English for the first time this month, La Mère Brazier brings the life, voice, and recipes of an iconic French chef to an Anglophone audience at long last. Paul Bocuse, who apprenticed in Brazier’s kitchen, wrote the highly respectful and nostalgic forward to this book. Care has been taken to retain the historical accuracy of the recipes while making them accessible to modern home cooks. And the stories of Brazier’s rise from farm-hand to fêted, decorated chef—she was the first woman to receive six Michelin stars—is told with such charm and simplicity, and with such emphasis on the humble roots of much of her food, that I could not help but hear her voice as I stood in my kitchen recently, whipping up a batch of her Parisian gnocchi, feeling grateful that there was room on my shelf for at least one more book. —Kaylee Hammonds
Available March 25 from Rizzoli, $24.92
YUCATÁN: RECIPES FROM A CULINARY EXPEDITION
by David Sterling
Before I picked up this book, I knew little about the Yucatán, apart from what I had read in the story The Queen of Yucatán from our Mexico issue. With that meager knowledge in mind, I approached David Sterling’s tome not without apprehension. The book runs through all the sub-regions of the Yucatán, almost a food-driven road trip in text. And beyond Sterling’s encyclopedic and meticulously-researched knowledge of Yucatecan food, his love for and connection to the region and its fare are evident on every page; it is rare to find such humble passion and vigor in a volume that is so comprehensive and informational. The photographs capture scenes from the streets, food stalls, and home kitchens, as well as landscapes from the region. Nothing feels staged; the images of the recipes are mouth-watering, yet homey, imperfect, and entirely in tune with the rest of the book.
The recipes, too, are surprisingly accessible. On a snowy night in New York City, I set out to make Ajiaca, a deeply garlicky stew with a strong orange color. After roasting six heads of garlic and squeezing out the slightly sweet, liquified cloves, I started adding vegetables to a stock pot. By the end of a long stew, large hunks of pork tore apart under the tines of my fork. An entire diced potato had disintegrated into the stew, giving it a comforting thickness and satisfying texture. I spooned out bowls of pork and vegetables, topped them with the orange broth, and finished with plantains I had twice fried into tostones, putting together a bowl of the Yucatán. I couldn’t imagine eating anything better on a cold winter night. —Oliver Erteman
Available March 30 from University of Texas Press, $40.65
LODGE CAST IRON NATION: GREAT AMERICAN COOKING FROM COAST TO COAST
By The Lodge Company
It was my mother-in-law—an exemplary cook—who gifted me with a Lodge cast iron skillet when I was just a newlywed. That was a decade ago, and it’s since been U-Hauled across the country and moved in and out of countless New York City apartments. But no matter how tiny the stove (and there have been some Easy Bake Oven-style varieties in past kitchens), I always find a home for my trusty skillet on the back left burner. In Cast Iron Nation, Lodge celebrates the deep ties Americans have to this well-seasoned cookware, with recipes that span the nation. A few classics make an appearance: center-cut, bone-in pork chops that become sweet with a quick sear; a buttermilk-brined fried chicken; and a handful of trusty cornbreads, cooked in the vessel that gives the requisite cracking crust. But there are plenty of rather sophisticated recipes represented here, too, and I fell hard for the squash bisque with mascarpone and apple-cheese crostini. I could never have imagined making soup in my skillet, yet the flavors roast and melt down to a wintery perfection. The North Carolina clam chowder, a warm-your-belly kind of dish, ditches the thick base, and allows plump clams to steal the thunder. Since I’ve found this cookbook, now thoroughly dog-eared, it seems that my beloved skillet has made its way to the front burner on a near-daily basis. —Anne Roderique-Jones
Available March 18 from Oxmoor House, $25
Buy Lodge Cast Iron Nation: Great American Cooking from Coast to Coast
SLICES OF LIFE: A FOOD WRITER COOKS THROUGH MANY A CONUNDRUM
by Leah Eskin
For charm, you can’t beat Leah Eskin’s memoir and cookbook, Slices of Life (Running Press, 2014). The long-time SAVEUR contributor and Chicago Tribune columnist brings an irreverent humor, cool precision, and gustatory gusto to her accounts of American family life. Each small, resonant moment is occasion to cook something delicious: a child’s obsession with dinosaurs leads to batches of stegosaurus-shaped pumpkin muffins; an audiophile husband’s grudging surrender of the aubergine-colored mega-speakers that hogged the living room inspires a bout of eggplant cookery; a sulking pre-teen gets Mom’s love in the form of an Asian chicken salad. So much domesticity necessarily inspires nostalgia, but Eskin is such a versatile cook that such reveries offer pithy surprises: college memories come attached to a recipe for lobster rolls; tax day merits its own dessert, an almond and popcorn brittle. Readers with a more categorical sensibility might be disconcerted by Eskin’s haphazard organization—ice cream recipes up against a granola recipe up against a tarragon chicken recipe—but the book simply mirrors life, which is brimming with episodes either happy or sad but always punctuated by a meal. —Betsy Andrews