Thursday, October 11, 2012 / 11:54 AM
Aside from a properly used apostrophe to indicate the plural possessive, there is much else to recommend about the new St. Louis Chefs’ Recipes cookbook brought to you by us.
You might want to take cover, because here comes a bullet-point list:
• The book numbers 168 pages with 173 recipes by 81 area chefs and mixologists. Which chefs, you ask? There’s a complete list here, but uhmahgawd, it’s a fantasy draft done right. We've even sprinkled in a few recipes from notable chefs in Kansas City and Springfield.
• The cookbook has purposely been assembled with recipes that are not terribly complex. We’re keeping it simple.
• In fact, check out extra-simple dishes like caramelized Scallops by Tony Almond of Almond’s; Truffle-Butter Popcorn by Marc Felix; and Oranges Macerated in Cognac and Honey by Tim Brennan of Cravings.
• It offers hearty, stick-to-your-ribs fare for the coming chill, like Shrimp, Missouri Country Ham, and Heirloom Grits with Cheddar (at right) by Bill Cardwell of Cardwell's at the Plaza and BC's Kitchen; and Pork-Rib Ragu by Vito Racanelli of Mad Tomato.
• Consider casual but creative dishes like Pork-Shoulder Burgers by Anthony Devoti of Five Bistro; Vegetable Puffs made with squash and puff pastry by Wes Johnson; and the unabashedly lowbrow Tater Tot Casserole by Justin Haifley of The Tavern Kitchen & Bar.
• Look for fun, unusual dishes like the Vermont Chocolate Potato Cake by Cardwell; a chilled Brussels Sprouts and Caramelized Onion Salad by Wes Johnson; a curried Bombay Panini by Steven Becker of Nadoz Euro Bakery & Café; and Dr. Pepper Short Ribs by Mike Jalili of Springfield’s Touch restaurant.
• Hello, bacon cultists. The collection includes bacon-centric delights like Bacon Jam by Haifley; and the outrageous Stilton Ice Cream with Black Truffle Honey and Fried Salt-Cured Bacon by Devoti.
• Other indulgences include the ridiculously-easy-to-make Lemon Ricotta Pancakes by Cassy Vires of Home Wine Kitchen (prepared here last Monday on FOX2); the “BrieLT” by David Kirkland of Café Osage; and the obscenely delicious and multi-award-winning Warmed Brioche Bread Pudding with Bourbon-Currant Sauce and Vanilla Whipped Cream by Nick Miller of Harvest.
• There’s a nice little sub-section on clever condiments, like Golden Tomato Horseradish Granita by Rex Hale of Three-Sixty; and Golden Raisin Mostarda by John Griffiths.
• And a drinks section with cocktails like the Kentucky Jewel, with bourbon, pineapple juice, simple syrup, bitters, sparkling wine, and mint leaves, concocted by Ted Kilgore of Taste.
• Mini-interviews with chefs keep it fun. You’ll learn, for instance, that Rich LoRusso's (at left) favorite five-ingredient dish is lasagna, and Josh Galliano goes gaga for the whole fried catfish at the Eagle’s Nest restaurant in Addieville, Ill.
• If Greg Rannells' cover photo of the Top of the Hill Farm Blackberry Crisp (from Lou Rook III of Annie Gunn’s) dripping with melting vanilla ice cream doesn’t make you salivate, you must be dead.
• The book doubles as a snapshot of the current StL restaurant scene. No matter how much we adore our favorite restaurants, they can’t all stay open forever (except the Bevo Mill, of course). Someday, the book will serve as a nostalgic time-trip. We will lounge in our easy chairs, crack open this cookbook, chuckle, scratch our itchy parts, and hearken back to the days of bacon-garnished ice cream and the eateries of yesteryear.
• It concludes with no less than three indices; you can search the book by recipe, chef, or restaurant.
• It’s a perfect-bound paperback, so it looks good and it feels good. No spiral binding for us, no sirree.
• Download three sample recipes from the book, for Roasted Chicken, Tater Tot Casserole, and Warm Chocolate Cake, here.
• Ten percent of the proceeds from every cookbook sold goes to our friends at Operation Food Search, battling hunger on the ground every day
• Like all the best cookbooks, it’s a book that will make you want to eat, but what’s more, it’s a cookbook that demystifies the processes used by the professionals you know and patronize.
Yeah, so we tooted our own horn. It happens.
Food photographs by Greg Rannells, LoRusso portrait by Kevin A. Roberts.
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