In My Kitchen

Ted Allen. Clarkson Potter, $35 (272p) ISBN 978-0-307-95186-1
Out of the 75 color photographs that adorn the 100 recipes in this robust collection, 12 include glasses of wine, most held either by the author or by one of his attractive friends. This bit of clever subliminal seduction is Allen’s way of telling the reader to relax. During his day job, as host of Chopped on the Food Network, he presides over tense, high-speed cook-offs. In the book the focus is on food that takes time and its inherent pleasures, or, as he puts it, “Corks popping, an endless playlist on the stereo, pans heating up on the stove.” He conjures an atmosphere that is easy to buy into. Six chapters cover appetizers, salads and sides, entrees, desserts, and breakfasts/brunch. Entries are arranged by ingredient, making for some dramatic cross-cultural progressions like mussels in green curry, followed by scallops and cheddar grits, followed by fried rice with crab. Desserts reach out across extremes of flavor, from chili-spiced fudge sauce or sour cherry cobbler to sweet avocado mousse. Near the center of the book is his “ultimate spaghetti and meatbrawls with serious Sunday gravy,” a 23 ingredient, slow simmer affair that results in a classic Italian dish with a “vivid orange” sauce. Wine, of course, would go well with this and nearly all the other offerings. But should there be any potables left over, Allen also includes a helpful tutorial on making homemade vinegar. (May)
Reviewed on: 01/16/2012
Release date: 05/01/2012
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