Monday, June 07, 2010

Food For Thought -- New American Table Book Review

Okay, so I've been a fan of chef Marcus Samuelsson since I wrote a profile about him back in the late 1990s for an assignment while I was in journalism school. For those of you who don't know his multi-culti history, Samuelsson was born in Ethiopia, adopted by a Swedish couple, raised in Sweden, moved to the United States to pursue his culinary career and has now established himself as one of the most celebrated and innovative chefs around. Basically, Marcus Samuelsson is a meltingpot of experiences, cultures and culinary ideas. And he's intent on sharing everything he's learned from his exciting life.

He's written a handful of gorgeous, lush cook books, but his most recent, New American Table is almost like a love letter to his new home, the United States. In the book, Samuelsson travels across this country to discover our national foodstuffs. But we're not talking Boston baked beans and Texas chili. No, Samuelsson spends most of his time talking to immigrants to this country who have heavily influenced our cuisine. So, expect recipes (and their backstories) for dishes like, avocado-banana smoothies, fish goulash with gnocchi, and jerk-spiced catfish with green papaya salad. Yum!

For the foodies among you, I think you'll love the variety of recipes with their exotic ingredient lists. For me, I admit I was intimidated by many of the recipes, but that's because any recipe with more than five ingredients scares me. But just reading through the recipes and drooling over the pictures is worth it for me. And I'm definitely going to try those avocado-banana smoothies and some of the salsas and spice rubs which seem doable. First up is chimichurri and sofrito which are two of my favorite sauces/flavorings for foods which previously I thought only Goya could help me produce. I'll let you know how it goes.

So, foodies. What are you most looking forward to cooking this summer? Or do you stop cooking when the heat goes up? I used to rely heavily on pasta in the summer, but since going wheat free--not so much, although corn pasta has been a pleasant surprise.

I'm listening.



Lara said... had me at banana-avocado smoothie :-) This book looks amazing!

Dee said...

Sounds delish! I will definitely be taking a peek at Marcus's new book. In the meantime, two cookbooks that I currently own will be in heavy rotation for a while. These books include:

Rustico by Micol Negrin, a cookbook filled with regional recipes from Italy's 21 culinary divisions. We have butternut squuash gnocchi with rosemary butter from Lombardy, Chocolate Covered almond cake from Abruzzo, apricot jam cookies from Liguria, Fontina fritters with wilted spinach from Val d'Aosta and so on. I can't wait to try them!

Fiesta! by Anya von Bremzen. Recipes from the Latin world (Spain and Portugal included)
We have Mango milkshakes, Papaya Lime Cake, Pumpkin Doughnuts, Cheesy cornsticks with Chimichurri sauce, Latin-style pizza and more. I can't wait to try these foods as well.

Have you heard of these books before?

Carleen Brice said...

You won the free book on my blog! You win a copy of 32 Candles...which pubs this month! Or would you prefer Sellout?

LT said...

I know. I just drool looking at the pictures.

Fiesta sounds right up my alley. I will check it out.


I won? I can't believe it!