FRESH FOOD — COOKING WITH TYLER FLORENCE
Review by Barb & Ron Kroll
Clarkson Potter) ISBN 978-0385344531 0385344538
Fresh meals are easy to prepare with these recipes from Tyler Florence's cookbook. The celebrity chef describes how to use healthy ingredients as alternatives to processed foods and packaged meals.
Illustrated with dazzling photos, depicting creative plating techniques, Chef Florence's recipes show you how using fresh fruits and vegetables, herbs, eggs, cheese, seafood and meat help you eat healthy and well.
Organized by ingredient, the 244-page cookbook first draws your attention with John Lee's food photos. They are so enticing, they make you hungry.
Tyler Florence's recipes include appetizers (frisée salad with blueberries, candied pecans, whipped blue cheese and buttermilk dressing), main courses (smoky roasted chicken and citrus salsa) and side dishes (butternut squash purée with pan-roasted porcinis, brown butter and sage).
Some recipes are simple (roasted apples, potatoes and Brussels sprouts with whipped Parmesan). Others are more complex and time-consuming (ricotta ravioli with eggplant caponata, pine nuts and basil).
Interspersed with the recipes are cooking techniques, such as how to make confit vegetables with grapeseed oil, garlic, herbs, citrus peel and coriander seeds.
Kudos to Tyler Florence for making readers aware of the dangers of food additives in processed foods and ingredients, such as high fructose corn syrup, that are harmful to your health.
He discusses the benefits of fresh vegetables. (E.g., the high folate content of asparagus reduces the risk of Alzheimer's. Nitric acid in beets relaxes blood vessels, resulting in increased blood flow, endurance and concentration.)
Cooking with Tyler Florence, you learn to give classical recipes an innovative twist. For example, he makes banana mustard with roasted bananas and whole-grain mustard. Instead of traditional falafel, made with chickpeas, he makes falafel with dried green split peas and serves it with charred corn and pink chile mayo spiked with Sriracha sauce.
For each fresh food, the author provides cooking tips. For example, in the recipe for asparagus grilled cheese with poached egg and greens, you learn how to poach eggs so the whites don't disperse in the water. (Stir the boiling water with a wooden spoon and then slide the egg from a cup into the center of the whirlpool of circulating water.)
Besides cooking produce, Chef Tyler shows you how to cook with fresh cheese. His peach and prosciutto salad includes a recipe for homemade burrata made with mozzarella curds and cream.
Most of the ingredients in his recipes are easy to find. There are some exceptions (e.g., Jimmy Nardello pepper in the chile aioli recipe that accompanies salt-seared shrimp).
The Food Network chef's meals conclude with delectable desserts, e.g., frozen red raspberries, stuffed with whipped cream and dipped in dark chocolate before re-freezing.
Most Fresh recipes include garnishing instructions. Whipped cream eggnog and crispy fried pumpkin seed clusters, coated in cinnamon sugar and drizzled with honey butter, top his deconstructed pumpkin pie. Grandma wouldn't recognize it but she would undoubtedly approve of its fresh flavors.
ContentsA Fresh Start
- Beans and Peas
- Berries and Cherries
- Butternut Squash and Pumpkin
- Clams and Oysters
- Octopus and Squid
- Stone Fruits
Cookbook author and Food Network chef, Tyler Florence, is the owner of the San Francisco restaurant, Wayfare Tavern, and El Paseo, a restaurant in Mill Valley, CA.