Susanna Foo Fresh Inspiration: New Approaches to Chinese Cuisine

Susanna Foo, Author, Tina Rupp, Photographer, Hermie Kranzdorf, With
Susanna Foo, Author, Tina Rupp, Photographer, Hermie Kranzdorf, With with Hermie Kranzdorf. Houghton Mifflin $35 (336p) ISBN 978-0-618-39330-5
Reviewed on: 06/20/2005
Release date: 09/01/2005
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-547-34798-1
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Fusion has earned a bad reputation, mostly due to silly combinations that, while intellectually interesting, are often just not that appetizing. Foo (chef/owner of two restaurants and a two-time James Beard Award winner) keeps things lively yet appealing by not going too wacky. Yes, Panko-Crusted Goat Cheese with Tomato and Asparagus Salad uses Japanese bread crumbs, but Alice Waters has been making goat cheese crunchy for years. Likewise, Grilled Lamb Chops with Roasted Sesame Marinade replaces the lamb tenderloin more commonly used in Mongolian shish kabob with a different cut, but preserves the classic flavors. Sometimes Asian ingredients shake hands with Western techniques, as in a savory Rice Noodle Flan and Asian Pear Tatin. There are more traditional dishes, too, like Braised Red Snapper with Thai Curry Sauce and Braised Lion's Head Meatballs "the size of a fist." Foo shares encyclopedic knowledge about everything from long beans (which are part of the black-eyed pea family) to braising (great for tenderizing cheaper cuts of meat). If there is a flaw, it may be that Foo is too wide-ranging, so that the selection occasionally feels unfocused. Overall, though, this is a thoughtful collection of fresh, elegant recipes. Photos. (Sept.)

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