Kitchen Conversations: Robust Recipes and Flavor Secrets from One of America's Best Chefs

Joyce Eserky Goldstein, Author William Morrow & Company $25 (0p) ISBN 978-0-688-13866-0
Reading this new volume from the author of Taverna (1996) and Mediterranean: The Beautiful Cookbook (1994) is indeed like sitting at a kitchen table listening to an authoritative and articulate chef discuss her trade. Goldstein, who recently closed her San Francisco restaurant, Square One, aims to help the home cook become ""a culinary juggler, playing with the balance of flavors."" In an eloquent introduction as well as in the short ""conversations"" that accompany the recipes, she instructs on using the basic tastes of sweet, sour, salt and bitter to create boldly flavored Mediterranean dishes. She explains why adding anchovy and lemon zest brings out the sweetness in spinach and suggests that an oregano- and garlic-spiked Pork Souvlaki profits from the addition of allspice and honey for ""a subtle play of sweet and sour."" In chapters from Appetizers to Desserts, Goldstein encourages creative thinking in rearranging flavors: Greek-Inspired Ouzo, Fennel, and Orange-Marinated Fish is a harmonious balance of bitter and sweet; Ciceri e Tria, (fresh pasta with chick peas and arugula from Apulia) is given a kick with hot red peppers. Evan Goldstein, the author's son and the family wine consultant, provides a creative introduction that adds wine to his mother's discussion of basic tastes and offers wine suggestions for nearly every recipe. Author tour. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
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