THE GIRL AND THE FIG COOKBOOK: More than 100 Recipes from the Acclaimed California Wine Country Restaurant

Sondra Bernstein, Author . Simon & Schuster $27 (288p) ISBN 978-0-7432-5521-9

This cookbook is a magnificent specimen of the Wine Country cookbook genre. It inspires with its tales of bounteous, gorgeous, diverse produce but also reminds readers in the rest of the country that the harvest fortunes of Napa and Sonoma Counties are not shared equally elsewhere. Like Annie and Margrit: Recipes and Stories from the Mondavi Kitchen , Bernstein's book attempts to translate a California wine country restaurant experience into print. The recipes aren't always smoothly converted—for example, Bernstein sometimes assumes readers have access to a half-dozen varieties of figs or radishes. And Rabbit and Hazelnut Pâté with Pickled Figs and other terrines and forcemeats assume a comfort level with complicated meat preparation that most consumers lack. Still, at their best, Bernstein's recipes have a relaxed, decadent feel; and dishes like Carrot-Ginger Soup and Citrus Pearl Couscous have an elegant simplicity. Others, like Polenta Cakes (with sage-infused cream) and Grilled Salmon with Lavender Beurre Rouge demonstrate that a few gestures can renew classic flavor pairings. Bernstein's dishes should appeal to all the New American fans in the gastronomic urban hubs. And they'll also serve as a mouthwatering advertisement for the restaurant and the region, for chefs who aren't lucky enough to live in the American Eden. Agent, Cathy Fowler. (Apr.)

FYI: There are two Girl & the Fig restaurants, as well as The Fig Café. All are in Sonoma County.

Reviewed on: 02/02/2004
Release date: 04/01/2004
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Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-4165-9328-7
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