Cooking with the Seasons

Monique Hooker, Author, Tracie Richardson, With Henry Holt & Company $27.5 (432p) ISBN 978-0-8050-4866-7
Chef, teacher and former restaurateur, Chicago-based Hooker will draw many cooks seduced by Italian food back to French cuisine with these appealing recipes. Focusing on irresistibly fresh produce, many of the more than 200 dishes celebrate what she learned from her mother while growing up on a 17th- century family farm in France. Arranged in a month-by-month sequence, according to what is in season, the recipes largely eschew excessive amounts of oil or cream, allowing natural ingredients to showcase themselves. Inviting traditional dishes include Potage of Fresh Peas with Mint, Pork Chops Charcutiere, Winter Roasted Vegetables, as well as the simplified Le Cassoulet a Ma Fa on, which is well within the reach of any cook who can roast a duck. Hooker also assembles such tantalizing dishes as Pumpkin au Gratin, Gently Braised Tuna with Lemon and Scaloppine of Turkey with Green and Black Olives. A Gallic accent enlivens Roasted Thanksgiving Turkey with Sage when fresh herbs are inserted under the bird's skin. Desserts are as grand as Buche de Noel and Golden Croquembouche, as humble as Peach Compote and as cheery as Almost Spring Orange Mousse. Aided by freelancer Richardson, Hooker uses chatty headnotes, family photos and poetic chapter openings exalting each month to remind us of the inherent allure of a French family-style cuisine. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 413 pages - 978-0-8050-4867-4
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