cover image Marcus Off Duty

Marcus Off Duty

Marcus Samuelsson. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25 (352p) ISBN 978-0-470-94058-7

Many New Yorkers like to think of themselves as citizens of the world, but Samuelsson has the credentials to prove it. Born in Ethiopia and raised in Sweden, he cooked his way across Switzerland, Austria, and France before settling as a celebrity chef at his renowned restaurant in Harlem, Red Rooster. In this, his fifth book, he draws from all the quarters of his lifetime, as well as from many other parts of the globe, and offers over 130 “recipes I cook at home.” The Swiss influence is apparent in dishes such as his Grandmother Helga’s meatballs in a crazy gravy made with chicken broth, cream, lingonberry preserves and pickled cucumber juice. East African cuisine is reflected in his doro wat, a chicken stew served over tortillas and topped with a chicken liver spread. There are French crepes, Americanized with rhubarb-strawberry compote and American baked potatoes made French with blue cheese. The collection is organized into nine somewhat random chapters. Early on, there is a section with ten “special days” recipes for holidays as disparate as Passover, Mardi Gras, and Kwanzaa. Then the final third of the book is organized by type with chapters on soups, sides, and desserts. In between is a helpful Cooking with Kids chapter, and the author’s playlists of “music to cook by,” which suggest that his love for seasonings extends to Salt-N-Pepa, run throughout. (Oct.)