cover image The Best American Recipes

The Best American Recipes

. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $26 (304pp) ISBN 978-0-618-00996-1

The second volume in this new series starts out with a snappy list of the year's trends in food that names the potato ""Vegetable of the Year"" and slow roasting the hottest technique. Recipes, drawn from a variety of sources, are often so simple that it's a surprise to see them here (e.g., Garlicky Baked Chicken from Sara Moulton's Web site is just thighs or breasts coated with bread crumbs and cheese, then baked to a crisp). And the editors clearly have never met a gimmick they didn't like: they coo over Beer Can Chicken (the diner rests the chicken on the can) and delight in Grilled Duck in a Jar (the duck is marinated in the jar, so that it is ""ready to be admired by those who will soon enjoy it""). Recipes with an ethnic bent, such as Tunisian Chickpea Stew and Kashmiri-Style Leg of Lamb, are among the most appealing. Each recipe credits the chef and the source and is accompanied by notes and serving suggestions, such as pairing the Twelve-Hour Roast Pork from Suzanne Somers' Get Skinny on Fabulous Food with Creamy Mashed Potatoes from Gourmet. this book is a fun read and will most likely sell well, but it is not the definitive source its editors envision it to be. (Nov.)