cover image Happy Cooking!: More Light Classics from Today's Gourmet

Happy Cooking!: More Light Classics from Today's Gourmet

Jacques Pepin. Kqed Books, $17.95 (205pp) ISBN 978-0-912333-27-4

Fans of the PBS series featuring Pepin as ``Today's Gourmet'' will rave about this third companion cookbook. The author captures the joie de vivre that characterizes his on-screen persona in the chapter prefaces to the volume. A chapter on menus is followed by featured recipes, clustered as first courses, main courses, side dishes, desserts, breads and basics. Pepin does not outlaw butter or chickens with skins intact: he favors a more modest approach to cultivating good health through a varied diet that is full in flavor yet not overly rich. A salad of braised shiitake mushrooms, glazed with garlicky dressing and served atop a bed of radicchio and Belgian endive, presents the meaty texture of the mushrooms to full advantage. Many of the main courses stretch the calorie-rich meats and shellfish with the addition of grains, legumes and vegetables, as in a stew of lima beans, mussels and spinach. Complete nutritional information accompanies recipes, even the simplest. Pepin satisfies sweet tooths with desserts that emphasize fresh or dried fruits, such as a farina Bavarian cream cake with apricot sauce. When appropriate, recipes include portion sizes and suggested garnishes. (Nov.)