cover image Flavorwalla: Big Flavor, Bold Spices; A New Way to Cook the Foods You Love

Flavorwalla: Big Flavor, Bold Spices; A New Way to Cook the Foods You Love

Floyd Cardoz. Artisan, $29.95 (352p) ISBN 978-1-57965-621-8

Chef Cardoz has worked in critically lauded restaurants, developed the El Verano ballpark taco stand, received four James Beard nominations, and won Top Chef Masters. Clearly on a roll, he shares many of his iconic recipes and his approach to cooking in this terrific collection. Rather than going the standard route of appetizer, salad, protein, and dessert, Cardoz’s book focuses on events: Dinner for Two, Game Time, Weeknight Meals, and so forth, giving readers a practical guide and perspective on how different dishes can complement one another when part of a larger picture. Those expecting elaborate preparations from a chef of Cardoz’s caliber will be pleasantly surprised: dishes such as stir-fried crabmeat and sweet corn, roasted citrus-brined chicken with pan-roasted croutons, and flank steak with Thai salad boast big flavors without requiring much skill. Many do, however, call for a fair number of ingredients (rendang short ribs calls for close to 30), but most are easily sourced. Cardoz’s emphasis is on flavor and the final product, rather than culinary showmanship, perhaps best evidenced in playful riffs such as Masala Mary, a must-try variation on the classic Bloody Mary, and the simple Tabasco chipotle-marinated pork chops. The book has something for everyone, including the family dog, who can enjoy Cardoz’s own dog’s favorite dinner, made up of oats, wheat, beef, chicken livers, and vegetables. It’s a fun, fresh, and inspiring collection that deserves room on any self-respecting home cook’s bookshelf. (Apr.)