Sally Schneider was tired of doing what we all do—separating foods into "good" and "bad," into those we crave but can't have and those we can eat freely but don't especially want—so she created A New Way To Cook.
Her book is nothing short of revolutionary, a redefinition of healthy eating, where no food is taboo, where the pleasure principle is essential to well-being, where the concept of self-denial just doesn't exist.More than 600 lavishly illustrated recipes result in marvelous, vividly flavored foods. You'll find quintessential American favorites that taste every bit as good as the traditional "full-tilt" versions: macaroni and cheese, rosemary buttermilk biscuits, chocolate malted pudding. You'll find Italian polentas, risottos, focaccias, and pastas, all reinvented without the loss of a single drop of deliciousness. Asian flavors shine through in cold sesame noodles; mussels with lemongrass, ginger, and chiles; and curry-crusted shrimp. Even French food is no longer on the forbidden list, with country-style pâtés and cassoulet.
Hundreds of techniques, radical in their ultimate simplicty, make all the difference in the world: using chestnut puree in place of cream, butter, and pork fat in a duck liver mousse; extending the richness of flavored oils by boiling them with a little broth to dress starchy beans and grains; casserole-roasting baby back ribs to render them of fat, then lacquering them with a pungent maple glaze.
Scores of flavor catalysts—quickly made sauces, rubs, marinades, essences, and vinaigrettes—add instant hits of flavor with little effort. Leek broth dresses pasta; chive oil becomes an instant sauce for broiled salmon; a smoky tea essence imparts a sweet, grilled flavor to steak; balsamic vinegar turns into a luscious dessert sauce.
Variations and improvisations offer infiinite flexibility. Once you learn a basic recipe, it's simple to devise your own version for any part of the meal. "Fried" artichockes with crispy garlic and sage can be an hors d-oeuvre topped with shaved cheeses, part of a composed salad, or as a main course when tossed iwth pasta. It's equally happy on top of pizza or stirred into risotto. And by building dishes from simple elements, turning out complex meals doesn't have to be a complex affair.
A wealth of tips and practical information to make you a more accomplished and self-confident cook: how to rescue ordinary olive oil to give it more flavor, how to make soups creamy without cream, how to freshen less-than-perfect fish.So here it is, 756 glorious pages of all the deliciousness and joy that food is meant to convey.
About Sally Schneider
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Published October 1, 2001