by Sybil PrattJune, 2009
Where's the beef?
Whether meat is the star of your dinners or just a bit player, there’s a new cookbook made to order. If you’re among the many health-, wealth- and environmentally-concerned who are reducing their meat intake, Almost Meatless, Joy Manning and Tara Mataraza Desmond’s “manual for commonsense moderation,” has the perspective you need. Joy and Tara serve up more than 60 recipes, proving that a little robustly flavored meat, especially non-factory-farmed, can go a long way and that more can be made out of less—a big plus right now. Zestfully sauced Eggplant and Chicken Puttanesca Stacks can feed up to six people with just two chicken breasts, and there’s only half a pound of fish in nifty, thrifty Corn and Cod Cakes. Beefed-Up Bean Chili and Chimichurri Fajitas are also great ways to incorporate a little meat with lots of other ingredients. You’ll find tips for buying organic and humanely raised meat and poultry, and you might be inspired to transform many of your family favorites into “almost meatless” meals too.
Confirmed carnivores have their day, their book, chapter and verse from Stanley, Evan, Mark and David Lobel, “America’s master butchers.” No false modesty here, Lobel’s Meat Bible claims to have “all you need to know about meat and poultry” and it’s hard to refute these renowned New Yorkers who have been in the business for five generations and in their swanky Upper East Side butcher shop for more than 50 years. They pride themselves on handling only the highest quality meat and providing their customers with only the highest quality advice. Now, all that quality info is included in the Meat Bible. The Lobels want you to know what you’re looking for when you shop, and they offer a detailed description of every cut available, how to care for what you buy, and, the best part, how to cook it all to perfection. The 150 recipes—some simple, some superbly sumptuous—will gratify and satisfy carnivores, omnivores and locovores alike.
Daddy’s Day specials
I know men do more than grill, but they sure seem to love it. Here’s a selection of this season’s outdoor cookbooks, sure to fire up papa and all the folks he cooks for. Two small, spiral-bound books, 25 Essentials: Techniques for Grilling and 25 Essentials: Techniques for Smoking, both by Ardie A. Davis, the founder of Greasehouse University and bestower of the coveted Ph.B., now overseen by the Kansas City Barbecue Society, provide the solid basics, build confidence and offer a nice roster of recipes for those new to the smoke and flames and a good refresher course for veterans.
Adam Perry Lang trained with the haute of the haute, but left the fancy French kitchens behind when he fell in love with barbecue and proved that an urban Yankee could hold his own with the Southern big boys. Serious Barbecue: Smoke, Char, Baste, and Brush Your Way to Great Outdoor Cooking will inspire backyard pit bosses to new heights. Whether it’s pork, beef, lamb, chicken or turkey, Lang is into deep flavor and recipes that accentuate the best qualities of every cut, whether high-priced or budget. His book includes more than 130 super-detailed recipes, all seasoned with luscious four-color photos.
In Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ Book, Chris Lilly, world-champion pit master, husband of Big Bob’s great-granddaughter and one of the Southern big boys for sure, shares the recipes from this legendary Alabama establishment that’s been serving up great BBQ since 1925 and demystifies the secrets of low- and slow-cooking. A great guide for your great guy.