Michael Ruhlman is a curious, capable cook and a wonderful food writer—a great recipe for a cookbook author. His latest, Egg: A Culinary Exploration of the World’s Most Versatile Ingredient, is an ode to this abundant, affordable miracle that provides powerful nutrients and offers cooks “a range of culinary acrobatics, from an airy cake to a tightly bound seafood terrine.” To Ruhlman, an egg is a “singularity with a thousand ends,” and it’s these ends, all part of the great egg continuum, that he addresses here. The more than 100 recipes, all organized by technique (cooked in the shell, out of the shell, whole, separated, etc.), go from a super-simple, soft-cooked egg to an irresistible Île Flottante with Poire William Sabayon. You’ll find sensational surprises like Eggs in Puttanesca Sauce, Aged Eggnog that keeps for three years in the fridge and bibimbap topped with an “aggressively fried” egg, alongside much-craved classics like Gougères, Chicken Fricassee, Crunchy French Meringue and Curried Egg Salad. All in all, egg-ceptional, egg-semplary and egg-cellent!
We still may not know what women want. But when it comes to grilling, we know what Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby want—to “dial it back,” make it radically easy, without marinating, brining or using fancy equipment. They lay out their unique grilling game plan in The Big-Flavor Grill: No-Marinade, No-Hassle Recipes. To achieve big flavor without big effort, Schlesinger and Willoughby turned to the hot-weather regions, where “bold, contrasting, competing but complementary flavors” are in the gastronomic DNA. Spice rubs replace marinades, and “razzle-dazzles”—quickly composed combos of flavor boosters like a splash of citrus, fresh herbs, chopped fruit, garlic, onion and more—add pizzazz and extra oomph. While the fire heats up, put the fixings for one of the many international razzle-dazzles into a big bowl, add the main item—such as steak tips, pork skewers, fish fillets, chicken wings or corn, grilled according to their “super-basic” recipes—toss it well, then savor the flavor and revolutionary simplicity.
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I’m not exactly sure how “bistronomy” is defined, but if it describes the food Greg Marchand creates and serves, then count me in as a bistro-ista. Trained in classic French cooking, Marchand has worked in Hong Kong, Spain, London and New York, where he experienced new flavors and learned to appreciate the excitement of contrasts within a dish. When he opened Frenchie, his first restaurant, on an unfashionable street in Paris, he seasoned the best of bistro tradition with innovative, international ingredients and a flare for light-handed fusion. In his beautifully illustrated debut cookbook, Frenchie: New Bistro Cooking, Marchand makes his vibrant recipes totally accessible for the home cook. I had the joy of tasting a few of his creations at a lunch in New York. Each one was a WOW, and I’ve now wowed my friends with his Butternut Squash Risotto with Amaretti (go with the crumbled-cookie crunch), the silkiest panna cotta ever and his superbly original take on duck à l’orange. If you can’t get to Paris tomorrow, you can still revel in Marchand’s nouvelle vague bistro cooking.