Monday, December 13, 2010

New Cookbook - The City Cook

Kate McDonough, editor and founder of, an excellent web site, has recently published a book, The City Cook: Big City, Small Kitchen, Limitless Ingredients, No Time, which furthers her mission of encouraging busy urban professionals to cook at home and providing them with strategies to help them to succeed.

The first part, which is a concise but insightful look at how to cope with culinary life in the city -- shopping, equipping a kitchen, etc. -- will be particularly useful for Kate's target audience. Also the many bits of wisdom scattered throughout the recipe section, like "Eleven Easy No-Cook Hors d'Oeuvres," "Chicken Breasts Ten Ways," "How to Get Fish Smells Out of an Apartment" and "The Versatility of Rotisserie Chickens," to name only a few.

The recipe section provides about ninety clearly-expressed recipes. Most are quite simple, some amazingly so. The one recipe that I have tried so far, Broiled Black Cod with Miso, is wonderful: just two ingredients, almost no effort and a complex flavor profile that is a perfect example of what a little
umami can do (I used mellow white miso). Next up are the Almond Cream Tart, made with whole unskinned almonds, and the Cacio e Pepe (a classic pasta with cheese and black pepper) for which I have not previously seen a recipe (who knew there was no butter? and note the tip on grinding the cheese in a food processor rather than using a Microplane, which would have been my instinct). There are many others that I plan to try.

The City Cook makes an excellent Christmas gift. In fact, I gave a copy to my French teacher, who has a tiny apartment kitchen and is always trying to make simple, healthy food for herself and her friends. Cookbooks that I have given her in the past include Jacques Pépin's excellent
Fast Food My Way and slightly less excellent More Fast Food My Way, as well as Patricia Wells' Trottoria. Adding The City Cook to this group indicates my high regard for this book.

Bobby Jay

No comments: