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 ELIZABETH STREET CAFÉELIZABETH STREET CAFÉ
By Tom Moorman and Larry McGuire with Julia Turshen

$39.95 Phaidon
www.phaidon.com

Restaurateurs and Chefs Tom Moorman and Larry McGuire can now add Authors to their resume as they release their much anticipated debut cookbook ELIZABETH STREET CAFÉ,
an inspired reflection of one of Austin’s most popular dining establishments.

Our culinary adventure begins as all adventures should: with a good story. And to that end, Tom and Larry certainly do not disappoint as they weave their tales of how they got to Elizabeth Street and opened their inspired eatery in the first place. Then the real fun begins as we dive head first into BREAKFAST where recipes for everything from Scrambled Egg, Cilantro and Jalapeno Báhn Mi to Brioche French Toast with Blueberry Compote and Brown Butter Sauce will have you racing to the kitchen to whip them up. Then it’s on to LUNCH (it couldn’t arrive soon enough!) where you’ll salivate over recipes for gorgeous dishes like the oh-so-fresh Glass Noodle and Seared Flank Steak Salad to dish after dish featuring steamed buns galore which sport everything from Kaffir Lime-Fried Chicken to Mushroom and Spicy Tofu to Pork Belly.

At this point we can hardly wait for DINNER to arrive and when it does we are blown away by the recipes for Spicy Lamb Dan Dan Noodles with Thai Chile and Mint and the undeniably tasty sounding Vietnamese Yellow Curry with Mussels and Chicken Meatballs. And while we’re at it, let’s not forget the Pho which figures prominently throughout the book. But no meal is complete without DESSERTS which take a decidedly French turn. You’ll be tempted by the sinfully good Profiteroles with Strawberry-Yuzu and Chocolate Sauces, the inimitable and often dreamed about Vietnamese Coconut Sundae and one of Elizabeth Street’s signature goodies, Macaroons, which come in dozens of awe- inspiring flavors. No restaurant would be worth its salt if it didn’t feature a myriad of specialty DRINKS which range from the sunny-looking Shady Blond Brunch Punch to the decidedly sophisticated Velvet Ace Party Punch. And rounding out our tour we take a swing by the PANTRY where we learn the importance of having the basics necessary to creating Elizabeth Street’s extraordinary flavors, close at hand.

Sumptuous photographs reflecting the charming, colorful décor and even more colorful menu Elizabeth Street Café has to offer are the crowning glory of this wonderful cookbook. The 100 recipes collected here make you understand why the combination of Vietnamese fare and French baked goods makes this hot spot a destination for diners from around the world. And honestly, it makes me want to buy a ticket to Austin right this minute and head straight for their Easter-pink front door.


 PARIS FOR ONE AND OTHER STORIESPARIS FOR ONE AND OTHER STORIES
By Jojo Moyes

$16.00 Penguin
www.jojomoyes.com

Jojo Moyes delivers a knock-out collection of characters in her latest book PARIS FOR ONE AND OTHER STORIES. Beginning with a novella and continuing on with eight short stories this book takes the reader from The City of Lights to a myriad of other locales where the narrative is anything but dull and the action never quits.

In PARIS FOR ONE we find 26 year old Nell, an office worker from London who doesn’t have a spontaneous bone in her body. So when she springs her plans for a Paris getaway on her boyfriend, he can’t understand what has gotten into her and summarily stands her up. Seeing as the trip is non-refundable Nell decides to bite the bullet and heads to Paris solo despite severe misgivings and a mounting sense of anxiety. Once she arrives in the City of Lights things really begin to unravel and in uncharacteristic form, Nell forces herself to go with the flow despite the fact that she has no clue how to do so. But as life picks her up by the scruff of the neck and gives her a good shake, Nell comes to discover a side of herself she never knew she possessed. And the possibilities brought on by a new romance and an exciting new city turn her world inside out.

This novella carries you away from word one, lit from within by the magic of possibility. Moyes has a talent for drawing rich, engaging characters whose human frailties speak to the longings of the heart and the hopes of a happily-ever-after. With the addition of her short stories, a format somewhat new to Moyes, this collection will keep you awake reading, long past your bedtime.


PARISIAN CHARM SCHOOL French Secrets for Cultivating Love, Joy and That Certain Je Ne Sais QuoiPARISIAN CHARM SCHOOL French Secrets for Cultivating Love, Joy and That Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi
By Jamie Cat Callan

$19.00 Tarcher Penguin
www.jamiecatcallan.com

Have you ever wondered why it is that French women have it all over us Americans when it comes to possessing the “je ne sais quoi” that makes French women so mysterious and chic, and gives them the extra something that men find so alluring? If so, you needn’t wonder a moment longer because Jamie Cat Callan answers these questions and many more in her latest book PARISIAN CHARM SCHOOL, a handbook that will teach you how to cultivate oodles of ooh-la-la in your life.

For years, Jamie Cat Callan has been travelling to France and having conversations with French women from Paris to Provence, and little villages in between, in order to learn their secrets. And she lays these secrets bare in the pages of her book as she begins our tutelage with the number one ingredient all French Women possess: Charm. Because, it is from there that all other graces are born. We learn that smart is sexy because reading not only feeds the brain but the spirit as well. And as we progress through the lessons Callan so brilliantly supplies in each and every chapter, we learn necessities like the art of flirtation, how to dress for every occasion, which includes dressing for ourselves at home, and why French women prefer dinner parties over dating. In each chapter we are treated to a Parisian Charm School Lesson and in turn a Parisian Charm School Pratique wherein we are taken step-by-step into learning a new skill. And little by little, lesson by lesson, the “je ne sais quoi” we thought was out of our reach becomes something we have firmly in hand; making us feel more French than we ever thought possible.

Ms. Callan is an excellent teacher whose own charm spills beyond the page and into your psyche. Her conversational style is undeniably one her best assets because she makes you feel like you’re whispering tête-à-tête with one of your best gal-pals. Throughout this marvelously entertaining book, Callan encourages you to want to be your best self and lets you in on the secrets that can get you there, making this a great little tome to have and to share with all the would-be-Parisians you know.


THE CITY BAKER’S GUIDE TO COUNTRY LIVING A NovelTHE CITY BAKER’S GUIDE TO COUNTRY LIVING
A Novel
By Louise Miller

$16.00 Penguin Books
louisemillerauthor.tumblr.com

Author Louise Miller makes her debut with a luminous novel THE CITY BAKER’S GUIDE TO COUNTRY LIVING a heart-warming tale about second chances, friendship and food.

Pastry Chef Olivia Rawlings is all fired up, but not in a good way. She has just set the Emerson Club ablaze with a flaming baked Alaska and now she’s out of a job. Setting her sights on Guthrie, a small Vermont town where her best friend Hannah resides, she leaves Boston with her dog Salty and her tail between her legs, hoping to hide away. But Hannah has other ideas and before she knows it, Olivia has landed a job as the Pastry Chef at the Sugar Maple Inn doing battle with the impenetrable Margaret Hurley, the proprietress.

Although she misses the thrum of life in Boston, Livvy settles in with Salty in the old Sugar House behind the Inn and begins to bake her way out of her misery and into the rhythm of small town life. While her mornings are spent alone in the kitchen, her afternoons are spent exploring the beautiful countryside and sitting on her porch playing old-timey music on her banjo. Word of her playing spreads quickly and before she knows it she’s playing in a band at Contra dances and making eyes at Martin McCracken, resident fiddle player and all around mysterious man. But as much as Livvy wants Martin there’s something she wants more: to put the Sugar Maple and Margaret back on the map at the county fair where she and her infamous Apple Pie once reigned supreme. And as if that’s not enough to juggle, a visitor from Livvy’s past turns up unexpectedly, threatening to torch the new life she’s built and making her wonder where she really belongs.

Ms. Miller certainly knows how to whip up a delectable confection of a story that’s filled with memorable characters and oodles of down-home charm. A treat you won’t want to put down, this is the kind of book that makes you want to escape to the country, snuggle up by the fire and devour the entire thing in one sitting.   


NOW THAT YOU MENTION IT A NovelNOW THAT YOU MENTION IT A Novel
By Kristan Higgins

HQN Books
www.kristanhiggins.com

From New York Times best-selling author Kristan Higgins come a story of family complications, past rivalries and the hope that comes with the passage of time.

Nora Stuart is a Gastroenterologist at a well-known Boston hospital and her life is totally on track. She has a great job, a startlingly handsome doctor boyfriend and a home that is the polar opposite of the one she grew up in. But after she’s run down by a van and then overhears said boyfriend making time with another ER doc over her nearly-lifeless body, she decides it’s time to take a break from it all and retreat to her childhood home.

Unfortunately, Scupper Island Maine is not as welcoming as it could be and Nora has her work cut out for her when it comes to healing, not only her broken bones, but her rocky emotional past as well. With her estranged sister in jail, Nora must share a bedroom with her withdrawn, surly teenage niece. And Nora’s mother, a tough Islander who has never been one for emotional support, is anything but welcoming, leaving Nora to mostly fend for herself. But little by little, as Nora re-discovers old relationships and forges new ones, she begins to believe that she’s strong enough to overcome her past and build a new life, despite the fact that she’s still standing on shaky ground.

Higgins has done it again: written an engaging novel that is absolutely impossible to put down. With characters that come alive on the page and a plot that never lets up, this is a story that will stay with you long after you’ve read the final sentence.

THE PALESTINIAN TABLETHE PALESTINIAN TABLE
By Reem Kassis

$39.95 Phaidon
www.phaidon.com

Reem Kassis brings us 150 easy-to-follow recipes inspired by three generations of family tradition in her debut cookbook THE PALESTINIAN TABLE.

Born in Jerusalem, Reem Kassis grew up enjoying dishes that have been the staple of her culture for centuries. Known for its use of fresh spices which are layered in every dish, giving each one its own distinctive character, Palestinian cuisine is something that many Westerners have had little experience with. But all that changes the moment you crack the cover of this wonderful cookbook.

As Kassis began compiling these recipes, she realized that she was best able to garner the “secrets” of great Palestinian home cooking like “add yogurt to tahini sauces to break their richness” by observing  and listening to the women in her family as they cooked. The end result is nothing short of marvelous and she makes each recipe so accessible that you’ll find you can achieve success even if you’ve never cooked Palestinian food before. Beginning with the basics, we are shown how to make Nine Spice Mix, an aromatic blend of spices you roast and grind yourself, which is a primary ingredient in many of the dishes featured here. Because bread is a prominent element of any meal, there is a chapter on Bread and Pastries wherein the recipes are so straightforward that even a novice can achieve success. We are then taken to the world of Dips and Small Bites which features recipes for dishes such as Parsley or Cilantro Tahini. Spread to Salads, Sides and Vegetables follow in short order and here you’ll learn to make Cauliflower, Potato and Eggplant Salad among other delicious dishes. Soups and Stews such as Lentil Soup and Spinach and Chickpea Stew are next, followed by a chapter on Rice, Grains and Fatteh. Recipes for Celebration Dishes such as Rice-Stuffed Chicken and Lamb Dumplings in Yogurt Sauce are next and Desserts and Sweet Treats like Shredded Phyllo and Cheese Pie round things out. You’ll also be treated to recipes for Drinks, Preserves and Condiments and a chapter on The Palestinian Pantry gives you guidelines for stocking up on the ingredients you’ll need to prepare the dishes Kassis outlines here, making this a great read that takes you from A-Z in your pursuit of preparing Palestinian cuisine.

Reading this wonderful book is like getting a passport to a distant land where aromatic spices and traditions dating back centuries reign supreme in the kitchen. Peppered throughout with gorgeous color photographs this is more than a cookbook: it’s also a history lesson and an introduction to an inspiring culture of indescribably delicious flavors that many of us have barely even heard about, let alone tasted for ourselves.

www.Dishmag.com / Issue 198 - December 2017
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