Miami Herald (International Edition): "A Couple Simple Ways to Master the Sweet and Savory"
Monday, Sep 08, 2008
A couple simple ways to master the sweet and savory
By Bonnie S. Benwick
The Washington Post
These spring cookbooks come from two men with third-generation pedigrees in the always-interesting fields of sweets and seafood. Their experience provides a master’s touch:
Chocolate Epiphany: Exceptional Cookies, Cakes, and Confections for Everyone. Francois Payard, with Anne E. McBride.
Clarkson Potter. 272 pages. $35.
He is the well-tempered and properly enrobed king of chocolate confections. That’s why Payard’s soon-to-be-released third cookbook is a must-have for those who enjoy interacting with chocolate in the kitchen.
The pastry chef owns five bistros worldwide that bear his name; last year, he added and international “best pastry chef” honor from Relais Desserts to an already-impressive larder of accolades.
In this book, however, Payard shares chocolate insights and many recipes that are far from highfalutin. He’s confident enough to extol the virtues of white chocolate, which is sometimes snubbed, and reveals his maximum cacao preference for dark chocolate: no more than 72 percent, because he finds that anything higher is too bitter.
The range of 100 thoughtfully composed recipes reflects successful pairings with ingredients made happy by their association with Payard’s favorite medium.
Ralph Brennan’s New Orleans Seafood Cookbook. Gene Bourg.
Vissi d’Arte Books. 430 pages. $45
If you have eaten at one of the 10 establishments the author has a hand in, you’ll be familiar with much of what is featured in this more formal, restaurant-style collection. The recipes have been honchoed by Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group executive chef Haley Bittermann, and the book was co-written by Bourg, who reviewed restaurants for the Times Picayune for nine years. Helpful for the home cook are illustrated guides for prepping fish fillets, crabs and oysters.
There are enough mentions of “Creole tomatoes” among the 150 recipes to send a reader running to the Internet for more information.