This week’s cookbook review and giveaway is Food & Wine Reinventing the Classics¹: Simple & creative ways to rethink the recipes America loves best, with wines to match. That’s kind of a mouthful, isn’t it? Reinventing the Classics is a hardbound cookbook with 100 recipes, each with a spin on a classic version. The cover price is $29.95 but it’s available used on Amazon for less.
The eye candy. Pure and simple eye candy, Reinventing the Classics is a pleasure to page through. Each recipe is paired with a full-color photograph. Sometimes when I’m not in the mood to cook, all it takes is paging through a gorgeous cookbook like this one to get the creative juices flowing.
What recipes piqued² my interest?
In no particular order, these caught my eye:
Peppered Beef Tenderloin, Chicken Tikka, Striped Bass with Caramelized Brussels Sprouts, Beet Risotto, Shrimp and Vegetable Summer Rolls, Salted Fudge Brownies.
Who do I think would enjoy this cookbook?
If you’re a moderately skilled cook, in a fairly urban area looking to liven up the weekly menu, this book should be on your list.
Why moderately skilled cooks?
This cookbook doesn’t focus on teaching techniques and the instructions assume a fairly solid mastery of basic cooking principles.
Why the geographic distinction?
Looking through the recipes I saw ingredients that I’d have to drive almost an hour -each way- to find. My local store doesn’t carry crème fraiche (I know I could use sour cream or make my own). Lamb is only available around Passover / Easter. And broccolini? I bet my favorite produce guy would look at me like I was nuts if I asked for it.
I also like that most of the recipes don’t rely on crazy expensive cuts of meat. Yes, there are steaks, but there are also recipes for chicken wings and drumsticks, too. Oh and they get bonus points in my book for suggesting beer with the wings instead of trying to push an appropriate wine. Snobbery rarely wins in my little world.
What I really like about this book is the wine pairings that explain why the suggested wines were chosen. This in and of itself is a great education on wine pairing.
For example, this suggestion is paired with the Crab & Andouille Jambalaya:
There are lots of robust, spice flavors in this jambalaya -from both the andouille and the Old Bay seasoning -so it needs an equally robust red wine. Medium-bodied fruit forward Tempranillo from Rioja is a great choice. Look for the 2007 Marqués de Cáceres rioja Crianza or the 2007 Artadi Viñas de Gain.
Personally, I probably wouldn’t look for the specific wines mentioned in the pairings, but I would take the description “medium-bodied fruit forward” with me to the wine aisle to find something similar. Not only that, but I’d know in the future that recipes with sausage or Old Bay seasoning would likely go well with similar wines. My restaurant education is really starting to get hazy and I would like to branch out from what has become our limited selection of standbys.
Now for the fun part:
I will be giving away my review copy of Food & Wine Reinventing the Classics to a lucky reader.
How does one enter this amazing giveaway? It’s pretty simple and open to residents of the US and Canada. Each reader can have up to 3 entries and the winner will be chosen by random selection.
Only comments on this specific post count as entries. Please don’t respond by email or comment on the Facebook fan page.
- A plain, old-fashioned how ya doin style comment. Just tell me how excited you are to enter.
- A comment with a link to a tweet on Twitter sharing this post.
- A comment link to a blog post or Facebook entry referencing this post. (just copy the url of the timestamp for Facebook)
The comments will close on Saturday November 13 at 10pm EST. If you aren’t the winner, don’t worry this will become a weekly occurrence and you will have another chance soon.
²Mostly I just wanted to use the word piqued. It’s fun to say.