Saturday, April 18, 2015
Twelve Recipes Cookbook
Twelve Recipes by Cal Peternell
This cookbook is a simple, straightforward primer on the basics of cooking, but with creative flourishs on every page. Originally written for Cal's son when he went away to college, this cookbook is much more sophisticated than the layout and chapter titles would lead you to believe.
Cal Peternell is executive chef at world renowed Chez Panisse in Berkeley, CA. His style of writing is relaxed, and this comes across in his recipes very clearly. I can imagine that cooking with his instruction would be an adventure, and enjoyable. In the words of Michael Pollan in the foreword: "Twelve Recipes is a resolutely informal, handwritten invitation to come back into the kitchen and learn the basics from a dude so chill that you will quickly forget that he is also a brilliant cook."
Don't be put off by the titles of the chapters, as I almost was. Something about Toast didn't really excite me, but he's not talking plain ordinary toast here. Besides, my favorite breakfast is just that, buttered of course! Then he goes on to Eggs, including all kinds of variations on the theme. Once you get to the third chapter titled Beans, you begin to understand that Cal knows his flavors, and is innovative without being fussy. Chapter four is Salad Dressings And What To Dress. Salad dressings are one of my weakest links in the kitchen. I don't tend to take the time to make them from scratch, but Cal is nudging me in that direction ever so gently...and I'm inspired to give some of these dressings a try.
The remaing chapter titles are: Pasta With Tomato, Pasta Otherwise,Rice, Polenta and Mashed Potatoes, Vegetables Boiled, Roasted, Sauteed, and in Soups, Roasted Chicken, Braising, Grilling, Three SauceS: Bechamel, Salsa Verde, Mayonnaise, Cake: Carrot Cake, Plum Upside Down Cake, Blackberry Crisp...!
My purpose was to whet your appetite and entice you, the reader, with a brief overview of a truly wonderful and refreshing cooking perspective, guided by Cal's expertise. The color pictures and drawings throughout the book add to its charm. Check it out!