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Monday, January 31, 2011

FOOD Book of the Month!!

 THE ART OF CHARCUTERIE (John Wiley and Sons, 2011, 388 pages, ISBN
978-0-470-19741-7, $65 US hard covers) is by the Culinary Institute of
America and John Kowalski, a professor at the CIA. Charcuterie has
moved out from its rare artisanal practices to the mainstream. It is
one of the hottest new items in North American restaurants, and, of
course, the CIA with its more than 40,000 alumni wants to be there with
it. So here is the book, covering pates, terrines, cured meats, and
sausages. Kowalski and his team detail ingredients, equipment,
sanitation, techniques and processes (brining, curing, smoking et al).
There's a separate chapter on spices, herbs and seasonings. And there's
also an interesting section on preservatives and how to substitute,
plus alternative ways to preserve that are virtually chemical-free.
There's a concluding chapter with preps and ideas for complementary
condiments such as a variety of cold sauces, gelatins, oils, relish,
chutney, pickles, and compote: orange marmalade and jalapeno sauce;
fresh plum and horseradish coulis; cinnamon-rum applesauce; Cajun-style
lime and mustard-seed dressing; pickled lady apples. The layout is
first-rate, with larger typefaces (especially good in the index).
Photos are informative. There are charts
Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and
avoirdupois measurements, but there are also tables of equivalents.
Audience and level of use: home cooks, restaurant chefs, schools of
hospitality libraries.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: dry-rub barbecued bacon;
dry-cured pancetta; beef jerky; campagne forcemeat; chicken galantine;
tete pressee; buffalo wing-style sausages; weisswurst; duck sausage.
The downside to this book: it lacks excitement and a "wow" factor since
it is a text.
The upside to this book: quantities are reasonable; you should make at
least 11 pounds of sausages at one go just to be efficient.
Quality/Price Rating: 90.

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