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Library Notes: New Books for November 2016

Written by: Kate Heenan
ICC Library Intern

dsc_00561Adventures of Fat Rice

Fans of restaurant cook books and graphic novels alike, check out our new book The Adventures of Fat Rice.  Conlon, Lo and Amano put together some of the favorite recipes from the Chicago restaurant, Fat Rice, with a focus on Macanese food.  The book itself is put together like an omnibus of a comic series.  The chapters include 100 recipes spanning from pickles and preserves and appetizers to desserts with a helpful building blocks chapter included at the end. Each chapter not only offers up some great recipes or “adventures”, but incredible graphics, photographs and theories about etymology and origin of the dishes included.  Be sure to check out all the adventures The Adventures of Fat Rice has to offer from the Asparagus Invasion to Attack of the Chili Clam.

dsc_00431Ferment, Pickle, Dry

Ferment, Pickle, Dry: Ancient Methods, Modern Meals by Simon Poffley and Gaba Smolinksa-Poffley offers a simple and exciting guide book for preserving enthusiast.  The book includes an introduction to the ancient methods of fermenting, pickling, and drying food along with reasons why they are not just a passing fad.  Recipes included are not only staples, including basic kombucha recipes, but new and clever creations such as a sour grape pickle-tini. Included are dual recipes, where everything can be incorporated into main dishes, making sure that no jar remains unused.

DALI: Les Diners de Gala

Fans of the painter Salvador Dali will be excited to know that Dali: Les Diners de Gala has finally been republished! One glance at the cover lets a reader know they are going on a surreal culinary adventure; one that only Dali, himself, could have created. The book includes all of the original 136 recipes, plus bizarre and genius artistic renderings by Dali.  Recipes span from exotic dishes to meals to aphrodisiacs.  To quote Dali himself, “Les dîners de Gala is uniquely devoted to the pleasures of taste … If you are a disciple of one of those calorie-counters who turn the joys of eating into a form of punishment, close this book at once; it is too lively, too aggressive, and far too impertinent for you.”


dsc_00821The Chef’s Library

Ever wonder what your favorite Chef’s favorite cookbook is?  Well wonder no more.  Jenny Linford’s The Chef’s Library: Favorite Cookbooks from the World’s Great Kitchens does just that.  Linford interviews over 70 Chefs explaining why and what they love about their pick from Darina Allen talking about The Ballymaloe Cookbook to Michael Wignall ‘s explain how the story is also important in his pick, Origin.  Chapter 2 includes over 50 of the most influential cookbooks ever written with a brief history of the Chef and book included.  Her last chapter is a Cookbook Directory organized by Country, time and specialty.  Be sure to see if you favorite stacks up!

The Science of Wine

Jamie Goode, a widely respected authority on wine science, just came out with his second edition for The Science of Wine: From Vine to Glass.  This edition includes everything we loved about the first edition’s groundbreaking reference giving information about the science of wine, ecological impacts on the future of wine making, and new technological trends.  The new edition includes a new chapter on soils and vines, oxygen management, and a linguist view for describing wine.  It also includes hot topics that the last edition wasn’t able to include such as genetically modified grapevines, the future of the cork, and more.

These and many more can be found in the “New Books” display in the ICC library! Follow @IntlCulLibrary on Twitter and Instagram for more updates.

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ICC Librarian Sara Quiroz Takes Over Book Riot Live

Written by Sara Quiroz
ICC Librarian

This weekend I have the great honor of participating in one of my favorite events presented by one of my favorite websites. Your humble librarian will be at Book Riot Live, the annual conference presented by the reading renegades over at Book Riot. My space here in ICC has been called the heart of the school a peaceful hideout and an aquarium, I am so thrilled to have the opportunity to share that with the outside world and welcome them into this special space we have built. While the focus is not culinary, I know many of my library regulars love books outside the culinary world and I’m sure it will be of interest to many.

Here are a few highlights below. For the full schedule, check here: http://bookriotlive.com

On Friday, Nov 10th Sommelier and Author Diane McMartin will be hosting an event called Books & Booze during which she will offer wine pairings for various books followed by readings by the authors.  This event will take place at the Strand at 7pm. Click here to join

On Saturday Nov 11th, I’ll be hosting a meet up in the commons at 11:30am. Scrumptious Prose is for cookbook collectors and fans of food writing. http://bookriotlive.com/bird-plane-commons-schedule/

For fans of our How to Write a Cookbook series, also on Saturday from 1:15 to 2:05pm will be Farm to Table: How a Book Gets Made during which a panel of experts from the field will discuss every step of the process. Hear from small press, packaging, editing and marketing professionals!  http://bookriotlive.com/sessions/farm-table-book-gets-made/

To hear more about me and what I do here come see me speak on the panel Libraries, Beyond the Books on Sunday at noon. I will be speaking on a panel with two other librarians about how libraries are changing and modernizing. http://bookriotlive.com/sessions/libraries-beyond-books/

These and a plethora of fantastic programming will all be taking place over this weekend. I attended as a visitor last year and had a really great time. I am thrilled I was invited to participate this year. I would love to see some friendly ICC faces in the crowd and Book Riot has generously given me an ICC discount code of “cookthebooks” use it to save $20 off admission.

 

2 Days Away!

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Library Notes: Books to Elevate Your Thanksgiving

Whether you are cooking a full spread for your family, bringing a side dish to a casual “Friends-giving” or thankfully spending a rare day off alone at home the ICC Library has you covered for Thanksgiving. From start to finish we have books for whichever blank you need to fill in. Of course you wouldn’t dream of using anything but Grandma Myrtle’s Mashed Potatoes, but maybe your pie selection needs an upgrade.  Stop by to check out these and more.

Get the day started by whipping up a few of these amazing drinks from ICC Alum Maria Del Mar Sacasa in Winter Cocktails. Keep your drunk uncle happy and conversation flowing with Hot Mulled Wine (classic, or try a white version featuring pears,) Hot Buttered Rum or several variations on Spiced Cider.

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There are many authoritative guides on start to finish Thanksgiving out there. The advantage being all you need is in one book, you don’t need a pile of various bookmarked cookbooks or hand scribbled recipes all over the place. Of these, my favorite is Thanksgiving: How to Cook it Well by Sam Sifton. His work on the New York Times dining section ensured that this self proclaimed, “One man Thanksgiving help-line” has seen it all. This slim volume will not take over your workspace, yet it includes all the essential classics as well as modern twists and fun variations.

The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book by Emily Elsen & Melissa Elsen covers favorites from the eponymous Brooklyn pie and coffee shop divided by season. The Elsen sisters make it a priority to utilize seasonal produce, just like their grandmother did. In the Fall & Winter sections you will find many new options to jazz up your Thanksgiving table or wow your hostess. The Blushing Apple Pie combines beets with apples for a unique take or try the Brown Butter Pumpkin pie which has a subtle butterscotch note. For a non traditional approach, whip up a Buttered Rum Cream Pie or a Grapefruit Custard Pie.

When all is said and done and the dishes are washed the only question left is what to do with all that leftover turkey! This is where Culinary Birds by Chef John Ash comes in handy. This James Beard award winner covers all poultry but contains a sizable section on turkey with many unique recipes such as Turkey Tortilla Soup, Turkey Bolognese or Dan Dan Noodles (with turkey of course! ) When you have eaten your fill of leftover sandwiches, give Culinary Birds a try to shake things up a bit.

There you have it, Thanksgiving start to finish. Stop by the library for these and many more whether you need a wine pairing, a pie crust or turkey brine, we’ve got it all. For updates, follow us on Instagram @IntlCulLibrary

 

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Library Notes: New Books at ICC [October 2016]

The ICC library is continuously growing and evolving. In this new column, we will highlight a few favorites from our new acquisitions shelf.

Sushi Lovers alert! If you loved the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi then you are already familiar with Jiro Ono, the brilliant and delicate sushi craftsman. In Sushi Chef Sukiyabashi Jiro by Shinzo Satomi, the reader is welcomed into his kitchen. First published in Japan in 1997, it is only now available in English from translator Rei Perovic. With beautiful color photos as well as maps and diagrams, it is no stretch to call this book a sushi bible. Our own Chef Jeffery Moon loved it and called it the best sushi book he has seen. Satomi digs deeper that simple instruction during his interviews with Jiro providing an insight into his style and philosophy. This book is a must read for aspiring chefs, seafood lovers and Japanese food enthusiasts.

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As the weather starts to turn, we begin craving comfort foods that will fill the house with fragrance and cure an impending cold. The recipes in Small Victories by Julia Turshen fit the bill. Julia’s philosophy is the simpler the better and to grow as a cook and fund success in the kitchen, we must celebrate the small victories – each little step along the way.  While certainly geared toward the home cook, culinary students can take away from this an open minded, expansive approach to recipes. For each included in the book, Julia provides what she calls “Spin-Offs” or variations that completely change the recipe or utilize the ingredients in a whole new way. So whether you are craving Snow-Day Udon Soup  or Chicken + Pea Skillet Pie you will learn several other recipes right along with it. Recommended for simple go-to comfort recipes or novice cooks.

Chef Jose Pizarro owns three Spanish restaurants in London, but instead of creating a book dedicated to one of them, he chose to highlight the cuisine from his favorite city, San Sebastian. The Basque Book by Jose Pizarro is a beautiful colorful celebration of the famed Spanish city and the whole Basque region. All the recipes are labeled either “Pintxos” or “At the Table” – meaning small plates or main dishes.  However, says Jose “Sometimes I just think anything goes.” Dive in for his take on classics such as tortilla and empanada as well as new favorites like Swiss chard stew or chestnut flan. An excellent pick for photography lovers, Spanish food fanatics and fine dining fans.

We have these and many more new books available for check out now in the library. Follow us on Instagram for the most current updates @intlcullibrary

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Library Notes Wine

Library Notes // Wine 101

By Sara Quiroz
ICC Librarian

Visitors to the ICC Library sometimes mistakenly think it’s nothing but cookbooks. On the contrary, we have a very wide range of books and DVDs available on almost every subject in the culinary world. This of course, includes everything our Sommelier students may need throughout their course. If you’re not quite ready to commit to the full course but would like to dip your toe in the world of wine, here are a few highlights from our collection to get you started.

Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine by Madeline Puckette and Justin Hammack provides a thorough overview of everything you need to know about wine, from fundamentals to styles to regions. Best of all, the content is incredibly visual. Wine Folly is full of great charts in bright colors; it’s a fun reader friendly guide without sacrificing the content. Pick this up if you are brand new and need an engaging starting point.

If you, like me, are more of a literary type, Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch is the pick for you! Lynch is a wine buyer who vividly recalls his travels through France painting colorful portraits of the producers and other assorted characters he met along the way. I participated in a wine book club and all of the Somm alumnus agreed it would have been incredibly helpful to read during the French portion of the class. How rare, to find a engaging and laugh out loud funny memoir that is also informative and educational. This is for the avid reader who wants to learn more about French wines.

Wine Grape: A Complete Guide to 1,368 Vine Varieties may very well be the most beautiful book in our collection. This hefty reference guide from Ecco includes gorgeous, lushly illustrated botanical drawings. Each variety is covered in detail, from color to origins to varieties commonly mistaken for the grape in question. I would recommend this for the amateur sommelier ready to take their education to the next level. Of course the Sommelier program here is not just about wine. The experienced Somm must also be well versed in beer, sake and spirits. Here are a couple selections of the many books we have available on the other beverages.

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While we hear a lot about food and wine pairings, it is rare to hear about how to pair beer with food. In Tasting Beer, author and beer enthusiast Randy Mosher covers the subject with the same care and detail so often afforded to wine. This book has a little bit of everything, history, tasting notes and pairing ideas all with colorful illustrations. If you are clueless about beer, but would like to know more, this book is for you.

There are many students who come by the library toward the end of the program who blind test wine with the best of them, yet are clueless when it comes to cocktails. We have an excellent selection of books on spirits, from histories to bartending guides. The Cocktail Lab by Tony Conigliaro stands out because it is more than just a collection of recipes; it details the science, art and history of a wide range of cocktails. Conigliaro covers the classics of course, but he also details his various cocktail “experiments” from perfumed drinks to sous vide cocktails.

There you have it, for the Sommalier in the stacks. Stop by the ICC Library to check out these and many more beverage books. To keep up with whats new in the library, follow us on Twitter and Instagram via @IntlCulLibrary or follow ICC directly at @ICCedu.

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Library Notes // The ABCs of the DVDs

By Rose Kernochan
ICC Library Assistant

ICC’s students come to the library asking for specialized cookbooks about molecular gastronomy, working with sugar and plating desserts. They search the bookshelves and often, they find what they need. But what they don’t know is that they have only reached our library’s top layer. Aside from the 5,000 or so volumes on the open shelves, there are rare, half-hidden reference volumes, tucked into a secluded nook–and then one last well-kept secret: the ICC’s stellar culinary DVD collection.

It’s good to study, say, Ewald Notter’s The Art of The Confectioner if you want to learn to work with sugar. But you can also watch Notter working with sugar on DVD. Likewise, you can read Dean Jacques Torres’ Dessert Circus, if you need to know about plating desserts—or you can watch him plating bombolini or almond kataifi, and talking about “plate presentation”, courtesy of one of the ICC’s large collection of DVDs by the deans (favorites like Jacques Pepin, Andre Soltner and Cesare Casella are also heavily represented).

Many of the library’s (literally) heavyweight molecular gastronomy cookbooks—such as A Day at El Bulli — are in the Reference Section, and can’t be checked out. But hidden in the DVD drawers, there are cool documentaries about Ferran Adria (like Anthony Bourdain’s “Decoding Ferran Adria”, or Gereon Wetzel’s “Cooking in Progress”), and the interactive CDs (with recipes!) which accompany a few of those expensive El Bulli reference books. Like everything else in those drawers, they can be checked out for a two-day period.

The DVDs aren’t limited to specialized topics, or even just Culinary or Pastry Arts. The ICC’s 6-disc “Basic Techniques” DVD can help provide backup for a student’s first steps in cooking school—just as the 6-disc Fundamentals of Wine (or Andrea Robinson’s Intensive Wine Class) can help teach wine basics to an early-career somm student. Knife-sharpening videos remind cooks how to keep their precise tools in the best possible shape—and there are even DVDs with tips for hand-sharpening Japanese knives.

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If you’re a fan of a particular chef—Eric Ripert, David Chang, Anita Lo—there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find an “unplugged” interview or an unusual ICC demo starring your favorite culinary idol. You’ll be able to watch Bobby Flay tackling ceviche, or Chang doing Japanese dashi, or Ripert focusing on “scallops and foie gras with black truffle sauce”. What makes the ICC collection unique are the many in-house classes or guest chef demos—but standards like “Mind of a Chef” or Julia Child’s “The French Chef” are included also.

Last of all, there’s entertainment, designed to whet your appetite for that new food- or wine-world career. Comedy features like “Chef” , “Sideways” and the Japanese ramen classic “Tampopo” sit in the drawers next to more educational documentaries like “Mondovino” and the lyrical “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”.

To access the DVDs, just ask a librarian for help—or just search the library catalogue on your own, from the ICC website. If you’re on the computer, use keywords for whatever specialized area you’re looking for: say, “dashi”, “varietal” or “cake decoration”. If you want to go manual, you can also flip through the three ring notebook marked “DVD Catalog” which is on the librarian’s desk near checkout.

Enjoy!

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Library Notes // The Cookie Books

By Sara Medlicott,
ICC Librarian

It’s that time again, everyone’s favorite contest The Cookie Games will happen on August 4th this year! The Cookie Games is a competition open to all students to develop and produce a cookie inspired by a country. These cookies will be judged by a panel of celebrity judges for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place as well as by the audience to select a fan favorite. Last year’s top winner was Chocolate Cardamom Button by Savita Bhat. Second place went to the team of Julia Johnson & Elena Ubeda who created Lavender and Violet Shortbread cookies. The Nagelkass Cocktail Cookie by Maureen Naff came in third. As you can see, creativity is a major key to success.

If you are looking for inspiration to fill out an application, or if seeing the cookie posters around school has just made you hungry, stop by the library and take a look at some of our great cookie cookbooks.

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The Gourmet Cookie Book

It is much more than a collection of cookie recipes; it’s a cultural history of the United States told through our recipes. During the Second World War, sugar was rationed so for the cookie pick of 1942, Gourmet recommended using honey instead of sugar. By 1976, the food processor was available to the US market, “it brings epicurean feats frequently into the realm of everyday fare,” one of these feats was Almond Bolas or Portuguese almond cookies.

In its earliest days, Gourmet assumed its users were accomplished cooks and wrote recipes in shorthand, but as the years went on the recipes needed to be made accessible for a readership who cooked less frequently. In 1982 the format of the recipes started evolving with the Chocolate Meringue Biscuits, listing ingredients separate from directions. The cookies highlighted are only several among many, with different flavors and styles, all representing different trends throughout history.

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The International Cookie Cookbook by Nancy Baggett

As the theme of The Cookie Games is to select a country for inspiration, this book is completely appropriate with many ideas if you want to step outside the box of classic American cookies. Divided into regions, you can find Nanaimo Bars from Canada, Polvorones (Brown Sugar Cookies) from Cuba, Spitzbuben (Little Rascals) from Germany and even Lenguas de Gato (Cats’ Tongues) from Spain – don’t worry they don’t contain any tongue!

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Martha Stewart’s Cookies by Martha Stewart.

Who doesn’t love Martha? Divided up by texture, this simple, easy to follow and very visual book includes a diverse range of cookie recipes. Try the light and delicate Amaretti Crisps, soft and chewy Pistachio Lemon Drops, crumbly and sandy Bourbon Currant Cookies, chunky and nutty Magic Blondies, the cakey and tender Fresh Peach Cookies, crisp and crunchy Earl Grey Tea Cookies or the rich and dense Lemon Tassies.

In the world of cookies the options are endless, as this small selection of books demonstrates. These and many other cookie recipes are available for you in the library. If you decide to enter the games, good luck! If not, be sure to stop by and vote for your fan favorite on August 4th at ICC!

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Library Notes // Cake Techniques and Design

By Sara Medlicott,
ICC Librarian

Chef Cynthia Peithman is a regular in the ICC library. Not only is she a Chef Instructor here, she is also a student herself, pursuing a Masters Degree in Food Studies. Chef Cynthia uses the library to prepare for her class instruction here and research her assignments for school. Her capstone project at the end of last semester focused on – what else? Sugar! For her project she created a unique and beautiful cake themed around sugar cane fields in the Dominican Republic. The cake was inspired by her reading and is full of hidden details which tell the history of the fields and sugar production.

Would you like to learn how to sugar sculpt Fidel Castro? Sugar craft a sugar cane? Learn from Chef Cynthia herself in our upcoming Cake Techniques and Design Program! In the meantime, check out some of her top picks for cake books.

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How Baking Works by Paula Figoni

Take the guess work out of your baking with Paula Figoni’s How Baking Works. This text delves into the science of baking so you can understand how batter temperature impacts texture and why different sweeteners change the quality of cake. The book takes complex subjects and distills them so they are accessible to the average person. It also includes questions, exercises and experiments at the end of each chapter in case you need more practice with any particular topic.

Stylish Cakes: The Extraordinary Confections of the Fashion Chef by Charlotte Neuville

Stylish Cakes is a recent release from ICC alum Charlotte Neuville also known as the Fashion Chef. It features a wide range of her intricate and chic cakes for all different occasions from birthdays to fundraisers to weddings, each with a unique spin on client requests. Chef Cynthia has worked with Charlotte and you will even find one of her special touches pictured within – see if you can guess which cake she contributed to.

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Debbie Brown’s Enchanted Cakes for Children

If you are looking for a bit more instruction, we have several books by Debbie Brown here in the library. In each of her cake books she provides detailed, step by step instructions for anything you may want to create, in this case, mystical fantasy cakes for children. From mermaids to dragons to sunken treasure, you can find a cake to match almost any theme included within. Brown even includes templates and recommended suppliers in the back of the book.

The Art of Royal Icing by Eddie Spence

Eddie Spence covers both recipes and technique in depth with detailed step by step instruction, process photos and templates throughout. The book concludes with design ideas for full cakes representing a multitude of occasions and skill levels. Each cake includes a helpful list of all techniques used as well as the pages where you can find those instructions in the book so you can go back and review if need be. For classic beautiful cakes look no further.

We have these and many many more cake books in the library, so stop by and take a look!

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Library Notes // Bread Baking

By Sara Medlicott,
ICC Librarian

Anyone who has been to International Culinary Center knows of the famous bread rack. For new staff and students it’s almost mystical: at 3pm each day freshly baked goods from the bread class are available to take. If you’ve visited the school, we may have sent you home with a baguette or another treat. Needless to say, Chef Johnson is revered as the magician behind the rack.

To create your own yeast magic you can sign up for the Art of International Bread Baking program or to give it a try on your own with Chef Johnson’s top recommendations of bread books.

Bread Baking Books New York Culinary Library

For beginners

Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes by Jeffrey Hamelman. This classic text on bread gives an excellent overview of not just recipes but techniques with clear and easy to follow diagrams. Over 100 recipes cover everything from Baguettes to Whey bread, and the appendixes contain detailed instructions for more complex processes. Hemelman even covers 10 methods for braiding Challah! This book provides a detailed overview of everything from the world of bread.

Flour Water Salt Yeast by Ken Forkish. Ken Forkish originally worked in tech, but after 20 years he knew it was not his true calling, so he trained at multiple schools and opened Ken’s Artisan Bakery in 2001. Forkish provided excellent step by step illustrated guides for both bread and pizza. The process photos make it easy for beginners to follow along and understand technique. The pizza section includes not only dough but creative topping ideas such as golden beet and duck breast and sweet potato and pear.

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Bread Science by Emily Buehler. If you are more interested in the science behind the loaf, check out the work of Emily Buehler. She applies her PhD in Chemistry to artisanal bread baking describing such crucial processes as fermentation, yeast, gluten and gas retention. As Chef Johnson says, “It doesn’t teach you how to make bread, it helps you understand how bread is made”.

The Taste of Bread by Raymond Calvel. This book also details the science behind the loaves including taste, crust and fermentation in all types of bread. Calvels dives into a great amount of detail and this book would be best for intermediate to advanced bakers or those with a strong understanding of scientific principles.

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Wood Fired Oven Baking

From the Wood-Fired Oven by Richard Miscovish. This beautiful book covers everything you need to know about wood-fired baking, even the steps for how to simulate it if you don’t have access to a wood fired oven. The recipes and techniques included are not exclusively for bread, but it is also covered.

The Bread Builders by Daniel Wing. The Bread Builders is more specific to baking bread in a wood fired oven. This book includes not only the ingredients and procedures but also instructions for how to build your own wood fired oven and examples from various bakeries. If you are ready to go all in than this is the book for you!

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Advanced Bread and Pastry: A Professional Approach by Michel Suas. This text is for when you have exhausted the others. For the advanced baker, Suas provides extensive details on bread and pastry. This book includes formulas for almost every type of bread you can imagine and encyclopedia details on everything bread and pastry.

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Library Notes // Spanish Cooking

By Sara Medlicott,
ICC Librarian

“The highest expression of culture, besides art, is gastronomy. Gastronomy is the art of every day,” – Chef Jose Menendez

With an opening line like that, you know you are in for an excellent class. I recently had the pleasure of participating in the Essentials of Spanish Cooking course (next start June 6!). I was also lucky enough to sign up at the same time as the incredible Kristen Maugeri from Admissions.

Spanish cooking class
(Photos by Chef Jose Menendez and Kristen Maugeri)

The reason this class was so outstanding is not just learning to make tapas, chorizo or paella, but because Chef Jose Menendez is a walking encyclopedia of Spanish cuisine, culture and history.

He didn’t just teach us the technique for traditional paella, but he also explained why most “Spanish” restaurants here do not make it the traditional way, how it is different region by region and where it originated. So I came away with some amazing recipes, new culinary skills and I also gained a tremendous amount of knowledge. There is another class coming up in June, and I can’t recommend it highly enough, what could be more impressive for your next party than a spread of homemade tapas? If you can’t wait until June, stop by the ICC library! Chef Jose is a regular patron and he selected a few books from the collection that cover some of what we learned in class.

We started off with Tapas. Imagine my surprise that I have been doing Tortilla Espanola wrong all this time! I quickly learned the proper technique and it will only take a few modifications from what I was doing before to vastly improved flavor. Other favorites were the Mejillones a la Vinagreta (Mussels in Vinaigrette) and Coquetas de Pollo (Chicken Croquets). Variations on these, as well as many other tapas recipes are available in the beautiful Pintxos: Small Plate in the Basque Tradition by Gerald Hirigoyen and The Book of Tapas by Simone & Ines Ortega.

Next was Charcuterie. We learned how to make two types of sausage, classic chorizo and blanquets Valencianos. Here at the ICC library, we have a huge selection of all types of Charcuterie books. For the home cook, Chef Jose suggests Toro Bravo by John Gorham & Liz Crain which has very clear and easy to follow instructions for making chorizo at home. The book covers much more than sausage though; it also teaches you how to make tapas, raciones and cocktails. Toro Bravo is a great overview of Spanish cuisine as interpreted by a chef in Portland.

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Finally, we came to Paella day. Paella day is a favorite of the whole school because there is always plenty to go around. The whole class cooks two large pans as a group, then shares with everyone. In fact, my first experience of the Spanish class was during the previous session when I got a call in the library from a student, “Chef says you can come down for paella!” What better way to take a break than that? At last, it was my turn to be the Paella angel and we rolled the two huge platters upstairs during dinner break.

To try your hand at home, check out Paella by Alberto Herraiz. This beautiful and thorough book covers everything you need to know start to finish and has recipes for many regional variations such as Barcelona style, A Banda, Valencian and even New York Style. If you aren’t a rice fan, have no fear. There is an entire section of non-rice paellas with everything from quinoa and bulgur to desert paella with apples and camembert.

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For our last day the focus was on Molecular Gastronomy which is a passion of Chef Jose. It was always hard for an amateur like me to imagine whipping up some of these space age foods we see in magazines, but in this class we learned several recipes from start to finish. While they do require some unusual tools and ingredients, you don’t need a Michelin starred restaurant kitchen or a food lab to start on basic molecular gastronomy, you can do it right at home.

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To find out more about the Spanish origins of this food movement, come pick up Ferran: The Inside Story of elBulli and The Man Who Reinvented Food by Colman Andrews or A Day at elBulli by Ferran Adria — both cover the details of one of the original modernist restaurants in Spain. If you are a huge elBulli fan, you may also want to take a look at the yearly catalogues (see if you can find our signed copy!)

Of course, elBulli is not the only modernist restaurant in Spain. Chef Jose also recommends One Day at Mugaritz Restaurant by Bent Christensen. This beautiful book walks the reader through the inner workings of Mugaritz from the dishes to the philosophy. We also have the Mugaritz cookbook, if you feel inspired to try yourself.

All of these and many more books on Spanish cuisine are available in the ICC library, so stop by and have a look.