I remember the first time I walked into Kitchen Arts & Letters in New York. 13,000 cookbooks all housed in one cozy shop. It was the dead of winter and I hopped on the #6 line all the way up to Lexington & 96th. One of the teachers at my culinary school had mentioned the store to us. So the imagine of not only books, but all of the books focused on cooking/food almost made me start skipping when the train doors opened.
I miss that store and have always thought what a great business idea they had. Being NY, they seem to always get some great authors to come in and do book signings. I’ve been on this kick recently collecting/attending book signings and it seems like a plethora of cookbooks are being released for the holidays. Sometimes I toss around that idea of getting a wish granted..’who dead or alive would you have over for dinner.’ Jane Austen for sure…I mean come on…Mr. Darcy…which one did she really imagine??
And the other person would be Thomas Keller. I could kick myself in the butt for not buying his cookbook at The French Laundry and having him sign it. My mother and I walked past the kitchen and he was sitting there so casually talking to his staff; surely he had time to sign a book? No?
This is a whopper of a cookbook. 399 glorious pages from everything you can imagine; cookies to breads to donuts. The pictures are beautiful and totally drool worthy. I don’t even know what to try first, but aiming for the TKO cookies. ( That stands for Thomas Keller Oreos). Chocolate shortbread with white chocolate piped icing. Croissants are on my list (supervised that is). I can see now having looked over the recipe why I love them so much. Yeah it calls for a ‘butter block.’ I snagged this picture from Michael Ruhlman’s blog.
Next on the list was Eric Lanlard’s Tart It Up! This guy’s story is fantastic. He grew up in France, wanting to be a pastry chef early on in life. He ended up working in some fantastic establishments and now owns a cake shop in London. He even made Madonna’s cake for her wedding. The beginning of the book covers six types of pastries. What I like most about them is he mixes the dough by hand, not machine. He opens his book up with a bang having made a Spring garden green tart with peas, asparagus, and Parmesan cheese. The book covers sweet and savory tarts. And as all French do with their pastries, each one looks beautiful.
The third book that kept me up for hours reading was Ina Garten’s new book Fool Proof. Speaking of wishes, I wish I could spend a few days cooking with her. Her books are so approachable and I have never made anything of hers that has wasn’t repeated often in my kitchen.
She gives a list in the back of the book of preset menus for all kinds of occasions. Her methodology of putting a dinner on table with all ingredients warm and not missing out on your own dinner party is worth it alone to purchase this book. Some of the firsts I want to try are the jalapeno cheddar crackers, lobster corn fritters, 1770 meatloaf with garlic sauce, 4-hour lamb, and salted caramel brownies.
Looking forward to a Thanksgiving meal worthy to remember. Happy Holiday!
*All pictures used from Google images*