All-in-one books worth looking into


November 01, 2006|By Kate Shatzkin | Kate Shatzkin,Sun reporter

The Bon Appetit Cookbook

By Barbara Fairchild

Kitchen Sense

By Mitchell Davis

Clarkson Potter / 2006 / $35

With 600 recipes, this volume is half the size of Bon Appetit's offering, but still worth having on the shelf. We found a lot to like here: the modern, accessible tone of the recipes; the precise directions for advance preparation and handling leftovers; the suggestions for variations and substitutions.

Mitchell Davis, vice president of communications at the James Beard Foundation in New York, brings an urban sensibility to his cooking. Some recipes, like Fraud Thai, mimic popular takeout fare at home.

We also found a few things not to like -- principally the lack of photographs or illustrations, which made the long boxes of tips and techniques hard to penetrate. But the sesame-ginger scones? Subtly fantastic with a dab of honey and a cup of green tea.

Cider-Brined Pork Chops With Creamed Leeks and Apples

Serves 4

4 1/4 cups apple cider (divided use)

3 tablespoons coarse kosher salt

6 whole allspice

1 bay leaf

four 10-ounce center-cut pork rib chops

4 tablespoons ( 1/2 stick) butter (divided use)

5 large leeks (white and pale-green parts only), thinly sliced

1 cup whipping cream

salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, halved, cored, each half cut into 4 wedges

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth

1/3 cup Calvados or other apple brandy

2 tablespoons olive oil

Bring 4 cups cider, kosher salt, allspice and bay leaf to boil in heavy, large saucepan, stirring until salt dissolves. Cool brine completely. Place pork in a 13-inch-by- 9-inch-by-2-inch glass baking dish. Pour brine over. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy, large skillet over medium-low heat. Add leeks and saute until soft, about 7 minutes. Add cream and simmer until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Creamed leeks can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)

Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add apples and saute 10 minutes. Add sugar and saute until apples are golden, about 6 minutes longer. Add broth, then Calvados and remaining 1/4 cup cider. Simmer until sauce thickens slightly and apples are tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Prepare barbecue (medium heat) or preheat broiler or grill pan. Drain pork. Rinse under cold water; pat dry. Brush pork with oil. Grill or broil to desired doneness, about 5 minutes per side for medium.

Meanwhile, rewarm leeks, thinning with water by tablespoonfuls if too thick. Bring apples to simmer. Spoon leeks onto plates. Top with pork, then apples.

Adapted from "The Bon Appetit Cookbook"

Per serving: 951 calories, 41 grams protein, 53 grams fat, 26 grams saturated fat, 77 grams carbohydrate, 7 grams fiber, 223 milligrams cholesterol, 4,508 milligrams sodium

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