woensdag 27 november 2013

Cooking My Way Back Home: Recipes from San Francisco's Town Hall, Anchor & Hope, and Salt House by Mitchell Rosenthal and Jon Pult

In Cooking My Way Back Home, Mitchell Rosenthal delivers the same warmth, personality, and infectious enthusiasm for sharing food as can be found at his wildly popular San Francisco restaurants, Town Hall, Anchor and Hope, and Salt House. With his trademark exuberance and good humor, Mitchell blends Southern-inspired comfort food with urban sophistication and innovation, for exciting results. Reflecting on the classics (Shrimp Étouffée), updating regional specialties (Poutine), elevating family favorites (Chopped Liver), and reveling in no-holds-barred, all-out indulgences (Butterscotch Chocolate Pot de Crème) are what’s on order in this collection of 100 imaginative and irresistible recipes. Like a good friend offering up a platter of freshly fried Oysters Rémoulade, these robust, full-flavored recipes are impossible to refuse.

Featured Recipe: Angels on Horseback

This dish has roots in Britain, where oysters are typically wrapped in bacon, broiled, and served on toast. But in the States, it is seen as a sort of upscale version of the familiar pastry-wrapped frank known as pigs in a blanket, except, well, the pig is the blanket. These angels are the most popular appetizer on the menu at Anchor & Hope. Unlike the Brits, we deep-fry the bacon-wrapped oyster, which not only cooks the bacon quickly but also makes it exceptionally crispy. The pronounced mustard flavor in the rémoulade works beautifully with the smokiness of the bacon. This rémoulade recipe is a good one to have in your arsenal. It’s perfect for shrimp cocktail or as a dipping sauce for deep-fried seafood.

2 large egg yolks, room temperature
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
1 tablespoon malt vinegar
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
4 gherkins, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Canola oil, for deep-frying
24 oysters, shucked
12 thin slices bacon, halved crosswise

To make the rémoulade, place the egg yolks in a food processor and process for 1 minute. With the machine running, add the oil in a slow, steady stream, processing until emulsified. Then, with the machine still running, gradually add the celery, parsley, tarragon, lemon juice, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, both mustards, vinegar, garlic, paprika, celery salt, capers, and gherkins and process until well incorporated and smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Pour the oil to a depth of about 3 inches into a deep fryer or deep, heavy-bottomed pot and heat to 375°F. While the oil is heating, wrap a half bacon slice around each oyster and secure with a toothpick.

When the oil is ready, working in batches to avoid crowding, add the wrapped oysters to the hot oil and fry for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the oysters are golden and the bacon is crispy. Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the oysters to paper towels, then keep them warm while you fry the remainder.

Arrange the oysters on a platter, drizzle with the rémoulade, and serve right away.

New York Times Notable Cookbook of 2011

"It is the accessible techniques and simple bold flavors that Rosenthal demonstrates throughout his book that make it so winning."
—The City Cook, Fall 2011

"In writing the book, Rosenthal makes those emotional connections that bind families together through communal dining. Yes, you can go home again."
—San Antonio Express News, 12/2/11

"Mr. Rosenthal understands simple pleasures (prime rib, barbecued shrimp, angels on horseback) and how to give them the modern tweaks that home cooks want."
—New York Times, Notable Cookbooks of 2011, 11/29/11

"Through the years and through many kitchens, Mitch developed an adventurous philosophy not bound to a single cuisine, blending Jewish deli roots with Southern-inspired comfort food, updated regional favorites and urban sophistication."
—Mary Ladd, Bay Area Bites: KQED, 11/19/11

"Part restaurant recipe resource, part memoir, and part manifesto calling for a return to communal food preparation and family meals."
—Allison Jones, Portland Monthly, 11/9/11

“The book shares with the restaurants a kind of rollicking, good-time feel. Nothing is too fussy nor too complicated. .. .Every dish in this book would make dinner guests happy, and unlike some other cookbooks, these recipes are meant for home cooks.”
—Tasting Table San Francisco, 10/17/11

“The book reflects Rosenthal's past and, in particular, his passion for all things Southern. . . . Like everything else Rosenthal has a hand in, it's a fun book.”
—San Francisco Chronicle, 10/16/11

“The best cookbook title ever.”
—Esquire, Best New Cookbooks, 10/14/11

“Full of the hearty food that Town Hall, Anchor & Hope, and Salt House are known for.”
—7x7 San Francisco, 10/6/11

“Over the last twenty years, a great incentive for me to spend time in San Francisco has been to eat the cooking of Mitch Rosenthal, first at Postrio, then Town Hall, and now Salt House. This talented chef is at ease with any regional cooking, from New Jersey to New York, or Louisiana to San Francisco. From elegant and delicate to earthy peasant fare, his dishes have one thing in common: amazing taste. Cooking My Way Back Home reflects Mitch’s passion, enthusiasm, and great talent, and his love of cooking shines throughout the book. This is a great addition to your kitchen library.”
—Jacques Pepin, author and host of Fast Food My Way

“Mitchell Rosenthal’s cooking reminds me so much of the food my grandmother and my mother made. He has taken basic Southern food and turned it into an art form that can be eaten. Read his recipes. Cook them and you will be richly rewarded.”
—Willie Brown, 41st mayor of San Francisco

“Mitch’s generous approach to cooking presents a master’s expression of comfort food: inspired preparations with a wink from the modern chef’s kitchen.”
—Chad Robertson, author of Tartine Bread

About the Author
Mitchell Rosenthal is the co-owner and executive chef of three San Francisco restaurants, Town Hall, Salt House, and Anchor and Hope, plus Irving Street Kitchen in Portland, Oregon. Mitch was a chef at the Four Seasons in New York City, Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio in San Francisco, and Granita in Malibu. Visit cookingmywaybackhome.com.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
A little about me

I grew up in restaurant kitchens. Honestly. From the time I was fifteen and washing dishes in a Jewish deli in Jersey until today, my entire life has been spent wearing kitchen whites. My chosen trade has allowed me opportunities I never thought possible. I’ve worked in some of the best restaurants in the country, and now, with my partners, Doug Washington and my brother, Steven Rosenthal, I own three restaurants in San Francisco and one in Portland, Oregon. Cooking has taken me places I never dreamed of. I’ve eaten food at roadside stands in Thailand and grand brasseries in Paris, sampled world-class smoked pork in rural Kansas and Iberian pork fat on the Catalan coast of Spain. But there’s one place cooking never took me, and that’s home.

I’ve survived much of the last thirty-five years on staff meals. The last thing I wanted to do after a double shift on the hot line was to go home and cook. But more recently things have changed. After establishing Town Hall, getting Salt House off the ground, and laying the groundwork for Anchor & Hope, I realized I was becoming a restaurateur. With each project, I was moving a little bit further away from the visceral pleasures of the kitchen. The less I cooked at work, the more I missed the simple act of cooking, of using a set of skills to create something memorable and delicious.

I offer this background by way of explanation for what I’m about to say: I had never really cooked at home until recently. Sure, I would whip up an omelet every once in a while, and knock out a turkey at Thanksgiving. But the experience of cooking for a few familiar faces around the kitchen table is new to me. It was only when testing the recipes in this book for the home cook that I actually cooked, really cooked, in my home kitchen. You see, I’m old school. I came up when kitchens still functioned on the apprentice system. I learned through the shared knowledge of the cook and a list of ingredients. Someone took you under his or her wing, showed you the proverbial ropes, and it was trial by smoke and fire. Those ingredient lists were just that: no amounts, just a list. I learned to cook by instinct, by feel. The idea of measuring a tablespoon of, say, black pepper, well, I just wasn’t used to it. This produced some tense moments in the kitchen when my wife, Mary, and I first began testing these recipes at home. She’s also a cook, and a good one, so when, by reflex, I would toss a couple of healthy pinches of salt into a pot of pozole, there would be a sharp, “Mitch, what are you doing? Did you write it down?”

My life in restaurants started in 1975, when I got a job washing dishes in the kitchen of a small Jewish joint in Edison, New Jersey, called Jack Cooper’s Celebrity Delicatessen. It was run by Tom Plaganis, a big Greek guy who was passionate about food. After a few years of scrubbing pots and rinsing plates, he began to let me cover the breaks for the short-order cooks. Tom taught me not only how to handle a sauté pan, but also how to handle myself in a restaurant kitchen, how to understand the hierarchy, how to view the kitchen as a kind of machine. He taught me to focus on making sure my part of that machine operated smoothly. I fell in love with the whole idea and with its processes. Using all of my senses to create something tangible for someone appealed to me. But satisfying the customers wasn’t the only thing that I appreciated. I was also interested in the relationship of the chef to his crew. That early apprenticeship gave me a thrilling sense of being part of a long story, part of the elemental passing on of knowledge and technique.

When I was a kid, at vacation time, the whole family would pile into the car and drive south—to Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia. I was immediately taken by the world below the Mason-Dixon Line: the pace, the people, the hospitality of the South made a real impression on me. So did the food. There was nothing shy or genteel about southern flavors. And I liked its social function, how food brought people together.

As I became more confident (and competent) in the kitchen, Tom allowed me to start putting some of my own dishes on the menu at the deli. This was right around the time that a friend gave me the landmark cookbook Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen. If I had been impressed by the up-front flavors of the Piedmont South, imagine my reaction to the strength of flavor and seasonings that Prudhomme put into play. I immediately started adding dishes from the book to the menu at the deli. Looking back, there was something funny about serving New Orleans–style Cajun food in a Jewish-style delicatessen. Fortunately for me, Tom didn’t care. The disconnect is apparent now, but at the time, nothing seemed strange about putting kishke, knishes, and corned beef sandwiches alongside jambalaya, blackened chicken, and gumbo.

This was in the mid-1980s, when Prudhomme was taking his restaurant, K-Paul’s, on the road. When he came to Manhattan, I knew that I had to eat his food. I grabbed a buddy of mine, drove up to New York, stood in line for three hours, and, at long last, was given the chance to eat chef Paul’s food. I was blown away. After the meal, Prudhomme graciously spent time with me, speaking at length about the techniques that made his approach unique. It was a heady experience, a kid from Jersey who cooked Cajun out of a Jewish deli in Edison talking to chef Paul Prudhomme, the king of New Orleans kitchens, about his philosophy on cooking.

K-Paul’s was in town for six weeks. Of course, I went back. The line was long, but my patience was rewarded with another incredible meal. Prudhomme was the talk of New York, and I had heard that he occasionally let cooks train at K-Paul’s, so when he made the inevitable visit to our table, I asked him about his “stage,” a culinary internship program. Paul told me that they weren’t bringing anyone on just then, but to call him on Friday and he would let me know. At noon on that Friday, and every other Friday for months, I would go into the office at the deli and call Paul Prudhomme. Finally, after nearly six months, I called one Friday and Paul said, “Come on down to New Orleans and cook.”

During my two months at K-Paul’s on Chartres Street in the French Quarter, I experienced a professional kitchen and the camaraderie that exists among chefs for the first time. Every single cook in that kitchen shared an enthusiasm, passion, and respect for food.

I felt as if I had received years’ worth of experience in that short New Orleans stay (you need only look at the contents of this book to see how Prudhomme’s influence has carried me forward). When my stage ended, I took that new knowledge and headed back north to cook at the Four Seasons in Manhattan. That’s where I met Executive Chef Seppi Renggli, one of my most important mentors. Seppi taught me that it was okay to be unconventional, and that a chef did not need to stick to a single cuisine. On the same menu, he would offer an Indonesian curry alongside veal Pozharsky—and it worked. Some of my most interesting ideas about food, as well as my basic kitchen philosophy of being open and adventurous, of not being bound by a single cuisine, of letting varied styles intermingle on the menu, come from my days working with Seppi at the Four Seasons.

After the Four Seasons, I began an unsettled period in my career, moving from kitchen to kitchen, my peregrinations landing me in such places as Le Cirque, and Coco Pazzo in Manhattan, Gitane in New Jersey, finally ending up at a resort on the island of Saint Lucia in the West Indies. After six months, the authorities found out I didn’t have my work papers and kicked me off the island. Before I left I made a phone call. In my waning days at the Four Seasons, Seppi had told me that if I got the chance I should really cook with Wolfgang Puck. So before my unceremonious deportation, I rang up Wolfgang and asked him for a job.

My first of three tours in the Postrio kitchen was in 1989, the year it opened and took the San Francisco restaurant scene by storm. It’s sort of amazing to think that Wolfgang has now been at the forefront of American cooking for 40 years, but I learned why during my first stint at Postrio. Like Seppi, Wolfgang had a sense of adventure and whimsy, but where Seppi’s adventurousness appeared on the plate, Wolfgang’s was not only on the plate, but also the table and the chair and the walls . . . he changed the paradigm of what fine dining could be. It wasn’t just the food, it was the whole atmosphere and experience. Wolfgang also taught Doug, Steven, and me that focusing on the customer will always pay off. I’ll never forget walking through the lobby of the Prescott Hotel (where Postrio was housed) with Wolfgang one Saturday night. There was an older couple from Texas at the concierge desk lamenting the fact that Postrio was the one place they just had to eat at in San Francisco, and they couldn’t get a reservation. It was a Saturday night and there were over 400 on the books, yet Wolfgang walked up to the couple and said, “You want to eat at Postrio, come with me.” He marched them right over to the Host Station and said, “Find this couple a table.” I was just as surprised as those Texans.

The Postrio kitchen, with its emphasis on premium ingredients, opened up a new world of possibilities to me, a world populated with local farmers and purveyors, all with a deep dedication to their craft. Unlike New York, where ingredients would arrive to the belly of the restaurant in crates, or New Orleans, where food was often flown in from other parts of the country, at Postrio, fresh vegetables and meats were delivered by the people who grew them, the people who raised them. I had never experienced that kind of attention to ingredients...

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