Although I've seen this new cookbook featured on some new-best-of-fall-cookbooks list, I haven't really seen any significant reviews or attention paid to it. Several months ago when Artisan Books offered it for early review, I was happy to accept, despite knowing very little about the author.
Well, clearly I should be paying more attention.
This cookbook is luminous, with minimalist, macrophotographs (my favorite!) and almost every recipe looks exciting, inviting. Nicely in that middle ground of looking maybe a bit complicated, a bit of a challenge, but surely quite do-able.
I love the way the table of contents for this cookbook are laid out:
The Garden (primarily vegetables)
The Mill (primarily grains)
The Yard (primarily fowl)
The Pasture (primarily beef and pork)
The Creek and the Sea (primarily seafood)
The Larder (primarily pickled and sauces)
The Public House (primarily cocktails and pub snacks)
The Sweet Kitchen (desserts)
The Basics (vinaigrettes, stocks, spice mixes)
The first thing I made from this book is simple, yet complex and delicious: The Copper Lantern, a mixed cocktail.
The Copper Lantern from Sean Brock
About ¼ ounce dark amber honey
2 ounces scotch, preferably Dewar’s
½ ounce sweet vermouth, preferably Antica
1 ounce Grand Marnier
½ ounce Drambuie
- Lightly coat a champagne saucer with honey by dipping a spoon into the honey and spreading it over the inside of the glass. It should not be a thick layer and it is not essential that every speck of the surface be covered.
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the Scotch, vermouth, and Grand Marnier and shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Strain into the honey-lined glass. Carefully pour the Drambuie over the back of a bar spoon to gently float it on top of the drink. Serve.
I failed to float the Drambuie on the top of the cocktail, and I was concerned about the integrity of the glass, so didn't want to pressure it with smearing the honey on with the spoon, so I just drizzled it on the interior. I actually liked this result, as it created this beautiful design of amber within the amber liquid. The honey taste is still there, of course, and after your first sip of this creation, you won't care about the presentation, in any case.
If you're someone who worries about your cocktails being too sweet and the inclusion of the honey here, don't. The final taste will be dependent on your honey, of course (I used the dark amber last-season harvest gifted to me by friends), but it does seem like no matter what honey you choose, the bitterness and sharpness of the liquors marries quite nicely with the honey. This drink is complex but balanced and harmonized (and beautiful to serve!)
I cannot wait to try the Sweet Potato Doughnuts with Van Winkle Bourbon Caramel. I used to have a yearly tradition of making doughnuts around Halloween (yeasted and fried, of course, the only authentic doughnuts in my book - baked can still be lovely, of course), and the next days to week look rather busy, but I'm still fantasizing about fitting them in and restarting the tradition.
Other examples that look exciting:
Corn-Goat Cheese Soup with Shrimp and Born Butter Chantrelles
Wild Ramp and Crab Stuffed Hushpuppies with Green Goddess Dressing
Crispy Fried Farm Egg with Fresh Cheese, Pickled Chantrelles, Wild Watercress, and Red-Eye Vinaigrette
Slow-Cooked Rib Eye with Potato Confit and Green Garlic-Parsley Butter
Pickled Shrimp with Cilantro and Fennel
Smoked Bacon for Beginners
Brighten this cookbook on your radar, it's one of the standouts in the abundant crowd of new releases this fall!