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The Preservation Kitchen: The Craft of Making and Cooking with Pickles, Preserves, and Aigre-Douxby Paul Virant and Kate Leahy
Synopses & Reviews
The first canning manual and cookbook authored by a Michelin-starred chef and restaurant owner, The Preservation Kitchen is a collection of Paul Virant's canning techniques, preserving recipes, and seasonal menus inspired by the award-winning fare at his restaurant, Vie.
Combining technical expertise with a chef's sensibility for maximizing taste and unique flavor combinations, The Preservation Kitchen elevates the field of preserving books. In addition to inspired ideas for pickles and preserves, Virant shares ideas for what to do with your bountiful supply of preserves either as seasonal ingredients in specialty cocktails like the Pickled Ramp Martini, or paired with sweet and savory dishes. In multi-course, menus that utilize these preserves, Virant reveals the magical world of capturing flavors in a jar.
"Virant, noted chef of Vie restaurant, on the outskirts of Chicago, offers a vibrant and inviting introduction to the world of preserving. After deciding to serve local produce in his restaurant year-round, Virant started preserving summer staples to extend the seasons. As a result, he experimented with canning and pickling everything from snow peas to watermelon rind and cherry tomatoes. The fruits of his experimentation are shared in this quirky yet useful collection. Virant devotes the first half of the book to the art of preserving, how to do it safely, and the various ingredients he utilizes for his year-round bounty. In addition to pickling, canning, and preserving, he covers the art of making aigre-doux, a French sweet-sour condiment that may be unfamiliar to many. He also includes numerous unusual but appealing jams such as beer, peach saffron, and raspberry chocolate. The second half of the book focuses on recipes that use these preserved ingredients including braised chicken legs in pearl pasta with Swiss chard and pickled stems, rainbow trout with creamed ramps and morels, and raspberry brown butter cake with yogurt ice cream and elderflowers. Those interested in making the foray into extending summer's bounty through the cold winter months could have no better guide that Virant." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Virant is a fine coach for cooks accustomed to packing strawberry freezer jam into upping their game and inspiring those interested in keeping local flavors on their table year-round." The Chicago Tribune
"With clear instructions and a full seasonal spectrum of inspiration, this has already made its way to the top of my stack of spring cookbooks." KQED Bay Area Bites
"The Preservation Kitchen makes us want to can everything." Chicagoist.com
"If any book could inspire me to can, it's this one....To flip through this book is to await every turn of the season and every visit to the farmer's market to come." Time Out Chicago: Cookbook of the Week
"Virant's suggestions for cooking with preserved foods are helpful for both beginning and experienced cooks, and provided menu plans focus on making the preserves shine. A unique guide to elevating pickling and preserves, recommended for adventurous cooks and eaters." Library Journal
"Paul Virant takes us on a delicious journey in The Preservation Kitchen, to unexpected spots that ring of traditions long forgotten, to exciting places that our palates want to savor for hours. Paul's Fried Chicken with Cherry Bomb Pepper Sausage Gravy and Drop Biscuits is soul food for a new millennium and his Beer Jam and Ramp Sauerkraut may just show up on my restaurant menus." Rick Bayless, Chef/Owner of Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, and XOCO, Chicago
"Along with being a great technical guide to preserving fruits and vegetables, The Preservation Kitchen gives the reader a first-hand look at Paul's exceptional talent and culinary philosophy. By sharing his immense knowledge and passion, he leads the way as a great craftsman and mentor for future generations of food professionals and enthusiasts. Paul's zest for life and great food is contagious!" Jacquy Pfeiffer, Founder of The French Pastry School
"Paul Virant’s approach to the modern kitchen extends seasonal boundaries far beyond nature’s reach. By suspending local treasures in time, and incorporating them creatively, he has redefined American cooking as we know it. Truly a jar star!" Paul Kahan, Executive Chef/Partner of Blackbird, avec, The Publican, and Big Star
"Virant offers seasonally inspired menus — beef chili with pickled candy onions, chased by his wife's chocolate chip cookies, for a wintry warmer; grilled and pickled summer squash salad and summer berry soda floats for a breezy supper — that make use of the fruits (and veggies) of their labors. Geared toward ambitious home cooks and professional chefs, these recipes could inspire the rest of us to fit into one of those categories." Carly Boers, chicagomag.com
"Advanced, intelligent pickling recipes from the starred Chicago chef, plus inspiring seasonal menus in which to use them." New York Times Book Review
The first canning manual and cookbook authored by a Michelin-starred chef and restaurant owner, The Preservation Kitchen reveals a world of endless flavor combinations using revolutionary ideas that bring homemade preserves deliciously to life. Pairing science with art, Paul Virant presents expert preserving techniques, sophisticated recipes, and seasonal menus inspired by the award-winning fare at his restaurant, Vie, in Western Springs, Illinois.
Imaginative tangy jams, brandied fruits, zesty relishes, cured meats, and sweet and savory conserves are the focus of the first half of this book, while seasonal menus pairing these preserves with everything from salads and cocktails to poached fish and braised meat compose the second. Brandied Cherries used in Cherry Clafoutis, or as a garnish for the Beer-Jam Manhattan, are a sweet reminder of the summer harvest. And the Chicken Fried Steak with Smoked Spring Onion Relish anticipates warmer days when you’re still deep in winter.
Alongside recipes and menus, Virant draws on his extensive technical knowledge and experience to provide detailed and comprehensive guidelines for safe canning practices, testing pH, pressure canning, water bath processing, and storing. But no matter how precise the science, Virant never forgets the art in each handcrafted preserve and thoughtfully developed recipe. His unique approach re-imagines seasonal eating by harmonizing opposite or unusual partnerships: the brightness of summer fruit may be tempered with the earthiness of meats and winter produce, or the delicacy of spring vegetables might be enriched by the robust herbs and spices more typical of fall. The Preservation Kitchen not only demonstrates and instructs, it encourages and explores the limitless possibilities of capturing the seasons in a jar.
About the Author
Chef-owner Paul Virant's name is synonymous with local, seasonal eating. Vie has been featured in Food & Wine, the Chicago Tribune, the Sun-Times, and Time Out Chicago. In 2007, Virant was named a Food & Wine best new chef. In 2011, he took over as executive chef at Chicago's Perennial restaurant, renamed Perennial Virant.
Kate Leahy is a freelance food writer and co-author of the IACP 2009 Cookbook of the Year, A16 Food + Wine (Ten Speed Press).
Table of Contents
1 • Introduction: Capturing the Year in a Jar
5 • Principles of Safe Preserving
13 • Part One: In the Jar
Pickles, relishes, and other acidified preserves • 15
Jams, marmalades, conserves, and butters • 55
Bittersweet preserves: aigre-doux and mostarda • 87
Fermenting and curing: sauerkraut, Salted Produce, and cured meat • 105
Pressure-canned preserves • 121
127 • Part Two: At the Table
Early Signs • 133
Spring Supper • 139
An Earth Day Gesture • 147
At Last, Al Fresco • 155
Lazier Days • 165
Grill Out • 173
A Midsummer Meal • 183
On the Farm • 191
Happy Hour Interlude • 207
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