Synopses & Reviews
Have you ever wondered why restaurants have nightly specials? There are many reasons, actually, but they all have one thing in common: spontaneity. Nightly specials are a way to cook with seasonal fruits and vegetables, the catch of the day, unexpected leftovers, and spur-of-the-moment market finds. They are also a way for chefs to experiment with exciting new ingredients, develop their own signature dishes, and road-test new ideas that may eventually become regular menu features.
If these reasons sound familiar, that's because they all apply to home cooks as well.
Because there's no set menu in a home kitchen, every dinner is a nightly special. But all too often, home cooks find themselves in a rut, recycling the same meals week after week. Nightly Specials shows home cooks how restaurant and home cooking can meet. Acclaimed New York chef and host of the Travel Channel's Epicurious, Michael Lomonaco, along with award-winning food writer Andrew Friedman, offer up 125 recipes that use fresh and spontaneous ingredients to create innovative starters, salads, entrees, sides, and desserts. All the recipes are simple, loosely improvised dishes that will inspire home cooks to be flexible and remain open to each day's culinary possibilities. Best of all they can be selected at the last minute and cooked successfully in relatively little time.
No matter what the season or occasion, you'll find the perfect recipe in Nightly Specials. Toss together salads like Cool Roasted Beets with Mint or Mango and Red Onion Salad with Basil Vinaigrette. Warm up with a bowl of Curried Pea Soup with Frizzled Ginger or Moroccan Lamb Stew. Main courses include everything from quick-comforting favorites such as Supermarket Mushroom Risotto to show-stoppers such as Hacked Chile Lobster and Boneless Roast Leg of Lamb with Feta Cheese, Olives, and Eggplant. Desserts range from holiday classics such as Pear-Cranberry Upside-Down Cake to peak-of-the-summer favorites such as Plum and Peach Cobbler and indulgences such as Baked Alaska with Coconut Sorbet and Chocolate Ice Cream and Chocolate Truffles.
"Mahi mahi is on special, kale is fresh, lemons are abundant; what should you make? Celebrity chef Lomonaco's newest cookbook tackles the line between recipe and technique, offering home cooks a window into his world of inspired impromptu dinners. Simple but fancy-sounding dishes-like Marinated Salmon Carpaccio with Green Apple and Dill-act as templates. 'Replace the salmon with sushi-grade tuna and the apple with 1 small mango and 1 small papaya,' he suggests in a sidebar alongside the recipe. One of these little sections accompanies every recipe in the book, and though they're small, they do help teach readers the logic behind creative cooking. 'If you cannot find blood oranges, no problem,' he assures in Ceviche of Bay Scallops and Blood Oranges. 'Any orange will be fine. But also consider ruby red grapefruit from Texas.' For a cook intimidated by the creative process (or one who lives in an area with erratic access to vegetables), these recipes nestled within recipes are a great favor. The dishes themselves are an odd mix of restaurant-fancy food from Lomonaco's time at 21 and Windows on the World, old standbys (like My Mother's Italian-American Meatloaf) and a mishmash of Asian and Latin flavors. His use of unusual starches like yuca, quinoa, 'risotto,' wheat berries and barley will appeal to carb-conscious eaters. There are a few confusing moments-he suggests looking for ginger that feels 'soft to the touch' and recommends boiling collard greens for a whopping 90 minutes before sautéing-and the dessert section is surprisingly complicated. Overall, however, this strong collection of recipes will be welcome to any cook, and those in Lomonaco's strong fan base won't have any trouble finding a place for it on their shelves." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
A renowned New York chef shows how to whip up innovative and easy meals to enjoy "eating out" at home.
About the Author
Michael Lomonaco is one of America's most popular and brightest culinary stars. His long list of accomplishments includes serving as executive chef at both '21' Club and Windows on the World, two of New York's most legendary restaurants. He is the host of Epicurious
on the Travel Channel, and is a regular guest on The Late Show with David Letterman
and the Today
Over the past five years, Andrew Friedman has established himself as one of the premier collaborators in the New York cookbook-writing community. He has collaborated with chefs such as Alfred Portale, Pino Luongo, and Tom Valenti.