KQED Food Blog: Bay Area Bites: Cook by the Book: The Lever House Cookbook
Bay Area Bites: culinary rants & raves from bay area foodies and professionals
Previous Posts
New Discoveries
Consider the Lobster
Our Town Talk Diner
Links around the Bay
Charles Chocolates, Tantalizing Tastes
Hangin' Out in Paris
Minnesota Wild
Books for the Seasonal Cook
Bonjour l'Ete! Hello Summer!
Hwy 101, LA to SF: Part II
BAB Guidelines

'Bay Area Bites' is part of KQED's Blog Authors Collaborative. Blog contributors and commentators are solely responsible for their content. If you're interested in writing or contributing to a blog on kqed.org, email us with your idea.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Cook by the Book: The Lever House Cookbook

What do Fergus Henderson and Charles Phan have in common? Both were trained as architects before turning to the culinary arts. I'm sure if you look, you'll find more cooks and chefs with a background in or even just a love for architecture. There are some definite commonalities between the fields. But The Lever House Cookbook published by Clarkson Potter is the first cookbook I have come across that focuses on both.

A spectacular all-glass skyscraper, the Lever House is a sleek and sophisticated building. The cookbook does not give it short shrift. The building is documented in photos and in an essay. Nor does the book ignore the philosophy of the chef, Dan Silverman. Despite the fact that this is a "restaurant cookbook" it is clearly meant for the home cook. The food philosophy section serves as a pep talk, giving you the confidence to take on the recipes. The use of seasonings and vinaigrettes is covered in detail, both of which are crucial to becoming a great home cook or chef.

Many restaurant cookbooks, while beautiful are not particularly suited to the home cook. Not so with The Lever House Cookbook. Many of the recipes have 10 - 12 ingredients, and quite a few have even less. The recipes are not for beginners, but they are not complicated nor do they require a sous chef or preparation that begins ten hours before serving a meal. The recipes are mostly confined to one page, with gorgeous photos to help you with plating. The meticulous instructions are aided by seasoned co-author Joann Cianciulli.

There are some luxury ingredients used, such as foie gras, lobster and truffles but there are also many straight-forward recipes inspired by seasonal ingredients. I can't wait to try the Cranberry-Pecan Tart in the fall and also the latest object of my affection, pork belly, the Lever version is braised with soubise, a rich white sauce enriched with butter. This book would make a fabulous gift for fans of Dan Silverman's cooking, New York or just great food.

Roasted Asparagus Salad with Shaved Manchego and Marcona Almonds
serves 4

20 large asparagus spears (about 11/2 bunches)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 pound baby arugula, rinsed and dried
1/2 cup marcona almonds, lightly toasted
1/4 cup Sherry-Dijon Vinaigrette
(recipe follows)
4 ounces Manchego cheese, shaved

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Cut or snap off about 1 inch of the tough bottom stem of the asparagus and discard. Set aside 4 of the asparagus spears. With the remaining 16 spears, use a vegetable peeler and shave off the outer skin of the lower half of the remaining stalk, keeping the tops intact. Put these spears in a mixing bowl and coat with the oil; season with salt and pepper. Spread out the asparagus in a single layer on a sheet pan. Roast the asparagus for 10 minutes, until tender but not brown. Reserve the roasted asparagus at room temperature.

Shave the remaining raw asparagus spears into long ribbons using a vegetable peeler or mandolin. Fill a mixing bowl with ice water and soak the asparagus ribbons in it for about 5 minutes to crisp them up Put the shaved asparagus in a salad spinner or pat with paper towels to dry well.

In a large bowl, combine the arugula, shave asparagus ribbons, and almonds; season with salt and pepper. Dress the salad with about 1/4 cup of the sherry-Dijon vinaigrette (salads are best well dressed, where each leaf is filmed with vinaigrette, not drenched) Toss the ingredients gently using your hands to combine.

To serve, arrange 4 spears of the roasted asparagus on each of 4 plates. Put a large handful of the salad on top, trying to equally distribute the arugula and the goodies for each portion.

Sprinkle the shaved Manchego on top of the salads and finish off with final grind of black pepper.

Sherry-Dijon Vinaigrette
makes 3/4 cup

2 large shallots, finely diced
Generous pinch of kosher salt
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Generous pinch of freshly ground black pepper

To prepare a quick vinaigrette for the asparagus, put the diced shallots in a medium mixing bowl and sprinkle with a healthy pinch of salt. Let them sit for 5 minutes to allow the salt to draw out the water from the shallots; this will ultimately help hold together the vinaigrette. Add the mustard and vinegar and whisk with the shallots to combine. Slowly add the oil in a stream while whisking to emulsify the vinaigrette. Add a pinch of ground black pepper to balance it out. Keep any leftover vinaigrette covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


Anonymous haddock said...

Jeremiah Tower was an architect as well.

6/28/2006 10:48 AM

Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Yeah, and now he's just a -- (must... bite... tongue...)

::head explodes::

6/28/2006 1:24 PM

Blogger Amy Sherman said...

Though not a restaurant chef, Richard Wong who created the China Blue line of Chinese sauces and Modern Asian cuisine cookbook was also a trained architect.

Say what you will about Tower, he was a true "star" in his day and I still dream of his fantastic fried seafood and chips...

6/28/2006 2:09 PM

Anonymous JoAnn said...

Thank you Amy for the most thorough and articulate review yet. So happy you liked it. xojo

6/28/2006 9:52 PM

Anonymous Patrick said...

Related.. Alfred Portale used to be a jewelry designer.

6/29/2006 12:33 PM


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Locate CP Restaurants:
Check, Please! Google Map
KQED Food Sites
Check, Please! Bay Area
Jacques Pépin Celebrates!
Jacques Pépin:
Fast Food My Way
Jacques Pépin:
The Apprentice
Jacques Pépin:
The Complete Pépin
KQED Wine Club
KQED.org Cooking
Weir Cooking in the City
Tasty Food Sites
Chowhound SF
Eat Local Challenge
Edible San Francisco
Food Network
Food Talk
Group Recipes
Hungry Magazine
Leite's Culinaria
Mighty Foods
NPR: Food
Om Organics
Serious Eats
SFGate: Food
SFGate: Wine
SF Station: Restaurants
Slow Food SF
Top Chef
Wikimedia Commons: Food & Drink
Yahoo! Food
Yelp: Reviews
Tangy Food Blogs
101 Cookbooks
A Full Belly
Accidental Hedonist
An Obsession with Food
Anna's Cool Finds
Becks & Posh
Between Meals
Bunny Foot
Butter Pig
Cellar Rat
Chez Pim
Chocolate & Zucchini
Confessions of a
Restaurant Whore
Cooking For Engineers
Cooking with Amy
Cucina Testa Rossa
Culinary Muse
Denise's Kitchen
Eater SF
Feed & Supply
Food Blog S'cool
Food Musings
Food Porn Watch
I'm Mad and I Eat
In Praise of Sardines
Knife's Edge
Life Begins at 30
Love and Cooking
Mental Masala
Moveable Feast
Organic Day
Passionate Eater
San Francisco Gourmet
SF City Eats
Simply Recipes
The Amateur Gourmet
The Ethicurean
The Food Section
The Grub Report
The Petite Pig
The Wine Makers Wife
Vin Divine
Wandering Spoon
Well Fed Network
Word Eater
World on a Plate
Yummy Chow
Search BAB

Eye Candy: Food Photos
BAB on flickr.com
Join Flickr for free and share your photos with the Bay Area Bites and Beyond group pool.
Food Books
The Moosewood Cookbook
by Mollie Katzen
Baking: From My Home to Yours
by Dorie Greenspan
Grand Livre de Cuisine: Alain Ducasse's Desserts and Pastries
by Alain Ducasse, Frederic Robertmison
The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking and Entertaining
by Cheryl Alters Jamison, Bill Jamison
Tasty: Get Great Food on the Table Every Day
by Roy Finamore
Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way
by Lorna Sass
The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa
by Marcus Samuelsson
Michael Mina: The Cookbook
by Michael Mina, Photographer: Karl Petzktle
What to Eat
by Marion Nestle
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
by Michael Pollan
Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate
by John Scharffenberger, Robert Steinberg
Romancing the Vine: Life, Love, and Transformation in the Vineyards of Barolo
by Alan Tardi
What to Drink with What You Eat: The Definitive Guide to Pairing Food with Wine, Beer, Spirits, Coffee, Tea -- Even Water -- Based on Expert Advice from America's Best Sommeliers
by Andrew Dornenburg, Karen Page, Michael Sofronski
The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-be Southerners
by Matt Lee, Ted Lee
Bread Matters: The State of Modern Bread and a Definitive Guide to Baking Your Own
by Andrew Whitley
Coloring the Seasons: A Cook's Guide
by Allegra McEvedy
All-new Complete Cooking Light Cookbook
by Anne C. Cain
Modern Garde Manger
by Robert B. Garlough
The Spice and Herb Bible
by Ian Hemphill, Kate Hemphill
The Improvisational Cook
by Sally Schneider
Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children
by Ann Cooper, Lisa M. Holmes
Cradle of Flavor: Home Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia
by James Oseland
My Life in France
by Julia Child, Alex Prud'Homme
A Passion for Ice Cream: 95 Recipes for Fabulous Desserts
by Emily Luchett, Sheri Giblin (photographer)
Au Pied De Cochon -- The Album
by Martin Picard
Memories of Philippine Kitchens
by Amy Besa, Romy Dorotan
Simple Chinese Cooking
by Kylie Kwong
An Invitation to Indian Cooking
by Madhur Jaffrey
Hungry Planet
by Peter Menzel, Faith D'Aluisio
Sunday Suppers at Lucques : Seasonal Recipes from Market to Table
by Suzanne Goin, Teri Gelber
Simple Soirees: Seasonal Menus for Sensational Dinner Parties
by Peggy Knickerbocker, Christopher Hirsheimer (Photographer)
The Cook's Book
by Jill Norman
Molto Italiano : 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home
by Mario Batali
Nobu Now
by Nobuyuki Matsuhisa
Cheese : A Connoisseur's Guide to the World's Best
by Max Mccalman, David Gibbons
Bones : Recipes, History, and Lore
by Jennifer McLagan
Whiskey : The Definitive World Guide
by Michael Jackson
The New American Cooking
by Joan Nathan
by Lisa Yockelson
Easy Entertaining: Everything You Need to Know About Having Parties at Home
by Darina Allen
Cooking at De Gustibus: Celebrating 25 Years of Culinary Innovation
by Arlene Feltman Sailhac
Dough: Simple Contemporary Breads
by Richard Bertinet
Chocolate Obsession: Confections and Treats to Create and Savor
by Michael Recchiuti, Fran Gage, Maren Caruso
The Food Substitutions Bible: More Than 5,000 Substitutions for Ingredients, Equipment And Techniques
by David Joachim
Recipes: A Collection for the Modern Cook
by Susan Spungen
Spices of Life: Simple and Delicious Recipes for Great Health
by Nina Simonds
Mangoes & Curry Leaves: Culinary Travels Through the Great Subcontinent
by Jeffrey Alford, Naomi Duguid
Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light
by Mort Rosenblum
Vegetable Love: A Book for Cooks
by Barbara Kafka, Christopher Styler
A History of Wine in America: From Prohibition to the Present
by Thomas Pinney
Fonda San Miguel: Thirty Years Of Food And Art
by Tom Gilliland, Miguel Ravago, Virginia B. Wood
Matzoh Ball Gumbo: Culinary Tales of the Jewish South
by Marcie Cohen Ferris
Washoku: Recipes From The Japanese Home Kitchen
by Elizabeth Andoh, Leigh Beisch
Weir Cooking in the City: More than 125 Recipes and Inspiring Ideas for Relaxed Entertaining
by Joanne Weir
Rick Stein's Complete Seafood
by Rick Stein
The Great Scandinavian Baking Book
by Beatrice A. Ojakangas
Serena, Food & Stories: Feeding Friends Every Hour of the Day
by Serena Bass
John Ash: Cooking One on One: Private Lessons in Simple, Contemporary Food from a Master Teacher
by John Ash
The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook: Eating Well for Better Health
by Donald Hensrud, M.D., Jennifer Nelson, R.D. & Mayo Clinic Staff
Foods of the Americas: Native Recipes and Traditions
by Fernando and Marlene Divina
The Provence Cookbook
by Patricia Wells
Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World
by Gil Marks
Last Chance to Eat: The Fate of Taste in a Fast Food World
by Gina Mallet
by Thomas Keller
A Blessing of Bread: The Many Rich Traditions of Jewish Bread Baking Around the World
by Maggie Glezer
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
by Molly Stevens
On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen
by Harold McGee
Entertaining: Inspired Menus For Cooking with Family and Friends
by George Dolese
The Breath of a Wok: Unlocking the Spirit of Chinese Wok Cooking Through Recipes and Lore
by Grace Young, Alan Richardson
Cooking New American: How to Cook the Food You Love to Eat
by Fine Cooking Magazine
The Japanese Kitchen: A Book of Essential Ingredients with 200 Authentic Recipes
by Kimiko Barber
Arthur Schwartz's New York City Food: An Opinionated History and More Than 100 Legendary Recipes
by Arthur Schwartz
Poet of the Appetites: The Lives and Loves of M.F.K. Fisher
by Joan Reardon
Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes
by Jeffrey Hamelman
Everyday Dining with Wine
by Andrea Immer
Copyright © 2005-2008 KQED. All rights reserved.