Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Further Reading: Valentine's Day


Valentine's Day... 24 hours dedicated to love, lovers and loving. For some, it's a joy. For others, a dread. They say the key to your true love's heart is through the stomach, so why not take to the kitchen and whip up something scrumptious for--or even with--your amore, surprising the object of your affection today and long after the designated day of romance?

Jacques Pepin can help. In Essential Pepin, he delivers more than 700 recipes, with something for every palate, including his signature roast duck a l'orange and crepes Suzette. Pepin blends the pragmatic with elegant sophistication. The "old chef," as he refers to himself, has come to the conclusion that even seasoned home cooks need the option of seeking some packaged shortcuts to help them prepare dishes from scratch.

And for dessert? Reach for Choclatique by high-octane chef and chocolatier Ed Engoron. This luscious cookbook is complete with useful tips and guides for whipping up decadent chocolate sweets for your sweetheart--even those with special dietary needs. There are 150 recipes for candies, cookies, fudge, soufflé, ganache, even cocktails. Watching your sugar or weight? Then simply cuddle up with the one you love and drool over the mouth-watering photographs of each delectable, chocolate-inspired creation.

But what if you don't cook or would rather not be trapped in your kitchen? You could always splurge and be wined and dined at your favorite upscale restaurant.

Service Included: Four-Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter by Phoebe Damrosch is part gritty exposé and part witty memoir, detailing the ascendant career of a restaurant captain at a high-end New York City eating establishment. The book is everything you've always wanted to know about the people who take and serve your order, including how a waiter navigates through elaborate menus and moves food from kitchen to table, as well as a waiter's interpretation of the dining foibles of notable clientele, critics and hand-holding couples.

Note: This article is a reprint and is being posted with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this piece as published on Shelf Awareness for Readers (2/14/12), link HERE