Monday, November 14, 2005

Boulevard The Cookbook: Book Review


Boulevard is an opulent restaurant. Boulevard The Cookbook is opulent too. It's heavy and oversized, featuring luscious full page photographs and over-the-top recipes with luxurious ingredients. All your favorites are represented--heavy cream, wild mushrooms, foie gras, truffles, macadamia nuts, oysters, caviar, lobster, fine imported cheeses and chocolates. The recipes are in a word, involved. Frankly I doubt I will be cooking any of them. But I wholeheartedly recommend the cookbook nonetheless.

Cookbooks serve many purposes. The most obvious is to guide one in cooking. But a cookbook can also be a memento of a special occasion. A cookbook can be a source of inspiration and insight into creativity. It can teach techniques too. In all these ways the Boulevard cookbook is a gem. Fortunately the authors are aware of this:

"Many dishes in this book can be challenging, so consider making just one part of a dish, say the Lamb Porterhouse Stuffed with Broccoli Rabe and Melted Garlic, without the potato risotto. Or, just try the potato risotto the next time you broil some lamb chops."

Savour this cookbook as you would a meal. Enjoy all the details that make it special. Many of the recipes include four or five separate preparations to complete the dish. The kitchen and shopping notes in and of themselves are excellent. They are lessons in ingredients, substitution and technique.

And if you just have to be able to duplicate the Fried Green Tomato and Crispy Hama Hama Oyster "BLT" or if you truly need to know just what's in the Manjari Chocolate Truffle Tart with Salted Caramel Ice Cream, rest assured, your wishes have been fulfilled.