This week I am reviewing “Cooking Without Borders” by Chef Anita Lo with Charlotte Druckman, released October 2011 by Stewart, Tabori & Chang, an imprint of Abrams publishing. Chef Lo is the chef-owner of New York City’s Michelin-starred restaurant, annisa, and this is her first, and very much anticipated cookbook.
To Anita Lo, all cooking is fusion cooking and she offers more than 100 recipes celebrating the best flavors from around the globe. Chef Lo writes fondly of her mother, Hungarian nanny, and the seafood she catches as an avid fisherwoman, living in a fishing town on Long Island. Lo says, “With a little ingenuity and elbow grease, we can all eat well, and diversely.”
Chef Lo calls her style Contemporary American, she holds a BA in French from Columbia, and has trained in many of the best kitchens in France, including the famed Bouley. Strongly influenced by Japanese techniques, Lo blends her talents to create new and exciting dishes for her menu and anissa patrons.
“Cooking Without Borders” has been broken into five chapters, Introduction, Appetizers, From the Sea, Meat, Desserts and Drink. I found the book thoughtfully written with a lot soul, easy to follow, and loved the helpful side-notes providing tips and adaptations. While some of the recipes have readily accessible ingredients, several do not, and must be prepared for in advance. One recipe that may need time, and still has me drooling (thanks to the incredible photography of (Lucy Schaeffer), is Lo’s pan-roasted sea scallops with uni, bacon and mustard greens, which she prepared in her elimination challenge in the first Champions’ round of Top Chef. The recipe draws on her life’s experiences, and is one of her three signature dishes. Chef Lo provides a wonderful Resource page at the back of the book, with phone and website information for the reader to locate hard-to-find essentials.
I jumped right into “Cooking Without Borders”, and selected a simpler recipe as my first try, the dry-aged ribeye with raclette-stuffed rosti potatoes. I was married many years ago in Switzerland, and have not been back since, so I suddenly had a yearning to travel by way of food memories. I remember two things being very popular during my visit other than skiing, and that was a raclette cheese and rosti.
My wonderful parents stepped in to be my sous chefs today, as I have been suffering with a cracked rib and a few torn ligaments this week. We had fun cooking together and sharing stories and memories, which is what “Cooking Without Borders”, embodies.
My father grilled the bone-in ribeye to perfection, which was difficult on the windy beach day we had, while mother grated the potatoes for the rosti, as she showed off her freshly manicured nails. We followed the recipe as instructed by Lo, and were amazed at the outcome of the deliciously large herb and cheese infused potato pancake, also commenting on the terrific tang to the sauce.
Dry-Aged Ribeye With Raclette-Stuffed Rosti Potatoes
For the leeks:
2 tablespoons butter
2 leek whites, cleaned and thinly sliced
½ teaspoon chopped fresh chives
½ teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
½ teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves
¼ teaspoon salt
A few grinds of black pepper
For the sauce:
2 tablespoons grain mustard
3 tablespoons crème fraiche
Pinch of salt
A few grind of black pepper
For the ribeyes:
2 dry-aged ribeye steaks, bone in, 2 inches thick
(Regular will do, if dry-aged not available)
2 tablespoons neutral-flavored vegetable oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
For the rosti potatoes:
4 large Idaho potatoes, peeled
Salt and black pepper to taste
¼ cup neutral flavored vegetable oil
5 ounces raclette cheese, grated
Make the leeks: Heat a saute pan over high heat. Add the butter and swirl. Lower the heat to medium, add the leeks, and stir. Cook until very soft and wilted but not browned. Add the herbs and season with the salt and pepper. Remove to a bowl.
Make the sauce: In a small bowl, combine the mustard and creme fraiche and season with salt and pepper.
Grill or broil the ribeyes: Rub the steaks with the oil and season liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Grill or broil to desired doneness and let rest on a warm plate while you make your potatoes.
Make the rosti potatoes: Working quickly to prevent oxidation, grate the potatoes o the large holes of a box grater or in a food processor, season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Immediately put the potatoes in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze, twisting to extract as much liquid as possible. Heat a 10 inch non-stick saute’ pan over high heat. Add the oil and when hot, add 1/2 of the potatoes. Press with a spatula to form a cake the size of the bottom of the pan. Add the leek mixture and spread almost to the edges. Do the same with the raclette, then add the remaining potatoes to cover. Press with a spatula to form an enclosed potato cake stuffed with leeks and cheese. When the bottom is browned and crisp, flip. Add more oil as necessary and cook the other side until golden and crisp. Remove to a cutting board and cut into wedges. Slice the steaks and serve with the potatoes, cornichons and sauce.
This Contest Has Ended!
Cooking Without Borders Giveaway Time! Want this beautiful cookbook? The Rules:
- Contest runs from Monday November 14, 2011 through Friday November 18, 2011 at 9:00 PM EST. Winner will be announced on Saturday November 19, 2011 and will be chosen via random.org
- Contest open to US Addresses Only
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