Books: Cooking by Cuisine -> Cooking American
The Tra Vigne Cookbook: Seasons in the California Wine Country
Published: September 1, 1999
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"The closer your cooking stays to the seasons, the simpler--and better--your cooking will be." Michael Chiarello's mom told him that as he stood beside her at the stove, learning what a real Italian tomato sauce looks, smells, and sounds
like as it cooks. Those lessons led him into the chef's life and his own restaurant in the heart of California's wine country, Tra Vigne. So it should come as no surprise that the subtitle of his lush cookbook, The Tra Vigne Cookbook is Seasons in the
California Wine Country. And such is the organizing principle. Not only are the sections of the book divided into the four seasons, but the subsets include four ingredients key to each season: asparagus or garlic in spring, for example, or mushrooms and
eggplant in fall.
Chiarello describes his own cooking style as "combining spectacular ingredients, professional technique, and imaginative presentations." He shows how to take this into your own home kitchen, in word and technique. A lot of the
exceptional flavors he is able to muster come from the flavor enhancers he has put up in his pantry through the seasons--the flavored olives, the dried figs. To read his section on the pantry is to yearn for a dark, cool basement. "Take the time when you
have it in order to reap the rewards later when you don't," Chiarello encourages.
The Tra Vigne Cookbook is a carefully layered dish of family reminiscence, tech tips, master recipes, and heartfelt yearnings for the seasons and the way they pass
outside the windows of a country restaurant, the way they feel on the skin, the way they taste and smell. It's about attitude. Chiarello grabs it all and makes it accessible. The Tra Vigne Cookbook is a large-format, elegant book you will want to leave
open on the table to flip through. Let your attention get caught up in it and carried away. Chiarello stays with the seasons, and his accomplishment is simpler and better as a result. And therein lies a world of glorious, flavorful complexity. --Schuyler
People the world over come to California's wine country for a taste of the good life. They find it in abundance at Napa Valley's celebrated Tra Vigne restaurant (the name is Italian or "among the vines"), where an
enchanting vineyard setting and chef Michael Chiarello's robust Italian dishes make for an unforgettable dining experience. Now, Chiarello takes readers behind the scenes at the restaurant, sharing recipes and reminiscences inspired by his years at Tra
Vigne and the good Italian cooking of his family. Season by Season at Tra Vigne celebrates the natural beauty and abundance of the Napa Valley with a passionate gastronomic journey through the changing seasons. In addition to seasonal delights like
roasted asparagus, lemon-braised artichokes, and pumpkin polenta, home cooks will discover the secrets for Tra Vigne classics such as herb gnocchi with braised lamb shanks and wild mushrooms, crunchy fritto misto with tomato vinegar, rich and crumbly
Italian holiday cookies, and a decadent chocolate tiramis. With lush photographs and a strikingly contemporary design, Season by Season at Tra Vigne is a must-have cookbook this fall.
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