Hiroko Shimbo: Japanese Cooking with American Ingredients at Miami Book Fair International

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Hiroko Shimbo

Faced with a longing for her native Japan but few of the ingredients found there, culinary consultant and cookbook author Hiroko Shimbo set out to find ways to meld Japanese and American cuisine to satisfy cravings for the flavors of her childhood.

Shimbo will discuss her third book, Hiroko's American Kitchen during Miami Book Fair International. At 2 p.m. on Sunday, November 18, she'll speak alongside local culinary hero Norman Van Aken at Miami Dade College (Building 6, first floor on NE Second Ave between Fourth and Fifth streets).

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Biscayne Books: Finally a Bookstore In the Neighborhood, And Book Groups, Too

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Photo by Jen Mangham
Cookbooks at Biscayne Books

There's a new spot to show off your smarts: Biscayne Books, the newest arrival to the Upper East Side strip of bistros and boutiques. The small but fully stocked shop is filled with hundreds of new and used volumes that the owner, Susan Hanna, purchases at auctions around town. Biscayne Books offers shoppers fairly priced used titles -- that you actually want to read -- organized in a much more logical sequence than you will find at the thrift store or garage sale.

The shop is a gold mine for cooks and food enthusiasts who, like us, are always on the lookout for cookbooks to adorn our kitchen shelves and coffee tables. The best part: even though it's the only book store around, Biscayne Books keeps their prices low, and we were able to take home Best of Baking for just $4.

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Get Jiro: Anthony Bourdain Writes a Futuristic, Gory Comic Book

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Vertigo
Get Jiro -- Bourdain writes a comic.
At this point in his career, there's not much left for Anthony Bourdain to do. He's hosted television shows, acted as guest judge on others, written bestselling memoirs and novels, and has perfected the art of Tweeting. It seemed the only things left on the Bourdain bucket list would be to own a personal pig farm and write a comic book.

Enter Get Jiro (Vertigo, $24.99). This hardcover graphic novel (comic book) has Bourdain collaborating with author Joel Rose and DC Comics illustrator Langdon Foss to create the story of a futuristic Los Angeles.

In Bourdain's mind, we've become "A world dominated by food culture. Little else is going on. Sports, film, the recording industry have all fragmented and died. The nation is in the business of producing and selling each other cheeseburgers. Chefs are the new power. All desire is based on access to them."

In this new vision of the apocalypse, Los Angeles is ruled by two chef warlords with two very different philosophies. Bob is the giant corporate chef, trained in classic French culinary techniques. He's out for a buck. Rose is the mother earth type -- who just happens to feed her enemies to her free-range pigs. Her restaurant, The Farm, is all about organic farm-to-table cuisine. Both are really bad people.

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Author A.J. Jacobs: "I Didn't Know Cavemen Had Sushi"

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Michael Coglianty
A.J. Jacobs attempts to juice.
A.J. Jacobs loves to take on a challenge. The journalist and Esquire editor-at-large first decided to spend a year literally like he was back in biblical times in The Year of Living Biblically, during which he wore only natural fibers, grew a ZZ Top-like beard, and observed arcane rules like not eating bats (that's apparently in the bible).

As a follow-up, Jacobs decided to learn everything he could in The Know-It-All.  In his latest book, Drop Dead Healthy (Simon & Schuster $26.00), he decided to go on a quest to become the healthiest person alive, by exploring every possible avenue, from dieting to wearing a helmet around New York City (because you never know when something heavy is going to drop from an office building window).

Jacobs told Short Order, his new memoir came about when he was hospitalized with pneumonia. "I never really took care of myself. I was that skinny/fat guy - you know, who looked like a snake that swallowed a goat. My wife told me she didn't want to be a widow in her 40s."

That's when it hit him that he should explore the world of being healthy. Enlisting a team of medical advisers, doctors, nutritionists, and interviewing diet gurus and health nuts, Jacobs' goal was to improve every part of his being -- his weight, health, sex life, posture, and longevity. In his search, he tried almost every diet, from mainstream to strange.

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Author Josh Schonwald Shares the Future of Food in The Taste of Tomorrow

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Josh Schonwald is bullish on purslane.
Former Miami New Times writer Josh Schonwald isn't a psychic or a pundit, but if he had to predict the future of food (and give us a hot tip for investing our savings), he would do it in one word: purslane.

Purslane, once the bane of farmers who considered it a weed, is now finding favor as a food. Who's a fan of purslane? You'd be surprised. "Alice Waters is a big fan of it. It's native to India, and apparently Ghandi loved purslane," Schonwald explains. "It's got a mild flavor, a crunchy texture, and an okra quality. I love it with olive oil and sea salt. It's going to be the next superfood, with more omega 3's than any leafy green plant. It's very high in vitamin A and  beta carotene."

Schonwald should know a little about what's hot in the food world. The author of The Taste of Tomorrow: Dispatches From the Future of Food (HarperCollins $25.99), he has researched every possible future food scenario -- from synthetic meats to insects to factory-farmed fish. Which is how, by the way, the book came about.

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Gabrielle Hamilton: Lesbian Almost-Felon With Questionable Chicken-Killing Skills?

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Photo by Melissa Hamilton
We're pretty sure she didn't steal those tomatoes...
Yesterday we posted Part 1 of our chat with chef/restaurateur/author Gabrielle Hamilton, but perhaps you didn't get a feel for what a badass she really is and how she came to be that way. So today we'll just give you some good sound bites from our interview and some clips from her book, Blood, Bones & Butter.

Her first chicken-killing experience: "I was still holding its feet with one hand and trying to cut its head off with the dull hatchet with my other when both the chicken and my father became quite lucid, and not a little agitated. The chicken began to thrash about as if chastising me for my false promises of a merciful death... I kept coming down on the bird's throat -- which was now broken but still issuing terrible clucks of revolt and protest -- stroke after miserable stroke, until I finally got its head off. I was blubbering through clenched teeth."

On writing her memoir: "In hindsight, it was kind of absurd and insane. I didn't sleep more than four hours a night and probably not consecutively. I had blisters on my eyeballs from the fatigue. I was shrill and shrieky, I broke furniture."

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"Hola, Y'all," Sandra Gutierrez Brings Southern-Latino Cooking to Miami Book Fair

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Photo by Matt Hulsman
Her family motto was "Hola, y'all," and for an American girl growing up in Guatemala, Sandra Gutierrez had the best of both worlds -- hamburgers for dinner and arroz con leche for dessert. The New Southern-Latino Table (University of North Carolina Press, $30) reveals her secret desire to force together two seemingly opposite taste profiles on the food spectrum. Of course, we can only assume that when spicy meets greasy, good things happen.

This new cookbook explores the evolution of her Southern style as well as the influence of her Hispanic heritage. Like many who are good in the kitchen, she credits her grandmother who supervised all cooking activities. "Nothing left the kitchen without her approval." Gutierrez spent many years playing with ingredients and easily overcame American grocery store hurdles, replacing masa with finely ground cornmeal and fresh serranos with a tin of chilies. She did fail a few times: While attempting dulce de leche from scratch, "a few cans of condensed milk blew up." She says she "finally learned how to make it the safe way." That's good to know. 

Gutierrez will host a cooking demonstration at the Miami Culinary Institute at 2 p.m. this Saturday, November 19, and participate in a culinary panel discussion at the Miami Book Fair at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, November 20.
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Gabrielle Hamilton: Miscreants in the Kitchen at Miami Book Fair

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Photo by Melissa Hamilton
​New Yorkers know her as the chef/owner of Prune and a prolific writer whose work has appeared in nearly every major food magazine, the New Yorker and The New York Times. Now Hamilton will most likely be known around the country as the author of Blood, Bones & Butter (Random House, $26), a presumably honest and exposing diary of her journey from her mother's kitchen to her very own, with all the embarrassing, shocking, crazy, and sometimes inspiring details included.

We'd love to tell you more about it, but Hamilton will appear at the Miami Book Fair's Presentation Pavilion this Saturday, November 19, at 11 a.m., along with chef/author Andrew Carmellini and author Jessica B. Harris, so we'll let her do that herself. Admission is free. The next night, Hamilton will cook alongside Michael Schwartz at Harry's Pizzeria, which will be renamed Prune Pizzeria Sunday in her honor. "We might try to re-create Chapter 1," she teases. The $155 tickets include four courses, beer/wine pairings, and a signed copy of her book.

In the meantime, here's a slice to enjoy while you wait:

New Times: I know you won't take offense to this question, but after reading about all of your illegal activities and such, I have to ask: What is it about becoming a cook that seems so appealing to rebels and vagabonds?
Gabrielle Hamilton: It's strange, right? I once did a very unscientific study: I always ask the front of the house how many of their parents are married. Invariably the front of the house has a more stable home life than the people who work in the kitchens. So weird. For me, I like very much putting order to chaos. To own a restaurant and make a kind of sane, consistent, functioning workplace is of great interest to me. You know, tame the flame.
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Jessica B. Harris at Miami Book Fair Saturday: A Culinary Journey from Africa to Miami

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Author Jessica B. Harris
​Though Dr. Jessica Harris is well known as a tenured professor and the author of more than 10 cookbooks, including A Kwanzaa Keepsake and The Africa Cookbook, for her latest creation, High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America (Bloomsbury, $26), the culinary historian went into detailed storytelling mode. Inside the more than 300-page novel are a smattering of recipes and photos, but most people will pick it up to finally get schooled about the roots of African American cuisine and the indelible mark left by famous and obscure chefs who influenced modern American and Caribbean food.

Harris will be appearing at the Miami International Book Fair International's Presentation Pavillion this Saturday, November 19 at 11 a.m. along with chef/authors Andrew Carmellini and Gabrielle Hamilton. Admission is free. (Watch Short Order for the other author interviews, too, coming this week.) In the meantime, here's a taste of Dr. Harris' latest creation:

New Times: Is this your first Miami Book Fair?
Harris: Actually, no. It's my second, or maybe even third. I haven't been recently. I used to do Cookbook Row when they had that.
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Nadia G.'s New Book: Recipe for Bitchin' Lemon Meringue Pie

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Cookin' for Trouble makes us wanna play with our food.
She cooks, sings, and rocks out with her comedic brethren in her rock 'n' roll comedy cooking show Bitchin' Kitchen, now in it's second season.

We had a chance to speak briefly with Nadia G. about her show, her new book and how she likes to stay bitchin'.

New Times: You have your 2008 Bitchin' Kitchen Cookbook, and now a new book called Nadia G.'s Bitchin' Kitchen: Cooking for Trouble. What inspired this second book?
Nadia G.: Well in terms of the inspiration, as the old saying goes "it takes a village," and with this new cookbook, I was inspired by the women in my family. These are the people who have been cooks all their lives and they have many recipes to share. In my own bitchin' community we held a contest to find the five most bitchin' recipes and the winners' ones are shared in the cookbook. For this new book, we had a bigger budget, so we got to do more then just Nadia G. looking hot in front of a background. (Laughs) We were actually able to flesh out the scene. It's very rich in terms of photography.


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