A little while ago I entered The Crispy Cook's November Cookbook Giveaway, and was lucky enough to win John Sarich at Chateau Ste. Michelle - For Cooks Who Love Wine.
I'll admit I had never heard of John Sarich or Chateau Ste. Michelle, but one flip through this book and I want to visit the winery, immediately!
John Sarich is a James Beard Award winning chef, and the culinary director of Chateau Ste. Michelle winery in Woodinville WA (just outside of Seattle). In his introduction, he documents the Chateau's history, as well as his own, and goes on to explain why certain wine pairings work, which I never knew - for instance, the "acids and fruit flavor of a Semillon or Sauvignon Blanc will cleanse the palate and cool the heat of a spicy Asian shrimp dish, while at the same time the fruit flavors of the wine complement the sweet sea taste of the shrimp." The last section of the book is a chart devoted to food and wine pairing, foods down the left, and wines across the top, with *'s indicating good matches - I want to Xerox it and carry it with me everywhere.
The rest of the book is divided into 3 sections, the bulk being White Wine Foods and Red Wine Foods, with a small section at the end for stocks and sauces. What jumped out at me right away from this last section was Ginger Chardonnay Cream Sauce with Caviar, for topping spinach fettucine, steamed mussles, roast chicken, or asparagus. Pardon me, but I think I'll eat that sauce with a spoon!
From the white section, the recipes that beckon to my mental palate the most are The Ultimate Baked Onion (stuffed with chanterelle risotto), Italian Pounded Chicken (which sounds almost exactly like the chicken I had at Rosebud in Naperville IL), and Croatian Kraut, Sausage and Chicken Stew (which appeals to my Eastern Euro side, I guess).
From the reds, you have choices like Polenta with Roasted Garlic and Parmesan (and whipping cream!), Spicy Pickled Green Tomatoes (which I've always wanted to make but never have), and White Beans with Puttanesca Sauce (why did I think it could only go on pasta?).
And the photographs? Unlike anything I've seen in any other cookbook. Photographer Darrell Peterson definitely has some magic. The colors are dark, mostly reds and greens, but with little bits of light expertly directed to the right places. Just looking at the pictures makes you feel like you're in a romantically lit restaurant. (Please check out Mr. Peterson's website, the photos there are completely different from the ones in this cookbook, very white-bright, but absolutely beautiful.)
Conclusion? Very nice cookbook to have. I may actually make some of the recipes (and if you know me, you know that's rare). Thanks again to Rachel at The Crispy Cook for sending it to me.