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  • The A.O.C. Cookbook
  • Written by Suzanne Goin
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  • Written by Suzanne Goin
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The A.O.C. Cookbook

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Written by Suzanne GoinAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Suzanne Goin

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On Sale: October 29, 2013
Pages: 448 | ISBN: 978-0-385-35046-4
Published by : Knopf Knopf
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ABOUT THE BOOK ABOUT THE BOOK
ABOUT THE AUTHOR ABOUT THE AUTHOR
PRAISE PRAISE
Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

Since her James Beard Award-winning first book, Sunday Suppers at Lucques, Suzanne Goin and her Los Angeles empire of restaurants have blossomed and she has been lauded as one of the best chefs in the country. Now, she is bringing us the recipes from her sophomore restaurant, A.O.C., turning the small-plate, shared-style dishes that she made so famous into main courses for the home chef. Among her many recipes, you can expect her addictive Bacon-Wrapped Dates with Parmesan; Duck Sausage with Candied Kumquats; Dandelion and Roasted Carrot Salad with Black Olives and Ricotta Salata; California Sea Bass with Tomato Rice, Fried Egg, and Sopressata; Lamb Meatballs with Spiced Tomato Sauce, Mint, and Feta; Crème Fraîche Cake with Santa Rosa Plums and Pistachios in Olive Oil; and S’Mores with Caramel Popcorn and Chocolate Sorbet.   

But The A.O.C. Cookbook is much more than just a collection of recipes. Because Goin is a born teacher with a gift for pairing seasonal flavors, this book is full of wonderful, eye-opening information about the ingredients that she holds dear. She takes the time to talk you through each one of her culinary decisions, explaining her palate and how she gets the deeply developed flavor profiles, which make even the simplest dishes sing. More than anything, Goin wants you to understand her techniques so you enjoy yourself in the kitchen and have no problem achieving restaurant-quality results right at home.

And because wine and cheese are at the heart of A.O.C., there are two exciting additions. Caroline Styne, Goin’s business partner and the wine director for her restaurants, presents a specific wine pairing for each dish. Styne explains why each varietal works well with the ingredients and which flavors she’s trying to highlight, and she gives you room to experiment as well—showing how to shape the wine to your own palate. Whether you’re just grabbing a glass to go with dinner or planning an entire menu, her expert notes are a real education in wine. At the back of the book, you’ll find Goin’s amazing glossary of cheeses—all featured at A.O.C.—along with the notes that are given to the waitstaff, explaining the sources, flavor profiles, and pairings.   
           
With more than 125 full-color photographs, The A.O.C. Cookbook brings Suzanne Goin’s dishes to life as she continues to invite us into her kitchen and divulge the secrets about what makes her food so irresistibly delicious.   




From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt

Grilled hangar steak with sweet peppers, cherry tomatoes, and chimichurri
 
Many years ago, right after my father passed away, my friend the punk-rock chef guru Fred Eric invited me to assist him at a cooking festi­val in Rio de Janeiro. I have to say it was one of the wackiest of all my culi­nary adventures ever. It turns out that the man who arranged the whole event was a raging cocaine fiend and had not actually “arranged” any­thing at all! Well, that’s not completely true. We did have hotel rooms and what looked like an amazing itinerary. But, the first day, Fred and I stood outside our hotel for 4 hours waiting for a mysterious culinary expert who was supposed to take us to the market and then on to our host restaurant to prep for the first event, which was, of course, that evening. Long story short, the host restaurant didn’t exist, and the crazy coked‑up guy placed us at some friend’s restaurant, where they plied us with Caipirinhas made with Bolivian coca-leaf liquor and tried to make us cook—let’s just say things got very ugly from there on out.
 
As soon as I got over the once-horrifying, now hilarious moments, I remembered having some of the most delicious meat of my life served in more ways than you can imagine—roasted on long skewers, in outdoor pits, and jury-rigged barbecues at the town market. As much as I was craving salads and vegetables after a few days, I told myself, when in South America, just indulge your inner carnivore. One of the most deli­cious ways to do that is with grilled steak seasoned with a traditional Argentinian warmed herb-and-olive oil sauce called chimichurri.
 
As you may have realized by now, I am on the constant prowl for new olive-oil-and-herb-based sauces. Something about the way that silky olive oil and the brightness and power-packed flavor of fresh herbs meld with meat juices is so perfectly balanced for my palate. The oil turns the natural juices into a sauce, and the herbs lift and counter the richness of the meat. But, whereas I tend toward the “soft” herbs, such as parsley, mint, and cilantro, in my herb salsas, chimichurri is made with tougher, more sturdy, dark-and-earthy-flavored members of the herb family. Rose­mary, thyme, oregano, and even bay leaf are minced and warmed in olive oil with charred jalapeño and red-wine vinegar. This is a strong, bold gau­cho to pistou’s delicate mademoiselle.

3 pounds hangar steak
2 tablespoons thinly sliced chile de árbol
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1 jalapeño
1 teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon rosemary leaves
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons or so for brushing the steak
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
1½ teaspoons sweet paprika
6 large bell peppers (about 3 pounds), julienned
¼ cup sliced garlic
½ pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
6 ounces cleaned arugula
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Light the grill.
 
Trim the hangar steak of excess fat and sinew, if any (it doesn’t usually need much trimming). At least an hour before serving, season the hangar steak with 1 tablespoon sliced chile, the cracked black pepper, and 1 tablespoon thyme. Leave out at room temperature to temper. (Or, of course, you can refrigerate for later. Just make sure you take the meat out to temper at least an hour before serving.)
 
To make the chimichurri, char the jalapeño on all sides on a medium-hot grill, or on the burner of a gas stove, or in the broiler, until it is completely blackened. Place it in a small paper bag, and close it tightly (peppers can leak, so place the bag on a plate). Let the pepper steam for about 10 minutes, and then remove the seeds and chop the flesh of the jalapeño, including the charred skin, and place them in a medium sauté pan with ½ cup olive oil.
 
Mince the oregano, rosemary, and remaining 1 teaspoon thyme. Bring the jalapeño in oil to a simmer over medium-low heat, and then remove from the heat, and add the minced herbs, the bay leaf, the vinegar, and the paprika. Leave the chimichurri in the pan, off the heat, and let the herbs infuse for at least 1 hour.
 
Meanwhile, stew the peppers. Heat a large sauté pan over high heat for 1 minute. Swirl in ½ cup olive oil, and then add the bell peppers. Season with remaining 1 tablespoon thyme, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon ground pep­per. Turn the heat down to medium, and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, until the peppers start to wilt. Add the sliced garlic and the remaining 1 tablespoon sliced arbol chile, and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring often, until the peppers are completely tender. Turn off the heat.
 
When the coals are broken down, red, and glowing, season the steak gen­erously with salt, and brush it lightly with 3 tablespoons olive oil. Place the meat on the hottest part of the grill, to get a nice sear on the outside. Cook for about 3 minutes, turn the meat a quarter-turn, and cook for another minute or two. Turn the meat over, and move it to a cooler spot on the grill. Cook for another minute or two for medium-rare. Rest the steaks on a wire rack set over a baking sheet.
 
In a large salad bowl, gently toss the arugula with the warm peppers, the remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Taste for balance and seasoning, and divide among six large dinner plates. Set the pan with the chimichurri on the stove over medium-high heat. When it starts to boil, add the cherry tomatoes, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 30 seconds, shaking the pan, as the tomatoes blister a little and release their juices. Squeeze in about 1 tablespoon lemon juice, toss in the parsley, remove from the heat, and taste for seasoning. Slice the steak against the grain, lay the slices over the arugula, and spoon the sizzling cherry tomatoes in chimichurri over the steak and around the plate.
 
Wine Note:
I love the Argentinian influence on this dish and am, of course, drawn to that country’s dark and seductive wines for pairing. The Mendoza region produces outstanding Malbec, which is a really fabulous accompaniment to grilled meat. Malbec tends to show deep cocoa-infused black fruit notes with touches of smokiness and grippy tannins. These darker aspects of the wine are very much like the sweet charred flavors of the steak itself. The wine also tends to show a good dose of acid, which will work seamlessly with the bright-green herbs in the chimi­churri and the tomato.
 
 
Fattoush salad with fried pita, cherry tomatoes, crumbled feta, and sumac
 
Fattoush is the Arabic word for a traditional salad made in most Mid­dle Eastern countries, originally as a vehicle to use up stale leftover pita bread. I think I must just be a leftover lover, because so many of my favor­ite foods—stuffings, daubes, terrines, meringues—all evolved from using up excess or old product so it wouldn’t go to waste. Traditionally, the stale pita is torn into bigger-than-bite-sized pieces, fried, and then tossed with lettuces and seasonal vegetables.
 
I’m sure there are as many “recipes” for fattoush as there are cooks, but I credit the key to our delicious version to Brian Wolff—one of our A.O.C. chefs in the early days, who was determined to make a better fat­toush than the one he ate every Sunday at the local Middle Eastern res­taurant in his San Fernando Valley neighborhood. Besides, of course, the super-farm-fresh ripe and crispy ingredients, the secret behind this salad is the dressing—and it’s the touch of cream in the dressing that really brings this fattoush to greatness.
 
For me there are two types of salads, the ones that need to be gen­tly and carefully tossed, and the more rugged ones with bold-flavored dressings—like escarole with anchovies and Parmesan, the farro salad with spring vegetables, and this fattoush, which I like to toss really well, almost massaging the dressing into the greens and other components. The flavors and textures really need to be brought together and integrated to create one glorious whole. It’s amazing to me that you can give the same ingredients, and even the same dressing, to two different cooks, and, between the seasoning and the way the salad is dressed and tossed, you can end up with two very different results. So remember to toss this salad well; get your hands in there, make sure every element is getting well coated, and taste. You actually want the tomatoes to break up a tiny bit, so their juices meld with the creamy lemon dressing and bring all the flavors of the salad together.
 
3 pita breads
½ cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 large heads romaine lettuce
1 small red onion
3 Persian cucumbers, or 1 hothouse cucumber
½ pint cherry tomatoes
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsely, plus ½ cup whole fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
¼ pound feta cheese
¼ cup mint leaves
1 tablespoon ground sumac
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Cut the pita bread into rustic 1-inch squares, and toss, using your hands, with 3 tablespoons olive oil until the pita is well coated and satu­rated. Spread on a baking sheet, and toast for about 20 minutes, tossing once or twice, until the pita squares are golden and crispy. (You can also deep-fry the pita if you like.)
 
Using a mortar and pestle (or the side of a knife on a cutting board), crush the garlic clove with a little salt, and then transfer it to a mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice and a heaping ¼ tea­spoon salt to the bowl. Whisk in the remaining ½ cup olive oil, and the cream. Taste for balance and seasoning.
Cut each head of romaine in half lengthwise, and place them cut-side down on a cutting board. Make three long slices lengthwise, then turn the romaine and chop across the slices into ½-inch-sized pieces. Clean the lettuce, spin it dry, and place in a large mixing bowl.
 
Thinly slice the onion. Cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise, and cut them on the diagonal into ¼-inch-thick slices. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Add the onion, cucumbers, and tomatoes to the romaine, and toss with the dressing, the chopped parsley, toasted pita, half the feta, ¼ teaspoon salt, and some freshly ground pepper. Taste for balance and seasoning. Gently toss in the whole parsley and mint leaves, and arrange on six dinner plates. Sprinkle the remaining 2 ounces feta and the sumac over the top of the salads.
 
Wine Note:
This is one of my all-time favorite A.O.C. salads, and one that I have prob­ably eaten over a hundred times. Though the crispy pita adds an indulgent, rich crunch, the essence of this salad is very clean, calling for a wine that is similarly so. I’ve found that the best match for this dish is a white wine with a savory core and notes of bright-green herbs, like Assyrtiko from Greece, which is lean, refreshing, and kind of unfruity. The wine almost becomes an extension of the salad, creating a seamless connection between the two, while also allowing the sweetness of the tomatoes to shine through.
 

Grilled fig leaf panna cotta with figs and melon sorbet
 
1/4-ounce package (2 1/2 teaspoons) Knox powdered gelatin
5 or 6 fresh fig leaves, washed and dried
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2  cup sugar
Vegetable oil, for molds
2 tablespoons crème fraîche or yogurt
1 recipe Walnut Pain de Gênes (recipe in book)
1 recipe Walnut Lace Cookies (recipe in book)
9 ripe figs
1/2 ripe cavaillon, honeydew, or other melon
1 recipe Melon Sorbet (recipe in book)
 
Place 1/4 cup cold water in a large bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over it, and gently swirl the bowl to combine. Using tongs, gently grill 2 or 3 fig leaves for about 2 minutes, rotating frequently and being careful not to burn them. Or, alternatively, fan each leaf over a gas stove, without directly touching the flame, until the leaf begins to smell toasted. It is important that the leaves get toasted and have slightly golden- brown spots and edges but are not burned.
 
Combine the cream, milk, and fig leaves in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for 30 minutes, allowing the fig leaves to steep in the hot liquid. Strain the leaves from cream mixture, discard them, and return the liquid to the saucepan. Heat this cream mixture over medium heat to a scald, add the sugar, and stir until it dissolves. Slowly whisk the cream mixture into the bloomed gelatin until completely incorporated. Chill the cream mixture over an ice bath, stirring occasionally, until it’s at room temperature or slightly cool.
 
Prepare six 3- inch ring molds (or individual ramekins) by lightly brushing vegetable oil on the inside surfaces. Pour a small amount of the cream mixture into a bowl, and whisk in the crème fraîche or yogurt. Then whisk that thickened cream– crème- fraîche mixture back into the cream. (Tempering the cream this way creates a very smooth and silky panna cotta.)  Pour the panna- cotta cream into the prepared molds, and chill in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours, until set. When ready to serve, cut the remaining three fig leaves in half and place them on each of six dessert plates. Cut six 3- inch circles of walnut pain de Gênes and place one in the middle of each fig leaf. Center one walnut lace cookie atop each cake. Carefully unmold the panna cottas on top of each cake- cookie stack. (To unmold, gently press your finger down on the panna cotta close to the edge, pulling lightly inward, to the center, and then moving your finger along the perimeter of the panna cotta. When f ipped upside down, it should pop right out.) Trim the stems of the figs, and cut each one in half. Place one fig half on top and one fig half on either side of each panna cotta. Thinly shave the melon with a vegetable peeler; weave the slices around the plates, and place scoops of melon sorbet nestled among the fruit.
 
Suzanne Goin

About Suzanne Goin

Suzanne Goin - The A.O.C. Cookbook

Photo © Shimon and Tammer

Suzanne Goin graduated from Brown University. She was named Best Creative Chef by Boston magazine in 1994, one of the Best New Chefs by Food & Wine in 1999, and was nominated for a James Beard Award in 2003, 2004, and 2005. She and her business partner, Caroline Styne, also run the restaurant A.O.C. in Los Angeles, where Goin lives with her husband, David Lentz.

Praise

Praise

Praise for Suzanne Goin and The A.O.C. Cookbook
 
 
"Browsing the table of contents of Suzanne Goin's new The A.O.C. Cookbook from Knopf is like reading the menu at my very favorite kind of restaurants—the ones where choosing what to eat is almost impossible, because everything on the menu sounds so incredibly tempting. Nice problem to have."
—Epicurious.com
 
If Alice Waters is the matriarch of California cuisine, then Suzanne Goin may well be her heir apparent. Goin spent more than a year adapting her recipes for the home cook, dividing chapters by season and adding wine notes from her business partner, Caroline Styne. The result is a book you'll want to cook from again and again. It also provides a glimpse into her storied career: Each recipe is preceded by a clever and insightful anecdote detailing her journey from her early days at Chez Panisse to cooking for President Obama.”
—TastingTable.com
 
“In her inspiring new book, chef Suzanne Goin offers 100-plus seasonal recipes for the vibrant fare served at her Los Angeles restaurant, A.O.C. Her secret to delivering deliciousness is so simple that it's mind boggling: She chooses excellent ingredients and combines them in brilliant ways. The chapters devoted to salads and vegetable dishes are especially exciting (and accessible).”
Fine Cooking
 
“Do people write cookbooks like Los Angeles chef Suzanne Goin's A.O.C. Cookbook any more? There's just so much information in this thing: pages-long intros to each chapter, paragraphs-long intros to each dish. Most recipes are several pages long and, not for nothing, appear to have been actually tested by real live human beings. There's also a 56-page long guide to cheese in the back of the book. It brings to mind cookbooks of a few years back that had some time sunk into them, like Judy Rodger's Zuni Cafe Cookbook. . . . [Goin] mentions that "If I am asking the reader to do something the 'hard way' it really does make a difference." This is all too rare a sentiment in cookbooks; while faithfully recreating the process a restaurant uses is a valuable record, far too few chefs consider why they are requesting home cooks do it the same way.”
—Eater.com
 
“Goin, James Beard winner and chef/owner of four Los Angewles restaurants (Lucques, A.O.C., Tavern, and the Larder), brings readers recipes from A.O.C., her restaurant known for its relaxed atmosphere and small dishes, meant to be shared. (A.O.C. stands for Appellation d'Origine Controlee, the French government's system for regulating and designating wine, cheese, and other artisanal products). This is a very intimate cookbook, and Goin (along with her business partner and wine director, Styne) shares personal anecdotes and explains how she chooses ingredients. Goin admits that “this is not the easiest cookbook you will use,” however passionate cooks who are not intimidated by recipes that require some time and effort will not be disappointed. Fresh, innovative, and vibrant, Goin's collection includes sumptuous recipes for the entire year. The book opens with sections on cheese (bacon-wrapped dates with parmesan) and charcuterie (foie gras terrine with sweet and sour prunes). Chapters on salads, fish, meat, vegetables, and desserts are organized by season. Standouts in this fantastic collection include sweet pea pancakes with dungeness crab and red onion crème fraiche; pork cheeks with polenta, mustard cream, and horseradish gremolata; and s'mores with caramel popcorn and chocolate sorbet. A specific wine pairing for each dish, provided by Styne, is included, as is a wonderful glossary of cheeses.”
Publishers Weekly (starred)
 
"The A.O.C. Cookbook truly reflects Suzanne’s undeniable talent. Her passion for delicious food is clearly evident in her thoughtful and creative dishes. Suzanne shares recipes served at A.O.C that readers can now enjoy from their home. This is an educational cookbook that will inspire everyone in the kitchen!"
—Eric Ripert 
 
“In her wonderful new cookbook, Suzanne demonstrates once again her extraordinary gift for layering flavors with a colorful palette of seasonal ingredients. Her deceptively simple recipes always sparkle withsure-handed, humorous, passionate brilliance.”
—David Tanis, author of A Platter of Figs, Heart of the Artichoke, and One Good Dish
 
“Suzanne Goin makes ********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************some of my favorite food in the world—vibrant and eclectic, but always using seasonal, pure ingredients. These uncomplicated dishes will surely become classics!”
—Alice Waters
 
"I love to cook—that's no secret—and I can think of no better way to spend an evening than in the kitchen, cooking for my family. But, sometimes even the most passionate chefs need to be cooked for, as well! The first time I sat down at Suzanne¹s table at A.O.C., the food tasted like it was made just for me and I have been a big fanever since. My fave? The Orata . . . and I always save room for the the S'mores with Caramel Popcorn and Chocolate Sorbet!" 
—Giada DeLaurentiis
 
“As soon as I read this book I was ready to jump on a plane to L.A.! Suzanne Goin has a marvelous ability to deliver a sense of a place in ingredients and few words. A.O.C’s ethos of excellence and casual delight comes to life brilliantly through her selection of seasonal produce (and when Suzanne says seasonal she really means seasonal) and her great precision in matching flavors.”  
—Yotam Ottolenghi

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