Read To Feed: The Girl Can Cook


Girl in the Kitchen: How a Top Chef Cooks, Thinks, Shops, Eats and Drinks
by Stephanie Izard,
Dan Goldberg
& Heather Shouse
Publisher: Chronicle Books
ISBN 978-0-8118-7447-2

“Asking for a little tongue is a great way to start up a conversation.”

That’s Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard writing with levity about the Braised Pig Tongues recipe in her funny and enlightening cookbook, “Girl in the Kitchen: How a Top Chef Cooks, Thinks, Shops, Eats and Drinks.”

Izard opened the acclaimed “Girl & The Goat” restaurant in 2010 and was named a finalist for the James Beard Foundation’s best new restaurant earlier this year. Izard says she wanted this cookbook to be different… more than just a collection of recipes. She shares personal stories (the Green Bean Casserole story is particularly sweet), and gives us a glimpse into the chaotically creative, but amazingly disciplined, life of a Girl Chef who just wants to have fun.

Crispy Chickpea Fritters with Salsa Verde

Besides fresh and seasonal recipes, Izard has broken the book up with interesting pages and paragraphs packed with culinary tidbits and info. The Ingredient Spotlight focuses on products that are either key to a particular dish’s flavor or just an out-of-the-ordinary component. She also offers up other ways to use a particular ingredient (very important for the home cook, because it expands the repertoire).

Technique 101 blurbs show you things you thought you knew how to do (cutting onions) to things you’ve always wanted to learn how to do (infuse butter). The Quick Tips are also pretty clever… like how to test the temperature of oil for deep frying if you don’t have a thermometer.

One of the best parts? The Drink Tips. Not only does Izard tell you which beer to crack open with the Crispy Soft-Shell Crab Sandwiches (Pabst Blue Ribbon—No, I’m not kidding), but why K Vintner’s Kung Fu Girl Riesling is the perfect pairing for her Chilled Walla Walla Onion Soup (hint: things that grow together go together).

You’ll like this cookbook for its inventive use of ingredients you can find in most supermarkets… and if you can’t find it, Izard tells you how to make it (Preserved Lemon, for example). Now, a word of caution, some of the recipes are rather involved. It’s likely a bit overwhelming for a home cook to think about prepping days in advance for a fish dish.

Still, Izard exuberance for life and the creative magic of preparing good food makes “Girl in the Kitchen” a blast to read. And, let’s be honest, when was the last time anyone said that about a cookbook?

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posted under The Kitchen Think

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I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: