Read this cookbook: “Brooklyn Rustic: Simple Food for Sophisticated Palates” by Bryan Calvert (Little, Brown and Company, $30.00).
By Wendell Brock
In 2008, New York chef Bryan Calvert left glitzy Manhattan for Brooklyn, where he opened his restaurant, James, in a lovely old building with a tin ceiling. Soon after, the economy collapsed, causing him to streamline his approach to serve what customers craved: “thoughtful, uncomplicated food made from quality ingredients and served in a comfortable atmosphere.”
With his new book, “Brooklyn Rustic,” Calvert showcases 125 of his best recipes, from vegetables and seafood to cocktails and sweets. The results are vibrant, inspired, gloriously photographed.
Just in time for the arrival of winter squash, he offers soup made with baby blue Hubbards, blue cheese and pickled pears – and sauteed delicatas zipped up with red pepper flakes and sweetened with honey.
Just when you thought there were no more variations on deviled eggs, Calvert proffers three very clever ideas for dressing them up with smoky crab, lovage and bacon and Caesar-salad trimmings.
The cocktail section features vivid sippers like the Window Box Collins (made with parsley syrup) and the Smith Street Sour (with balsamic vinegar reduction and cherry tomatoes). Desserts are fruit-focused and the essence of rustic: Strawberry almond cake; blackberry-lavender oat crumble; blood oranges tossed with tea-infused orange juice, topped with shaved chocolate and garnished with mint. In sum, a very pretty, very personal cookbook that will be equally at home on the coffee table or the kitchen counter.