Reads and Reviews
Top Chef Voltaggio Brothers Ask “What If?”
Today’s the day. The Voltaggio Brothers unveil their first cookbook VOLT ink.: Recipes, Stories, Brothers in Frederick Maryland. But if you follow this blog, you know there was a “soft” release last weekend at Kentucky Proud Incredible Food Show. Like many eager foodies, Rhoda and I purchased the book not really knowing what to expect from the Top Chefs.
First off, the book is large. I have been toting it around for two days…..it’s heavier than some of my old college textbooks. There is an abundance of photography featuring the modernistic food creations of the brothers; as well as photos of the boys in action. To me, it’s not just a cookbook. It’s a coffee table book; one of those reads you could pick up flip through and wonder “What If?”
Home Gardeners and Food Preservationist Take Note
For the home gardener and food preserver, I am telling you buy VOLT ink.: Recipes, Stories, Brothers Not for canning or dehydrating ideas….but for inspiration on what to do with that little bit of vegetables and fruits that always seem to be left over . The suggestions for vacuum packing and for quick stovetop applications will amaze you. I find myself muttering…..”Now why didn’t I think of that?” During the Voltaggio’s stage presentation, the focus was on “Use it All.” Your compost pile may be a little smaller, but your brain is going to have a bushel full of giggles.
All in The Family
Organized by “families” the chapters focus on recipes using similar ingredients. For instance one chapter features Squab, Quail and Chicken. There is “family” chapters on fish, mushrooms, citrus, pumpkins, beans, onions and leeks, and a whole chapter devoted to the mints…including basil, lavender, peppermint and spearmint. Each brother contributes recipes offering different takes, with very modern twists.
I could not wait to get back to the barn to make an “herbed salt” from the tops of Black Spanish Radishes. You char the tops in the oven until they are almost burned and combine with salt for a wonderful taste sensation. Sounds crazy I know….but Charlie and I have been surprised what a punch it gives to soups and even pimento cheese. Who knew?
Rethinking Flavors…Rethinking What You Think You Know
There’s a Cinnamon Coffee Cake recipe with Bay Leaf Ice Cream I have my eye on. There are recipes for butternut squash and chestnuts that are calling my name. For my hunting buddies there is a venison recipe with root beer and molasses. (Naturally I think molasses is a Yankee word…let’s try that one with sorghum! Hey, the boys grew up in Maryland…it’s you know one of those “border states” LOL)
Some of the recipes are what my momma would call “left of center.” Not that the final product would not be good, but the technique of Molecular Gastronomy sometimes looks more like a science lab than Grandma’s kitchen. But, that’s okay….it stretches the imagination. There is a directory of sources on where to order some of the unusual ingredients that many home cooks are not familiar with.
At the end of the cookbook is a section called “Staple Recipes.” Retailing at less than $25 on Amazon….I think these two pages are worth the price for easy reference. There are instructions for make homemade curry powder. There’s a recipe for making your own pickling spices. There are suggestions for making vegetable stock, chicken stock, and an even fish brine.
If you are bold, if you are stuck in a culinary rut, if you are a church mouse in the kitchen….go buy this book. Dare to ask “What if?”
Disclaimer I paid for my copy of this book. I am compensated for purchases made through Amazon