One of the perks of being a blogger is that you receive many cookbooks. You have no idea how exciting it is for someone like me to open up the mailbox and see that large yellow envelope knowing that there is a cookbook inside. Yes, this is the kind of stuff that sends my heart racing. There is something so exciting about what lays ahead when first opening the pages of new cookbook. I know that heart and soul has been put into those pages.
I received a new cookbook this week that did more than set my heart racing, it blew me away in a manner that had not happened in a very long time. John Besh’s new cookbook, Cooking from the Heart, is a wonderful cookbook but it is also so much more! The stories that are told, not only by the words but also by the pictures, take you on a journey and give you an insight into those that inspired Chef Besh. I never really related to the term “coffee table book” but I now understand it. This is a cookbook that I can not only turn to for recipes, but will continue to inspire me along my journey with food. To me, that is the sign of a great cookbook, it inspires others to spend time together cooking and conversing.
The stories and recipes take you from the heart of the Germany Black Forest to Sun-drenches Provence. Each chapter teaches you a little more about Chef Besh and features a lesson learned along his journey with food. We are encouraged to make mistakes that are as memorable as his.
“Fortune led me to extraordinary mentors, giving life to the adage, when you’re ready for a teacher, one will come along.” While reading this cookbook, one can not help but feel that they are being mentored and coached by Chef Besh. We are told to taste, to travel and to get the hell out of our comfort zones. Dining should be both a pleasure and an art!
So many wonderful recipes jumped out from the pages and spoke to me. But everyone knows how much I adore goat cheese. When I saw the beautiful recipe for Warm Goat Cheese Salad with Chris’s Garlic and Anchovy Dressing, it was just calling my name. I don’t know if I have shared this before… but I am crazy about anchovies. Needless to say, this salad is just amazing and the most memorable part of the salad is the Garlic Goat Cheese Toasts. That is what I found myself craving over and over!
- FOR THE TOASTS
- 4 ounces goat cheese
- 1 green onion, thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Leaves from 1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1⁄2 baguette or country bread, sliced and toasted
- Red pepper flakes
- Olive oil
- FOR THE DRESSING
- 5 cloves garlic, sliced
- 4 filets anchovies, chopped
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- Juice from 2 lemons
- 1⁄2 cup olive oil
- FOR THE SALAD
- 2 large ripe tomatoes, sliced
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 head red leaf lettuce, leaves torn
- 1⁄4 cup toasted pine nuts
- For the toasts, preheat the oven to 350°. In a small bowl, mix together the goat cheese, green onions, garlic, and rosemary; season with salt and pepper. Spread the cheese mixture on the toasts, sprinkle with red pepper flakes, and drizzle with olive oil. Heat in the oven for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the dressing. Combine the garlic and anchovies in a mortar and pound into a paste. Add the mustard and lemon juice and pound again until the mixture comes together. Add the olive oil, a few drops at a time, mixing with the pestle between each addition. Whisk in the remaining oil until the dressing is smooth and creamy.
- To make the salad, in a large bowl, season the tomatoes with salt and pepper. Top with the lettuce, drizzle with the garlic dressing, and sprinkle with the toasted pine nuts. Serve with goat cheese toasts.
Cooking from the Heart comes out on October 29. You can pre-order your cookbook here.
Check out more inspirational stories, recipes and posts from Andrew zimmern, Gail Simmons, Aaron Sanchez, Food 52, Poppy Tooker, and The Provence Post on www.chefjohnbeshcom. We will be taking you around the world while revisiting the places and the people from whom Chef John Besh has learned the most important cooking and life lessons.
Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this cookbook for review. All opinions are my own.