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Books That Cook

By December 2005Comments

The Dallas Junior Leaguers are at it again. Not only do these women volunteer some 120,000 hours at nonprofit agencies in Dallas and throughout the Metroplex, but they’re also warmly hospitable and talented in the kitchen as evidenced by their beautiful new cookbook Dallas Dish.

As you might expect from its title, Dallas Dish is drizzled with socialite scoop, historical tidbits, and trivia. Did you know, for example, that a typical Dallas steakhouse sells between five hundred and seven hundred pounds of prime beef a week? Not surprising, really, for a city like Dallas, which boasts four times as many restaurants per person as New York. And in a metropolis so intertwined with dining, it isn’t surprising to find this group of enterprising women who also know a great deal about food. From the tantalizingly cool Tomatillo Gazpacho With Lobster to the sinfully decadent Double Chocolate Fried Pies, these ladies bring to the table a wide variety of classic and innovative recipes. A few that stand out include the Blue Cheese Popovers, the Mushroom-crusted Beef Tenderloin With Balsamic Jus, and the Rosemary Pesto Lamb With Wild Rice and Spinach Timbales. The Shrimp Wrapped in Bacon With Jalapeño, a clever concoction from Wendy Krispin, the chef at Krispin…the Restaurant, is most certainly a crowd pleaser as is the Apricot Lavender Tart.

In addition to the more than 250 recipes, Dallas Dish is chock-full of resources, including measurement equivalents, herb descriptions, and a vegetable saucery for variations on the basics. But what we like best about this latest edition to the Dallas Junior League repertoire is that the cookbook is actually functional, meaning all skill levels can appreciate, execute, and enjoy the recipes. Crafty variations on several simple recipes allow cooks to go either gourmet or Texas-style. For example, the Classic Risotto can be transformed into a brilliant side by adding sautéed shallots, garlic, and mushrooms in bourbon. This same Classic Risotto is also tempting in its Texas version, with Dallas Dish’s addition of corn, pepper jack cheese, cilantro, and roasted poblano peppers. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a true Dallas Junior League cookbook without insightful tips, such as substituting stock for water and garnishing plates with edible flowers. Bravo!

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