The past week I have read a few "best of" lists. Best books, best music, best movies, best cookbooks. Admittedly I have seen and read a majority of the "bests" and I have found most winners of the lists just have the best publicists. Sad but true.
We were out in Sun Valley, Idaho this past March. Lucky for us we ate dinner one night at Vintage Restaurant. The whole experience was memorable. When the Vintage Restaurant Cookbook landed in our kitchen this week, everyone recalled our meal and opened up the book to read each of the recipes. Ooohs and aahs preceded.
This cookbook is a true labor of love. It should also be on the "best cookbook" lists of 2006. Something I rarely do is read the entire introduction. Great story. Jeff Keys, who is the chef and owner of Vintage found food just as much as food found him. He was a California boy who found himself drawn to the ski mountains. He found himself in Aspen making ski money as a dishwasher. One night the chef didn't show up and Jeff found himself as the glorified chef of the evening and then for the rest of the evenings after that. Bells and whistles went off and he found his passion. Lucky for us.
I actually shared this cookbook with the caterer I have used for 8 years. He has done our big parties like the Bat Mitzvahs etc. As any of my readers know, I am the caterer of the home even for dinner parties of 20 but for 100, I'll pass. Thom, the caterer, loved the book. He is a total foodie too. What comes through in the book is Jeff's love for food and the pursuit of new recipes.
Each main course is paired with the vegetables or starch that he puts the dish together in the restaurant. He is a huge fan of smoking meats, fish etc. Loves the marinade and rubs. Each dish is really creative and nothing you have ever seen before. The line on the book is "handcrafted cuisine from a sun valley favorite". That sort of sums it up.
Just an idea of some of the recipes. Here are some that popped out at me that I will be trying over the next few months. Creamy Baked Onion Soup with Grilled Mushrooms (topped off with melted mozzarella), Seared Muscovy Drake Breast Moroccan Style (I will use Duck Breasts and it is served with a Moroccan type rice and a goat cheese spinach salad), Smoked Pork Tenderloin, Wine Country Style (pork in an Asian marinade, wild roast toasted pecan and sweet corn fritters, honey roasted red and green grapes and a tawny port pan sauce), Prawn and Goat Cheese Tart (with mango and avocado). Do these not sound mouth watering and interesting.
The recipes are well written with pictures too. So if you are searching for that special cookbook to buy for the foodie in your life, pick up Vintage Restaurant Cookbook.