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SIMPLE TO SOPHISTICATED

BY JEAN- GEORGES VONGERICHTEN AND MARK BITTMAN

PUBLISHED BY DOUBLEDAY


SIMPLY MARVELOUS...........

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

SIMPLE TO SPECTACULAR
by jean-georges vongerichten and mark bittman
published by BROADWAY BOOKS
division of Random House

How to take one basic recipe to four levels of sophistication.
That is the summary of the book for the Library of Congress
and I couldn't have put it any simpler. The premise that if
you can make the base or foundation of a piece, you are only
limited by your own imagination in creating more from that
foundation.

I remember my cooking school in Paris how we would complain
at making the same things over and over and the chef just
smiling saying something about "les bases de cuisine"....
and of course he was right that by setting the bar so high
to begin with, our creations from that foundation had every
possibility of succeeding.

This book merely helps your imagination in taking those
steps in kicking up the basic recipe through three more
levels of sophistication.

Jean-Georges and Mark take this to another level by supplying
us with three recipes beyond the basic one.

For example: Pizza.

1. Start with a pizza with fresh sliced tomatoes, olive oil,
   garlic, chopped basil.

Sounds great doesn't it? Next Level.

2. Pizza with olive oil, sliced caramelized onions, black olives,
   anchovy fillets.

Hmm, a bit of Nicoise there i think.

3. Pizza with fromage blanc or sour cream, sauteed onions,
   bacon, chives, nutmeg.

maybe quiche lorraine or from Jean-Georges quiche alsace...

4. Tuna Wasabi Pizza with sushi quality tuna with wasabi/soy cream

Definitely the final level...with credit given to American master,
Barry Wine.

RECIPES/

Sauteed Chicken with
Green Olives and Cilantro

Yield: 4 servings

              One 3- to 4-pound chicken, cut up for sautéing
              2 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
              1/4 cup onions, minced
              2 teaspoons ginger, minced
              2-inch piece cinnamon
              A few strands of saffron or 1/2 teaspoon dried turmeric
              2 cups chicken stock or other stock
              2 Tablespoons peanut or neutral-flavored oil, such as canola
              2 Tablespoons green olives, minced
              2 teaspoons lemon juice
              1 Tablespoon cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
              Salt and freshly ground black pepper

         Preheat the oven to 500°F. Place 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small
         saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, ginger, cinnamon, saffron or
         turmeric and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5
         minutes. Add the stock and increase the heat to high; cook, stirring
         occasionally, while you prepare the chicken. When the liquid has reduced
         by about three-quarters and becomes syrupy, turn off the heat.

         Heat the peanut or other oil in a large, preferably nonstick, ovenproof
         skillet over medium-high heat for a minute or two. Season the chicken on
         both sides with salt and pepper. Place the chicken in the skillet, skin side
         down, and cook undisturbed until lightly browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Turn
         over and cook on the other side for about 2 minutes. Turn the chicken skin
         side down again, and place the skillet in the oven. Check it after 15
         minutes, and remove the pieces as they are cooked through (the breasts
         will be cooked before the legs; keep them warm).

         When the chicken is just about done, finish the sauce. Stir in the
         remaining 1 teaspoon of olive oil, the olives and some salt (not too much
         as the olives are salty) and pepper. Cook for about 2 minutes over
         medium-high heat stirring once or twice. Turn off the heat and add the
         lemon juice and cilantro. Remove the cinnamon stick.

         To serve, arrange the chicken on 4 plates. Spoon the sauce around it, not
         over it, so the chicken stays crunchy.
 
 

Roast Chicken with
Pine or Rosemary

Yield: 4 servings

              4 boneless chicken breast halves, preferably with skin on
              3 Tablespoons canola, grapeseed, or other neutral-flavored oil
              1 Tablespoon pine shoot needles or rosemary leaves, very finely minced
              About 1 teaspoon coarse salt
              2 Tablespoons hazelnuts, very finely minced
              1/2 cup chicken stock
              Salt and freshly ground black pepper

         Preheat the oven to 500°F. Sprinkle the chicken on both sides with salt and
         pepper. Place the oil in a large skillet over high heat. When it begins to smoke,
         add the chicken, skin side down. Cook for about 3 minutes, until nicely browned,
         then turn the chicken over and put the skillet in the oven for another 3 minutes or
         so, until done.

         While the chicken is cooking, mix the pine shoots or rosemary leaves with the
         coarse salt and the hazelnuts. Place one-fourth of this mixture on each of 4
         plates.
 
 

Dill stuffed Shrimp

Yield: 4 servings

              2 lemons
              4 heaping Tablespoons sugar
              24 large shrimp
              4 Tablespoons dill or fennel fronds, freshly snipped
              1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
              3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
              Salt and cayenne pepper

         Preheat the oven to 450°F. Preheat the grill. Alternatively, you can bake the
         lemons, then broil the shrimp in the same oven.

         Cut the pointed tips from the lemons, just enough so they'll sit flat. Cut the
         lemons in half, then place them, flesh sides up, in a baking pan; sprinkle with
         sugar. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the sugar melts and the pulp is soft.

         Meanwhile, peel the shrimp: slice each one almost in half through their fronts to
         make a hinged shrimp that looks like this: )(. Mince the dill and sprinkle it over the
         insides of the shrimp. Close the shrimp.

         Mix the garlic and oil. Brush on the shrimp, then sprinkle with salt and a pinch of
         cayenne.

         Grill or broil the shrimp until done, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Serve with the baked
         lemons, squeezing some of the lemon juice over the shrimp.

         When the chicken is done, place a piece on each of the plates. Add the stock to
         the skillet and cook over high heat, stirring, for just a minute, until reduced by
         about half. Spoon a little of this juice over each breast and serve.
 
 
 

Halibut with
Sateed Vegetables

Yield: 4 servings

              Two 10- to 12-ounce halibut steaks
              Flour for dredging
              2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
              1 Tablespoon butter
              2 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
              4 thyme sprigs
              12 medium asparagus stalks, peeled
              1 medium zucchini, cut into eight 1/4-inch-thick slices
              8 artichoke hearts, preferably fresh but frozen are fine
              1 large tomato, peeled, seeds and pulp discarded, flesh cut into rough
              chunks (not small dice)
              2 Tablespoons pitted black salt-cured olives
              1/2 cup fresh or frozen and thawed peas
              2 Tablespoons basil, roughly chopped
              Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper and cayenne pepper

         Sprinkle the fish with salt and cayenne, then dredge lightly in the flour, shaking
         off the excess. Place a large, heavy saucepan or skillet, preferably non-stick, over
         high heat. A minute later, add the olive oil and butter. When the butter melts,
         place the halibut in the pan, with the garlic and thyme around it.

         Cook for 1 minute, then add the asparagus, zucchini, and artichokes. Reduce the
         heat to medium-high and cover the pan. About 4 minutes later, when the
         underside of the halibut is browned, turn it. Add 1/2 cup water, along with the
         tomato and olives. Replace the lid and cook for 2 more minutes.

         Remove the halibut, which should be slightly underdone, and keep it warm in a
         200°F oven. Replace the lid and continue to cook the vegetables for another 2
         minutes, adding a little water if necessary. The mixture should be loose, but not
         at all soupy. Add the peas and increase the heat to high. Season the vegetable
         mixture with salt and pepper, then return the fish to the pan. Cook for another
         minute or two, scooping the vegetables and the juice onto the fish.

         Cover and turn off the heat; let the dish rest for a minute. Remove the fish and
         vegetables to plates, then garnish with the basil and a little coarse salt. Eat with
         a spoon.
 
 

Tuna Spring Roll with
Soybean Coulis

Yield: 4 servings

              Four 3-ounce pieces of tuna, cut into rectangles
              4 spring roll wrappers
              1 cup soybeans, blanched and peeled
              1 Tablespoon lime juice
              1 Tablespoon nampla (Thai fish sauce)
              1 chile pepper, finely chopped
              Salt to taste

         Wrap spring roll around tuna and deep fry for 1 minute in 375°F
         oil and season with salt and slice 4 times.

         Coulis
         Mix in blender all ingredients. Serve as dipping sauce.
 
 

Lobster with Thai Herb Sauce

1 1/2 pound lobster, blanched for 2 minutes
         1 small head bok choy

         Sauce:

              1 carrot, julienned
              1 apple, julienned
              2 Tablespoons butter
              1 Tablespoon of mixed curry (red, yellow, green)
              1/2 cup white port
              1 stalk lemongrass
              1 lime leaf
              1 Tablespoon turmeric powder
              1 cup whipped cream
              Coriander, chopped
              Salt

         Cut blanched lobster in two. Cut bok choy in slices, reserve.

         In a shallow pan, add butter, carrot and apple, curries, lemongrass. Sweat for 2
         minutes. Deglaze with white port. Reduce by 3/4. Add turmeric powder. Finish
         sauce with whipped cream. Season with salt. Sauté lobster and bok choy. Arrange
         and serve with sauce and coriander.
 
 

Chicken with Coconut
Galangal Soup

Broth Base

              1/2 onion, sliced
              2 garlic cloves, chopped
              1 chile, chopped
              2 slices galangal or ginger
              1 lemongrass stalk, cut into 2-inch sticks and smashed
              1 teaspoon red thai curry paste
              2 Tablespoons peanut oil
              4 cups chicken broth

         Garnish

              2 cups coconut milk
              Fish sauce (nampla) to taste (available at Asian specialty markets)
              2 Tablespoons lime juice
              2 pieces scallion, sliced
              4 sprigs coriander
              2 raw chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
              12 shiitake caps, cut into strips

         Sweat the onions, garlic, chile, galangal, lemongrass and curry paste in peanut oil
         for 5 minutes. Add chicken broth and simmer for 1/2 hour

         At the last minute, add coconut milk, chicken breast, shiitakes. Season with
         nampla and lime juice. Cook 2 minutes. Divide into 4 bowls. Garnish with scallions
         and coriander springs. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.
 
 
 
 

RESTAURANT/JEAN-GEORGES/

Located at Columbus Circle in the lobby level of Donald
                       Trump's International Hotel and Tower, restaurant Jean
                       Georges is among New York City's very small circle of 4-star
                       restaurants. Designer Adam Tihany has created a visually
                       stunning space, with floor to ceiling windows overlooking
                       Central Park and a soothing palette of taupe, ecru and silver.
                       The restaurant is divided into two dining rooms - the 4-star
                       Jean Georges and Nougatine, a slightly more casual dining
                       room with a sophisticated, hip bar scene and an exhibition
                       kitchen with a full view of Jean-Georges and his staff at
                       work. During the warmer months, you can enjoy outdoor
                       dining and cocktails at the Mistral Terrace, with views of
                       Central Park. In conceiving this restaurant Jean-Georges
                       wanted to bring back the elegance of tableside service to
                       accompany his signature style of modern French cooking.

                       "It is time to revive the kind of service that is reminiscent of
                       the 40's and 50's," states the Chef and Co-owner. "We
                       wanted to bring back tableside service for two reasons: first,
                       because it is elegant and graceful; second and more
                       importantly, I felt it was time to bring the excitement and
                       the wonderful aromas of food preparation back into the
                       dining room. After all, we cooks are the ones that have been
                       having all the fun in the kitchen -- that first aromatic smell
                       of freshly sliced meat or the placement of the perfect garnish
                       to finish a dish will now be experienced by the guests. It will
                       add a sense of aliveness and conviviality to the dining room
                       that focuses on the food."

                       The cuisine at Jean Georges is based on the
                       deceivingly-simple philosophy of using the highest quality
                       ingredients and preparing them in a way that allows their
                       natural flavors to stand on their own. Whenever possible,
                       meats and fish are cooked whole, on the bone, to keep their
                       flavors and juices intact, and then served tableside. As a
                       man in a constant quest to find and refine new flavors to
                       pique his interest and our palates, Jean-Georges spents
                       months of research and weeks of foraging Upstate New York,
                       that he clearly defined his new palette of seasonings and
                       accompaniments for his menu at Jean Georges -- wild edible
                       plants. Garlic Mustard, Yarrow, Sylvetta, Burnet, Chickweed
                       and Nettles, to name just a few. Used to garnish a dish,
                       sautéed as an accompaniment, or added as an integral
                       seasoning in a sauce, they are found throughout the menu
                       and change regularly with the seasons. These old flavors,
                       brand new to our 20th century palates, are clean, intense
                       and pure, and add a depth of flavor to the food.

                       The Jean Georges dining room is opened for lunch Monday
                       through Friday and for dinner Monday through Saturday.
                       Nougatine is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
 

BIO/

Internationally reputed for his innovative, groundbreaking cuisine, Jean-Georges
   Vongerichten has emerged as one of the country's leading chefs. Acclaimed by critics
   as 'formidably gifted,' a 'residential genius' and the 'enfant terrible of modern French
   cooking', his culinary vision has consistently set new standards and helped define
   today's generation of cooking.

   In 1986, Jean-Georges Vongerichten burst onto the New York dining scene at the
   Lafayette in the Drake Swissotel, dazzling diners with his innovative interpretation of
   classic French cuisine and earning four stars from The New York Times at the age of
   29. In the first of many bold moves that has established him as a culinary
   trendsetter, Jean-Georges traded in this formal 4-star dining room for paper-clothed
   tables and opened his charming bistro Jo Jo in 1991.

   At Jo Jo, he introduced us to his 'vibrant and spare cuisine' whose intense flavors
   and satisfying textures he created by eschewing traditional meat stocks for
   vegetables juices and fruit essences, light broths and herbal vinaigrettes. Jo Jo was
   named Best New Restaurant of the Year by John Mariani in Esquire and earned
   three-stars from The New York Times, which summed up his contemporary French
   cuisine in the sentence "His food took my breath away."

   Jean-Georges' next venture, Vong, paid homage to the spices and flavors of the
   East, a passion he developed during the three and a half years he lived and worked
   in the Orient. Using over 150 different herbs and spices to create his unique take on
   Thai- inspired French cuisine, the menu at Vong wowed both critics and patrons,
   earning yet another three-star review from The New York Times for his "explosively
   flavorful food." In an adjacent space to Vong, Vongerichten also opened The Lipstick
   Cafe, a stylish cafe that caters to the midtown business crowd and serves breakfast
   and lunch in a casual, upscale setting.

   A year and a half later in November of 1995, Vongerichten opened a second Vong in
   the Knightsbridge area of London, earning a three star review and the 1996 vote for
   the London Evening Standard's Newcomer of the Year. In September 1997, he
   opened Vong in The Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Hong Kong, where he has already
   received accolades from local media. A fourth Vong opened in April 1999 in Chicago.

   In March of 1997 Jean-Georges opened restaurant Jean Georges in the Trump
   International Hotel and Tower, earning a 4-star review from The New York Times less
   than three months after opening; he was also awarded the coveted Chef of the Year
   award from John Mariani at Esquire magazine and the Best New Restaurant award by
   the James Beard Foundation.

   His most recent New York City project (July 1998), The Mercer Kitchen at the stylish
   Mercer Hotel in SoHo, features an American-Provencal menu and Ecommunal style
   tables in the open kitchen area where hotel guests and diners may choose to eat,
   converse and watch the kitchen's activities. In October of 1998 Jean Georges
   opened Prime, a steakhouse located in Steve Wynn's much-anticipated Bellagio Hotel
   in Las Vegas.
 

   Alsatian Roots and Traditional Training
   Born and raised on the outskirts of Strasbourg in Alsace, Jean-Georges' earliest family
   memories are about food. The Vongerichten home centered around the kitchen,
   where each day his mother and grandmother would prepare lunch for the almost 50
   employees in their family-owned business. "I would wake every morning to the most
   wonderful smells," reminisces Jean-Georges "and I quickly became known as 'the
   palate' to my family, tasting each sauce and dish, recommending salt or some more
   herbs." His love for food cemented into his choice for a career at the age of 16,
   when his parents brought him to the 3-star Michelin-rated Auberge de l'Ill for a
   birthday dinner.

   Jean-Georges began his training soon after in a work-study program at the Auberge
   de l'Ill as an apprentice to chef Paul Haeberlin. He went on to work with the top
   chefs in France, including Paul Bocuse and master-chef Louis Outhier at L'Oasis in
   the south of France. With this impressive three-star Michelin training, Vongerichten
   won a position at the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok. From 1980 to 1985, he opened an
   impressive 10 restaurants around the world, including the Meridien Hotel in Singapore
   and the Mandarin Hotel in Hong Kong; it was during this time spent in Asia that
   Jean-Georges developed his love for the exotic and aromatic flavors of the East that
   would later translate into his own interpretation on his menu at Vong.

   Jean-Georges arrived in the United States in 1985, opening the Lafayette restaurant
   in Boston. A year later he arrived in New York to take over the executive chef
   position at Lafayette there.
 

   Awards and Accolades, plus a Cookbook or Two
   Jean-Georges Vongerichten currently holds an unprecedented total of twelve stars
   from The New York Times for his four New York City restaurants, JoJo, Vong, Jean
   Georges and The Mercer Kitchen. In 1998 Jean-Georges was awarded three medals
   at the James Beard Restaurant Awards ­ Best New Restaurant, Outstanding Chef,
   and Who's Who of Food & Beverage; it is the first time that a chef was awarded best
   new restaurant and outstanding chef in the same year.

   In September of 1998 Broadway Books published Jean-Georges' second cookbook,
   Jean-Georges: Cooking at Home with a Four-Star Chef, which adapts recipes from all
   of his restaurants for the home cook. His first book, Simple Cuisine features recipes
   that include his vegetable broths and vinaigrettes and the clean flavors he favors at
   Jo Jo. Jean-Georges has appeared as a guest on the Martha Stewart Show, Live!
   with Regis & Kathie Lee, the Today Show and Good Morning America as well as doing
   several guest spots on the TV Food Network. He is featured in the PBS series, In
   Julia's Kitchen with Master Chefs with Julia Child, broadcast in 1995.