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Michael's Genuine Cookbook: A Sneak Peek

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"One of my sayings is, 'The secret to good food is...good food.' I say spend more time shopping than cooking." -- Michael Schwartz

​That quote comes from the introduction to his yet-to-be-released cookbook, Michael's Genuine Food: Down-To-Earth Cooking For People Who Love To Eat. The recipes are Michael's of course, but he co-authored the book with JoAnn Cianciulli (foreword by Michael Symon).

The cover looks different than that of most cookbook covers: The birds-eye angle, a certain haphazardness of action, the smudged plate...it captures the mood of the book just right, as does the title, as do the recipes inside: Casual, unpretentious food enjoyed in casual, unpretentious fashion. In other words, just like dining at Michael's Genuine Food & Drink.

The inside of the book looks like hell -- meaning that my copy is just a proof, so the 256 pages are coarse and colorless, the contrast of the print is dull, and what will be 70 glossily colored photos are in black in white. All of this will change. Here's a brief overview:

"Snacks" uch as polenta fries with spicy ketchup, or chicken liver and caramelized onion crostini. "Small Plates" such as roasted "double yolk" eggs with tomato and asiago; roasted sweet onions stuffed with ground lamb and apricots; and crispy sweet and spicy pork belly with kimchi and crushed peanuts. Other chapters concentrate on "Salads" (BLT salad with maple-cured bacon); "Pizza, Pasta, & Sandwiches" (Michael's Genuine Burger with house smoked bacon and Vermont cheddar); "Large Plates" (From seared black grouper with pancetta, roasted brussels sprouts, and lemon aïoli, to curried lentil stew with Greek yogurt to mustard and molasses St. Louis ribs); "Sides" (Braised collard greens with bacon and soy sauce); and "Cocktails" (Passion fruit soda to the "Newgroni").

"Desserts" are by Michael, not Hedy Goldsmith, and include quick doughnuts with anise sugar and orange marmalade, and milk chocolate cremoso with espresso parfait. "My goal here is to take Hedy's lead and feature down-to-earth desserts that riff on familiar, timeless flavors...".

​The book is due to be published in February. "They pushed it up because they didn't want it going head-to-head with the South Beach Wine & Food Festival book," Michael told me.

Can't wait. This is sort of a no-risk cookbook, as we already know that most of the recipes lead to genuinely delicious results.

Michael's Genuine Food: Down-To-Earth Cooking For People Who Love To Eat
Michael Schwartz and JoAnn Cianciulli
Price: $35
Clarkson Potter Publishers, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc, a sub-division of...

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