Terra: Cooking from the Heart of Napa Valley

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9781580081498: Terra: Cooking from the Heart of Napa Valley
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Just over a decade ago, Spago-trained chefs Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani opened their award-winning Napa Valley restaurant, Terra, in a century-old fieldstone foundry in St. Helena. Their dream of running a world-class restaurant became a reality as word quickly spread about the duo's extraordinary cooking and hospitality. Now, along with the French Laundry, the venerable Terra is a cornerstone of the Napa Valley food scene, and one of its quintessential dining experiences. In TERRA, over 100 recipes from the restaurant's standing and seasonal menus showcase the chefs' sophisticated, yet eminently playful and deeply personal cuisine. Sone and Doumani provide readers with a wealth of insight into the ingredients, preparations, and techniques that shape their cooking philosophy and menus, giving readers guidance—and inspiration—to execute these dishes at home.

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Review:

Restaurant Terra provides fine dining in a century-old former foundry. The very personal creation of husband-and-wife chefs Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani, the Napa Valley dining spot is noted for its relaxed yet sophisticated cuisine--French- and Italian-influenced cooking that also reflects Sone's Japanese culinary heritage. Terra tells the restaurant's story and offers over 175 of its recipes, from appetizers such as Goat Cheese and Artichoke Spring Rolls with Arugula and Tomato Salad to desserts such as Chocolate Mousseline on Pecan Sablé with Coffee Granité. The authors are unapologetic about the work required to prepare many of the recipes, but they've also made them models of clarity and, better still, instruction. Readers who like to cook and those who enjoy armchair restaurant touring will welcome the book.

Beginning with a day-in-the-life restaurant diary--work starts at 4:30 a.m. and ends some 20 hours later--the book then offers recipes organized by course or food type. Standouts include Mussel Seafood Soup with Caramelized Onions, Bone Marrow Risotto with Braised Veal Shanks, and Chinese Egg Noodles with Gulf Shrimp, Shiitake Mushrooms, and Pea Tendrils. Desserts, which should bring any meal to a delirious close, include Fig Fritters with Ginger Ice Cream and Feuilleté of Caramelized Bananas with Chocolate Fudge Sauce. Present also is a particularly useful chapter on basic techniques--photos depicting various vegetable cuts are a valuable bonus--as well as basic and pantry recipes. Illustrated with color photos throughout, the book provides a sense of a restaurant performing at the top of its game, plus a blueprint for preparing its most delicious fare. --Arthur Boehm

About the Author:

HIRO SONE is a Japanese-born, French-trained chef who studied under Paul Bocuse, Joel Robuchon, and Wolfgang Puck, who selected Hiro to open the Tokyo Spago.
LISSA DOUMANI is a pastry chef who apprenticed under Nancy Silverton at Spago, and went on to become pastry chef at Roy Yamaguchi's Los Angeles restaurant. In 1988, Hiro and Lissa settled in Napa Valley and opened Terra.

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Hiro Sone, Lissa Doumani
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