It’s Friday again, which means, among other things like oh-thank-god-it’s-the-weekend-finally, that I’m writing up my cookbook of the week! Asian American: Proudly Inauthentic Recipes from the Philippines to Brooklyn by Dale Talde.
The general public first became aware of Chef Dale Talde on his first of two stints on the popular reality show Top Chef. Lots of people, myself included, thought he was a bit of a hot-headed jerk with his first appearance. He redeemed himself on Top Chef All-Stars, and has gone on to open one of Brooklyn, NY’s most popular fusion restaurants. I don’t get to Brooklyn much, as that place is a real logistical pain – I think of it as the Hotel California (you can check out any time you like but you can never leave – seriously, it takes forever to get out of there!); but I digress. Apparently Talde’s restaurant is quite wonderful. Fortunately for anyone who lives far away from Brooklyn or who just hates messing with its parking and insane traffic problems, Chef Dale gave us the recipes in cookbook form so we can make them at home.
Talde combines his Filipino heritage with his American upbringing to make the most insane, irreverent yet delicious fusion cuisine. This cookbook is a must-have if that notion appeals to you at all.
I began the week with his Nachos, which are pretty American, except that he adds Sriracha to the cheese sauce, and once you taste it you will wonder why you haven’t been adding Sriracha to nachos your whole life. I think I messed this one up a little though? Either the ratio of milk to cheese is a little off, or I didn’t thicken my sauce enough before adding the cheese (highly likely) because it was way too thin for nachos. I know nachos can be messy, but this was really pushing it. But, incredible tasting, so I will definitely try this one again with either less milk or more patience.
Next up I was feeling something healthy, so Grilled Sweet Potato Skewers with Maple, Soy and Bacon came to be, much to the consternation of my smoke alarms. These are so delicious, and sweet potatoes after my own heart, in that they are given many savory complements like soy sauce, bacon and scallions. So freakin’ good! I’ll probably have to give these their own blog post.
Pepperoni Marinara. Need I say more? Very spicy, acidic tomato sauce punctuated by earthy, salty pepperoni, tossed with spaghetti. Amazing.
Lastly, I chose one from the (somewhat short) dessert chapter – Chocolate-Caramel Bars with a Pretzel-Potato Chip Crust. These are crack. After sneaking a taste (or two!) I sent them to work with Matt, and he was literally getting compliments all day. Like, people stopping by his office out of their way to rave about them. It’s an incredibly thoughtful recipe that works beautifully.
I can’t say enough good things about this book. The recipes look way more involved than they actually are – it’s perfect for home cooks with zany palates.