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Books for Cooks: Charles Phan's The Slanted Door

Books for Cooks: Charles Phan's The Slanted Door


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Those who have dined at the San Francisco restaurant of the same name will recognize its energy and brilliance on the pages. Some recipes are more complex than the home cook may want to tackle, yet there are plenty of simpler dishes, such as Phan's irresistible Stir-Fried Green Beans or wok-seared Ginger Beef Vermicelli.Charles Phan, Ten Speed Press, $40, 288 pages


Vietnamese Home Cooking: [A Cookbook]

In his eagerly awaited first cookbook, award-winning chef Charles Phan from San Francisco's Slanted Door restaurant introduces traditional Vietnamese cooking to home cooks by focusing on fundamental techniques and ingredients.

When Charles Phan opened his now-legendary restaurant, The Slanted Door, in 1995, he introduced American diners to a new world of Vietnamese food: robustly flavored, subtly nuanced, authentic yet influenced by local ingredients, and, ultimately, entirely approachable. In this same spirit of tradition and innovation, Phan presents a landmark collection based on the premise that with an understanding of its central techniques and fundamental ingredients, Vietnamese home cooking can be as attainable and understandable as American, French, or Italian.

With solid instruction and encouraging guidance, perfectly crispy imperial rolls, tender steamed dumplings, delicately flavored whole fish, and meaty lemongrass beef stew are all deliciously close at hand. Abundant photography detailing techniques and equipment, and vibrant shots taken on location in Vietnam, make for equal parts elucidation and inspiration. And with master recipes for stocks and sauces, a photographic guide to ingredients, and tips on choosing a wok and seasoning a clay pot, this definitive reference will finally secure Vietnamese food in the home cook’s repertoire.

Infused with the author’s stories and experiences, from his early days as a refugee to his current culinary success, Vietnamese Home Cooking is a personal and accessible guide to real Vietnamese cuisine from one of its leading voices.


From The Slanted Door: Modern Vietnamese Food The Slanted Door by Charles Phan

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  • Categories: Stews & one-pot meals Main course Vietnamese
  • Ingredients: bacon leeks yellow onions garlic lobster shells fresh ginger green onions canned crushed tomatoes dried red pepper flakes black cod mussels clams squid

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Vietnamese Home Cooking: [A Cookbook] (Hardcover)

In his eagerly awaited first cookbook, award-winning chef Charles Phan from San Francisco's Slanted Door restaurant introduces traditional Vietnamese cooking to home cooks by focusing on fundamental techniques and ingredients.

When Charles Phan opened his now-legendary restaurant, The Slanted Door, in 1995, he introduced American diners to a new world of Vietnamese food: robustly flavored, subtly nuanced, authentic yet influenced by local ingredients, and, ultimately, entirely approachable. In this same spirit of tradition and innovation, Phan presents a landmark collection based on the premise that with an understanding of its central techniques and fundamental ingredients, Vietnamese home cooking can be as attainable and understandable as American, French, or Italian. 

With solid instruction and encouraging guidance, perfectly crispy imperial rolls, tender steamed dumplings, delicately flavored whole fish, and meaty lemongrass beef stew are all deliciously close at hand. Abundant photography detailing techniques and equipment, and vibrant shots taken on location in Vietnam, make for equal parts elucidation and inspiration. And with master recipes for stocks and sauces, a photographic guide to ingredients, and tips on choosing a wok and seasoning a clay pot, this definitive reference will finally secure Vietnamese food in the home cook&rsquos repertoire.

Infused with the author&rsquos stories and experiences, from his early days as a refugee to his current culinary success, Vietnamese Home Cooking is a personal and accessible guide to real Vietnamese cuisine from one of its leading voices.

About the Author

Charles Phan is the executive chef and owner of The Slanted Door family of restaurants, and the author of IACP award-winning book, Vietnamese Home Cooking. He received the James Beard Award for Best Chef California in 2004, and in 2011, was inducted into the James Beard Foundation&rsquos Who&rsquos Who of Food in America. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and their three children.


Fall books for home cook more complex

1 of 5 Bolognese Sauce (SPQR, by Accarino) as seen in San Francisco, California, on Wednesday, September 26, 2012. Food styled by Sarah Fritsche. Craig Lee/Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

2 of 5 Chocolate ?’Oreos" as seen in San Francisco, California, on Wednesday, September 19, 2012. Food styled by Amanda Gold. Craig Lee/Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

4 of 5 Mustard & Savory-Marinated Pork Chops with Cornichon Butter as seen in San Francisco, California, on Wednesday, September 19, 2012. Food styled by Lauren N Reuthinger. Craig Lee/Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

For much of the past decade, we've seen a trend in cookbooks toward simplicity and ease. Chefs and authors have been catering to the harried home cook, to the weeknight chef who wants dinner on the table pronto.

But as an interest in all things culinary continues to grow, the tide might be starting to turn. With an influx of new books from Bay Area chefs and food writers, home cooks are being given the benefit of the doubt - that is, that they're capable of getting their hands dirty, playing around with new techniques, and spending more time than the length of a sitcom in the kitchen.

Last week, we wrote about Charles Phan's "Vietnamese Home Cooking." Although the chef/owner of Slanted Door offers plenty for the weeknight cook, there are also recipes in the book that take three days and require a trip to Home Depot to complete.

Likewise, many of these books expect more from their readers, providing multistep recipes, harder-to-find ingredients and suggestions for handmade garnishes that are worthy of professionals.

Still, the books are great fun to read, and the recipes seem to work. If you're up for the challenge - or looking for a good gift - you'll be rewarded with delicious results.

Here are a few favorites hitting shelves this fall.

SPQR: Ever since chef Matthew Accarrino took over in the kitchen at this tiny San Francisco restaurant in 2009, he's been exciting diners with his unusual blend of Italian and global flavors. Owner Shelley Lindgren has taken an equally exciting path with hard-to-find wines from small Italian producers. But the book, with the restaurant's title, is much more than just a companion. It is, instead, a tour through some of Italy's lesser-known areas.

Chapters are divided accordingly, labeled as Roman roads that mark the region through which they run. Via Flaminia, for example, runs through Umbria to the coast Via Aemilia through Emilia-Romagna.

Through Lindgren's hand, the book celebrates each region's wines, featuring the producers and the grapes that define the region. Accarrino follows up with intricate recipes inspired by his Italian travels.

Keep in mind, cooks, this is not for the easily intimidated. Ricotta and quail egg ravioli with wild greens and fontina is one of the easier dishes in the book it runs with others like bone marrow sformato and stuffed baby artichokes, and squid ink linguine with braised squid, sea urchin, broccoli cream, and pan grattato. Still, we tackled Accarrino's version of bolognese with egg noodles, which is something that can certainly be replicated at home.

"SPQR," by Shelley Lindgren and Matthew Accarrino with Kate Leahy (Ten Speed Press, 304 pages, $35).

Bouchon Bakery: We've pored over Thomas Keller's French Laundry book, and made his family favorites from the Ad Hoc tome. Now it's time to celebrate all things sweet. The Bouchon Bakery cookbook, written by Keller and executive pastry chef Sebastien Rouxel, looks much like the others - as in, it might only live on your coffee table - and provides readers with recipes from the Yountville shop.

Throughout the 400 pages, there are chapters on everything from cookies to artisan breads, each with painstaking detail and many accompanied by step-by-step photos.

Though we were enticed by recipes like the dulce de leche eclairs and signature bouchons, we opted instead to make the TKO's, a.k.a. Thomas Keller Oreos. Apparently, the packaged cookie is a favorite of the chef's, and Rouxel crafted this recipe in his honor.

Despite dough that was a little tough to roll, they came out beautifully, with rich, chocolate wafers that are tender and buttery when baked.

The book is perfect for the Keller collector, but also a nice addition to any baker's kitchen.

"Bouchon Bakery," by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel (Artisan Books, 400 pages, $50).

The Great Meat Cookbook: In the decade-plus since Bruce Aidells released "The Complete Meat Cookbook," consumers and readers have become much more educated about where meat comes from. Less popular, less expensive cuts are being utilized over traditional ones, artisan butchers are all the rage and heirloom breeds aren't as tough to find as they once were.

This new book follows suit, plowing through the labels, newly appreciated cuts and trendier meats that consumers see today. His recipes are fairly approachable, but Aidells still expects the reader to have a curiosity about meat that goes beyond the grocery store butcher counter.

In addition to the usual beef, lamb and pork, "The Great Meat Cookbook" includes recipes for bison and goat, potted meats and handmade sausages, and other dishes from around the globe. Heirloom pork is featured in the recipe for mustard and savory-marinated pork chops with cornichon butter, which we tried in the test kitchen. The unexpected pairing worked quite well.

"The Great Meat Cookbook," by Bruce Aidells with Anne-Marie Ramo (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 632 pages $40).

Bolognese With Egg Noodles

Adapted from "SPQR," by Shelley Lindgren and Matthew Accarrino, with Kate Leahy (Ten Speed Press, 304 pages, $35). A recipe for egg noodles appears in the cookbook, but you can serve this with any fresh egg noodle.

  • 1 pound, 5 ounces ground pork shoulder
  • -- Kosher salt
  • -- Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 6 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped canned chipotle peppers en adobo
  • -- Pinch dried chile flakes
  • 1 1/3 cups red wine
  • 16 gratings nutmeg
  • -- Sachet with 2 thyme sprigs, 1 rosemary sprig, 1 sage sprig, and 10 cloves
  • 1/2 cup soffritto (see instructions below)
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • -- Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • -- Red wine vinegar, to taste (optional)
  • 1 pound fresh egg noodles
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • -- Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano to garnish

Instructions: Season ground pork with salt.

Preheat the oven to 325°. Heat a thin film of olive oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottom pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the ground pork and brown well, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the pork and juices to a heatproof plate. In the same pot, heat another film of olive oil over medium heat. Stir in the onions and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. If the bottom of the pan begins to get too dark, add a splash of water to deglaze. Mix in the garlic cook about 1 minute more. Stir in the tomato paste, chipotle and chile flakes and cook until the tomato paste begins to brown, about 3 minutes.

Return the pork and juices to the pot, and pour in the wine. Bring to a simmer and reduce the liquid by about a third, 3 to 5 minutes. Add 1 1/4 cups water and return to a simmer. Grate the nutmeg directly into the pot and submerge the sachet. Cover, transfer to the oven and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Meanwhile, make the soffrito (instructions below).

Uncover the pot and taste the Bolognese. The meat should be tender and the sauce noticeably thicker. Over low heat, stir in the 1/2 cup soffritto and the cream and simmer until the sauce has a velvety texture, 7 to 10 minutes. Taste season with salt and pepper, if needed. If the sauce tastes flat, add a few drops of red wine vinegar. With a slotted spoon, remove the sachet, pressing on it to extract as much liquid as possible.

Meanwhile, cook the egg noodles according to package directions drain, reserving some of the pasta cooking water. Add noodles back to the pasta pot, and spoon sauce over, thinning with pasta water if it gets too dry. Add the unsalted butter, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano over the top.

For the soffritto: In a meat grinder or food processor, grind 1 chopped carrot, 1/2 chopped onion, and 1 1/2 sliced celery stalks until the vegetables are chopped finely. Heat 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil in a large, wide Dutch oven or heavy-bottom pot over low heat. Stir in the ground vegetables and 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt and gently cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very soft and the bottom of the pot is dry, about 45 minutes. Save extra for another use.

Per serving: 637 calories, 28 g protein, 53 g carbohydrate, 31 g fat (12 g saturated), 155 mg cholesterol, 277 mg sodium, 3 g fiber.

Makes 8 large sandwich cookies

From "Bouchon Bakery," by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel (Artisan, 400 pages, $50). Thomas Keller's Oreos are not overly sweet the chocolate shortbread cookies are balanced with a nice saltiness.

  • White Chocolate Filling
  • 4 1/2 ounces 35% white chocolate (Valrhona Ivoire 35% suggested)
  • 1/2 ounce unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup + 1 teaspoon heavy cream
  • Chocolate Shortbread
  • 1 3/4 cups + 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder (Guittard Cocoa Noir suggested)
  • 3/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 8 ounces unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

For the filling: Melt chocolate and the butter together, stirring constantly. Meanwhile, bring the cream to just under a simmer. Pour the cream over the melted chocolate and whisk to combine. Pour the mixture into a container, cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to one day, until completely chilled.

For the shortbread: Place the flour in a medium bowl sift in the cocoa and baking soda and whisk to combine.

Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Turn to medium-low speed and mix until smooth. Add the salt and mix for another 15-30 seconds. Add the sugar and mix for about 2 minutes, until fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Add the dry ingredients in 2 additions, mixing on low speed for 15 to 30 seconds after each, or until just combined, then mix until the dough begins to come together.

Mound the dough on the work surface and, using the heel of your hand or a pastry scraper, push it together into a 6-inch-square block. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, until firm. The dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month.

Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°. Line two sheet pans with Silpat or parchment paper.

Unwrap the dough and place it between two pieces of parchment paper or plastic wrap. With a rolling pin, pound the top of the dough, working it from left to right, to begin to flatten it, then turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat (this will help prevent the dough from cracking when rolling). Roll out to an 1/8 -inch thick sheet. If the dough has softened, slide it (in the parchment) onto the back of a sheet pan and refrigerate until firm enough to cut.

Using a 3-inch cutter, fluted if possible, cut rounds from the dough. If necessary, push the trimmings together, refrigerate until firm, and reroll for a total of 16 rounds. (Any trimmings can be baked as is, cooled, and ground in the food processor to use as cookie crumbs over ice-cream.) If dough softens, return to the refrigerator until the cookies are firm enough to transfer to the sheet pans. Arrange the rounds on the sheet pans, leaving about 3/4 inch between them. (The dough can be shaped in advance see Note.)

Bake for 15-17 minutes, turning the pans around halfway though baking, until the cookies are fragrant, with small cracks on the surface. Set the pans on a cooling rack and cool for 5-10 minutes, then transfer the cookies to the rack to cool completely.

Assembly: Place the filling in the bowl of the mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, and beat until smooth. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a 3/16 -inch plain tip.

Turn the cookies over. Pipe- 1/2 inch-long teardrops in a ring on each one, beginning 1/8 -inch from the edges of the cookie, and then working toward the center, pipe concentric rings of teardrops to cover the cookie. Top each with a second cookie and press gently to sandwich the cookies.

The cookies are best the day they are baked, but they can be stored in a covered container at room temperature if unfilled, or refrigerated if filled, for up to 3 days.

Note: The shaped dough can be frozen on the sheet pan, wrapped in a few layers of plastic wrap, for up to 1 month. Transfer to a lined room-temperature sheet pan, and bake frozen.

Per serving: 563 calories, 6 g protein, 58 g carbohydrate, 37 g fat (23 g saturated), 91 mg cholesterol, 559 mg sodium, 4 g fiber.

Mustard & Savory-Marinated Pork Chops With Cornichon Butter

Adapted from "The Great Meat Cookbook," by Bruce Aidells (Haughton Mifflin Harcourt, 632 pages, $40). This recipe makes a lot of extra cornichon butter, which you can refrigerate or freeze for later use.

  • 3 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons dry vermouth
  • 1 tablespoon coarse-grained mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh summer savory or rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt + more for seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper + more for seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 1 1/2- to 2-inch-thick bone-in center-cut rib pork chops (see Note)
  • -- Cornichon butter (see instructions below)

Instructions: Whisk together the garlic, vermouth, mustard, savory or rosemary, thyme, the 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and the 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Whisk in the olive oil. Place marinade in a shallow dish, large enough to hold the chops snugly.

Pierce each pork chop over entire surface with a fork. Add chops to marinade and turn to coat on all sides. Cover and refrigerate for 6-8 hours or overnight.

Remove chops from the marinade, shaking off excess. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before grilling. Season with salt and pepper.

Set up a charcoal or gas grill for indirect grilling.

Place the pork chops on the hot part of the grill and cook for 2 minutes. Flip over and grill the other side for another 2 minutes. Move chops to the part of the grill without heat, cover the grill, and cook for 10-15 minutes more, or until firm to the touch, with a faint pink color remaining an instant-read thermometer should read 135°-140° close to the bone.

Remove from the grill and top each chop with 1 tablespoon cornichon butter. Let rest, loosely covered with aluminum foil, for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Note: You can also use blade-end chops, center cut T-bone loin chops, boneless pork chops, veal rib chops, beef steaks or goat chops.

For the cornichon butter: Mix 2 tablespoons minced shallots and 1 tablespoon dry white wine or vermouth in a medium bowl and set aside to macerate for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, pulse 8 tablespoons (1 stick) softened butter and 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard in a food processor until well combined. Transfer the butter mixture to the bowl with the shallots, add 3 tablespoons chopped cornichons, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and blend with a rubber spatula until well combined. Spread a 12-inch-long piece of plastic wrap on your work surface and scrape the butter onto the plastic wrap. Shape and roll the butter into a rough log, 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter, leaving about 2 inches at either end of the wrap. Twist the ends to seal, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before use.

The calories and other nutrients absorbed from marinades and syrups vary and are difficult to estimate. Therefore, this recipe contains no analysis.Wine pairing: A light red wine or a Chardonnay such as the 2010 Firestone Vineyard Santa Ynez Valley Chardonnay ($18 14.8% alcohol) would work with this dish


Books for Cooks

The year's most talked about restaurant-based cookbook has to be "Fäviken" (Phaidon Press, $49.95), a stunner that channels chef/author Magnus Nilsson's work -- every ingredient served at Fäviken Magasinet, his 12-seat restaurant/laboratory in northern Sweden, is culled from the surrounding 20,000-acre estate -- into home-cook terms.

Well, sort of. Because the recipes' ingredients tend to read like the rural Nordic version of a locavore scavenger hunt, the book is less about practicality and more about extreme farm-to-table inspiration. Forget about the kitchen bookshelf: This beautifully written and photographed travel guide belongs on nightstands, where readers can happily immerse themselves in Nilsson's fascinating world.

From his perch in the stratosphere of the American culinary world, chef Thomas Keller ("The French Laundry Cookbook," "Ad Hoc at Home") has released another homage to one of his top-rated restaurants. This time it's "Bouchon Bakery" (Artisan, $50), a make-at-home survey of the breads and sweets that line the counters of his popular bakeries in New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Yountville, Calif.

Like Keller's other titles, the recipes are as exhaustive as they are exacting (Keller's co-author is his devoted pastry chef, Sebastien Rouxel), and they run the gamut from relatively simple -- scones, muffins and drop cookies -- to master guides that require some serious time and know-how: The basic croissant dough recipe stretches across three type-filled pages, and the baguette formula nearly constitutes an entire chapter. The stunning photography is by longtime Keller collaborator Deborah Jones.

Maricel Presilla, a New Jersey chef with a distinctly lower profile than Keller's, although perhaps not for long, is the force behind an extraordinary work of scholarship: "Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America" (W. W. Norton, $45). Not that this leave-no-stone-unturned survey of the Western Hemisphere's Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking regions exudes even a whiff of "textbook."

With more than 500 recipes and countless essays, sidebars and insider's notes, this "Dr. Zhivago"-length work is a page-turning must-have for anyone with a taste for this region's cooking.

Beyond the predictable

Yes, the culinary-industrial complex continues to churn out books from TV-famous chefs. Gordon Ramsay has "Gordon Ramsay's World Kitchen" (Sterling Epicure, $24.95). Tyler Florence produced "Tyler Florence Fresh" (Clarkson Potter, $35), Ina Garten's latest is "Barefoot Contessa: Foolproof" (Clarkson Potter, $35), Michael Symon penned "Carnivore" (Clarkson Potter, $35), Jacques Pépin updated his classic "New Complete Techniques" (Black Dog & Leventhal, $39.95) and Rick Bayless explored Mexican-themed nibbles and drinks in "Frontera: Margaritas, Guacamoles and Snacks" (W. W. Norton & Co., $24.95).

Why not expand your kitchen library beyond the familiar brand names up and down the dials of the Food Network and PBS?

Adam Perry Lang, founder of Daisy May's BBQ in New York City, puts a fascinating new spin on grilling in the smart and highly useful "Charred & Scruffed"(Artisan, $24.95). Kevin Gillespie of Atlanta's Woodfire Grill reveals his fascination with grilling and smoking, Southern-style, in "Fire in My Belly" (Andrews McMeel, $40), sharing 120-plus recipes.

A more refined Southern cooking is showcased in the food-porn-heavy "The Foothills Cuisine of Blackberry Farm" (Clarkson Potter, $60), a sumptuous homage to proprietor Sam Beall's eastern Tennessee foodie mecca.

Charles Phan of San Francisco's fabled the Slanted Door doesn't showcase his top-rated restaurant in his debut cookbook. But his "Vietnamese Home Cooking" (Ten Speed Press, $35) is a must for anyone interested in replicating the home cooking traditions of Phan's native country.

Nostalgia must be job No. 1 at the Back in the Day Bakery in Savannah, Ga., at least that's what's reflected in the lovable, updated-from-yesteryear recipes in "The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook" (Artisan, $24.95) by Cheryl Day and Griffith Day.

Two titles from the Pacific Northwest underscore the supremecy of that region's bakeries.

"Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza" (Ten Speed Press, $35) is by Ken Forkish, the genius behind the remarkable Ken's Artisan Bakery in Portland, Ore.

Re-create a bit of Seattle with Tom Douglas' "The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook" (HarperCollins, $35), starting with the recipe for the awesome coconut cream pie. Oh, and the tomato soup.

Or for something a bit different, transport yourself behind the kitchen door of some of the nation's -- and the globe's -- top restaurants. In "Secrets of the Best Chefs: Recipes, Techniques, and Tricks From America's Greatest Cooks," author Adam Roberts (he's the blogger behind www.amateurgourmet.com) taps the wisdom of 50 top practitioners, including Alice Waters, Jonathan Waxman, Jose Andres and Lidia Bastianich.

Authors Christine Carroll and Jody Eddy illuminate just how well restaurants feed their own in "Come In, We're Closed: An Invitation to Staff Meals at the World's Best Restaurants" (Running Press, $35), including a chapter on Piccolo in Minneapolis.

Follow Rick Nelson on Twitter: @ricknelsonstrib

Rick Nelson joined the staff of the Star Tribune in 1998 and is the newspaper's restaurant critic. He is a Twin Cities native, a University of Minnesota graduate and a James Beard Award winner.


The Slanted Door: Modern Vietnamese Food

I&aposve checked this book out about five times, and have plowed through 1/3 of the recipes. drinks included!

Not threatening and very doable. Ingredients will be easy to find as long as one can get to an Asian market. Too bad he axed his decision to open a second SD inside Century City&aposs mall. I can walk there from a relative&aposs! I've checked this book out about five times, and have plowed through 1/3 of the recipes. drinks included!

Not threatening and very doable. Ingredients will be easy to find as long as one can get to an Asian market. Too bad he axed his decision to open a second SD inside Century City's mall. I can walk there from a relative's! . more

Let me begin by saying that The Slanted Door is a big, heavy, absolutely gorgeous cookbook! This is one that you would not hesitate to give as a gift either to someone extra special or to yourself. It’s that nice. It has everything you could want in a cookbook: beautiful photos, unbelievable recipes and a story to tell. Perhaps the story part is not what you look for in a cookbook, but for some I do. These are the cookbooks that I read like a novel, from cover to cover.

It is basically the story Let me begin by saying that The Slanted Door is a big, heavy, absolutely gorgeous cookbook! This is one that you would not hesitate to give as a gift either to someone extra special or to yourself. It’s that nice. It has everything you could want in a cookbook: beautiful photos, unbelievable recipes and a story to tell. Perhaps the story part is not what you look for in a cookbook, but for some I do. These are the cookbooks that I read like a novel, from cover to cover.

It is basically the story of The Slanted Door restaurant and how it came to be at it’s current location in San Francisco. The book is divided into sections based on the years and the location of the restaurant. Act One is from 1995-2002 and is on 584 Valencia Street. Act Two is 2002-2004 and is one 100 Brannan Street. Act Three is 2004-present and is on 1 Ferry Building. The recipes are divided up into sections: starters, cocktails, raw bar, salads, soups, mains, desserts, and basics.

The restaurant titles itself as modern Vietnamese cooking and these recipes do not disappoint. I have marked recipes to try in every section. Every recipe is accompanied by a large gorgeous photo.

Here are just a few of the recipes that I’ve marked to try:

Starters: Spring Rolls, Chive Cakes, and Nem Nuong (Vietnamese Meatballs).

Cocktails: I have actually made several from this section. The Mai Tai, Indian Summer, Bumble Bee, and The Dorchester were all delicious!

Raw Bar: Halibut and Scallop Ceviche.

Salads: Vietnamese Chicken Salad and Papaya Salad.

Soups: Spicy Lemongrass Soup.

Mains: Hainan Chicken, Braised Ginger Chicken, and Shaking Beef.

Desserts: Coconut Tapioca with Coconut-Lime Sorbet and Roasted Apricot Tarts

Basics: Flavored Fish Sauce, Peanut Sauce, and Pickled Carrots

A truly beautiful cookbook with approachable recipes.
. more

One Sunday morning I got a call from our hostess.
You better come in, she said, the president is here.
I was confused. The president? Of what?
The president of the United States, she said.
Oh.

Cookbooks like The Slanted Door are picture books for grown ups. Lush, gorgeous, joyous.

Since I discovered my library&aposs amazing collection of ethnic cuisine, it is my practice to always have one checked out. Comfort reading for hard and easy times. I released myself from feeling I was a fraud if I reviewed coo One Sunday morning I got a call from our hostess.
You better come in, she said, the president is here.
I was confused. The president? Of what?
The president of the United States, she said.
Oh.

Cookbooks like The Slanted Door are picture books for grown ups. Lush, gorgeous, joyous.

Since I discovered my library's amazing collection of ethnic cuisine, it is my practice to always have one checked out. Comfort reading for hard and easy times. I released myself from feeling I was a fraud if I reviewed cookbooks when I haven't made the recipes. This is plain and simple comfort food for the brain. I always copy at least one recipe and promise myself, 'someday.'

I love immigrant/emigrant stories, and Charles Phan has a remarkable one. Worth reading for the narrative.

On a side note, I asked my San Francisco brother if he'd eaten at The Slanted Door. Oh, yes, several times!

While I have not yet been to The Slanted Door restaurant, I have heard many sing its praises. Having grown up eating traditional Vietnamese food made by my mother, I am always a little wary of Vietnamese restaurants that claim to be “modern.” I think it’s just my inner prejudice that always wants to eat food that tastes like mom’s home cooking. However, I knew that this book as going to be different and I went into it with an open mind.

The presentation of this book is fantastic. It’s an oversiz While I have not yet been to The Slanted Door restaurant, I have heard many sing its praises. Having grown up eating traditional Vietnamese food made by my mother, I am always a little wary of Vietnamese restaurants that claim to be “modern.” I think it’s just my inner prejudice that always wants to eat food that tastes like mom’s home cooking. However, I knew that this book as going to be different and I went into it with an open mind.

The presentation of this book is fantastic. It’s an oversize book filled with lovely photos of delicious looking dishes and views of San Francisco. The recipes are easy to read and follow. The book is laid out in a pretty traditional format and goes from appetizers through desserts with a section for cocktails and drinks in the middle.The recipes are laid out clearly with concise directions. For those not familiar with Vietnamese cooking, some of the ingredient lists and recipes may seem a little involved but most of the items should be easily found at your local Asian market and aren’t very difficult in technique.

While I was a little apprehensive about what “modern” recipes would translate to, I was happy to see that there was a nice mix of traditional dishes as well as more modern dishes. Some of the classic dishes that I am looking forward to trying are the shrimp on sugarcane, spring rolls, shaking beef, Vietnamese quiche, chive cakes and chicken turnovers (pate chaud). Others like the crispy green beans, BBQ pork ribs, cabbage rolls with tomato garlic sauce and sticky rice with sweet potato are a less traditional but incorporate elements familiar in Vietnamese cooking.My least favorite sections were Drinks and Desserts. I don’t drink much alcohol so I cannot fairly judge the drink recipes. As for the desserts, I was slightly disappointed because most of the desserts in the book are French or French influenced. Phan explains that he grew up eating French desserts (due to France’s previous colonization of Vietnam). So the recipes makes sense but I happen to be a fan of Vietnamese desserts and was a little disappointed that they were not represented in the book. Like I said though, that is my own personal bias and I fully plan on trying the roasted apricot tarts and spiced beignets in the near future.

Woven throughout the book are stories from Phan’s life and the evolution of The Slanted Door. From his humble beginnings helping out a friend’s mom with her food truck to opening the first location of The Slanted Door in The Mission, it’s Phan’s passion for food and drive that have brought the restaurant where it is today.

I definitely recommend this book for anyone who enjoys Vietnamese cuisine and would like to make it at home. Phan’s enthusiasm and love of food is evident on every page and I can’t wait to try some of these recipes!

*I received a copy of this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my review or opinion of the book. . more

This book is gorgeous. And it knows it.

Can I get my money back and just go there for dinner? (Or buy an actually useful cookbook?)

Save this for those who are looking for a pretty and self-congratulatory coffee table book. Zzz Zzz

Being a lover and reader of cookbooks, I have many more tomes than can fit in my small kitchen cupboard. The solution, for me, has been to try out e-cookbooks! I recently picked up Phan&aposs latest offering, The Slanted Door, when it was a part of the publisher&aposs specially priced offering that passed through my email one day. If you love cookbooks and enjoy adventuresome eating/cooking, you will want to pick up a copy as well!

I love that The Slanted Door offers readers a bit of history of the resta Being a lover and reader of cookbooks, I have many more tomes than can fit in my small kitchen cupboard. The solution, for me, has been to try out e-cookbooks! I recently picked up Phan's latest offering, The Slanted Door, when it was a part of the publisher's specially priced offering that passed through my email one day. If you love cookbooks and enjoy adventuresome eating/cooking, you will want to pick up a copy as well!

I love that The Slanted Door offers readers a bit of history of the restaurant after which the cookbook is named. As you read, you get a sense of San Francisco and the food scene therein. A travel guide within a cookbook is a "win win" to me! Phan also includes other stories and anecdotes about what it takes to run a food business, what the food he presents means to him, and glimpses into family life and history that connect readers and would-be at-home chefs to the dishes presented. This is what makes me devour a cookbook!

I like that dishes from all parts of the menu are included in the cookbook. If you are intimidated to try a full-blown entre (and you really shouldn't be with Phan's step-by-step instructions and careful coaching in each recipe), you can always start with an appetizer! Abundant explanations and gorgeous photographs accompany each recipe and provide encouragement. What a delight!

In this modern era with global connections, it's hard to imagine that anyone would find the ingredients in Phan's dishes to be too exotic. I live in the middle of America, in the "fly-over" zone where grocery stores have limited shelf space. However, I feel confident that I could procure most of the ingredients to make any dish in the book readily and locally.

I like that I have this book on my e-reader because I can set it on the kitchen counter and follow along with the recipe as I cook, thus saving paper. (Do note it helps to increase the length of time before your screen times out before you start cooking if you don't want to have to swipe the screen with messy fingers!) While it will take a bit of getting used to (also, set it out of splatter range!), it makes me feel even more technologically savvy as well. I will certainly be indulging in more e-cookbooks in the future!
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Okay I &aposm a trite Phan Fan

The magic in here is overwhelming and behind the curtain is simply Chef Phan. His sophisticated, delicate palate dictates the finest in fusion food. Fusion of what? French, French colonial, American, Thai? I think more a fusion and fission of Charles Phan: his life, family, experience, and most of all, vision. The results and straightforwardness of his cookbook recipes are easy to see and love. I dare you to find otherwise! Bravo, chef! (And I hate exclamation points an Okay I 'm a trite Phan Fan

The magic in here is overwhelming and behind the curtain is simply Chef Phan. His sophisticated, delicate palate dictates the finest in fusion food. Fusion of what? French, French colonial, American, Thai? I think more a fusion and fission of Charles Phan: his life, family, experience, and most of all, vision. The results and straightforwardness of his cookbook recipes are easy to see and love. I dare you to find otherwise! Bravo, chef! (And I hate exclamation points and people who overuse them, yet here they are. Forgive me or sue me, but enjoy this experience/journey/cooking with Chef Phan.) . more

What is it like to read a book of recipes as any other kind of book? In this case, it’s fun to try! I deviated from this approach, however, reading the first few essays, then the ingredients, then the other essays, and only skimming the numbered instructions. The succinct descriptions at the top of each page provide very helpful tips, and give a good sense of the amount of effort required. The author tells bits of Vietnamese and San Franciscan histories that reveal some of the personal and culin What is it like to read a book of recipes as any other kind of book? In this case, it’s fun to try! I deviated from this approach, however, reading the first few essays, then the ingredients, then the other essays, and only skimming the numbered instructions. The succinct descriptions at the top of each page provide very helpful tips, and give a good sense of the amount of effort required. The author tells bits of Vietnamese and San Franciscan histories that reveal some of the personal and culinary heritage in both places. The book tracks the development of the restaurant as a whole, through its three locations since 1995.

As I made a glossary for the novel set in India “Three Bargains”, so I made my own list of the ingredients from these pages. Most are easy enough to find, but there is usually at least one key ingredient to make the dish special (e.g. Thai chiles, banana leaves for wrapping, fish sauce, jicama, lemongrass, shallot oil, various mushrooms, etc. – but even those shouldn’t be too hard to find) so you might want to stock up ahead of time. You want to make sure you have the necessary kitchenware, too, or usable substitutes. The cocktail section, for example, has a suggested list of “tools of the trade.” I personally have little interest in cocktails, but I can appreciate their dedication to quality, the same attention they pay to their wine, tea, and of course food, and it is nice to see these colorful photos.

The pictures are on one page (I feel hungry every time I see them), and the complementing backgrounds behind the plates are really nice, too: well-worn but clean and appealing surfaces. The full recipe is on the other side that is, everything you need is visible at once. For any of the compound ingredients included in the preparation, the page number is right there for reference. The section on basics (sauces, etc.) that you can prepare in advance and store until needed is a great, helpful feature.

One recipe I want to try making is the sticky rice with sweet potato, a breakfast dish that sounds like it could also make a nice dessert, and seems relatively easy for someone like me with little cooking experience. The desserts, more colonial French-inspired than Asian, are especially involved – I don’t think I’ll try making any of those, except maybe the cheesecake. The methods are explained well enough that with patience and the right materials, these can be made as by following any other kind of protocol. If you really want to make one of these dishes, and are new to cooking, you will need lots of patience but if it comes out looking like the pictures in this book, it will be worth it.

I visited San Francisco in May, and though I didn’t make it to the Slanted Door (next time, I hope!), I did at least have a very nice lunch from Out the Door, one of their express locations, also in the Ferry Building. I was interested in this book not so much because I wanted to try cooking Vietnamese food, but because I wanted to keep a part of the city with me somehow. The photography of the neighborhoods and familiar scenes adds another special touch.

Phan does give a fair warning about dishes that might not be for everyone, but almost everything in here looks delicious. He gives credit to everyone else involved – where he got ideas, who came up with the recipe if not him – and he is a generous person in other ways as well. I recently watched “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” and Phan’s story is even more interesting, and his food innovations are more appetizing.


The Slanted Door

The long-awaited cookbook featuring 100 recipes from James Beard award-winning chef Charles Phan's beloved San Francisco Vietnamese restaurant, The Slanted Door.

Award-winning chef and restaurateur Charles Phan opened The Slanted Door in San Francisco in 1995, inspired by the food of his native Vietnam. Since then, The Slanted Door has grown into a world-class dining destination, and its accessible, modern take on classic Vietnamese dishes is beloved by diners, chefs, and critics alike. The Slanted Door is a love letter to the restaurant, its people, and its food. Featuring stories in addition to its most iconic recipes, The Slanted Door both celebrates a culinary institution and allows home cooks to recreate its excellence.

CHARLES PHAN is the executive chef and owner of The Slanted Door family of restaurants, and the author of IACP award-winning book, Vietnamese Home Cooking. He received the James Beard Award for Best Chef California in 2004, and in 2011, was inducted into the James Beard Foundation's Who's Who of Food in America. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and their three children.


Vietnamese Home Cooking

Infused with the author’s stories and experiences, from his early days as a refugee to his current culinary success— Vietnamese Home Cooking is a personal and accessible guide to real Vietnamese cuisine from one of its leading voices.

In his eagerly awaited first cookbook, award-winning chef Charles Phan from San Francisco’s Slanted Door restaurant introduces traditional Vietnamese cooking to home cooks by focusing on fundamental techniques and ingredients.


When Charles Phan opened his now- legendary restaurant, The Slanted Door, in 1995, he introduced American diners to a new world of Vietnamese food: robustly flavored, subtly nuanced, authentic yet influenced by local ingredients, and, ultimately, entirely approachable. In this same spirit of tradition and innovation, Phan presents a landmark collection based on the premise that with an understanding of its central techniques and fundamental ingredients, Vietnamese home cooking can be as attainable and understandable as American, French, or Italian.


With solid instruction and encouraging guidance, perfectly crispy imperial rolls, tender steamed dumplings, delicately flavored whole fish, and meaty lemongrass beef stew are all deliciously close at hand. Abundant photography detailing techniques and equipment, and vibrant shots taken on location in Vietnam, make for equal parts elucidation and inspiration. And with master recipes for stocks and sauces, a photographic guide to ingredients, and tips on choosing a wok and seasoning a clay pot, this definitive reference will finally secure Vietnamese food in the home cook’s repertoire.

Infused with the author’s stories and experiences, from his early days as a refugee to his current culinary success— Vietnamese Home Cooking is a personal and accessible guide to real Vietnamese cuisine from one of its leading voices.

Charles Phan is the executive chef and owner of The Slanted Door family of restaurants. He received the James Beard Award for Best Chef California in 2004, and in 2011 was inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s list of Who’s Who of Food in America. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and their three children.

Charles Phan’s Vietnamese Home Cooking captures the very heart of Vietnamese food: fresh, pure, full of life, and vibrant with flavor. His beautiful pictures, stories, and recipes make it completely irresistible.
—Alice Waters, chef, author, and proprietor of Chez Panisse


The great appeal of Charles Phan’s cooking at The Slanted Door has always been its vivid purity of flavor. It isn’t necessarily simple food, but there’s not a soupçon of trickery or gratuitous filigree involved. In his long-awaited, warmly written first cookbook, Phan reveals the secrets of his approach to the great and varied food of his native Vietnam.
—Colman Andrews, editorial director of TheDailyMeal.com

A truly magical and illuminating journey into the cooking of Vietnam, with recipes so thoroughly brilliant they will not only allow you to better understand the cuisine of that country, but they will also make you a better cook, Asian or otherwise.
—James Oseland, editor-in-chief of Saveur, author of Cradle of Flavor

Like the best cooking is, Charles Phan’s food is deceivingly complex. With this book, Charles shows you how to unravel that code and make delicious Vietnamese food at home.
—David Chang, chef/owner of Momofuku


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