The first canning manual and cookbook authored by a Michelin-starred chef and restaurant owner, The Preservation Kitchen reveals a world of endless flavor combinations using revolutionary ideas that bring homemade preserves deliciously to life. Pairing science with art, Paul Virant presents expert preserving techniques, sophisticated recipes, and seasonal menus inspired by the award-winning fare at his restaurant, Vie, in Western Springs, Illinois.
Imaginative tangy jams, brandied fruits, zesty relishes, cured meats, and sweet and savory conserves are the focus of the first half of this book, while seasonal menus pairing these preserves with everything from salads and cocktails to poached fish and braised meat compose the second. Brandied Cherries used in Cherry Clafoutis, or as a garnish for the Beer-Jam Manhattan, are a sweet reminder of the summer harvest. And the Chicken Fried Steak with Smoked Spring Onion Relish anticipates warmer days when you’re still deep in winter.
Alongside recipes and menus, Virant draws on his extensive technical knowledge and experience to provide detailed and comprehensive guidelines for safe canning practices, testing pH, pressure canning, water bath processing, and storing. But no matter how precise the science, Virant never forgets the art in each handcrafted preserve and thoughtfully developed recipe. His unique approach re-imagines seasonal eating by harmonizing opposite or unusual partnerships: the brightness of summer fruit may be tempered with the earthiness of meats and winter produce, or the delicacy of spring vegetables might be enriched by the robust herbs and spices more typical of fall. The Preservation Kitchen not only demonstrates and instructs, it encourages and explores the limitless possibilities of capturing the seasons in a jar.
Chef-owner Paul Virant’s name is synonymous with local, seasonal eating, a distinction that has brought him accolades from national and regional publications. In 2005, before his restaurant, Vie, had been open for a full year, Chicago Magazine named Virant the city’s Best New Chef. Soon after, Vie was featured in Food & Wine, the Chicago Tribune, the Sun-Times, and Time Out Chicago. In 2007, Food & Wine named Virant among its Best New Chefs, in 2010 Vie picked up a Michelin star, and in 2011 Virant was nominated for a James Beard award. In addition to awards, Virant has appeared on NBC’s Today and, with chef de cuisine, Nathan Sears, competed in a close match on Iron Chef America. In addition to running Vie, Virant became chef and partner at Perennial Virant in Chicago in 2011.
Kate Leahy co-authored A16 Food + Wine (Ten Speed Press, 2008), the IACP 2009 Cookbook of the Year. Her work has been recognized by the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. A professional cook turned food writer, she has written for Chicago Magazine, Time Out Chicago, and shares recipes and insights on her blog Modernmealmaker.com.
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