Bright Cooking: Recipes for the Modern Palate

Chronicle. Jun. 2024. 272p. ISBN 9781797213859. $37.50. COOKING
Acclaimed chef, restaurateur, and former Top Chef contestant Becerra’s goal in life is to make the world a better place one dish at a time. In her debut cookbook, Becerra sets out to do this by sharing her culinary philosophy that the “art of cooking and eating is deeply meditative and rooted in resourcefulness” and espousing a worldview in which each dish consists of a “star item, a sauce, and a flourish.” Written with clarity and passion, the cookbook itself is divided into two sections, with the first part dedicated to 50 recipes for “elements” (i.e, building blocks such as sauces, pickles, stocks, and flavor pastes), while the second half focuses on 75 composed dishes for everything from salads (cucumber, plum, and ricotta with citronette) to breads (savory lemon focaccia) to lunchtime delights (customizable hippie sandwiches). Sprinkled throughout are instructions on building bowl-based meals, plus bits of Becerra’s hard-won culinary wisdom on topics such as sprouting beans and using forgotten vegetables.
VERDICT Anyone interested in committing to a more mindful approach to cooking and eating and who’s willing to put in some time and effort will joyfully embrace Becerra’s dazzling, flavor-punched collection of recipes.
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