In the foreword to “Sunday Suppers at Lucques” Alice Waters has high praise for Suzanne Goin.
“When Suzanne started working at Chez Panisse, we all knew right away that one day she would have a restaurant of her own and that other cooks would be coming to her for kitchen wisdom and a warm welcome,” Waters wrote.
Goin’s book is a beautiful exploration of the dishes she serves at Lucques, in Los Angeles. The 130 recipes in the book are arranged by three-course menus and divided into season.
Her spring and summer dishes will have you longing for farmers’ market season. And there are plenty of options to get you through the last blustery reminders of winter: Warm Crepes with Lemon Zest and Hazelnut Brown Butter; Braised Beef Short Ribs with Potato Puree, Swiss Chard and Horseradish Cream; Braised Chicken with Saffron Onions, Italian Couscous and Dates; and Cranberry Walnut Clafoutis with Bourbon Whipped Cream.
The graceful pictures alone are enough to make you start planning your own vegetable garden.
Goin includes descriptions of her favorite produce from the market each season, and she’s careful to offer substitutes for ingredients that could be difficult for home cooks to find.
Here’s a recipe from her St. Patrick’s Day menu:
Chocolate-Stout Cake with Guinness Ice Cream
From “Sunday Suppers at Lucques” by Suzanne Goin with Teri Gelber (Knopf, 398 pages, $35)
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 cup Guinness stout
1 cup molasses
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3 extra-large eggs
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon unsalted butter, softened (for pan)
Guinness ice cream (recipe follows)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking power, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg together into a large mixing bowl.
Pour the beer and molasses into a medium pot, whisk together and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat and whisk in the baking soda. Don’t be surprised when it foams up.
In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and both sugars, mixing well to combine. Whisk in the oil and then the beer mixture.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour in the liquid ingredients, whisking slowly until just incorporated. Be careful not to overmix or the cake will be tough.
Pour the batter into a lightly buttered Bundt pan and bake 30 minutes. The cake is done when it begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and the top surface is just starting to crack. When you insert a skewer into the center it should come out mostly clean. To keep the cake moist, cover it with a dry kitchen towel as it cools. After 30 minutes, invert the cake onto a platter.
Serve slices of the cake with scoops of Guinness ice cream.
Yield: 1 Bundt cake, 12 servings
Approximate nutrition per serving: 476 calories, 30 grams fat (8 grams saturated, 55 percent fat calories), 7 grams protein, 47 grams carbohydrate, 145 milligrams cholesterol, 2.5 grams dietary fiber, 248 milligrams sodium.
Guinness Ice Cream
1/2 vanilla bean
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup Guinness stout
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons molasses
3 extra-large egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Using a paring knife, scrape the seeds and pulp into a medium saucepan. Add the vanilla pod, milk and cream, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn off the heat, cover and allow the flavors to infuse for 30 minutes.
While the cream is infusing, whisk the beer and molasses together in a small saucepan, bring to a boil and then turn off the heat.
Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla extract together in a bowl. Whisk a few tablespoons of the warm cream mixture into the yolks to temper them. Slowly, add another 1/4 cup or so of the warm cream, whisking continuously. At this point you can add the rest of the cream mixture in a slow, steady stream, whisking continuously. Pour the mixture back into the pot and return to the stove.
Stir the beer mixture into the cream and cook the custard over medium heat, 6 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently with a rubber spatula and scraping the bottom and sides of the pan. The custard will thicken and when it’s done will coat the back of the spatula. Strain the mixture and chill at least 2 hours in the refrigerator. When the custard is very cold, process it in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Yield: 1 scant quart