Taking a cooking course abroad is the great way to expand one’s kitchen prowess while experiencing a country’s culinary culture. You get learn new skills and prepare authentic regional specialities with the added bonus of being able to eat your homework. It is also one of Ayaka’s favourite travel pastimes, being a firm believer that anything that ends with food in your stomach must be good. When our latest cookbook Jeffrey Saad’s Global Kitchen: Recipes Without Borders arrived at our door, it immediately drew our attention as it connected with our shared weakness for travel and ethnic foods.
American Chef Jeffrey Saad brings exotic flavours of the world to your kitchen in his first cookbook offering. Drawing inspiration from his travels around the world, Saad’s passion for ethnic foods is fuelled by his love for different cuisines and his infatuation of spices. Having cooked and shared kitchens with local chefs of all ranks, he provides a comprehensive compilation of his experiences in the form of engaging recipes, sound advice and intimate anecdotes.
Beautiful images capture the vibrant colours and bold flavours of Saad’s dishes which make you want to eat them right off the page. Recipes are divided by region with stops that include the Middle East, Italy, Mexico, India and Asia. Dishes are also split into categories: “casual” or “company coming,” making for effortless entertaining. He devotes an entire chapter to eggs demonstrating their versatility in the kitchen. No cookbook would be complete without dessert, and Saad offers a nice range from sinful Nutella Crepes to Cardamom-Spiced Flamed Red Bananas.
With over 100 enticing recipes on this culinary tour, it was extremely difficult to pick our favourites. Crab Tostadas with Fire-Roasted Chiles, Avocado and Tomatillo Salsa, played on our love of big, bold, Mexican flavours while aromatic Whole Tandoori Chicken with Mustard Seed-Roasted Potatoes transported our taste buds straight to India. And who could resist the allure of a Bacon and Gruyère Quiche? Saad also kicks up comfort food updating classic recipes such as Smoked Paprika Buttermilk Fried Chicken and BLT with Oven-Dried Tomatoes and Harissa Mayo. Vegetarians also have options with scrumptious meatless meals like Open-Face Lasagna with Morel Mushrooms and Asparagus, and Orange-Pickled Fennel Salad with Black Olives and Toasted Fennel Seed.
Saad’s ability to elevate the reader’s cooking skills, going beyond simply offering a collection of recipes is what separates this cookbook from the rest of the pack. In a section titled “World Pantry Primer,” he breaks down core ingredients explaining their purpose in addition to covering spices from each region; from the common to the exotic. By educating palates, he gives the reader an understanding of flavours which encourages them to experiment and create their own meals. Also included are insightful kitchen basics ranging from cooking temperatures and toasting spices to cooking with chilies.
Jeffrey Saad’s Global Kitchen has universal appeal and would make a welcome addition to any cookbook collection. The recipes are easy to follow and the spicing is mild, perfect for beginners or more conservative palates. Spiceoholics need only increase the amount of spice. Whether you are a lover of ethnic foods or a seasoned cook looking to add some zip to your repertoire, Saad’s exotic manual will have you busy cooking globally for months. We haven’t been able to put this cookbook down, and we’re certain you’ll enjoy it as much as we have.
Two-Pork Croque Monsieur with Spiced Mornay
- 8 Slices bacon
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 Tablespoons herbes de Provence
- 1 Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
- 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 Cup milk
- 3/4 Cup grated Gruyere cheese
- 1 Teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 8 Slices rustic, porous white bread
- 8 Thin slices boiled ham, at room temperature
- Cook the bacon to golden and set aside to drain on a paper towel.
- To make the sauce, in a small pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the herbes de Provence and pepper. Stir rapidly with the whisk to incorporate all the flour. Once the mixture is smooth, slowly add the milk, whisking continuously, and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to a simmer and cook for 1 minute. Taste (blow hard to cool first) and make sure the raw flour flavor is gone. If it isn’t continue to simmer and stir for 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Stir in 1/4 cup of the Gruyere and the lemon juice. Set aside.
- Preheat the broiler.
- Toast the bread in the toaster to a light golden. Lay 4 pieces of the bread on a sheet pan. Add 2 slices of ham, then 2 slices of bacon to each. Spoon one-quarter of the Mornay sauce onto each. It is OK (and desirable) for the sauce to run out a bit. Place the remaining slices of bread on top of the sauce. Divide the remainder of the Gruyere among the tops of the sandwiches. Sprinkle a little more pepper on the top of each sandwich and place under the broiler. Broil until the cheese is golden.
More on the Author
After becoming a household name with his appearances on The Next Food Network Star, American Chef Jeffrey Saad has gone from chef, to restauranteur, to author. Saad has created and contributed to many successful restaurants, including San Francisco’s Sweet Heat, Pasta Pomodoro and his current restaurant chain, The Grove. Saad has also made TV appearances on such shows as Chopped All-Stars, The Rachael Ray Show and Grill it! With Bobby Flay. He is currently the host of United Tastes of America on the Cooking Channel.
If you could learn any style of cuisine, what would you choose? Post your answers below!