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From the Ground Up
Ground meats are easily affordable, amazingly versatile, and common in almost every cuisine. Ground beef, pork, poultry, and seafood are staple ingredients across continents and cultures, but they've rarely been given the respect they deserve. FROM THE GROUND UP by James Villas (Wiley Paperback; October 17, 2011; $22.99) collects over 200 recipes that span the globe, all presented with the passion and style that make Villas one of the world's most admired food writers and culinary historians. Here, he pays loving tribute to this underappreciated style of cooking, letting it take its rightful seat at the head of the table.
Look inside the refrigerator or freezer of just about any home in America, and there will inevitably be a package or two of ground beef (or chicken, or turkey). And who doesn’t have a favorite family recipe for meatloaf or chili? As famously American as such dishes are, almost every cuisine of the world has beloved recipes for ground meats—from Jamaican beef patties to Greek moussaka, British pasties to French terrines, the variety of delectable specialties is utterly staggering.
FROM THE GROUND UP includes recipes not just for ground beef but for ground turkey, chicken, pork, lamb and even seafood. And while the main objective is to provide easy, straightforward, delicious, and blessedly economical recipes, Villas also encourages home cooks to get into the habit of grinding, mincing, and chopping some of their own ingredients.
Villas shows that the possibilities for ground dishes are endless, as evidenced by these examples from around the globe:
Authentic French Croques Monsieur – contrary to popular belief, Villas reveals that a genuine Croque Monsieur is actually made with coarsely ground ham and dipped in egg batter
- It’s been said that Italian cooks know how to make a feast with ordinary toast, and the appetizer Italian Chicken Liver and Mushroom Crostini is the perfect example
- Villas takes the sometimes dull Waldorf salad and transforms it into something memorable in Chicken Waldorf Salad with Honey-Sour Cream Dressing
- American Meat Loaf Deluxe takes an American classic and turns it into a supreme tribute to not one but four ground meats – the ultimate moist, full-flavored, crusty loaf.
FROM THE GROUND UP is broken down into eleven distinct chapters, such as “Loaves, Croquettes, and Cakes,” “Casseroles and Pastas,” and “Hashes and Chilies,” just to name a few. Villas also includes plenty of tips and practical information about different varieties of ground meats, poultry and seafood, as well as a list of fundamental equipment for home grinding.
For home cooks looking for quick and delicious dinner solutions, as well as adventurous ones wanting to explore the more global recipes, FROM THE GROUND UP offers numerous familiar and unusual dishes that will appeal to hungry amateurs and professionals alike.