We’re reviewing The Haven’s Kitchen Cooking School Cookbook…which includes a giveaway of the book as well as a cast-iron Staub 5.5 quart Round Cocette (value $315) made in France. The book was provided by Artisan Books.
The Haven’s Kitchen Cooking School Cookbook Review
About the book
Alison Cayne takes the essential skills gleaned from her popular cooking school classes at Haven’s Kitchen into her first comprehensive teaching cookbook, The Haven’s Kitchen Cooking School.
The Haven’s Kitchen Cooking School includes 100 delicious recipes carefully chosen by Cayne and her expert staff with food inspired by global cuisine and a modern sensibility of how we like to eat today.
Each of the book’s nine chapters revolves around a key lesson taught through a collection of recipes to ensure that readers are not simply memorizing a canon of tried-and-true instructions; they are learning how to cook for a lifetime.
About the author
Alison Cayne is the owner of Haven’s Kitchen, a cooking school, café, and event space in New York City. Cayne started Haven’s Kitchen as a place to inspire and educate people about food and sustainability issues. She serves on the boards of Edible Schoolyard NYC and the Food and Environment Reporting Network and has been featured in such publications as the New York Times, Vogue, Elle, Domino, Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, and Goop. She has a master’s in food studies from New York University, where she is now an adjunct professor. Cayne lives in New York City with her five children. Find her on Instagram @havenskitchen.
We get about a dozen or so cookbooks that come in the mail for review every single month. While we don’t have time to read cover-to-cover each and every single one, we do spend time flipping through the book, reading the introductions for each chapter and bookmark a recipe here or there that looks interesting.
Not so with Haven’s Kitchen Cooking School book. We read every single page.
And as you can see, we bookmarked quite a few pages! Some of the bookmarks are for must-try recipes….but most of the bookmarks were for cooking concepts that were brand new to me, even as a chef and cookbook author!
The book is described as a “Must-have manual for every aspiring home cook,” but that description is so limiting. The book covers 9 master classes in cooking:
- Grains/beans – to learn cooking with purpose. Learn to cook a pot of rice, or a bowl of quinoa to understand what cooking (time, heat, salt) actually does to an ingredient.
- Fritters – to learn art of preparation and organization
- Vegetables – to learn seasonality, considering what produce is at its peak
- Soups – to learn how to layer flavors, building up your soup with ingredients from herbs to acid
- Eggs – to learn how time and temperature can drastically affect the end result
- Salads – to learn how to compose a delicious, memorable salad with complementary and constrasting flavors and textures
- Fish/Fowl/Meat – to learn what types of heat (saute, fry, roast, braise) is best for each ingredient
- Sauces – to understand harmony of a beautifully balanced sauce
- Desserts – to learn to play with sticky, sweet, fluffy, tart and luscious
I’ll highlight some of my favorite parts of the book.
In the Soups master class, you learn the difference between boring soup (water + ingredients) and sensational soups, which is built up by layering:
- Aromatics (garlic, onion, celery, fennel, shallots, etc)
- Flavor (bundled herbs, parmesan rind, spices, stock)
- Texture (croutons, beans)
- More Flavor/Texture (greens like kale, chard)
- and finally Finishing to serve (more herbs, a little lemon juice, a slice of bread)
At home, we make soups during the “not-Summer” season here in Las Vegas Nevada. Normally, I’ll throw ingredients into a slow cooker or pressure cooker, especially for Asian-style broths. The soups I make are for serving alongside our main meal, so they are lighter, more broth-like than actual hearty meal-in-a-bowl soups.
I learned from Haven’s that creating a soup is more than just adding water to ingredients. Take care in contemplating textures, fortify soups by adding ingredients at different stages of cooking.
One of my favorite chapters in the book is Sauces. If there’s one thing that I suggest aspiring cooks learn first, it’s how make to sauces. That’s because you can do infinite amount of cooking with sauces. You can use sauces to spoon on top of grilled chicken, to toss with steamed vegetables, to marinade kabobs, to dip in, to dress salads, to mix in with pasta….well, you get the point.
Haven’s Kitchen Cooking School Cookbook teaches you how to balance flavors with salty, sweet, sour, savory, spicy…to build contrasts in flavors. The book includes recipes for 16 different sauces.
The Salad master class is brilliant. Sure, a salad can be chopped greens with globs of dressing…or learn how to create, “pops of color and bursts of flavor and texture” in your salad.
“A well-composed salad is a master class in creating joy and surprise in every forkful.”
I highly recommend this book, both for beginner cooks, as well as experienced. Personally, I learned many detailed points that made me more thoughtful in recipe creation and just cooking everyday meals for my family.
Buy the book here on Amazon.
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Haven’s Kitchen Cooking School & Staub 5.5 Quart Round Cocette Giveaway
We’re giving away a copy of the book, along with a Staub Cast Iron 5.5 Quart Round Cocette in Graphite Color (value $315) to a winner.