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Mar 25, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘Bryan Voltaggio’

By the Book: Home by Bryan Voltaggio

Friday, November 11th, 2016



I am a major Top Chef fan (Season 14 starts Dec. 1!). Season six, which featured brothers Bryan and Michael Voltaggio, was a favorite – so much so that on a my first trip to Baltimore, I took a detour to Frederick, Maryland to eat at Volt, Bryan Voltaggio’s restaurant. It was a wonderful experience. One memorable chicken and beets dish featured local ingredients and several components that came together to make an unforgettable experience.

His cookbook, Home, reminds me of that dish. Many recipes have smaller sub-recipes that are additional components on a plate. I’m currently in a cooking rut, and the thought of making several recipes for one dish was daunting. So I decided to make simple lemon cookies.

There are only two recipes in for this dessert: one for the cookie and one for a glaze. The dough was easy to make, though the dough needed to rest at least four hours (surprise, I didn’t), and they must cool thoroughly so the glaze can harden (yeah, skipped that part, too). Even with my shortcuts, the recipes yielded tiny, slightly doughy treats with a hint of lemon and a sweet glaze that I’ll likely make again.

Skill level: Moderate. Recipes are long and detailed, but they sound delicious.
Other recipes to try: Everything mashed potatoes, loaded hash browns
The verdict: Check back next week!


Lemon Cookies
Makes about 18 cookies

1½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup cornstarch
1/8 tsp. fine sea salt
¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Grated zest of 1 lemon

3 Tbsp. water
2½ Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp. fine sea salt
2½ cups powdered sugar

Make the cookies
• Sift the flour, cornstarch, and salt together. Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment on low speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and lemon zest and mix until smooth. Stop the mixer and add all of the flour mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl, 2 to 3 minutes. Put the dough in a covered container and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.
• Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
• Use a ¾-ounce ice cream scoop to portion the dough into balls, and lay them out on the baking sheet, leaving 2 inches of space between each cookie. Bake for 8 minutes, or until the cookies are set and slightly golden brown around the edges. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Make the glaze
• Put the water, lemon juice, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk until the salt dissolves. Add the powdered sugar and whisk until smooth. Set a wire rack over a baking sheet. Dip the tops of each cookie into the glaze and then set them on the rack. Sprinkle the cookies with freshly grated lemon zest and leave them on the rack until the glaze hardens, about 20 minutes.

Reprinted with permission from Little Brown

By the Book: Bryan and Michael Voltaggio’s Volt Ink

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

When the opening spread of a cookbook boasts side-by-side forewords from José Andrés and Charlie Palmer, you know it isn’t going to be like other cookbooks. And Volt Ink, the beautiful new book from Michael and Bryan Voltaggio, doesn’t disappoint. Most food fanatics know the Voltaggio brothers from their time on Top Chef. Those who watched the popular food competition show on Bravo know that, despite sharing a last name and an affinity for the stove, these two men are as different as night and day. And their forewords paint just such a picture.

Andrés describes Michael – who worked for the renowned chef when he was opening The Bazaar in Los Angeles – as “extremely intense” and “very rock and roll,” (read: bad boy). while he labels Bryan “very measured, reserved, even formal.” He then tells the story of how Michael decided to leave his spot in the kitchen at The Bazaar for Top Chef: “José, my brother is doing it,” he said. “I have to go.” And so the reader begins to understand the close and extremely competitive relationship between these two siblings. Palmer, who at one point had both Michael and Bryan working in his restaurants, furthers the narrative, describing the siblings as “a pair of raconteurs who set out to tell the same story, but each in a very personal, very prideful way.” Palmer also connects the dots between the two men, highlighting their parallels in the way they source ingredients, how they use them and how they plate them (with the eye, frustration and precision of an artist).

As you can imagine by now, Volt Ink is a book of extraordinary measures – the kind of gorgeous tome you display proudly on your coffee table and watch as guests ogle over the jaw-dropping images and intricate recipes. But as grandiose as this book is, it’s also a story about family. It’s about two brothers and the memories they share. It’s about the families both brothers have created in each of their restaurants. And it’s about how all of those families made these two men into the chefs they are today.

It’s only appropriate, then, that the book is broken into 20 families – food families, that is: Avian, Buckwheat, Citrus, Composite, Crustacean, Freshwater Fish, Funghi, Goosefoot, Gourd, Grain, Laurel, Legume, Lily, Mammal, Mint, Mollusk, Mustard, Nightshade, Parsley and Saltwater Fish. Within each family, there are several ingredients, each of which both brothers showcase in a dish they created. This unique layout is a wonderful juxtaposition of the brothers’ personalities, styles and approaches to food.

Some recipes are twists on a classic, like Michael’s Truffle Brioche, Nori-Goat Butter (pictured above). To most of us, it looks like old-fashioned cinnamon rolls that we’d pull apart as the sweet smell of cinnamon and sugar permeated the air. In reality, it’s sweet brioche dough slathered with a coulis of black and white truffles and truffle salt and then brushed with the flavors of the sea: nori-goat butter made from seaweed and goat’s milk. Other recipes aren’t familiar at all, leaving you in awe of a mind that can concoct such unique dishes, such as Bryan’s Venison, Creamsicle Potatoes, Cranberry Granola, Coffee (pictured below). No matter how different, all of the recipes are detailed, precise and surprising.

Just as with the other books we’ve featured this month, this book is obviously not for the novice cook. Take a closer look at the components that make up these complex dishes, however, and you’ll see that there are some approachable recipes that, if mastered, would be invaluable additions to the home cook’s arsenal. Who wouldn’t want to know how to make banana polenta? Or jalapeño salt? Or everything bagel crumbs? Or vanilla brioche? Every once in a while, these elements can take this book from the coffee table to the kitchen table. And you just might be amazed at the ways in which they can elevate your go-to dishes.

Whether you’re a die-hard fan of Top Chef and, like me, spent season 6 throwing your support behind one Voltaggio brother and then the other (bad boy, good guy, bad boy, good guy), or you’ve never heard of them before, it’s impossible to resist the amount of passion, beauty and creativity that has gone into creating this book. It’s beautiful to look at, interesting to read and surprisingly accessible at points. It’s everything a food-lover would want in a cookbook. And if it makes you want to eat at Bryan’s Volt, Lunchbox and Family Meal or Michael’s Ink, well, then I’ll meet you there.

Who are you rooting for on this season of Top Chef and why? Tell us in the comments section below for a chance to a win a copy of Volt Ink. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Sue, whose comment on last week’s By the Book has won her a copy of Pierre Hermé Pastries. Sue, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew. 

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