Most cookbooks catch you with a really stellar recipe about a third of the way in — something with heft and a rustic photo to go with it, past all the stocks and appetizers. Stewed, the latest tome from chef Dave Becker of Needham’s Sweet Basil, caught me on page 10, with a knockout photo of an electric-green chickpea in its pod. The recipe on the facing page was pretty killer too.
Just in time for the frozen months of January through March, Becker has put out a convincing cookbook/coffee-table art book hybrid brimming with soups, braises, and stews, from sweet-potato bisque and veggie gumbo to creamy turkey soup and lamb porridge. Organized by origins and techniques in six sections — “Grown,” “Smoothed,” “Chilled,” “Raised,” “Caught,” and “Milled” — the nearly 60 recipes blend the classically simple and the updated gourmet, something Sweet Basil devotees will instantly recognize. Taking it up and over the top are the photos from Becker’s longtime girlfriend, Nina Gallant, so vibrant they almost don’t look real.
If a post-work trek to Needham to meet the author isn’t in the cards, don’t fret: Becker is hoofing it into town during the next couple of months to bring the goods to you. Can’t make it? Snag a copy ($35) at sweetbasilneedham.com, ecookbooks.com, or select bookstores.
GET A TASTE
Book Signing at the New England Mobile Book Fair 82–84 Needham St, Newton Highlands :: January 26 from 1 to 3 pm :: Free :: nebookfair.com
Guest Chef at Central Bottle Wine + Provisions 196 Mass Ave, Cambridge :: January 30 from 6 to 8 pm :: $25 for Italian bites and vino :: guestchefsweetbasil.eventbrite.com
Book Signing and Cooking Demonstration at BU 808 Comm Ave, Boston :: February 27 from 6 to 9 pm :: $80 for food, wine, and a cookbook :: bu.edu/foodandwine
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