Saturday, December 8, 2012

Weekend Cooking- Carla Hall's Cooking With Love


This post is part of Beth Fish Reads' Weekend Cooking.  If you have anything related to food, cookbook reviews, novel or non-fiction book reviews, recipes, movie reviews, etc., head over to Beth Fish Reads and add your post. Or, if you want to read food related posts, head over to read what some interesting people have to say about food.


Cooking with Love: Comfort Food That Hugs You by Carla Hall with Genevieve Ko
Published by Simon & Schuster ISBN 9781451662191
Hardcover, $30, 336 pages

I recently received an e-galley of chef Carla Hall's Cooking With Love.  Hall is a co-host of ABC's daytime show, The Chew, but I first saw her on Bravo TV's Top Chef. She reminded me of an exotic bird, tall, thin and with her down-home Southern way, I think many people (including her competitors) underestimated her. She was voted Fan Favorite from the Top Chef All-Stars competition in 2011. It was her big heart and the way she "hugged you with her food" that made people fall in love with her.

She grew up in the South and learned how to cook from her beloved granny, and then she went to France to become a model. There she fell in love with a different kind of food, and returned home to train as a professional chef. She now owns Alchemy, a popular and successful catering company in Washington DC.

Hall sprinkles the cookbook with stories from her life: the amazing meals her granny made and taught her and her sister to cook, the difficult boss she worked for in the Bahamas (I wonder if he will read this book and recognize himself), some amusing anecdotes from The Chew and my favorites, some behind-the-scenes of her most famous Top Chef moments.

On the All-Stars edition, one task was to create a birthday lunch for Jimmy Fallon. Hall whooped with joy when she was drew Chicken Pot Pie as her meal; it is one of her specialties, and she shares one of her most famous recipes in this book. Click here for the recipe.
Source: carlahall.com via Diane on Pinterest


Hall also gives some great tips, like serving deviled eggs on a bed of dried washed black beans on a platter and if you want to sell your house "pop a batch of buttery yeast rolls in the oven" before a showing.

Layering flavors is a key to her cooking, and I found it interesting that she starts a meal by thinking not about the meat she will cook but the vegetables and "then builds from there."

This is a book for cooks who have some experience in the kitchen; these recipes require some skills and beginners may find it a bit too challenging. But if you enjoy cooking and are looking for some new recipes that will kick up your taste buds, this is a book for you.

Some recipes I look forward to trying are:

  • Down Home Deviled Eggs with Smoky Bacon
  • Creamy Goat Cheese Grits 
  • Creamy Mac & Cheese 
  • Osso Buco
  • Black Bean Patties with Mango Relish & Tropical Vinaigrette
  • Creamed Chicken with Broccoli

I have attended a few tapings of The Chew, and Carla is a fan favorite there too, dancing with Clinton Kelly and audience members and just generally having fun. She has personality plus and it shines through in her cookbook.


rating 4 of 5


21 comments:

  1. I love cookbooks that include personal stories. I often start with a single ingredient; sometimes meat, but more often the vegetable because I buy what looks freshest at the market and then go from there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm going to try starting with the vegetables and then working out from that. All the cool people are doing it.:)

      Delete
  2. I will definitely look for thsi and try some from it. I love Carla Hall on The Chew.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Carla is such a doll; I just love her personality.

      Delete
  3. I also like cookbooks with biographical elements. Her thinking process intrigues because vegetables need to be the centerpiece of most of my meals but so many books and cooks start with the meat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you'd like this book; she has a Vegan section with some intriguing recipes.

      Delete
  4. She sounds like a very personable chef. love that she has included stories long with the recipes. i like to learn while i cook and a list of ingredients just doesn't do that. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I also like to read stories to go along with the recipes, and Carla's bubbly personality shines through here.

      Delete
  5. Oh, lucky you to have attended tapings of The Chew! Carla definitely shines and hugs people with her food. Those pot pies look sooooooo good! Thanks for featuring her cookbook. Will check it out :).

    ReplyDelete
  6. Looks great. Have a super weekend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you have a great weekend too Carole!

      Delete
  7. I bet those tapings were fun, she is personable! Great review, I'll look for this because the recipes you'd like to try sound really good!

    ReplyDelete
  8. How fun that you got to see The Chew in person! The deviled eggs with bacon sound divine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My mom makes the best deviled eggs, but I'm always looking for a good recipe.

      Delete
  9. Carla's cookbook looks amazing and the recipes sound divine. I love discovering new cookbooks. Thanks for sharing!
    Rebecca @ The Key to the Gate

    ReplyDelete
  10. This cookbook looks like great fun, even though I'm unfamiliar with the chef. Sounds like there are some great tips in there for living, not just cooking! Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Carla is fun too, so I would expect the book to be fun as well.

      Delete
  11. This sounds like a terrific cookbook. I see some chicken pot pie in our near future. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete