Alex Hitz’s third and latest book is in itself an occasion to celebrate. To meet the charming and personable author is to like him. He is so social that I’m guessing you may already be friends with him, because he seems to know everybody and people adore him.
In his latest book, he does something that I simultaneously applaud and wonder why more people haven’t thought of. He provides a crib sheet of sorts to decode cooking jargon and provide insights that you can use from now on- which are instinctual to pros like himself, but not necessarily to a novice who seeks to channel Alex’s gracious hospitality. He dedicates a chapter to what “to taste” really means – and how to achieve it. Even better is the next chapter, entitled “The Secrets and the Sins”, where he generously shares pro tips on ingredients, equipment, short cuts, how to best navigate and interpret recipes. Lots of insider tips to help your inner chef shine, such as: which wine to use when a recipe calls for white (or red, or sherry for that matter), specifics on eggs, onions, stocks, mustards, homemade mayo, truffles, and puff pastry. See, he really IS your friend!
He goes further to suggest various combinations of recipes for seasonal menus, with the bonus of make ahead recipes – to allow you to enjoy your company. As I have said previously, I would never recommend a cookbook I haven’t tried, so my copy is earmarked with endless post-it notes tagging favorites among Alex’s beautifully photographed recipes.
The man knows a few things about presentation. Have you ever seen Frisée aux Lardons look better? The elements of this mouthwatering recipe include curly endive, Alex’s mustard vinaigrette, crisp bacon, topped with his perfectly poached eggs.
His recipes are southern with a nice French twist and a dash of modernization, updating them to the current fresh eating styles of now. His Green Chicken Salad caught my eye for a few reasons… the green herb mayonnaise, made with watercress, basil, tarragon and mint looked too good to not try. Also, the fact that this was a make ahead recipe, which is always nice when entertaining. When Alex says to make an ingredient or do a step ahead of time, he means it- because he’s done it enough times to know when something will taste better with time. So when you see him say this in the book, go with it because he is directing you to do the advance work, not suggesting that it can be done. His details are there for a reason.
The next recipe I plan to try is his Barbeque Chicken Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing… which promises to be as good as the others I have tried and loved.
Not to mention, the man definitely knows how to make an occasion shine with his stunning china, crystal, silver, monogrammed linens, floral skills and phenomenal eye for table setting.
These Maple-Pecan Shortbread cookies are so good that he recommends serving them in addition to whatever you had planned for dessert. There he goes again with the southern charm-
Occasions to Celebrate is just what we need to usher in the upcoming holiday season, and it releases this week- Order your copy here
Want to see more of Alex Hitz? Previously on CourtneyPrice.com: