Taste: Cookbook: Susanna Foo Fresh Inspiration

James Beard Award-winner Susanna Foo, in her second cookbook,
Susanna Foo Fresh Inspiration (Houghton Mifflin Company, $35), has created what most authors can’t — a cookbook for both the novice and the advanced chef. Covering the scope of Asian cooking from Chinese to Thai, Fresh Inspiration introduces the reader to complex traditional dishes like dim sum and Szechuan shrimp as well as less intimidating recipes such as panko-crusted goat cheese with tomato and asparagus salad.

As is evident at Foo’s eponymous Walnut Street restaurant, such unexpected combinations are her metier; she understands that “fusion” is not just a trendy catchphrase. She suggests using Asian ingredients in everyday cooking: Butternut squash soup is enhanced by ginger, and polenta is more flavorful when made with coconut milk.

For the non-cook, Foo’s helpful, brief descriptions of Asian ingredients guarantee you won’t have to fake your way through Asian restaurant menus anymore.