Acclaimed chef Suzanne Goin hit upon a successful idea when she started serving Sunday suppers at her Los Angeles restaurant, Lucques. The casual, family-style meals instantly became popular, the seasonal menus drawing people in and inviting them to linger. Here she shares 32 three-course menus, each to serve six (not too large, too daunting, of a dinner party but encouragingly just right). And anyone who prepares one of these meals will be rewarded with food that sets an atmosphere for sharing and connecting. The flavors are outstanding, as Goin is a master at layering seasonings and letting the intrinsic nature of her ingredients shine. Although most of the meals are distinctly Mediterranean, her St. Patrick’s Day Menu intrigued us. The starter course is a smooth, brilliant green watercress soup with a faint backnote of arbol chile, and the corned beef and cabbage are brightened with tangy parsley-mustard vinaigrette. Introducing the dessert recipe of Chocolate-Stout Cake with Guinness Ice Cream, Goin says, “When chefs use weird ingredients just for the sake of being different, I usually pass. But here the dark beer flavor really works in the ice cream to complement the cake.” We agree: The bold, distinct flavor of the beer is softened by the creamy custard—it’s rich and spicy, and you’ll be proud to share it. And that’s the beautiful aim of this book, to arm home cooks with lovingly developed recipes and deeply soulful food that’s meant to be shared.
GIVE THIS TO: Cooks who love to entertain. —Adam Hickman