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Cook the Book: 'Flour, Too'

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Between bites of the undeniably gooey sticky buns, perfect chocolate chip cookies, and majestic Boston cream pies, it's easy to forget that Boston's famed Flour Bakery serves more than just sweets. In fact, during my time living in Beantown, I rarely ventured past the sweets display on my visits to Joanne Chang's citywide outposts. But now that I've gotten my hands on Chang's new cookbook, Flour, Too, I can see all that I was missing. I found myself wishing I was still around to try some of her savory creations. Still, having an opportunity to make these dishes at home is almost as good.

All of the Flour bakeries serve three meals a day, and Flour, Too gets the same treatment. A perusal of the book gives the reader a picture of a day filled with unique, flavor-packed meals and indulgences. Breakfast pastries are accompanied by items like egg sandwiches and breakfast pizzas. Lunch reads like a typical bakery menu—soups, salads, and sandwiches—but each item is amplified with accouterments like tangy chutneys, fried onions, and candied lemons. Dinners are light and take-out ready. (At Flour, the dinner items are meant to be picked up and taken home.) And there are, of course, many recipes for desserts and sweet treats to accompany the more wholesome items.

In typical Chang fashion, the new book is chock full of tips and tricks for pulling off intricate Flour dishes at home. The recipe steps are elaborate and detailed, each measurement checked and re-checked by Chang's meticulous hand. In other words, the recipes may not be the simplest to pull off, but they are certainly not confusing or difficult. With Chang's trusting voice, it is easy to believe that both a towering croquembouche and a roast lamb sandwich made entirely from scratch (even down to the bread) are easily within reach for anyone with a few extra hours on their hands.

This week, we'll sample a some of Chang's savories. That aforementioned lamb sandwich will make an appearance, as well as a crisp white gazpacho. Later we'll toss an Asian celery salad into the mix, followed by braised chickpeas with a cornucopia of veggies and a dollop of harissa yogurt. Finally, we'll round things out with a slow-baked salmon accompanied by a lemony tabouli salad.

Win 'Flour, Too'

Thanks to our fine friends at Chronicle Books, we have five (5) copies of Flour, Too to give away this week. All you need to do to enter to win is tell us you favorite bakery treat—sweet or savory—in the comments section below.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American and Berkeleyside NOSH, and she blogs at cookingwolves.wordpress.com.

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