Books for Cooks

Barbara Burke

"Neiman Marcus Cookbook"
By Kevin Garvin and John Harrison
(Clarkson Potter, 2003, hardcover, $45)

Upscale store’s favorites
include several isle dishes

The quality, elegance and style that are synonymous with "Neiman Marcus" are captured superbly in the retailer's first-ever cookbook.

The "Neiman Marcus Cookbook" was released this month to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the company's restaurant service. It contains more than 150 recipes interspersed with cooking tips, creative serving suggestions and interesting culinary history.

Born in England, co-author John Harrison now lives in Hawaii, and offers an island perspective. Recipes from Neiman Marcus' Mariposa and Mermaid Bar restaurants at Ala Moana Center are prominently featured in the beautifully illustrated, coffee-table book. Ono local-style recipes include Ala Moana steamed Manila clams, oxtail soup, misoyaki-glazed salmon, Mariposa plantation tea and butterscotch-macadamia nut pie.

An "official" Neiman Marcus cookbook would not be complete, however, without recipes for NM's signature chicken broth, popovers, monkey bread, strawberry butter, chicken salad sandwich, mandarin orange soufflé salad and other perennial favorites. These are legendary Neiman Marcus dishes that loyal restaurant patrons have enjoyed for decades.

To avoid getting stuck in a nostalgic time warp, however, more updated fare is also presented. A sampling of contemporary recipes includes smoked salmon quesadillas, peppered goat cheese salad, portobello mushroom sandwich, Jamaican jerk-marinated pork and jambalaya pasta in a tomato-Cajun cream sauce.

The flavor combinations are complex and the artistry of the dishes quite exceptional, but you will not spend undue time in the kitchen. The recipes are generally a page or shorter in length, and written with the home cook in mind. That equates to spending less time in the kitchen and more time shopping!

Contrary to urban myth, no one at Neiman Marcus has ever charged anyone for this famous chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1-1/2 teaspoons instant espresso coffee powder

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Place butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in the work bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds, until the mixture is fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla for 30 seconds longer, until well combined.

In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to the mixer, while beating on slow speed. Beat for about 15 seconds. Stir in the chocolate chips and espresso powder, and mix for 15 seconds longer.

Prepare a cookie sheet with about 2 tablespoons of shortening (or use a nonstick spray). Using a 1-ounce scoop or a 2-tablespoon measure, drop the dough onto the cookie sheet about 3 inches apart. Gently press down on the dough with the back of a spoon to spread out into 2-inch circles; there should be room on the sheet for 6 or 8 cookies at a time.

Transfer to the oven in batches and bake for about 20 minutes or until the cookies are nicely browned around the edges. Bake for a little longer for crisper cookies. Yields about 2 dozen cookies

Approximate nutritional analysis, per cookie: 160 calories, 7 g total fat, 4 g saturated fat, 20 mg cholesterol, 2 g protein, 24 g carbohydrate, 100 mg sodium.


Chef-author Kevin Garvin hosts a three-course dinner of dishes from the cookbook, with wine pairings:

When: 6 p.m. Monday

Place: Mariposa restaurant, Neiman Marcus Ala Moana

Cost: $85, includes an autographed cookbook.

Call: 948-7575.

Rating Scale: StarStarStarStar Best in its class / StarStarStar Highly recommended / StarStar Recommended / Star Not recommended

Barbara Burke is a Hawaii-Pacific University instructor who teaches and writes about food and nutrition. Contact her at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu 96813; or e-mail her at:

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