In Dallas, if not the state, the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek sets the standard of taste and class. So much so that when authors such as Richardson’s own Dee Stuart use the location in her books it needs no explanation. A must see and be seen place for any dignitary or celebrity the restaurant is a classic that continues to evolve while carrying forward tradition and Texas charm.
After a forward from renowned Chef Dean Fearing, who developed a new southwest cuisine while at the mansion, there is a ten page introduction detailing the famous history. Told through prose and pictures the section goes into some detail about the past before giving way to the recipes.
The book, like any good meal, opens with “Appetizers.” Starting on 22 this section covers such dishes as “Beef Sirloin Tartare with potato crisps and quail egg” (page 24) or “Grilled Gulf Prawns with watermelon and cucumber salsa” (page 29). Along with the recipes that do state the number of servings the dish makes there also occasionally pictures of the completed recipes or items of interest within the mansion or the suppliers to the mansion. Background information on the history of those relationships and their role in proving quality food is included in the book. While a dish is identifiable, unfortunately those pictures of other interests relating to and in the mansion are not captioned. Also from a cookbook standpoint a definite negative is the lack of nutritional information. This same format continues throughout the book.
“Soups and Salads” are next and begin on page 48. Of course one would expect “Tortilla Soup” (page 50) since this Texas but there are also other items such as “Spiced Carrot Soup with Gulf shrimp ravioli” (page 60). If it is too hot for soup you could try “Watermelon salad with feta cheese, pink peppercorn-cilantro vinaigrette, and crispy prosciutto” (page 69) or a “Mansion Salad with fresh herb vinaigrette and cheese croutons” (page 81) among other choices.
This is followed by “Fish and Shellfish” starting on page 82. For years the restaurant has been known for its snapper dish and “Seared Gulf Red Snapper (page 107) is here along with another dozen choices.
It is time for meat and that begins in “Game and Fowl.” Staring on page 108 these recipes are duck and pleasant dishes, quail, and items such as “Braised Rabbit Pasta with black olives and citrus” (page 119) as well as items such as “Whole Roasted Chicken with tomatillo and ancho chile sauce” (page 130).
“Meat” featuring pork, bison and various other dishes comes next starting on page 134. If you are hankering for a good steak there is the “Oven-Roasted Bone-In Rib-Eye with crispy potato pancetta cake” (page 147) or the “Roasted Dry-Aged Rib-Eye and braised short ribs with fondant potatoes” on page 155 among other choices.
You do need your “Sauces & Sides” and these begin on 158. Many of these have been covered earlier in the book and are repeated here. There are new ones here as well such as “Mac and Cheese with ham” on page 178.
Instead of logically moving onto desserts the book goes to “Brunch” next with 8 recipes. “Mansion Egg Benedict” leads off this section on page 182. It wouldn’t be a Texas cookbook without a recipe for “Huevos Rancheros” (page 188). The section concludes with “Foie Gras Doughnuts” on page 197.
Then it’s onto “Bar Food & Cocktails” with not a bacon and cheese potato skin in sight. Instead it is “Texas Grits Fries with chipotle aioli” (page 200) and “Lobster Sliders with tarragon aioli” (page 204) among other choices.
Finally we get to Desserts” page 228. It opens with “Peach Sundae with Champagne sabayon and red currants” (page 230) followed later by “Spiced Mexican Chocolate Custard with Churros” (page 238) and numerous other elegant choices. Of course their famous “Turtle Creek Pie” is present here on page 242 with a recipe for “Lemon Pie with crispy meringue” ending the chapter on page 245.
An index immediately begins on the following page and goes the next eight pages. That is followed by a very short source guide and a conversion chart.
Published by Rizzoli International Publications and printed in China the book depicts style and elegance. A style and elegance that the brand new book from the library was unable to maintain as my library copy already had a broken spine when I picked it up off the hold shelf. Considering the high list price one hopes that the clerk’s advice not to worry about it will prove to be true.
Featuring complicated and elegant recipes this book reflects a far different world way beyond my means and cooking ability. Therefore I can’t advise you as to the quality of the recipes as I didn’t even think for a second about attempting any of these. Still for a sense of style and elegance it is a cookbook to savor and appreciate as well as for the history contained inside the 256 pages.
THE MANSION ON TURTLE CREEK COOKBOOK: Haute Cuisine, Texas Style
Photographs by Robert M. Peacock
Rizzoli International Publications, Inc.
Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano Texas Public Library System. Again this year the summer reading challenge for adults and kids is now underway. For more information go to
Kevin R. Tipple © 2012