All Posts In Books

Chatting with Alice Waters: Here’s How to Stock Your Pantry for Easy Meals

by in Books, November 10th, 2015

Chatting with Alice Waters: Here's How to Stock Your Pantry for Easy MealsWhen it comes to stocking your home pantry like a professional chef, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better adviser than Alice Waters. Her new book, aptly titled My Pantry, is an eloquent exploration of what Waters keeps on hand in her kitchen all the time. It explores how to make several staple ingredients, like vanilla extract, candied citrus peel and ricotta cheese. It also gives recipes that utilize items from a well-stocked pantry, like superfood granola or Chocolate Nut Bark (recipe below for you to enjoy at home).

My Pantry blends Waters’ lovely writing with her highly craveable food and speaks to how a home pantry can evolve its staple items over time. “My travels to Morocco, Australia and Mexico have influenced what I keep on hand, especially spices,” Waters told FN Dish. “My pantry has also changed through my thinking about the importance of school lunch nutrition — whole grains, fruits and vegetables first.” You can find more about her work improving youth nutrition through better food resources for schools with her Edible Schoolyard Project.

What does Waters say every home cook needs to keep in a well-stocked pantry? The list is surprisingly simple. “You must always have olive oil, vinegar, garlic and spices,” she said. “Plus brown rice, farro pasta and preserved tomatoes.” According to Waters, a good home cook keeps 10 to 15 items on hand at all times, and with My Pantry you’ll find yourself making delicious meals from your pantry shelves multiple times a week. How does Waters choose what to make when she’s cooking from her pantry? “I pick whatever looks inspiring to me or what works with what I have on hand. You can make a delicious simple meal with only three or four ingredients.”

You can order your own copy of My Pantry here.

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Enter to Win a Copy of Giada De Laurentiis’ New Cookbook, Happy Cooking

by in Books, Contests, Food Network Chef, November 2nd, 2015

Enter to Win a Copy of Giada De Laurentiis' New Cookbook, Happy CookingGiven the hectic rush of your kids’ after-school activities, the demands of your late-hours job and even the simple fatigue from the day-to-day hustle and bustle, it can seem nearly impossible to turn out any homemade meals for your family, let alone ones that are good for you. But Giada De Laurentiis is out to prove just the opposite. In her brand-new cookbook, Happy Cooking: Make Every Meal Count … Without Stressing Out, she’ll show just how easy it can be not only to work healthy, wholesome meal prep into your daily routine but to enjoy the process of doing so as well.

Giada knows a thing or two about this all-important balancing act. When she’s not starring on Food Network Star or hosting Giada in Italy or Giada’s Holiday Handbook (premiering Sunday, Nov. 8 at 11a|10c), she’s likely in Las Vegas overseeing her premiere restaurant, Giada, or at home with her young daughter, so you can be sure that the tips, techniques and recipes she introduces in this all-in-one lifestyle book are not only inspired but also tried-and-true. In Happy Cooking you’ll be able to find almost 200 recipes, including wake-up-worthy breakfasts like granola and lemony pancakes, hearty fare like lasagna, and snacks for anytime, plus helpful how-tos for entertaining during the holiday season.

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6 Tips for Better Pasta That Everyone Should Know, Plus Fall’s Best Gnocchi

by in Books, Recipes, October 29th, 2015

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter and SageThe potential for that box of pasta sitting on your pantry shelf is almost limitless, as The Four Seasons of Pasta is here to prove. Written by mother-daughter team Nancy Harmon Jenkins and Sara Jenkins, this book stretches the classic standby ingredient into new and delightfully flavorful seasonal meals. Think Pasta alla Carbonara for spring, Spaghetti with SunBurst Tomatoes for summer, a hearty Ragu Bolognese for winter, or the Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage for autumn (recipe below for you to try at home).

And though you’ve likely been making pasta since you first learned to boil water, heed Nancy and Sara’s advice for a truly exceptional pasta dish:

1. Make sure your pasta water is abundant — 5 or 6 quarts for a standard 500-gram (about 1 pound) box of pasta.

2. Be sure you bring it to a rolling boil.

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Enter to Win a Signed Copy of Robert Irvine’s New Book, Fit Fuel

by in Books, Contests, Food Network Chef, October 19th, 2015

Fit Fuel: A Chef's Guide to Eating Well, Getting Fit, and Living Your Best LifeAs committed as Robert Irvine is to executing top-notch dishes in the kitchen and giving struggling restaurateurs a second chance at success on Restaurant: Impossible Ambush (premiering Thursday, Oct. 22 at 9|8c), he’s also a fierce fitness guru, dedicated to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and inspiring others to do the same. In his brand-new book, Fit Fuel: A Chef’s Guide to Eating Well, Getting Fit, and Living Your Best Life, Robert breaks down the ins and outs of what it takes to “fuel your life”: just a handful of “principles,” including “Eat real food” and “Believe you can change.”

Part cookbook, part pep talk and part handy exercise manual, Robert’s brand-new publication doesn’t just talk the talk of what it takes to get in shape, but it also walks the walk as Robert personally demonstrates how to complete some of the best moves, and explains the whys and hows behind them. And with his recipes for every meal of the day — even dessert — Robert proves that the journey to fitness success doesn’t have to mean boring, bland meals. Think satisfying fare like Sesame Shrimp Chopped Salad, Roast Chicken, Vegetables & Parsnip Puree and A Better Carrot Cake.

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Enter to Win a Copy of Nancy Fuller’s New Cookbook, Farmhouse Rules

by in Books, Contests, Food Network Chef, October 6th, 2015

Farmhouse Rules: Simple, Seasonal Meals for the Whole FamilyAs fans of her Food Network show Farmhouse Rules know, Nancy Fuller is all about food, family and the farm, and in her first-ever cookbook, Farmhouse Rules: Simple, Seasonal Meals for the Whole Family, she’ll celebrate those same three traditions.

Recently FN Dish caught up with Nancy to chat about her new book, and she told us that the style of cooking presented in it is indeed “farmhouse,” allowing for “chop, chop, in the pot” preparation. The recipes are “very simple, very seasonal,” she said, and in keeping with that idea, she’s broken up the book into four main parts, each highlighting a season of the year and some of its most-tried-and-true recipes, from spring’s Buttery Braised Radishes to fall’s Pot Roast Done Easy.

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Spice Up Your Sweet Tooth with Maple Sticky Buns

by in Books, September 24th, 2015

Maple Sticky BunsThe first telltale chill of the onset of autumn is swirling around in the air, and it’s time to think ahead to the joys of fall baking. Just in time for the cooler weather is Samantha Seneviratne’s The New Sugar and Spice. This book takes you on a tour of your spice cabinet like you’ve never experienced before, teasing out bold new flavors in the classic baked goods you already know and love, like the cinnamon-infused Maple Sticky Buns pictured above (recipe after the jump for you to try at home).

We asked Seneviratne to detail for us her top do’s and don’t’s for weaving new and exciting spices into baking recipes:

  • Do taste everything! Even if you don’t think you like a certain spice, give it a new look every now and then. You never know how a new preparation may change your perspective.
  • Don’t let your spices languish in the pantry for too long. Make sure they’re fresh before you use them.
  • Do grate nutmeg fresh. It’s much tastier than the preground spice. I like freshly ground cardamom best, too.
  • Don’t use imitation vanilla. Your cakes will thank you.
  • Do use a spice grinder with a removable basin. Washing the basin in between uses keeps flavors fresh and clean.
  • Don’t forget the salt! It’s one of the most-important spices in baking.

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Enter to Win a Copy of Bobby Flay’s New Cookbook, Brunch @ Bobby’s

by in Books, Contests, Food Network Chef, September 17th, 2015

Enter to Win a Copy of Bobby Flay's New Cookbook, Brunch at Bobby'sWith his penchant for Southwestern flavors and a string of successful Bobby’s Burger Palace restaurants, Bobby Flay has surely earned the right to call himself a taco master and a burger aficionado, though his range in the kitchen doesn’t stop there — or even at lunch or dinner. He also has an appetite for brunch, which he explores on the series Brunch @ Bobby’s and in his brand-new cookbook of the same name. Available for preorder now and officially on sale on Sept. 29, Brunch @ Bobby’s: 140 Recipes for the Best Part of the Weekend explores the best sweet and savory side of this late-morning meal, from a towering stack of chocolate pancakes to an all-new take on bacon, eggs and hash browns.

Recently FN Dish checked in with Bobby, and he revealed his go-to brunch order as well as his take on why brunch has become so popular. When he goes out for brunch, he’s quick to balance the meal by including both salty and sweet elements, explaining, “It always involves eggs, but I always order something for the table, whether it’s like French toast or waffles or pancakes — in that sort of vernacular, like the sweet brunch.” As for a cocktail to sip on the side, he keeps it simple, opting for a mimosa. “The juice, to me, [it] just has to be fresh-squeezed,” says Bobby. He’s familiar with the “ritual” that brunch has become, and says, “It’s the way that people entertain in terms of meeting out. People have their brunch places that they go every weekend.” He adds, “It’s a great way to kind of grab the newspaper, have some coffee, have your brunch cocktail and then sort of carry on your Sunday.”

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Beat the Heat with Punch Bowls and Pitcher Drinks

by in Books, Drinks, August 8th, 2015

Punch Bowls and Pitcher DrinksAs the dog days of summer press down on us, it’s only natural to feel a little parched. There’s no better way to beat the heat than with an array of large-batch cocktails and drinks, and that’s exactly what Punch Bowls and Pitcher Drinks offers. The title, written by Jeanne Kelley and Sarah Tenaglia, pulls inspiration from fresh, seasonal fruits, plus herbs and spices. Classic cocktails are reimagined as new sips, like Julep-Tea Punch, Lychee Mojito Punch, Old-Fashioned Manhattan Punch and Mai Tai Punch. But we can’t get enough of the drinks from the Height of Summer section, especially the Peachy Moonshine, Spiked Spa Water and Watermelon-Tequila Punch (pictured above; recipe below for you to try at home).

Before you dip into any of the recipes, keep in mind these tips and tricks for working with fresh cocktail ingredients and various spirits:

  • The tartness of citrus fruit varies considerably from backyard tree fruit to purchased fruit from the farmers market or the grocery store. Hyper-fresh backyard citrus will have a more intense flavor.
  • Unless the recipe specifies, you do not need to peel the fruit or vegetables. In many cases the peel or rind of a fruit adds a note of necessary bitterness to counter the sweeter meat of the fruit, and also helps infuse the lunch with more aromatic flavors.
  • Brands of alcohol also vary considerably. In order to get the right balance, add the amount of liquor called for in the recipes (the smaller amount if a range is listed). If, after tasting, you want a more potent mix, add more liquor by the tablespoonful to taste.
  • Some folks really prefer sweet drinks. If a recipe calls for a flavored syrup or sugar, a little more can be stirred into the mix, but start with the recommended amount.

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The Modern Family Cookbook Is Coming

by in Books, News, July 25th, 2015

The Modern Family CookbookRemotes down, spatulas up, Modern Family fans. Now you can master recipes inspired by the hit TV sitcom, served with a side of sly humor. Time Inc. Books imprint Oxmoor House is set to release The Modern Family Cookbook on September 22, the day before the show’s seventh season hits the air.

The book’s 100 simple, family-friendly recipes — suitable for a variety of meals and holidays — evoke the show’s quirky cast and characters, and allude to key onscreen moments. So “peerents” and kids alike can whip up Cam’s Country-Comes-to-Town Farmhouse Breakfast or Phil’s Traditional First-Day-of-School Pancakes — “Don’t forget the whipped cream smile!” the press release chirps — as well as Dunphy’s Failsafe Roast Chicken and Manny’s Chocolate Torte.

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Heading Off on Vacation? Don’t Forget to Pack These Food-Focused Books

by in Books, July 8th, 2015

The World on a PlateWhen summer heats up, there’s only one thing to do: pack your cooler, grab a good book and hit the beach. Even when we step out of the kitchen, our minds never wander far from delicious dishes, and we like our literature the way we like our pantry: overflowing with mouthwatering food. These are the books you’ll find in our beach bags this summer.

The World on a Plate by Mina Holland
If you’re looking for a book to double as an imaginary culinary vacation, The World on a Plate is the book for your beach bag. It won Best Culinary Travel Book in the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, and it’s easy to see why. Holland’s writing is open and engaging, and she teases your appetite, one country’s specialty dishes at a time. The food dances to life through history and cultural context. Once you read it, you’ll never again be able to peruse your pantry without seeing the storied histories and secret lives of some of your favorite ingredients — right down to the cinnamon and sugar in your favorite cookies. It’s a culinary and historical tour of world cuisine that includes everything from the most-prevalent flavor profiles and pantry staples to each cuisine’s signature recipes. The World on a Plate is the perfect summer read for the soul that has a serious (and seriously hungry) case of wanderlust. Order your copy here.

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