The first thing you notice about Lisa is her cowboy boots. Cherry red, spit polished and worn-in just enough, they tell you everything you need to know about the Houston transplant’s cooking: It’s bright, approachable, comes from the West and will linger in your memory for days afterward. To bring some welcome variety to the winter kitchen, we invited the James Beard Award winner to our Manhattan headquarters in Chelsea Market to make Chicken Spaghetti, one of her favorite dishes from her latest volume, The Homesick Texan’s Family Table. Make this simple and comforting recipe in your own kitchen with help from Lisa’s step-by-step how-to.
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It’s February, which means it’s chocolate’s turn to take center stage. ‘Tis the season to try your hand at being an amateur chocolatier, whether you’re satisfying your craving with melt-in-your-mouth truffles or layering chocolate inside of chocolate with more chocolate with Mini Molten Chocolate Cakes. Add a luxuriously sweet finale to your Valentine’s Day dinner menu with the help of the new cookbook Chocopologie, written by master chocolatier Fritz Knipschildt. Check out his expert chocolate-handling tips and get his recipe for droolworthy Double Chocolate Cupcakes below.
1. Ganache is made by pouring hot cream over chopped chocolate. Knipschildt sometimes adds a little honey for a pop of sweetness and to contribute to a smooth, satiny mouthfeel. Butter is also frequently stirred into the warm ganache to boost its lushness.
2. Modern technology has made melting chocolate a lot easier and foolproof. When you use the microwave, there’s less chance of the chocolate scorching or stiffening (also called “seizing”).
When it comes to building a bar from scratch and mixing mind-blowing cocktails at home, the team from Death & Co, one of Manhattan’s elite cocktail bars, has all the tips and tricks you need. David Kaplan, Alex Day and Nick Fauchald recently released their first cookbook, titled Death & Co, which tells the story of how they opened the namesake bar in New York City and built their drink menu. With their book and their expert advice, before you know it you’ll be enjoying your own home bar and throwing the best cocktail parties in your group of friends. Start with Kaplan’s top-five rules for setting up your home bar (and maybe a Muddled Mission, recipe after the link):
1. Start with the basics: one mixable base spirit in the major categories: gin, tequila, whiskey (preferably rye if I’m around), rum and vodka — brandy as well if you’re a fan, which we all should be. Add a few frequently used modifiers (such as sweet and dry vermouth, Triple Sec, maybe a curacao of some kind).
2. Remember that “mixable” doesn’t mean “cheap,” but it should be affordable. We usually stick to a range of $15 to $30 per bottle.
“Irish food is many things nowadays,” Darina Allen said when we spoke with her about her new cookbook, 30 Years at Ballymaloe. “There are, of course, the traditional dishes that many people associated with Irish food, like bacon and cabbage, Irish stew, soda bread — all, of course, delicious when well-made. However, this image of Irish food doesn’t in any way reflect the vibrant Irish food scene at present.” Allen has been a presence at the Ballymaloe Cookery School since it was established in 1983. 30 Years at Ballymaloe tells the history of the school through the Irish dishes students learn to prepare there. The recipes might surprise you, though. They range from obvious Irish favorites like Mother’s Sweet White Scones (recipe after the link for you to try at home) to local-ingredient-driven dishes, including recipes for everything from curry, poultry, seafood and even Irish charcuterie. The recipes are simple but enticing; the food photography is gorgeous and engrossing.
You might be surprised (and delighted, of course) to find in the pages of 30 Years at Ballymaloe a deep emphasis on locally sourced Irish produce and ingredients. “We have wonderful produce and raw materials in Ireland,” Allen told us. “We can grow grass like nowhere else in the world. So many of our best foods come from our grass, beef, lamb, dairy products, farmhouse cheese.” And 30 years later, it’s that ingredient-centric focus that still makes the Ballymaloe Cookery School so appealing to students. “Students now come from all over the world to the Ballymaloe Cookery School because the cookery school is in the center of a 100-acre organic farm and gardens.” As you flip through the pages of the book, the images pull you in: big stone barns, rolling hills dotted with sun-soaked cattle, gardens so lush you can hardly believe they’re real. It’s easy to let your imagination wander through Allen’s anecdotes about the Irish countryside and her relationships with fellow growers and vendors, but at the end of the day you always end up back at the table, stomach rumbling for some delicious food. And the recipes in the book certainly do not fall short in that arena. You’ll want to cook dishes like the Wild Garlic Custards, the Hot Buttered Oysters and the Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup with Cilantro and Cashew Pesto again and again.
Now that the holiday season is over and life is falling into its new 2015 routine, it’s time to get back to your weeknight cooking routine. Nothing hits the spot in the dead of winter quite like a piping-hot soup, and nothing makes keeping your freezer stocked with delicious soup dishes easier than The Soup Club Cookbook. It was written by Courtney Allison, Tina Carr, Caroline Laskow and Julie Peacock, four friends who wanted to find a way to eat more soup and cook less. The book features big-batch recipes of all your favorite soups, from Winter Minestrone (recipe after the link for you to try at home) and Chicken Noodle to Faux Ramen and Potato Leek Soup. They have hearty soups (The Dudes’ Chili is a winner) and cold soups for summer (including Green Gazpacho and Tomato Gazpacho, both of which are exactly what summer should taste like). The book goes beyond just soup, though. You’ll also find salads, dressings, sides, snacks and bigger dishes, all designed to complement and round out soup meals.
The Soup Club Cookbook is designed to help you and a couple of friends start a soup club. The idea is simple: Four friends each commit to making a large batch of soup one week out of the month. The recipes in the book are all designed to feed four families, but they are easily divided in half, making the book a treasure trove of soup recipes either way. The idea with the soup club is that you get a month’s worth of soup for one week’s worth of cooking effort (plus you’ll keep up with your food-loving friends!).
Each recipe includes seasonal and flavor variations, delivery tips, and garnish and serving suggestions. The book is full of hilarious anecdotes, the four authors’ friendships with one another shining through their personal stories and lists of tips and suggestions. The book is a wealth of information, and it has all of the instructions you need to found your own soup club, from process information to supplies you’ll want on hand. Some of the best tips in the book include:
“Don’t think of vegetable fermentation as drudgery suitable only for the DIY homesteader,” Kirsten Shockey, co-author of Fermented Vegetables says. “It is ready-to-go convenience food — fresh tasty salads and condiments are in your refrigerator just waiting for you to add them to your meals.” That captures exactly the balance of science, beauty and tastiness food fans will find in Fermented Vegetables by Kirsten and Christopher Shockey. Kimchi is having its moment, but the possibilities of home fermentation stretch far beyond that, encompassing everything from simple pickles and spicy sauces to more advanced fermenting techniques. You’ll also find composed recipes in which you can use your new preserved foods, delicious dishes like the Northwest Gingered Carrot Cake (recipe after the link for you to try at home), Fish Tacos, Kraut Balls, Kimchi Latkes, cocktails and more (plus all the condiments, pickles and toppings you could ever dream of).
Kirsten Shockey shared with us her top tips for getting started fermenting foods at home:
“Everything they say about the French way of life is true,” declares Mimi Thorisson in her new book, A Kitchen in France. “Especially the food part.” If you’ve ever dreamt of moving to a farmhouse nestled in the French countryside where you can relax, garden and cook all day, Thorisson’s new book is for you (because that’s exactly what she and her family did). “Even now I would be at a loss to explain exactly why we took the plunge,” she admits. “But we needed a bigger place for a growing family, so why not outside the box, outside Paris? My husband wanted more dogs, we wanted to see the kids running around in a big garden, we were up for an adventure.”
A Kitchen in France chronicles that adventure in lovely, descriptive writing and through a stunning collection of recipes. What you’ll find in the pages are recipes that sound much fussier than they are; French food is largely simple food, designed to coax subtle and big flavors alike from good ingredients. Thorisson’s recipes accomplish just that, and the stunning food photography will have your mouth watering as soon as you crack the book open. Start with the Onion Tart (recipe after the jump for you to try at home), but you won’t be able to stop there. Almond Mussels and Red Berry Barquettes taste like summer. You won’t be able to wait for autumn to make the Potatoes a la Lyonnaise, and the Harvest Soup recipe with beef, root vegetables and garlic is the perfect dish to pull the chill out of a cool fall evening. “Some dishes just can’t be enjoyed in warm weather,” Thorisson says. “And they are my favorite thing about winter.” You’ll find recipes that do call for hours-long simmering, like the traditional Coq au Vin or the Beef Cheek Stew, but what better way to warm the house on a cold winter weekend than letting those enchanting smells fill your home? You’ll also find simple dishes, like the Garlic Soup, that achieve a flavor it’s almost impossible to believe came about in under half an hour. And it’s not all main courses; there are plenty of seasonal dessert offerings, along with some smaller plates like the Roquefort and Walnut Gougeres, which would be a perfect addition to a New Year’s Eve menu (or whatever you were already planning for supper tonight).
‘Tis the season when helping hands — especially little ones — find their way into your holiday kitchen. It’s with the junior culinarians in mind that we present you with the National Geographic Kids Cook Book by Barton Seaver. A year-long food adventure, the Kids Cook Book is a fun way to get your little chef’s hands dirty in the kitchen and his or her mind piqued when it comes to the possibilities food offers. The most-fantastic feature of the National Geographic Kids Cook Book is its perfect balance of fun activities, easy-to-digest information and kid-friendly recipes, like the Hot Cinnamon Apple Cider recipe (given after the jump for you to try at home), Dinosaur Kale Chips, Not-So-Sloppy Joes and more.
Activities and information are organized by month, giving your little chef fun kitchen tasks and recipes to try every week of the year. Every activity and recipe in the book is family-friendly, designed to get the whole family cooking and learning about food together. With the National Geographic Kids Cook Book, your junior culinarian will learn about everything from how to grow his or her own herb garden, composting, seasonal ingredients to how to pack the perfect school lunch. The book also gives you plans to easily put together cook-offs, family food challenges or pizza parties, or even start a cooking club. The kid-friendly paperback design leaves the book lightweight enough for little hands to carry with them.
“On our first day of shooting we spent an entire day trying to capture a good shot of pancakes. We almost quit on the spot,” admits Ben Towill, one of the restaurant owners and writers behind this week’s featured book, The Fat Radish Kitchen Diaries. The Fat Radish serves up vegetable-centric English cuisine, but make no mistake: This cookbook reaches further into the restaurant team’s history than a simple recitation of recipes from the menu. The Fat Radish Kitchen Diaries is full of vibrant, funny tales of the journey it takes to build a successful restaurant business (and to write a truly gorgeous cookbook).
That’s not to say the food isn’t remarkable. As far as restaurant cookbooks go, The Fat Radish Kitchen Diaries is remarkably cookable, filled from the first page to the last with recipes that you’ll easily be able to make and enjoy in your home kitchen. The book features traditional English fare, like Cottage Pie, Brussels Sprout Bubble and Squeak (recipe after the link for you to enjoy at home), and Scotch Eggs. The Fat Radish Kitchen Diaries also includes a couple of nods to pub favorites, like The Fat Radish Cheeseburger and Spring Onion Rings with Tartar Sauce. The book is organized seasonally, but the gorgeous images dare you to wait until spring to enjoy the Leek and Peekytoe Crab Gratin or the Charred Snap Peas with Mint Salt and Chili Oil. The Fat Radish Kitchen Diaries even has a recipe for Banoffee Pie, something many Americans have wondered about since the first time they watched Love Actually.
Tim Federle, the mixologist mastermind behind Tequila Mockingbird, is back and quippier than ever in his new book for new parents, Hickory Daiquiri Dock. Squeeze happy hour in right after bedtime with these nursery rhyme-inspired cocktails, garnished with a twist of humor. All your kids’ favorites are present and accounted for, from Rocks-N-Rye, Baby and Wee Willie Whiskey to Mary Had a Little Dram and London Binge, I’m Falling Down. Give the Bloody Mary, Quite Contrary a try for yourself (recipe for you to try at home after the link).
Unlike parenthood, the rules for enjoying a refreshing cocktail are simple. “Rule No. 1: Don’t serve anything alcoholic in a sippy cup! Rule No. 2: Drink what you like and don’t stress out too much about rules. Rule No. 3: make fresh ice. You don’t want your cocktail to taste like a frozen hot dog.” The drinks are simple, designed to be mixed quickly and deliciously. Federle candidly declares, “If a drink requires more than, say, three alcoholic components (I’m looking at you, Long Island iced tea), but it doesn’t taste alcoholic at all (I’m glaring at you, Long Island iced tea), grab a beer and hide in the attic.”