by Mallory Viscardi in Books, Drinks, August 8th, 2015
by Mallory Viscardi in Books, July 8th, 2015
As 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.
by Mallory Viscardi in Books, In Season, June 26th, 2015
When 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.
by Mallory Viscardi in Books, May 28th, 2015
When it comes to summer picnics, you’ll be hard pressed to find better resources for tips, tricks and menus than Marnie Hanel, Andrea Slonecker and Jen Stevenson of the Portland Picnic Society. They’ve assembled the only picnic guide you’ll ever need in their new book, The Picnic. The Picnic has everything from the rules for common lawn games and 99 uses for Mason jars to delicious recipes and menu ideas. The book is perfect for the novice picnicgoer, with guides for packing your basket and how big a blanket to get, and a list of essential tools everyone always forgets.
One of the most-useful parts of The Picnic is the crisis-aversion section of the book, where 10 common picnic disasters are triaged proactively for you. Planning a picnic before you can snag your own copy of the book? Keep the following details in mind.
1. Bathroom Break: Nothing ruins a picnic like having to go, with no relief in sight. Scout the state of your picnic site’s restrooms upon arrival. If they’re locked or loathsome, search for the nearest coffeehouse and inform your friends of its location.
2. Beat the Heat: If it’s a real sizzler of a day, surprise your fellow guests with a Mediterranean-scented cooldown: Add a few drops of rose, citrus or lavender oil to chilled miniature spray bottles of water and distribute them to the crowd. (Paper fans work, too.)
3. Battle of the Bugs: Summer bugs are a picnic plague. Bring an arsenal of citronella votives and bug spray. To keep unwelcome sweet-tea swimmers at bay, try this easy trick for transforming a Mason jar: Remove the lid and set it aside. Take a square of decorative paper, punch a hole in it, lay it over the lip of your jar, replace the ring and poke a straw through the hole. Drink elsewhere, bugs.
by Mallory Viscardi in Books, April 16th, 2015
Cookie lovers, rejoice! Mindy Segal’s new cookbook, Cookie Love, is here to fill your life and your kitchen with crunchy, chewy, salty-sweet four-bite treats. Whether you’re craving the crispy, caramelized goodness of Oatmeal Scotchies or the deep chocolate and sweet minty notes of the Black Sabbath sandwich cookies, you’ll find your new favorite cookie bite in the pages of this book. The variety of cookies you’ll find in Cookie Love runs the gamut from classic drop cookies with bold flavors all the way to sweet and salty bar cookies (like the Honey Walnut Bars, which you can make home with the recipe below) and back again. Meringues? It has them. Rugelach? You’re set. Spritz cookies? Look no further. Segal has you covered with fun, innovative flavors and textures no matter what kind of cookie you’re looking to make.
When it comes to baking, it’s no secret that getting it right is all in the details. According to Segal, these are the top three reasons many home cooks struggle with cookie baking. Learn from these notes:
1. They do not read the recipe through and follow the writer’s techniques.
2. They do not use correct room-temperature ingredients.
3. They think they can alter the recipe before they have even made it.
by Maria Russo in Contests, Food Network Chef, April 7th, 2015
Few things get a true food lover’s blood pumping like the return of ripe, vibrant spring produce to supermarket shelves and farmers markets. As strawberries start to creep back into their lush glory, the mind wanders to one of the kitchen’s simple pleasures: the tart. Simplicity doesn’t have to mean flat flavor, though, as evidenced in Emilie Guelpa’s Strawberry Sugar Tarts from her cookbook Rainbow Tarts (recipe below for you to try at home).
Guelpa’s approach to tarts is simple and clean but stunningly beautiful. The book is written and assembled with a designer’s eye, featuring beautifully represented flavor combinations leaping off the page and tickling your hunger for more. The recipes are easy to make, pairing a base dough with a color topping and then a white topping. The book offers recipes for four different types of base dough (chocolate shortcrust, salted hazelnut, shortcrust and salted Parmesan) and then four different kinds of white cream toppings (chantilly, Italian meringue, French meringue and panna cotta), plus an assortment of other white topping options (like shredded coconut, rice pudding, mascarpone and more).
The real artistry comes to life when she plays with flavors, pairing everything from peas with bacon to beets with goat cheese. There’s a fantastic balance of sweet and savory ideas, ranging from orange with chantilly to beef with aioli. The flavor possibilities are as fun as they are endless, and Guelpa includes a culinary palette section that will leave you inspired to dream up flavor combinations of your own that fit your fancy long after you’ve tried all 50 recipes in the book.
by Mallory Viscardi in Books, January 9th, 2015
“I decided to do this book because I love summer,” Katie Lee recently told FN Dish of her brand-new upcoming publication, Endless Summer Cookbook. “That’s my favorite time of year, and summer food is my favorite kind of food to cook. It’s also the season that I entertain the most.” For Katie, the more than 100 recipes in Endless Summer are all about celebrating the season’s bounty of freshness and the plethora of local ingredients near her home in the Hamptons. “Before I started writing the book, I wanted to be able to capture summer,” she explained, “so my photographer came over, and I went to the farm stand and we bought a bunch of stuff and came home and cooked. And then I wrote the recipes to go along with the food that I cooked.” Ranging from sweet treats like Light Lemony Berry Cheesecake to hearty grilled fare like BLT Ranch Burgers, plus refreshing sips like Frozen Blueberry Daiquiris, these dishes and drinks are ideal for relaxed warm-weather entertaining at home, no matter where your home is. “I’m so excited to share these recipes with people,” Katie said.
You can preorder your copy of Endless Summer Cookbook from the Food Network Store, but FN Dish is giving five lucky, randomly selected readers the chance to win a copy with a signed bookplate for free. All you have to do to be entered to win is leave a comment below with your favorite recipe from Katie (see all of Katie’s recipes here).
by Mallory Viscardi in Books, January 6th, 2015
“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.
by Maria Russo in Contests, Food Network Chef, December 29th, 2014
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:
by Mallory Viscardi in Books, October 17th, 2014
With the new year just days away, the focus has already started to shift from hearty, indulgent holiday buffets to lighter meals ideal for 2015 resolutions. This year, when the clock strikes midnight on January 1, skip the fad diets and embrace wholesome, naturally leaner cooking. All you need are a few go-to strategies and recipes you can count on, and for those, look no further than Melissa d’Arabian‘s all-new cookbook, Supermarket Healthy: Recipes and Know-How for Eating Well Without Spending a Lot.
In her brand-new publication, the host of Ten Dollar Dinners and the Picky Eaters Project shares how simple it can be to not only feed your family better-for-you dishes, but do that on a budget as well. She’s introducing 130 recipes for savory and sweet picks alike, including Deconstructed Lasagna and Cinnamon Popovers with Cream Cheese Glaze. Perhaps best of all, you don’t need to seek out specialty shops to find recipe ingredients; your everyday market is A-OK. Just stick to Melissa’s good-to-know tricks for navigating the grocery store and check out her recipe Blueprints — customizable templates for creating such favorites as meatballs and trail mix — and you can indeed start the new year on a healthier note.
Dominique Ansel made his mark on the dessert world with the invention of the Cronut and its subsequent and meteoric rise to culinary fame. He’s been lauded as the Willy Wonka of modern pastry, and, flipping through the pages of his new cookbook, Dominique Ansel: The Secret Recipes, it’s not hard to see why. The book is fun, imaginative and innovative. Ansel’s penchant for playing with food is written into every recipe, and when you bring this book into your kitchen, you’re unlocking delicious possibilities for you and your family.
The book begins with a foreword by Daniel Boulud and an introduction by Ansel himself. Then seven chapters cover the tenets on which he rests his baking philosophies: Time is an ingredient; Beyond the comfort zone; Don’t listen; What’s in a name?; Create and re-create; Everything but the flavor; and Never run out of ideas. After that come the recipes, separated into sections based on difficulty: beginners, intermediate and advanced. The book closes with a section on additional techniques called for in the recipes, skills like cooking custard, tempering chocolate and piping.
Ansel’s tour through his approach to pastry is fascinating. The insight he lends to his inspirations and process for developing new, innovative desserts is enthralling. Take, for example, the casual retelling of how the Popcorn Chouquettes came to be: He was inspired by customers who came into his bakery late and wanted a snack that they could enjoy while watching a movie they were en route to catch. A light bulb switched on and a new treat was born. The recipes are a lovely mix of classic favorites (like the Mini Madeleines, the Cannelé de Bordeaux, the Pink Champagne Macarons and the Mini Mes meringues) and inspired new bites (like the Ibérico and Mahon Croissant, the Frozen S’mores and the Angry Egg, which resembles an adorable popular mobile-phone game character). Give the Chocolate Pecan Cookies a try at home (recipe below) and make some magic for yourself. Dominique Ansel: The Secret Recipes goes on sale October 28. You can preorder your copy here.