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.
“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.”
“I guess I’m a baking nerd,” says Dorie Greenspan with a sly smile. The award-winning cookbook author is standing in the middle of Food Network Kitchen, whisk in hand and talking about her latest book, Baking Chez Moi. “I’ve come to think of myself as a baking evangelist. I want people to have the satisfaction of making something themselves. So when I write, I try to imagine I’m talking to a newbie.” Dedicated to the home cooking she delights in during the four months a year she spends in Paris, Greenspan’s newest book is friendly and approachable, straddling both the high (Bubble Éclairs) and humble (Chocolate Chip Cookies). Her Custardy Apple Squares are an ideal mix of the two, and Greenspan happily demonstrated how to whip them up during her visit. “I love this recipe,” she says. “It’s so easy, so unfussy, so French.” Follow Dorie’s step-by-step how-to to make them at home.
For many sweets lovers, Greenspan’s name is synonymous with one thing above all: amazing cookies. So we couldn’t let her go without asking her to share a few of her best cookie tips, too. Here’s what we learned. Read more
“If you can make a cake or a batch of cookies using a mix, you can surely bake something from scratch!” This is the premise of Kamran Siddiqi’s new cookbook, Hand Made Baking, and the simple, delightful, classic recipes in the book deliver on that promise. Siddiqi’s goal is to set even the most-timid home baker up for culinary success with easy-to-follow and fun-to-make dishes. Everything in Hand Made Baking, from the friendly headnotes to the luscious images, draws you in and compels you to head straight for the kitchen. Classic Cream Scones and Lemon-Poppy Seed Drizzle Cake (recipe linked below for you to try at home) dare you not to crave them. The Cinnamon-Raisin Granola wants to be your new go-to breakfast. Jammy Linzer Cookies are the perfect sweet treat to make this holiday season.
Siddiqi shared with us several tips to ensure success when baking from scratch. “My first tip, though quite obvious to most, is to read the recipe first; this helps any confusion later on.” He added, “Learn how to measure flour properly. Proper measurement of flour is crucial in baking, and not doing so can lead to lackluster baked goods. A pretty standard way to measure flour is the ‘fluff, pour, and sweep’ method, which I talk about in detail in the ‘Before You Begin’ chapter of my book.” If you’re just starting out baking from scratch, Siddiqi recommends his Nancy Drew Blondies, the Everyday Chocolate Cake and the New York-Style Bagels as a jumping-off point. And with the holidays coming up, Siddiqi said his family and friends always request the Pistachio Polvorones, the Molasses Spice Cookies, Forgetabout it Cinnamon Rolls (perfect on Christmas morning), Cranberry and Almond Coconut Macaroons, and the Chocolate Pudding Pie. The reality is there’s not a bad recipe in the book, and you’ll find yourself reaching for it again and again.
By Michelle Park
The last couple months of the year are packed with excuses to consume ridiculous amounts of sweets. Why not take full advantage of the season’s sugary spirit and make your own? Homemade candy is a great party trick, and it’s surprisingly straightforward. If you have reservations about thermometers and molten sugar, fear not — the well-versed duos behind this month’s picks will have you caramelizing with confidence.
1. The Liddabit Sweets Candy Cookbook by Liz Gutman and Jen King
Gutman and King, co-founders of the Brooklyn-based candy company Liddabit Sweets, have a love affair with candy. It’s no small task to demystify the art of candy making for the average home cook, but their optimism is contagious. Their playful, extremely thorough cookbook starts with a three-page chart titled Speed Date the Candies, a swift tour of the 75 recipes ahead, so you can quickly find one to fit your needs, whether that’s vegan, fun to make with the kids, or “melt-in-your-mouth-y” (sic) — or all of the above (Chocolate Mint Meltaways). Candy 101 then explains everything you need to know about sugar, chocolate, cleaning, safety and essential equipment. (The equipment section is split into “musts” and “coulds,” and you might find that your kitchen is already equipped to bust out some Pecan Turtle Caramel Corn.) Because Gutman and King want you to remember that “MAKING CANDY IS FUN” from start to finish, these chapters read less like a chemistry textbook and more like a friend discussing softball sugar with you over coffee. As far as the recipes go, no secret is withheld, and they range in difficulty from easy (Buckeyes) to ambitious (Gutman and King’s signature peanut-butter-banana candy bar, aptly named The King) to ambitious and patient (Beer Pretzel Caramels). You can rest easy regardless of what you choose first; “Liz Says” and “Jen Says” bubbles pop up on every other page with additional encouragement, suggestions and troubleshooting tips, should you make any missteps.
Yotam Ottolenghi’s newest cookbook, Plenty More, could very well be one of the most-anticipated books of the year. It’s not hard to see why. The book is gorgeous, and the recipes will change the way you approach eating vegetables — taking them from simple side dishes and turning them into stars worthy of center plate. Expectations for Plenty More were high, and Ottolenghi exceeded them at every turn.
The introduction is touching and endearing, as Ottolenghi pulls back the curtain on his hesitation to be pegged as a chef that specializes in vegetables. With his restaurant and in his other books, Ottolenghi has made it apparent he’s capable of much more than a delicious vegetable dish, but the way he plays in the vegetarian space is nothing short of enchanting.