by Mallory Viscardi in Books, May 13th, 2015
by Mallory Viscardi in Books, April 16th, 2015
If you think toast is boring to make or to eat, Jill Donenfeld’s new book, Better on Toast, challenges you to think again. The book is a 70-recipe adventure into the world of open-faced toast possibilities, and it’s a delicious ride from the first dish to the last. “It’s not rocket science we’re talking about here,” Donenfeld writes. “It’s not even molecular gastronomy… Food tastes better when it’s eaten on a piece of hot, crispy bread.”
How right she is. With dishes ranging from the Avocado Classic Toast (mashed avocado on toast with lemon and red pepper flakes, drizzled with olive oil) to the luscious, creamy Tomatillo Egg Toast (pictured above and recipe below for you to savor at home), you’ll find a whole collection of crusty, mouthwatering recipe gems. Donenfeld covers everything from proper breadselection and toasting technique to using up leftover ingredients in the rare event you find you haven’t eaten the whole dish in one go. There are visual guides that show how you can take one ingredient and dress it up a handful of ways (like the burrata toasts below, and another similar feature of ricotta variations). She even includes a wonderful little note template for you to use when inviting neighbors over to try your new favorite toast recipes. (Or not … nobody would fault you for wanting to keep these plates all to yourself.)
Toast itself is a simple concept, but really good toast can be made with just a few small tweaks to the cooking process. Get the most out of each crispy, crunchy bite with these tips from Donenfeld:
Don’t: Dry-toast in the toaster oven — this makes for dry, flaky toast.
Do: Toast with a fat (mayo, butter, oil) in a pan — this creates a crispy crust that melts into the interior of the bread as you take a bite.
by Mallory Viscardi in Books, March 19th, 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, February 28th, 2015
“Cooking on a sheet pan, letting your oven do most of the work, will put a great meal on the table and give you time to enjoy your life. And isn’t that pretty much what it’s all about?” Molly Gilbert asks in her new cookbook, Sheet Pan Suppers. No matter what your family wants for dinner (or breakfast or lunch), the answer might be found in the kitchen tool you once used only to bake cookies: the humble sheet pan.
Gilbert’s technique is simple and straightforward: Use good ingredients to make delicious yet simple meals, like Quick Chicken and Baby Broccoli with Spicy Peanut Sauce (recipe after the link for you to try at home) or the Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta Pasta. But sheet pan recipes can branch out beyond dinner to include small bites and snacks (like Spicy Cheese Biscuits and Crispy Roasted Potatoes), meat-free meals (like Hearty Ratatouille with Goat Cheese and Portobello Cap Pizzas with Garlic Knots), and even brunch dishes (like Fresh Brioche Cinnamon Rolls, pictured below).
by Mallory Viscardi in Books, Holidays, February 4th, 2015
There is nothing more effective at knocking the cold grip of winter off your home than filling it up with the aroma of fresh-baked bread. Making bread from scratch at home might seem like an intimidating thing to do, but master baker Nick Malgieri was kind enough to share with us his foolproof tips for success, as well as his recipe for Easiest Home-Baked Bread (pictured above and recipe below). What does a master baker do to get a perfect loaf every time? When we asked him, Malgieri said.
- Use the right flour: unbleached bread flour. I like Gold Medal best.
- Measure accurately: In my book Bread, I specify weighing even the liquids. The only things measured by volume are spoonfuls of salt, dry yeast, etc.
- Take your time: Bread dough that rises slowly over a long time develops a better flavor and texture than breads that are rushed.
- Try something easy first: focaccia, or one-step white bread. Once you’ve had a few successes, you’ll have the confidence to attempt more elaborate projects.
by Mallory Viscardi in Books, Drinks, January 15th, 2015
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”).
by Mallory Viscardi in Books, January 9th, 2015
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.
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 Mallory Viscardi in Books, January 2nd, 2015
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, December 26th, 2014
“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).