Posts filed under 'Cookbooks'
My son gave me a copy of Everyday Italian by Giada de Laurentiis a few years ago. Pizza di Spaghetti is one of his favorite meals. Crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside, it is a great way to use up any leftover pasta and it is a meal that all of my children will eat.
Topped with a little marinara sauce and served with broccoli, it is an easy dinner. You could even put bits of broccoli or chopped spinach inside. I’ve done several variations, such as adding 1/2 cup ricotta cheese and finishing it with mozzarella. My 13-year-old is able to prepare this recipe by himself.
Typically, I use Barilla Plus Angel Hair as it has nice texture and a better nutritional profile than regular pasta. In this recipe, even finicky eaters won’t know the difference.
Not very photogenic, but certainly very tasty.
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (or sharp cheddar)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup ricotta cheese (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 cups leftover pasta, cooked
1/4 cup olive oil or butter
Bits of mozzarella cheese, about 1/2 cup (optional – but this makes it more like a pizza)
In a large bowl, mix the eggs, milk, ricotta, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Add the cooked pasta and toss to coat well. Heat a 9-inch skillet and add the olive oil or butter. When hot, add the pasta mixture, spreading evenly and cook for about 8 minutes, pressing it down with the back of a spatula.
Carefully invert the pasta onto a round flat surface like an oversized plate, then slide it back into the pan on the opposite, un-cooked side down. Place the bits of mozzarella on top and cover. Cook for another 6 minutes. Heat your marinara sauce in the microwave while the pizza finishes up.
Place the pasta on to a serving platter, cut up into your desired serving size and serve with a bit of marinara on top or on the side.
January 19th, 2010
When in doubt, go for a book, gadgets or something homemade!
Momfuku by David Chang is probably one of the best cookbooks of the year. If you are ever in New York, his restaurants are a must.
Citrus reamers or a citrus press like you see in Mexico.
Kimberly’s Sweet & Spicy Slow Cooker Almonds.
These beautiful folding wooden salad tongs are also perfect.
Give the gift of a flavor trip this holiday season with Frooties! This is a great activity for the whole family. Watch everyone eat lemons, limes and grapefruits with gusto!
A jar of Barr’s homemade Chocolate Hazelnut spread.
December 17th, 2009
Exciting news I tell you, our first give-away! The Lisa Ekus Group was kind enough to provide us with books to share with two lucky flavoristas.
Simply leave a comment to this post. Subscribers: please leave comments on the site rather than e-mail. I’ll put them all in a hat and Lollie will pick the winner. We’ll post the lucky winners and I’ll contact you to get shipping specifics.
I met Nava Atlas at an author’s retreat while she was wrapping up the book above, Secret Recipes for the Modern Wife. I picked up my copy over the summer and it is a hoot. It is the perfect book for that "hard to buy for" girlfriend.
There are no actual food recipes in the book, although Nava is a well established cookbook author. Keep on reading to check out some sample "recipes" from Secret Recipes for the Modern Wife:
Way Too Much on Your Plate
Serves one frazzled female
2 to 3 small children, more or less as desired
A small pinch of time
1 large bunch mixed obligations (try a combination of work, aging parents, extended family, community involvement and endless errands)
Generous grindings of guilt
Combine children in a house or apartment and stir together, losing temper every so often.
With time at a premium, pile up obligations and "to do" items, little by little, until you realize that you have so much on your plate that your life resembles one motley potluck. With a wire whisk, beat yourself into stiff peaks for biting off far more than you can chew.
Add as much guilt as necessary to achieve complete emotional overload when you realize that there is no way to do anything well when you are trying to do so many things at once. Ponder why your life, which was relatively simple not long ago, has become a not-too-pretty smorgasbord.
Start recipe over each morning and repeat daily for about a decade, or longer as needed, until the kids are older or until you are a complete basket case, whichever comes first.
Old Boyfriend Buffet
Fuels many hours of fantasy
Bobby or Johnny, or whatever the boy you liked in fifth grade was called
Your middle school boyfriend, name forgotten
Your high school boyfriends, as desired
The great love of your life (college sweetie, or other)
All the guys you dated before meeting the man you ultimately married
Nostalgia for glazing
Cranberries for color
After major arguments with your husband, heap memories of Bobby (or Johnny), with the middle and high school boyfriends onto a plate. Infuse this hazy hash with much longing for your lost youth.
Conjure up daydreams about the great love of your life after particularly vexing fights. Serve yourself these exquisite morsels while pondering the following:
1. Why did you ever let him get away? 2. Did he ever get over you, and does he ever think about you now? 3. Did he ever marry, and if so, a) might he be divorced or widowed by now, and hence, available? or b) would he leave his current wife for you if you were available? 4. Should you do a discreet search for his whereabouts?
Spread embellished memories of all the guys you ever dated on a silver serving dish. Marvel at how most of them, even the jerks, look awfully appetizing with the glaze of nostalgia, especially compared with the idiot to whom you’re married. Festoon your fantasy land forays with cranberries, which, like memories, can be remarkably bittersweet.
Serves to inspire hope in an age of cynicism
The stuff that makes living most delectable (choose as many as you’d like), including:
Shavings of fresh coconut
Pineapple rings and candied fruit
Affection and mutual respect
Glistening cubes of ruby red gelatin
Security and support
Mint ice cream
Children that turn out well
Rich frosting and whipped cream toppings
Lasting love and happiness
Chocolate syrup (lots of it)
Before starting this recipe, recognize that even in an age when impossible standards of perfection coexist with a decline in marital rates (and successes), there must be some reason why most people aspire to be part of a couple.
While arranging delicious ingredients with lofty aspirations, pause to reflect on "for better or worse," and decide that you prefer better. And observe that even those who have endured the most painful of breakups often try again, and sometimes yet again.
Realize that real life doesn’t always resemble a dessert buffet, filled with sensuous pleasures and emotional fulfillment. Still, it’s human nature to feel hopeful, and even though you know that "happily ever after" exists primarily in fairy tales, it may be possible to grab morsels of love and happiness from time to time.
And the winners are….
Kathy – email@example.com and Jenny – firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll send you both an e-mail to get shipping info. Congratulations – Hope you enjoy the book as much as I did.
December 1st, 2009
Fuchsia Dunlop’s memoir is the best way to vicariously travel through China. Dunlop spent years exploring many of China’s provinces and has written several cookbooks, articles and even has a blog.
I heartily recommend this fascinating culinary trip through many of China’s provinces. Dunlop was the first foreigner to ever attend the Sichuan Institute of Higher Cuisine. Going to culinary school is daunting enough, but to attend one where only Mandarin is spoken is quite another thing.
There is a page in the book where she illustrates just a few of the types of shapes you might have to use your cleaver to make. From eyebrow shapes to phoenix tails, to ox tongues, horse ears and domino slices. It make French techniques look like child’s play.
These are a few pages from her journal, there are more on her blog. Flavorista Tracey traveled to China last year to visit her son who spent 1 year there as an exchange student. I am sending her this book.
I have yet to make any of the recipes but she has a true version of Kung Pao chicken on her blog that I might try along with the Fish Fragrant Aubergines in this book. I’ll let you know how everything turns out.
If you love Chinese food and are curious to learn more, this book and The Fortune Cookie Chronicles by Jennifer 8 Lee are a must.
October 1st, 2009
It is official, frost may happen this weekend. Leave in the kale and root veggies, harvest your basil! When you have got oodles of basil on your counter making the whole house smell like a Sicilian garden, it is time to make pesto.
Photo by Ali Sundik
Tried and True Pesto Recipe
Adapted from Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
I have owned this cookbook for over 20 years, I have made this recipe and given it away to people countless times. Marcella Hazan book is my go-to source for Italian cooking questions.
2 cups fresh basil
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp pine nuts
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
Add the above ingredients to your blender and process until almost smooth. If using immediately, mix in the ingredients below by hand until smooth.
Otherwise, freeze the pesto base in freezer-safe, storage containers. Add the remaining ingredients when you are ready to use your pesto in a recipe. If packaged correctly, pesto can be frozen for up to 8 months.
1 recipe of pesto base (above)
1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
2 Tbsp Romano cheese, grated
3 Tbsp butter, softened (not melted)
To complete the pesto, use a spoon to mix together the pesto base and the remaining ingredients. Stir until smooth and evenly blended.
When finishing a pasta dish with pesto add a few spoonfuls of starchy pasta water to it to thin the sauce. Pesto is also delicious served on bread slices and even spooned into jarred tomato sauce.
In the frigid nights of February, nothing brightens the mood and the table like some sun-kissed basil pesto!
September 26th, 2009
OK Flavoristas, if French Salt Caramels are your thing, this exquisite dessert sauce will make you swoon. A few weeks back, I stumbled upon David Lebovitz’s, The Perfect Scoop, a glorious book about all things ice cream at my local bookstore, Nonesuch Books.
Lebovitz is a masterful food writer and pastry chef (by way of Chez Panisse) who is currently living, eating and writing in Paris. He has written several books, but his ice cream book caught my eye. The photography is really stunning, who knew that ice cream could be so pretty?
This buttery sauce is a snap to prepare and it makes homemade ice cream taste even better. I actually caught Marco eating spoonfuls of it straight out of the fridge. His response to being busted, "I can’t help myself, it is sooooooo goooooood! It tastes just like those fancy caramels you buy at Whole Foods, minus the wrapper and on a spoon."
Salted Butter Caramel Sauce adapted from The Perfect Scoop
For the uninitiated, homemade caramel can be a bit tricky. Sugar can go very quickly from a perfect caramel to completely burnt yuck. I tend to exercise caution; at first sign of smoking, even a little bit, I call it done. Full attention is required when making caramel so please turn off your cell phone.
6 Tbsp. butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream, divided
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. kosher salt
Melt butter in a heavy sauce pan over medium high heat, add sugar and stir frequently until sugar is a golden brown. Cook’s Note: If you are super observant, you will notice that I forgot to melt the butter before I added the sugar. It still worked perfectly fine
As soon as the sugar starts to smoke, remove it from the heat and with caution whisk in 1/2 cup of cream. It will bubble up like lava. Be very careful when working with caramel because it is dangerously hot; caramel making is not a task for young children.
Whisk in remaining 1/2 cup cream, vanilla and salt. Let caramel cool just a bit (maybe 20 minutes) before serving. Refrigerate any leftover sauce. The sauce can be re-warmed in a microwave.
August 16th, 2009
In ancient Arabic, the word sofra means, little eats, like at a picnic. The bakery-cafe Sofra is the newest addition to the Boston eating scene. Reknowned chef Ana Soturn of Oleana has created an wonderful spot for small plates.
My dear friend, Flavorista Dee Dee knew this is exactly the kind of place I love. Everything was delectable. It was a dreary rainy afternoon in Boston but the food here warmed our hearts. We really wanted a glass of wine but they don’t serve alcohol. They are not open for dinner but if you are in Boston, make sure to stop by if you are feeling peckish. The menu changes often but consistently offers many mediterranean/middle eastern specialties. We ordered several mezze and had one of the stuffed flat breads. The crik-craks were unbelievable, buttery and flaky.
Sofra also offers spice blends, and prepared foods like house preserved lemons, aleppo pepper spiced peanuts (fantastic!) and interestng grains and oils. I bought grano, an ancient wheat that puffs up beautifully when cooked. Reminiscent of barley, but softer and plumpy.
At the left is the dry grain and on the right cooked. I placed 1 cup of grano in my slow cooker with 8 cups of water and a bay leaf. I cooked it for 4 hours. It might have been a little better at 3 hours but it was still fantastic. You can sauteed cooked grano with just garlic and fruity olive oil. I added some small cherry tomatoes and sweet peas.
If I didn’t already own too many cookbooks I would definitely get Sortun’s 2006 book entitled Spice.
August 2nd, 2009
Tartine is an amazing place. I am stunned at the number of truly high quality products they produce. The morning bun, while the size of a newborn baby’s head, is a heavenly treat with just the right amount of orange zest and cinnamon sugar. The Niman Ranch ham and Gruyere cheese croissant is unbelievable and I don’t ever want to know how many calories it has.
There are some many things to choose but the bread is truly their signature product. The bakery is owned by a husband and wife team. In the name of keeping their family together, they release the bread at 5:00pm – no 2:00am baker’s hours. Although these guys have so much traffic and offer such a plethora of incredible products I can’t imagine their ovens are ever cold.
On a recent visit to San Francisco I brought the lemon meringue cake for a birthday party. Not being a huge fan myself, remodelista Julie assured me it would be well recevied. Instead of making it into a pie with big gloppy globs of lemon curd, they make it into a layer cake. Not only stunning it is also as light as air and delicious. I do not own the cookbook and I must say that I am slightly intimidated by it. It is now on my wish list.
July 6th, 2009
In Boulder we finish school earlier than most kids in the U.S. Tomorrow is our final PTA meeting and I decided to host it with tipples and nibbles. A perfect opportunity to try a recipe from Martha Holmberg’s new book Puff – 50 Flaky, Crunchy, Delicious Appetizers, Entrees and Desserts made with Puff Pastry. Holmberg is the current food editor at The Oregonian and past editor of Taunton’s Fine Cooking, so she knows a thing or two about writing recipes.
I chose to make the Ham and Cheese Palmiers, but yes, I cheated and used Dufour’s premade frozen puff pastry. I think is is exceptional and although someday I will make puff pastry again (and Holmberg’s book has a great how to section on making puff from scratch) I don’t have a lot of time. These palmiers can be made a few days a head.
Ham and Gruyere Palmiers
4 ounces very thinly sliced Ham. I used applewood smoked ham from Niman Ranch
3 ounces of finely grated Gruyere cheese
1 package Dufour Puff Pastry
Whole Grain Mustard (Holmberg uses Dijon but I was out)
Slightly defrost the puff pastry, just enough so that it gives gently when you touch it. On a floured surface roll one of the 2 sheets into an even rectangle . Spread the mustard on evenly. Place the ham on and then sprinkle generously with the cheese to cover the whole sheet. With the shortest side facing you, bring start by rolling the two longest sides into the center (as in picture above.) Gently lift onto some parcment paper and roll it up. Freeze until firm or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Slice the palmiers into 1/4 inch slices. Place 1/2 inch a part on baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until golden. Allow to cool slightly before moving to a serving plate.
May 26th, 2009
Brian Yarvin set out on a quest to compile 100 dumpling recipes from around the globe. I wish I had this book during Chinese New Year. From reading his book and making the Turkish manti, I have discovered that it really pays off to make the dough fresh. You can use the wrappers from the store, but if you are going to take the time to fill them, which is where the time is really taken up, then you might as well make the dough.
A wonderful book, A World of Dumplings offers many different ways to make them. I chose to make the manti because my husband and I traveled in Turkey on our honeymoon. Eating manti was a whole new thing for us. Essentially a Turkish ravioli served with a creamy yogurt sauce, manti was unlike anything I had ever had before and I was instantly in love! It is important to use a very high quality yogurt, like the Traders Point Creamery yogurt I wrote about in for the panna cotta a few weeks ago.
These dumplings were incredibly easy to make and so tasty. I took a few liberties with Yarvin’s recipe. In Turkey, our Manti were made with ground lamb and had some dried mint. I liked Yarvin’s yogurt sauce much better than the sauce we had in Turkey, but changed the procedure a bit. His addition of aleppo pepper which originates from Syria and has a fruity taste with mild heat, and the sumac (one of my favorites) provides a nice lemony flavor and turns the sauce a great color. I will use the sauce on lamb kabobs in the future, it is that good. I don’t have a pasta machine so my manti were a little thick but still yummy. You can assemble the manti a day ahead and keep refrigerated.
Turkish Manti with Brocoli Rabe, adapted from A World of Dumplings
For the Sauce
2 cups plain yogurt (I used Traders Point Creamery)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground aleppo pepper (paprika will also work but the aleppo is really a nice touch)
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. ground sumac
Place the yogurt in a glass bowl, add the garlic and salt and stir to combine. Allow to sit while making the manti. Once manti are cooking, finish the sauce by heating the olive oil in a small skillet. Add the aleppo and sumac and allow to cook for a minute or two, Remove from heat. Once it is slightly cool, whisk it into the yogurt (which should be at room temperature). The sauce will take on a nice pinkish color.
For the Dough
2 cups of flour, plus a little more for rolling
1 whole egg
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup water
Place the flour in a bowl and add the salt and egg. Pour in the water and with a wooden spoon, bring the dough together. With your hands, knead the dough lightly and then wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
For the Filling
1/2 cup grated onion (about 1 small onion)
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 lb ground lamb
large pinch of dried mint
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp, freshly ground black pepper
Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Place a large pot of water on to boil. Remove dough from the refrigerator and roll out to 1/8 inch thick adding a little flour to your rolling surface as needed to prevent sticking. Cut into 1 inch squares. Place about 1/4 tsp of the meat mixture into the center and bring the sides up to form a mini envelope. Press the seams together to seal. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place finished manti into the water. Once the water comes to a boil, lower heat and cook them for 6 minutes. Remove from water with a large slotted spoon.
For the Rabe
1 lb. brocolli rabe, tough stems chopped off and discarded
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
salt and pepper
I boiled my rabe in the pot that the manti were going to be boiled in, took them out with a large slotted spoon and let them cool on a plate. I heated my cast iron skillet, added enough olive oil to cover the bottom, add the garlic and the rabe and stir it well until the rabe was hot. I placed the rabe in a bowl, placed 5 manti on top then added the yogurt sauce.
PS from Kimberly: I am so going to make these!
May 12th, 2009