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Mouthing Off

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Andrew Zimmern's Kitchen Adventures

Healthy Italian Farmhouse Cooking: Zuppa Verde

Zuppa Verde

Photo © Stephanie Meyer.

Every cook wants to know how to make this superb soup, and the reason is its simplicity. As in all Italian food, simplicity trumps all. A mixture of greens is great in the recipe, but if you just use escarole, so be it. I first had soup like this in Cervinia in northern Italy, on a spring ski trip. Small huts dotted the lower slopes of the ski resort so you could schuss up, eat a bowl of soup and ski off quickly. This is farmhouse cooking at its best. I think the bread makes the soup what it is. You tell me, but I can assure you that this will become a staple of your repertoire right away. SEE RECIPE »

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Andrew Zimmern's Kitchen Adventures

Easy Duck à l'Orange

Duck à l'Orange

Photo © Stephanie Meyer.

When I was growing up in NYC in the ’60s, my dad would take me out every week for roast duck at any of the half dozen amazing Czech and other Eastern European restaurants that helped define the Yorkville neighborhood of Manhattan for generations. Those days are gone: The German, Czech and Polish restaurants that served some of the best traditional comfort food in the city are no more. It took me years and many trips overseas to figure out how to replicate the spiced orange duck that was so popular when I was a kid. It was fancy food back then, for sure. This recipe is easier than it looks, and the results are stellar every time. It’s foolproof. SEE RECIPE »

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Andrew Zimmern's Kitchen Adventures

Miss Myra's Banana Pudding

Miss Myra's Banana Pudding

Photo © Stephanie Meyer.

This recipe is not an April Fools’ prank. Why would you think it was? Because Miss Myra never shares it... but she did with me. And when I tell you, without equivocation, that it’s the most famous, most amazing, best tasting banana pudding recipe in the world, trust me, it is. Four generations have carefully guarded this recipe as the perfect finish to the barbecued chicken with white sauce dinner for which Miss Myra’s Pit Bar B-Q, near Birmingham, Alabama, has been famous for, running on three decades now. Enjoy. It’s dessert heaven. SEE RECIPE »

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Andrew Zimmern's Kitchen Adventures

DIY Lamb Tacos with Bacon Fat-Scallion Tortillas

Grilled Leg of Lamb with Bacon Fat-Scallion Tortillas

Photo © Stephanie Meyer.

Homemade tortillas are on a whole different level from their store-bought siblings, especially when mixed with bacon fat and the green bite of fresh scallion. Don’t be intimidated—they’re fun to make and fairly simple. Rene Ortiz, from La Condesa, inspired this recipe, which has a roll-your-own element that echos the fun of family fajita night. And parents, please make these tortillas with your little kids, who will go bonkers for the meal if they get to help make it. SEE RECIPE »

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Andrew Zimmern's Kitchen Adventures

Grilled Sardines with Mint and Almonds

Grilled Sardines with Mint and Almonds

Photo © Stephanie Meyer.

This dish has all the complex flavors of traditional North African cuisine, yet it’s surprisingly simple. If sardines aren’t available, try using any fresh fish. I prefer small fish: anything from 5 ounces to 2 pounds is perfect. I also make this recipe once a year with a whole wild salmon—I just triple the rub/sauce elements and cut deep slashes in the fish for holding the seasonings and to help it cook evenly. Look, the world would be a better place if we all ate small fish with the heads on once a month, so go buy some mackerel, sardines, mullet, rouget, small pompano, porgies, skate, you name it... and get your fish groove on. Last thought, this makes a great fish dish for Passover. From my lips to God’s ears. SEE RECIPE »

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Andrew Zimmern's Kitchen Adventures

Bread Pudding with Irish Whiskey

Bread Pudding with Irish Whiskey

Photo © Stephanie Meyer.

Celebrate St. Paddy’s Day with a whiskey-spiked bread pudding. I know, it’s a big fat cliché wrapped in a stereotype inside a whopping pile of ethnocentrism. But it’s amazing—the dish is a winner. SEE RECIPE »

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Andrew Zimmern's Kitchen Adventures

Incredible Butter Fried Chicken

Butter Fried Chicken

Photo © Stephanie Meyer.

This dish is in my head more often than not. That’s saying something. It’s one of our monthly meals at the Zimmern house, and its yet another brilliant way to do chicken for a crowd that includes kids. Paired with a bright citrus punch and salty capers, this chicken entrée makes everyone happy. My son starts screaming “butter chicken” and runs up and down the hallways when he comes home from school and learns what’s for dinner. I first ate this dish 30 years ago, served for a family meal one night at a restaurant in Florence where I was a stagiaire. I hadn’t seen butter during my first few weeks in Italy and almost fainted when I tasted this. You will too—please put pillows on the floor the first time you make it. SEE RECIPE »

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Andrew Zimmern's Kitchen Adventures

Steamed Mussels with Aioli (Mejillones)

Steamed Mussels with Aioli (Mejillones)

Photo © Stephanie Meyer.

My childhood summers were spent on the South Fork of Long Island, New York, where we clammed in the bay, crabbed in the salt ponds with heads of snapper, blues and porgies, and foraged for ropes of mussels. My dad would hold on to my ankles and lower me between the rocks of the jetties on Georgica and Main beaches in East Hampton, and I would pull dozens of pounds from those rocks for our bonfire cookouts. We’d use small mussels for chowder or soup, and the larger ones for this dish the next night at home. This is a dish I have eaten all over coastal Chile and in Galicia in Spain—it’s simple but inspired and it will impress your guests. It seems like a fancy hors d’oeuvres but I use it as a cold seafood course at dinners, an easy do-ahead dinner or potluck contribution when I am sick of everyone’s lemon bars! SEE RECIPE »

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Andrew Zimmern's Kitchen Adventures

Perfect Chinese Dumplings at Home

Boiled Chinese Dumplings

Photo © Stephanie Meyer.

Ring in the Year of the Snake with these superb dumplings. The recipe is much easier than you’d think and they can be made in advance, frozen on baking sheets and then bagged. Frozen dumplings take a little longer to boil but the quality is still strong. I have to say, there is something magical about the addition of the minced boiled cabbage—it’s what makes these dumplings light and highly addictive. And you will use this dumpling sauce for the rest of your life, I promise. SEE RECIPE »

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Andrew Zimmern's Kitchen Adventures

Zimmern's Love Letter: Crème Brûlée

Crème Brûlée

Photo © Stephanie Meyer.

Crème brûlée is a walking cliché, and like offering a Caesar salad recipe, it’s almost embarrassing to show you this one. But this creamy, rich dessert is the perfect love letter. And you should know how to make a great custard (plus, it’s always fun to use a blowtorch in the kitchen). I made crème brûlée for dessert the first time I cooked for my wife when we had just started dating, and it worked out perfectly in every way. SEE RECIPE »

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