I don't get to spend much time in the kitchen—one pitfall of being a restaurant editor. But every Wednesday I dream cook via Melissa Clark
's excellent Good Appetite series
in the New York Times's Dining Out
section. (I also cook vicariously when she contributes to F&W magazine
.) Now Clark has given me 150 of her recipes in one place—100 of which are brand new—in the just-out cookbook In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite
. Each great dish comes with a great story; Clark is as good a storyteller as she is a cook. She’s also sympathetic to lazy cooks; a duck confit from Blue Ribbon
's Bromberg brothers
inspires her to make a super easy version with no additional fat (it’s called, fittingly, Really Easy Duck Confit). Should you need more evidence of how simple and great Clark's recipes are, you can watch her make her chicken fingers on Good Morning America
on Friday, October 1 at 8.50 a.m. They sound so good, it just might get me into the kitchen.
© Kate Krader
The two Franks.
“The Green Team will be in full effect when Frankies comes to Los Angeles,” says Vinny Dotolo
, one half of the chef team at LA’s Animal
restaurant. On the one hand, he was talking about June 30th, when Frankies Spuntino's Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronovo
travel from Brooklyn to do an amazing one-night-only, pop-up restaurant at Animal with recipes from their outstanding new Kitchen Companion & Cooking Manual
. (Pulitzer-Prize-winning writer Jonathan Gold
has labeled the upcoming LA dinner the "dude-food summit.") Anyone who saw Kim Severson’s recent New York Times
story, "Marijuana Fuels a New Kitchen Culture"
—which happened to feature Dotolo, Falcinelli and Castronovo—will have a good idea of what else he might have been talking about.
Seats at the dinner, which seem to be selling out quickly, are $60 (which gets you a cookbook, too) at animalrestaurant.com
. Wine pairings are $30 plus.
© Riverhead Books
Spoon Fed by Kim Severson
A reliable test of a book for New Yorkers is whether it makes them miss any subway stops. Kim Severson's honest, engaging and funny new food memoir Spoon Fed
is so absorbing, I missed my stop on three occasions. Severson, who writes about food for the New York Times
, recounts her struggles with alcohol and other demons, while profiling eight women in food whom she says saved her, from Edna Lewis to Rachael Ray. Since she knows most of them personally, the profiles are refreshing in their candor (she describes helping Alice Waters rig a microphone onto her underwear for an interview at the Union Square Greenmarket). But along with some hilarious stories, Severson has created a moving, modern canon of women in food. After the jump, F&W recipes from four of the women in the book.
Our gift guide this year is organized around six of our favorite cookbooks of 2009, from Ad Hoc at Home to Down Home with the Neelys. Here are four more standouts for your holiday-shopping consideration.
1) A Boy After the Sea
To benefit a charity named for his son, Vancouver chef Kevin Snook has assembled mind-blowing seafood recipes from everyone from Alice Waters to Ann-Sophie Pic, all of them beautifully photographed, in the name of an extraordinary cause.
Great for: Aspiring chefs, seafood lovers, fathers and sons.
2) The Craft of Baking
Karen DeMasco has a magic touch with sugar, butter and flour, and now so can you.
Great for: Beginner bakers, advanced bakers, anyone likely to bake you something in the next year.
3) Growing Good Things To Eat in Texas
No recipes, just sweet, homespun profiles of Lone Star farmers by Pamela Walker (family to F&W's Ray Isle).
Great for: Farm lovers, CSA subscribers, Texans, Texan wannabes.
4) Appetite City
A sharp, funny and illustrated history of New York dining by William Grimes, former dining critic of the New York Times.
Great for: Big Apple lovers, history buffs, aspiring writers.
Last night at the Astor Center
in NYC, Food52
’s Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs along with Charlotte Druckman announced the winner of their cookbook contest, The Piglet. Nora Ephron (writer and director of Julie & Julia
) made the final call
, picking Seven Fires
by Francis Mallmann
with Peter Kaminsky over Canal House Cooking
by Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton. But the most interesting part of the evening was a panel discussion that included finalists Kaminsky, Hirsheimer and Hamilton, as well as Hamilton’s sister Gabrielle, the chef/owner of Prune
(whose collection of essays is due out next fall) and Peter Meehan, who co-wrote Momofuku
with David Chang
. That's when things heated up. The panelists debated food photography (“Styled food shots make me furious,” Gabrielle Hamilton said) and the importance of “cookability” (bringing attention to the infamously complicated Momofuku
recipes). They also discussed the motivation for writing a book. Meehan suggested that he and Chang were not focused on the commerce end of the equation, to which Gabrielle Hamilton smirked, “Oh, that’s just the ‘David Chang shtick.’” But his comment begged the question: Is writing a cookbook a labor of love (Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton claim they wrote their cookbook for themselves—"We both laughed when our copy editor mentioned the reviews that would come in.") or a way to expand a brand and hopefully make some money? Kaminsky closed the night by saying, “The best food writing should make me want to taste the food.” It’s a fair bet that each of these cookbooks accomplishes this, and more.
Michael Symon was in town last week, and that’s exciting. The F&W Best New Chef 1998 and winner of the first Next Iron Chef back in 2007 was here with his new cookbook, Michael Symon’s Live to Cook. So there we were, hanging out at the Breslin, eating beef-tongue sandwiches and baked beans in pork fat. It was the perfect place to pore through Symon’s book, which includes a magnificent list of the Five Things You Should Never Buy (p. 23)—boneless, skinless chicken breasts, lean turkey bacon and butter substitutes are all there—and delicious-sounding recipes like beef-cheek pierogies (p. 45) and mushroom-stuffed, brick-roasted chicken (p. 198), plus details on making bacon and pancetta (p. 98). For more on the cookbook, I couldn’t do better than eatmedaily.com’s terrific synopsis.
© Donna Turner Ruhlman
Chef Michael Symon shows off his legs.
What can someone like me, a girl living in Queens, NY, possibly learn from a bunch of Park Avenue socialites with names like Muffie Potter Aston? A lot, I learned, after I read Park Avenue Potluck Celebrations
, a new book by New York Times
columnist Florence Fabrikant; it's a compilation of recipes and entertaining tips from some of the city’s most celebrated hostesses and members of The Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
(proceeds from the book will go to the center). Here, a few surprisingly down-to-earth tips from high society that I'll actually adopt:
1. Be worldly—follow the Swedish tradition of eating birthday cake for breakfast on your birthday.
2. Drink a cocktail before party guests arrive—it'll loosen you up and make you a better hostess.
3. Be a gracious and unflappable hostess, unperturbed by spilled wine or a crying child. Note: See #2, which will help.
4. Lottery tickets make great place cards—that’s one way to make it to Park Avenue.
5. Note for next year: Hand out to-go wine cups for parents accompanying trick-or-treaters on Halloween.
Our fantastic senior copy editor, Ann Lien (who reads every recipe with her eagle eye), is also a terrific cook. Here, she reports on a recent dinner:
Julie & Julia is coming out on DVD in December and I’ve already preordered my copy of the movie, which recently inspired me and my friends to do a Julia Child potluck. Armed with volume one of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, we attempted coq au vin, beef bourguignon, potage parmentier (potato-and-leek soup) with galettes du fromage (flattened gougères) and Queen of Sheba cake. While the recipes weren’t difficult, there were unexpectedly daunting tasks, such as the tearful peeling of 24 small onions (no way to make it go faster) and the hacking up of a whole, slippery raw chicken (roasting it partway helped us find the joints to tear the limbs apart, but we all shuddered). Everything came out utterly delicious—and irresistible. Long after I was stuffed, I was still reaching for more of the salty, cheesy, doughy, crispy galettes. We had so much fun, we immediately planned a second Julia potluck. If you want to create your own Julia Child party, check out our slide show for great ideas. In the meantime, bon appetit!
Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution
Jamie Oliver just keeps getting better. Eons ago I used to scratch my head at the popularity of the Naked Chef and his mumblings about great pasta with peas, but now I'm on the front lines of fandom. Unlike other celebrity chefs, who churn out new cookbooks at the drop of a pan, lately each new Jamie Oliver endeavor has been inspired by a brilliant, truly helpful idea. This time he's teaching residents of unhealthy towns how to cook fast from-scratch dinners. He already did it in the UK
, and now he's tackling Huntington, West Virginia
. He's calling it Jamie's Food Revolution, which is also the title of his new cookbook
. His casual recipe style can be frustrating, but the dishes themselves are great and regularly include a half-dozen inspired variations, like a bright cucumber-and-mint salad with optional yogurt dressing, black olives, fresh red chiles or a little extra-virgin olive oil. For Jamie Oliver recipes from F&W, click here
November will be a big month for superstar chef Thomas Keller (an F&W Best New Chef 1988): He’ll release Ad Hoc at Home (Artisan) and has plans to open a Beverly Hills outpost of Bouchon. Reasons to honor him now: his birthday this week, plus stellar dishes like his over-the-top mushroom quiche with buttery pastry shell (pictured), BLT fried egg-and-cheese sandwich, and a whole grilled chicken with arugula.
More Incredible Dishes by Our Best New Chefs:
- Our 2009 Best New Chefs’ easiest dishes like Kelly English’s meat pies with spicy buttermilk dip and Paul Liebrandt’s beet-and-red sorrel salad with nutty pistachio sauce