January 20, 2013 – January 26, 2013

Lamb Stew from 'Stewed'

Gently simmered lamb shoulder, port, and root vegetable stew tastes lamby but not gamey or chewy. The key is the sweet and savory undercurrent of wine, beef stock, tomatoes, and winter roots that runs beneath the flavor of the lamb. More

DIY Cherry Bitters

Swapping in cherry bitters for Angostura bitters can give your cocktails a subtle yet delightful boost, adding a hint of fruit while still delivering the bitterness your drink needs. The best part about making your own is you can customize your bitters to your cocktailing needs. More

Tropical Green Juice

Sweet, mellow, and oh so tropical-tasting. If you closed your eyes while drinking this juice, you just might be on a beach in Hawaii, where the palm trees are bright green and the juice is not. More

Cheddar Ale Soup with Pumpernickel Toast from 'Stewed'

Mention cheese soup, and my mind immediately goes towards the neon orange cans of condensed Campbell's stuck between the chicken noodle and bean with bacon in the middle of the grocery store. But for Dave Becker, cheese is just another way to dress up soups in his new book Stewed. Instead of attempting to incorporate cheese directly into his Cheddar Ale Soup, he melts it on top a la French Onion. Oh, and that soup base? It's made up of beer. Yes, beer. More

Chocolate Cream Pie

When I was a kid, my father used to go out of his way to stop at a bakery in Portsmouth, NH that sold a very unusual chocolate cream pie. The pudding filling was extra light, looser than most (in a good way) and cradled in a flaky, all butter crust. I've done my best to re-create this delight from my childhood, as the bakery is long gone. Those expecting clean lines when slicing will be disappointed, but for people who love pudding, this is a fantastic treat. More

Vegetarian Mapo Tofu with Peas

"Pock-Marked Mother's Bean Curd," the translation of the name mapo tofu, gives a good indication of the homey, comforting nature of this dish, which tastes just like something Mom would make, if Mom were Chinese and an excellent cook. This vegetarian version omits the beef or pork, instead adding in some bright green peas. More

Barbecue Sweet Potato Chips

When fried in hot oil, the sweetness in sweet potatoes concentrates and results in a tastier chip than regular russets, in my opinion. As for the barbecue flavor, a sprinkling of salt, cayenne, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and sweet paprika make for a great barbecue combination that won't overpower or mask the sweetness of the crisp, fried sweet potatoes. More

London Fog Milk Punch

Before the Bourbon Milk Punch (made famous in New Orleans), there was English Punch. Don't be afraid of the curdled milk—think of it as a science experiment. A very delicious science experiment. More

Red Minestrone from 'Stewed'

Dave Becker's Red Minestrone in his new cookbook Stewed looks a lot like what you'd order at any Italian restaurant. It's got many of the usual players—tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, celery, and pasta—and is simmered gently to preserve the color and flavor of each component. However, instead of adding beans as a thickening agent, Becker introduces a heavy drizzle of cream to the mix. The cream transforms what is often considered peasant food into a luxuriously silky stew. More

Scotch Broth

Rich broth filled with bite-sized pieces of root vegetable and tender lamb, this hearty soup is much more than the name 'broth' implies. The essential elements of a scotch broth are lamb, barley, and root vegetables of various kinds, although many will include cabbage in that list as well. To me, Scotch broth is a root vegetable-based dish, with enough chunks of tender lamb to make it exciting, and a broth that is rich and flavorful. More

Hot and Sour Soup from 'Stewed'

Is it just me or is hot and sour soup one of the weirdest in the Chinese take-out canon? Most bowls consist of a gloppy mass of orange sweet liquid, giving way to a slightly sour and slightly spicy finish. Bites of mushroom, pea, and tofu add a bit of interest, but they can't save the soup bowl. But there's no reason why a homemade bowl of hot and sour can't make for a warming, pleasant meal. Dave Becker's recipe in Stewed is one such example. He eschews the sweet element of too many take-out containers, instead favoring the naturally sour taste lemongrass, rice vinegar, and lime juice and the gentle heat of red chiles and white pepper. Carrots, shiitakes, bell peppers, and snow peas make up the bulk of the vegetables, and a small amount of rice noodles or rice turns the appetizer into a full meal. It's a far cry from any hot and sour I'd ever eaten--and that's a good thing. More

Mushroom Stew from 'Stewed'

Wintertime vegetable soups all to often tend towards the creamy, orange, winter squash/carrot type. And while there's nothing wrong with a well-made butternut squash puree, sometimes a little more texture and funk is in order. Enter Dave Becker's standout Mushroom Stew in his new book, Stewed. A terrific amalgamation of wild mushrooms, enokis, dried porcinis, sherry, and spinach, this stew tastes of earth in the best way possible. The mushrooms are sauteed in a ripping hot pot to brown quickly without steaming, and are then simmered to tender perfection. A (very slight) drizzle of truffle oil (haters, don't hate) and a smattering of Asaigo cheese enlivens the stew upon serving. More