Rick Bayless wants to wean cooks off recipe dependence, but that's not to say that he's against cookbooks. His collection numbers "in the thousands." I asked Bayless a bit about his favorites, especially the lesser-known titles we should really all seek out.
April Bloomfield, the chef behind New York's Spotted Pig (among other restaurants), chats with us about lesser-known cookbooks she loves and the cooking mentors she admires.
When you're craving a cocktail, plain old juice or soda just doesn't cut it. Luckily we've got an archive full of really good options; alcohol-free recipes that really make good cocktail substitutes. These eight drinks are remarkably complex, thanks to the thoughtful use of spices, tart vinegar, fruit, and nuts.
Fuchsia Dunlop is one of our go-to guides for Chinese cooking. We asked her about her cooking idols and the regional Chinese cuisines we should all know more about.
"I'm honestly so bored of the, 'Oh my mother's potato kugel was as hard as a rock,' jokes that people make to sort of dismiss the entire category of Jewish food. That's not because potato kugel is inherently bad, it's because your mom didn't make a good one. Taken from a global perspective, Jewish cuisine—which can mean everything from knishes and brisket to smoky, charred eggplant and fried artichokes—is incredibly vibrant and adaptable," says Leah Koenig, the author of Modern Jewish Cooking.
"If I were to say, 'Fill in the blank: Cheese and ______', most people would say 'crackers' right away. Well, beer is made from the same ingredients as crackers (plus a few extras), so to me it just makes sense to put them together," says Jesse Vallins. But of course, when it comes to beer and cheese, some matches turn out tastier than others. We asked beer pros for their general tips and a few must-try pairings.
The author of Bon Appetit, Y'all and Lighten Up, Y'all shares her Southern cookbook essentials, plus what people get wrong about Southern food.
Restaurants may be busy pushing their Valentine's Day menus, but when we asked servers, restaurant managers, and chefs, they all argued that going out to eat on Hallmark's favorite holiday is a terrible idea. Here's why.
Sara Forte of Sprouted Kitchen shares her sources of inspiration—the cookbooks she loves, especially those focused on making the most delicious veggie-based dishes.
You may know Cathy Erway from her Taiwanese cooking posts here on Serious Eats, or perhaps from her weekly podcast on the Heritage Radio Network. Most likely, you know her from her blog, Not Eating Out in New York, and the book that followed her two-year experiment avoiding restaurant food.
Helen Rosner has worked as a cookbook reviewer, cookbook editor, and cookbook writer. Before a recent move, she had close to 450 cookbooks on her shelves. Here are her thoughts on what makes a great cookbook, what bugs her about cookbooks, and which under-appreciated volumes you should read now.
Dana Cowin, longtime editor-in-chief of Food & Wine magazine, has a few cookbooks. In fact, she has four separate collections going at once. I asked Cowin, whose own book, Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen, came out in October, to pick some favorites: the best cookbooks for baking, for dinner party inspiration, and more.
I asked the Tartine crew if they'd let me behind the scenes a bit to learn about what makes Tartine's sweets and loaves so special. The results: this guide to pretty much every darn thing their kitchen creates, and the scoop on what's next for the San Francisco bakery. Hint: it involves pizza.
For our slightly nontraditional spin on the crumbly classics, a little cinnamon is mixed into the coating sugar for an added boost of flavor. It works perfectly with the toasty almonds, and makes them an excellent match for a cup of hot cider.
We asked bartenders from around the country about the best bottles, books, and gadgets to give whiskey lovers, gin fanatics, tequila fans, and other lovers of cocktails and spirits.
It's much more fun to unwrap the best version of something you've been wishing for than another set of scented candles. A shiny skillet or a pretty enamel casserole will get much more use than that tenth scarf or twelfth sorta-funny calendar, and some true kitchen essentials clock in under fifteen bucks, to boot.
Regular Oreos aren't fit for a cookie exchange or a gifty box. They're lunchbox material year-round. Hence this holiday special edition, smeared with bright minty filling that's colored all candy-cane appropriate and even sprinkled with crushed candy bits. These cookies are dressed up for snowman-building and are especially delicious dunked in a cup of hot cocoa.
Like many food bloggers, Tim Mazurek of Lottie + Doof has something of a crazy cookbook collection—339 volumes, all stored in his one-bedroom Chicago apartment.
Our gift guide is all about finding the best holiday presents for the people you love: our tried-and-true essential kitchen tools for your sister's new apartment, our favorite nibbles to bring a holiday party host, and the top-quality gadgets for your dad's kitchen arsenal. We've put these gifts to the test so that you know you're getting something good.
For plenty of folks, the real point of Thanksgiving comes later: the leftovers sandwich. And while most of us are happy with a little turkey and some cranberry sauce on toasted bread, chefs and food bloggers tend to get a little more creative.
Husk chef Sean Brock is a seed-saver and a book-hoarder, collecting old classics and community cookbooks with the aim, he says, of owning every American cookbook that was printed in 19th century. Here are a few of his favorites.
For the last 15 years or so, I've been more likely to stuff a suitcase than a turkey come Thanksgiving. But I have a little fantasy about Turkey Day. It involves Bill Withers singing "Just the two of us" on the stereo as a fire crackles in our little fireplace. It involves a really nice bottle of Champagne that doesn't need to be split eight ways. It involves staying home: no planes, no trains, and a meal that's meant for just us. Here's what I'd serve.
Christmas is jolly and Valentine's is fine, but here at Serious Eats, our favorite holiday of the year is definitely Thanksgiving. All year long, we look forward to showing off our turkey-cooking skills (nobody spatchcocks like we spatchcock.) And every November we get excited to stuff ourselves with stuffing. There's no time like the present to start planning, so we're pumped to present our 2014 Thanksgiving Survival Guide.
A cookbook changed Kathleen Weber's life. As she writes in Della Fattoria Bread, some friends gave her a copy of The Italian Baker by Carol Field, and Weber "had never seen a baking book like it before." She immediately started making her first biga, a starter commonly used in Italian breads. "From that moment on," she writes, she "baked day and night, reading through The Italian Baker as if it were a novel [she] couldn't put down." Now Weber runs Della Fattoria bakery and café in Sonoma County with her husband and children.
Perks of Faith Durand's job at The Kitchn include a nonstop flow of new cookbooks to check out—more volumes than most of us can find space for. But how do you cull the keepers from the pack?
Making ice cream. Cooking up a pot de creme, pudding, or mousse. These are just some of the baking culprits that will leave you with extra egg whites. But don't throw them out! Many delicious desserts—souffles, meringues, and financiers, to start—rely on egg whites for height and texture. More ideas right this way.
From hand pulled noodles doused in a savory sesame paste sauce, to a bowl of Chinese bacon and smoked peppers, to tender Afghan mantoo dumplings, Chinatown's offerings go far beyond the wide ranging variety of Chinese cuisines. Thai, Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Middle Eastern restaurants all hold court here.
Rice cakes are odd little things. Straight from the packaging they look sort of like plastic cylinders; raw, they sort of taste like them, too. But sauté rice cakes and they develop a crackly crust, while the insides become tender and almost creamy.
We love the charred, crisp, and just-sweet leaves of roasted brussels sprouts. The sprouts are a perfect canvas for just about any blanket of flavors, even the seemingly crazy combination of caraway, lime juice, mint, and cilantro Bar Tartine's Nicolaus Balla suggests in Food and Wine's new cookbook America's Greatest New Cooks. Balla's seamless blending of Eastern European and Southeast Asian tastes are fully realized in this vibrant vegetable side.
The key to a great kale Caesar salad is to marinate the kale in straight olive oil while you prepare the dressing and the croutons. The olive oil helps break down the leaves, turning them from tough to tender-crisp.
I don't know what happened on your end over the holidays, but over here not a lot of self-control was exercised. So, at least this week, I'm eating lighter than usual to make up for the craziness of the last few weeks. But I'm far from depriving myself of delicious things, though. This mushroom laab (or lap, most often spelled 'larb') you're looking at right here? Not exactly deprivation.
This crème fraîche custard pie is just what I'd always wished Clafoutis could be: a lightly sweetened, creamy custard (made better with tangy crème fraîche) that's filled with juicy, tart apples, and baked inside a crispy crust.
These days, everybody and their grandmother has heard of brining, and more and more folks are doing it at home before Turkey Day. But it's not all pie and gravy. There are a few distinct and definite downsides to wet-brining, and many folks are making the switch to dry-brining (A.K.A. extended salting). The question is, which method works best?
San Francisco and New York are often mentioned in the same breath when it comes to the nation's great food cities, and are often compared as such. Growing up near San Francisco but having lived on the East Coast for nearly a decade, I can't say that there's one that strikes me as "superior"—and suggestions of a rivalry seem rather silly. They're just so different. So I couldn't choose one favorite food city between them. But, having just spent a fantastically delicious week by the Bay, I do know that there are a lot of foods from San Francisco I'd take back to New York with me if I could. Here are 10 of mine. What are your favorite SF eats?
The recipe is easy. I mean, it's fried rice. This one is particularly easy because Nam Prik Pao helps add a bunch of complex flavors. Everything made with Nam Prik Pao tastes like you've just slaved over the stove for hours when the fact is anything but. No wonder Thai restaurants love using it so much.
While in Portland for the Feast festival (see our event recaps here), Maggie and I explored the city, from one food cart pod to another, with many nights ending in ice cream. After a weekend of feasting, we hit the road and do some more feasting elsewhere in the great state of Oregon. Stay tuned for a new dispatch from Oregon each day this month!
This is how you should cook an updated version of the classic stir-fried rice cakes dish.
These sweet and slightly spicy corn cakes may not have the same sought-after elasticity of classic Thai fish cakes, but the sweetness of the corn and the crispiness sure make up for it.
Hear the word gratin, and my mind often drifts towards rich, cheesy potato casseroles served up in the cold depths of winter. I was pleasantly surprised, then, to hear James Peterson wax poetic on a simple Tomato and Herb Gratin in his Vegetables. Made only with ripe summer tomatoes, parmesan cheese, olive oil, and herbs, the dish is the simplest (and lightest) in a long line of more recognizable baked tomato dishes like lasagna and eggplant parmesan.
Rich but delicate, this cheesecake is perfect for summer, especially when it gets a double-dose of juicy peaches roasted in brown sugar and smoky Bourbon.
My favorite way to eat ice cream must not be shared with my wife, who would be truly appalled if she read this. So mum's the word, but listen up.
Scott Conant is the chef at Scarpetta in New York, a restaurant known for refined yet soulful Italian food. This recipe, published in Esquire magazine, takes a slim list of ingredients and creates something special from them: to me, the hallmark of a great pasta dish.
This moist, buttery quick bread is flavored with key limes and poppy seeds then covered in a sweet-tart key lime glaze.
Salty, spicy, briny, pickled, hot, sour; lately all I want to do is eat foods that are intensely savory. This sandwich came out of that craving.
[Photograph: David Loftus] What Worked: Starting a recipe three days in advance is going to require some planning but it's worth it for these out of this world Gnudi. Just make sure to read the direction well before beginning the...
We visited Balaboosta's Einat Admony to learn how to make gondi, a Persian chicken and chickpea dumpling, which she'll be serving at a special Passover Seder. The dish is an unforgettably delicious and totally comforting alternative to Ashkenazi matzo ball soup.
Sriracha's lovely. Harissa is a fiery punch in the mouth with flavor to match. But if you're looking for a sweeter, funkier flavor from your chiles, gochujang (pronounced go-choo-jong) is the thing for you.
My mother is one of the loveliest, kindest, most generous people you will ever meet. With a ready and Colgate ad-perfect smile, friends and strangers flock to her. But this charmer has a dark side. Ask her for her carrot cake recipe and she'll reply with a short and decisive "No." It's too bad, really, because—scout's honor—it is the best carrot cake in the world.
Kale is one of those winter stalwarts—we love its hearty, green flavors and reliable presence in the produce section, but sometimes we run out of creative kale ideas. To counter any kale ennui, here's a Lemony Kale Caesar Salad from Bi-Rite Market's Eat Good Food, a bright, unexpected take on our winter go-to green.
This bright and clean salad is made of shaved mushroom, Parmesan, and parsley, and spiked with lemon, olive oil, and sea salt.