Perfect for the hot summer months, gazpacho requires little more than a good blender and some patience during its chilling time. But it doesn't take many bowls of the tomato version to grow tired of slurping enriched vegetable juice. Enter white gazpacho. The Spanish blend of almonds and green grapes is an enlivening break from tomato. This recipe, from Joanne Chang's new cookbook Flour, Too, is a prime example—the fruit and nuts combine with crisp English cucumbers, bright cilantro, and a one-two punch of lime juice and sherry vinegar.
Joanne Chang begins her recipe for Flour Bakery's lamb sandwich with a series of quotes from customers, like "I have dreams about your lamb sandwich" and, "I want to marry your lamb sandwich." While I'm pretty sure I'd never attempt to run off with a stack of her sandwiches, I can understand the sentiment: This sandwich is a commitment, but one well worth your time.
Between bites of the undeniably gooey sticky buns, perfect chocolate chip cookies, and majestic Boston cream pies, it's easy to forget that Boston's famed Flour Bakery serves more than just sweets. In fact, during my time living in Beantown, I rarely ventured past the sweets display on my visits to Joanne Chang's citywide outposts. But now that I've gotten my hands on Chang's new cookbook, Flour, Too, I can see all that I was missing.
In the spirit of continuing to adapt traditional Japanese dishes to contemporary American palates, Hiroko Shimbo has created a twist on the Japanese cooking technique known as namban. Here, she infuses sweet curry flavor into boneless, skinless chicken thighs that are pan-seared and then baked.
Traditional sukiyaki is a hot pot-style dish of beef and vegetables simmered in a broth of soy sauce, sugar, and mirin. It's a popular meal in Japan, but because of the lack of tabletop cooking vessels in the US, sukiyaki is challenging to replicate here. Hiroko Shimbo's version in Hiroko's American Kitchen drops the hot pot entirely to create a one dish meal more suitable to the American home cook.
Like many big city serious eaters, I enjoy probably more than my fair share of ramen. Until this week, all of these sips and slurps were at restaurants or food trucks; even though I cook almost everything for myself, ramen has always seemed like a dish best left to experts with plenty of time to tend a long-simmered broth. However, when I opened up Hiroko Shimbo's new cookbook, Hiroko's American Kitchen, and saw not one, but two recipes for the noodle soup, I knew I needed to give it a shot.
I've long been a fan of bagna càuda, that magical Italian elixir of anchovies, garlic, and olive oil. I figure that almost any ingredient can be made better by dragging it through the potent sauce. But seeing its name in a Japanese cookbook was, frankly, a bit of a shock. Japanese plus Italian? I had to try it.
Hiroko Shimbo's braised daikon recipe is one of the few strictly Japanese recipes in her new cookbook, Hiroko's American Kitchen. The dish is a simple appetizer of daikon "slowly bathed" in kelp stock and topped with Shimbo's spicy miso sauce. The sauce—a blend of aged miso, sugar, mirin, sake, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes—provides rich, tangy contrast to the subtle, earthy flavor of daikon.
When you pick up most internationally focused cookbooks these days, you'll usually find a slew of foreign ingredients, cooking techniques, and flavors. Much of the focus is on teaching brand new skills and ideas to broaden the scope of American home kitchens. Cooking from these books requires a big shift in thinking as well as a major shopping trip for all kinds of new ingredients. There's nothing wrong with such culturally specific books, but sometimes a gentler transition between cuisines is welcome. Enter Hiroko Shimbo's new cookbook, Hiroko's American Kitchen.
The dessert chapter in Lee Frank and Rachel Anderson's Ultimate Nachos is short and sweet, as it should be. Around half of the sweets aren't nachos per se, but they have flavors in common, like corn and avocado. The other half are, of course, chip-based. For example, these chocolatey nachos take a quick dip in semisweet ganache before being drizzled with goat's milk cajeta—aka caramel sauce with attitude.
Of the many unique recipes in Lee Frank and Rachel Anderson's new cookbook, Ultimate Nachos, the sweet-and-spicy jerk chicken nachos stood out as a must-try. As any spice-fiend knows, jerk marinade is a potent blend of scotch bonnet peppers, allspice, scallions, lime, thyme, and a plethora of other spices. The meat, most often chicken, is grilled to add a serious layer of smoke to the flavor profile. Adding cheese and salsa to build nachos is therefore a balancing act, and Frank and Anderson do it with ease.
Those of us who have spent time at sporting events, movie theaters, or amusement parks have probably eaten our fair share of sad concession nachos. You know, the stale round chips topped with "beef" and neon cheese served from a pump. And while these will certainly fill your belly, they're a far cry from even remotely decent nachos. But making a plate of concession stand-inspired nachos at home transforms a junky meal into something worthy of feeding friends.
The appetizer nachos in Ultimate Nachos run the gamut from simple melted cheese on chips to insane platters of Reuben sandwich-esque bites and croque monsieur stacks. These crab-topped nachos offer an app that is somewhere in the middle. Neither pedestrian nor gut-bombing, this elegant dish is mostly light and refreshing, with plenty of sweet, briny shellfish to satisfy.
Nachos for breakfast? It may sound strange until you consider that one of the greatest breakfast dishes of all time—chilaquiles—is basically a dressed-up version of nachos. In their cookbook, Ultimate Nachos, Lee Frank and Rachel Anderson offer more than a few tortilla chip-based breakfasts (including chilaqueles, of course). This particular dish, the Breakfast Nachos Skillet, is a take on baked eggs with spinach, mozzarella, and cherry tomatoes.
Have you ever thought to yourself, "Gee, I wish I could eat nachos for every meal of the day, every day of the week"? Or, "I love eating nachos, but melted cheddar and chips gets old after a while"? These simple questions were at the center of the launch of Nachos NY, a website dedicated to sussing out the best that New York's nacho scene has to over. The founders, Lee Frank and Rachel Anderson, have spent the last four years in a nacho-induced food coma, and now they've got a cookbook to show for it.
This savory tarte tatin is the first recipe I bookmarked when I got my copy of River Cottage Veg and the dish I most anticipated cooking and eating. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's take on the French dessert is the perfect example of the wonders of vegetable cookery. Beets—the candy of the vegetable world—are excellent in the role of apples in this tart. Paired with buttery puff pastry and pungent shallot-parsley vinaigrette, they are sweet and savory all at once. Each bite is a treat.
You won't miss the meat in this vegetarian biryani from River Cottage Veg. Served over fluffy saffron basmati rice, the base is a richly spiced stew of potatoes, peas, and carrots, fragrant with cardamom, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, and coriander.
Caponata is one of my favorite dippy things to whip out for summertime entertaining. A tangy sweet-and-sour melange of eggplant, tomatoes, and briny olives, the dish plays well with summer staples like grilled bread, grilled chicken, and grilled...well, anything. This version, from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's version in River Cottage Veg, calls for an ingredient that I'd never thought to include in my caponatas: chocolate.
Chilled potato-leek soup, or Vichyssoise, is an excellent budget dish to have up one's sleeve. At its most basic, the soup's humble ingredients combine to form a silky, luxurious meal far greater than the sum of its parts. The velvety green soup in River Cottage Veg contains not only the potatoes and leeks, but also a couple of cucumbers and heads of butter lettuce as well. The greenery adds a refreshing touch and brilliant color to the soup, and the dollop of creme fraiche at the end is the perfect tangy-rich note to finish.
As Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall grumbles in River Cottage Veg, arugula has become too popular for its own good. The bitter green has become so ubiquitous in salad mixes that it's hard to appreciate arugula's ability to support a salad on its own. Fearnley-Whittingstall's arugula-fennel-lentil salad is an attempt to celebrate the green on its own merit. The crunchy anise notes of the fennel and earthy lentils indeed balance the peppery notes of the lettuce, and the bright lemon zest enlivens and lifts the mix.
As befits a season of fresh blooms and new growth, this spring has seen the release of a slew of vegetable-centric cookbooks. The best of these ignore the prevailing dietary wisdom of the minute and instead focus on the vegetables themselves. A prime example is River Cottage Veg, the latest from prolific British author, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
Inspired by and named for the infamous hurricane that wrecked the Carolina coast in 1989, Matt and Ted Lee's Hugo cocktail is just as fierce as its namesake. At its core, the beverage is a riff on a Dark and Stormy, but it uses a serious dose of fresh ginger juice instead of the soda. The juice (plus the rum, of course) is strong enough to distract the drinker from any storm heading inland.
A seamless union of land and sea, shrimp and grits just may be the perfect example of lowcountry cuisine. Briny shrimp tossed in butter, cream, or tomato-y gravy are a graceful foil to sweet, earthy grits. The dish itself has been around at least since the early 20th century and as such has spawned many variations. Some are totally bare-bones, containing only shrimp, butter, and grits, while others include bacon, tomatoes, and spice. Matt and Ted Lee's version in The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen is more akin the latter.
There are few dishes more evocative of Southern simplicity than a bowl of fresh beans with butter. Matt and Ted Lee's recipe for butter beans in their new cookbook, The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen, is no exception. Their version incorporates bright lime juice and mint, for a taste that is at once butter-rich and herbaceously refreshing.
The four-pepper collards in Matt and Ted Lee's new cookbook, The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen, was inspired by the peppery taste of the plant's budding tips. A plethora of greens are stewed with a piquant mix of red jalapeño, poblano, smoked paprika, and a generous grind of pepper. Cooked for the better part of an hour, the greens develop a supple, tender texture with a pleasant undercurrent of heat.
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