In a few weeks, my latest cookbook collaboration, SHARE with Chopped regular Chris Santos, and one of world's top chefs, will be released. Publisher's Weekly just printed one of the best reviews I've ever received for a book. It is thrilling when a reader totally gets what you are trying to accomplish with your work, and I'm pleased the this project's purpose was embraced in such an enormous bear hug. Here it is:
Santos, known for his communal approach to dining (evidenced by his N.Y.C. eateries, Stanton Social, Beauty & Essex, and Vandal), extends his philosophy to a broader readership, in this outstanding collection guaranteed to appeal to all palates and skill levels. Whether readers are aiming high (chicken liver focaccia with braised shallot-rioja marmalade) or low (crab corn dogs with Old Bay aioli), Santos has them covered in this inventive collection. The book is thoughtfully curated and hits all the right foodie notes (red velvet waffles with cream cheese sauce; sliders made up of three types of beef and bacon, topped with a riff on Russian dressing and cola-braised onions) without alienating newcomers or novices. Instructions are clear and to the point; the emphasis is on flavor rather than culinary showmanship and arcane ingredients. Santos is a master craftsman and has assembled one of the most solid compilations of approachable, inventive fare in recent memory. His work deserves space on any respecting foodie’s bookshelf.(Feb.)
I love my job! I'm not saying it is easy. Anyone who works in the cookbook business will tell you that it is creative, fun, interesting, challenging, inspriing...but easy, it ain't. My clients are a very diverse group, and I've cooked with everyone from fashion guru Lilly Pulitzer to the lovely Lisa Oz, a couple of TV's most notorious housewives, and some incredible singers who just happen to be incredible cooks. (I'm thinking Frankie Avalon and Patti LaBelle.) For the holidays, I am going to sneak-preview this recipe from the fabulous Miss LaBelle for her wonderful gingerbread, to be featured in Desserts LaBelle, coming out in April 2017. Because, come on, we all love a little spiced gingerbread at this time of year. Read on...
When winter has dug in its heels, it is time to enjoy citrus desserts. We had a lemon tree in our backyard in California, so I didn’t buy a lemon until I moved to New York. Now I get Florida lemons at the supermarket, although every lemon dessert I make comes with extra nostalgia on top. Here is a cake I recently developed for a big dinner party—to say it was a hit would be a gross understatement.
You may think that calling ANYTHING "the ultimate" is just hyperbole. Nope. How do I know? Personal experience. It was given a test by a bunch of hungry billiard-players at Salt-n-Pepa's house. Yes, THAT Salt-n-Pepa.
My co-authored effort with Frankie Avalon, The Frankie Avalon Italian Family Cookbook, has just come out. It is jam-packed with wonderful Italian-American recipes, and that means food for everyone in the family to savor again and again. This recipe for a sweet-tar, moist limoncello pound cake is based on the one from his Mom's recipe box. I am never without a bottle of limoncello in the freezer--it is a refreshing way to end a meal, and a wonderful ingredient in desserts like this. Hmmm. Just writing this makes me want to bake one again. The recipe follows...
I often swap (swipe?) recipes with (from?) my dear friend Beth Hensperger, who has written almost as many recipes as I have over the years. OK, we're neck and neck. But the main reason I bring up the Babe of Baking is cornbread. Both of us were raised on a not-very-authentic version of the Southern classic that used canned corn as the moistening agent. This cheap and cheerful ingredient was always in my family's kitchen cupboard, and it never occurred to me to turn my nose up at it. (I was certainly raised to eat with was put in front of me, anyway, with the exception of liver and onions.) The canned corn infused my Mom's cornbread with straight-off-the-stalk goodness. So, here it is the end of the corn season, and I overbought (as usual) at the market. Faced with a mountain of corn, it struck me that I could puree some kernels with sour cream to approximate the canned corn, and go from there. Here's what happened...
It's been over a dozen years since I first had this perfect summer dessert while researching my KAFFEEHAUS book in VIenna. At Hans Diglas's cafe, one of the most venerable spots in the center of the city near St. Stephen's, I saw a big tray of layered cake in an old-fashioned metal baking pan, topped with red currants and meringue. Hans shared the recipe for the book, and I adapted it for more readily available blueberries. Is this the perfect Fourth of July dessert? I think so!
I am the human equivalent of a mutt, with roots in Hawaii, Portugal, Ireland, Liechtenstein, and Spain. Each branch of the family identified itself through its cooking, and with two Portuguese grandfathers, that country's cuisine showed up a lot. Where I grew up in California, in the East Bay, has a huge Portuguese community. Recently, on a FB page celebrating my California hometown of San Lorenzo, there was a big discussion about one of our "local" specialities--vinho d'alhos.
Chicken Savoy is a popular dish at many Italian restaurants in my area. How popular? There are people who call it “the unofficial state dish of New Jersey.” Mamma mia! Take that Italian hot dog! (Don’t know what an Italian hot dog is? I’ll tell you later…)
When you have lemons, make lemonade. When you have beautiful, fresh-off-the-farm, golden yolked eggs with gorgeous, naturally hued, make…rice pudding. The eggs were a gift from my friend and cooking teacher Sue Sell, and they were so pretty that it was difficult to find the resolve to crack them open. (Check out the photo to see how the yolks contributed to the yellow color in the finished dessert...and yes, that is a feather.) But why rice pudding?