RECIPES + BLOG
Some books really make you just want to trade places with the author and that’s how I feel about everything from Elizabeth Minchilli. She lives in Rome and Umbria and her newest book, The Italian Table, invites you in to her lush Italian world. It is divided into dinners across regions and seasons and it will have you wanting to book a flight to Italy pronto.
But one of the best things about the book is that it is full of delectable treats that are also easy. We decided to take on one of the simplest but most delightfully surprising - fried sage leaves. They are as simple to eat as an appetizer as potato chips or crudite but they have their only special uniqueness that will stop anyone in their tracks. Everyone will love them and everyone will be a bit surprised by their presence.
Sometimes simplicity can make for a perfect dish. And when it comes to spaghetti there’s nothing better than pairing it with garlic. But the trick to taking it to the next level is a few key ingredients and techniques. Gabe Thompson of L’Artusi stopped by to show us his recipe and it truly might be the perfect, simply spaghetti dish.
As busy people we are always looking for new ways to make our lives (and meal prep) easier. There is the constant battle between a home cooked meal and convenience.
But I was intrigued by RealEats, a meal prep company that sends healthy prepared meals via vacuum sealed packaging that keeps their food fresh for 7 days. I wondered whether this methodology could also work for people at home who want to prep food ahead.
RealEats’ Head of Culinary, Chef Aliya LeeKong, very kindly let us into her kitchen to share some of her tactics as well as a recipe for a delicious and easy miso salmon. Aliya goes into the types of food that work best for vacuum sealing and she even showcases how to hack your regular ziploc bags with another method for storage.
Of course if all this makes you just want Aliya’s food for yourself you can always head over to RealEats. But watch the video below to get a look at how you could make your meal prep even easier at home.
If you caught me on Dr Oz today you’ll have seen me demo’ing a recipe for pork butt in a segment on the best cheap cuts of meat. And while it’s true that pork butt is one of the best values it also happens to be one of the most flavorful cuts around. It just requires a bit of low and slow cooking, although the prep is as easy as could be - or if you are a fan of the instant pot it is even easier,since you could make it in less than an hour.
But this recipe is packed with flavor - lots of herbs and lots of vinegar make a bright delight ready to take on any occasion.
There are some books I can’t help but be instantly obsessed with, but my obsession with Indian-ish even predates its publication. I am lucky enough to have recipe tested for Priya Krishna’s new tome and I fell in love with it from first concept. Priya’s book is based off of her mother’s recipes that she made for her family when she moved from India to Texas. The book is called Indian-ish because of the adaptations that were made to create the recipes in the US - and as such it makes it one of the most approachable and fun books for a US audience.
I was lucky enough to live in India for a year so I am already predisposed to having an unhealthy love for any Indian cookbook that crosses my desk. But this one is special because it speaks to a uniquely American experience as well. For those who are intimidated by Indian cooking this is a good place to start - not just because the ingredients are more readily available but also because so many of the recipes are aimed towards the kind of weeknight cooking that Priya grew up with and we all tend to need in our lives.
There are few dishes that please everyone but a Dhokla might be that secret weapon recipe. It’s vegetarian, gluten-free and nut free but also hearty enough and tasty enough to win over any meat eater. You can serve it piping hot as a side dish or as an easy room temperature party appetizer. You can add almost any topping from your pantry to make it even more delightful.
So what’s the deal with this magical dish? Niki Segnit came by to sing its virtues. The author of the beloved and celebrated Flavor Thesaurus has a new book coming this fall, Lateral Cooking, and it expands on her approach to cooking across cultures, science and history. And her view is that if you can cook cornbread, you can cook dhokla. It’s one piece of a book that encourages cooking as less of a regional plan and more of a global sharing of ideas.
Sometimes I get a cookbook that just sings right from the first page. I shouldn’t have been surprised that Carla Lalli Music’s book had that je ne sais quoi quality - she is, after all, the food director at Bon Appetit.
But her new book, Where Cooking Begins, is a true delight. It starts with methodology rather than recipe and seems to aim to get people to be more spontaneous with their cooking. It is a book that will help people need recipes less. If you want to be a more confident cook you’ll love having Carla along to guide you and if you already are confident then Carla will help you get new ideas and brush up on some classic techniques.
It was a delight to have Carla come to the Potluck kitchen and showcase a recipe that seems to embody the book - super simple and bright but with just enough twist to feel brilliant.
This time of year I start to get antsy for spring. February is over and it should be warm.- except it never actually is.
But the good news is that we can enjoy all the incredibly warming recipes of winter for a little longer. Luckily, we have just the recipe, from a book I am particularly excited about: Katie Parla’s Food of the Italian South. If you aren’t familiar with Katie’s work then you just aren’t reading enough about Italy. The Rome-based journalist has written some of the best food and travel guides for the region. Her first book, Tasting Rome, is an engrossing love letter to the food of one of the world’s greatest food cities. And now her upcoming book explores the cuisine of Italy’s Southern regions.
I am so excited for this book (since my love of Italy is basically unsurpassed) and loved having Katie in the kitchen to showcase one of the book’s recipes. She shared her Polpette Casce e Ovo - essentially bread ‘meatballs’. They are doughy delights and perfect for staying inside and eating to your heart’s content.
Any time spent with Carla Hall is just pure delight, due to her being among the most genuine and charming people around. But it is extra fun getting to cook from her newest book - Carla Hall’s Soul Food - because it is such a beautiful personal exploration. The book takes a unique perspective on her own background and includes a lot of vignettes via a road trip.
But of course the recipes are what really draw us all in and I couldn’t wait to get her unique take on shrimp. Her Cracked Shrimp recipe is a twist on the cracked conch she saw when she worked in the Caribbean and it has completely shifted my view on cooking shrimp. Watch the video below to see her technique and get the recipe to try it yourself!
When I met Dorie Greenspan many years ago I was so delighted to learn that the voice I relate to so much on the page of her cookbooks is the exact person you get if you are lucky enough to have her standing in front of you. For so many of us she is our helpful and enthusiastic guide, coaxing us along to make recipes that bring out our best selves without feeling a lot of stress.
For her newest book, Everyday Dorie, she really brings us into her home and I wanted to tackle a recipe from it with her that really spoke to her demeanor. This salad we made together doesn’t have an artfully done photograph in the book nor was it one of the ones she suggested. But I love it because it reminded me of the quintessential way all of Dorie’s books make me feel - like I can do anything with whatever I have on hand and it will still turn out fabulously.
So watch me gush over one of my favorite people (sorry, I just have to every time I see her) and then get inspiration for a salad that will have you reaching into your pantry in no time.