Posts in Video
The Spaghetti Dish You Can't Live Without

When I first moved to New York, my mother-in-law made sure to pass along a lot of her local ingredient knowledge. With seafood there was one constant: Citarella. She would travel over 20 blocks to get her fish at Citarella because to her there was nothing better.

So when Joe Guerrera- Citarella’s founder and original fishmonger - came out with a book, I knew it was going to be great. The title is succinct perfection: Joe Knows Fish. I had to have Joe over and he decided to share one of his easiest recipes, Spaghetti Vongole. It starts with good pasta and very fresh cockles or littleneck clams. But it’s one of those recipes that takes only a few ingredients and makes something magical.

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Alex Guarnaschelli's Lemon Ginger Cocktail

Every party needs a good cocktail to start and it shouldn’t be made in a vacuum separate from the food. Instead it should all flow together like different elements to the same meal.

Alex Guarnaschelli - chef at Butter and a judge on Food Network’s Chopped - is of the same mindset, which is why she included an entire section for cocktails in her book The Home Cook. So when we had a chance to catch up with her I wanted to get her chef’s perspective on a good cocktail to serve to kick off a party. Her take is a classic and simple lemon ginger concoction that goes perfectly with easy bar snacks.

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The Most Gorgeous Appetizer Is Also The Simplest

I’m a little bit cookbook obsessed, to the point where I like to read them in bed like a good novel. And like a great narrative book, a cookbook can sometimes suck you in and make you want to revisit it over and over. Bottom of the Pot by Naz Deravian is one of those undeniable books. It recounts her Persian childhood and years of cooking her native cuisine in North America. And the recipes reflect that duality - traditional but all with swap-outs that make it accessible for finding ingredients here. If you have never tried Persian cuisine then you haven’t tried one of the best on the planet, but Naz’s book makes it feel like it is second nature. It is by far one of my favorite books of the year

Now that I’m done gushing, let’s talk about this recipe. Naz came over and we made one of her most vibrant dishes. Her yogurt beet dip, known as Borani-yeh Laboo, is worth it just for the color alone. But the simplicity of the recipe defies the depth of flavor that the beets and tarragon give to this appetizer. Make it yourself and then pick up the book. I promise it will become a favorite.

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Perfect Pizza Dough Is Within Reach

There are a few items I avoid making from scratch, and pizza dough is high on the list. It always seems like something you need to perfectly calibrate and since I live in New York it has always seemed like someone else around me could make it better.

But anything you fear is worth trying to conquer, so I made my way to Rosemary’s Pizza to try and get a taste of how they make their crust. I am a huge fan of this style of dough because it feels like the middle ground: not too thin that it falls apart but not too thick and doughy that the rest of the ingredients are drowned out. It turns out pizza dough is a simple process that just requires a little practice. So what are you waiting for?

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Duff Goldman's Secrets to Cooking with Cereal

I think we are all suckers for Rice Krispie treats and I have certainly been known the cook with cereal before (if you haven’t tried the Sweet Salty Crunchy Steak you are missing out). But Duff Goldman is taking it to a whole new level.

He has a new menu at the Kellog’s Cafe where he is making every part of a meal with cereal. From Corn Flakes Mac and Cheese to a Fruit Loops pastry cream he has dreamt up every way you can add cereal to a dish. The key reason to do it, for him, is all about the texture. There’s just something about the crunch of cereal that can add an element into a dish.

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A Poundcake With a Delightful Surprise

Anyone who knows me knows I am oh-so-skeptical of any baked good that is gluten or dairy free. Most of the time they feel like a sad imitation - sure, if you have to eat it then it would be great. But if not, why bother?

Angela Garbacz of Goldenrod Pastries in Nebraska makes you rethink all of that. Her recipes feel like they just happen to be gluten free but you would never notice it. This recipe is for anyone missing those summer blueberries and doesn’t mind taking the slightly-less perfect versions and throwing them in a cake. The other secret is a touch of cardamom to give it a luxurious depth.

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I Promise You Can Easily Cut Up A Whole Chicken

People go to great lengths to save money on everything - except, it seems, on chicken parts. There is a great divide in our purchasing. We will buy and roast a whole chicken or we will buy pre-packaged parts, but so many people have an aversion to buying whole and then breaking it down at home. And yet, it is so much cheaper and gives you so many great extra parts for stock.

So what gives? I luckily had James Peisker and Chris Carter from Nashville’s Porter Road to showcase how easy it is. And that’s often the rub: everyone seems to think it is harder than it actually is. It requires no extensive skills and, unlike some other meats, no extra strength to pull it off. A chicken has natural areas that can easily come apart once you know the secrets.

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Spice Up Your Life

Ok, yes, I did make the title of this post a Spice Girls lyric. But before you roll your eyes there is good reason for it.

I am a huge proponent of spices. They add a layer of aromatics and depth to whatever you are cooking that takes it up a notch. A lot of people have misconceptions here: that spices have to be spicy and that when you are using spices your dish is less fresh. The first is nonsense, because other than peppers and cayenne spices are only adding flavor. The second is really a sad result of the terrible and stale spices that most people use (yes, I’m looking at you with that cinnamon you bought in 2002). When my son was born everyone was shocked - SHOCKED - that he got curry powder or cumin in his purees. But why not? The more flavor we are exposed to the broader our palate will be. And by the way, that applies to adults too.

So Kanchan Koya’s book, Spice Spice Baby, was a breath of fresh air. She comes from a science background so she makes the case that, beyond being delicious, spices are actually an essential ingredient for your health. And so many of the recipes are really simple. She came over to the kitchen and actually showcased three recipes that require no cooking - so there goes the other myth that spices need to be complicated.

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