Posts in Food
Martina McBride Is a Country AND Cooking Sensation

Sometimes life just isn’t fair. You’re not supposed to be able to sell 14 million albums AND be a great cook. But alas, that’s what you get with Martina McBride. The country music superstar just happens to also be an accomplished cookbook author and her second book, Martina’s Kitchen Mix, was recently released.

Martina came by the kitchen to share a little bit about her book as well as one of her recipes. She was so sweet we might even forgive her for being good at everything.

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What Exactly is a Pu Pu Platter?

I grew up with an American lens to Chinese food. In Charleston, where I was raised we had Chinese food that mirrored a lot of other places across the country, with its own unique dishes. When I moved to New York I started to learn more about more traditional versions of Chinese food but it also gave me an appreciation for the unique sub-culture that is Americanized Chinese cuisine.

One of the best things to me - and apparently, one of the most American - was the Pu Pu Platter. It was a dish that any children who grew up in the latter third of the last century would find familiar. It had everything you could want - fire, spinning and lots of choices.

But as our culture tried to move towards greater authenticity in different cuisines a lot of these stalwarts fell by the wayside. It had been a long time since I saw a Pu Pu Platter on a menu until I recently had dinner at Kings County Imperial. So I just had to sit down with Chef Josh Grinker to get his thoughts and to really hash out the special place of this uniquely multicultural dish

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The Trick to Lattice Pie Crust

I grew up with a grandmother who was all about pie, and she was particularly adept at the perfect pie crust. It was always a lattice and she made it look so effortless.

But of course as I got older and tried doing it on my own I started to feel that there was a lot of effort behind the effortless. I needed someone to take the fear out of my lattice. And Vallery Lomas was just the best possible person.

You might recognize Valerie as the winner of the Great American Baking Show. She has an awesome blog Foodie in New York that is a party-lovers’ dream. Vallery came over to show me her lattice crust secrets and she had so much advice. From the best way to cut the pie crust to the tricks to hide any imperfections I feel like I am ready to take on any pie now.

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The Lighter, Brighter Take on Egg Salad

Certain concepts seem to be stuck in another time. Egg salad always feels that way - a bit heavy and a bit basic with the tweaks in herbs or spices never feeling quite large enough to shift the genre. But that’s where Cal Peternell comes in. His recipes always have the feel of something you should have been making forever but are actually his own special spin. His newest book, Almonds, Anchovies and Pancetta, is a delight and is full of semi-vegetarian recipes that all fit that bill. I fell in love with his Salsa Rustica because it feels like a breath of fresh air to the egg salad mold. It serves the same purpose but without any mayo and ingredients to give depth and new life.

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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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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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