Ree Drummond Shows How The Pioneer Woman Cooks–Super Easy!

“Between my family, my website, my cookbooks, and my TV show, I make a lot of food around here,” writes Ree Drummond about the subject of her newest cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks—Super Easy! “As much as I’ve always loved cooking—and of course, eating. It seems that more and more these days, I’m looking for ways to simplify my life in the kitchen. I find, because they free me up to have more time–and energy–for other areas of my life. This also makes cooking less of a chore and more of a pleasure—exactly what cooking should be.”

Creating 120 shortcut recipes, Drummond offers myriad recipes that can be quickly assembled for a delicious meal. Think Sheet Pan Quesadillas, Grilled Pineapple with Cream, Waffle Sandwiches, Roasted Greek Salad, and Cheeseburger Pizza, to name just a few.

“I’ve absolutely fallen in love with this new generation of recipes,” continues Drummond, “including Butter Pecan French Toast, Buffalo Chicken Totchos, Speedy Dumpling Soup, Broccoli-Cheese Stromboli–so great for kids, and an entire section of pastas and grains, such as One-Pot Sausage Pasta and colorful and fresh Hawaiian Shrimp Bowls.”

Drummond, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Pioneer Woman Cooks, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier, and The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays, first hit the food scene in 2006 with her website, The Pioneer Woman which reflected her life on a working cattle ranch in Oklahoma with her husband and four children. Five years later, her cooking show, The Pioneer Woman, premiered on Food Network.

At 7 p.m. CT, October 21st, she’ll be at Anderson’s Bookshop to celebrate her newest book, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Super Easy!  All books will be pre-signed; the event will include a presentation and talk from Drummond. The event is being held at Anderson’s Bookshop at Community Christian Church, 1635 Emerson Lane, Napierville, Illinois. Reservations are required and space is limited. Click here to register. To see other stops on Drummond’s book tour, click here.

White Turkey Chili

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 generous tablespoon Tex-Mex or taco seasoning
  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • Two 4-ounce cans chopped green chiles, undrained
  • Two 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained
  • 4 cups (1 quart) low-sodium chicken broth
  • Hot sauce (such as Cholula or Tabasco)
  • 2 tablespoons masa harina (corn flour)
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • One 10-ounce bag frozen fire-roasted corn (no need to thaw)
  • Kosher salt
  • Sour cream, for serving
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges

In a soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, sprinkle in the Tex-Mex seasoning. Cook, stirring often, until the onion starts to soften, about 3 minutes.

Add the chicken and stir to combine. Add the green chiles, beans and chicken broth. Add a few dashes hot sauce. Stir and bring mixture to a gentle boil.

In a measuring cup, combine the masa and heavy cream; stir with a fork into a thick paste. Pour the masa mixture into the soup then stir and let chili cook and thicken for about 10 minutes. When the chili is thick and bubbling, add the corn. Stir until the corn is hot, about 2 minutes. Taste and add salt and more seasoning if needed.

Serve topped with sour cream, avocado, hot sauce and Monterey Jack. Have lime wedges for squeezing.

Makes 6-8 servings

From “The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Super Easy!” by Ree Drummond

Cheese, Wine, and Bread: Discovering the Magic of Fermentation in England, Italy, and France

Katie Quinn. Photo courtesy of William Morrow.

         Katie Quinn wasn’t content to just enjoy a chunk of the English classic Montgomery’s Cheddar, a hunk of crusty bread with a soft inner core from Apollonia Poilâne, or a glass of Nebbiolo, the grape variety from Northern Italy’s Piedmont region known for its  strong tannins, high acidity and distinctive scent.

Katie Quinn working on a goat farm in Somerset, England. Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/TheQKatie

         Instead, living in New York she had worked her way up from being an NBC page to her dream job as an on-camera host at Now This News, she found herself back home recuperating in Ohio after sustaining a traumatic brain injury in an accident. With time to ponder, her avid curiosity led her to ask a question—“how can I love these great foods–bread, wine, and cheese without knowing how they’re made?”

         Of course, many of us would be content just to pour another glass of wine and slice a gooey piece of Brie, but Quinn couldn’t leave it there.

For some of use, including me, the realization that  cheese and bread are as much a part of fermentation as wine is a revelation. It takes a little more connecting of dots to realize that cheeses are fermented dairy products and bread ferments through the use of yeast.

Working as a cheesemonger at Neal’s Yard Dairy. Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/TheQKatie

         “I realized that there was a story to be told,” she says. “I could have just nerded out as a history geek to write the book, but I wanted to really experience the process of fermentation and how it creates these foods we love. I wanted this to be an immersive experience.”

And so in her newest cookbook, Cheese, Wine, and Bread: Discovering the Magic of Fermentation in England, Italy, and France (William Morrow 2021; $22.63 Amazon price), we follow  Quinn on her all-encompassing road trip as she embarks upon an in-depth exploration of all three necessary food groups. She became a cheesemonger at Neal’s Yard Dairy, London’s premiere cheese shop. But that was just the start in her cheese career. Soon, she was working on a goat farm in rural Somerset where she describes the cute critters as just smart enough to be obnoxious. It was during her exploration that she discovered the role British women play in cheesemaking (you have to try her recipe for Cheddar Brownies which she’ll be demonstrating at her upcoming virtual book launch this Tuesday, April 27—see below for details on how to sign up).

Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/TheQKatie

         Next she’s hanging with Apollonia Poilâne of Paris’ famed Poilâne Bakery, apprenticing at boulangeries in Paris learning the ins and outs of sourdough, and traveling the countryside to uncover the history of grains and understand the present and future of French bread and global bread culture. Next stop Italy, where she  gives readers an inside look at winemaking with the Comellis at their family-owned vineyard in Northeast Italy and visits vintners ranging from those at small-scale vineyards to large-scale producers throughout the country.  Taking a side road, so to speak, she discovers her great grandfather’s birth certificate and become eligible for dual citizenship. So entranced with the country, she and her husband Connor decided to make their home in the Puglia region in southern Italy.

Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/TheQKatie

         Quinn, an author, food journalist, YouTuber, podcaster, and host, describes herself as having a real appetite to explore. A great storyteller, she also shares recipes such as Zucchini Carbonara, Tortellini in (Parmigiano Reggiano) Brodo, Ciambelline al Vino (Wine Cookies), and Walnut and Raisin Rye Loaf, which are interspersed through the book.  

Virtual Book Launch of Cheese, Wine, and Bread.

When: Tuesday, Apr 27, 2021, 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM CST.

Cost: Book and shipping:  This ticket includes a signed copy of the book and shipping – Shipping within USA only (THE BOOK WILL BE SHIPPED IN ABOUT A WEEK AFTER THE EVENT). $44 or Book and Ticket with pick-up at Anderson’s Naperville store. $34.

To join through Anderson’s or other bookstores throughout the U.S., visit katie-quinn.com/cheese-wine-and-bread-cookbook

The following recipe is from CHEESE, WINE, AND BREAD by Katie Quinn Copyright © 2021 by Katie Quinn. Reprinted by permission of William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Photo courtesy of William Morrow.

Spaghetti all’Ubriaco (Drunken Pasta)

Coarse sea salt

12 ounces dried spaghetti

1/4 cup extra-virgin

olive oil

4 small garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 cup red wine

1/2 cup freshly grated

Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for serving

1/4 cup  finely chopped nuts (I like pine nuts, walnuts, or almonds)

1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Sprigs of parsley, for garnish

Fill a large pot three-quarters full of water and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Add a generous amount of coarse salt (the adage “It should taste like the sea” is a good gauge of how much). Cook the spaghetti for 2 minutes less than the instructions on the package for al dente. (You don’t want it to be completely cooked because it will continue cooking in the red wine later.)

While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large, high-sided pan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for 1 minute, or until the garlic becomes fragrant. Pour the wine into the pan with the garlic and stir. Remove from the heat while the pasta finishes cooking.

Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.

Add the pasta to the pan with the wine and garlic over medium heat and stir. Cook, occasionally stirring gently, for 2 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente and has absorbed most of the wine, taking on a plum hue.

Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the cheese and nuts. Stir in a tablespoon (or more) of the reserved pasta water; its starchiness mixes with the fat in the cheese to create a silky coating on the noodles. Finish with the nutmeg, season with salt and pepper, and stir to incorporate well. Taste and adjust the seasoning if you think the dish is asking for it.

Serve garnished with parsley and topped with more cheese and enjoy slurping down the drunken noodles.

The Italian Table: Creating Festive Meals for Family and Friends

Elizabeth Minchilli, who has lived in Italy for a quarter of a century, has created a way for all of us to experience certain special food events that comprise the country’s heritage in much the same way as their monuments (think The Colosseum, St. Peter’s and the Leaning Tower of Pisa) are must-sees for visitors.

She shows us how, in her latest cookbook, The Italian Table: Creating Festive Meals for Family and Friends, to completely replicate such Italian food culture in such chapters as a Sunday Lunch in Email-Romagna, Farm to Sicilian Table, Panini Party in Umbria and A Table by the Sea in Positano. Because Minchilli’s background and interests are not only culinary but also envelope style and architecture, she tells us not only what to drink and eat but also how to create the tablescape as well.  As an example, her Pizza by the Slice in Rome meal calls for “for the authentic pizzeria al taglia vibe, use plastic or—more sustainable—paper.”

              Minchilli, who is from St. Louis, Missouri but moved to Rome with her parents when she was 12, developed such a passion for the all things Italy (she even married an Italian man) and in her words, had an Italian baby, an Italian house and an Italian dog.

              “That was after I returned as a graduate student to study Renaissance garden architecture in Florence,” says Minchilli when I talk to her using Skype as she was at her home in Rome.

             I discover, as we talk, that I already have one of her books, a luscious tome titled Villas on the Lakes: Orta, Maggiore, Como, Garda  that someone had given me years ago and which I still leaf through to marvel at all the wonderful photos. Minchilli is one of those people who seems to do it all, she’s written nine books including Restoring a Home in Italy, takes all her own photos, writes an award winning website, elizabethminchilli.com, developed her Eat Italy app and offers food tours to behind the scenes culinary destinations as well as posting on You Tube and other social media.

              She tells me that her love for food began when she was given one of those easy-bake ovens when she was a kid.

              “I became the cook of the family,” she says, though she obviously she’s moved way beyond a toy where the oven is heated by a light bulb.

              The Italian Table is her ninth book.

              “I’m really happy about it,” says Minchilli. “This is really the book where I can bring everything together—the food, the people who make the plates, what is surrounding us, the whole experience.”

              She was motivated to write the book after being questioned countless about how Italian food and dining. To showcase that, she decided on highlight 12 different dinners and photograph and write about them in real time—as they were being planned, cooked and served.

              “I wanted people to know how Italians really eat and I decided to do that by meals in different areas and then narrowed it down by going deeper into how it all comes together,” she says. “I set it up so you can go through the cookbook and decide what you like.”

              She’s also included a time table, what to do, depending upon the dinner, two days before, one day before, two hours before, one hour before and when your guests arrive. And there are ways to lessen the cooking load for the more intensive and elaborate dinners.

              “Food is about being social and sharing,” Minchilli tells me. “A lot of people are scared to have people over and so I wanted to take fear out of the equation. That’s why I give people a game plan by telling people when to shop, when they should set the table and also how far ahead to do things so that there’s less to do at the last minute. It reduces the stress and fear and makes it more approachable.”

Elizabeth Minchilli will be at Ceres’ Table, 3124 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL on Monday, April 22 at 8 pm (EST).  The Book Cellar is handling the event.  The price of the ticket includes a signed copy of the book, five course dinner selected by Elizabeth from dishes in her book, taxes and service. Tickets, which cost $82 per person, can be purchased by visiting the event page at bookcellarinc.com or calling (773) 293-2665.

Rotolini di Zucchini con Ricotta

Ricotta-Stuffed Zucchini

4 medium zucchini, trimmed

2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

1 bunch of fresh mint, leaves only

Sea salt

11/2 cups of fresh ricotta

1/2 cup of poppy seeds

Fresh sage or basil leaves, for garnish

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling (preferably your best variety)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Using a sharp knife or mandoline, cut the zucchini lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick ribbons. (You should end up with at least 12 full-length, unbroken ribbons.) Place the zucchini in one layer on one or two baking sheets. Season them with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, half of the mint, and salt to taste and bake them for about 10 minutes, until just tender. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

In the meantime, place the ricotta in a medium bowl with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and the rest of the mint, roughly chopped. Using a fork, whip it until smooth and creamy.

Place about 2 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture on each strip of zucchini and roll it up. Place the poppy seeds in a shallow bowl. Dip both flat ends of the rolls in the poppy seeds, coating the ricotta.

To serve, place two or three rolls on individual plates. Garnish each roll by placing a sage or basil leaf on top and tucking the ends in so that it follows the curve of the roll. Drizzle with your best extra-virgin olive oil and serve.

Radicchio with Pancetta and Parmigiano

Makes 8 servings

4 heads of radicchio di Treviso, leaves separated

30 thin slices of pancetta (about ½ pound)

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Extra-virgin olive oil

8 shelled walnuts, roughly chopped

4 ounces of Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated (1 cup)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay the radicchio leaves on top. If some of the inner leaves are very small, you can put two together to make a larger base.

Fry half the pancetta in a nonstick skillet over medium heat until it has released its fat a bit. Don’t let it burn. You won’t need any oil, as the pancetta should be pretty fatty. This may need to be done in a few batches. Each batch should take only a few minutes.

Season the radicchio with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Distribute the cooked pancetta on top of each leaf, then add the chopped nuts and sprinkle with the Parmigiano.

Wrap each stuffed leaf with a slice of uncooked pancetta. Bake in preheated oven about 20 minutes, until pancetta around the outside is cooked and beginning to sizzle. Serve immediately, while warm.

Torta di Spinachi

Spinach Tart

About 2 pounds of spinach or other greens

1 cup fresh ricotta

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

½ cup of whole milk

4 ounces of Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated

1 tablespoon of fresh marjoram leaves for ½ teaspoon dried

½ teaspoon sea salt

A few grindings of black pepper

Place the greens in a pot with about an inch of water and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until wilted. Drain and when cool enough to handle, squeeze the greens into a ball, squeezing out every last drop of moisture. You should have about 1 cup. Roughly chop the greens and set aside.

About an hour before you are going to bake the tart, place the ricotta in a fine sieve and drain it over a bowl to remove the excess whey.

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment paper.

Put the chopped greens in a clean bowl with the drained ricotta, whole egg and yolk, milk, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, ¾ cup of the Parmigiano, the marjoram, butter, salt and pepper. Mix well with a fork.

Pour the mixture into the pan, leveling off the top with the back of a spoon. Cover with the remaining olive oil and Parmigiano.

Bake for 50 minutes, until the tart begins to brown and is well set. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Loosen the sides with a knife and, using an offset spatula, turn it out onto a serving platter.

Serve.

Sister Pie: The Recipes and Stories of a Big-Hearted Bakery in Detroit

Lisa Ludwinski, owner of Sister Pies, began her business in her parents’ kitchen in Milford, Michigan, making pies and cookies.  Within a year, the demand for her baked goods was such that she determined to open a bricks and mortar store. The problem? Money, of course. Winning the Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest which awards up-and-coming entrepreneurs a $50,000 grant was a great start.

brandy pecan pie
Reprinted with permission from Sister Pie,  copyright © 2018 Photography by E. E. Berger. Published by Lorena Jones Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House

 

But Ludwinski still needed more to achieve her dream. Her solution? Hold a 24-hour Dance-A-Thon with the pledge to raise $25,000 by dancing from 9 p.m. on a Friday night to the same time  the following night. 11 hours later she’d raised $25,335 and by the end of her dancing, the total was $26,135, Now the award winning Sister Pie is so popular that Ludwinski is planning on opening a second location. Her bakery abuzz and her first cookbook Sister Pie: The Recipes and Stories of a Big-Hearted Bakery in Detroit (Lorena Jones Books 2018; $25) recently released, Ludwinski embarked upon a month long book tour that includes a stop on November 2, at Granor Farm in Three Oaks, Michigan just a few miles north of the Indiana state line.

Granor Farm 2018 Farm Dinner. Three Oaks, Michigan
Photo courtesy of Jamie and Eric Photography

“Lisa’s visit is part of our Book + Supper Club Series, where I build a menu around the author’s work,” says Abra Berens, Chef at Granor Farm. “For me it continues Granor’s original mission to be a place of continued education, especially around food. We started the farm primarily to offer our Farm Camp for kids. That emphasis on education–and food–was part of my initial interest in what Granor was doing. It is a great way to share the knowledge of various experts in the field and, personally, for me to continue to grow as a chef by working with other amazing talents.”

Berens says the dinner will be a mixture of Ludwinski’s recipes and her own interpretation of those recipes.

apple sage gouda
Reprinted with permission from Sister Pie,  copyright © 2018 Photography by E. E. Berger. 

“At the start we will give a brief overview of Granor Farm and then give Lisa the floor to talk about her bakery, her book, and her general outlook on life,” she says, noting that she is a big fan I’m fan of what Ludwinski does.

Lisa with pie
Reprinted with permission from Sister Pie,  copyright © 2018 Photography by E. E. Berger. 

Ludwinski, who grew up in Milford and studied Theatre Arts at Kalamazoo College, originally moved to New York to become a director but gravitated instead to baking before returning home to start her own business. Savvy with social media(she has almost 49,000 followers on Instagram (@sisterpiedetroit) and a happy, fun-filled personality, Ludwinski isn’t afraid to mix it up, creating a delicious blend of sweet or savory and sweet and savory pies such salted maple pumpkin, strawberry rhubarb lavender and apple sage gouda. Also on her menu are scones, muffins and cookies. But when she says she uses seasonal, she’s serious.

sweet potato coconut
Reprinted with permission from Sister Pie,  copyright © 2018 Photography by E. E. Berger. Published by Lorena Jones Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

 

“There’s no apple pie in May and there’s no cherry pie in December,” she says. “The reason why is it tastes better. That takes people a little while to get used to, but usually when they taste whichever pie we have available, they understand. Working with the seasonal structure allows us to be super creative, too. If I know I’ve got rhubarb, then I can ask myself – ok, what will make a rhubarb pie unique? We love to pair the seasonal ingredients with herbs, floral tones, alternative flours, citrus, nuts, cheese, etc. Basically everything that’s delicious to eat. We’re also big on the sweet-and-salty.”

Those combinations include oatmeal raisin or chocolate chip cookies with a flake or two of sea salt on top and black pepper tarragon and honey shortbread.Jamie and Eric Photography

019GranorDinner2018 (1)
Photo courtesy of Jamie and Eric Photography

Community and people working together is important says Ludwinski.

“That’s another reason we’re not getting strawberries from some huge farm in California that grows them all year long–we’re getting them from Norm who runs a small farm in Ida, Michigan,” she says. “His strawberries are fleeting and delicious, and a special treat.”

_AUTHOR PHOTO Lisa Ludwinski (credit E.E. Berger) (1)
Reprinted with permission from Sister Pie,  copyright © 2018 Photography by E. E. Berger. Published by Lorena Jones Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

Sister Pie, 8066 Kercheval, Detroit. (313) 447-5550; sisterpie.com

Ifyougo:

What: Granor Farm Book + Supper Club with Lisa Ludwinski

When: Friday, November 2, 5:30-9 CST

Where: Granor Farm, 3480 Warren Woods Road, Three Oaks, MI

Cost: $95 a ticker which includes dinners and a copy of Sister Pie.

FYI: granorfarm.com

The following recipes are courtesy of Sister Pies.

Apple Sage Gouda Pie

Makes one 9-inch pie

2 pounds Northern Spy, Idared, or Golden Delicious apples, peeled and sliced

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

3⁄4 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons minced fresh sage

1⁄4 cup packed light brown sugar

1⁄4 cup tapioca starch

1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1⁄2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 disc Aged Gouda Pie Dough (see below), rolled out and fitted into a 9-inch pie pan but uncrimped, and refrigerated

6 lattice strips made with Aged Gouda Pie Dough, placed on a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerated

1 teaspoon turbinado sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons (1⁄4 stick) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled

1 large egg, beaten

For the filling:

Transfer the apples to a large mixing bowl and toss with the lemon juice.

In a medium bowl, combine the granulated sugar and sage, massaging together with your fingertips. Add the brown sugar, tapioca starch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add to the apples and toss with your hands until evenly distributed.

When you’re ready to assemble the pie, remove the unbaked crust and lattice strips from the refrigerator. Sprinkle the sugar-flour mixture all over the bottom of the crust. Layer the apples on top, being careful not to mound them in the center. Dot the apples  with butter cubes.

Place one strip of lattice  across the center of the pie. Take another strip and lay it on top, perpendicular to the first one, creating a cross. Lay the next two strips on either side of the first strip you laid down, so they are parallel to both each other and the original strip. Next, working with the original strip, fold back both ends toward the center, and then place the last two lattice strips down on either side of the second (perpendicular) strip. Fold the original strip back down, so that it lies across and on top of the newly placed strips. It should look like a woven lattice.

Tear off the ends of the lattice pieces so they are flush with the perimeter of the tin. Roll the edge of the crust in, sealing the lattice. Crimp, using the technique described on page 49, being careful to push the crimps down and into the pie, as opposed to keeping them too loose on the edge. Put the assembled pie in the freezer for a 15-minute rest.

Preheat your oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Remove the pie from the freezer, place on the baking sheet, and brush the lattice and crimped edge with the beaten egg. Transfer the baking sheet with the pie on it to the oven and bake for15 to 20 minutes, or until the crust is evenly golden brown. Turn the temperature down to 325°F and continue to bake for 50 to 70 minutes, until the pie juices are bubbling in the center.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer the pie to a wire rack to cool for 4 to 6 hours. When the pie is at room temperature, slice it into 6 to 8 pieces and serve.

Store leftover pie, well wrapped in plastic wrap or under a pie dome, at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Aged Gouda Pie Dough

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted European-style butter, straight from the fridge

1 ounce aged Gouda, grated

1⁄2 cup ice-cold water and apple cider vinegar mixture, or more if needed

In a large stainless steel bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt  and stir to mix well. Place the sticks of butter in the bowl and coat on all sides with flour. Using a bench scraper, cut the butter into 1⁄2-inch cubes. Work quickly to separate the cubes with your hands until they are all lightly coated in the flour mixture. Grab that bench scraper once again and cut each cube in half.

Switch to the pastry blender and begin  to cut in the butter with one hand while turning the bowl with the other. It’s important not to aim for the same spot at the bottom of the bowl with each stroke of the pastry blender, but to actually slice through butter every time to maximize efficiency. When the pastry blender clogs up, carefully clean it out with your fingers (watch out, it bites!) or a butter knife and use your hands to toss the ingredients a bit. Continue to blend and turn until the largest pieces are the size and shape of peas and the rest of it feels and looks freakishly similar to canned Parmesan cheese. Speaking of cheese, now is the time to add the Gouda and mix it in quickly with the pastry blender until it is evenly distributed.

At this point, add the water-vinegar mixture all at once, and switch back to the bench scraper. Scrape as much of the mixture as you can from one side of the bowl to the other, until you can’t see visible pools of liquid anymore. Now it’s hand time. Scoop up as much of the mixture as you can, and use the tips of your fingers to press it back down onto the rest of the ingredients. Rotate the bowl a quarter-turn and repeat.

Scoop, press, and turn. With each fold, your intention is to be quickly forming the mixture into one cohesive mass. Remember to incorporate any dry, floury bits that have congregated at the bottom of the bowl, and once those are completely gone and the dough is formed, it’s time to stop.

Remove the dough from the bowl, place it on a lightly floured counter, and use your bench scraper to divide it into two equal pieces. Gently pat one into a 2-inch-thick disc, working quickly to seal any broken edges before wrapping it tightly in a double layer of plastic wrap. Pat the other half into a 6-by-3-inch rectangle.

Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours or, ideally, overnight. When you go to roll out the crust, you want the disc to feel as hard and cold as the butter did when you removed it from the fridge to make the dough. This will make the roll-out way easier.

Makes enough for one 9-inch lattice-topped pie.

Jane Simon Ammeson can be contacted via email at janeammeson@gmail.com

All photos of Lisa Ludwinski and her pies are:

Reprinted with permission from Sister Pie,  copyright © 2018 Photography by E. E. Berger. Published by Lorena Jones Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tiffani Thiessen Pull Up a Chair

 

Honey-Ginger Chicken Wings (c) Rebecca Sanabria
Photography © 2018 by Rebecca Sanabria. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Only six or so when she started helping out in the kitchen, Tiffani Thiessen grew up in a family where dinners were a gathering time to enjoy great cooking and conversations. She upped her game from traditional American fare when she and other stars from “Saved by the Bell” toured in Europe.

“It definitely impacted me,” says Thiessen who played Kelly Kapowski on the hit TV show and was 16 at the time. “I learned all about wine, cheese and all types of different foods when we traveled in France, Italy and Holland.”

This love of food and conviviality was so intense that though Thiessen continued with her acting career (she was Valerie Malone on “Beverly Hills 90210” and currently stars in “Alexa & Katie”) she also segued into cooking,  hosting the long running “Dinner at Tiffani’s” on the Cooking Channel. As if that wasn’t enough to keep any mom of two young children busy enough, Thiessen has spent the last three years writing Pull Up a Chair: Recipes from My Family to Yours (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt $30), which will be released on October 2.

Describing cooking as therapeutic as well as artistic and creative, Thiessen’s recipes include new dishes, those she collected through the years and family favorites, some that she tweaked including her mom’s beef stroganoff which the family ate once a week when she was young.

“I wasn’t a big fan,” says Thiessen, adding that her mom’s stroganoff was very traditional and included stirring sour cream in at the end so that it took on the appearance of dog food—her words not ours, Mrs. Thiessen. Tiffani’s tweaked it into a beef and mushroom Stroganoff with creamy polenta, spinach and a touch of brandy. The sour cream is served on the side.

Did that hurt you mom’s feelings? I ask.

“No, I have one of the most supportive families,” she says.

Tiffani & Mom Making Mom's Cream Cheese Pie (c) Rebecca Sanabria
Tiffani and her mother making cheesecake Photography © 2018 by Rebecca Sanabria. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

There’s also a cowboy twang to some of her dishes such as the short rib beef enchiladas and three cheese queso, since husband Brady Smith is a meat-loving Texas boy. Her son Holt gobbles up her mac and cheese and Thiessen says Harper her eight-year-old daughter loves to decorate pizzas.

“I don’t think of myself as anything but a home cook and my recipes are easy but everything I cook is with love and passion and that’s what Pull Up a Chair is all about,” says Thiessen, who, during our phone interview, calls me sweetheart and dear.

That friendliness as well as the sumptuousness of her cookbook—125 recipes and lots of full page color photos of both luscious-looking food and family (and yes, her husband is handsome and her children adorable), makes me long to get an invitation to dine at her house.

Pickle & Potato Salad (c) Rebecca Sanabria
Photography © 2018 by Rebecca Sanabria. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Since that won’t be happening, I did a little pre-interview stalking watching videos of Thiessen cooking in her kitchen and then displaying part of her cookbook collection.

“I love cookbooks, I love the look, the aesthetics of them” she says when I mention my sleuthing. “Most people I’m close to would say I have a problem.  I don’t use some of them that much, as my husband points out, but there’s just something I like about having them around.”

I can identify with that having heard similar comments from both my husband and daughter. Another reason to get that dinner invitation. But until then, I have the cookbook and can create the recipes in my own home.

Pickle & Potato Salad

Serves 6

1½ pounds tricolored small potatoes

1½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for the potatoes

½ cup mayonnaise

¼ cup chopped sweet pickles

3 tablespoons pickle juice (from the jar)

1 tablespoon yellow mustard

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

5 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped

½ medium red onion, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Paprika, for garnish

Place the potatoes in a large pot and add enough cold water to cover them by 1 inch and a generous pinch of salt. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain the potatoes and let them rest until they’re cool enough to handle. Cut each one in half.

In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, sweet pickles, pickle juice, mustard, salt, and pepper.

In a separate large bowl, combine the halved potatoes, eggs, and red onion and toss with the dressing. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and garnish with the parsley and paprika.

Honey-Ginger Chicken Wings

Serves 6 to 8

½ cup honey (preferably wildflower or mesquite)

¼ cup tamari or soy sauce

3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

2 scallions, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish

3 garlic cloves, minced

Grated zest and juice of 1 lime, plus more zest for garnish

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

16 chicken wings (about 4 pounds), tips removed, drumettes and flats separated

In a medium bowl, whisk together the honey, tamari, sesame oil, ginger, scallions, garlic, lime zest, lime juice, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Reserve ¾ cup of the mixture in the fridge.

Pour the remaining marinade into a 2-gallon zip-top bag. Add the chicken and seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible. Massage the marinade into the wings. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight. Before cooking, let the wings stand at room temperature for about 2 hours

When ready to cook the wings, preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Remove the wings from the marinade, reserving the marinade. Season the wings with salt and pepper and place them skin-side down in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Spoon some of the marinade over them; discard the remaining marinade. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and flip the wings, basting with the pan drippings. Rotate the pan and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until the honey has caramelized and the skin is a dark amber color.

In a small saucepan, bring the reserved ¾ cup marinade (from the fridge) to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until the liquid turns into a thick, syrupy glaze, about 4 minutes.

Coat the wings with the glaze, arrange them on a serving platter, and garnish with scallions and lime zest.

These recipes are excerpted from Pull Up a Chair © 2018 by Tiffani Thiessen. Photography © 2018 by Rebecca Sanabria. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Ifyougo:

What: Tiffani Thiessen will be at two Chicago locations signing copies of her debut cookbook, Pull Up a Chair.

When: Thursday, October 4 at 8 pm (EST)

Where: Anderson’s Bookshop, 123 W. Jefferson Ave., Naperville, IL

Cost: $33 includes copy of the book, a place in the signing line, a chance to meet Thiessen and have you photo taken.

FYI: 630) 355-2665; andersonsbookshop.com

When: Friday, October 5th at 7 pm (EST)

Where: Williams-Sonoma, Lincoln Park

1550 N. Fremont St., Chicago, IL

Cost: $31.89 includes copy of book

FYI: (312) 255-0643; williams-sonoma.com/stores/us/il/chicago-lincoln-park/

You can follow Thiessen at tiffanithiessen.com

Excerpted from Pull Up a Chair © 2018 by Tiffani Thiessen. Photography © 2018 by Rebecca Sanabria. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

The Vintage Baker: More Than 50 Recipes from Butterscotch Pecan Curls to Sour Cream Jumbles

VintageBaker-HiRes-IMGS23I’ve been doing some major remodeling on my condominium including getting rid of the orange—and yes, it really was an orange sherbet color–Formica countertop (I kept waiting for this 1960 trend to come back in style but when it became apparent that wasn’t going to happen, out it went), tearing down walls and pulling up carpeting that had seen way too many spills by my daughter and her friends including the time she did some sign painting inside. Believe me, that did not work out well.

During all this renovation, I had to pack up just about everything in the condo including all my kitchenware and though the project was just going to take a couple of months–well, you know how that goes—I am just beginning to unpack boxes. One of my latest discoveries is my KitchenAid stand mixer, which I really, really missed. Opening the box that contained the mixer, buried under a bunch of other stuff, coincided with my friend Joyce Lin sending me a copy of The Vintage Baker: More Than 50 Recipes from Butterscotch Pecan Curls to Sour Cream Jumbles by Jessie Sheehan (Chronicle Book 2018; $24.95). Sheehan, who worked as a junior baker at Baked, a bakery in Brooklyn, New York, was also an avid collector of vintage recipe booklets (there’s one included in her cookbook) and The Vintage Baker is based upon those recipes, albeit with Sheehan’s adaptations to modernize them. She did so by adding such intriguing twists as making her popovers using pecorino Romano cheese and black pepper as well as black pepper and rum in a butterscotch pie and mixing thyme in the ladyfinger recipes she used in creating her own take on the classic Charlette Russe, layers of cookies or ladyfingers, cake and a cream filling.

“My go-to chocolate-chip cookie recipe is full of Kellogg’s Rice Krispies and I was over the moon to discover how frequently cookies with cereal surfaced in my booklet collection,” Sheehan writes in her introduction to her recipe for Cornflake Macaroons with Chocolate Drizzle, noting that a recipe from “55 Recipes for Hershey’s Syrup” (1945) formed the base for her macaroon. “Adding salt to the batter proved essential–so many of these original recipes don’t call for salt. I drizzled the cookies with chocolate after baking, rather than combining it with the batter, allowing these cornflakes to truly shine.”VintageBaker-HiRes-IMGS7

I was so happy to have re-discovered my mixer that I made several of the recipes from Sheehan’s book. Here are a couple that I think you would enjoy including an old fashioned ice box cake.

Cornflake Macaroons with Chocolate Drizzle

3 egg whites

½ cup granulated sugar

1½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ teaspoon table salt

2½ cups cornflakes

1½ cups sweetened shredded coconut

Flaky sea salt for sprinkling

2 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted

In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites until frothy. Add the sugar, vanilla, and salt and continue whisking until thoroughly combined and thickened. Fold the cornflakes and coconut into the egg whites using a rubber spatula. Once combined, and using your hands, crush the cornflakes in the bowl, mixing all of the ingredients together, until the mixture stays together when you squeeze it in your hand. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days, covering the bowl with plastic wrap. The mixture will be much easier to scoop once it has been refrigerated.

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Scoop 1 to 1½ tablespoons of dough with a small cookie scoop or measuring spoon, making sure to really pack the batter into the scoop/spoon. Place on the prepared pan and bake for 23 to 25 minutes, until nicely browned. Sprinkle with the sea salt and let cool. Place the melted chocolate in a zippered plastic bag, cut a very tiny hole in one corner of the bag, and drizzle the chocolate over the cookies. Let the chocolate harden before serving.

The macaroons will keep in an airtight container on the counter for up to 3 days, but they get less crunchy with each day.

Coconut-Chocolate Icebox Cake with Toasted Almonds

3 (13 1/2-fluid-ounce cans full-fat coconut milk

1/2 to 1 teaspoon almond extract

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut, toasted

9 ounces crisp chocolate wafer cookies

1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Place the cans of coconut milk in the coldest spot in your refrigerator upside-down and leave them there for 24 hours. This will allow the coconut cream in the milk to solidify and separate from the liquid.

Line a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap that hangs slightly over the sides of the pan.

Flip the cans of coconut milk right-side up, open the cans, and, using a rubber spatula, carefully scrape the solid coconut cream into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Save the liquid for another purpose. Add the almond extract and confectioners’ sugar, and whisk on medium speed until smooth and thick. Add the heavy cream and whisk on medium-high speed until the cream holds stiff peaks, about 2 minutes. Add the toasted coconut and fold it into the cream with a rubber spatula.

Using a small offset spatula or the back of a spoon, spread a thin layer of the whipped cream on the bottom of the lined pan. Cover as much of the cream as possible with a layer of wafers, filling any gaps with broken wafers, to create a solid layer of wafers.

Continue layering whipped cream and wafers until you run out or reach the top of the pan, ending with a layer of wafers. Gently cover the surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 to 8 hours, or preferably overnight. If you have whipped cream left over, store this in the refrigerator along with the cake.

Remove the cake from the refrigerator prior to serving and peel off the plastic wrap. Place a serving plate over the pan and invert the cake onto the plate. Carefully remove the pan and plastic wrap lining and, if using, thinly spread the remaining whipped cream over the sides and top of the cake. Re-whip the cream if it looks too soft to spread. Sprinkle the cake with the toasted almonds, lightly pressing them into the cake.

Using a serrated knife, cut the cake into slices and serve. The cake will keep, lightly wrapped with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Note

When buying coconut milk, gently turn the can up and down in the store to make sure the contents sound full and solid. If it sounds watery and seems like the can is filled only with liquid, grab a different one.

Ifyougo:

What: Author Talk Jessie Sheehan: The Vintage Baker

When: Sep 17 at 6:30 p.m.

Where: Read It & Eat, 2142 N. Halsted St., Chicago, IL

FYI: 773-661-6158; readitandeatstore.com

For more information:

The Vintage Baker

Jesse Sheehan

 

 

 

Author Talk with John Coletta: Risotto & Beyond

On June 7, John Coletta, author of Risotto & Beyond: 100 Authentic Italian Rice Recipes for Antipasti, Soups, Salads, Risotti, One-Dish Meals, and Desserts (Rizzoli 2018) will be at Read It and Eat! talking about his recently published book on risotto, one of the most traditional dishes in Italian Cuisine and yet the least explored. Coletta, a restauranteur and chef, will also be presenting a selection of rice-based tastings. His book, with its wonderful photographs, contains 100 authentic dishes and demonstrates how to bring the full range of Italian rice cooking into our home kitchens. Dishes range range from the familiar such as arancini, crochettes, risotti, soups and rice puddings to the more exotic like rice salads, fritters, bracioli, and gelatos. Attendees will get to take home a 500 gm tin of Acquerello Rice, a prized Carnaroli rice from Vercelli in Piemonte (retail value of $22), considered the best rice for making risotto.RisottoandBeyond_p062

Chilled Rice Soup with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons finely chopped prosciutto fat (see note below)

½ medium white or yellow onion, finely chopped to make 2/3 cup

1 stalk celery, finely chopped to make 2/3 cup

2 bay leaves, preferably fresh

1 teaspoon finely ground sea salt1

teaspoon finely ground white pepper

1 cup Arborio superfino rice

Just over ½ ounce Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated to make ¼ cup

3 cups halved thin-skinned cherry tomatoes or blanched, peeled, and chopped plum or Roma tomatoes

1 bunch basil, leaves only, roughly chopped to make 6 tablespoons

FOR FINISHING

Finely ground sea salt and white pepper

1 cup cold vegetable broth

2 cups quartered thin-skinned cherry tomatoes

1 bunch basil, leaves only, roughly chopped to make

6 tablespoons, plus ¼ cup chiffonade of basil leaves or small clusters of Genovese basil, for garnish

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

Finely grated zest of 2 lemons

Place the butter, olive oil, and prosciutto fat in a heavy-gauge stockpot over low heat, stirring until the butter melts and the fat becomes soft and translucent but not browned. Add the onion, celery, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Increase the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables begin to soften but are not browned.

Add 6 cups water and heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. Immediately reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook, covered, until the vegetables are soft and tender, about 45 minutes. Stir in the rice, cover the pot, and continue to simmer for another 25 to 30 minutes, until the rice kernels are tender.

Prepare an ice-water bath in your sink. You will need this to cool the pot. Remove the pot from the heat. Discard the bay leaves and stir in the cheese, tomatoes, and chopped basil. Transfer the pot to the ice-water bath and cool the soup to slightly below room temperature. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate overnight.

FINISH THE SOUP:

The following day, taste the soup for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed. If the soup has become too thick, thin it to the desired consistency with the cold vegetable broth.

In a small bowl, combine the cherry tomatoes, chopped basil leaves, olive oil, and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle the soup into individual serving bowls. Drizzle each portion with olive oil; top with the tomato-basil garnish and the basil chiffonade.

NOTE: If prosciutto fat is unavailable, substitute an additional 1 tablespoon unsalted butter and 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil Be careful not to burn

Arancini with Fresh Mozzarella and Italian Parsley (Arancini Di Riso Con Fior Di Latte E Prezzemolo)

MAKES 16

ARANCINI; SERVES 4RisottoandBeyond_p090

3 cups Arborio or Carnaroli superfine rice

4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, cubed

2 teaspoons finely ground sea salt

3 large eggs, well beaten

¼ cup sweet white rice flour

1 small bunch Italian flat-leaf parsley, leaves only, coarsely chopped and lightly packed to make ½ cup

2½ ounces Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano, finely grated to make 1 cup

1 pound fior di latte (fresh cow’s milk mozzarella in liquid, drained and cut into ¼-inch cubes

FOR DEEP-FRYING

3 large eggs, well beaten

2 cups fine dry Italian, panko, or gluten-free breadcrumbs

4 to 5 cups high-smoke-point oil (safflower, rice bran, soybean, or canola)

Salsa All’Arrabbiata, for serving or your favorite sauce

Pour 5½ cups water into a medium heavy-gauge saucepan or pot and stir in the rice, butter, and salt. Heat to boiling over medium heat; reduce the heat to low. Simmer briskly, uncovered and without stirring, until the rice has absorbed the water, about 30 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the eggs, rice flour, parsley, and Parmigiano.

Line a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with parchment paper. Transfer the cooked rice to the parchment-lined dish, smoothing to make level. Bring the rice to room temperature.  (To finish the recipe the next day, cover the rice with parchment paper and the baking dish with plastic wrap; refrigerate. Bring the rice to room temperature before continuing with  the recipe.)

Assemble and fry the arancini:

Using a sharp knife dipped in cold water, score and cut the rice cake into 16 equal pieces. Place one portion of rice in your hand and shape it into a cone; fill with 3 cubes of mozzarella. Close the rice over the cheese and squeeze to shape it into a ball. Place on parchment paper. Repeat until all the arancini are formed.

Place two large bowls on a work surface. Place the eggs in one and the breadcrumbs in the other. Immerse a rice ball in the egg; move it to the bowl of breadcrumbs and dredge until well coated. Place the breaded ball on the parchment paper. Repeat until all the rice balls are breaded.

Pour the oil into a small electric fryer (amount specified by fryer model) or a heavy-gauge pot, ensuring that the oil reaches no higher than 3 inches from the top of the pot. Preheat the oil to 350°F.

Carefully transfer 3 or 4 of the balls into the hot oil, being careful not to crowd them. Fry until golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Test one to ensure doneness, adjusting frying time as needed. Proceed with the remainder. Blot the fried arancini on paper toweling.

Place on a platter and serve with spicy salsa all’arrabbiata sauce or your favorite red sauce.

Ifyougo:

When: June 7 at 6:30 p.m.

Where: Read It & Eat!, 2142 N Halsted Street Chicago, IL

For more information:  (773) 661-6158; readitandeatstore.com

All Photo credit Kayleigh Jankowski.

RisottoandBeyond_p089

 

 

Turnips & Tortillas: A Mexican Chef Spices Up the Southern Kitchen

Southern food meets Mexican food in Eddie Hernandez’s new book Turnips & Tortillas: A Mexican Chef Spices Up the Southern Kitchen.  Hernandez, the James Beard nominated chef/co-owner of Taqueria del Sol, has written a fantastic cookbook that explores the commonalities of these two cuisines.

Never hesitating to improve upon tradition, Hernandez tweaks classic dishes to make food taste better in such ways as by adding sugar to creamy grits to balance the jalapeños or substituting tomatillos for fried green tomatoes to achieve a more delicate texture. Turnip Greens & Tortillas offers a collection of both recipes and “Eddie’s Ways”–sidebars showing how to make each dish even more special.My Breakfast Muffins (c) Angie Mosier (1)

As an example, Hernandez says Mexicans view bread pudding as a special treat typically eaten only during Lent.

“It is not like any bread pudding you have had in the U.S., but the flavors should taste very familiar—a little like the inside of a cinnamon roll, with the gooeyness of pecan pie,” he writes in his description of Capirotada, a Mexican bread pudding recipe in his cookbook. “The exact ingredients vary with whatever’s in the cook’s kitchen cabinet that needs to be used up, but they usually include toasted and buttered bread, dried fruits, nuts, and mild cheese. My mother often added animal crackers, and I still find their crunchy texture works well in this mixture. Whereas my mother steamed her bread pudding on top of the stove, I bake mine. Instead of being held together by an eggy custard, the pudding is drenched in a warm syrup spiced with cinnamon and cloves that is made by melting piloncillos—unrefined sugar molded in cones and sold in Mexican markets or online—with water. Turbinador brown sugar works just as well. There is deep religious meaning behind the main ingredients: The bread symbolizes Christ’s body, the syrup is his blood, the cinnamon and cloves are the wood and the nails of the cross, and the melted cheese signifies the holy burial shroud. As serious as its message is, the dish is very festive and often served with ice cream and colored sprinkles. This bread pudding is even good for breakfast as coffee cake.”

Also good for Easter are Hernandez’s breakfast egg muffins topped with a tomato-habanero sauce.

Mexican Bread Pudding (Capirotada)

Makes 6 to 8 servings

1 pound cane sugar, turbinado sugar, or brown sugar

3 cups water

2 cinnamon sticks, preferably Mexican (canela)

6 cloves

8 ounces French bread or 4 bolillo rolls, cut into ¼-inch-thick pieces

4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter, melted

1 cup golden raisins

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

1½ cups crushed animal crackers

1 cup crumbled queso fresco or grated Monterey Jack cheese

¾ cup shredded sweetened coconut Ice cream (optional)

Colored sprinkles (optional)

To make the syrup:

Combine the sugar, water, cinnamon sticks, and cloves in a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat.

Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until slightly thickened.

Remove from the heat; cover and let steep while you prepare the remainder of the dish.

This step can be done a day ahead.

Heat the broiler to high, with one rack set in the middle of the oven and one 4 or 5 inches from the broiler source. Brush the bread with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the butter. Place the pieces in a single layer on a sheet pan and set under the broiler until lightly toasted, about 1 minute (watch carefully). Remove from the oven and set aside until ready to use.

Set the oven temperature to 325 degrees. Brush a deep 8-inch square pan or 2-quart casserole dish with the remaining 1 to 2 tablespoons butter.

Place one-third of the bread in a single layer in the baking dish. Top with one-third of the raisins, pecans, animal crackers, cheese, and coconut. Remove the spices from the syrup and ladle one-third of the syrup over the mixture. Let the syrup soak into the bread for about 15 minutes, then repeat the layering with the remaining ingredients two more times, finishing with the syrup. Let the syrup soak into the bread for 15 minutes.

Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake for 45 minutes, then uncover and bake for 10 minutes longer, or until the top of the pudding is golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature, with ice cream and garnished with sprinkles, if desired. The pudding will keep for several days, tightly covered, at room temperature.

My Breakfast Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

12 large eggs

4½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

4 ounces andouille or other smoked sausage, cut into 24 slices; or left over roasted vegetables

¾ cup grated Monterey Jack or Colby cheese (goat cheese or other kinds of cheese can be substituted)

2 cups Tomato-Habanero Sauce (see below) or use your favorite salsa

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick vegetable spray and set aside.

Whisk the eggs, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl until smooth. Place 2 slices of smoked sausage and 1 tablespoon of the cheese into the bottom of each muffin cup. Divide the egg mixture evenly among the muffin cups. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until puffed and lightly browned.

Meanwhile, heat the sauce. Ladle some of the sauce onto plates and top with the egg muffins.

Tomato-Habanero Sauce

Makes about 4 cups

5 to 6 medium tomatoes (about 1½ pounds)

1 habanero or other types of chiles

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

¼ cup finely diced onion

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade

Place the tomatoes and habanero in a large saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil just until the tomato skins start to crack. Drain in a colander. Remove the stem from the habanero.

Transfer the tomatoes and habanero to a blender and puree until smooth.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the onion, garlic, and salt and cook until the onion is translucent and soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the tomato puree and the stock, increase the heat to high, and boil for 3 minutes more. Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired. The sauce keeps for up to 3 days, covered and refrigerated.

The above recipes are from Turnip Greens and Tortillas: A Mexican Chef Spices Up the Southern Kitchen by Eddie Hernandez. Reproduced by permission of Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Ifyougo:

Eddie Hernandez will be talking and signing copies of his book on June 3 at 1:30 p.m. at Read It & Eat, 2142 N. Halsted St., Chicago, IL. For more information:  (773) 661-6158; readitandeatstore.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Justin Chapple Interactive Cooking Demonstration at KitchenAide Sr. PGA

“I’ve always been a people person,” Justin Chapple tells me almost immediately after he calls for the scheduled interview.

Within minutes, I totally believe him. It’s like we’ve been best friends forever.

“I love to hear from people,” he says, adding that he almost always answers people who contact him via his many social media outlets such as Facebook and Instagram. “I tell people if they pre-order my new book through my website, justinchapple.com, I’ll send them a note and an autographed bookplate. I spend most mornings writing notes.”

Yes, he does. Even though Chapple has the high prestige job of Culinary Director at Food & Wine magazine, was nominated for a James Beard Award for “Mad Genius,” the weekly morning show he hosts, does the magazine’s video series “Mad Genius Tips” and is the author of two cookbooks, Mad Genius Tips (Broadmoor House 2016) and the soon to be released Just Cook It! 145 Built-To-Be-Easy Recipes That Are Totally Delicious (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018; $30), he’s all about you.

“It means a lot to me to have people’s support,” says Chapple, who regularly appears on NBC’s “Today.” “And if they have a question about one of my recipes or cooking, I always try to answer it.”

He’s also all about recipes, cooking tips and making it simple. As part of his job as culinary director, he not only has developed and tested thousands of recipes but also converts esoteric recipes from famous chefs—the kind most of us would look at and shake our heads in despair—and makes them accessible for our own kitchens. Watch a few episodes from his “Mad Genius LIVE and “Mad Genius Tips” shows and you’re first thought is, I can use that followed by where does he get all those ideas.

“Sometimes they pop up in my head and I’ll say ‘omigoodness’,” says Chapple who really doesn’t sound like someone who trained at the prestigious French Culinary Institute. “Other times it’s what people ask of me—they want to know how to do something like peel a mango and I’m happy they asked and come up with ideas.”

Though his classical French cooking background is important, he says he learned much of his kitchen know-how from his grandmother.

“She had to make do with whatever she had and she always made the food taste wonderful,” he says.

Describing Just Cook It as low-concept, he says it’s about everyday simple easy recipes. For example, when you have a hankering for lasagna but there’s not enough time to pull it all together, he suggests Ravioli Lasagna with Arugula. It’s good, fast approximation for busy weeknights. Just buy some cheese ravioli, parboil it, drain, place in a casserole and then add fresh mozzarella. Open a jar of good marinara sauce, sauté it with ground beef or fresh veggies or just add it plain to the ravioli. There you have it.

Like gnocchi or other types of dumplings but don’t want to mess with rolling each one out and shaping them by hand?  Never fear, there’s a secret to that as well. Using a food processor, he mixes the ingredients for his Ricotta Gnudi (gnocchi are dumplings made with potatoes and gnudi are made with ricotta cheese), but the next step is much more unusual. Taking an ice cream scoop, he spoons small balls of the dough directly from the food processor and dumps them into hot water.

“Simmer them until they pillowy and just firm,” he says. “I then sauté them until they’re browned and coated with the butter mixture.”

He sprinkles the cook gnuda with pistachio-almond dukka, an Arabic dish (you often also see a bowl of it at Indian restaurants near where you pay your bill). It’s a mixture of spices, seeds and nuts including cumin, coriander, sesame and caraway seeds, pistachios and almonds and cayenne and black peppers.

Dukka is another example of the recipes in his new cookbook. There are a plethora of global offerings such as Thai Skillet Corn, Shumai Stew with Shiitake & Mustard Greens, Rice & Pork Congee with Chiles, Crispy Garlic & Ginger, several types of curry and Catalan-Style Mussels with Green Olives & Fried Almonds. In other words, you can create international meals effortlessly and without fuss.

As for the cooking demonstration at the KitchenAid Fairway Club during the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, Chapple says he’s very excited as he’s heard southwest Michigan is beautiful.

“I’m going to demonstrate a few different very simple and fun recipes including a golden tomato gazpacho,” he says.

Though his background in French cooking would seem to call for rich creams and butter, Chapple says he ‘d rather add flavors with such ingredients as good quality olive oil that creates a “silky taste.”

“Another one of the secrets I like to share is using smoked almonds,” he says. “They’re so delicious and so easy and they impart a lot of flavor.”

Chapple talks about his “secrets” and I ask, jokingly, how they can be secrets since he tells them to everyone.

“That’s the fun of secrets,” he says. “Telling them to people.”

Ifyougo:

What: Interactive Cooking Demonstration with Justin Chapple

When: Noon CST/ 1 p.m. EST on Saturday, May 26

Where: KitchenAid Fairway Club near the main entrance, Harbor Shores, Benton Harbor, Michigan

FYI: For more information about the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, or to buy tickets, visit pga.com/events/seniorpgachampionship/2018 or call 269-487-3200.

 

Follow Justin on Twitter and Instagram at: @justinchapple and Facebook at facebook.com/justin.a.chapple.

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrity Chefs’ Demos at KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor

            Every two years I look forward to the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, not because I love golf that much, but because there’s always an exciting line-up of celebrity chefs as well as some great Southwest Michigan chefs showing how to create some of their favorite recipes. So I was excited when my friend Deb O’Connor, director of global partnerships for KitchenAid, sent me the line-up for this year’s event, which is being held at the KitchenAid Fairway Club near the main entrance over Memorial Day weekend, May 24-28.Credit David Cicconi (1)

            The first live cooking demonstration is at 1 p.m. Thursday and features TV personality Adam Richman, who is  the author of Straight Up Tasty, and also hosts the Cooking Channel’s “Secret Eats with Adam Richman.” Richman has the tough job of having had to travel to over 40 countries in search of the world’s best fine dining and then writing about it.

            Be sure to stay around once Richman is done because at 2:30 that same day, Cheyenne Galbraith, the  executive chef at the Bistro on the Boulevard, will be doing another culinary exhibition.AR Headshot (photo credit Travel Channel) (1)

            Carla Hall, co-host of ABC’s Emmy-Award Winning daytime series “The Chew” and Bravo “Top Chef,” will be returning (she was here two years ago and was great fun) on Friday, May 25 at 1 p.m. followed at 2:30 p.m. by Mike Kenat of Salt of the Earth in Fennville.

            Then on Saturday, May 26, James Beard Award nominee Justin Chapple who is the Culinary Director at Food & Wine magazine, author of two cookbooks and host of “Mad Genius LIVE”—Food & Wine’s weekly TV show featuring genius ideas in food, travel, entertaining and more will be at the KitchenAid Fairway Club at 1 p.m. Tim Foley, owner of the Bread+Bar and Bit of Swiss Bakery is up at 2:30 p.m. followed at 4:00 p.m. by Abra Berens of Granor Farm. 

            According to Deb, KitchenAid Chef Chris Covelli will round out the cooking demonstration schedule.

            “We have created an experience where fans can learn, ask questions and be inspired to challenge themselves in the kitchen,” she says. “We hope that they leave this Championship with a renewed passion and energy to experiment in their own kitchens with KitchenAid.”

            Here are a few of Justin Chapple’s recipes including one for Philly Cheesesteak Queso from his show “Mad Genius Live.” 

Philly Cheesesteak Queso

3 tablespoons canola oil

1 small red bell pepper—stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced

1 small green bell pepper—stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced

 1 small sweet onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced Kosher salt Pepper

One 12-ounce rib-eye steak, frozen for 30 minutes and very thinly sliced

1 cup half-and-half

1 pound white American cheese, coarsely shredded (4 cups)

1/2 pound provolone cheese, coarsely shredded (2 cups)

2 hoagie rolls, sliced crosswise and lightly toasted          

In a large cast-iron skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the canola oil. Add the bell peppers and onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and browned in spots, about 8 minutes. Transfer the pepper mixture to a small bowl. 

Wipe out the skillet and heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of canola oil in it. Season the steak with salt and pepper. Add the steak and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Transfer the steak to a small bowl. 

Wipe out the skillet, add the half-and-half bring just to a simmer over moderate heat. Whisk in both cheeses in small handfuls until completely melted and the queso is very smooth, about 5 minutes. Top the queso with the steak and pepper mixture. Keep warm over very low heat and serve immediately with the toasted hoagie roll slices.

Black and White Cupcakes

Cupcakes:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

6 tablespoons. unsalted butter

3/4 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 cup sour cream

2 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Frosting:

2 stick unsalted butter

4 cups confectioners’ sugar

2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

4 tablespoon milk

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. In a bowl, whisk the flour with the cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar at medium-high speed until fluffy. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, then beat in the sour cream and vanilla until smooth. At low speed, beat in the dry ingredients. Scoop the batter into the lined muffin cups.

Bake the cupcakes in the center of the oven for about 17 minutes, until springy and a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Let cool slightly in the pan, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, Make the Frosting In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until smooth. Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, salt, and 2 tablespoons of the milk and beat at low speed just until combined, then beat at medium speed until smooth. Scrape half of the vanilla frosting into a medium bowl. Add the cocoa powder and the remaining 2 tablespoons of milk to the frosting in the large bowl and beat at low speed until fully incorporated.

 Lay a large sheet of plastic wrap on a work surface with the long side facing you. Using a small spatula, spread the vanilla frosting in a 3-inch-wide strip down the center of the plastic wrap. Spread the chocolate frosting in a 3-inch-wide strip alongside the vanilla. Using the plastic, fold the chocolate frosting over the vanilla, twisting one end of the plastic to seal. Pull the twisted end of the plastic through a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip and cut off the protruding plastic at the tip. Refrigerate the frosting until barely firm, about 15 minutes. Pipe onto the cupcakes and serve. 

Jane Simon Ammeson can be contacted via email at janeammeson@gmail.com