Cookbooks & Resources

Books for Cooks: Tony Gemignani’s The Pizza Bible

Terrific decoding of the many regional and global styles of crusts and toppings. The author’s meticulous treatment of homemade doughs and starters had me buying brewer’s malt to feed the yeast in a very slow, cold “poolish” starter—worth the trouble. The American section has everything from deep dish to cracker crust. The Pizza Bible, Tony Gemignani, Ten Speed Press, $30, […]

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Mad Delicious Lesson: No-Blanch, No-Schock Vegetables

Vegetables such as green beans are typically given the moist-heat treatment (steaming, boiling, blanching), but they end up being uncommonly intense in flavor when their built-in water content is manipulated via a dry-heat method like pan charring. Wonderful friends of mine took me to a Chinese restaurant in Bangkok famous among locals for its amazing ways with vegetables. My Pan-Charred […]

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Cookbook Corner: Vegetarian Dinner Parties

For me, creating a memorable meal for family and friends is one of the most rewarding parts about cooking. As a vegetarian, however, it’s often hard to convince my guests that a multi-course dinner can be delicious sans meat. Luckily for us vegetarian hosts, Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough have perfected the art of serving vegetarian food to company. No side […]

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Mad Delicious Lesson: Frying is a Light Cooking Technique

J.C. and Jo Bell revolutionized peanut butter a few years back when they were charged with creating something amazing from America’s massive peanut surplus. PB2, a powdered peanut butter, is a culinary dream ingredient. Cut 50/50 with Wondra Flour (it’s the superfine sugar of flours), it makes for an unparalleled dredge for chicken. This dish for Georgia Peanut-Fried Chicken retains […]

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Cookbook Corner: Better From Scratch by Ivy Manning

Cookbook: Better From Scratch Author: Ivy Manning Publisher: Weldon Owen   Contrary to popular belief, you can actually make most items found on the shelves of the grocery store. Most of it came from a kitchen once upon a time before it made its way into your pantry. Ivy Manning’s Better from Scratch dives into the world of making such food from scratch, including chocolate-hazelnut spread (AKA Nutella), dill pickles, and marshmallows. The photos are simple […]

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Mad Delicious Lesson: The Secret to Light Dressings

Backing off on the oil not only helps control calories, it takes some of the oily “weight” off tender salad greens. Once you get the gist of this recipe for Mad Delicious Vinaigrette, featuring my secret ingredient called Mad X, you can modify and iterate like mad. Don’t just use this on salads, though. This vinaigrette can be warmed lightly […]

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Mad Delicious Lesson: Toast Pasta to Enhance Taste

Dry pasta lends itself to a variety of cooking techniques, so let’s toast it, and then cook it risotto-style to build a creamy sauce from the noodles. I learned this method from a chef who was from Togo but apprenticed in Italy. It was what the kitchen staff ate for lunch. He called it “Toast Pasta.” Here, in this recipe […]

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Books for Cooks: Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty More

London’s Yotam Ottolenghi follows his bestselling Plenty with a splendid mix of simple but deeply flavored cross-cultural vegetable dishes. Silky steamed eggplant, with almost no fat, is tangy with mirin, sesame, ginger, and maple syrup. Seared fennel is simmered with verjuice, capers, thyme, and black olives. Yotam Ottolenghi, Ten Speed Press, $35, 352 pages

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Mad Delicious Lesson: Cook Shrimp the Right Way

Shrimp benefit from delicate cooking, as sharp, aggressive heat cooks them unevenly, yielding a seized, rubbery exterior. This recipe for Twice-Cooked Garlic Shrimp is an exercise in patience, and illustrates that part one of great cooking is mastering the application of heat. Part two is the mindful harmonizing of flavors. Always get fresh shrimp if you can. Its texture and […]

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Books for Cooks: Meat: Everything You Need to Know

NYC’s most famous butcher delivers the sort of matter-of-fact but personal guide to meat you’d hope for—recipes, anatomy lessons, cutting instructions, family stories, and a good dollop of sharp opinion (he says grass-fed beef is overhyped). LaFrieda makes tons of burger patties for Shake Shack, but he writes like the neighborhood butcher you wish you had. A genuinely good read. […]

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