30 November 2010

Top Ten Cookbooks

I am perhaps as big a cookbook fanatic as one can be. This year, I have been surprised at how many lists there out there that feature ten books -- and not a single book I care about. Perhaps I am getting old and out of touch? Well, I don't think so. We will be giving you a few of this years favorites over the next few weeks. In the meantime...

Noma seems to be on quite a few "BEST" lists out there. It is one of those books that I care nothing about. I do not equate big and expensive with great. But if any of my readers out there want to change my mind, go ahead, you write the review and we will post it.

Until someone steps up, here are some "Top Ten Lists" to peruse.

StarChefs.com gives Noma their top nod. My only pick on their list: Heston's Fantastical Feasts

The irascible or rascible or curmudgeonly or nasty or lovable (depending on your personality and perhaps his) Jeffery Steingarten has his list for Vogue. He too, gives highest honors to Noma. He give a place of honor to Jessica Harris's High on the Hog. I'm sure that this would be on my list, however it will not be published until 2011. So really it should be on next years list, Jeffery. He is also anticipating, as am I, Blood, Bones, and Butter, by Gabrielle Hamilton. I have been looking forward to a book by Hamilton for years now, so lets get it published already. So it would seem, Jeffery and I already have a pretty good "Top Ten List" for 2011!!

Let us know what's on your list!

27 November 2010

Williams-Sonoma Salads

I am a big fan of Georgeanne Brennan. Williams-Sonoma Salads is another one of her delightful compilations.
After everyone has over indulged in Thanksgiving festivities, I though a nice light salad would be fun. Actually, this recipe has often found itself on many a Thanksgiving and Christmas table.

If you served it, try adding a bit of leftover turkey for an interesting alternative to a sandwich.

Celery Root Remoulade

1 large or 2 medium celery roots(celeriac), peeled and cut into rounds 1/4 thick


2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 cup mayonnaise

2 to 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

In a saucepan, combine the celery root, 1 teaspoon of salt, lemon juice, and water to cover by about 2 inches.
bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook 3-4 minutes. The celery root should be tender but not mushy. Drain well and, using a sharp knife, slice into thinner rounds, then cut into very thin strips. Alternatively, stack the slices and use a mandolin to shred the,. Place in a bowl.

In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise and 2 tablespoons of the mustard. Taste the mixture. it should be well seasoned with the mustard but still taste of both ingredients.. Add mote mustard as desired. Pour the dressing over the celery root and mix well. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 12 hours before serving.

26 November 2010

Happy Thankgiving

From our favorite Turkey and Pilgrim

23 November 2010


Since we couldn't find a new Thanksgiving book, we thought we would give you a cookbook featuring a popular "Thanksgiving" item -- stuffing. I am a bit of a Thanksgiving purest. (I know what I said in the last post and I am willing to change, but no one has given me reason to change.) Thanksgiving at my house is static -- I cook the same thing, every year, year in, year out.

One of the things I always cook is my cornbread dressing. You see, Southerners are not big "stuffers" we are more the dressing type because our dressing is wonderful and we don't want it contaminated in some turkey cavity. Besides a turkey can hold about 1 1/2 cups of stuffing and we want much, more than that.

Carole Lalli was once editor-in-chief of Food & Wine. She wrote Stuffings which is a nice book that will give you all sorts of ideas and not just for turkey. As a child, we always had dressing with pork, and it was wonderful.

Her is Carole's cornbread stuffing. (It is not my mother's recipe, and Lalli is from Connecticut, but we are going to let that slide in the spirit of the holiday.)

Corn Bread Stuffing

2 pounds unseasoned bulk sausage meat
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 large shallot, minced
3 inner ribs of celery, leaves included, diced
kernels from 4 ears of corn
4 fresh sage leaves, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
12 or so broken-up pieces of day-old corn bread
1 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 cup or less chicken broth
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the sausage in a heavy skillet and cook over medium-high heat until it loses its pink color, about 5-7 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, set aside on paper towels to drain.

Pour off the fat from the skillet, but do not clean the skillet. Return the skillet to the heat. Turn the heat down to medium and add the butter to melt. Add the onion, shallot, and celery, and cook, stirring, for 8-10 minutes, until they are soft but not brown; scrape up any of the sausage bits clinging to the skillet. Add the corn, sage, and thyme, and cook for 1 minute. Set aside the mixture to cook for about 10 minutes.

Place the bread in a large bowl. Add the ingredients from the skillet, along with the parsley. Combine the ingredients into a rough mixture (your hands are the best tools for this task). Do not over-combine or break up the bread more than is necessary. If the mixture seems very dry, add enough chicken stock to hold it together loosely. Season with pepper and, depending on the saltiness of the sausage, salt.

We don;t often have the chance to see into the kitchens of the authors we feature on Cookbook Of The Day, but
House Beautiful has a lovely slide show and interview with Carole Lalli. It is definitely a kitchen to die for!

22 November 2010

Thanksgiving Question???

Bear with me here...

One of my favorite movies is About A Boy based on the Nick Hornsby novel. It is quite literally about a boy and a young man that befriends him. That man, Will Freeman has never worked a day, yet he lives comfortably, in fact, better than comfortably. Why? Because his father wrote a Christmas song and every Christmas it gets played over and over and Will is set for the year.

This is probably why every Christmas anyone who can carry a tune does a Christmas album.

We started writing this blog several Thanksgivings ago. In that time, we have noticed a trend in holiday cookbooks much like albums. Every "celebrity" chef with at least two books eventually writes a CHRISTMAS cookbook. Yet, if you read about food, you will know that Thanksgiving is the holiday that everyone gathers together and cooks. So my question is...Why aren't there more Thanksgiving cookbooks. Last year we resorted to re-posting our faves and frankly, I would hate to do that again, but what am I to do?

Any ideas from my readers out there?

Interestingly, chef Marc Forgione won the title of The Next Iron Chef this week by preparing an "Ultimate Thanksgiving Feast." Forgione made five course and not a one of them was turkey.

Creative Thanksgiving are out there people, so some write me a cookbook!

16 November 2010

She Came In Throught The Kitchen Window

In honor of iTunes and the Fab Four reaching a tuneful agreement (and frankly moving into the 21st century after fighting like schoolboys over a stupid thing like the name "Apple", gee I'm surprised they haven't sued Gwyneth Paltrow for naming her kid "Apple" but then who names their kid "Apple" though Truman Capote named a character "Apple" which is probably where Gwyneth got the idea... but I digress).

Yes, Virginia, there is a Beatles cookbook, though I am here to say the Beatles had little to do with it, but given today's news, we just couldn't resist. She Came In Through The Kitchen Window by Stephen Spignesi features dishes that were "inspired" by Beatles songs. OK, it is not for everyone, but if you have a cookbook bent... here is...

Biscuits to Ride

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon (or more) black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil
1 1/8 cup water

Preheat oven to 450 F. Mix all of the ingredients thoroughly in a large bowl until consistency is thick. Roll out the dough in long strips and cut into bite-sized (or larger) pieces. Bake on an ungreased baking sheet for 25 to 30 minutes.

Yes, Biscuits to Ride, and yes all the recipes are like that. But here's a bonus -- something you probably never thought you might see:

Yoko in the Kitchen.

12 November 2010

Marilyn's Stuffing

While we strive to make Famous Food Friday to be a revelation to our readers, we felt the recent news of Marilyn Monroe cooking stuffing to be simply too good not to highlight.

Marilyn’s Stuffing

Time: 2 hours

No garlic

A 10-ounce loaf sourdough bread
1/2 pound chicken or turkey livers or hearts
1/2 pound ground round or other beef
1 tablespoon cooking oil
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups chopped curly parsley
2 eggs, hard boiled, chopped
1 1/2 cups raisins
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 1/4 cups chopped walnuts, pine nuts or roasted chestnuts, or a combination
2 teaspoons dried crushed rosemary
2 teaspoons dried crushed oregano
2 teaspoons dried crushed thyme
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon salt-free, garlic-free poultry seasoning (or 1 teaspoon dried sage, 1 teaspoon marjoram, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger and 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg)
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon pepper.

1. Split the bread loaf in half and soak it in a large bowl of cold water for 15 minutes. Wring out excess water over a colander and shred into pieces.

2. Boil the livers or hearts for 8 minutes in salted water, then chop until no piece is larger than a coffee bean.

3. In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef in the oil, stirring occasionally and breaking up the meat, so no piece is larger than a pistachio.

4. In your largest mixing bowl, combine the sourdough, livers, ground beef, celery, onion, parsley, eggs, raisins, Parmesan and nuts, tossing gently with your hands to combine. Whisk the rosemary, oregano, thyme, bay leaves, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper together in a bowl, scatter over the stuffing and toss again with your hands. Taste and adjust for salt. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to use as a stuffing or to bake separately as dressing.

Yield: 20 cups, enough for one large turkey, 2 to 3 geese or 8 chickens.

Read our favorites, Matt and Ted Lee in their New York Times article about cooking Marilyn's stuffing.

Over at Lucindaville, we posted a bonus with some of our favorite photos of Marilyn Monroe reading.
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