Categories

Cookbooks and More ~ Your Holiday Gift Giving Guide

Jordan Wright
December 2018

 Some new and notable books arrived this year, many of which surprised me by their diversity and flat-out culinary allure.  All but one are food-related, and the authors have generously consented to share some of their best recipes.  See below.

The following four writers are local to the DC and Chesapeake region.

“Reprinted from Red Truck Bakery Cookbook. Copyright © 2018 by Brian Noyes. Photographs copyright © 2018 by Andrew Lee Thomas. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.”

~ Brian Noyes with Nevin Martell’s “Red Truck Bakery Cookbook – Gold Standard Recipes from America’s Favorite Rural Bakery” (Clarkson Potter Publishers, 2018) has some eminently do-able show stoppers just in time for the holidays, but it’s one that you’ll be returning to time and time again for both classic and re-imagined recipes that trend Southern.  Noyes runs two retail stores where all the baked goods are made by hand.  The one in Warrenton, VA is in a former 1921 Esso Station the other is in Marshall, VA.  The Red Truck Bakery ships all over the country.  Fun fact: The Obamas, country and folk singer Mary Chapin Carpenter, Robert Duvall and Oprah are on his client list.

~ You’ll want to refer often to Washington Post food writer Cathy Barrow’s “Pie Squared – Irresistibly Easy Sweet & Savory Slab Pies” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018) for quick and easy slab pies perfect for hors d’oeuvres, dinner, desserts and party fare.  Barrow’s Cherry Pie was the winner of a contest at the Washington Post and her recipe for slab pie broke the internet.  Pro tips: Barrow uses a baking steel or pizza stone and swears she never gets soggy bottoms! She also uses ice packs or frozen peas to cool the counter before rolling out her dough.

From left to right - Washington Post Food Editor, Bonnie Benwick, Red Truck Bakery owner and cookbook author,Brian Noyes, and Pie Squared cookbook author Cathy Barrow at a book signing at Old Town Books. - photo credit Jordan Wright

~ Newcomers Mauro Molino and Nicoletta Shane Scarnera’s “Piedmont Style – A Delectable Journey Through Northern Italy” (2018) is the dark horse of this grouping.  Molino is originally from the Piedmont region.  Currently Molino oversees operations at The Reserve restaurant in Alexandria, VA.

Nicoletta Shane Scarnera and Mauro Molino at a book signing for their new book “Piedmont Style”

Self-published, it is a beautiful book with photographs by Scarnera of the food and terrain of the Piedmont.  Divided by seasons, these recipes will keep you returning to its pages time and again for the evocative flavors of Northern Italy.  Available for purchase at www.LegalizeAChef.com

~ Renee Brooks Catacalos will be familiar to many as the former publisher of the magazine Edible Chesapeake and Deputy Director for Future Harvest - Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture.  Coupled with regional recipes “The Chesapeake Table  - Your Guide to Eating Local” (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018) is a primer on local farms, breweries and distilleries in the Chesapeake region with an emphasis on environmentally sustainable practices.

~ From to the Middle East, “Tahini & Turmeric – 101 Middle East Classics Made Irresistibly Vegan” (Da Capo Press, 2018) by sisters and veteran food writers, Vicky Cohen and Ruth Fox, is a fresh take on Middle Eastern cooking.  With grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, fruits and veggies, it has all the recipes you’ll ever need to rock out plant-based meals from Spain, Syria, Morocco, Lebanon and Israel.

~ “Cuba Cooks: Recipes and Secrets from Cuban Paladares and Their Chefs” (Rizzoli, 2018) with foreword by José Andrés, takes you into the kitchens of the private home-based restaurants “paladares” that are scattered around Cuba.  Guillermo Pernot, considered the “Maestro of Cuban Cooking” along with cookbook author and TV food celebrity, Lourdes Castro are your behind-the-scenes guides to the once imperiled cooking of this mysterious island nation.

~ Last on the list and naturally without recipes! is a fascinating read by New York Times bestselling author and full disclosure here, a personal friend, Eleanor Herman.  Not to be referenced while preparing meals, “The Royal Art of Poison – Filthy Palaces, Fatal Cosmetics, Deadly Medicine and Murder Most Foul” (St. Martin’s Press, 2018) is a well-researched, headlong dive into the mysterious deaths of a host of famous historical figures from Henry VII and Michelangelo to Napoleon, Mozart and more.  You’ll never watch another period drama without thinking about how kings, queens and assorted royals spent their idle hours dreaming up ways to knock each other off.  Along with the tales of their demise are facts and suspicions. Leave it to this multi-disciplinary writer to dish it up in an engaging, gossipy style that can make even the driest subject stand your hair on end.

Recipes 

From the Red Truck Bakery Cookbook

Rooster’s Pepper Jelly

 

Makes 8 cups or 8 half-pint jars

  • 2 cups finely chopped green bell peppers (about 2 medium)
  • 2 cups finely chopped red bell peppers (about 2 medium)
  • 1 cup finely chopped seeded fresh hot peppers (about 10)
  • 3 cups cider vinegar
  • 12 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 (3-ounce) packages liquid pectin
  1. In a large, tall-sided nonreactive pot, combine the green bell peppers, red bell peppers, hot peppers, vinegar, sugar, and red pepper flakes and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Add the pectin and return to a rolling boil for exactly 2 minutes to blend and develop the flavors. While the jelly is cooking, use a brush dipped in water to clean off any that bubbles up the sides and sticks to the pot.
  2. Remove the pot from the heat, let the mixture cool, and refrigerate overnight in a half-gallon jar or covered bowl to achieve a jelly consistency. The jelly will keep in the refrigerator for about 1 month.
  3. If you’d like to save the jelly for future use, sterilize 8-ounce jars, rings, and lids according to the manufacturer’s directions. Set a raised wire rack on a dishtowel or layer of newspaper. Carefully pour the jam into the sterilized jars, leaving ½ inch of space at the top of the jars. Wipe the rims of the jars clean and seal tightly. Transfer the jars to a canning pot and add water to cover by 1 to 2 inches. Boil the jars for 10 minutes, sealing them according to the manufacturer’s directions. Carefully remove the jars from the water and place on the wire rack over the towel or newspaper. Let stand for several hours until cooled.
  4. Unopened jars of jelly will keep at room temperature for about 1 year.

Guinness Stout and Chocolate Irish Cake with Baileys Irish Cream Frosting

Makes one 10-inch Bundt cake

Cake:

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted, plus more for dusting
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ½ cup Guinness stout
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1½ teaspoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • Frosting:
  • 1¾ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • ¼ cup Baileys Irish Cream coffee creamer
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 10-inch Bundt pan with nonstick spray and dust it with flour, tapping out any excess.
  2. Make the cake: In a large bowl, whisk together the canola oil, Guinness, and melted butter until well blended. Whisk in the cocoa powder and granulated sugar.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the sour cream, egg, and vanilla at medium speed until just combined. Add the Guinness mixture and mix until combined. Add the flour, pudding mix, baking soda, and baking powder. Beat until smooth.
  4. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, turning the pan after 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the middle of the cake bounces back when touched. Let cool completely, then turn the cake out of the pan onto a cake stand or platter.

From Tahini & Turmeric

Creamy Tahini Cheesecake with Pistachio Crust and Fresh Pomegranate

We’ve been making dairy-free cheesecake for years, and we’ve always used dairy-free cream cheese as our base. That is until we discovered how ground, soaked cashews have the extraordinary ability to mimic pretty much every single dairy product from ricotta to cream cheese. Cashews are incredibly versatile. In this recipe, they work beautifully with the tahini (which also adds a subtle nutty flavor), and the result is a rich and creamy cheesecake. The slightly tart pomegranate seeds cut through the creaminess of the cashew and tahini base, also providing a touch of crunch. To further accentuate the Middle Eastern flavors of this luscious dessert, we make the crust with dates and pistachios.

This recipe works best when prepared in a 7-inch springform pan. You can use a bigger mold if that is what you have on hand, but take into consideration that the cheesecake will not be as tall.

The leftover cheesecake can be frozen in an airtight container for up to a month. We recommend removing the pomegranate seeds from the top before freezing.

Prep time: 1 hour 45 minutes (includes freezing time)
Makes one 7-inch cheesecake

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups raw cashews
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons shelled pistachios
  • 20 pitted dates, or 10 pitted Medjool dates
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened nondairy milk
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

TOPPING:

  • 1 cup vegan chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds

EQUIPMENT:

  • 7-inch springform pan

Place the cashews in a heatproof bowl. Add the boiling water. Soak for 30 minutes and then drain.

In the meantime, prepare the crust: Combine 1 cup of the pistachios, dates, and 1 tablespoon of tahini in a food processor. Pulse until well combined and transfer the mixture to a 7-inch springform pan. Press down evenly, so the mixture comes about halfway up the sides of the pan. Refrigerate until you’re ready to use it.

Prepare the filling: Combine the drained cashews, 1/2 cup of the tahini, and the maple syrup, melted coconut oil, nondairy milk, lemon juice, and vanilla in the food processor. Pulse until smooth, scraping the sides occasionally. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and fold in the remaining 2 tablespoons of pistachios. Pour the filling over the prepared crust and freeze for 1 hour.

Remove the cheesecake from the freezer and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Right before serving, prepare the chocolate topping: Place the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a medium-size, heatproof glass bowl. Fill a medium-size saucepan halfway with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to simmer and place the bowl of chocolate over the saucepan, making sure the boiling water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. Let the chocolate melt, stirring frequently. Alternatively, melt the chocolate in a microwave, at 20-second intervals on standard power until completely melted, making sure to stir well each time (this will prevent the chocolate from seizing).

Drizzle the melted chocolate on top of the cheesecake. Garnish with fresh pomegranate seeds.

Cumin Jasmine Rice with Almonds, Walnuts, and Cashews

Smoky cumin, slow-cooked sweet onions, and rich toasted nuts add so much flavor to this dish, you will never look at rice the same way again. It’s the perfect accompaniment for our Roasted Cauliflower with Green Tahini or served alongside some plain Quinoa Harissa Meatless Meatballs. This dish is best when served fresh, but you can store the leftovers in the refrigerator for up to two days.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 large sweet onions, sliced
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked jasmine rice
  • 2 teaspoons neutral-flavor oil (such as sunflower, avocado, or grapeseed)
  • 1/4 cup sliced raw almonds
  • 1/4 cup raw walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews, roughly chopped parsley and pomegranate seeds, for garnish (optional)

Heat the olive oil in a deep, medium-size skillet with a lid. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat for 1 hour, or until golden brown, stirring frequently (you might need to add some water during the cooking process to prevent them from burning).

Add 2 1/3 cups of water, and the salt and cumin and bring to a boil. Add the rice and stir well. Bring to a boil again, lower the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes.

Uncover the skillet and gently fluff up the rice with a fork. Replace the lid and remove the skillet from the heat. Let sit for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, heat the neutral-flavor oil in a separate skillet over medium heat. Add the almonds, walnuts, and cashews and toast them for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly, or until golden brown, watching them carefully to prevent them from burning.

Once the rice is ready, transfer it to a large serving platter and top with the toasted nuts. Garnish with parsley and pomegranate seeds, if using.

Time-saving tip – Cook the onions one to two days in advance, and refrigerate them until they are ready to be used.

Excerpted from Tahini & Turmeric: 101 Middle Eastern Classics—Made Irresistibly Vegan by Vicky Cohen and Ruth Fox. Copyright ©2018. Available from Da Capo Lifelong Books, an imprint of Perseus Books, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

From Pie Squared

No-Campfire-Necessary S’Mores Slab Pie with a Graham Cracker Crust
Serves 15 to 18

"Pie Squared" - S'mores

expect some of you may slap your forehead when you read this recipe and say, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Indeed, it’s so easy and straightforward, it’s almost sinful. There is nothing to beat the smell of wood smoke and the fear your perfectly bronzed and oozy marshmallow will slip from the stick, but this S’Mores Slab stands in when the campfire is miles away. This pie must be baked on top of a hot surface to achieve a firm base.

Make Ahead: The crust may be baked and the chocolate layer spread over the crust a day or two in advance. Keep refrigerated until ready to add the marshmallows.

Graham Cracker Crust

  • 9 graham crackers (143 g), crushed to a powder (about 1 1⁄4 cups)
  • 6 tablespoons (85 g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup (67 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Filling

  • 2 cups (12 ounces, 300 g) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 5 cups (10 ounces, 285 g) mini marshmallows .

For the crust: Heat the oven to 350F and place a baking stone, Baking Steel, or inverted baking sheet on the center rack to heat. Place the graham crackers in a ziptop bag and bash them with a rolling pin until they are in small pieces but not powdered, or use your hands to crush them. Mix the cracker crumbs, butter, sugar, and salt together using your hands or a firm silicone spatula. Knead and press the mixture until it is cohesive and the crumbs are thoroughly buttered. Dump the dough into the slab pie pan and press across the bottom, but not up the sides of the pan. Press down using a metal cup measure, or the flat bottom of a glass, until the crust feels firm to the touch. Slide the pan into the center of the oven, on top of the steel, stone, or baking sheet, and bake until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

To fill the pie: Remove the crust from the oven; it will still feel damp and soft. Immediately scatter the chocolate chips evenly across the surface of the pie and pop the pie back into the oven for no more than 2 minutes, until the chocolate is softened. With an offset spatula, spread the chocolate evenly across the crust. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

Place a rack at the top of the oven and heat the broiler to high. Scatter the marshmallows thickly across the top of the pie. Slide the pan under the broiler and watch carefully. It takes about 2 minutes to brown beautifully. It takes about 4 minutes to incinerate.

While still hot from the oven, warm a long slicing knife under hot water, make a cut and, wiping and warming the knife between each subsequent cut, portion the pie into serving pieces.

Swaps:
• Try bittersweet chocolate instead of semisweet.
• A swipe of caramel atop the crust and below the chocolate is, plain and simple, naughty.

Just-Like-Artichoke-Dip Slab Pie with a Cream Cheese

"Pie Squared" Artichoke Dip Slab Pie

Serves 15 to 24

We all have our comfort foods, and artichoke dip is mine. It’s soothing and familiar and cheesy and goes with a rainy day and a Netflix binge. Next time, invite a few friends over, wrap that familiar combination in a tender cream cheese crust, and make a pie. Select artichokes packed in water, not marinated or in a vinegar brine. Chop the artichokes into small pieces, pressing the liquid out as you go. The drier the artichokes, the better the texture and flavor of the filling. Add a lattice or open-work crust that you dusted with cheese, cut the pie into tiny bite-sized pieces, and you have a fancy pass-around for a swanky cocktail party.

Make ahead – Combine the filling ingredients up to one day ahead.

Cream Cheese Crust

  • 2 1⁄2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (325 g) all-purpose flour
  • 8 tablespoons (113 g) unsalted butter, cubed and frozen for 20 minutes
  • 8 tablespoons (113 g) cream cheese, cubed and refrigerated for 20 minutes 1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1⁄2 cup (120 ml) ice water

Filling

  • 2 (14-ounce) cans artichoke hearts in water (800 g), drained and chopped 3⁄4 cup (170 g) mayonnaise (not low-fat)
  • 1 cup (100 g) grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1⁄2 cup (30 g) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1⁄2 cup (30 g) snipped fresh chives 2 garlic cloves, grated or minced Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano

For the crust: In the food processor, pulse the flour, butter, cream cheese, and salt until the fats are in small pieces coated with flour, about 15 times. Add the water all at once and process until the mixture almost forms a ball. Form the dough into a 6- by 4-inch rectangle using plastic wrap and a bench scraper to firmly press the dough into a cohesive form. Wrap tightly and refrigerate a minimum of 4 hours.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow it to warm slightly. Divide the dough into two pieces, one slightly larger than the other. Roll out the larger piece to 11 by 15 inches and place in the slab pie pan, pressing it into the corners of the pan and allowing the excess to drape over the sides. Refrigerate. Roll out the second piece of dough to 10 by 14 inches, place it on a lightly floured sheet of parchment, and refrigerate.

Heat the oven to 400F; if you have one, place a baking stone, Baking Steel, or inverted baking sheet on the center rack to heat.

For the filling: Combine the artichokes, mayonnaise, 1 cup Parmigiano,
the parsley, chives, garlic, lemon juice, and pepper and scoop into the chilled bottom crust. Cut lattice strips from the chilled top crust. Spread the filling evenly in the bottom crust and lattice the top.

Combine the egg yolk and water in a small bowl. Dip a pastry brush into the egg wash and lightly glaze the lattice. Scatter the 3 tablespoons Parmigiano over the surface of the pie. Slide the pie into the oven (on top of the steel, stone, or baking sheet, if using) and bake
until the filling is bubbly and the crust is browned and glossy, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.

Swaps:

  • Add a small can of green chiles or small jar diced pimentos, drained, to the filling—or add both.
  • Top with crushed Bugles.

Excerpted from the book PIE SQUARED: Irresistibly Easy Sweet & Savory Slab Pies by Cathy Barrow. Copyright © 2018 by Cathy Barrow. Reprinted with permission of Grand Central Publishing. All rights reserved.

 

From Cuba Cooks

Arroz Con Pollo  - Chicken and Rice

I’ve been eating arroz con pollo, the ubiquitous chicken and rice dish served at Cuban family gatherings, for as long as I can remember. And while I’ve had many delicious versions, chef Iván’s is undoubtedly the best I’ve tasted. I strongly suggest you do not neglect the last step, which instructs you to pour beer over the cooked dish. The beer mixes with the chicken juices and creates an incredibly tasty sauce.

Serves 4

  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 4 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
  • 4 skin-on, bone-in chicken legs,
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more
  • to taste
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ cup chopped green bell pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 large beefsteak tomato, cut in half
  • crosswise, coarsely grated with a box
  • grater
  • 2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads, soaked in
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup frozen green peas, defrosted
  • ⅓ cup Crystal beer, or other Pilsner-
  • style beer
  • 2 eggs, soft boiled, peeled and cut in
  • half, for garnish
  • 1 plum tomato, cut into quarters, for
  • garnish

Place the chicken stock and bouillon cube in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until the bouillon cube is fully dissolved. Set the broth aside. Season the chicken pieces with the salt. Heat the olive oil in a wide sauté pan or cazuela  (a terra-cotta cooking vessel) over medium heat. Add the chicken pieces and cook just until brown on both sides, about 5 minutes.

The chicken should not be cooked through. Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside. Add the onion to the pan and sauté it until it turns limp and translucent, 2–3 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cumin, and bay leaf and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes more. Stir in the green and red peppers and the grated tomato and simmer for a couple minutes, then add the rice and saffron, along with its soaking water, to the pan.

Return the chicken pieces to the pan, making sure to nudge them into the rice. Pour the reserved chicken broth over the chicken and rice and bring to a simmer. Taste the broth and season with salt if necessary. Once the broth is simmering, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, covered, for 20 minutes.

Sprinkle the peas over the chicken and cook for another 5 minutes. Right before serving, drizzle the beer evenly over the pan and garnish with the eggs and tomato wedges.

Ceviche de Ostion ~ Oyster Ceviche

Oysters are incredibly rare in Cuba, as their stocks have been practically wiped out. However, on one particular day we saw a fisherman entering the paladar where we were seated with a bag of mangrove oysters. These Caribbean oysters grow in clumps on the roots of mangroves, the shrubs that grow in coastal seawater. Mangrove oysters are smaller, plumper, and less briny than the cold-water variety. When presented with this ingredient, the chef decided he’d prepare this oyster ceviche for us, and we loved it. Feel free to use your favorite oyster in this recipe.

Serves 6

  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Juice of 3 lemons
  • 2 sprigs fresh mint, sliced into
  • ribbons
  • 2 sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ½ small red bell pepper, seeded and
  • finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground white
  • pepper
  • 30 oysters, shucked, liquid reserved
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely
  • chopped
  • 1 tomato, peeled, seeded, and
  • chopped

Yuca chips, for serving

From Piedmont Style
Pumpkin and Gorgonzola Cheese Risotto

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pound Arborio rice
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 cups fresh pumpkin, peeled and cut in small cubes
  • 8 cups chicken stock, hot
  • 2 cups sweet Gorgonzola cheese
  • 2 cups Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil together with two tablespoons of butter in a large flat skillet; add the onions and sauté until they become translucent; add the rice and toss for a few minutes to allow each grain to be coated by the oil and butter. Pour in the wine and reduce all the way; add the pumpkin, mixing well. Little by little add the hot broth and let it be absorbed before adding some more. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, mixing very frequently to avoid the rice sticking to the bottom of the pan. Season to your taste. When cooked, remove from the heat, add the Gorgonzola cheese, Parmesan cheese and the remaining two tablespoons of butter; mix well. Serve hot.

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