Pumpkin spice bars with a cloud of fluffy, marshmallow-y cream cheese frosting.
Leave it to me to thumb through a soup cookbook, and end up making a dessert recipe first.
I may subscribe to the philosophy that “Life is short; eat dessert first.” But I’m usually too guilt-ridden to follow through on it.
So I did have a proper dinner beforehand, but my attention was always on what was to come.
Namely, “Pumpkin Brownies with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting.”
It’s from the new cookbook “Soup Nights” (Rizzoli) by food writer and cooking teacher Betty Rosbottom, of which I received a review copy.
The orange beef of my dreams — and yours.
Chef Dale Talde is a very talented chef, who became known as much for his fly-off-the-handle eruptions as his ferociously flavorful cooking when he appeared on “Top Chef.”
But it’s hard to blame a guy for getting emotional when good food is on the line.
Case in point: His no-holds bar feelings about the stand-by take-out Chinese classic of orange beef.
He laments to no end how this dish has been debased, turning into an evil concoction of cheap beef, battered and fried into oblivion, then tossed with a gloppy, over-cornstarched, candy sweet sauce.
It gives me shudders just thinking about it, too. I never order this dish at a restaurant. Exactly for those reasons.
But in the right hands, it could be a great dish. I mean, beef kissed with a deeply orange-y sauce and garnished with still-crunchy, bright green broccoli — how can that not be delicious?
In Talde’s hands, it actually is. “Orange Beef” finally gets its rightful treatment.
The recipe is from his cookbook, “Asian-American: Proudly Inauthentic Recipes From the Philippines to Brooklyn” (Grand Central Life & Style, 2015), of which I received a review copy, by Dale Talde with food writer JJ Goode.
A spicy, savory Korean pancake that cooks up in no time.
For me, comic books were something my older brothers and cousins collected — first-edition superhero ones that surely would be worth a fortune now, had my aunt not thrown them out years ago, alas.
But to cook out of a comic book?
Now, that’s a new one on me.
But Robin Ha’s delightful “Cook Korean! A Comic Book with Recipes” (Ten Speed Press), lured me to do just that. The unique, whimsical cookbook, of which I received a review copy, was both written and illustrated by Ha, a professional illustrator and creator of the blog, Banchan in 2 Pages, who was born in Seoul and now makes her home in New York.
A one-pan meal made in a cast-iron skillet.
There are cast-iron skillets that are handed down from generation to generation like the family jewels.
That’s how coveted they are, especially if they are beautifully seasoned from regular use and care, rendering them the ultimate nonstick pan.
Mine doesn’t have quite that lineage. It came about when I married my husband, who brought the heavy, black pan into my life.
Naturally, what led him to buy it was his fondness for cooking steaks. He is Meat Boy, after all.
But a cast-iron skillet can do so much more. In the new book, “Home Skillet” (Rockridge Press), of which I received a review copy, Bay Area food writer Robin Donovan shows just how versatile that pan is.
You can use it to bake treats such as “Maple-Pecan and Apple Oatmeal Breakfast Bake.” You can steam in it such dishes as “Mussels Steamed in Lemongrass-Coconut Broth.” You can use it on the barbie in entrees such as “Seafood Paella on the Grill.” You can make bread in it, such as “Onion Naan.” And you can whip up desserts in it such as “Sugar Cream Pie.”
This cantaloupe hides a center of molten mozzarella. Swooning yet?
Melon and prosciutto.
Ho-hum. Been there, ate that.
But not like this.
Not when the cantaloupe cavity is filled with molten mozzarella before being draped with thin slices of salty-sweet prosciutto, and seasoned liberally with salt, pepper, and lush olive oil.
“Broiled Cantaloupe with Hand-Stretched Mozzarella Curds and Prosciutto” takes a familiar taste and turns it on its head.
The genius recipe is from the new cookbook, “Around the Fire: Recipes For Inspired Grilling and Seasonal Feasting From Ox Restaurant” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy.
It’s by husband-and-wife chefs Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quinonez Denton, with assistance from food writer Stacy Adimando. They are the chefs of the critically acclaimed Ox in Portland, OR.