Category Archives: Cool Cooking Techniques

Effortless Baked Cauliflower with Black Olives and Cheese

A winning side dish that couldn't be easier to make.
A winning side dish that couldn’t be easier to make.

Given that it’s June, is it too early to start thinking about festive winter holidays?


But “Baked Cauliflower with Black Olives and Cheese” is a dish you’ll want to enjoy now, as well as tuck away for safe-keeping for those November and December gatherings that will be here before you know it, given how time flies these days like a Shohei Ohtani fastball.

That’s because this side dish is a crowd-pleaser, easy to make, and much of it can be prepped ahead of time.

This fabulous recipe is from “The Food of Sicily” (Artisan Books, 2023), of which I received a review copy.

It was written by Palermo-native Farbrizia Lanza, who grew up in a wine-making family, who owns the 200-year-old Tasca d’Almerita in Sicily. In 2006, she took over the operations of her mother’s Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School in Sicily.

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For The Love of Crispy Bits

Use your oven and a preheated sheet pan for the crispiest fried rice you'll ever enjoy.
Use your oven and a preheated sheet pan for the crispiest fried rice you’ll ever enjoy.

Raise your hand if you covet those cooked grains of rice that turn golden and ever so crispy on the bottom of the pan.

Then, “Sheet Pan ‘Fried’ Rice” is made for you.

Because this is fried rice that’s cooked not in a wok or saute pan on the stovetop, but in the oven on a sheet pan that’s preheated until it’s blazing hot.

That means far more surface area for the rice to come in contact with to turn exceptionally toasty and crunchy.

This genius recipe is from “Hot Sheet” (Harvest), of which I received a review copy.

The cookbook was written by Olga Massov, an editor at the Washington Post’s Food section; and Sanaë Lemoine, a novelist and former cookbook editor, who worked at Martha Stewart and Phaidon Press.

As the title implies, this book is all about recipes made on a sheet pan, one of the hardest working and most useful pans in our kitchens.

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Spoon Up Sensational Shells with Miso Butter and Scallions

An easy pasta recipe that's ever so creamy -- yet has no cream in it.
An easy pasta recipe that’s ever so creamy — yet has no cream in it.

Not that I need any excuse ever to eat more pasta, but “Anything’s Pastable” sure has me jonesing for it voraciously.

That’s because the new cookbook (William Morrow), of which I received a review copy, is full of creative and craveable pasta dishes, the kind that don’t take all day to put together but are so full of flavor that you’d swear that they did.

The book is by Dan Pashman, a two-time James Beard and Webby Award-winning creator and host of “The Sporkful” podcast, and the host of the Cooking Channel’s “You’re Eating It Wrong.”

This is a man so obsessed with pasta that he actually spent three years to create a brand-new shape, cascatelli, which he swears excels in the most crucial aspects of “forkability,” “sauceability,” and “toothsinkability.”

Named for the Italian word for “waterfalls,” its initial run of 3,700 boxes sold out in less than 2 hours. Not only that, it was named one of the “Best Inventions of 2021” by Time magazine. It’s now a runaway hit, sold online and at retailers that include Whole Foods.

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Biscuits With A Little Something-Something

Magnificent biscuits with a novel ingredient.
Magnificent biscuits with a novel ingredient.

These crispy-all-over, supremely decadent tasting biscuits are unlike others.

Because they have a novel ingredient that you might just guess from my cheeky photo.

Yes, duck — as in fat.

There’s no butter or shortening in these babies. Just a generous amount of lavish duck fat along with buttermilk.

This fabulous biscuit recipe is from “Still We Rise” (Clarkson Potter, 2023), of which I received a review copy.

It’s by Erika Council, creator of the Southern Souffle blog and chef-owner of Bomb Biscuit Co. in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward historic district where Martin Luther King Jr. was born.

As she writes, this book embodies the “gospel of biscuits,” the heritage and heart these rounds of little more than flour, fat, and dairy have carried over generations, especially among Black home-cooks who proudly perfected them for their families.

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Eric Ripert’s Halibut-Mushroom Casserole

An elegant halibut dish fit for a restaurant but so easy to make at home.
An elegant halibut dish fit for a restaurant but so easy to make at home.

If there was ever anyone qualified to write a masterful cookbook on seafood, it is Eric Ripert.

After all, the renowned chef is co-owner of Le Bernardin in New York City, the absolute mecca of seafood that holds three Michelin stars and has held four stars from the New York Times for more than three decades.

What’s incredibly refreshing about his “Seafood Simple” (Random House, 2023), of which I received a review copy, is how easy and doable these recipes are.

These recipes are absolutely made for the home cook, with many of them calling for little more than a handful of ingredients and only one page of instruction. Try your hand at “Tuna Carpaccio with Ginger-Lime Mayonnaise” (made with store-bought mayo and ginger juice that only requires grating it, then squeezing out the juice); “Salmon Wrapped in Collard Greens with Beurre Rouge” (a sauce that’s simply red wine reduced, then swirled with butter); “Fish Fingers” (a favorite of his son’s that is breaded in panko and served with ketchup); and “Shrimp Skewers with Green Curry Sauce” (with the shrimp skewered with pineapple chunks and grilled).

There’s also expert advice, as well as detailed photos, on how to skin a fish, clean shrimp, split a lobster, shuck an oyster, and remove pin bones from salmon.

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