Category Archives: Recipes (Savory)

Smashed Cucumbers with Sizzled Turmeric and Garlic

Get smashing -- with cucumbers, that is.
Get smashing — with cucumbers, that is.

Every couple of years, Instagram blows up with the latest-greatest food blogger whose recipes and photos are so captivating that they are irresistible to anyone who happens to stumble upon them.

Meet the new “It” girl — if you haven’t already: Alison Roman.

The native of Los Angeles who now calls Brooklyn home is a regular columnist for the New York Times food section and Bon Appetit magazine.

Blonde and bubbly, she’s like the girl next door — who can not only cook, but will always invite you over to sit down at her table.

Because when it comes to entertaining, she believes in nothing fancy.

Indeed, that’s the title of her new cookbook, which encourages you to take a deep breath, and stop stressing about cooking for others.

“Nothing Fancy: Unfussy Food for Having People Over” (Clarkson Potter), of which I received a review copy, is all about making entertaining easy with fuss-free, crowd-pleasing dishes that make people feel at home from the get go.

Take a go at dishes such as “Mustardy Green Beans with Anchovyed Walnuts,” “One-Pot Chicken with Dates and Caramelized Lemons,” “Kimchi-Braised Pork with Sesame and Egg Yolk” and “Salted Honey Panna Cotta with Crushed Raspberries.”

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Honey-Mustard Sheet-Pan Chicken with Brussels Sprouts

Honey-mustard chicken, charred Brussels sprouts, and sweet red onions -- all roasted in one pan for ease.
Honey-mustard chicken, charred Brussels sprouts, and sweet red onions — all roasted in one pan for ease.

This dish is a total no-brainer.

And I mean that in the best of sense.

Because “Honey-Mustard Sheet-Pan Chicken with Brussels Sprouts” is so easy to make. It’s one of those recipes that requires little exertion mentally or physically. It’s effortless enough to make on a weeknight. And it uses many ingredients that you probably routinely have on hand.

It’s from the new cookbook, “Two Peas & Their Pod Cookbook: Favorite Everyday Recipes from Our Family Kitchen” (Grand Central), of which I received a review copy.

It’s the debut cookbook from Salt Lake City’ Maria Lichty, who created the namesake Two Peas & Their Pod blog.

The book showcases 115 recipes that especially speak to young families like hers who are time-pressed to get food on the table for kids and spouses. These are dishes that are simple enough to make day in and day out, such as “Cinnamon Streusel French Toast,” “Sweet Potato Fries with Magic Green Tahini Sauce, ” “Asian Pork Lettuce Wraps,” and “Chocolate-Mint Whoopie Pies.” There’s even a chapter on easy entertaining with recipes to feed a crowd, including “Loaded Nachos Bar” and “Weekend Waffle Bar.”

Sheet-pan entrees are all the rage now in this time-pressed era because everything cooks in one baking pan, making prep and clean-up a breeze. I took that one step further: The recipe says to spray nonstick baking spray on a large baking sheet. Instead, I lined my baking tray with aluminum foil, then sprayed the foil with nonstick spray. That way, only the foil gets dirty, not the pan.

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You Won’t Believe What’s In This Chicken Dish

Chocolate milk is one of the main ingredients in this chicken dish. How wild is that?
Chocolate milk is one of the main ingredients in this chicken dish. How wild is that?

Yes, chocolate milk.

This recipe is pure crazy.

And it’s mind-boggling good.

“Spicy Chocolate Milk-Simmered Chicken” is one of those dishes that sounds so far-fetched and weird that you can’t help but be drawn to it. At least for curiosity’s sake.

Braising pork, veal or chicken in milk has a long tradition in Italian cuisine, where it not only helps tenderize the meat but creates its own velvety sauce.

But chocolate milk?

It actually does the same. And when combined with chiles, makes for an almost mole-like sauce.

This unusual recipe is from the new “Food52 Dynamite Chicken: 60 Never-Boring Recipes for Your Favorite Bird” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy. The 60 recipes were created by Tyler Kord, chef-owner of No. 7 Restaurant in Brooklyn and the author of the fun, irreverent cookbook, “A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches” (Clarkson Potter).

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Yearning For Spicy Chinese Noodles

Comfort me -- with spicy Chinese noodles.
Comfort me — with spicy Chinese noodles.

A sense of deep wistfulness came over me as I read Ruth Reichl’s latest book, “Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir.”

And if you haven’t yet read her newest memoir (Random House), of which I received a review copy, you ought to pronto, especially if you were a fan of the dearly missed Gourmet magazine.

When she was the restaurant critic for the New York Times, Reichl was offered the top job at the country’s oldest epicurean magazine. Initially, she actually turned down the job as editor-in-chief of Gourmet. But she eventually reconsidered, realizing the strong pull the magazine had on her since she first leafed through its pages when she was 8 years old.

The book takes you behind the scenes of the iconic magazine, recounting how Reichl turned it around from a publication that had grown stale with ladies-who-lunch fare to one that was ground-breaking in design and text. It thrilled and surprised — until it was no more, shuttered because profit margins weren’t high enough.

I was a long–time subscriber to the magazine. But I had forgotten just how pioneering it had been. It was illuminating to revisit the topics it covered, enlisting some of the country’s best writers — not just best food writers — to pen stories never seen before, including the plight of the Immokalee farm workers in Florida, who picked the industrial tomatoes that flood supermarkets, under conditions that verged on modern-day slavery.

Or the shocking fall-out that occurred when Reichl dared to put a gloriously whimsical cake covered in cupcakes on the cover of the magazine, which somehow ended up offending a number of readers. Go figure.

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Sauteed Radishes with Vadouvan Curry and Almonds

Radishes -- and their tops -- get kissed with home-made vadouvan.
Radishes — and their tops — get kissed with home-made vadouvan.

Spice up your life.

It’s easy with “Spiced: Unlock the Power of Spices to Transform Your Cooking” by America’s Test Kitchen, of which I received a review copy.

With recipes for 47 different spice blends, plus 139 recipes, your taste buds won’t know what hit ’em.

Sure, it’s easy enough to buy jarred spice blends at the supermarket. But when you make your own, you can customize them to your exact specifications and taste. Plus, when you grind and mix your own from whole spices, you’ll get a fresher, more vibrant and pungent blend that can wake up any vegetable, poultry, meat or seafood just like that.

Learn how to make flavored salts, robust rubs (like “Jerk Rub,” spice-infused oils (such as “Chipotle-Coriander Oil,” and spice-steeped extracts (homemade “rose water”).

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