by Sybil PrattOctober 2012
Dining with David
David Venable is referred to as QVC’s “resident foodie,” but I think he should really be called their “comfort foodie.” On his cooking show, David whips up recipes that “warm your heart, stir your soul, and happily fill your stomach”—in other words, great comfort food. Now, he’s collected 150 of his down-home, downright delicious dishes in his debut cookbook, In the Kitchen with David. A warm, chatty home cook, schooled by his mother and grandmothers, David puts comfort in every course and category from appetizing starters to delicious desserts, along with helpful, time-saving tidbits and easy ideas for variations and substitutions. That so many of these recipes are familiar only adds to the appeal, and it’s so comforting to have them all together. If you crave homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, authentic Hush Puppies, Smothered Pork Chops, Barbecued Beef Brisket or Bananas Foster Bread Pudding, you only need to look in one book.
DOLLARS AND COOKING SENSE
“When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping”: Though I’m not sure who first coined those words of wisdom, they probably didn’t have Melissa d’Arabian in mind, nor our current economic woes. Melissa, the attractive host of the Food Network’s popular “Ten Dollar Dinners,” doesn’t look tough but she’s taken a tough, practical stand on savvy shopping for delicious, $10 dinners for four. She’s gathered all her spending-with-a-purpose strategies for supermarket shopping (smart splurges included), tips for stretching expensive ingredients, budget entertaining and pantry management, as well as 140 tantalizing recipes in her first cookbook, Ten Dollar Dinners. Every recipe is marked with a scale that lets you know whether a dish is cheap, pricey or in between. Then you can mix and match, pairing inexpensive Crispy Kale Chips, Tomatoes Provençal and Lemon-Ginger Pudding with more costly Pot Roast Carbonade for an elegant dinner. Go for it—serve super suppers while you save big time.
TOP PICK IN COOKBOOKS
It was love at first bite—with my first taste of Silver Queen Corn Pudding I knew Alex Hitz was a brilliant cook and knew I had to try everything in My Beverly Hills Kitchen. There are endless Southern cookbooks, but few really stand out. This one does. It’s Southern food on Alex’s terms, revived, revamped and revved up, grand old plantation recipes (plus a few newer creations) prepared to foodie-pleasing, haute cuisine specs. Charming and wonderfully opinionated, Alex supplies expert directions and expert advice on entertaining. Brought up in Atlanta, trained at Le Cordon Bleu, tested by the realities of restaurant cooking and now purveyor of prepared gourmet food, he takes us from Gruyère-laced Crab Tarts (no crab cakes here), lavish Millionaire’s Macaroni and Cheese and biscuit-crusted Chicken Pot Pie to Dorothy’s ambrosial Coconut Cake. Just promise to make the Corn Pudding first!