Michelin-starred chef April Bloomfield's recipe for Salad Sandwiches is simple and perfect for these scorching summer days when you don't want to turn on the oven or stove. Pack a these in a picnic basket and enjoy the sunshine!
Makes 4 sandwiches
Don’t tell me you’ve never had a salad sandwich! When I was a girl, my family practically lived on them come summer, when it was steamy outside and the last thing my mom wanted to do was hunch over a hot stove. The salad sandwich is just what it sounds like: bread piled with veg like tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, and onion. My mum would add spring onions from her garden and slather the bread with butter and Heinz Salad Cream. The ones I make today aren’t much different, though I typically make my own version of salad cream and might occasionally add boiled eggs with oozy yolks or use goat cheese butter. Sometimes I’ll even bake my own white bread. But really, the little details are up to you.
Fill a medium pot at least halfway with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Use a slotted spoon to gently add the eggs to the water and cook them for 7 minutes (set a timer), then run them under cold water until they’re fully cool. Lightly tap each egg against the counter to crack the shell all over, then carefully peel them. Slice them however you’d like just before you add them to the sandwich.
Lay the tomato, cucumber and onion in more or less one layer on a large platter or cutting board. Squeeze a little lemon juice over the veg, then add a good drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Flip them over and rub them gently, just to make sure they’re all seasoned.
Spread each slice of bread with butter. Layer the tomato, cucumber, onion, lettuce, salad cream, and eggs on 4 slices of bread: I like to start with the tomatoes, then lettuce, then a good old slather of salad cream, then the eggs, the cucumber, and finally the onion. Top with the remaining bread and give each sandwich a firm but gentle press with your palm. Eat straightaway.
Makes a generous cup
This creamy, tangy dressing is meant to mimic the jarred salad cream I grew up with in England, which I poured all over raw vegetables. I realize now that it’s a lot like a really liquidy version of the deviled egg filling I make at The Spotted Pig, with a little tarragon thrown in. If you’re making this for Salad Sandwiches, you might want to give some of the boiled egg whites a good old chop and pile them on the bread along with the soft-boiled eggs. No point in wasting.
Fill a medium pot at least halfway with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Use a slotted spoon to gently add the eggs to the water, cook them for 10 minutes (set a timer), then run them under cold water until they’re fully cool. Lightly tap each egg against the counter to crack the shell all over, then peel them, halve them lengthwise, and pop out the yolks. (Reserve the whites for another purpose, like Salad Sandwiches, or for nibbling.)
Use the back of a spoon to force the yolks through a mesh sieve into a food processor. Add the oil, cream, vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt, and 2 teaspoons water and process until very smooth and creamy. Add the tarragon and process briefly. It keeps in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
From A Girl and Her Greens by April Bloomfield. Copyright 2015 April Bloomfield. Excerpted by permission of Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Read our review of this book.
Mat Johnson found critical acclaim with his debut, Pym, and his anticipated second novel is a fresh, whip-smart and satirical take on one Philadelphia family's struggles. When middle aged Warren Duffy returns to his father's half-renovated mansion on the heels of a divorce from his Welsh wife, his career prospects seem dim and he can barely see ahead to the next day. But suddenly his life is upended even further when he discovers his teenage daughter, Tal, after the death of her white mother. Warren and Tal steadily build a relationship after she moves in, and Warren may even find himself falling in love with Sunita, a fellow comic nerd. Johnson's Loving Day deftly explores biracial identities, family, aging, healing from lost love and finding it anew.
In the ghetto there is a mansion, and it is my father’s house. It sits on seven acres, surrounded by growling row houses, frozen in an architectural class war. Its expansive lawn is utterly useless, wild like it smokes its own grass and dreams of being a jungle. The street around it is even worse: littered with the disposables no one could bother to put in a can, the cars on their last American owner, the living dead roaming slow and steady to nowhere. And this damn house, which killed my father, is as big as it is old, decaying to gray pulp yet somehow still standing there with its phallic white pillars and the intention of eternity.
An eighteenth-century estate in the middle of the urban depression of Germantown. Before he died, my father bought the wreck at auction, planned on restoring it to its original state, just like he did for so many smaller houses in the neighborhood. Rescuing a slice of colonial history to sell it back to the city for a timeless American profit. His plan didn’t include being old, getting sick, or me having to come back to this country, to this city to pick up his pieces. This house is a job for a legion, not one person. It did—my father. I am one person now. My father’s house is on me. I see it from the back of the cab, up on its hill, rotting.
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Outdoor grilling season is in full-swing, and celebrated chef Rick Bayless has just the right multi-purpose seasoning for you. Try his modified recipe from More Mexican Everyday for a traditional salsa negra, a sweet and smoky paste that can be used on everything from grilled meats to sandwiches.
Sweet-Sour Dark Chipotle Seasoning • Salsa Negra
Don’t think of this Veracruz specialty as a typical salsa, in spite of its Spanish name; it’s more of a seasoning paste, with deep, dark richness and smoldering heat—just right for adding depth and complexity to the simplest of dishes. The traditional version of this salsa is so involved (oil-roast the chiles and garlic, soak in raw-sugar water, puree and cook slowly in an oily pan for an hour or more) that no one really makes it at home. Which is the reason I worked on a quick cheater version, but one that, to my taste, is pretty darn close to the original.
Makes about 2 cups
Place the two cans of chiles (and their canning liquid), molasses, vinegar, sugar and ½ cup water in a blender and process until completely smooth. Scrape into a small saucepan and set over medium heat. Let the mixture come to a brisk simmer, then turn the heat to medium-low and continue simmering, stirring regularly, until the mixture is the consistency of tomato paste, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the soy sauce. If necessary, add some water, a splash at a time, until the salsa is the consistency of runny ketchup. Cool, taste and season with salt; it may not need any, depending on the saltiness of your soy sauce. (That said, keep in mind that salsa negra should be seasoned highly, both to preserve it for longer storage and to make it useful as a seasoning.) Transfer the salsa to a pint-size jar and store, covered, in the refrigerator, where it will last for a month or two.
The Simplest Uses for Sweet-Sour Dark Chipotle Seasoning
1. Spoon onto raw oysters or add to cocktail sauce for shrimp
2. Toss with nuts and a little oil and bake for a delicious nibble
3. Toss with shrimp or smear on chicken after sautéing or grilling
4. Use as a glaze for practically anything off the grill. It’s particularly good on tuna, mackerel and sardines, as well as eggplant.
5. Believe it or not, it’s good on peanut butter–banana sandwiches
6. Use instead of Worcestershire and hot sauce for a spicy bloody Mary
7. Stir into cream cheese with crumbled bacon for an amazing bagel spread
8. Stir into caramel sauce and use as a dip for apples
9. Add to the pot when braising shortribs
Copyright © 2015 by Rick Bayless. Excerped from More Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless published by Norton. Read our review of this book.
Our May Top Pick in Cookbooks is A Girl and Her Greens: Hearty Meals from the Garden by New York Michelin-starred chef, April Bloomfield! Did you know the leafy tops of carrots are actually secretly tasty? Bloomfield's recipe for Carrot-Top Pesto will completely change the way you look at this popular veg.
If you’ve never nibbled a carrot top, you have a happy surprise waiting for you. The greens are delicious: a little less carroty than the roots, and almost briny, like heartier borage. Arriving home from the market with not only a collection of sweet, colorful roots but also a big old tuft of bushy tops is like ordering pork shoulder and finding out that the kind butcher has snuck a couple of trotters into your bag.
I treat the tops as I would a tender herb, adding little sprigs to salads as I might parsley or dill. And because each bunch of carrots can bring twice the volume in tops, I make pesto. As much as I like the particular flavor of the tops themselves, I also like how they carry the flavor of basil, which comes through quite a bit considering how few leaves you use.
Makes about 1 cup
Combine the carrot tops and basil in a small food processor, pulse several times, then add the walnuts, Parmesan, garlic and salt. Pulse several more times, add the oil, then process full-on, stopping and scraping down the sides of the processor or stirring gently if need be, until the mixture is well combined but still a bit chunky. Taste and season with more salt, if you fancy.
By now, you've most likely heard something about 2000's cult-favorite horror novel House of Leaves. Author Mark Z. Danielewski's highly experimental writing style is often compared to that of James Joyce, but his inclusion of graphic elements—sections of text printed in shapes, multiple typefaces and font sizes, certain words printed in color—have set his novels apart in today's literary landscape. His new novel, The Familiar, is the first in a series with 27 planned volumes (yes, 27!), and it follows a 12-year-old girl named Xanther who finds an abandoned kitten on the side of the road one rainy day. Well, the story isn't quite that straightforward. Danielewski also explores Mexico, Singapore, a brutal gang in East L.A., two computer scientists in Marfa, Texas, and many more settings and characters—each with their own color-coded sections. Fans of more traditional linear narratives may want to take caution, but if you're feeling adventurous and are interested in a different kind of reading experience, then The Familiar is for you.
Xanther cracks the window, gulping air, and wow!, the spray actually warms her!
"Remember: they are only questions," Anwar has told her many times. Like he's also told her: "Remember, they are only answers."
Xanther starts breathing regular-like again.
And sure, just as there's rain out there, the number for rain is out there too.
Dancing on the pavement.
Dancing in the air.
Like music before music becomes music.
"Is everything okay?" Anwar asks.
"Huh?" Xanther responds, profoundly, rolling the window back up, too aware of what she must look like bu the look already cornering her dad's eyes. "Head in the clouds?" she tries.
"Those are some clouds."
"You know, just daydreaming," Xanther tries again.
"Tell me then," Anwar sighs. "Tell me your daydreams, daughter."
And Xanther can't stand worrying him.
She can't stand lying either. She really can't.
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Looking for a fun, fast project to bring a little pop of color into a room? Victoria Hudgins, founder of the lifestyle blog A Subtle Revelry, outlines this straight-forward DIY for Colorful Rolled Tea Lights from her new book, Materially Crafted: A DIY Primer for the Design-Obsessed.
Any excuse is a good excuse to make a day at home a special one, and these colorful rolled tea lights will brighten up a room in more ways than one. I love the vibrancy of colored beeswax, and these small candles almost look like confetti strewn about!
Skill level: Beginner
Time needed: 30 minutes
Using an X-Acto knife, cut the beeswax sheets into three 4 x 2" (10 x 5 cm) pieces per candle.
Make the wax malleable by warming it up in your hands for a moment. Overlap the short ends of two of the pieces slightly and press together. Add the third piece in the same manner to connect the three pieces into one long skinny piece (about 11½ x 2" [29 x 5 cm] long).
Press a tea-light wick into the wax at one end. Starting from that end, gently roll the wax strip tightly around the wick to form a spiral.
Press the end of the roll into the candle base to connect.
Excerpted from Materially Crafted by Victoria Hudgins with the permission of Abrams | STC Craft. Photography by Jocelyn Noel. Read our review of this book.
Hugh Acheson, a James Beard Award-winning chef with four Atlanta restaurants, has compiled an inspiring cookbook, The Broad Fork. This guide to seasonal eating features recipes for more than 50 veggies and fruits, and with a harvest of summer berries coming soon, this recipe for Raspberry Cobbler with Drop Biscuit Topping is sure to come in handy.
I once cooked a guest-chef dinner at the great Atlanta restaurant Woodfire Grill, and the dessert course was made by chef Scott Peacock. Scott spent much of his professional life cooking and writing with Edna Lewis, one of my all-time favorite Southern culinary writers and one of the most important chefs in Southern food. Scott, who is himself a wildly talented man, clearly had learned some nuanced dessert skills from Edna because out of the kitchen emanated a truly scrumptious cobbler, wonderfully soupy with drop biscuits nestled into it, soaking up all of the fruit goodness from a mix of juicy berries. This recipe is an ode to both Scott and Edna, two of my favorite people ever to shape biscuits.
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine the raspberries with the 1⁄4 cup sugar and set aside to macerate at room temperature for 1 hour.
3. While the raspberries are macerating, assemble the biscuit dough: In a food processor, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, remaining
1 tablespoon sugar, and ¼ teaspoon of the sea salt. Pulse to combine, and then add the butter. Pulse until the butter has flaked into small pieces. Add the buttermilk and pulse until just combined. Remove the dough from the processor and set it aside.
4. Add the lemon zest and cornstarch to the raspberries, stir to combine, and place the mixture in a 6x8 inch baking dish. Dollop spoonfuls of the biscuit topping over the raspberries. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and the fruit is bubbly. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Back in January we shared our 15 most anticipated books of 2015, and now it's already time to talk about the best and biggest books published so far this year. Based on the number of pageviews on BookPage.com, we present you with the top 10 books that have readers talking.
After you've looked through the list below, be sure to let us know what you think in the comments below. And then vote in our reader poll for your favorite book of 2015 (so far!).
#1: The Girl on the Train
By Paula Hawkins
British author Hawkins struck gold with this deliciously twisted thriller that became an instant bestseller. Told through three unreliable narrators—Rachel, the alcoholic voyeur; Megan, the other half of the "golden couple" Rachel watches from the train; and Anna, who lives down the street. When Megan goes missing and a media firestorm follows, Rachel feels compelled to get involved. Already optioned for film by DreamWorks, this edge-of-your-seat suspense is sure to continue its upward trajectory.
#2. A Spool of Blue Thread
By Anne Tyler
With 20 novels published during her 50-year writing career, Anne Tyler has cemented her reputation as one of our most consistent and talented American authors. Her newest family saga, A Spool of Blue Thread, focuses on the Whitshanks, led by Abby and Red, a long-married couple whose story of the day they fell in love has become legendary. But now their four children are wondering whether—and how—Abby and Red can continue to live alone in the Baltimore home that Red's father built as they enter their 80s.
#3. The Bookseller
By Cynthia Swanson
Debut novelist Swanson penned a surprise hit with her inventive portrayal of one woman's two distinct lives in The Bookseller. Exploring the "what if?" questions we all ask ourselves at a certain age, Swanson follows Kitty Miller along two life paths—as both an unmarried bookshop owner and as Katharyn, a suburban stay-at-home mother.
To an outsider, Grace Chapman has a perfect life: She’s a lifestyle maven with a best-selling author husband of 20 years, a beautiful daughter and an elegant home outside of New York City. But Green takes us underneath the veneer, and soon the cracks begin to show.
Larson is one of our most talented and exciting writers of narrative nonfiction today. In Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, he tells the riveting, tragic story of the final voyage of the luxury British ship, which sailed from New York City on May 1, 1915 with 1,959 passengers, and was sunk by a German U-boat off Ireland's coast just six days later. Larson weaves in an astonishing amount of research into this event which is often cited as the reason America joined the fighting in World War I.
#6. Etta and Otto and Russell and James
By Emma Hooper
Emma Hooper’s captivating debut novel is inspired by a piece of her own family history. Shifting back and forth through a couple's history, Hooper tells the story of 83-year-old Etta as she leaves her husband Otto behind to walk more than 3,000 kilometers to see the ocean. This touching and creative novel explores the fuzzy boundaries of love, memory and time.
#7. He Wanted the Moon
By Mimi Baird and Eve Claxton
When author Mimi Baird was 6 years old, her father, prominent Boston dermatologist Perry Baird, did not come home. In the following 15 years between that fateful night and his death in 1959, Baird saw her father only once. When she discovers a cache of her father's letters and his unfinished manuscript in the '90s, Baird sets herself the task of bringing her father back to life.
#8. It Was Me All Along
By Andie Mitchell
Andie Mitchell chronicles her lifelong struggle with binge-eating in her strikingly honest memoir, It Was Me All Along. Tipping the scale at almost 300 pounds at the age of 20, Mitchell confronted her dependence on food to numb her emotional pain instead of nourishing her body during a semester trip to Rome.
#9. Born With Teeth
By Kate Mulgrew
You may recognize Mulgrew from her acting in television shows such as "Orange Is the New Black" and "Star Trek: Voyager," but she proves to be an equally skilled storyteller in her tellingly titled Born With Teeth. Yes, Mulgrew chronicles her 40-year career, but the boldly honest and heartbreaking stories concerning her Irish-Catholic family and deep friendships are the true focus of this well-crafted memoir.
McCreight’s follow up to her breakout debut, Reconstructing Amelia, is another suspenseful story about the ripple effect of tragedy. When the corpse of a baby is found in the woods of a picture-perfect New Jersey town, each resident suddenly becomes subject to scrutiny and suspicion. Reporter Molly Sanderson has just suffered a stillbirth, so this case feels personal, but she’s determined to solve the mystery. Using flashbacks and multiple narrators, McCreight keeps the tension tight all the way to the satisfying conclusion.
What do you think, readers? Don't forget to vote in our reader poll for your favorite book of 2015 (so far!).
Chef Rick Bayless has won international acclaim for his lifelong devotion to Mexican cusine. He's back with a new cookbook, More Mexican Everyday, filled with, you guessed it, more fantastic Mexican recipes like this Grilled Salmon in Toasty Peanut Salsa.
Grilled Salmon in Toasty Peanut Salsa
Salmón a la Parilla con Salsa de Cacahuate Tostado
When the wild salmon start showing up in the late spring, this is the dish I dream of making. It’s simplicity come to life in the best possible way, one that focuses on the stunning flavor and buttery texture of the salmon, the smoky and elemental draw of the grill and the perfect, rich gilding from a spoonful of red chile–peanut deliciousness.
*If you don’t have guajillo chiles, you can substitute New Mexicos or 2 anchos
On one side of a large (10-inch) dry skillet, roast the garlic over medium heat, turning regularly, until soft and blackened in spots, 10 to 15 minutes. On the other side, toast the guajillo chiles. Use a metal spatula to press the chile pieces flat against the hot surface of the pan. When they release their aroma and change color slightly (maybe even give off a faint wisp of smoke), about 10 seconds, flip them over and press down again to toast the other side. Scoop into a bowl and cover with ¾ cup very hot tap water to rehydrate, 10 to 15 minutes.
Cool the garlic until handleable, peel it and place it in a blender, along with the
guajillo chiles (including their soaking liquid), the chipotles and the peanuts. Blend until nearly smooth, then scrape into a small bowl. Stir in a little more water if necessary to give the salsa an easily spoonable consistency. Taste and season with salt,
usually about ½ teaspoon.
Heat a gas grill to medium-high or light a charcoal fire and let the coals burn until covered with white ash and very hot. Smear the salmon fillets and green onions (or ramps) with a little oil and sprinkle with salt. On the coolest part of your grill (usually toward an edge), grill the onions (or ramps), turning regularly, doing your best to keep the green parts farthest from the heat, until soft, about 15 minutes. Lay the salmon fillets on the hottest part of the grill, placing what had been their skin side down. When the grill grate has deeply seared marks into the salmon and the salmon has begun to release itself from the grate, about 3 minutes, depending on the heat of your fire, flip the fillets and cook to your desired degree of doneness, usually a couple of minutes
longer for 1-inch-thick fillets to reach medium. Transfer to warm dinner plates.
Chop the green onions (or ramps) into small pieces. Spoon some salsa over each fillet, sprinkle with chopped onion (or ramps) and serve right away.
Copyright © 2015 by Rick Bayless. Excerped from More Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless published by Norton. Read our review of this book.
Sydney Padua's impeccably researched, yet playfully imagined graphic biography is a treat for history buffs and graphic novel lovers alike. The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage brings us into the heart of London's intellectual society in 1842. There, Ada Lovelace—young mathematician and the daughter of famed poet Lord Byron—meets Charles Babbage at a party. Here is where historical accuracy takes a backseat, and Padua presents a rip-roaring adventure story in which the pair build the famed Difference Engine, known as the world's first computer, and take the Victorian era by storm. With fantastically detailed art, footnotes and diagrams of Babbage's steam-powered computer, this is a whimsical graphic account like no other.
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