With delicious recipes like this one, London restaurateurs Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi's cookbook Ottolenghi is likely to stir up a "rapturous feeding frenzy" similar to the one inspired by their award-winning, trend-setting cookbook Jerusalem. Ottolenghi is our Top Pick in Cookbooks for October!
To prepare the cauliflower, trim off any leaves and use a small knife ?to divide the cauliflower into little florets. Add them to a large pan ?of boiling salted water and simmer for 15 minutes, until very soft. Drain into a colander.
While the cauliflower is cooking, put the flour, chopped parsley, garlic, shallots, eggs, spices, salt, and pepper in a bowl and whisk together well to make a batter. When the mixture is smooth and homogenous, add the warm cauliflower. Mix to break down the cauliflower into ?the batter.
Pour the sunflower oil into a wide pan to a depth of 2?3 inch / 1.5 cm and place over high heat. When it is very hot, carefully spoon in generous portions of the cauliflower mixture, 3 tablespoons per fritter. Take care with the hot oil! Space the fritters apart with a fish slicer, making sure they are not overcrowded. Fry in small batches, controlling the oil temperature so the fritters cook but don’t burn. ?They should take 3 to 4 minutes on each side.
Remove from the pan and drain well on a few layers of paper towels. Serve with the sauce on the side.
Ottolenghi is our Top Pick in Cookbooks for October! Cooking columnist Sybil Pratt promises that these sunny, bold Middle Eastern recipes, packed with Mediterranean and Californian influences, "will make even the most jaded cook jump for culinary joy."
serves 6 to 8
Preheat the oven to 325°F / 170°C. Sift together the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and set aside.
Put the oil and superfine sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or use a whisk if you don’t have a mixer). Slit the vanilla bean lengthwise in half and, using a sharp knife, scrape the seeds out into the bowl. Beat the oil, sugar, and vanilla together, then gradually add the eggs. The mix should be smooth and thick at this stage. Mix in the diced apples, raisins, and lemon zest, then lightly fold in the sifted dry ingredients.
Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl, either by hand or with a mixer, until they have a soft meringue consistency. Fold them into the batter in 2 additions, trying to maintain as much air as possible.
Pour the batter into the lined pan, level it with an icing spatula, and place in the oven. Bake for 1½ hours, until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the pan.
Once the cake is completely cold, you can assemble it. Remove from the pan and use a large serrated knife to cut it in half horizontally. ?You should end up with 2 similar disks. If the cake is very domed, ?you might need to shave a bit off the top half to level it.
To make the icing, beat together the butter, muscovado sugar, and maple syrup until light and airy. You can do this by hand, or, preferably, in a mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the cream cheese and beat until the icing is totally smooth.
Using the icing spatula, spread a layer of icing 3/8 inch / 1 cm thick ?over the bottom half of the cake. Carefully place the top half on it. Spoon the rest of the icing on top and use the icing spatula to create a wavelike or any other pattern. Dust it with confectioners’ sugar, if you like.
Kevin West teaches us how to "capture the fabulous essence of each season by preserving it" with Saving the Season: A Cook’s Guide to Home Canning, Pickling, and Preserving. Cooking columnist Sybil Pratt also loves this book for West's storytelling talents, as the 200+ recipes are accompanied by entertaining, educational stories and essays.
2. Scrub the cucumbers well, rubbing off any spines. Cut away a thin round from the stem and blossom ends, and slice lengthwise into quarters. Put the spears in a large bowl, and cover with the brine. Weight the cucumbers with a plate, cover the bowl with a kitchen towel, and set aside for 24 hours. If the bowl won’t fit in your refrigerator, it’s fine to leave it out at room temperature.
3. The next day, pack the cucumber spears into two scalded quart jars, saving the brine. Measure out 2 cups of the brine and reserve. Strain the remaining brine through a fine sieve to capture the aromatics, and divide them between the jars. Tuck a dill head and two cloves of garlic into each jar.
4. Mix the vinegar and the 2 cups reserved brine, and bring to a boil. Pour it over the pickles to cover. Seal the jars, and store in the refrigerator for a week before using. For long-term shelf storage, leave ½ inch headspace when filling the jars, then seal. Process in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes, or in a hot-water bath, between 180 and 185 degrees, for 30 minutes.
[Note] Instead of spears, you could slice your cucumbers into round coins, lengthwise “slabs,” or bias-cut ovals. Make the slices 3?8 inch thick and soak them in the brine for 12 hours instead of 24.
Our March 2013 Top Pick in Cookbooks is The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen by Matt Lee and Ted Lee, and it's the ultimate cookbook to help bring the divine flavors of the Lowcountry to any kitchen.
This recipe is a Charleston institution—the Cheese Spread from the hallowed Henry’s.
Time: 10 minutes
When Henry Hasselmeyer and his son-in-law, Walter Shaffer (pronounced SHAFF-er), opened Henry’s, a beer parlor at 54 North Market Street, in 1932, they served only beer and deviled crabs (see page 153), baked up by Hasselmeyer’s wife in their home on Ashley Avenue and delivered to the establishment on cookie sheets in a long black Packard. By the 1940s, Henry’s had evolved into Charleston’s most ambitious restaurant, with waiters in white jackets, steaks trucked in from the Kansas City butcher Pfaelzer Brothers, and the house’s own fanciful turns on local fish and shellfish: seafood à la Wando (named for a river north of Charleston), flounder à la Gherardi (named, it is variously said, for a rear admiral of the U.S. Navy who served in the Civil War, or for his son, a prominent engineer, who might have been a patron). Of all the elegant touches at Henry’s, which survived until 1985, when the family sold it, our favorite was the iced crudité dish set down on every table at the start of the meal. The plate, a simple steel oval, cradled celery, radishes, green cocktail olives, and an astonishingly good cheese spread. Some have likened this dip to pimento cheese, but it may have been more awesome, with the creamy-fiery thing of p.c., but torqued up by horseradish to a picklish, sinus-clearing intensity. It arrived on the table with little fanfare— it appeared nowhere on the menu (see Henry’s Menu, page 123)—but left a deep impression on people who loved Henry’s. This latter category included Albert Goldman, the late Elvis biographer, rock-and-roll critic, and frequent contributor to High Times—“the voice of the marijuana community”—who praised the cheese spread in his hilariously florid story about Charleston in a 1973 issue of Travel & Leisure. Walter Shaffer’s son, Henry, who graduated from the Citadel in 1950 and supervised the kitchen at Henry’s for several years in the fifties, loaned us the restaurant’s original recipe, typed on an old typewriter, calibrated for a commercial quantity. We’ve adapted it here for household use, although once you taste it, you may think we’re high for ratcheting down the quantity. It’s a fabulous spread for asparagus spears, radishes, carrot sticks, and crackers, to name a few. Or stir it into grits or fold it into an omelet!
Thanksgiving: How to Cook it Well by Sam Sifton
Random House • $18 • ISBN 9781400069910
Published October 23, 2012
Tomorrow we'll start the two-week countdown until Thanksgiving. Raise your hand if you're starting to stress over cooking a turkey and making gravy!
Sam Sifton, the former restaurant critic of the New York Times—and the guy who used to answer the newspaper's Thanksgiving help line—is here to help. In a thin tome that honors the holiday and provides helpful, straight-forward advice, Sifton confidently guides readers through the production that is Thanksgiving: prep, cooking, table-setting, cleanup.
Yes, the book includes recipes for Thanksgiving classics like turkey, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. There are also recipes for delicious dishes that might revamp your holiday table: creamed Brussels sprouts, grilled turkey, roasted cauliflower with anchovy breadcrumbs, Indian pudding and much, much more. Though the recipes look delicious and appear very easy to follow, it is the essays about what Thanksgiving should be that had me laughing and nodding my head. (Do not—I repeat do not!—serve appetizers on Thanksgiving.) Here's an excerpt from the book's introduction.
But be forewarned. Thanksgiving is not a book for everyone. It is not for those in search of the new Thanksgiving craze, the latest recipe for turkey in a bag, the next big trend in holiday entertaining. There will be no recipes here for ham or lamb, roast beef or swordfish. Thanksgiving is a holiday that anchors itself in tradition. Which means: You will make a turkey. Turkey is why you are here.
Thanksgiving is likewise not a book for those interested in cutting corners. Shortcuts are anathema to Thanksgiving, which is a holiday that celebrates not just our bounty but also our slow, careful preparation of it. There is no room in Thanksgiving for the false wisdom of compromise—for ways to celebrate the holiday without cooking, or by cranking open cans of gravy to pour over a store-roasted turkey reheated in the microwave. Thanksgiving is no place for irony. We are simply going to cook.
Put plainly, we are going to cook Thanksgiving correctly.
And what exactly does that mean? It means there is going to be a turkey, and side dishes and dressing to go with it, and plenty of gravy as well. There is going to be a proper dinner table even if it turns out to be a slab of plywood over some milk crates, covered by a sheet. There are going to be proper place settings for each person and glasses for water and wine. There are going to be candles. There will be dessert.
Momofuku Milk Bar by Christina Tosi and David Chang is the cookbook for all those off-the-wall foodies out there who are willing to experiment.
Explains BookPage cookbook columnist Sybil Pratt, "Tosi retells the story of desserts in her own unique voice, with her own special cravings as the main characters. The MMB repertoire is built on 10 'mother recipes,' like the traditional 'mother sauces' in French cuisine."
The following is one of those "mother recipes." With this in your back pocket, oh, the places you'll go!
makes about 645 g (2 ½ cups ); serves 4
2. Spread the cornflakes on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Bake for 15 minutes, until lightly toasted. Cool completely.
3. Transfer the cooled cornflakes to a large pitcher. Pour the milk into the pitcher and stir vigorously. Let steep for 20 minutes at room temperature.
4. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, collecting the milk in a medium bowl. The milk will drain off quickly at first, then become thicker and starchy toward the end of the straining process. Using the back of a ladle (or your hand), wring the milk out of the cornflakes, but do not force the mushy cornflakes through the sieve. (We compost the cornflake remains or take them home to our dogs!)
5. Whisk the brown sugar and salt into the milk until fully dissolved. Store in a clean pitcher or glass milk jug, refrigerated, for up to 1 week.
From the world-renowned chef of elBulli comes a cooking guide unlike any other--The Family Meal: Home Cooking with Ferran Adrià. BookPage cookbook columnist Sybil Pratt calls it "manna from the maestro for home cooks, both novice and notable."
It's our November Cookbook of the Month, and whether you're bringing gourmet to a table of two or 75(!), it has you covered. Check out one of the truly elegant dishes:
(You can use fresh or unsweetened dried coconut)
(You can also make the flan in small individual molds or timbales, in which case reduce the cooking time to 15-20 minutes)
For the caramel:
Put the water and sugar into a saucepan over low heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat and boil to make a dark caramel. Divide the caramel among individual or large molds and set aside to cool.
Break the eggs into a large bowl, then whisk until frothy.
Put the coconut milk, grated coconut, and sugar into another large bowl and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Save any leftover coconut milk for serving later. Add the eggs and whisk until even.
Pour the mixture into the caramel-filled molds. Cover the tops of the molds with foil, then transfer to a roasting pan. Pour enough cold water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the side of the molds.
When ready to serve, loosen the flan with a round-bladed knife. Carefully turn over the crème caramel out of the molds. Slice into ¾-inch slices. Serve the slices surrounded with a few spoons of coconut milk.
We'll have a full review of the book and its recipes from a real professional in our September issue, but after trying out this little spread, Eliza and I can say with certainty that Alisa's recipes are full of down-home goodness—they're classics, yet made with modern flair and by a baker who searches out fresh, quality ingredients with zeal. The woman makes her own version of Nilla Wafers, for heaven's sake.
Hope this whetted your appetite for Eliza's chat with Alisa, coming soon. As for me, I'm still working off these delicious desserts, but I might one day eat again. Maybe.
Food lovers lost a 69-year-old companion today in Gourmet magazine. Condé Nast, the publishing company, announced that it will fold the culinary giant, along with magazines Cookie, Modern Bride and Elegant Bride.
We were saddened to hear the news at BookPage, particularly because of our longtime coverage of Gourmet cookbooks and Ruth Reichl, the magazine’s editor-in-chief.
Just this month, Sybil Pratt wrote about Gourmet Today in our cooking column. She wrote:
Gourmet began its illustrious career in 1941 and has become the magazine of record, the gold standard for food magazines. There are others to be sure, but Gourmet maintains its cachet and its excellence due, in good part, to Ruth Reichl’s leadership. Reichl, Gourmet’s famed editor-in-chief, edited The Gourmet Cookbook in 2004, the more-than-magnum opus compiled to celebrate the magazine’s 60th birthday. With more than 1,000 recipes, it was a grand retrospective that gathered the best of the best—retested, retasted and updated. Now, only five years later, the indomitable Gourmet team has done it again with Gourmet Today.
In a 2001 interview with BookPage about her memoir Comfort Me with Apples: More Adventures at the Table, Reichl said, “You can't be a good cook if you don't have a generous soul and the impulse to take care of people… I only know two good cooks who are stingy in their souls.”
Our reviewer, Eve Zibart, wrote that “Reichl’s passion, humor, abandon, intelligence, whimsy and vital sense of food as culture have revolutionized a nation raised on Betty Crocker cookbooks and school cafeterias.”
In a company-wide memo, Condé Nast CEO Chuck Townsend wrote that “Gourmet magazine will cease monthly publication, but we will remain committed to the brand, retaining Gourmet’s book publishing and television programming, and Gourmet recipes on Epicurious.com.”
We may get to enjoy more Gourmet cookbooks, although the ink-and-paper magazine will be greatly missed.
To commemorate its legacy, prepare a meal from Gourmet Today. Thankfully, there are many options. Writes our reviewer: “Encyclopedic in an exciting way, there’s not a cooking category missing, from minty Mojitos to Zucchini Curry, Quail with Pomegranate Jus and an impressive Frozen Passion Fruit Meringue Cake.”
Any readers want to share a favorite Gourmet recipe?