Our Top Pick in Cookbooks this month is Fruitful: Four Seasons of Fresh Fruit Recipes by Brian Nicholson and Sarah Huck! With 140 seasonal recipes to choose from—plus growing tips and advice for canning and preserving—you'll be able to incorporate ripe fruits into your dishes in inventive ways all year. Take a break from summer burgers and BBQ with this light, fresh recipe for pan-roasted salmon.
Salmon with Plum, Cucumber, and Mint Salad
Not only is this salad a beauty to behold, it’s explosively flavorful, too. The syrupy, slightly tannic flavors of the plum really come alive when tossed with zingy rice vinegar and an abundance of clean, fresh mint. Although pan-roasted salmon has a melt-in-your-mouth quality that contrasts nicely with the bright fruit, you could throw the fish on the grill instead; the smokiness would also add a nice layer of complexity.
Makes 4 servings
Season the salmon liberally with salt and pepper. Rub the lime zest into the flesh.
Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil to the pan. Add the fish, flesh-side down and sear, without moving, until the underside is golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn and continue cooking to your desired doneness, 3 to 4 more minutes for medium-rare.
While the salmon cooks, prepare the salad: In a large bowl, combine the plums, cucumbers, scallion and mint. Toss in the 1 tablespoon of vinegar, the remaining 1½ tablespoons of oil and salt and pepper to taste. Taste the salad and add more vinegar if desired.
Place each salmon fillet on an individual plate and top with a few spoonfuls of the salad; serve any remaining salad alongside.
How are you celebrating Independence Day tomorrow, readers? I'm sure most of you will be enjoying food and fireworks with friends and family, so today we're sharing a recipe for a dessert that's almost as American as apple pie: blueberry cobbler! Jeni Britton Bauer, owner of the quickly growing Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, expands upon her ice cream offerings with plenty of unique new flavors, but her recipes for baked goods, sundaes, parfaits and frozen layered cakes in Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream Desserts are the real show-stoppers here.
Makes 9 servings
Butter an 8-by-8-inch baking pan. Combine the blueberries with the sugar, salt and lemon juice in a medium bowl, tossing to coat.
Add to the prepared pan. Spoon the batter over the fruit, making 9 equal biscuits.
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Bake the cobber for 35 minutes, until the tops of the biscuits are golden and the berries are bubbling. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.
Sweet Cream Shortcakes
Makes 9 to 12 servings
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Butter a quarter sheet pan.
Put the flour and cold butter in a food processor and pulse 15 times. Add the cream and pulse until the dough comes together into a shaggy mess.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and press it together. Fold the dough in half, then fold it over itself two or three times, just until it is no longer clumpy. Spread the dough onto the pan—it spreads easily, so you can use your hands.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Remove the cake from the oven and cool on a rack.
David Lebovitz lets us all live vicariously through his picturesque (and delicious) adventures in Paris in his book, My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories. Parisian desserts may strike fear into the hearts of inexperienced home cooks, but Lebovitz offers a solution with this simple stunner: a ridiculously decadent recipe for salted butter caramel-chocolate mousse that just might take some of the sting out of being stuck stateside.
Salted butter caramel-chocolate mousse
MOUSSE AU CHOCOLAT AU BEURRE SALÉ
There’s not much I can say about this. One bite will leave you just as speechless.
1. Spread the sugar evenly over the bottom of a wide saucepan. Heat the sugar over medium heat. As it begins to liquefy at the edges, use a heatproof spatula to very gently drag the liquefied sugar toward the center. Watch carefully, as once the edges start to darken, the sugar is in danger of burning. Continue to cook, stirring very gently, until all the sugar is melted and begins to caramelize.
2. When the caramel is a deep amber color and starts to smoke, wait a moment for it to smell just slightly burnt, then remove it from the heat and quickly whisk in the butter, stirring until melted. Gradually whisk in the cream and stir until the little bits of caramel are completely melted. (A few can be stubborn, so be patient. You can strain the mixture if they simply refuse to budge.)
Once smooth, add the chocolate, stirring gently until it’s melted and smooth. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl and let it sit until it’s at room temperature. Once it’s no longer warm, whisk in the egg yolks.
In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff. Fold one-third of the whipped whites into the chocolate mixture, sprinkling in the flaky salt. Fold in the remaining beaten egg whites just until no streaks of white remain. Divide the mousse into serving glasses, or transfer it to a decorative serving bowl, and chill for at least 8 hours. While it might be tempting to serve this with whipped cream, I prefer to serve it pure, straight up with just a spoon.
Father's Day may be behind us, but Steven Raichlen's Man Made Meals: The Essential Cookbook for Guys is sure to be a welcome addition to any guy's culinary arsenal, especially if their recent Father's Day gifts included a grill or some fancy new kitchen gadgets. Raichlen offers straightforward advice and step-by-step instructions to help any dude find his footing in the kitchen—from using a blowtorch to sear salmon to shaking up a mean martini. Guys (and gals!) looking for the perfect summer backyard burger should try out this recipe for the Ur-Burger, and discover firsthand why Man Made Meals is our Top Pick in cookbooks this month.
Photo credit: Lucy Schaeffer/Man Made Meals
Shop: My dream ground meat mix combines ground sirloin (40 percent), chuck (40 percent) and brisket (20 percent). Make friends with your local butcher and ask him to custom grind it for you. Brioche rolls (French egg bread) make great buns. Add ripe heirloom tomato and leaf lettuce or arugula. Perfection lies in the details.
Gear: Your basic kitchen gear including a large (10 to 12-inch) cast-iron or nonstick skillet and an instant-read thermometer.
What else: I prefer my burgers hot off the grill (surprise), and on page 113 you’ll find instructions for grilling burgers. But apartment dwellers without grill access can take comfort in the knowledge that many an iconic burger (California’s In-N-Out Burger and Umami Burger to name two) is cooked on a griddle, and you can achieve the same result using a skillet.
Time: About 20 minutes
The perfect burger. Platonic idea? Or beef patty that actually exists? If you start with the right meat, patty shape and bun and keep the flavorings subordinate to the beef, any burger has the potential for greatness. In the following pages you’ll find some favorites. We start with the Ur-Burger (from the German word ur for original, fundamental, or basic), which you can customize to taste.
Makes 4 burgers
1. Divide the beef into four equal portions. Shape each portion into a patty about 1-inch-thick and slightly larger in diameter than the buns (lightly wet your hands with cold water before handling the meat). Work with a light touch, handling the meat as little as possible. Make a slight depression in the center of the patties; they should be slightly concave. You can form the burgers up to 6 hours ahead. Arrange the burgers on a plate lined with plastic wrap and cover them with more plastic wrap. Refrigerate the burgers until you are ready to cook them.
2. Just before cooking, generously season the burgers on both sides with salt and pepper, turning them gently.
3. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the burgers, spacing them 2 inches apart. Cook the burgers until the bottoms are browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Using a spatula, gently turn the burgers over and continue cooking them until done to taste, about 5 minutes more for medium. To test for doneness, insert an instant-read thermometer through the side of a burger. When the burger is cooked to medium the thermometer will register 160°F.
4. Transfer the burgers to a warm plate. Place a tiny pat of butter (about 1 teaspoon) on top of each burger and let the burgers rest for
1 to 2 minutes. (Chefs call this “tempering” the meat and it helps produce juicier burgers.)
5. Meanwhile, spread the insides of the buns with the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Pour off the fat from the skillet and wipe it clean with paper towels. Toast the buns, cut sides down, in the skillet over medium-high heat until golden, 1 to 2 minutes. You may need to work in several batches.
6. To assemble the burgers, spread the buns with “Secret Sauce,” if using, or whatever condiment(s) you prefer. Place a burger on top of the sauce and top it with a lettuce leaf and a tomato slice and any embellishments you like. Add the top of the bun and dig in.
Excerpted from Man Made Meals: The Essential Cookbook for Guys © 2014 by Steven Raichlen. Photography by Lucy Schaeffer. Reproduced by permission of Workman Publishing. All rights reserved. Read our review of this book.
You know what they say: Everything's bigger in Texas. If the dishes featured in Dean Fearing's new cookbook, The Texas Food Bible are anything to judge by, then it must be true. With images of hearty helpings alongside recipes for big, bold and flavorful dishes from one of the pioneers of Tex-Mex himself, this collection is perfect for homesick Texans and any home cooks inspired by this state's unique, rich culinary tradition. For a characteristically spice-filled and soul-warming Lone Star dish, try this recipe for East Texas Gumbo.
East Texas Gumbo
Serves 4 to 6
NOTE: Equal portions of onion, celery and green pepper are known as the “holy trinity” in gumbo parlance. File powder (also known as gumbo file) is ground from dried leaves of the sassafras tree. The spicy herb was first used by the Choctaw Indians, indigenous to the American South, as a thickening agent for stews. It is now primarily used in Creole and Cajun cooking to both thicken and season stews and soups. It has an earthy, woody taste that some liken to root beer. It is always added after the cooking is completed, as it turns stringy and tough when cooked.
American cook and baker David Lebovitz has spent the past 10 years living, eating and cooking in Paris. In My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories, Lebovitz offers captivating stories alongside 100 recipes that convey the spirit of the Paris food scene he's grown so fond of. This unfussy recipe for Green Olive, Basil and Almond Tapenade is perfect as a delightfully decadent snack or appetizer.
Green Olive,Basil, and Almond Tapenade
tapenade d’olives vertes au basilic et aux amandes
Serves 6 to 8
When I started my website back in 1999, I never intended to focus on recipes. It was meant to complement my cookbooks by providing additional information, stories and a way to be in touch with readers. But then I moved to Paris. And as I shopped and hit the markets, I got so excited to share all the great things I was tasting and learning about that I couldn’t resist posting those recipes right after I made them. However, I soon realized that I had to respond to an onslaught of recipe requests if I posted a snapshot of a basket of croissants or a gilded gateau Saint-Honore I had admired in a bakery.
(Unfortunately, recipes for fancy Parisian pastries cannot be condensed into 140 characters, nor am I very good at tapping out instructions for rolling puff pastry while riding home on the metro using those itty bitty keys on my smartphone.)
I also realized that no matter what I wrote about on my blog, the ingredients that were available in Birmingham weren’t necessarily available in Brisbane or Bangkok, and every recipe I posted would be followed by a number of requests for substitutions. I had to learn to cover every conceivable base when writing recipes for a global audience because something common in France or America, like olives or canned artichokes, might not be available in Fiji or Argentina. Not to mention folks have various food preferences, allergies and likes and dislikes, such as my fear of squid, which scare the bejeezus out of me (so I understand them 100 percent).
Fortunately, I am pretty sure that anyone just about anywhere can make this recipe and there’s certainly nothing scary about it. Olives are hardy souls and are available jarred or canned. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a country where almonds aren’t available. (But if you can’t get almonds, pistachios make a great substitute). And basil is grown in greenhouses in places where the climate doesn’t welcome outdoor cultivation. So I think I covered everything and there’s no excuse not to make this—unless, of course, you don’t like olives, are allegic to nuts or have an aversion to garlic. Then I can’t help you.
1. Put the olives, almonds, garlic, lemon juice, and capers in the bowl of a food processor. (I don’t use a mortar and pestle for this because I like the slightly chunky bits of almonds in the finished tapenade.)
2. Coarsely chop the basil leaves, add them to the processor, and pulse the machine a few times to start breaking them down.
3. Add the olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Pulse the food processor until the mixture forms a coarse paste, one that still has a little texture provided by the not-entirely-broken-down almonds.
The tapenade will keep for up to one week in the refrigerator.
Leela Punyaratabandhu adapts 100 traditional Thai recipes for home cooks in her cookbook, Simple Thai Food. Her recipe for Chicken-Cashew Stir Fry is simple to prepare and assemble, yet bursting with complex flavor—sweet, spicy and uniquely Thai.
CHICKEN-CASHEW STIR FRY
Ka phat met mamuang himma-phan
Cut the chicken against the grain and on the diagonal (30 to 40-degree angle) into thin, bite-size pieces. Place the chicken in a bowl, sprinkle the cornstarch over it, and stir well, making sure each piece of chicken is coated with the cornstarch; set aside.
Cut the yellow onion through the stem end into ½-inch-thick slices. Cut the green onions crosswise into 2-inch lengths. Add the white parts to the yellow onion slices. Keep the green parts separate.
In a small bowl, stir together the oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar and water, mixing well. Set aside.
Line 2 plates with paper towels and place them near the stove. Heat the oil in a large wok or a 14-inch skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the cashews and fry, stirring constantly, until golden brown, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, immediately transfer the nuts to a towel-lined plate. Do your best to keep as much oil in the pan as possible, as we need to fry two more ingredients in it.
With the pan still over medium heat, add the chiles and fry, stirring constantly, until crisp, about 1 minute, taking care not to burn them. Using the slotted spoon, transfer the chiles to the cashew plate and set the plate aside.
Turn up the heat to high. When the oil is very hot, add half of the chicken, gently lowering each piece into the oil and leaving room between the pieces. After 1 to 2 minutes, one side of the chicken should feel firm when you touch it with the end of the spatula. This is your cue to flip the chicken pieces. Do not go by color, because the oil has taken on the color of the dried chiles and the chicken will look golden brown when it is still uncooked. Also, do not stir the chicken around, as you want each piece to develop a soft crust. Once that has been achieved, using the slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to the second towel-lined plate. Repeat with the remaining half of the chicken.
Discard nearly all of the oil in the pan, leaving only a thin film to coat the pan bottom, and return the pan to high heat. Immediately add the garlic, the yellow onion and the white parts of the green onions and stir them around. When the onions have softened a bit, after about 1 minute, add the chicken to the pan along with the oyster sauce mixture (be sure to use a small rubber spatula to get every bit of the sauce out of the bowl) and stir everything around constantly. The sauce should evaporate quickly, without turning the coating of the chicken soft and gummy.
Immediately add the green parts of the green onions and the fried cashews and chiles and stir-fry for about 30 seconds. At this point, everything should be heated through and the green onion tops should be wilted. Remove from the heat, transfer to a platter, and serve.
Note: It is imperative that you use either a large wok or a 14-inch skillet, unless you halve the recipe. At the frying stage, using a cooking vessel that is too small may not present a problem. But at the stir-frying stage when we want the liquid ingredients to form a glistening sauce quickly, fast evaporation is crucial. If at any point the chicken looks like it is taking its sweet time stewing gently in a bubbling sauce, either the pan is too small or the heat is too low. Follow the instructions as closely as you can, and at any time that there appears to be a difference between your stove’s output and my stove’s output, use your instinct.
Marc Forgione, an award-winning chef and the season three winner of the popular series "Next Iron Chef," combines youthful ingenuity with traditional American flavors in his new cookbook, Marc Forgione: Recipes and Stories from the Acclaimed Chef and Restaurant. This recipe for Apple Pie Soufflé + Salted Caramel is a perfect sweet and salty ending to any dinner party: get ready to hear a lot of "wow" from your guests.
APPLE PIE SOUFFLÉ + SALTED CARAMEL
MAKES 4 TO 6 (6-OUNCE) SOUFFLÉS
This dessert was originally created during an "Iron Chef America" episode for a familiar-to-me themed battle—Thanksgiving—except this was round two, and I was paired with Jose Garces, an Iron Chef, against two other Iron Chefs: Michael Symon and Bobby Flay. Since I was going up against some very stiff competition, I knew I had to dig deep into my bag of tricks and pull out something that would truly wow the judges. The soufflé didn’t disappoint, and Henry Winkler, a.k.a. “the Fonz,” who was one of the judges, said it was the best soufflé he’d ever had.
The recipe here makes six dessert-size soufflés, but if you happen to be making dinner for four people, stick with these proportions (3 cups apple puree to 1½ cups whipped egg whites) to get a perfect soufflé every time. No one has ever complained about having an extra soufflé lying around.
FOR THE SALTED CARAMEL
FOR THE APPLE PIE SOUFFLÉ
MAKE THE SALTED CARAMEL
1. Combine the sugar, corn syrup and ¼ cup of water in a very clean saucepot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue to cook the caramel until it becomes a medium amber color (or the color of an Irish setter)—watch carefully and do not let the caramel burn. While the caramel cooks, do not stir it with a spoon, but gently swirl the caramel around the pot. Use a clean, moist pastry brush to remove any sugar crystals that form on the sides of the pot. As soon as the caramel is ready, remove it from the heat and gently whisk in the heavy cream and butter. Be careful: the caramel will bubble and sputter, so stand back. Whisk in the salt. Taste and add more salt if you like. Transfer the caramel to a bowl; you will have about 2 cups salted caramel. Refrigerate the sauce until needed. The sauce will keep, covered, for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
PREPARE THE APPLE PIE SOUFFLÉ
2. Preheat the oven to 350ºF; position the rack in the middle. Generously butter 4 to 6 (6-ounce) ramekins and dust the inside of the ramekins with sugar and cinnamon. Set the ramekins aside.
3. Toss the apples with the butter, 1 cup of the sugar, the cinnamon, ginger and cloves and transfer the mixture to an ovenproof roasting pan. Bake the apples for about 30 minutes or until they are soft and falling apart.
4. Transfer the cooked apples, without their cooking liquid, to a blender and puree until they are completely smooth; the texture should be smoother and finer than regular applesauce. (At the restaurant, we use a Vitamix to get our apple puree to the right consistency, but at home you can use a regular blender and then strain your puree through a fine-mesh strainer or a chinois to get any remaining lumps out.) Transfer the apple puree to a bowl and let cool to room temperature. You should have about 4 cups apple puree.
5. Place the egg whites and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites on medium speed and slowly add the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and cream of tartar. Continue beating until the egg whites become foamy. Raise the mixer speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form (when the whisk is lifted from the mixture, there should be a standing peak in the area where it was lifted).
6. Measure 3 cups of the apple puree into a separate bowl, and use a rubber spatula to gently fold in 1½ cups of the whipped egg whites.
7. Fill the ramekins to the top with the batter, and smooth out the tops with an offset spatula. Place a kitchen towel on the counter and gently tap the ramekins on the towel to release any trapped air bubbles. Transfer the ramekins to a baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes or until the soufflés have risen and are firm when lightly tapped. While the soufflés bake, do not open the door to the oven.
8. While the soufflés bake, gently reheat the Salted Caramel in a small saucepan over low heat until warm and easily pourable.
9. Remove the soufflés and sprinkle them with confectioners’ sugar. Poke a small hole in the middle of each soufflé and drizzle warmed Salted Caramel into it. Serve the soufflés immediately, with the remaining salted caramel sauce on the side.
Claudia Lucero's One-Hour Cheese takes the mystery out of curds and whey and "distills thousands of years of cheese-making know-how into a foolproof, simple-to-follow manual." With step-by-step photos and more than 16 recipes and variations, Lucero proves that at-home cheese making really can be easy!
MEYER LEMON RICOTTA
Historically speaking, ricotta is made with whey—it’s actually a by-product of other cheesemaking. But our batch uses less than a gallon of milk to make ricotta—versus the more typical 500 gallons—so if we used whey, we would only get a few measly teaspoons. Like many smaller operations, we will add milk for a larger yield! This whole milk and cream version will give the traditional whey recipe a run for its money. Further, we will use sweeter Meyer lemons for our acid, imparting a faint, sweet essence that will leave folks guessing.
Its delicate flavor and texture make this ricotta especially wonderful for desserts (cheesecake!) and breakfast favorites (blintzes!) but it also blends nicely in savory dishes with rich sauces. Experiment with half of your batch and add tidbits like herbs, cracked pepper, seeds, dried fruit, and so on, to create a snacking cheese that goes well with crisp veggies or crostini.
HOW EASY IS IT?
Ready to Eat In: 50 minutes
Makes: 12 ounces
Biggest Pain: Waiting for the curds to drain slowly
Uses: Include in sweet or savory recipes in need of a mild, semispreadable cheese, like cannoli and lasagna.
Recommended Milk: 1 quart whole cow’s milk and 1 pint cow’s milk cream (also called heavy cream or whipping cream)—very flexible; see variations.
Worth Mentioning: This cheese will be very loose when warm and freshly made—chill it in the freezer for 15 minutes to cool it quickly.
VARIATIONS & SUBSTITUTIONS:
Note: Your ricotta may firm up significantly after chilling overnight in the fridge, like all cheeses and fatty foods do. It should become spreadable again with a light stir. If you want a super-rich texture, add a splash of cream just before serving.
How do I love thee, Thai food? Let me count the ways.
Thai food has enjoyed an immense surge in popularity in the U.S. over the past few years, and Leela Punyaratabandhu—a Bangkok native—shares her favorite recipes in her new cookbook, Simple Thai Food. Punyaratabandhu's simple instructions and information on special Thai ingredients (and easy-to-find substitutions) can give any home cook the tools for tackling "Thai make-in instead of Thai take-out."
CRISPY DUMPLINGS (Gold Purses)
MAKES 18 DUMPLINGS
Trim off and discard the roots of the green onions. Cut each onion into 2 pieces, separating the white bulb end from the green blades. Slice the white parts crosswise ¼-inch thick and reserve for the filling. Set the green blades aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a wok or a 14-inch skillet over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the sliced onions, aromatic paste and mushrooms and stir-fry for about 2 minutes, until the onions and mushrooms have softened. Add the chicken, soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, sugar and water chestnuts and stir with a spatula, breaking up the chicken as finely as you can with the blunt end of the spatula. Continue to stir-fry for 5 to 8 minutes, until all of the chicken is cooked through and all of the liquid has evaporated. Remove the pan from the heat and let the filling cool to room temperature.
To blanch the “strings” for tying the bags, fill a 1-quart saucepan half full with water and bring the water to a boil. Place a bowl of iced water next to the stove. When the water is boiling, add the green onion blades, pushing them down gently with a spoon to submerge them in the water. After 30 seconds, transfer the onion blades to the iced water. Within 1 minute, the onions should be cool enough to handle. Remove them from the water and, with your fingers or the tip of a paring knife, split each blade in half lengthwise; set aside.
To assemble the dumplings, lay a spring roll skin flat on a work surface and put 1½ tablespoons of the cooled filling in the center. Gather together the corners of the skin and adjust the dumpling so it takes on a round, rather than flat, profile. Using 1 piece of onion blade, tie it around the gathered corners twice to secure them. With a pair of kitchen shears, trim off the dangling blade ends. Repeat with the remaining spring roll skins and filling.
To fry the dumplings, pour the oil to a depth of 3 inches into a wok, Dutch oven or deep fryer and heat to 325°F. To test if the oil is ready without a thermometer, stick an unvarnished wooden chopstick into the oil; when the oil is hot enough, a steady stream of tiny bubbles will rise from the tip of the chopstick. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and place it next to the stove.
Using a slotted spoon, carefully lower 3 or 4 filled pouches into the hot oil and deepfry for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown all over. Using the slotted spoon, transfer the dumplings to the towel-lined baking sheet. Repeat until all of the dumplings are cooked.
Do not serve the dumplings right out of the oil, as the filling will be much too hot to eat. Let them cool down to slightly warmer than room temperature, then arrange them on a platter and serve with the sweet chile sauce.