We're serious about food trucks in Nashville, and we're not the only ones who love eating tacos, grilled cheese and waffles (not necessarily together) on the side of the road. Honestly, aren't food trucks the real reason Twitter exists?
Eat St.: Recipes from the Tastiest, Messiest, and Most Irresistible Food Trucks brings your favorite street food home with the help of James Cunningham. Writes Cooking columnist Sybil Pratt, "If you’re already an aficionado of this new movable feast . . . join the street food revolution by sampling some of the more than 125 recipes included here in the privacy of your own kitchen."
The Juice Truck | Vancouver, British Columbia
Strawberry Coconut Smoothie
Ryan Slater and Zach Berman consider their truck the perfect blend of an experimental laboratory and an artists’ studio. They fell in love with exotic juices and blends on their world travels and thought the perfect place to experiment with—and sell—their juices was the streets of Vancouver.
They pack more vitamins into a single serving of juice than most North Americans get in a full meal. This smoothie is one of the simplest recipes in the entire book, but wow, does it pack a refreshing punch!
Adam Roberts’ Secrets of the Best Chefs is a collection of trade secrets and insider tips from 50 of the best chefs in America. It's sort of like hiding in the corner of an expert chef's kitchen, only not as creepy and a lot more fun. Our Cooking columnist calls this cookbook "fabulous."
Chorizo is a magical ingredient, the kind of thing that makes your food taste way more accomplished without asking anything of you beyond just buying it. D’Artagnan sells a good-quality chorizo that is readily available; just make sure you’re buying Spanish chorizo, which is already cooked, and not Mexican chorizo, which is raw. You can expand or contract this dish based on your needs: Feeding a bigger crowd? Double the amounts. Feeding just yourself? Cook as much chorizo and shrimp as you’d like to eat. It’s really that simple.
Meanwhile, add the chorizo to a medium skillet (not nonstick) with the olive oil. Slowly bring up the heat to low and render the fat. You don’t want too much color or for the chorizo to get crisp.
When the oil has turned orange and most of the fat has been rendered, push all the chorizo to the side and turn up the heat to medium high. Add all the shrimp: they should sizzle. You want the shrimp to get some color, so make sure the pan is hot enough.
Once the shrimp have some color, add the wine to deglaze the pan. Use a spoon to work up any brown bits and then add the tomatoes and the red peppers. Turn up the heat to reduce the sauce.
Stir the butter and Parmesan into the polenta and spoon the polenta onto serving dishes. Top with the shrimp and chorizo mixture and serve right away.
Writes Cooking columnist Sybil Pratt, "Winter root veggies seem drab when compared to the bright greens, reds, yellows and stripes of their summer cousins, and they’re often gnarly and inelegant looking. But this vast subterranean kingdom can be a treasure trove of culinary delights that not only taste good but are a good source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber."
The key to getting better acquainted with these "underground wonders" is Diane Morgan's Roots. Packed with 225 recipes, there's no better way to be veggie-friendly in the winter.
This minty citrus salad is a refreshing accompaniment to a wintertime dinner or buffet. Every component of the salad can be prepared and ready to serve well in advance. You can also make the dressing several hours or even a day ahead. Buy washed and ready-to-use arugula or mâche in 5-ounce/140-gram bags. It takes time to cut the jicama and to peel and slice the blood oranges, so get those tasks done ahead. Arrange the oranges on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature until ready to assemble the salad.
Meanwhile, toss the jicama with the salt and place in a colander in the sink to drain for 30 minutes. Blot dry with paper towels.
Working with one orange at a time, cut a slice from the top and bottom to reveal the flesh. Stand the orange upright and slice away the peel from the sides in wide strips, cutting downward, following the contour of the fruit, and removing all of the white pith. Cut the orange crosswise into slices ¼ in/6 mm thick. Repeat with the remaining oranges.
Divide the orange slices evenly among individual salad plates, arranging them in a ring and leaving the center open. In a bowl, toss together the arugula and jicama to mix well. Drizzle the dressing over the top and toss to coat evenly. Divide the salad evenly among the plates, mounding a cluster of it in the center of each plate so that it overlaps the oranges slightly. Arrange 3 olives on each plate. Grind a little pepper over each salad. Serve immediately.
This month's cooking column has us dreaming about warmer weather. Frontera: Margaritas, Guacamoles, and Snacks by Rick Bayless serves up "a super selection of south-of-the-border delights" to help turn any blustery day into a mini vacation.
Ideas for serving: Because this is such a substantial guacamole (a fact I emphasize by having you dice part of the avocado), I like to serve it less as a dip for chips and more as an accompaniment to smoky grilled shrimp, chicken, fish or pork. (You’ve already got the grill hot, so you might as well use it as much as possible.)
Chop the onion into 1?4-inch pieces. Cut the kernels from the corn (you need about 3?4 cup). Rub the blackened skin off the poblano, pull out and discard the stem and seed pod, tear the chile open and briefly rinse to remove stray seeds and bits of blackened skin. Cut into 1?4-inch pieces.
Cut the avocados in half, running a knife around the pit from top to bottom and back up again. Twist the halves in opposite directions to release the pit from one side of each avocado. Remove the pit, then scoop the flesh from 1 avocado into a large bowl. Scoop the flesh from the other 2 avocados onto a cut- ting board and cut into 1?2-inch pieces. With an old-fashioned potato masher, a large fork or the back of a large spoon, thoroughly mash the avocado that’s in the bowl.
Scoop the diced avocado into the bowl, along with the grilled onion, corn, poblano and 2 tablespoons of the fresh cheese. Sprinkle with the lime juice and epazote, then gently stir the mixture to distribute everything evenly. Taste and season with salt, usually about 1 teaspoon. Cover with plastic wrap pressed directly on the surface of the guacamole and refrigerate.
When you’re ready to serve, scoop the guacamole into a serving bowl and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
During the majority of the year, breakfast is a bowl of oatmeal and a mug of coffee on the way out the door. But on those lovely days off from work—especially if you're playing host or hostess—it's time to bring out the breakfast recipes.
Try this divine grits recipe from Rebecca Lang's Southern Living Around the Southern Table:
2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, whisking very often, until grits are creamy and tender, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. (If grits become dry and begin to stick before they are creamy, add more water, 2 Tbsp. at a time, and continue to cook until grits are tender.)
3. Preheat oven to 400°. Lightly grease a 1 1?2-qt. soufflé dish. Sprinkle sides and bottom with 1 Tbsp. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
4. Remove grits from heat, and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in egg yolks, 2 cups Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and next 4 ingredients.
6. Bake at 400° for 50 to 55 minutes or until puffed and lightly browned. Serve immediately.
Makes: 6 servings
Hands-on Time: 15 min.
Total Time: 2 hr., 25 min.
My favorite time of the year to bake is during the holidays, and cooking columnist Sybil Pratt calls Bouchon Bakery "an absolute must" and "a knockout." It comes from Thomas Keller, the extraordinary American chef, and Sebastien Rouxel, executive pastry chef for the Thomas Keller restaurant group.
Bouchon Bakery is also one of our Top 10 cookbooks of 2012! Here's a sample of what makes it so amazing:
You’ll need a 3¼-inch round cutter and a pastry bag with an Ateco #867 French star tip. For this recipe, we use Virginia jumbo peanut halves and Skippy natural peanut butter. Cookies baked in a convection oven will have a more even color and will not spread as much as those baked in a standard oven.
To toast the peanuts: Preheat the oven to 325°F (standard).Spread the peanuts on a small tray and toast in the oven, stirring often, for 16 to 18 minutes, until a light golden brown. Let cool, then coarsely chop.
For the cookies: Place the flour in a medium bowl, sift in the baking soda and baking powder, and whisk together.
Place the butter and peanut butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Turn to medium-low speed and cream the butter, warming the bowl if needed (see Pommade, page 190), until it has the consistency of mayonnaise and holds a peak when the paddle is lifted. Add the sugar and mix for about 2 minutes, until fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the eggs and vanilla paste and mix on low speed for 15 to 30 seconds, until just combined. Scrape down the bowl again. The mixture may look broken, but that is fine (overwhipping the eggs could cause the cookies to expand too much during baking and then deflate).
Add the combined dry ingredients in 2 additions, mixing on low speed for 15 to 30 seconds after each, or until just combined. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to incorporate any dry ingredients that have settled there. Add the oats and pulse on low about 10 times to combine. Add the chopped peanuts and pulse to combine.
Mound the dough on a large piece of plastic wrap and, using a pastry scraper, push it together into a 5-by-7-inch block. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until firm. (The dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month.)
Unwrap the dough, place it between two pieces of parchment paper or plastic wrap, and roll it out to a ¼-inch-thick sheet. If the dough has softened, slide it (in the parchment) onto the back of a sheet pan and refrigerate until firm enough to cut.
Using the round cutter, cut 8 cookies from the dough. (If the dough softens, return it to the refrigerator until the cookies are firm enough to transfer to a sheet pan.) Arrange the rounds on a lined sheet pan.
Push the trimmings together and refrigerate until the dough is firm enough to roll, then roll out and cut into 4 more rounds. Add them to the sheet pan. Wrap the sheet in plastic wrap and freeze the dough for at least 2 hours, or until firm. (For longer storage, remove the frozen rounds from the sheet pan and freeze in a covered container or a plastic bag for up to 1 month.)
Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F (convection or standard). Line two sheet pans with Silpats or parchment paper.
Arrange the frozen cookies on the sheet pans, leaving about 2 inches between them. Bake the cookies until golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes in a convection oven, 16 to 18 minutes in a standard oven, reversing the positions of the pans halfway through baking. Set the pans on a cooling rack and cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then transfer the cookies to the rack to cool completely.
To assemble the cookies: Combine the buttercream, peanut butter, and salt in the bowl of the mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, and mix for 2 minutes on medium-low speed, until combined and smooth. Transfer the mixture to the pastry bag.
Turn half of the cookies over. Beginning in the center, pipe a spiral of peanut butter filling (55 grams) on each one, to within ¼ inch of the edges. Top each with a second cookie and press gently to sandwich the cookies.
The cookies are best the day they are baked, but they can be stored in a covered container, at room temperature if unfilled, refrigerated if filled, for up to 3 days.
Note on rolling out the dough: At the bakery, we use a commercial sheeter to roll out the dough quickly and evenly. At home, the dough must be refrigerated as necessary during the rolling and cutting process.
Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
Place the 150 grams/1 cup sugar in a small saucepan, add the water, and stir to moisten the sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, and simmer until the syrup reaches 230°/100°C.
Letting the syrup continue to cook, turn the mixer to medium speed, gradually pour in the remaining 33 grams/2 tablespoons plus 2¼ teaspoons sugar into the whites, and whip until the whites are beginning to form very loose peaks. If the whites are ready before the syrup reaches 248°F/120°C, turn the mixer to the lowest setting just to keep them moving.
When the syrup reaches 248°F/120°C, remove the pan from the heat. Turn the mixer to medium-low speed and slowly add the syrup to the whites, pouring it between the side of the bowl and the whisk. Increase the speed to medium-high and whisk for 15 minutes, or until the bottom of the bowl is at room temperature and the whites hold stiff peaks. (If the mixture is warm, it will melt the butter.)
Reduce the speed to medium and add the butter, a few pieces at a time. If at any point the mixture looks broken, increase the speed and beat to re-emulsify it, then reduce the speed and continue adding the butter. Check the consistency: if the buttercream is too loose to hold its shape, it should be refrigerated for up to a few hours to harden, then beaten again to return it to the proper consistency.
The buttercream can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 1 month; defrost frozen buttercream in the refrigerator overnight before using. Thirty minutes before using the buttercream, place it in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and allow to soften. Then mix on low speed to return the buttercream to the proper consistency for piping or spreading.
La cocina Latina is more than just excellent Mexican food. As Maricel E. Presilla shows in Gran Cocina Latina, it's a wonderfully complex amalgam of Portugese and Spanish-speaking countries' cooking customs, from Argentina and Cuba to Mexico and many islands in the Caribbean. Read more in our November cooking column!
When I think Latin American desserts, I think flan, and this one looks amazing.
This is a seductive flan with the texture of a creamy cheesecake and the aroma of fresh oranges and orange blossoms. I once made it for a friend who liked it so much I decided to serve it at my restaurants. The key flavoring is Venezuelan Santa Teresa Rhum Orange, an artful orange rum liqueur that gives the dessert flavor and depth. You can use other orange liqueurs, such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier, but try adding a tablespoon or two of a good aged rum as well. It does wonders for the flavor.
Place the whole milk and evaporated milk in a medium saucepan. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, scrape the black seeds into the milk, and add the bean; or add the vanilla extract. Add the cinnamon, star anise, and orange peel and bring the milk barely to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat and simmer gently for 2 to 3 minutes, then remove from the heat and let cool. Strain and discard the solids.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the cream cheese, egg yolks, and eggs in a large mixing bowl and beat with a wooden spoon while adding the condensed milk until smooth and well integrated. Add the cooled steeped milk, ¼ cup liqueur, and the orange blossom water and stir gently until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into the caramelized mold. Place the baking pan on the middle oven rack. Set the mold in the baking pan and pour in enough hot water to come halfway up the sides. Bake until just until set, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature.
While the flan is cooling, place the orange juice, the remaining 1 cup sugar, and the slivered orange peel in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the mixture is reduced almost by half. Stir in the remaining ¼ cup liqueur and continue simmering for 10 to 15 minutes, until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Chill the flan in the refrigerator, in the pan, for at least 3 hours before serving. Unmold onto a decorative platter and garnish with orange slices. Pour the sauce into a decorative bowl and bring to the table with the flan.
Cooking in November means turkey . . . but this year, it also means Turkey, the country! Cooking columnist Sybil Pratt has taken us for a spin around the world with her November column, and with Leanne Kitchen's cookbook Turkey, "she offers an elegant cook’s tour of Turkey’s seven geographic regions, where Mediterranean, Slavic and Middle Eastern influences mingle and where courtly Ottoman dishes share the Turkish table with more humble, hearty peasant fare."
All T/turkey, all the time!
Celeriac, orange and walnut salad
Combine the orange juice and orange zest in a large bowl. Cut the celeriac in half lengthwise, finely slice, then cut into very fine matchsticks, adding them to the orange juice mixture in the bowl as you go to prevent them from browning — you may need to add a little more juice to coat the celeriac but take care not to add too much or the dressing will be too thin. Add the garlic and walnuts, then season with salt and toss well to combine. Just before serving fold in the orange slices.
Preheat a grill or griddle pan to medium-high. Drain the fish and thread onto the soaked skewers, brush with the remaining oil and cook the fish, turning often for about 5 minutes, or until just cooked through but still a little pink in the middle. Serve immediately with the salad.
Our November cooking column is a veritable extravaganza of global cuisine! Maricel E. Presilla’s Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America roams from Mexico to Argentina, from Cuba to Brazil. Cooking columnist Sybil Pratt calls it "a feast and a fiesta."
Here's one of the 500 recipes in Presilla's bountiful cookbook.
In Querétaro, Mexico, next to many old churches you will find women selling crunchy jicama botanas. I never cease to be amazed at their art. They can turn the humblest vegetable or fruit into a magnificent still life, cutting the burly jicamas into perfect long strips and seasoning them lightly with citrus fruit and a sprinkling of hot pepper. Inspired by these Mexican botanas, I like to arrange long strips of jicama in tequila shot glasses and bring them to the table as an amuse-bouche. Jicama is a vine of the legume family that grows a large edible root shaped like a turnip. Beneath the tan skin, the root flesh has a crunchy texture, not unlike that of water chestnuts. Neutral flavored with a touch of sweetness that offsets its subtle starchy quality, jicama absorbs the heat of the chile and the tang of the citrus juice to make for a crisp and refreshing starter.
What to Drink: A shot of an aged tequila, such as Padrón, Herradura Natural, or Corazón, or a Margarita on the Rocks (page 365)
Melissa d'Arabian, host of the Food Network’s popular “Ten Dollar Dinners,” has "taken a tough, practical stand on savvy shopping for delicious, $10 dinners for four" in her new cookbook, Ten Dollar Dinners. It's all about using ingredients wisely—gives new meaning to the term "brain food"!
Cooking time: 10 minutes
2) Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook, stirring often, until they are browned, about 5 minutes.
4) Add the capers and then stir in the butter until it is melted and the sauce comes together. Turn off the heat and pour over the chicken before serving.