Off The Shelf: May Magazines

Bon Appetit — This month’s issue is labled the “travel issue” and contains a collection of recipes from Italy, Spain, France, Belgium, and the United Kingdom. Each collection is lengthy, filled with beautiful photos and art, as well as stories and recipes. There is also a feature devoted to carrots, which, apparently, are in season just now.

I tried the Chicken with Tarragon for a Sunday dinner and it came out very well. I was skeptical of taking time to roast garlic in a pan, but it was quick and easy and worked well. We paired the chicken with the green rice and cucumber salad (also included in this post) and together it was a scrumptious meal. We ended it with the Strawberry and Rhubarb Crumble from Monday’s post.

CHICKEN WITH TARRAGON AND QUICK-ROASTED GARLIC
(Bon Appetit May 2010)
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3 large unpeeled garlic cloves
4 small skinless boneless chicken breast halves or cutlets
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon
2 Tbsp. heavy whipping cream

Heat small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; cover and cook until browned in spots and tender when pierced, turning occasionally, 9 to 10 minutes. Transfer to work surface to cool.

Meanwhile, sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until browned and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to plate (do not clean skillet).

Peel garlic. Add garlic and wine to same skillet; cook until reduced by about half, mashing garlic finely with fork, about 1 minute. Add broth and tarragon; simmer until liquid is reduced by about half, 1 to 2 minutes. Add cream and simmer to sauce consistency, about 1 minute. Return chicken to skillet with any accumulated juices. Simmer to heat through, turning occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer chicken to plate; spoon sauce over.

Serves 4.

Everyday Food — of interest in this issue is a feature on raspberries (apparently these are in season too? Perhaps at the grocery store, certainly not in my backyard) with some amazing-looking recipes included. Another feature tells what to do with jarred, roasted peppers. The Breakfast for Dinner feature dishes up some very tempting meals that look easy and delicious. As always, there are a number of great, everyday meals, side dishes and desserts included as well.

I made the Green Rice and the Cucumber and Snap Pea Salad. Both were easy to make and turned out well. The salad was so fresh and delightful that we’ll be having it again soon. Honestly, I couldn’t stop eating it. A perfect salad for spring!

GREEN RICE
(Everyday Food May 2010)
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1 cup packed fresh cilantro
1/2 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
1/4 white onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 3/4 cups water
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup long-grain white rice
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

In a blender, combine cilantro, parsley, onion, garlic, water, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.

In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add rice and stir to coat. Add herb mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let sit, covered, 5 minutes. Add lime juice and fluff with a fork. Serve rice with lime wedges if desired.

Serves 4.

CUCUMBER AND SNAP PEA SALAD WITH MINT
(Everyday Food May 2010)
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1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. white-wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
salt & pepper
2 large cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced
1 pound snap peas, trimmed and sliced on the diagonal in 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup fresh mint, torn

In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, and mustard. Season with salt and pepper. Add cucumbers and peas. Toss to combine. Stir in mint just before serving.

Serves 4.

Everyday with Rachael Ray — Once again I am keenly aware that many magazines don’t follow seasonal eating very closely. While this magazine does include a number of seasonal-appropriate recipes (like Asparagus, Ham and Egg Pasta, and Rhubarb Fool), I question the appeal of recipes such as Potato-Leek soup, Chili, and Spaghetti Squash for this spring season. I felt this issue belonged more in fall.

However, there is a large section devoted to parties and weddings, which was fun to look through and might be beneficial if you are looking for ideas along those lines.

I tried the Gemelli with Fennel and Hot Sausage and it was an easy and delicious weeknight meal that is worth repeating.

GEMELLI WITH FENNEL AND HOT SAUSAGE
(Everyday with Rachael Ray, May 2010)
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3/4 pound hot Italian sausage links, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I used mild)
1 large bulb fennel, cut into strips
1 large onion, sliced
3 carrots, sliced on an angle
2 Tbsp. olive oil
salt & pepper
1 pound gemelli pasta (I used penne)
1/4 cup chopped flat parsley

Preheat oven to 425F. On a baking sheet, toss the sausage, fennel, onion and carrots with the olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Bake until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until al dente; drain, reserving 1/3 cup of the pasta cooking water. Transfer the pasta to a large bowl.

Add the sausage -vegetable mixture to the pasta. Add the reserved pasta cooking water to the baking sheet, scraping up any browned bits; transfer to the pasta mixture. Toss in the parsley; season with salt and pepper.

NOTE: My kids liked this with grated cheese sprinkled on top.

Serves 4.

Cooking Light — While I didn’t get any recipes made from Cooking Light this month, I did bookmark a number of recipes that looked appealing. This issue includes an article on sandwiches, healthy eating while in the DC area, and a great round-up of seasonal recipes in the Dinner Tonight feature.

If you are into homemade ice-cream, you may want to check out their cooking class article on light ice-cream. There is also an article on smoothies.

The longest feature is devoted to pizza, with recipe after recipe of delicious and ingenious combinations for this favorite American food.

Other articles include: Haitian-American food, simple spring recipes, spring risottos, and budget cooking.

If you want a magazine that says SPRING!, this is probably the one for you.

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Market Fresh: Fennel

Here in America, fennel is not something one frequently finds in the average refrigerator. Perhaps you have seen it in the produce section with its long, fern-like fronds and its fat, white bulb. Many know it resembles anise in taste, with its mild licorice flavor. There are many culinary possibilities with this vegetable, or more properly, “herb.”

To begin with, you can eat fennel raw. Try it as an addition to your next vegetable tray, or as the main ingredient of a salad. Fennel also makes a wonderful addition to soup or stews. Recipes seem to abound pairing fennel with fish, the mild anise flavor melding well with a delicate fish. You can eat fennel cut in wedges, steamed and topped with butter, or perhaps roasted in the oven, drizzled with a little olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. And I highly recommend the Spicy Spaghetti with Fennel and Herbs mentioned in our January Magazine Review.

Today I have a recipe for fennel gratin which is just amazing. I served this to our guests on Christmas day. They were unsure what to expect at first but were soon raving about the dish. If you are concerned about the high fat content of the recipe, I would suggest pairing it with an otherwise low-fat meal such as fish or chicken.

FENNEL GRATIN
(adapted from bbcgoodfood.com)
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2 fennel bulbs
1 cup heavy cream
1 garlic clove, crushed
pinch of nutmeg
1/4 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400F. Put a pan of salted water on to boil. Trim the fennel tops, then cut into wedges. Boil (or steam) wedges for 5-6 minutes, then drain well.

Arrange wedges in an ovenproof dish, season and sprinkle with nutmeg. Stir the garlic into the cream and pour over the fennel. Top with the parmesan cheese. Bake for 20 minutes (or more) until golden and bubbling.

Serves 4-8.

If you are interested in reading more about fennel, why not check out Five Ways to Eat Fresh Fennel by our friends over at Food & Think.

Off the Shelf: January Magazines

Here are our January magazine reviews! Also this is the last day to enter our calendar giveaway!

EVERYDAY FOOD (Alaina) – This issue is packed full of recipes. It includes several “light” recipes heading into the new year with health and diet resolutions. It also features a great section with citrus recipes. I especially think the Fresh Orange and Yogurt Tart looks wonderful. They also have a nice section on stir-fry!

I decided to try the Chickpea Curry – it’s vegetarian. My older kids thought it was a little too spicy but the youngest really liked it. It has an international flavor and is definitely curry. It was quick and easy to put together. You can serve this by itself or over couscous or rice. I like the addition of the lemon wedge – I squeezed it over right before eating and it added some freshness but was not over-powering.

QUICK CHICKPEA CURRY
(Everyday Food, January/February 2010)

1 Tb. olive oil
1 lg. yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tb. curry powder
1 cinnamon stick (3 inches)
ground cloves
2 cans (15-oz. each) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
3 Tb. ketchup
coarse salt and ground pepper
chopped cilantro and lemon wedges (opt.), for serving

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until dark brown around edges about 6 minutes. Add garlic, curry, cinnamon, and pinch of cloves and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add chickpeas, ketchup, 1 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, and 2 c. water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook 20 minutes. Uncover and increase heat to medium-high (I removed the cinnamon stick at this time); cook until sauce is lightly reduced, 5 minutes. Serve topped with cilantro, with lemon wedges along-side if desired.

COOKING LIGHT (Alaina) – This issue features quite a number of seafood recipes but it also include a variety of other proteins and main dishes. There are several soups and several vegetarian recipes.

The cover boasts superfast comfort foods and tips for eating healthier in 2010. The photos are (as always!) beautiful and inspiring. The Upside-Down Fudge-Almond Tart looked delicious and I really would like to try the Grown-Up Grilled Cheese. I tried the Carrot Cake Pancakes and they did not disappoint. They were quite good topped with the suggested honey butter and even though it doesn’t keep it quite as light, we added a bit of pure maple syrup drizzled on top. Yum!

CARROT CAKE PANCAKES
(Cooking Light, Januray 2010)

5.6 oz. flour (about 1 1/4 c.)
1/4 c. choppe walnuts, toasted (I didn’t have walnuts so I subbed pecans)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
Dash of ground cloves
Dash of ground ginger
1/4 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. low-fat buttermilk
1 Tb. canola oil
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 lg. eggs, lightly beaten
2 c. carrot, finely grated (about 1 lb.)

Cooking Spray
3 Tb. butter, softened
2 Tb. honey

Combine flour and next 7 ingredients (through ginger) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Combine brown sugar and next 4 ingredients (through eggs); add sugar mixture to flour mixture, stirring until just moist. Fold in carrots.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat (I used my electric griddle). Coat pan with cooking spray. Spoon batter by 1/4 c. into mounds in skillet, spreading with a spatula. Cook for 2 min. or until tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked. Carefully turn pancakes over and cook 1 min. or until borroms are lightly browned. Repeat until all batter is gone.

Combine buter and honey in a small bowl and serve with pancakes. Yields 12 pancakes (about 6 servings)

FOOD NETWORK (Alaina) – Perhaps the best feature of the January issue is the 50 dips pull-out. They have quite the variety of dips for your next party including several hummus recipes, aiolis, and southwest dips.

I thought their cupcake recipes looked divine. The White Chili With Quick-Roasted Garlic sounded good and as did the Bourbon Praline Cake, the Truffles, and the Hot Wings with Blue Cheese-Yogurt Sauce. If you are hosting a super-bowl party or any kind or party this would be a great issue for you!

I must mention that the section on Fast-Food Fix was quite disappointing to me. It seemed that it would be equivalent, healthy recipes – instead it used drive-through sandwiches and fillings to make different dishes. Not my cup of tea and far too many pages were devoted to it (four). Hopefully they will leave fast-food at the drive-through and come up with some creative alternatives in the future.

BON APPETIT (Heather) – This is Bon Appetit’s “review of the year” issue. In it you will find the dish of the year, cuisine of the year, ingredient of the year, party of the year, desserts of the year, and getaway of the year.

In the “fast, easy, fresh” section you will find a scrumptious looking Chocolate Nut Tart with Dried Fruit, Pork Tenderloin with Pears and Shallots, and Lentil Soup with Spicy Italian Sausage to name a few. Fennel is their ingredient of focus this month, with four recipes to try, including the Spicy Spaghetti with Fennel and Herbs which I tried and loved.

The rest of the magazine is devoted to large and beautiful articles on each of the “of the year” topics, including numerous recipes, complete with gorgeous pictures.

SPICY SPAGHETTI WITH FENNEL AND HERBS
(Bon Appetit, January 2010)
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3 ounces pancetta (or regular bacon)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped or pressed
2 large red jalapeno chiles, seeded, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup) — I omitted these for our family
2 large fennel bulbs, stalks trimmed, cut into thin wedges with some core attached (I used one)
1 1/2 c. low-salt chicken broth
4 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. crushed fennel seeds
1 pound spaghetti
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 c. finely grated Pecorino Romano or Pecorino Toscano cheese, divided

Saute pancetta in large skillet over medium heat until pancetta is golden. Using slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to paper towels. Add 1 Tbsp. oil to drippings in skillet. Add garlic and chiles; saute over medium heat 1 minute. Add fennel; cook until beginning to soften, 5 minutes. Mix in broth, 2 Tbsp. parsley, lemon juice, and fennel seeds. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until fennel is very tender, 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook pasta until tender; drain. Reserve 1 cup cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot.

Uncover skillet with fennel mixture and return to high heat. Cook until almost all liquid is absorbed, about 4 minutes. Add fennel to pasta. Stir in 2 Tbsp. oil, 1/2 c. cheese, and pancetta. Add cooking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls if dry. Toss pasta; transfer to serving bowl. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp. parsley over. Serve with cheese.

NOTE: Since most of my family does not like very spicy, I omitted the jalapeno chiles and substituted most of the grated Pecorino Romano with 1 c. grated pepper jack cheese. I then just garnished the top of the spaghetti with freshly grated Parmesan. The dish was delicious!

MARTHA STEWART LIVING (Heather) – I don’t often consider reviewing MS Living for this blog because it is more than just a food magazine and often its recipes are a little “over the top.” However, I was delighted to find a number of recipes in this issue which sounded very good and didn’t look that complicated. The first set of recipes comes under the title Dinner in No Time Flat and is a collection of three main dishes based on paillards (pieces of meat that are pounded thin) cooked in a saute pan and finished with a sauce made in the very same pan. Included in the article are Chicken with Lemon Butter Sauce, Pork with Sour Cream-Paprika Sauce, and Veal with Mushroom, Mustard, and Sherry Sauce (for which I may substitute chicken). Cooking paillards in a saute pan is one of my favorite, easy dinners and I can’t wait to try these new versions!

Later on in the magazine there is a whole article devoted to chicken soup, with four options pictured just calling my name to be made. Recipes include Basic Chicken Soup, Thai Chicken Soup, Colombian Chicken Soup, and Spicy Indian Chicken Soup. Immediately following is a helpful article on Fresh Thinking: Organic, Local, Seasonal, meant to help you out when you go to the grocery store. The article includes The Clean 15 and The Dirty Dozen — foods with the lowest pesticide residue and foods with the highest pesticide residue. Of course there are other recipes and articles, including a focus on cabbage, and a menu featuring a hearty winter-vegetable soup with popovers. Yum!

MARY JANES FARM (Heather) – I also wanted to mention a magazine that has just come to my attention this week. Mary Janes Farm dubs itself “the everyday organic lifestyle magazine”. Sort of a Country Living for those interested in organic, simple, and seasonal. It includes a large section on food (this issue includes a great mini-section on an organic, gluten-free valentine’s day), as well as sections on gardening, community, quilting & stitching/crafting, city and town “farming”, and natural home care. Next time you are by a magazine stand, you’ll have to have a look!