Off the Shelf: November Magazines

It’s that time again – the holiday magazines are arriving packed with recipes and ideas! I’ve browsed my issues several times – folded the corners down, made shopping lists, and decided which recipes to try. My favorite of all the magazines – by far – Bon Appetit. I have many recipes that I want to try and it was tough narrowing it down. You will definitely be seeing more recipes from this issue here on TCND before Thanksgiving. Of note – Midwest Living, Saveur, Everyday Food, & Cook’s Illustrated were also lovely issues this month!

Bon Appetit (Alaina) – Like last year, this issue provides several variations of things like potatoes, cranberries, stuffing, turkey and more. They provide menu ideas for various types of Thanksgivings and even include a vegetarian menu. I especially like (it is perhaps my favorite feature) the helpful tips on what can be prepared ahead and how to time your meal. Ths issue boasts 115 recipes and techniques. You are sure to find dishes to suit your menu and palate.

With recipes like Sweet & Spicy Cranberry Sauce, Vanilla-Spiced Caramel & Pear Tart, Roast Turkey Breast w/Potatoes, Green Beans & Mustard Pan Sauce (Thanksgiving all in on dish!), Maple-Braised Butternut Squash w/Fresh Thyme, and Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges w/Smoked Chile Cream, it was a tough choice. I decided on Sauteed Shredded Brussels Sprouts w/Smoked Ham & Toasted Pecans. I picked it partly because I have a mostly negative relationship with brussels sprouts – something about the texture and so I was eager to try them shredded. They were quite good and I would actually make them again. The smoky flavor of the ham was a wonderful addition and the texture was entirely different. Next week I’m going to share another recipe from this issue that I loved even more!

Sauteed Shredded Brussels Sprouts w/Smoked Ham & Toasted Pecans
Print This Recipe

2 pounds brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/4-inch-thick slices smoked ham (about 6 ounces), coarsely chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
2/3 cup low-salt chicken broth
Coarse kosher salt
1/2 cup pecans, toasted, chopped

Trim root ends from brussels sprouts. Using sharp knife or processor fitted with coarse shredding disk, thinly slice brussels sprouts into shreds. DO AHEAD Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.Melt butter with olive oil in large deep skillet over medium heat. Add ham; sauté until golden, about 3 minutes. Add garlic; stir 30 seconds. Add brussels sprouts and broth; sauté until crisp-tender but still bright green, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with coarse salt and black pepper. Transfer to serving bowl. Sprinkle with pecans.

Food Network Magazine (Alaina) – This issue is also quite festive and is packed with lots of recipes. The pull-out section is 50 different stuffing variations which include traditional stuffing, cornbread stuffing, and rice stuffing. They look so good and I plan to pick one to try for our Thanksgiving (did I mention that I will be hosting my very first full Thanksgiving meal?). Food Network does a great job of including side dish ideas and quick dinners in every issue and this one is no exception. The pooled talents of so many great chefs makes for an interesting and diverse magazine.

There were many recipes that sounded wonderful – some holiday and some every day – Chocolate-Toffee Pecan Tart, Endive & Blue Cheese Salad, Parker House Rolls, Butternut, Arugula, & Pine Nut Salad, Spicy Cumin Fries, and Thai Chicken Soup are just a few. Bobby Flay shares a Macaroni & Cheese that I’m pretty sure is amazing. 🙂

I made the Stuffed Baby Bellas. These are great appetizers – the recipe says it will serve 4 but I’m pretty sure 2/person would be an appropriate starter size so you can count on it feeding at least 8. The recipe made too much filling so you can either halve it, make meatballs with the leftover (that’s what I did), or buy more mushroom caps. The lemon zest and fennel made for a bright and flavorful filling. Overall, we really liked these.

STUFFED BABY BELLAS
Print This Recipe

16 baby portabella mushrooms (creminis)
1 pound ground chicken or turkey breast
1 teaspoon fennel seed, 1/3 palmful
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, grated or finely chopped
1 lemon, zested
1 cup shredded asiago cheese
1/2 cup breadcrumbs, a couple handfuls
1 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and wrung dry in a clean kitchen towel
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)
1/4 cup pine nuts or chopped almonds

Wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp cloth. Remove the stems and finely chop them. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground meat, fennel seed, onion, garlic, lemon zest, half of the cheese, the chopped mushroom stems, breadcrumbs and spinach and season with salt and pepper. Brush lightly with EVOO and stuff the mixture into the caps.

Arrange the caps on a rimmed baking sheet or in a baking dish. Leave some room around each mushroom to prevent the caps from getting steamy. Sprinkle the remaining cheese and the nuts on the caps and transfer to the oven. Bake until the mushrooms are tender and the filling is cooked through, about 25 minutes. Serve warm.

Every Day with Rachael Ray (Stephanie) – This issue was, in my very humble opinion, quite a disappointment. There were a few recipes that sounded promising, like Potato Cake with Bacon, Sour Cream and Apples or Penne with Bacon, Butternut Squash and Spinach. And I even tried a couple recipes, Roast Mushrooms and Kale over Mashed Sweet Potatoes (not worth making!) and Chipotle-Barbecue Chicken. But, if you’re looking for good Thanksgiving ideas, look somewhere else. Other than four different ways to cook a turkey and small section of unusual side dishes, this issue evokes little Thanksgiving cheer.


CHIPOTLE BARBEQUE CHICKEN
Print This Recipe

Serves 4

6 Tbsp butter
6 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large onion, chopped
¼ c. chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped
¼ c. ketchup
3 Tbsp cider vinegar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
8 chicken thighs (about 2 pounds)

Preheat the oven to 425°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

In a deep skillet, heat 3 Tbsp butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic to a small bowl. Add the onion to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes. Add the chipotle chiles in a adobo sauce to the skillet. Add the ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes.

Using tongs, coat the chicken in the sauce and place skin side up on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Cooking Light (Stephanie) — This issue was packed with lots of yummy looking recipes Broccoli Slaw with Oranges and Crunch Noodles, Apple and Cranberry Turkey Roulade (which I hope to try!), Egg Nog, Pecan Spice Cake with ample Frosting. There is also a 50-page holiday cooking section divided up by appetizers, sides, main dishes, desserts, etc. 

Although there were many recipes I considered making, I decided on Apple Kuchen. I thought it was a bit of work for the result, but my husband declared them delicious. I altered the recipe to make it gluten free, as well as cut back the sugar by about a 1/3 of a cup.

APPLE KUCHEN
Print This Recipe

3 Fuji apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 c. sugar, divided
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt, divided
6.75 ounces (about 1 1/2 c.) all-purpose flour or all-purpose gluten free + 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 c. butter, softened and divided
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 c. nonfat buttermilk
1/2 c. chopped walnuts, toasted
1/4 c. apricot preserves
2 tsp apple juice

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine apples and lemon juice, toss. Add 1/4 c. sugar, cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp salt. Toss to combine.

Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, the remaining 1/4 tsp salt, and baking powder in a bowl, stirring well (if making gf, add xanthan gum here). Place remaining 3/4 c. sugar, 6 Tbsp butter, and cream cheese in a bowl; beat with a mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, beating well. Stir in vanilla. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined. Stir in walnuts.

Scrape batter into a greased 13×9-inch metal baking pan. Arrange apples over the batter. Melt remaining butter; brush over apples. Bake for 45 minutes until set.

Combine apricot preserves and apple juice; microwave on high for 30 seconds or until meltd, stirring once. Brush over apples; cool. Cut into 15 squares.

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Off The Shelf: August Magazines

It’s so fun browsing the various food magazines we receive in the mail and then deciding which ones will make the cut and what recipes we will try. It gives us a chance to try things maybe we wouldn’t and to enjoy our subscriptions. So here are our picks for this month!

Saveur (Alaina) – This magazine features Greek food which I love! I thoroughly enjoy this publication – it has interesting articles about travel, food, techniques and more. It perhaps does not have as many recipes as some of the more well-known cooking magazines but the recipes they feature are excellent. I like that they choose a theme (or a couple of themes) and include several recipes that tie into that theme.

It was tough choosing the recipe I wanted to try, so I made two.  The first I already mentioned a couple of weeks ago – a Greek Salad. The second was this Greek Lasagne. It was wonderful! I’m not generally a big casserole fan but I loved this – it was a little time consuming but so worth it. The flavors and textures worked so well together. It made alot – I served 4 adults and 3 kids and still had half a casserole left which we enjoyed as leftovers. This recipe would be excellent for the occasions that you take a meal to someone.


GREEK LASAGNE (PASTITSIO) – Saveur, August 2010
Print This Recipe
FOR THE MEAT SAUCE:
1⁄3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 green bell peppers, cored, seeded, and minced
2 medium yellow onions, minced
1 lb. ground beef, veal, or pork
3 oz. dry-cured chorizo, minced
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
1⁄3 cup red wine
1⁄4 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
2 fresh or dried bay leaves
1  2″ cinnamon stick
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper,  to taste
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
FOR THE BÉCHAMEL AND PASTA:
8 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 cups  flour
4 cups milk
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 eggs, separated
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
1lb. No. 2 Greek macaroni, bucatini, or elbow macaroni
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1. Make the meat sauce: Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add peppers and onions and cook, stirring often, until soft, 8–10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer onion mixture to a plate and set aside. Add ground meat and chorizo to skillet and cook, breaking meat up into tiny pieces, until browned, 6–8 minutes. Add reserved onion mixture, along with tomatoes, wine, chile flakes, bay leaves, and cinnamon and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. Remove sauce from heat, discard bay leaves and cinnamon, and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg; let cool.
2. Make the béchamel: Heat butter in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, until smooth and slightly toasted, 1–2 minutes. Add milk; cook, whisking often, until sauce coats the back of a spoon, 8–10 minutes. Remove from heat, add 3⁄4 cup cheese and egg yolks; season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir until smooth; set aside.
3. Heat oven to 350°. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add pasta and cook halfway through, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk egg whites in a large bowl until frothy. Stir in remaining cheese; drain pasta in a colander and then toss with egg white–cheese mixture to coat evenly. Set aside.
4. Grease a deep 9″ x 13″ baking dish with olive oil. Place half the pasta mixture on bottom of dish and cover evenly with meat sauce. Top with remaining pasta mixture. Pour béchamel over pasta, spreading it evenly with a rubber spatula. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 1 hour. Transfer to wire rack; cool 20 minutes before serving.
SERVES 10 – 12

Bon Appetit
(Alaina) – Yum. That describes this entire issue. I was especially tempted by their many desserts – just look at the cover! Even my 2 year old was taken by this issue and insisted on looking at it several times and pointing out the photos of delicious looking food while saying, “Mmm!”
This is an issue I will hang on to and hopefully make many more of the recipes. I chose to make the Sour Cream Pound Cake w/Lavendar Peaches. Cooking with lavendar is new to me and so I really wanted to give this a try. And the verdict is – go.make.this.recipe. It was so summery and absolutely delicious. Halfway through the recipe as I was making the lavendar simple syrup and I was a little nervous – it smelled so floral. But by the end, with the peaches infused into the syrup, the result was a perfect balance of fruit and floral. And let’s not forget the cake – with vanilla bean and sour cream, it was moist and flavorful. I will definitely cook with lavendar again!

SOUR CREAM POUND CAKE w/LAVENDAR PEACHES – Bon Appetit, August 2010
Print This Recipe

CAKE
3/4 c. plus 1 Tb. flour
1/4 c. cornstarch
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
3/4 c. sugar
10 Tb. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 lg. egg
1 lg. egg white
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. sour cream

Preheat oven to 325. Butter a metal loaf pan (8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 3/4 inch). Dust pan with flour; tap out excess. Sift 3/4 c. plus 1 Tb. flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl. Combined sugar and butter in large bowl; scrape in seeds from vanilla bean (reserve bean for lavender syrup). Using electric mixer, beat sugar mixture until fluffy. Add egg, egg white, and vanilla extract; beat until mixture is pale and thick, about 2 minutes. Beat in sour cream. Add flour mixture; beat just until blended. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.

Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 56-58 minutes. Cool in pan on rack 15 minutes. Turn cake out, then turn top side up. Cool completely. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap in foil and store at room temperature.)

LAVENDER SYRUP & PEACHES
1 1/2 c. sugar
3 Tb. dried lavender blossoms
4 medium firm but ripe peaches, pitted, cut into 3/4-inch wedges
3 Tb. fresh lemon juice
1 c. chilled heavy whipping cream

Combine 2 1/4 c. water, sugar, lavender, and reserved vanilla bean in saucepan. Boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat; cover and let steep 10 minutes. Strain syrup into medium bowl; discard lavender. Pour 2 Tb. lavender syrup into small bowl; reserve for whipped cream. Cover and chill. Return remaining syrup to same saucepan; add peaches and lemon juice and bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer about 5 minutes. Transfer peaches to bowl. Boil syrup in pan until reduced to 1 c., 12-14 minutes (it took longer for me). Pour over peaches. Chill uncovered 2 hours.

Beat cream and 2 Tb. reserved syrup in medium bowl to soft peaks. Slice cake. Serve with peaches, syrup, and cream.
Cooking Light (Heather): The August edition is a thick, summer issue with plenty of good ideas. We tried the Sweet and Spicy Citrus Tilapia and it was so very good. I don’t cook a lot of fish, but this recipe makes me want to put it on our menu more often. It was easy and delicious and everyone had clean plates.
I also tried their recipe for Quick and Easy Pickles and a huge jar is sitting in my refrigerator right now. It was a great way to use garden surplus (it works for cucumbers and zucchini!).
Summer Squash and Corn Chowder is on my list of things to make — it looks so delicious in the magazine picture and would be a great way to use up extra corn and squash!
The issue is very festive with page after page of summer food. Many of the recipes are a bit more gourmet than I would make, but they are fun to look through and there are a handful of really good and useful recipes for the average cook.

SWEET AND SPICY CITRUS TILAPIA
(Cooking Light, August 2010)
Print this recipe

4 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
cooking spray
1/2 cup fresh orange juice (about 1 orange)
3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. lower sodium soy sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tsp. paprika
Arrange fish in a single layer in a shallow roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Combine orange juice and next 9 ingredients (through garlic); pour over fish. Let stand 15 minutes.
Preheat broiler. Sprinkle fish with paprika; broil 15 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Drizzle sauce over fish. Serves 4.
NOTE: I didn’t have any orange juice in the house (and Alaina didn’t either!) so I had to improvise: I removed the brown sugar and put in about 3 Tbsp. of orange marmalade to replace the orange juice and brown sugar. It was perfect!
  Martha Stewart Living (Heather): We don’t often include Martha Stewart magazine because it’s not exclusively a food magazine. However, this month it included the most amazing summer recipe that is also extremely easy — all it takes is time to boil the pasta and you are finished!

Tomato and Basil Pasta is the pasta version of Caprese Salad. If you love that salad, you will love this pasta. My kids loved it too. We’ve made it twice and it is on the menu for this week again. You could also add some Kalamata olives to dress it up a bit.

TOMATO AND BASIL PASTA
(Martha Stewart, August 2010)
Print this recipe
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 pound cooked short pasta
4 medium tomatoes
1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese
basil leaves

Combine olive oil, garlic cloves, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss in cooked and drained pasta. Tear tomatoes and mozzarella and scatter over pasta. Garnish with basil leaves and sprinkle with pepper. Serves 4.

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)
Print this recipe

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!