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
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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: Jamie At Home

Jamie at Home by Jamie Oliver is a perfect cookbook to peruse in the spring just as you may be planning your garden or beginning to haunt the farmer’s markets for seasonal produce.

This book is designed around the seasons, giving an outline for what is available when, tips on how to grow the fruits and vegetables, and delicious and creative recipes to use the produce.

Here’s what the contents of the book looks like:

SPRING: asparagus, eggs, lamb, rhubarb

SUMMER: barbecue, cabbage family, carrots and beets, climbing beans, zucchini, onions, peas and fava beans, pizza, potatoes, strawberries, summer salads, tomatoes

AUTUMN: chillies and peppers, feathered game, furred game, mushrooms, orchard fruit, pickles

WINTER: leeks, pastry, squash, winter salads, winter veg

As with all of Jamie’s books, there are plenty of gorgeous pictures.

I tried Jamie’s Creamy Asparagus Soup and it made a lovely lunch, complete with a salad and some homemade bread. We ate the leftovers the next day and agreed that the soup tasted even better after sitting overnight.

CREAMY ASPARAGUS SOUP
(adapted from Jamie at Home)
Print this recipe

1 3/4 pounds asparagus, woody ends removed
olive oil
2 medium white onions, peeled and chopped
2 sticks celery, trimmed and chopped
2 leeks, trimmed and chopped
2 quarts good-quality chicken or vegetable stock
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

cream for serving (optional)

 Chop the tips off your asparagus and put these to one side for later. Roughly chop the asparagus stalks. Get a large, deep pan on the heat and add a good glug of olive oil. Gently fry the onions, celery and leeks for around 10 minutes, until soft and sweet, without coloring. Add the chopped asparagus stalks and stock and simmer for 20 minutes with a lid on. Remove from the heat and blitz with a handheld immersion blender or in a standard blender. Season the soup bit by bit (this is important) with salt and pepper until just right. Put the soup back on the heat, stir in the asparagus tips, bring back to the boil and simmer for a few more minutes until the tips have softened.

Note: I dribbled a little cream over the top before serving. If you like really creamy soup, you could stir in 1/2-1 cup of cream before dishing the soup out.

Off The Shelf: The Pioneer Woman Cooks

Have you seen The Pioneer Woman Cooks yet? Written by Ree Drummond, this cookbook is the first published by the widely popular author of The Pioneer Woman blog. My order for this book at the library sat in line for quite some time as everyone was eager to see what was inside.

And now that I’ve had a chance to thoroughly look through the book, I’m trying to figure out just what I think. Here’s my verdict: this is a great cookbook, full of mouth-watering pictures and solid recipes that will most likely work for the masses, as well as being the perfect souvenir for those who follow the Pioneer Woman’s blog, but it’s not for everyone.

If you love Southern, down-home comfort food, made from scratch this is a great book to peruse. If you are all about tons of fresh vegetables, lots of wholegrains and little refined sugar, you won’t find much inspiration here.

Ree begins her book by introducing her family, their ranch and how she got started as the Pioneer Woman blogger. For anyone interested in country life, the book is fun just to flip through and enjoy the pictures and commentary of what they do on the ranch.

I did find the overall layout of the book to be just a bit too “scrap-bookey” for my taste. Color is everywhere, and of course there are gobs of pictures for each recipe, which may come in handy for those needing step-by-step instructions. The front cover of the book gives a good idea of the kind of layout inside the pages.

There are five chapters spread over 250 pages:

Starters: with recipes like BBQ Jalapeno Poppers, Guacamole, PW’s Potato skins, and Hot Artichoke Dip

In the Morning: think Cinnamon rolls, Egg-in-the-Hole, PW’s Breakfast Burritos, and French Breakfast Puffs

Dinner (Lunch): some samples are Simple, Perfect Chili, Onion Strings, Pulled Pork, Macaroni and Cheese, Cowboy Calzone, and Chicken Potpie

Supper (Dinner): with recipes such as Chicken-Fried Steak, Meatloaf, Fried Chicken, Homemade Ranch with Iceberg Lettuce, and Comfort Meatballs

Sweets: who isn’t tempted by Patsy’s Blackberry Cobbler, Flat Apple Pie, Chocolate Sheet Cake, Oatmeal Crispies, or Red Velvet Cake

It was hard for me to choose a recipe to try, as many of the recipes are not things I prefer to put on my table (as much as my mouth waters at their mention). I finally settled on Basic Breakfast Potatoes. The recipe was easy to follow and came out just fine.

BASIC BREAKFAST POTATOES
(The Pioneer Woman Cooks)
Print this recipe

4 to 5 red or other potatoes
1 large onion, cut into large, rough dice
vegetable oil for frying
bacon fat (optional)
salt
black pepper

Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake in a 375F oven for 45 minutes, or until fork-tender.

Place the hot potatoes on a cutting board and dice them into 1-inch-ish pieces.

Heat a skillet over medium-low to medium heat. Next, put a little vegetable oil in the pan. A tablespoon is good. Scrape the pan you used to make bacon earlier this morning. You all made bacon this morning…right?

Then, because I usually straddle the fence between ridiculousness and utter foolishness, I add a tablespoon of bacon fat to the skillet. ‘Cause it tastes goooooood, that’s why.

Go ahead and make peace with yourself, then add the onion. Saute until it starts to turn brown.

Next, throw in the cooked, diced potatoes. Now, sometimes I’ll remove the onions first and wait to add them back in when the potatoes are brown. But I happen to like the onions to get all dark and burny, so I’m going to leave them.

Salt and pepper the potatoes, then stir them around, then slightly press/pack them in the skillet. Cook without stirring for several minutes. You want to make sure the pan is hot enough to crisp the potatoes, but not hot enough to char the poor dears.

NOTE: Sometimes, to make an interesting crust, I’ll sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of flour over the top of the potatoes while the underside is cooking. That way, when you flip them they’ll get a little crispy. In addition, a nice coating of paprika can give the potatoes a great depth of color.

After several minutes, use a spatula to flip the potatoes over to the other side. Be sure to thoroughly salt and pepper the potatoes. Because no matter how you slice it, potatoes must have seasoning. Lots and lots of seasoning.

Enjoy them! Spoon them into your breakfast burritos or place a fried egg on top…or serve them alongside eggs Benedict if you’re feeling especially saucy.

Makes 8 servings.

Now it’s your turn to check out The Pioneer Woman Cooks and let me know what you think!

Off The Shelf: April Magazine Review

With the arrival of April we can count on the fact that spring is really here — and I’m sure we all want our cooking to reflect that. I will admit that I want the food magazines to scream SPRING — loud enough to make me want to pull them off the rack and take them home. While there are a lot of good recipes in this month’s magazines, I felt there could have been a bit more “screaming”, especially on the covers.

Everyday Food (Heather) is once again filled with a number of very appealing recipes, although I felt that some of the recipes belonged more in the category of winter or fall comfort food, rather than fresh spring eating. For instance, Carmelized Onion and Lentil Soup, Tangy Chicken with Orzo Pilaf, Beef and Tomato Stew, Spiced Tomato Soup, and Using Leftover Mashed Potatoes.

On the flip side, there are some spring-specific recipes that look terrific: Roasted Marinated Lamb with Lemon and Rosemary Potatoes, Zucchini Pasta with Ricotta, Tilapia and Quinoa with Feta and Cucumber, Garlic and Chive Dip, Chopped Greek Salad, and Emeril’s Chicken-Patty Pockets. All in all, the magazine is worth your perusal.

We tried the Bean and Cheese Burritos  for a quick and easy (and child-friendly) dinner.

BEAN AND CHEESE BURRITOS
(Everyday Food April 2010)
Print this recipe

1 cup long-grain white rice (I used brown rice which has different cooking times)
1 3/4 c. low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 can (15 oz.) refried beans
4 flour tortillas (I used Trader Joe’s 100% whole wheat)
1/4 cup sour cream, plus more for serving
1 cup shredded cheese
1/2 head romaine lettuce, shredded
1/2 cup salsa, plus more for serving
avacado and cilantro, optional

Preheat oven to 350F. In a small saucepan, bring rice and broth to a boil over high. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 15 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes; fluff rice with a fork. (Alternatively, throw the rice and broth into your rice cooker!)

Meanwhile, in another small saucepan, warm beans and 1/4 cup water over low, stirring occasionally. Wrap tortillas in foil and place in oven to warm, about 10 minutes.

To assemble, divide beans, sour cream, rice, cheese, lettuce, and salsa among tortillas. For each tortilla, fold side closest to you over filling, then fold right and left sides toward center; tightly roll up burrito. Serve topped with more sour cream and salsa if desired.

Serves 4.

 Everyday with Rachael Ray (Heather)– I felt this magazine really could have flaunted spring just a bit more too, although they did do a good job of incorporating the season into all of their extra non-food columns. The 30-Minute Meals section does feature spring recipes such as Orecchiette with Pancetta and Peas, Denver Eggs-and-Potato Hash Sammies, and Leeky Salmon with Puff Pastry Toppers.

There is a fun section on dinner at American diners, complete with recipes for Disco Fries, White Chocolate Banana Cream Pie, Crunch-Berry Pancakes, Hobo Plate, and Curried Chicken Potpies. Other sections include Burger of the Month, Roast Chicken, How to Pull Off a Surprise Party, and Omelets for the Family.

I tried the Tortilla-Crusted Goat Cheese-and-Asparagus Quiche because I was so intrigued with using tortillas as the crust. The concept worked well, except that the tortilla was quite difficult to cut through to get a slice of the quiche onto a plate. The savings of time, not having to make a crust, might just be worth it though….

TORTILLA-CRUSTED GOAT CHEESE-AND-ASPARAGUS QUICHE
(Everyday with Rachael Ray April 2010)
Print this recipe

4 7-inch whole wheat tortillas (Trader Joe’s are terrific)
10 asparagus stalks, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
4 ounces sliced mushrooms (about 1 1/2 cups)
salt and pepper
1 (4 oz.) log goat cheese (I didn’t have this so used some shredded cheese instead)
3 eggs
1/2 cup plain yogurt, preferably Greek-style (I used regular)

Preheat the oven to 375F. In a greased 9-inch pie plate, overlap the tortillas to make a crust; place on a rimmed baking sheet.

Meanwhile, fill a large nonstick skillet a third of the way with salted water; bring to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook until crisp-tender, about 1 minute; drain, rinse under cold water and pat dry (or, use leftover asparagus!).

Wipe out the skillet, add the olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add the onion and mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook until the mushrooms are golden, about 3 minutes. Stir in the asparagus; season with salt and pepper. Spread evenly in the tortilla crust, then crumble in the cheese on top.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and yogurt and season with salt and pepper; pour into the tortilla crust. Bake on the baking sheet until just set in the center and lightly golden, about 30 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 4.

Bon Appetit — (Alaina) Bon Appetit has once again provided a wonderful assorment of recipes that feature spring produce including Korean Rice Bowl with Steak, Asparagus, and Fried Egg, Quick chicken Paella with Sugar Snap Peas, and Fresh Pea and Mint Soup. There is also a wonderful section on cakes. The pictures are stunning and inspiring. I think this magazine remains one of my favorites.

I chose to try the Moroccan Carrot Soup. It was amazing! Hands down the best carrot soup I’ve ever had. The flavors combined in a tantalizing and delicious bowl of creamy goodness.


MOROCCAN CARROT SOUP
(Bon Appetit, April 2010)
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2 Tb. (1/4 stick) butter
1 c. chopped white onion
1 lb. large carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 22/3 cups)
2 1/2 c. low-salt chicken broth
1 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds (I used 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin)
1 Tb. honey
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 c. plain yogurt, stirred to loosen

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 2 minutes. Mix in carrots. Add broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until carrots are very tender, about 20 minutes.

Stir cumin seeds in small skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes; cool. Finely grind in spice mill.

Remove soup from heat. Puree in batches in blender until smooth. Return to same pan. Whisk in honey, lemon juice, and allspice. Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle yogurt over; sprinkle generously with cumin.

Saveur — (Alaina) Recently, I qualified for a one-year subscription to Saveur magazine. It came just in time to include in this month’s magazine review. This is a delightful magazine. At first glance, it seemed like it didn’t have very many recipes but the more I read, the more recipes I realized there were. It also has beautiful photos, great articles and information, and wonderful recipes. I’m looking forward to more issues!

I enjoyed the way this magazine is layed out. It included an article and photos on Rome, Italy and then gave a lot of recipes to go with it – Cacio E Pepe, Gnocchi Alla Romana, Fagioli Tonno, and many more. It also had a section Taipei (Taiwanese Cooking) with very traditional and authentic recipes. I think that’s what I liked the most – it seems like they remained true to the cultures they featured.

Cardamom was featured in the April issue and so I decided to try the Cardamom-Ginger Crunch. It’s a shortbread with a candy-like layer on top. Cardamom is a distinct flavor with a citrusy taste. In my opinion, it’s an aquired flavor. I like it, I don’t love it. My dad and my youngest son loved it and the rest of us liked it with the exception of my oldest two. I halved this recipe.


CARDAMOM-GINGER CRUNCH
(Saveur, April 2010)
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2 cups unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing
1 cup sugar
3 cups flour, sifted
11 tsp. ground ginger
3 1⁄2 tsp. ground cardamom
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 1⁄2 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 tbsp. golden syrup or dark corn syrup

1. Heat oven to 375°. Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking dish; set aside. Put 18 tbsp. butter and sugar in a large bowl; beat with a handheld mixer on medium until fluffy. Add flour, 3 tsp. ginger, 1 tsp. ground cardamom, baking powder, and 1 tsp. salt; mix until incorporated but still crumbly. Transfer mixture to reserved dish; press flat with your hands. Bake until shortbread is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool.

2. In a 1-qt. saucepan over medium heat, combine remaining butter, ginger, cardamom, and salt and the confectioners’ sugar and syrup. Bring to a boil and pour over shortbread; cool. Cut into 2″ rectangles.

MAKES 48 PIECES