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
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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
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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)
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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.
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Off The Shelf: March Magazines

(Heather) – Now that we are well into 2010, the food magazines have begun to arrive en masse. First up this month is Food Network. The March issue encompasses 140 pages. Along with all the normal features (such as Food News, Star Kitchen, Fun Cooking, He Made-She Made, and Copy That), there are a number of great feature articles which include: cooking with orange juice concentrate, 11,375 stir-fry possibilities complete with some amazing photos, easy green snacks for St. Patrick’s Day, Weeknight Cooking and Weekend Cooking — all of which have very appealing recipes, a Ravioli how-to, and a pull-out booklet on 50 Pizzas. The magazine ends with a lengthy spread devoted to the upcoming Oscars, including Hollywood-specific recipes.

I chose a recipe from the On The Road feature — Green Apple-SourDough Pancakes. I love the smell and taste of sourdough and these pancakes were lovely. And my kids ate them right up too!

GREEN APPLE-SOURDOUGH PANCAKES
(Food Network Magazine March 2010)
Print this recipe

For the sourdough starter:
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp. active dry yeast (1/2 packet)
1/2 cup apple cider (I had to substitute apple juice with 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar)
3 Tbsp. packed light brown sugar
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 cup all-purpose flour

For the pancakes:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp. baking soda
1 small tart green apple (such as Granny Smith), unpeeled and diced
1-2 Tbsp. butter
maple syrup or honey, for serving
chopped pecans, for garnish (optional)

Make the sourdough starter: Warm the milk in a small saucepan over low heat to about 110F. Transfer to a medium bowl, sprinkle with the yeast and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the cider, brown sugar, butter and 1 cup flour until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature overnight.

The next morning, make the pancakes: whisk 1/2 cup flour, the egg, baking soda and apple into the sourdough starter. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a cast-iron griddle or non-stick skillet over medium heat and swirl to coat. Pour about 1/4 cup batter onto the griddle for each pancake. (Alternatively, cook on an electric pancake griddle.) Cook until the tops are bubbly and the edges set, about 3 minutes, then flip and cook until golden and cooked through, 1 to 2 more minutes. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding more butter as needed. Drizzle with syrup and garnish with pecans, if desired.

Makes about 12 pancakes.

(Heather) – Next up is Everyday with Rachael Ray which boasts 462 easy recipes, tips & deals. The magazine opens with a number of regular features and this month includes a section on beating the winter blahs. There are focus pages on cauliflower, coffee, slow cookers, supermarket traps. My favorite section of this magazine is the five-page Meet the Grains feature, introducing us to brown rice, millet, barley, farro, buckwheat, and quinoa. I hope to obtain most, if not all, of these grains and begin to incorporate them into our diet. (Perhaps you’ll read about the results on this blog!)

As always the magazine includes some great suggestions for 30-minute meals, as well as a section on classic dishes (think chicken noodle soup, chocolate cake, apple pie, lasagna). Recipes for Oscar night fill several pages and, wouldn’t you know, there’s a lengthy article on the nation’s best pizza and how to make it (do magazine editors consult each other?).

I will mention that my biggest pick with this issue was from their Supermarket Traps article. The article actually encourages you to “save produce shopping for last; this will prevent overbuying.” Their argument being that produce has the highest profit margin and supermarket owners want you to buy a lot. In my opinion, fresh produce is what you should be filling the bulk of your cart with. The more fresh food we eat the more likely we are to have good health.

The Spaghetti Squash with Sausage and Greens from the $10 Dinners caught my attention. The recipe worked well and tasted great and one could even substitute regular pasta for the spaghetti squash.

SPAGHETTI SQUASH WITH SAUSAGE AND GREENS
(Everyday with Rachael Ray March 2010)
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1 spaghetti squash (about 3 1/2 pounds), halved lengthwise
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
12 oz. sweet Italian sausage
1 bunch spinach, stems discarded and leaves coarsely chopped (I used a 10 oz. bag of fresh spinach)
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

The magazine has you cook the spaghetti squash in the microwave. Because I try to avoid microwave cooking I placed my halved squash in a baking pan, added about 1-inch of water and baked it at 350F for 45-60 minutes until tender.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook until no longer pink, about 6 minutes. Add the spinach and crushed red pepper and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes; season with salt and pepper.

Using a fork, comb the cooked squash into strands into a bowl. Toss with the parmesan and season with black pepper. Serve the spinach and sausage over the squash.

Serves 4.

(Alaina) – Everyday Food is focused on spring! It has some wonderful looking salad recipes, a whole section on poaching eggs and recipes for them, five different uses for homemade pizza dough (which all look amazing!), as well as their usual meal plan with grocery a list. I continue to be impressed with this magazine. They make gourmet food easy! The Beer-Braised Sausages with Warm Potato Salad, Almond Torte with Pears and Whipped Cream, and the Swiss Chard Pie are just a few of the recipes I would love to try!

I decided to try the Orecchiette with Bacon and Tomato Sauce – Orcchiette is a small shell-like pasta which I didn’t happen to have on hand so mine was actually Orzo with Bacon and Tomato Sauce. Orzo is a small pasta that looks a little like rice. It worked well. This was a little spicy for my kids, so I would reduce the red-pepper flakes to 1/4 tsp. The smoky bacon is so good in this simple dish!

ORECCHIETTE WITH BACON & TOMATO SAUCE
(Everyday Food, March 2010)
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1 Tb. extra-virgin olive oil
4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. red-pepper flakes
1 can (28 oz.) whole peeled tomatoes
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 lb. orecchiette or other short pasta
Grated Parmesan and chopped fresh parsley, for serving

In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium-high. Add bacon and cook until browned and almost crisp, about 4 min. Add onion and cook until softened, 3 to 5 min. Add garlic and red-pepper flakes and stir until fragrant, 1 min. Add tomatoes, breaking them up as you go, and season with salt and pepper. Bring sauce to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook until slightly reduced, 15 min.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted water, cook pasta 1 minute less than package instructions. Reserve cup pasta water; drain pasta and return to pot.

Add sauce and pasta water to pasta and toss to combine; cook over medium-high until sauce thickens and coats pasta, about 2 min. Serve pasta topped with Parmesan and parsley.

(Alaina) – Cooking Light has a wide variety of recipes including many different proteins and vegetarian dishes. The photos are inspiring and the articles interesting. I especially enjoyed the article on 25 Most Common Cooking Mistakes – and yes, I’m definitely guilty of some of them! The Lentil-Barley Burgers with Fiery Fruit Salad, Apricot-Ginger Bellinis, Pear & Prosciutto Pizza, and Braised Short Ribs with Egg Noodles all look amazing.

I decided to try the lightened up Sour Cream Coffee Cake which was actually one of the Cooking Light staff favorites! And I agree – it was surprisingly delicious! I used yogurt which is the perfect substitute for sour cream if you don’t have any and since mine was fat-free plain, it reduced the fat in this recipe even more!

SOUR CREAM COFFEE CAKE
(Cooking Light, March 2010)
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3/4 c. old-fashioned oats, divided
1 c. flour
1/4 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. packed brown sugar, divided
1/3 c. butter, softened
2 lg. eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 (8-oz) carton light sour cream (I used fat free plain yogurt)
2 Tb. finely chopped walnuts (I used pecans because we love them!)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tb. chilled butter, cut into small pieces

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Spread oats in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 6 minutes or until oats are barely fragrant and light brown. Coat a 9-inch springform pan (I used a regular 9-in. round glass baking pan) with cooking spray; set aside. Reserve 1/4 c. oats; set aside. Place remaining oats in a food processor; process 4 seconds or until finely ground. Combine flours, processed oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; stir with whisk.

Place a granulated sugar, 1/4 c. brown sugar, and 1/3 c. butter in a lg. bowl. Beat with a mixter at medium speed for 3 min. or until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. (Batter will be slightly lumpy because of oats.) Spoon batter into prepared pan; spread evenly.

Combine remaining 1/4 c. oats and 1/4 c. brown sugar, nuts, and cinnamon in a bowl. Cut in 1 Tb. butter with a pastry blender until well blended. Sprinkle top of batter evenly with nut mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 38 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, top is golden, and cake begins to pull away from sides of pan.

Cool cake in pan for 10 min. Serves 10.