November 30, 2005

Forecasting: November 2005

Culinary books reported as sold to publishers during the month of November:

TVFN star Paula Deen's forthcoming inspirational memoir, and a second book for the 2006 Christmas season, to be published by Simon & Schuster.

Not on Love Alone author Jessie Carry Saunders's next newlywed cookbook, to Avalon.

Andrews McMeel will publish a reprint of James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame author Maida Heatter's MAIDA HEATTER'S BOOK OF GREAT CHOCOLATE DESSERTS.

Former chef of Angelica Kitchen and author of The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen and Fresh Food Fast Peter Berley's THE FLEXIBLE KITCHEN: Flavorful Menus for Vegetarians and Omnivores to Share, written with Zoe Singer, embracing the idea of "flexatarianism," to Houghton Mifflin.

Laurence Craig's THE INSPIRED TABLE: A Master Caterer Reveals Insider Secrets for Producing Stylish Brunches, Luncheons, Dinners, Cocktail Parties, and Full-blown Fetes, without the necessity of a caterer or event planner, to Bulfinch.

Pastry chef at Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Spice Market and "66", Pichet Ong's ASIAN DESSERTS, written with Genevieve Ko and with a foreword by Jean-Georges Vongerichten, introducing the home cook a whole new world of desserts inspired by Asian flavors, to Morrow.

Owner and operator of Shopsin's Kenny Shopsin's EAT ME (The Life and Food of Kenny Shopsin): Stories, Snapshots, Recipes, and Other Brain Matters From Shopsin's, the Greenwich Village Institution, written with Carolynn Carreño, including Kenny's stories interwoven with 900+ menu recipes, along with art, conversations, and memories, in a good deal, to Knopf.

Proprietor of North Carolina's Foster's Markets Sara Foster's EVERYDAY COOKING: Quick and Delicious Recipes for the Way We Eat Today, with writer Carolynn Carreño, featuring 100 easy-to-prepare recipes for casual meals, to Clarkson Potter.

Paula Deen's brother and proprietor of Uncle Bubba's Oyster House in Savannah Earl "Bubba" Hiers's UNCLE BUBBA'S OYSTER HOUSE COOKBOOK, incorporating family lore and anecdotes throughout, to Simon & Schuster.

Notes to self: The Asian Desserts one sounds very interesting.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:58 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
November 24, 2005

Sweet-Potato and Orange

Sweet-Potato and Orange Puree with Almond Streusel
from Bon Appetit (November 2001)

1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup whole unblanched almonds
3 TBSP golden brown sugar
2 tsp Hungarian sweet paprika
1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into pieces

Sweet-Potato Puree
4 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
2 TBSP golden brown sugar
2 TBSP butter (1/4 stick), at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp grated orange peel

For streusel:
Place all ingredients in processor in order listed. Using on/off turns, blend until small moist clumps form. Transfer to bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.)

For sweet-potato puree:
Preheat oven to 375 F. Pierce potatoes in several places with fork. Place directly on oven rack and bake until very tender, about 1 hour. Transfer to rack and cool. Peel potatoes; place flesh in large bowl and mash. Mix in orange juice, sugar, butter, and orange peel. Season with salt and pepper. Butter 13x9-inch oval gratin dish. Spread puree in dish; smooth top. (Puree can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)

Preheat oven to 400 F. Scatter streusel over potatoes. Bake until puree is hot and streusel is crisp, about 40 minutes. Cool 5 minutes, then serve.

Makes 8 servings.

Notes: This year's Thanksgiving experiment dish went out to three households (possibly another later this weekend) and I hope to get a variety of feedback on it. It was a lot brighter tasting than some sweet potato dishes, the citrus providing a nice contrast, I think. Last year I made Sweet Potatoes and Pears and I think I may like that one somewhat more, but this one was a winner even with some of the non-sweet-potato-eaters in my family.

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November 20, 2005

West Hartford: The Elbow Room

En route to last night's Susan McKeown concert at the University of West Hartford, had the opportunity to sample another restaurant in the area. Located at 986 Farmington Avenue, The Elbow Room claims to be "hip" but "agreeably dislocated." They offer rejuvenated American comfort food (their macaroni and cheese is supposed to be quite good) and other contemporary dishes. The decor is somewhere between classic diner, updated cafeteria, and evening restaurant -- it's going for comfort there too, and achieving it.

Small Plate: hand cut potato chips with gorgonzola dipping sauce -- fun to try.

Large Plates: (1) "everything" encrusted tuna with basil-mashed potatoes, (2) pan seared scallops with lobster ravioli in a tarragon dijon sauce -- both very filling (good portions) and well-executed.

Dessert: Vanilla creme brulee -- nicely done.

Overall feelngs.... it was fine food, it was good food. I'm not quite sure that it was worth the rent on West Hartford's restaurant row. I'd rather go around the corner to the Thai place and eat for half the cost. Or across to lovely Murasaki which I tried out last month. I'm glad to have had the chance to see what the Elbow Room was like, but looks like it won't be making my top 10 list. I'd recommend it to people who are looking for a relaxing feel with a reliable menu.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:33 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
November 18, 2005

Chocolate Raspberry Chips

Chocolate Raspberry Chip Cookies

1 cup butter-flavored Crisco, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 10-oz package raspberry chips (Hershey)

Heat oven to 375 F.

Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in large bowl until creamy. Add eggs; beat well. Stir together flour, cocoa and baking soda; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until well blended. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. About 5 dozen cookies.

Notes: Cooked with the god-daughter this afternoon after we couldn't turn up mom's recipe and had to hunt around online. Very chocolatey and chewy and yummy.

Dinner tonight (cooked by mom) was chicken with a balsamic gorgonzola sauce that looked a lot like chocolate. It was incredibly delicious. I hope she manages to post an approximation of the recipe.

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Lamb Steak

Lamb Steak with Cider and Honey Sauce

2 lamb leg steaks, each piece weighing 150g to 200g
Pinch of Anglesey salt
Pinch of black pepper
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
1 lemon, zest only
1 tablespoon of olive oil

The sauce:

1/2 an onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
200ml of cider
1/2 tablespoon of Welsh honey

In a pestle and mortar, grind together the salt, pepper, rosemary and lemon zest and then rub the mixture over the meat.

Heat the oil in a frying pan. Cook the meat for around 4 minutes on each side and then place on a clean plate.

The sauce:
Using the same frying pan, fry the onions and garlic until soft.

Add the cider and boil for 2 minutes.

Add the honey to the mixture at the end.

To serve, place the steak in the middle of the plate with the sauce around the steak.

Notes: This came from a website in Wales with a television cooking show that features someone named Dudley. I haven't really turned up any information on his background, but I got to play with the metric side of my measuring cups. As for the recipe itself, I substituted a couple shallots for the onion but otherwise followed it fairly closely.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:07 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
November 12, 2005

Forecasting: October 2005

Culinary-related books that were reported sold to publishers in October. A bit late out of the gate this month -- it's been a busy couple of weeks and I have a backlog of entries to work on....

Author of Queen of the Turtle Derby and Contributing Editor for Vogue and Newsweek Julia Reed's BLACK-EYED PEAS, HOSTESS GOWNS, AND OTHER SOUTHERN SPECIALTIES: An Entertaining Life (with Recipes), about Southern life in the kitchen, around the table, and in the dining rooms of the best restaurants, to St. Martin's Press.

Rose Levy Beranbaum's HEAVENLY CAKES, to Wiley.

TOAST: The Story of a Boy's Hunger author Nigel Slater's THE KITCHEN DIARIES, fully illustrated and including more than 300 new seasonal recipes, to Gotham.

Graham Harding's A WINE MISCELLANY, factoids about wine, to Clarkson Potter.

Creator of the SalonTea and BeauTea product lines Tracy Stern (with Christie Matheson)'s PARTEA: DRINK TEA, ENJOY LIFE, CELEBRATE OFTEN, a guide to entertaining with tea, including recipes and ideas for tea parties, to Clarkson Potter.

Chef Efisio Farris's PASSIONE DI SARDINIA: Stories and Recipes from Italy's Timeless Island, an exploration of Sardinia's culinary delights, island history, and landscape, to Rizzoli.

George Geary's THE DESSERT BIBLE, tips, techniques, and troubleshooting for 390 dessert recipes from cookies to cakes, to Robert Rose.

New Orleans food writer and restaurant reviewer Tom Fitzmorris's NEW ORLEANS FOOD, recipes gathered over the past 30 years from leading New Orleans chefs, to Stewart, Tabori & Chang for publication in February 2006.

Chief decorator of Bundles of Cookies Meghan Mountford's SWEET SENSATIONS: Cookie Design for Every Occasion, to Rutledge Hill.

Chef/owner of Cuisines et Traditions du Monde Charlotte Puckette and editor-in-chief of World Media in Paris Olivia Kiang-Snaije's THE ETHNIC PARIS COOKBOOK: Bringing the French Melting Pot into your Kitchen, featuring easy-to-follow recipes selected and adapted from internationally renowned chefs, to Dorling Kindersley.

The Devil's Picnic author Taras Grescoe's BOTTOMFEEDERS: An Ethical Eater's Global Search for Vanishing Seafood, about his nine-month world tour in search of a delicious and humane plate of seafood, to Bloomsbury, for publication in winter 2008.

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