Category Archives: Food & Wine Cover Recipes

Food & Wine Magazine: January Cover Recipe

Nacho Burgers

Rating: 5 out of 5 (incredibly fresh & full of exciting flavours)

Initial Thoughts: Hallelujah – no diet food!

THE TEST: Each year I cringe at the thought of starting a new year with the clichéd diet. It’s so been done before. As a result, I stage my own private revolution and keep eating as per our family status quo. Don’t get me wrong; there is no more eggnog in our fridge or boxes of chocolates on the counter as per the whole month of December. But I like to think overall we eat a healthy, balanced diet. Everything in moderation, right?!

So when I saw the first cover of the year for Food & Wine Magazine I breathed a sigh of relief. Bobby Flay’s juicy, cheese sauce drenched Nacho Burger was right up my ally. Although for the record I did resist making fries and opted instead for this fantastic Black Bean Salad. See? Balance.

There are three elements to this burger: patties, salsa, and cheese sauce. The patties themselves are simple, consisting solely of ground beef (with some olive oil and s&p for seasoning). Both the salsa and cheese sauce are straightforward to prepare, taking hardly anytime at all. I ended up making the cheese sauce just before firing up the BBQ, which allowed the sauce to cool and thicken while the burgers were grilled.

THE RESULTS: Wowsa. Now this is a burger I will definitely be making again. And again.

In terms of flavour there is a lot going on, but what I loved was how everything turned out incredibly balanced. The freshness of the salsa complimented the creamy richness of the cheese sauce, the crumbled nachos added a great crunchy texture while the pickled jalapeños provided a subtle amount of heat and pickled tang. When dealing with such powerful ingredients keeping the patties simple and pure is the only way to go. Genius move.

I enjoyed having the traditional burger toper (cheese) in a sauce format, and next time would try using jalapeño Monterey Jack for some extra heat. And the salsa? Definitely my favourite part of this recipe. It was so fresh and bright! I loved the use of chipotle chili which provided heat traditionally achieved with a fresh jalapeño or serrano chili, but also lent a nice smokiness through the adobo sauce. Confession? I made tacos the night after making these burgers just so I had an excuse to whip up another batch of this salsa. Seriously good.

Now I’m going to hop on over to Food, Je t’Aimée to see what Aimée thought about this month’s cover recipe. Both of our significant others were ecstatic when they saw this month’s cover and couldn’t wait for us to test the recipe. If any of you would like to join Aimée and I each month, the more the merrier! And don’t forget to check out Kendall Harris’ wine pairing suggestion – it’s one of our favourites.

Cover Recipe:
Nacho Burgers

As part of my culinary New Year’s resolutions, I have committed to creating each month’s cover recipe from Food & Wine Magazine.

NOTE: If any of you would like to follow along with me and join in on the fun, I’d love to compare notes! So pick-up a copy of the latest issue of Food & Wine and get cooking. Be sure to send your comments and photos to info@cookthatbook.com.

The mission of Food & Wine Magazine is to find the most exciting places, new experiences, emerging trends and sensations in the culinary and wine industries. From travel and entertaining to luxury and design, this magazine brings an energetic and stylish take on food and wine. For more information on Food & Wine Magazine, please visit www.foodandwine.com

 

NOTE: This month’s wine pairing once again comes courtesy of our resident wine expert, Kendall Harris, who rose to the occasion to provide us with an excellent pairing suggestion that just might be my new beverage of choice when it comes to burgers!

Wine Pairing by Kendall Harris of Wine2Three
I was thrilled to be asked to pair a wine with this gourmet burger recipe. All too often people hear burgers and think beer! But when you taste this delicious recipe when paired with a bold, fruity California Zinfandel I think you may be converted. The Zinfandel grape is as American as a good hearty burger, having been one of the earliest grape varietals planted on California soil by Italian immigrants in the late 1800s and it continues to thrive today. I can recommend the Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel from an area of California called Lodi, which is well known for its Zinfandel production and hosts an annual ZinFest every Spring. This wine comes from vines with an average age of 85 years old, so you’re literally sipping a bit of American history! You’ll smell and taste some big, beautiful fruit – black cherry, wild strawberry and rich plum, with a hint of vanilla. Burgers and Zinfandel may just become your weekend preferred pairing!

Kendall Harris shares her adventures in the wine world as Wine2three on Twitter & Facebook. She is WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) Advanced Certified & is currently developing a weekly wine series on ShawTV, where she is a full time reporter. Join her on Facebook – click LIKE at www.facebook.com/wine2three for regular fun wine info! 

Food & Wine Magazine: December Cover Recipe

Spiced Leg of Lamb with Olives, Apricots & Lemons

Rating: 4 out of 5 (interesting, innovative & tasty)

Initial Thoughts: Huh. This doesn’t look much like the gooey, sinfully decadent dessert I was expecting. Come to think of it; there hasn’t been a sweet cover recipe all year. What be up with dat?!

THE TEST: Even though this recipe falls into the non-dessert category, my disappointment was short lived because – well – LOOK!

Isn’t this a gorgeous looking roast?!

The recipe is courtesy of Jeff Cerciello, chef at Los Angeles’ Farmshop restaurant. It is straightforward to prepare but has several steps, which although not time consuming definitely need to be done ahead of time. At the center of this dish lies the fiery North African spice paste harissa, which along with olive oil is rubbed into a bone-in leg of lamb after garlic is shoved into slits across the surface of the meat. Homemade preserved lemons are made by curing lemon slices in salt and sugar, and are then laid on top of the lamb along with fresh thyme and baked in the oven. Just before the meat is finished cooking to your desired level of doneness, dried apricots and oil-cured black olives are thrown in for good measure.

Is now a good point for me to interject with my deviations from the recipe? Okay good.

Even though I was most excited about the cured lemon slices, for some reason when it came time to prepare the lamb I completely spaced on them until just before throwing the lamb on the BBQ. Personally, I blame my distraction on the four different types of Christmas cookies I was baking, homemade eggnog I was making and photographing for an upcoming blog post, not to mention parenting two little girls who have been home from school for a week and are verging on near hysteria over Santa’s impeding arrival.

I also decided to have Mr. Spock fire up the BBQ as the oven was occupied by the aforementioned cookies. While it turned out well, I think braising the meat in the oven as called for in the recipe would work much better for this dish. There was a level of moistness and tenderness that was missing from the BBQ.

Because there were only three of us dinning the night I made this recipe, instead of cooking an 8-pound leg I prepared two itty bitty boneless leg roasts. I also seemed to have overestimated the expiry date on my dried apricots. Who does that?! But I still topped the lamb with the oil-cured olives, which added a nice saltiness to the dish.

THE RESULTS: We all agreed that this was a recipe we’d definitely make again in the future. To be honest, I’d like to try making it without all of my inadvertent deviations. In particular, I imagine the cured lemon slices would have imparted a nice, tangy bite that was missing. I would also avoid cooking it on the BBQ, even though the flavour of the char did compliment the smokiness of the harissa nicely. And the salty olives, spicy chili paste and rich lamb would have been perfect with the sweetness of apricots, rounding out the overall flavour profile.

I loved the creativity of this recipe and can’t wait to make it again!

Now I’m going to hop on over to Aimée White’s blog to see what she thought about this month’s cover recipe. Aimée prepared this dish weeks ago for her sweetie’s birthday! I LOVE having her ‘virtual’ company in the kitchen each month cooking up cover recipes, and can’t wait for us to discover what 2012 holds for us with F&W. If any of you would like to join us, the more the merrier!  And don’t forget to check out Kendall Harris’ wine pairing suggestion – it’s been a long time since I had a merlot and this one is great! 

Cover Recipe:
Spiced Leg of Lamb with Olives, Apricots & Lemons

NOTE: This month’s wine pairing once again comes courtesy of our resident wine expert, Kendall Harris, whose suggested merlot by Rodney Strong was perfect with the rich lamb and fiery spice from the harissa. Another great suggestion Kendall!


Wine Pairing by Kendall Harris of Wine2Three

For this particular dish I recommend trying a Merlot. A nice fruity Merlot; something widely available and well-priced like the classic $22.99 (CDN) version from Rodney Strong of California.

Here are the factors to be considered: with spicy food, the general rule of thumb is to pair it with a sweeter wine such as Rieslings or Gewürztraminer. Spicy Food does not suit spicy wines so for this recipe which is high on heat, a spicy Shiraz, Malbec or Zinfandel are not the best option.

I suggested a red wine because this is a weighty dish, and I wanted a fruity wine (which is sweeter tasting than a really dry red wine) to complement the spiciness of the lamb. This California merlot is a soft fruity choice that I’ve had twice and loved, and it’s widely available.

Hope you like it!

Kendall Harris shares her adventures in the wine world as Wine2three on Twitter & Facebook. She is WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) Advanced Certified & is currently developing a weekly wine series on ShawTV, where she is a full time reporter. Join her on Facebook – click LIKE at www.facebook.com/wine2three for regular fun wine info!

 

As part of my culinary New Year’s resolutions, I have committed to creating each month’s cover recipe from Food & Wine Magazine.

NOTE: If any of you would like to follow along with me and join in on the fun, I’d love to compare notes! So pick-up a copy of the latest issue of Food & Wine and get cooking. Be sure to send your comments and photos to info@cookthatbook.com.

The mission of Food & Wine Magazine is to find the most exciting places, new experiences, emerging trends and sensations in the culinary and wine industries. From travel and entertaining to luxury and design, this magazine brings an energetic and stylish take on food and wine. For more information on Food & Wine Magazine, please visit www.foodandwine.com

 

Food & Wine Magazine: November Cover Recipe

Cider-Glazed Turkey with Lager Gravy

Rating: 5 out of 5 (the moistest, most golden turkey EVER!)

Initial Thoughts: Just breathe. You are a talented cook. Think of it as a giant chicken. Visualize the deliciousness. Breathe.

THE TEST: No matter which magazine I’ve committed to making cover recipes, the November issue is always at the back of my mind throughout the year. You know it’s gonna be a turkey. Usually a whole bird. Probably something that involves a new and exciting twist on the traditional. And as someone with limited experience cooking turkeys…let’s just say the intimidation level is high.

My fears? That it will be too dry. That it will taste – well, boring. That I will spend $60+ dollars on a turkey that people hate and it all goes to waste. That it will burn. That it will be undercooked. That it will take longer to cook than specified in the recipe and by 9pm my guests are famished and grumpy, the side dishes cold and dried out or wilty.

Growing up it was usually ham or a turkey breast roll that graced our holiday table, so I don’t have any family secrets to lean on or inherited turkey master genes. I must rely completely on the recipe and hope for the best! So when I saw this year’s Food & Wine Magazine’s Thanksgiving cover recipe was developed by none other than Iron Chef Michael Symon, I relaxed. Slightly.

By the way, did anyone else notice the recurring theme of apple cider this year?! Aside from Food & Wine Magazine, Bon Appétit featured a cider based turkey as did Canadian Living. Guess it must be apple cider’s five minutes of fame.

Believing that brining a turkey makes the meat rubbery, Chef Symon prefers to salt it well and refrigerate overnight. After last year’s success with Bon Appétit Magazine’s Salt-Roasted Turkey with Lemon & Oregano, I had complete faith in this type of preparation. As the turkey sits, the salt draws moisture to the skin and while cooking creates a flavourful liquid that seasons the meat and keeps it moist.

After stuffing the turkey with an assortment of flavour inducing ingredients (including a granny smith apple, jalapeño, head of garlic and fresh sage leaves), cheesecloth that’s been soaked in cider-infused melted butter is draped over the turkey breasts and legs and kept on for the entire cooking period.

Trust me when I say it makes your house smell incredible within minutes of putting the turkey into the oven.

Some of the butter splashed onto the bottom of the oven while cooking, causing smoke to immediately billow up. Solution? Sprinkle table salt over the spill and voilà – no more smoke. (Thanks Mom for a great tip that has saved me countless times!)

Preparing the gravy takes some time, the process rather lengthy and involved. In fact, the instructions for making the gravy takes up more space in the recipe than the directions for the turkey! You start by sautéing the turkey neck, wing tips and giblets, and then make a roux before simmering the lager spiked gravy for approximately 1 ½ hours. Once the turkey is finished cooking, add the drippings to the gravy and season with salt and pepper. NOTE: the recipe calls for seasoning and cooking the turkey liver and puréeing it to add to the gravy. I couldn’t quite bring myself to go that far and my results were still delicious, although I have heard that the liver can add great flavour.

THE RESULTS: In Canada we have our Thanksgiving holiday in October, so because of the cover recipe challenge I end up hosting what my friend Ashley calls “Fakes-giving Dinner”. It’s become a fun tradition! I love having friends and family over on a random night for a full on turkey dinner…it’s a pleasurable excuse to cook up a big meal and has become a semi-holiday in our house.

After removing the crispy cheesecloth once the turkey had finished cooking, our eyes were greeted with the most glorious, golden turkey EVER. People kept commenting that it was so perfect looking it almost seemed fake!

The meat was moan worthily moist. The breast meat so juicy you would swear you were eating chicken! The richness of the butter was perfectly complimented by the slight hint of sage, and the gravy was full of robust turkey flavour. It was poured liberally by everyone over their entire plates! Mr. Spock ended up adding a dash of freshly grated nutmeg to the gravy which was fantastic and added a nice depth. A score of 5 was awarded by everyone, including my 1 ½ year-old niece who up until this point had been staging a nice hunger strike.

Big thumbs up!

Cover Recipe:
Cider-Glazed Turkey with Lager Gravy

NOTE: This month’s wine pairing once again comes courtesy of our resident wine expert, Kendall Harris, who’s suggested pinot noir by The Show was a HUGE hit at our table! Light and waaaaaay to easy to drink, this wine paired perfectly with the richness of the meal. Thanks Kendall!

 

Wine Pairing by Kendall Harris of Wine2Three

Kendall Harris shares her adventures in the wine world as Wine2three on Twitter & Facebook. She is WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) Advanced Certified & is currently developing a weekly wine series on ShawTV, where she is a full time reporter. Join her on Facebook – click LIKE at www.facebook.com/wine2three for regular fun wine info!

Pinot Noir is a classic wine pairing with Thanksgiving Dinner, for several reasons. The Pinot Noir grape is a thin-skinned grape, resulting in a lighter-bodied wine that matches beautifully with lighter meats like turkey. Pinot Noir also typically displays flavours of cherry and raspberry, which go well with Thanksgiving’s ubiquitous cranberry sauce. I recommend The Show’s 2010 Pinot Noir, made from grapes grown in the cool Leyda Valley in Chile, which is becoming renowned for its Pinot Noir. This particular wine is made by three well known American winemakers who call themselves the Three Thieves. The idea is they take their “Show” on the road and travel the world, “stealing” (buying at a great price) the best grapes from the best winemaking regions to make award-winning wines. This wine has a beautiful, smoky bouquet, with flavours of wild cherry, rich plum, and hints of spice. It’s elegant, smooth and delicious, and for less than $20 in Canada, it’s a steal from the Three Thieves!  

As part of my culinary New Year’s resolutions, I have committed to creating each month’s cover recipe from Food & Wine Magazine.

NOTE: If any of you would like to follow along with me and join in on the fun, I’d love to compare notes! So pick-up a copy of the latest issue of Food & Wine and get cooking. Be sure to send your comments and photos to info@cookthatbook.com.

The mission of Food & Wine Magazine is to find the most exciting places, new experiences, emerging trends and sensations in the culinary and wine industries. From travel and entertaining to luxury and design, this magazine brings an energetic and stylish take on food and wine. For more information on Food & Wine Magazine, please visit www.foodandwine.com

 

Food & Wine Magazine: October Cover Recipe

White Bean & Ham Stew

Rating: 4 out of 5 (hearty & warming)

Initial Thoughts: Looks like a bowl full of autumn just waiting to be devoured!

THE TEST: For those of you who regularly read my blog, my complicated relationship with soup will not come as a surprise (read here for more info…it’s a good story!) But I consider stews to be in an entirely different category than soup – a category that I happen to love. So combined with the fact that the weather recently turned chilly and this particular cover recipe was developed by the great Jacques Pépin…I was excited.

This hearty stew is Pépin’s version of a garbure; a thick soup hailing from south-western France that involves simmering a variety of root vegetables, cabbage and meat for a lengthy amount of time. It was a popular dish amongst the peasantry, as it was a perfect means of using cheap cuts of meat and whatever leftover vegetables they happened to have on hand. Typically, you ended the meal by adding some red wine to the last bit of broth and sipping directly from the bowl. Not a bad idea really.

The recipe calls for ham hocks, but upon visiting my local butcher he convinced me to use dry smoked ham which was a rarity to find in his shop. Full of rich, smoky meat that was not at all mushy, it only took one nibble of a sample slice to have me converted. Also, because I was unable to find dried cannellini beans I used dried pinto beans instead.

Making this stew was almost hypnotic. In fact, I think I kind of went into a zen-like trance as I cut the vegetables and tossed everything into the pot, letting the ingredients simmer away for hours on the stovetop. It felt good. Simple. Healthy. Seasonal.

THE RESULTS: While neither of the children liked the stew (somehow they seem to have inherited a more comprehensive version of my weirdo anti-soup gene that extends to stews), both Mr. Spock and I thought it was very tasty. The flavour was similar to split pea soup. I enjoyed the variety of root vegetables but have to say that the cabbage was my favourite. It added a contrasting texture and slight sharpness which went well with the otherwise mellow stew. The ham was delicious, and lent a fantastic smokiness to the whole dish.

Because we are avoiding gluten at the moment, I omitted the cheese smothered toasted bread but can only imagine the fabulousness. In conclusion, while we enjoyed this soup I don’t think we will be making it again. Nothing wrong with the recipe – it just wasn’t our thing and both hubby and I agreed that there are many other soups/stews we would rather eat instead.

Now I’m going to hop on over to Aimée White’s blog to see what she thought about this month’s cover recipe. It’s so much more fun cooking along with other people…even if they live on the opposite coast! And don’t forget to check out Kendall Harris’ wine pairing suggestion – it’s definitely on my to buy list!

[NOTE: Yeah so...ummm...kinda ate the soup and completely forgot to take a picture. My bad!]

As part of my culinary New Year’s resolutions, I have committed to creating each month’s cover recipe from Food & Wine Magazine.

NOTE: If any of you would like to follow along with me and join in on the fun, I’d love to compare notes! So pick-up a copy of the latest issue of Food & Wine and get cooking. Be sure to send your comments and photos to info@cookthatbook.com.

The mission of Food & Wine Magazine is to find the most exciting places, new experiences, emerging trends and sensations in the culinary and wine industries. From travel and entertaining to luxury and design, this magazine brings an energetic and stylish take on food and wine. For more information on Food & Wine Magazine, please visit www.foodandwine.com

Recipe:
White Bean & Ham Stew
Wine Pairing by Kendall Harris of Wine2Three
I mentioned last month that a key wine pairing rule is to pair the intensity of the food with the intensity of the wine. This month, I want to highlight another great wine pairing tip: pair regional cuisine with the wines from that region. This sumptuous White Bean & Ham Stew hails from the South of France, but it reminded me of food I’d had travelling through neighbouring Spain, where ham is an integral part of so many meals. This plus the fact that Spain and France share many culinary characteristics, made me think that a Spanish Rioja would be the perfect pairing!

Rioja literally means ‘red’ in Spanish, and Rioja wines are made with a blend of various grapes, mainly Tempranillo, often with Garnacha. I can recommend a Rioja I know and love and that is widely available: the Crianza Rioja from Marques de Caceres. On Spanish wine labels, you’ll see the terms Joven, Crianza, Reserva, or Gran Reserva, and they refer to the amount of time a wine has spent aging in oak barrels, from none to several years. Crianza wines are aged a year in barrel, and then for some time in the bottle before they’re released for sale onto the market. This Crianza Rioja has bright fruit flavours, wonderful acidity, and an interesting complexity which will complement the richness of this stew. Personally, I have never had a Rioja I didn’t love; there’s something about that Tempranillo grape! If you can’t get this particular brand, look for any Crianza Rioja. You can’t go wrong!

Kendall Harris shares her adventures in the wine world as Wine2three onTwitter & Facebook. She is WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) Advanced Certified & is currently developing a weekly wine series on ShawTV, where she is a full time reporter. Join her on Facebook – click LIKE at www.facebook.com/wine2three for regular fun wine info!

Food & Wine Magazine: September Cover Recipe

This month I have some exciting news! Kendall Harris (creator of Wine2three) has joined our team and agreed to be our resident wine expert! She will be on hand each month to suggest the perfect wine to sip alongside the cover recipes. You can read more about Kendall and find out about her pairing suggestion for this month’s cover at the end of the post. Also, new contributing writer and my fellow Muffin Monday blogger, Aimée White, will be keeping me company and cooking up covers each month. Be sure to visit her blog to see how she fared with this month’s recipe!

Thai Chicken & Watermelon Salad

Rating: 5 out of 5 (refreshing, addictive & FULL of flavour)

Initial Thoughts: What a beautifully plated appetizer! Looks like it would be a great dish for entertaining.

THE TEST: The photograph on September’s cover of Food & Wine Magazine portrays this salad as a beautiful entertaining option, and let me tell ya – the pic doesn’t lie! This recipe is so incredibly easy to throw together it’s what I like to call a non-stresser dish, plus you can assemble everything ahead of time and simply toss the chicken on the grill at the last minute.

I opted to use boneless/skinless chicken thighs instead of the chicken breast called for in the recipe, as you can hammer the meat on the grill and mistakes are forgiven much more easily. I always find chicken breasts dry out too quickly on the BBQ for my taste.

While the meat marinates (mixture of olive oil, lemongrass and salt and pepper) you can assemble the dressing. In fact, I would recommend making it ahead of time in order to give the ingredients a chance to mellow and fuse together harmoniously. The dressing itself calls for some pretty heavy hitters in the flavour department, including Thai chilies, garlic, brown sugar, fresh lime juice and fish sauce. It wasn’t until the last minute that I realized I didn’t have fish sauce (what the heck?!) and ended up using oyster sauce instead. I checked online to see if this would be an appropriate substitute, but couldn’t find a resounding ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to my question. So I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best…

THE RESULTS: I’m not sure how much power my crossed fingers held in the end result, but this salad was a HUGE success at our dinner party! Hot. Cool. Refreshing. Flavourful. The variety of strong flavours literally danced across our taste buds! The watermelon held its own alongside the spice in the salad, cooling your mouth enough to the extent you could keep going back for more. The oyster sauce gave the dressing depth but was in no way overly fishy (whew!) and the mint and cilantro lent a wonderful freshness to the whole dish. Everything just came together beautifully and I cannot wait to make this recipe again.


I must admit that my salad did not even come close to looking as pretty as the picture. Personally, I blame my missing melon baller and the ineffectiveness of my ice cream scoop as a pinch hitter. Oh well. Definitely didn’t take anything away from the taste!

Because we had kids eating with us, I served the salad with the dressing on the side. This worked out well as people were able to drizzle as much/little as they wanted. If you are unsure how much heat your guest can handle this might be a good way of avoiding any unwanted calamities, because wowsa does that dressing have a kick!

Recipe:
Thai Chicken & Watermelon Salad

PAIRING SUGGESTION:
First thing to remember when you’re pairing food & wine is to match the weight of the wine with the weight of the food. Light foods should be paired with lighter wines, and this beautiful meal is definitely on the lighter side, so immediately, you can rule out heavy, full bodied red wines – this dish is calling out for a white wine or Rosé! With this dish I would recommend a Riesling, specifically one that has some beautiful floral & tropical fruit aromas on the nose (when you smell it) and refreshing acidity on the palate (when you sip it): Chateau Ste Michelle 2010 Vintage Riesling. This widely available, well priced wine from Washington State is one of the most delicious Rieslings I’ve tasted, and doesn’t have that note of “petrol” or diesel that some Rieslings have; it would pair perfectly with this meal. Cheers!

Kendall Harris shares her adventures in the wine world as Wine2three on Twitter & Facebook. She is WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) Advanced Certified & is currently developing a weekly wine series on ShawTV, where she is a full time reporter. Join her on Facebook – click LIKE at www.facebook.com/wine2three for regular fun wine info!

As part of my culinary New Year’s resolutions, I have committed to creating each month’s cover recipe from Food & Wine Magazine.

NOTE: If any of you would like to follow along with me and join in on the fun, I’d love to compare notes! So pick-up a copy of the latest issue of Food & Wine and get cooking. Be sure to send your comments and photos to info@cookthatbook.com.

The mission of Food & Wine Magazine is to find the most exciting places, new experiences, emerging trends and sensations in the culinary and wine industries. From travel and entertaining to luxury and design, this magazine brings an energetic and stylish take on food and wine. For more information on Food & Wine Magazine, please visit www.foodandwine.com

 

Food & Wine Magazine: August Cover Recipe

Classic Southern Fried Chicken

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 (a picnic staple!)

Initial Thoughts: Yeah baby!

THE TEST: This month’s recipe uses the traditional method of frying chicken in Crisco, which kinda creeped me out. Come on – a huge hunk of shortening plopped in your pot and melted into hot liquid? Kinda gross. The reason for Crisco being used in this particular version of fried chicken is because in the mega blockbuster movie The Help, one of the characters refers to Crisco as being “the most important invention in the kitchen since jarred mayonnaise.” Well then. Not going to argue with that testimonial.


I did find the Crisco smoked…A LOT…while I was waiting for it to reach temperature, although once I added the chicken the smoke all but disappeared. Normally this might not be such a problem, but because my hood fan was not working my neighbours all got treated to the high pitch scream of our smoke detectors constantly going off. In the end (no laughing) I set a ring of fans around the stove which helped blow the smoke out the nearby window. What can I say? A stay-at-home-chef’s got to do what a stay-at-home-chef’s got to do.

THE RESULTS: To be honest I was concerned the chicken would turn out dry and bland, as normally when we make fried chicken it is brined overnight. What a pleasant surprise to discover at first bite that the meat was tender and juicy, and the exterior wonderful and crispy. Even the skinless chicken thighs I used ended up with a beautiful, crisp coating. The resounding ‘crunch’ from all of our dining companions confirmed that this recipe is a keeper! One recommendation; double up on the amount of seasoning in the flour dredge as the flavour from the seasoned salt and pepper was wonderful but needed to be dialed up for more impact.

Recipes:
Classic Southern Fried Chicken

As part of my culinary New Year’s resolutions, I have committed to creating each month’s cover recipe from Food & Wine Magazine.

NOTE: If any of you would like to follow along with me and join in on the fun, I’d love to compare notes! So pick-up a copy of the latest issue of Food & Wine and get cooking. Be sure to send your comments and photos to info@cookthatbook.com.

The mission of Food & Wine Magazine is to find the most exciting places, new experiences, emerging trends and sensations in the culinary and wine industries. From travel and entertaining to luxury and design, this magazine brings an energetic and stylish take on food and wine. For more information on Food & Wine Magazine, please visit www.foodandwine.com

 

Food & Wine Magazine: July Cover Recipe

Spicy Grilled Shrimp with Yuzu Kosho Pesto

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 (my new favourite way to prepare grilled shrimp)

Initial Thoughts: What a fantastic looking recipe – can’t wait to throw these shrimp on the barbie!

The Test: When I was last in my favourite gourmet food store – Well Seasoned – the staff were all raving about this new line of yuzu chili sauces. Trusting their opinion completely, I picked up a bottle, tucked it away in my pantry and proceeded to forget about it until this cover recipe.

Yuzu is an East Asian citrus fruit with a tart flavour that results in the flesh rarely being eaten. Instead, the zest of the aromatic outer rind is used for seasoning various dishes. Yuzu kosho (translated simply as ‘yuzu’ and ‘pepper’) is a spicy Japanese sauce and combines yuzu with either yellow, green or red chili peppers. It is not for the faint of heat! I used Yuzu Pao Sriracha Style Yuzu Citrus Red Chile Sauce, and found it to be extremely hot, spicy and citrusy. Perfect for a pesto marinade for grilled shrimp.

This recipe was created by LA based Chef Ricardo Zarate, a recent winner of Food & Wine Magazine’s Best New Chef in America award. It is straightforward and quick to prepare, and consists of marinating the shrimp in a tantalizing pesto of yuzu kosho, ginger, garlic, lemongrass, cilantro and olive oil. Are your taste buds watering just imaging the intense flavours? Well they should!

The Results: My biggest pet peeve with barbequing seafood is when the flavour of the marinade is unable to break through the intense taste of grilling. Not the case with this recipe. The shrimp (cooked absolutely perfectly by Mr. Spock) held the flavour of each individual ingredient in a subtle way that also allowed the natural sweetness of the shrimp to shine. During the cooking process most of the spicy heat was loss, resulting in my three year-old being able to scarf down half of the shrimp much to the chagrin of her seafood fearing older sister.


This has definitely become my new favourite way to prepare shrimp on the grill and I know I will be making this recipe again. And again…and again…

NOTE: you can purchase Yuzu Pao Sriracha Style Yuzu Citrus Red Chile Sauce through my online store for $4.99 USD

Recipes:
Spicy Grilled Shrimp with Yuzu Kosho Pesto

As part of my culinary New Year’s resolutions, I have committed to creating each month’s cover recipe from Food & Wine Magazine.

NOTE: If any of you would like to follow along with me and join in on the fun, I’d love to compare notes! So pick-up a copy of the latest issue of Food & Wine and get cooking. Be sure to send your comments and photos to info@cookthatbook.com.

The mission of Food & Wine Magazine is to find the most exciting places, new experiences, emerging trends and sensations in the culinary and wine industries. From travel and entertaining to luxury and design, this magazine brings an energetic and stylish take on food and wine. For more information on Food & Wine Magazine, please visit www.foodandwine.com

 

Food & Wine Magazine: June Cover Recipe

Umami Burgers with Port & Stilton

Rating: 4 out of 5 (simplified intensity)

Initial Thoughts: I want that bun. Why can’t I ever find brioche buns that look that good?! Seriously want that bun.

The Test: Right off the bat we are told to refrain from piling the burger sky high with toppings and a slew of condiments, which is typically how I build my burgers. I’ve spent years building a reputation for myself as the person with the most out of control burger (“is there any meat in that burger or is it all just bun and goodies?!”) But one look at this month’s cover and I was easily convinced to jump on the less is more train. It is a gorgeous photo with perfectly style food that makes you want to just lick the sauce dribbling down the sides before taking a bite into what you know will be the world’s freshest bun, chasing it all down with that icy cold ale in the background. Maybe it’s just that I’ve been paying closer attention to food pics, but tell me that burst of colour in the napkin that is the same tone as the port reduction doesn’t make the photo perfect?! I dare you to look at this cover and not want to make this burger. Immediately.

See? Told ya.

This recipe was developed by LA based restaurant creator Adam Fleischman, and incorporates a sprinkle of umami dust. Umami (translated best as “savoury”) is considered the fifth primary taste behind sweet, sour, bitter and salty. It blends well with other flavours and is believed to expand your overall flavour experience. It is also the signature condiment for Fleischman’s famous burger chain; Umami Burger.

The Results: This recipe’s version of the intense flavour booster that is “umami”, includes a savory mix of ground kombu (dried seaweed), bonito flakes (made from smoked bonito or tuna), and dried shitake mushrooms. It is ground into a powder and sprinkled on top of a plain beef patty (mix of brisket, skirt steak and sirloin), before being topped with reduced port and stilton. It is a simple burger to make, and luckily I had left over kombu and bonito flakes from the previous month’s cover.

The recipe may be simple to prepare but the flavours intensified in your mouth are as far from simple as you can get. Complex. Meaty. Subtle. That is the best way to describe what the umami dust brings out in the burger, and combined with the sweet and syrupy port and creamy tang of the cheese it was fantastic.


So the question I know everyone is dying to know: have I been converted? Will my future burgers days be filled with simplicity?

Nah.

Old habits die hard.

NOTE: umami dust will soon be available for purchase online at www.umamiburger.com

Recipes:
Umami Burgers with Port & Stilton


As part of my culinary New Year’s resolutions, I have committed to creating each month’s cover recipe from Food & Wine Magazine.

NOTE: If any of you would like to follow along with me and join in on the fun, I’d love to compare notes! So pick-up a copy of the latest issue of Food & Wine and get cooking. Be sure to send your comments and photos to info@cookthatbook.com.

The mission of Food & Wine Magazine is to find the most exciting places, new experiences, emerging trends and sensations in the culinary and wine industries. From travel and entertaining to luxury and design, this magazine brings an energetic and stylish take on food and wine. For more information on Food & Wine Magazine, please visit www.foodandwine.com

Food & Wine Magazine: May Cover Recipe

Chicken Yakitori

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 (authentic, tasty & exciting!)

Initial Thoughts: My hubby is gonna be excited – Mr. Spock just so happens to be a huge fan of chicken yakitori!

The Test: Yakitori is a popular street food consisting of traditional style Japanese kebabs, typically made with tare (basting sauce) or shio (salt). This particular recipe was developed by Andrew Zimmern, a James Beard award-winning TV personality, chef, food writer, and host of the popular Travel Channel series Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern.

Zimmern explains in the recipe’s intro how various animal parts are often used in this type of dish, including udders, cockscomb, and trachea.

Right.

Thankfully, plain ol’ chicken thighs are called for in this version.

The tare (basting sauce) is made by simmering water and kombu (dried seaweed), bonito flakes (made from smoked bonito or tuna) and water. The liquid is then strained and reduced along with sake, soy sauce, mirin and sugar until thickened. Cooking the chicken is very straightforward; simply grill with a bit of veg oil until nearly cooked through. Brush the kebabs with fresh garlic juice and the basting sauce and voila!

The Results: We all enjoyed this dish immensely and I look forward to experimenting further with the leftover sauce. The flavours were complex, and I loved how you could taste every individual ingredient. The ginger water came through nicely, and the fish taste from the bonito flakes and flavour of the seaweed were mild enough not to be creepy but tasty enough to enhance the overall flavour profile of the dish.

Tip? Go nuts with the green onion. Definitely my favourite part all grilled and covered in sauce. Yum…

Recipe:
Chicken Yakitori

As part of my culinary New Year’s resolutions, I have committed to creating each month’s cover recipe from Food & Wine Magaine.

NOTE: If any of you would like to follow along with me and join in on the fun, I’d love to compare notes! So pick-up a copy of the latest issue of Food & Wine and get cooking. Be sure to send your comments and photos to info@cookthatbook.com.

The mission of Food & Wine Magazine is to find the most exciting places, new experiences, emerging trends and sensations in the culinary and wine industries. From travel and entertaining to luxury and design, this magazine brings an energetic and stylish take on food and wine. For more information on Food & Wine Magazine, please visit www.foodandwine.com

 

Food & Wine Magazine: April Cover Recipe

Garlic-Crusted Roast Rack of Lamb

Rating: 4 out of 5 (classic combination of flavours that works well)

Initial Thoughts: Looks fancy pants but seems fairly easy…talk about my kind of dish!

The Test: Now some of you may have noticed that I’m a wee bit behind in this year’s magazine cover recipe challenge. What can I say? Life happens. Perhaps on a subconscious level there is a sick and twisted part of my personality that wanted to intensify the challenge of this project, but I thought it would be best to not allow myself to get to the point where I would be forced to make all 12 cover recipes at the end of the year. So this is me – trying to get back on track and hoping you’ll forgive my tardiness!

On to the recipe…

Here’s what I love the most about this dish: it is so easy to prepare you almost feel guilty about how quickly and effortlessly it comes together. Basically you chop garlic, rosemary and olive oil in a food processor and rub over a rack of lamb. Yup – that’s all folks. Easy peasy.

The recipe calls for rubbing the lamb with the herb mixture and letting it stand for an hour. This is a great way for all of those lovely, herbaceous flavours to seep into the meat for maximum flavour. Also allows the lamb to reach room temperature for nice, even cooking.

NOTE: Because the lamb is cooked at such a high temperature (450 F) be careful of splattering fat in the oven. Let’s just say we got numerous opportunities to test our smoke detectors during the cooking process. Come to think of it, this would have worked out great on the BBQ.

The Results: I ended up serving the rack of lamb with the Pickled Beet Salad, a recipe included in the same issue of the magazine. It was the perfect side dish to serve with this meal, as the acidic citrusy nature of the salad provided a nice bite that cut through the richness of the lamb.


This cover recipe fully utilized classic flavour combinations most often used with lamb. Rosemary, garlic and olive oil are frequently paired with lamb because they work well together, enhancing each other with no one ingredient overwhelming the others. While it may be said that there was nothing particularly exciting about this dish that rendered it memorable, it is a solid recipe that tasted great and was easy to prepare.

Recipes:
Garlic-Crusted Rack of Lamb
Pickled Beet Salad

As part of my culinary New Year’s resolutions, I have committed to creating each month’s cover recipe from Food & Wine Magaine.

NOTE: If any of you would like to follow along with me and join in on the fun, I’d love to compare notes! So pick-up a copy of the latest issue of Food & Wine and get cooking. Be sure to send your comments and photos to info@cookthatbook.com.

The mission of Food & Wine Magazine is to find the most exciting places, new experiences, emerging trends and sensations in the culinary and wine industries. From travel and entertaining to luxury and design, this magazine brings an energetic and stylish take on food and wine. For more information on Food & Wine Magazine, please visit www.foodandwine.com