Mad Hungry Family - Lucinda Scala Quinn

Mad Hungry Family: 120 Essential Recipes to Feed the Whole Crew by Lucinda Scala Quinn joins Mad Hungry, Feeding Men & Boys and Mad Hungry Cravings to complete the Mad Hungry trilogy of books. Lucinda's titles offer solid approachable recipes for all types of appetites. Her cooking show on PBS was a favorite mainly due to her calm knowledgeable demeanor that instills confidence in cooks of all levels.

The book starts with a promise to new cooks who have the willingness and discipline to devote time each week to plan, shop and cook that the hard-core skills will come. After making recipes in the book as guides, it is the hope that we will find ourselves taking different paths and creating variations to her roadmap of recipes. Her manifesto is simple: Believe in the Power of Home Cooking, Bring Confidence to the Kitchen, Don't Worry About the Joneses and Buy Real Food and Cook it Well.

More than a collection of recipes, Lucinda provides the bare bones we need to cook successfully - "How to Make a Simple Chicken Broth", "Figuring Out Fish and Savoring Seafood" and "Acid Makes Food Come Alive" are examples of the snippets of information throughout the book that will carry us toward culinary excellence. The recipes are killer as well - for example - Broccoli Francese, My Mujadara, Penne with Cabbage, Bacon, and Currants (which I am making this week), and the best looking Colcannon I have ever seen - and I'm an Irish girl.

Mad Hungry Family needs to be on all our shelves and will be my go-to new cook gift in the future. It is truly a beautiful book with gorgeous photographs that covers all the basics (and beyond) to guide us to success. This seasoned cook will enjoy creating from this title for years to come. Lucinda has a number of events planned in Texas next week be sure to see if she is near you.

Be sure to enter our contest  for a chance to win a copy of this book. In the meantime, thanks to the author and Artisan we are happy to share two recipes for you to try now.

Flat Roast Citrus Chicken
Makes 4 servings

Flat roasting, also known as spatchcocking, is when a whole chicken has its backbone removed so that it can lie flat while cooking, giving you a roast chicken in about half the time it takes for a whole bird to cook. Finally (what took us so long?!), my husband discovered that you don't need to remove the whole bone before cooking. Simply cut along one side of the backbone with kitchen shears, leaving it attached on the other side - you can still flatten the bird, and though it may not look as pretty, the remaining backbone becomes a coveted treat for folks who love crispy skin and crunchy bones.

  • One 3-pound chicken, at room temperature
  • 1 lemon or lime, thinly sliced and each slice quartered
  • 1 orange or tangerine, thinly sliced and each slice quartered
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ⅓ cup pitted green or black olives, halved
  • ⅓ cup currants or raisins
  • 4 to 6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • ¾ cup chicken broth

Using kitchen shears, cut along one side of the backbone. Place the bird skin side up, and press down firmly to slightly flatten. Using your fingers, carefully separate the skin from the flesh (keeping it attached) where possible, taking care not to tear the skin. Slide some citrus pieces underneath the skin. (Use a chopstick or similar tool to shove the citrus into the legs and thighs.) Pat the chicken dry all over with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper generously on both sides.

Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Heat a large, oven-safe skillet (such as a shallow, enameled cast-iron brazier) over high heat. Add the oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter and heat until the butter melts (it should bubble but not burn). Immediately add the chicken, skin side down. Cook without moving it, for 3 minutes. Turn the chicken over, taking care not to break the skin. Scatter the olives, currants, garlic, and any remaining citrus pieces around the chicken. Pour in the broth.

Transfer the skillet to the oven. The chicken is done when it is golden brown and cooked through, 40 to 45 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part and not touching bone should read 165ºF. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board to rest for 10 minutes. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter to the pan drippings and swirl around to make a sauce.

Cut the chicken into pieces and serve with the pan sauce drizzled over top.

Double-Decker Pork Tacos
Makes 1 Taco

At the famous La Taqueria in San Francisco's now trendy Mission District, the dorados con todo - or "doubles" - deserve their enthusiastic following: two tortillas layered with melted cheese are stuffed with various fillings. In one bite you get the lovely softness of steamed masa, melted cheese, and a golden crispy crunch. It's genius. I observed the on-site expert making them, one after another, until I gathered enough intel to create a home-style version.

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil or lard
  • 2 corn tortillas
  • 1 slice mild, melting cheese, such as Monterey Jack, or Mexican melting cheese, such as queso asadero
  • ¼ cup cooked chorizo, cubed
  • ¼ white onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon salsa, homemade (see recipe below) or store-bought

Heat a large (preferably cast-iron) skillet over high heat. Swirl in 1 teaspoon of the oil and sauté the chorizo and onions until the onions are soft and golden. Transfer the chorizo and onions to a plate and wipe the skillet clean.

Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and place the tortillas in the pan. When the bottoms are toasted, about 1 minute, flip them both over.

Place the cheese on a tortilla. Take the other tortilla and place the toasted side against the cheese. Cook until the cheese has completely melted. Add the chorizo and salsa, fold over, and serve.

Salsa Simplified

For a quick throw-together salsa, coarsely chop a small white onion and a small tomato. Mince one jalapeño pepper (seeded, if you're concerned about the heat). Mix all the ingredients together with a pinch of salt and ¼ cup water.

Excerpted from Mad Hungry Family by Lucinda Scala Quinn.
Photograph Credit: Jonathan Lovekin.


  • matag  on  11/6/2016 at 1:02 PM


  • rchesser  on  11/6/2016 at 5:38 PM

    Thanks, Jenny. Looks like another book for the ever growing list!

  • Missdith34  on  11/7/2016 at 10:16 AM

    Finding things that are interesting for the adults but that the kids will also enjoy.

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