Another milestone in the books

 cookbooks

Thanks to the hard work of both our professional and Member indexers, we have achieved another milestone at Eat Your Books - over 1.5 million indexed recipes! When we break down that impressive figure, we find over 1.2 million recipes from cookbooks; over 151,000 magazine recipes; and nearly 250,000 online recipes, including about 4,600 video recipes. Over 400,000 recipes (including book recipes and online recipes) have been indexed by EYB Members - thank you so much for your efforts. 

A deeper dive into the data reveals that about half of the recipes are associated with a specific ethnicity, with European countries accounting for the biggest share. You can find a recipe from almost every country or culture on the planet. Somewhat surprising to me was that were one and half times the number of Italian recipes as French recipes. Another interesting tidbit: nearly one-third of the recipes in the Library are vegetarian, and over 10 percent are vegan.

This staggering number of options can result in decision paralysis, which is why I am glad there are loads of ways to filter the list - by ingredient, recipe type, meal course, ethnicity, author, and more. The only disappointing thing about this incredible selection is that since the average person eats about 90,000 meals in a lifetime, I will only be able to sample a fraction of the delicious recipes on the site. Eat Your Books is indeed a bountiful resource - happy cooking, everyone!

Milk Street Live - Fall Tour & PBS Debut

Christopher Kimball is taking Milk Street on the road this Fall and tickets are on sale now. Please note pre-sale access ends June 29, 2017 using code MSKLIVE.

Kimball will be signing the first Milk Street Cookbook after the events for all VIP ticket holders. If you can't make one of his appearances, publication date is set for September 12th for this debut Milk Street title which can be preordered by using our Buy Book button.

Plans are for more on-stage audience interaction including tastings, cook-offs and competitions with the entire audience being a part of the live tasting. 

Plans for a behind-the-scenes tour of Milk Street as well as exploring the team's culinary trips from Thailand to finding the best hummus in the Middle East.

Milk Street Live's schedule is available on our World Calendar of Cookbook Events.

Check your local PBS listings this September as Christopher Kimball's Milk Street Television will be airing its first show with lots of new co-hosts, guests, and cooks. American Public Television will distribute the show, and they will be co-presenters along with WGBH Boston.

 

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat is a master class in cooking that condenses decades of professional experience into just four simple elements - salt, fat, acid and heat.

The author learned to cook at Chez Panisse and has been hailed as "the next Julia Child" from NPR's All Things Considered and her mentor Alice Waters has declared that Samin is "America's next great cooking teacher".

Samin's first sentence of her introduction - "Anyone can cook anything and make it delicious." - sets the tone for this book. There is something magical about this book - it's content, the incredible illustrations and the wealth of knowledge - all combined will transform us all into kitchen wizards. 

This indispensable tome delivers 100 essential recipes - and dozens of variations - to take the author's lessons and put them into use to make bright, balanced vinaigrettes, perfectly caramelized roast vegetables, tender braised meats, and light, flaky pastry doughs. All of this information is packaged with 150 illustrations and infographics that will help us understand the world of flavor.

I have always been a good cook and now I believe I am a great cook because I remotely understand the balance of salt, fat, acid and heat - it took me a while to get there by myself and now I am sharpening that knowledge. Salt, Fat, Acid and Heat is on par with the greatness of The Food Lab and will become the teaching cookbook for this generation. I'm predicting you will hear this title repeatedly come to the surface during cookbook award season.

Samin has events scheduled check our calendar to see if she will be in your area. Special thanks to the Simon & Schuster for sharing two recipes with our members. Be sure to head over to our contest page to enter our giveaway for this must-have title. 

Caesar Dressing

Makes about 1 ½ cups

4 salt-packed anchovies (or 8 filets), soaked and fileted
¾ cup stiff Basic Mayonnaise (page 375) (below)
1 garlic clove, finely grated or pounded with a pinch of salt
3 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
3-ounce chunk of Parmesan, finely grated (about 1 cup), plus more for serving
¾ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt

Coarsely chop the anchovies and then pound them into a fine paste in a mortar and pestle. The more you break them down, the better the dressing will be.

In a medium bowl, stir together the anchovies, mayonnaise, garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, Parmesan, Worcestershire sauce, and pepper. Taste with a leaf of lettuce, then add salt and adjust acid as needed. Or, practicing what you learned about Layering Salt, add a little bit of each salty ingredient to the mayonnaise, bit by bit. Adjust the acid, then taste and adjust the salty ingredients until you reach the ideal balance of Salt, Fat, and Acid. Has putting a lesson you read in a book into practice ever been this delicious? I doubt it.

To make the salad, use your hands to toss the greens and Torn Croutons with an abundant amount of dressing in a large bowl to coat evenly. Garnish with Parmesan and freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately.

Refrigerate leftover dressing, covered, for up to 3 days.

Ideal for romaine and Little Gem lettuce, chicories, raw or blanched Kale, shaved Brussels sprouts, Belgian endive.

Mayonnaise

There might not be a sauce more polarizing than mayonnaise, but I fall firmly in the camp of the devoted. And, as a teacher, I don't think there's a better way to illustrate the power of a little kitchen science than by making, breaking, and fixing a mayonnaise with my students. It's like a little miracle, every time. Refer back to the walkthrough on page 86 for a refresher on all of the nuances of making and fixing a mayonnaise.

When making mayonnaise as the base for a sauce, such as Tartar or Caesar Dressing, leave it unsalted and make it as stiff as possible to account for all the other ingredients you'll be adding that will season and thin it out. On the other hand, to season a plain mayonnaise for spreading, dissolve the salt in a few tablespoons of water or whatever form of acid you plan to add, whether it's lemon juice or vinegar. If you add salt without dissolving it first, you'll have to wait a while for the mayonnaise to completely absorb it before you get an accurate idea of how it tastes. If you choose this route, add salt gradually, stopping to taste and adjust along the way.

To lend a Mediterranean flavor to Aïoli, Herb Mayonnaise, or Rouille you plan to serve with Italian, French, or Spanish food, use olive oil. To make an American-style base to use in Classic Sandwich Mayo or Tartar Sauce, use a neutral-tasting oil such as grapeseed or expeller-pressed canola.

Basic Mayonnaise
Makes about ¾ cup

1 egg yolk at room temperature
3/4 cup oil (refer to page 374 to help you decide what type of oil to use)

Place the egg yolk in a deep, medium metal or ceramic bowl. Dampen a tea towel and roll it up into a long log, then form it into a ring on the counter. Place the bowl inside the ring-this will hold the bowl in place while you whisk. (And if whisking by hand is simply out of the question, feel free to use a blender, stand mixer, or food processor.)

Use a ladle or bottle with a nozzle to drip in the oil a drop at a time, while whisking the oil into the yolk. Go. Really. Slowly. And don't stop whisking. Once you've added about half of the oil, you can start adding a little more oil at once. If the mayonnaise thickens so much that it's impossible to whisk, add a teaspoon or so water-or whichever acid you're planning on adding later on-to help thin it out.

If the mayonnaise breaks, refer to page 86 for tips on how to fix it.

Cover and refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days.

Recipe reprinted from Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat with permission of Simon & Schuster and the author. Illustrations by Wendy MacNaughton. 

Cookbook Giveaway - Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat is a master class in cooking that condenses decades of professional experience into just four simple elements - salt, fat, acid and heat.

For more information on this invaluable book, please see our review post which shares two recipes Caesar dressing and mayonnaise and examples of the beautiful illustrations that can be found here.

We are pleased to offer three copies of this title to our EYB Members in the US. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you like to try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. Please be sure to check your spam filters to make sure you receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on July 25th, 2017. 

 

A lasting legacy

pains de amande cookies

A few days ago we had to share the sad news that baking legend Flo Braker had passed away. The news shocked and saddened bakers worldwide. Today the newspaper that carried her longtime baking column, The San Francisco Chronicle, and its staff looked back at Flo's long and storied career with a baker's dozen of her best recipes. 

The recipe that cemented my admiration for Flo was the Miniature tartlet pastry from her book Sweet Miniatures. It's a simple recipe, but it always turns out perfectly - a rarity in any baking recipe. The dough is forgiving, allowing you to roll out the scraps multiple times without the crust becoming tough. Since I began using this recipe, I haven't been tempted to try another because I cannot imagine anything can top its combination of ease and quality.

I've made several other excellent recipes from that book, but was surprised to see another of my favorites under Flo's name in the Library. For over a decade I have been making Lavender-lemon bundt cake, a recipe written on the packaging of a Nordicware Bundt pan that I purchased. I copied the recipe into my personal database (of course, this was pre-EYB) and if I noted an author's attribution at the time it did not register. But it stands to reason that a recipe that good was developed by one of the best bakers around. The cake has remained a staple of my baking repertoire ever since.

The SF Chronicle staff and I are not the only ones to reminisce about our favorite Flo Braker recipe. When he learned of Flo's death, David Lebovitz shared her recipe for Pain d'amande cookies pictured above, which he noted became a permanent fixture of the Chez Panisse menu. Flo inspired countless home cooks and professionals alike on their baking journeys, and her legacy will live on in the recipes that will undoubtedly be passed down to the next generation. What is your favorite Flo Braker recipe? 

District Six Huis Kombuis - South African Cookbook

District Six Huis Kombuis: Food & Memory Cookbook by Tina Smith is a 2016 World Gourmand Award Winner in the culinary travel division. NPR covered this fascinating title that shares the stories and memories of a mixed-race section of South Africa where Europeans, Asians, Africans, Christians, Muslims and Jews called home before it was declared a whites-only area. As the NPR article states, by the early 1980's nearly 60,000 people were forcibly removed from District Six. This wasn't the only area affected by the apartheid movement but it is the most documented perhaps due to its central location.

The District Six Museum in Cape Town has worked diligently on bringing the former residents of this area back together and the result of those meetings come to life in District Six Huis Kombuis: Food and Memory Cookbook. The publication of this book is part of the museum's committment to preserve the culture of this lost community and to commemorate the integration of food and cultural heritage through personal stories, recipes, historical images and craft work.

Huis kombuis  means "home kitchen" in Afrikaans and this book shares more than recipes and traditions of the original residents of District Six - it breathes life back into this forgotten section and people of South Africa - a very tight community where the best part was the sharing of food.

From the publisher's website, QuiverTree Publications:

The book is a culmination of memories and narrative. It weaves through the days of a typical week in District Six, focusing on traditional family recipes that were prepared with love and often limited resources. This is a visual celebration of the vibrancy and warmth of the community - who foraged, preserved, baked and cooked together.

I have a passion for books of this nature that bring the treasured past and a community of people back to the forefront where it should be. I hope to bring you more information on this title soon. 

Update: I've now had a quick look at the pdf version of this incredible book and it is truly stunning. I will be adding more information to this post in the next week. It is worth every penny to have it shipped overseas. 

How to avoid measuring mistakes

 kitchen tools

Baking can be intimidating to the most seasoned of cooks because of its requirements for accurate measuring. Using a digital scale solves a lot of measuring problems, but there are some instances when it might not be the best tool, says Stella Parks of Serious Eats. She provides advice on when to use a scale and other guidance on how to avoid common measuring mistakes

The biggest issue for digital scales is not in accurately weighing the major baking ingredients like flour, sugar, and butter. Rather, it is in the smallest of ingredients like leavening, salt, and spices. Most kitchen scales only round to the nearest gram, which is not going work for the tiny amount of baking soda in a cake. The way we usually measure these small ingredients adds to the problem. Says Parks, "we tend to gradually tap out powdered ingredients in tentative sprinkles when weighing them, until we reach our goal. Few kitchen scales are sensitive enough to register these micro-units, leading to an unfortunate series of 0 + 0 calculations." She recommends using a teaspoon for small measures.

Another big mistake that people often make is confusing grams and milliliters. For some liquids like water, the two are close enough, but for denser items like corn syrup, confusing the two can lead to disaster. In the example Parks provides, if a recipe calls for 225 grams of agave nectar and you use milliliters measurements instead, "the result will be 133% of what's needed-more than enough to ruin any recipe."

One excellent piece of advice that resonated with me (since I am easily distracted), is to create "zones" in your dry ingredients when measuring out small quantities of items like spices or leavening. A person should, of course, measure out each item and have all ingredients in individual containers, so you can easily see if you have added the baking soda to the recipe or not. But in the real world, we just scoop out the teaspoons of this or that and dump them in the bowl, leading to the afore-mentioned confusion. Placing all of a darker ingredient (like brown sugar) on one side of the bowl and then adding small amounts of lighter-colored ingredients such as salt or baking powder allows you to easily see if you have added it or not. 

Eat Delicious by Dennis the Prescott

Eat Delicious: 125 Recipes for Your Daily Dose of Awesome by Dennis Prescott features comfort food from around the globe that can be prepared by any home cook, no matter their skill level.

This book reflects the inviting, energetic style of the author's popular Instagram account, packed with 125 of his most popular and original recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as desserts, snacks, and sides that everyone will enjoy. 

If you love big bold flavors and stunning photography, this is the book for you. Noodle Bowls with Crispy Chicken and Peanut Sauce (I made these and they were incredible - picture to the right), Pulled Pork Ramen, and Deconstructed Sushi Bowls are examples of the global influences here. Dennis even does desserts - Smashed Pavlova with Citrus Curd and Berries, Brown Sugar Bournbon and Candied Pecan Ice Cream and Lemon-Ricotta Mini Doughnuts with Chocolate Sauce and he does them well.

This book will surprise you with it's awesomeness, he even warns you right on the cover. Special thanks to William Morrow for sharing Dennis' Saucy Slow-Roasted Pulled Pork Burgers with Creamy Coleslaw. Now head over to our contest page to enter to win a copy of this cool book. 

SAUCY SLOW-ROASTED PULLED PORK BURGERS WITH CREAMY COLESLAW

MAKES 10 TO 12 SERVINGS


• When I left Nashville, of course I was obsessed with re-creating its fried chicken, but the other thing that kept me busy was mastering perfect pulled pork. The studio where my band spent our days and nights recording was just down the road from a local BBQ joint, the site of my baptism into all things Southern BBQ. We spent almost every lunch loving on their daily special, and three days a week it was an intoxicating variation of pulled pork.

On nachos, on a potato roll, in a taco, or by itself, pulled pork = heaven. This recipe is my version of a classic. The combo of fall-off-the-bone pork and slaw is seriously out-of-this-world, next-level sandwiching.

As with anything slow roasted to perfection, this recipe takes a little extra time to prepare, so it's best to plan ahead.

PULLED PORK

1 tablespoon chili powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 ½ teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
1 (5-pound) bone-in pork shoulder
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup cola
1 recipe Spicy-and-Sweet BBQ Sauce

COLESLAW

1 cup prepared mayo
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon celery seed
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
4 cups shredded red cabbage
2 cups shredded green cabbage
2 carrots, grated on a box grater

FOR SERVING

10 to 12 burger buns
2 cups of your favorite sliced pickles
Your favorite hot sauce

1. Make the pulled pork: In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, brown sugar, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Massage the pork shoulder with half of the olive oil, then coat it all over with the spice rub. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

2. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Let the pork come to room temperature on the counter for 30 minutes prior to cooking.

3. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the remaining olive oil. Sear the pork on all sides until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Pour in the cola and transfer the pork to the oven. Immediately decrease the oven temperature to 325°F and cook for 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 hours, or until the pork is basically falling apart and easily shreddable and the kitchen smells like heaven.

4. Rest the cooked pork on a board for 10 minutes.

5. While the pork is resting, make the coleslaw: In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the cabbages and carrots and mix until smooth. Add the cabbages and carrots and mix until the vegetables are coated and the coleslaw is creamy and delicious. Set aside.

6. Shred the pork with two forks, discarding any bones or excess fat. Toss the pulled pork in the pan juices, then pour over as much BBQ sauce as your heart desires and toss.

7. Serve on a bun with the coleslaw, the pickles, and the hot sauce. Delicious.

SPICY-AND-SWEET BBQ SAUCE

MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPS • My education into all things Southern cuisine went something like this: fried chicken, pulled pork, BBQ sauce. Oh, and sausage gravy, biscuits, grits, sweet tea-honestly,it doesn't get much better! God bless the South. Go visit immediately.

For me, a great sauce should be like the icing on the cake. It's there to propel your meal to the next level, elevating an already delicious dish into something remarkable. This BBQ is guaranteed to do just that. A little spicy, a little sweet, and completely legit.

1 tablespoon butter
1 cup finely diced red onion
½ cup dark beer
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups store-bought organic ketchup
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onion, beer, and salt, stir, cover, and cook gently for 15 minutes, watching carefully and stirring every few minutes so the onion doesn't stick to the pan. Add the remaining ingredients, stir, and bring to a simmer. Let the sauce simmer away for 30 minutes, stirring every so often.

2. Using an immersion blender, puree the sauce directly in the pot until smooth. (Alternatively, carefully transfer the sauce to a regular blender and puree until smooth. Be careful when blending hot liquids.)

3. Transfer to a jar, let cool completely, and store in the fridge overnight to allow the flavors to develop. The BBQ sauce will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for about 2 weeks.

From Eat Delicious by Dennis Prescott. Copyright © 2017 by Dennis Prescott. Reprinted by permission of William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Cookbook Giveaway - Eat Delicious

Eat Delicious: 125 Recipes for Your Daily Dose of Awesome by Dennis Prescott features comfort food from around the globe that can be prepared by any home cook, no matter their skill level.

For more information on this cookbook, please see our review post which shares a recipe for Saucy Slow Roasted Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Creamy Coleslaw. 

We are pleased to offer three copies of this title to our EYB Members in the US.  One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you like to try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. Please be sure to check your spam filters to make sure you receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on July 23, 2017.

 

Father's Day food memories

Sloppy joes

Today is Father's Day in the U.S. and for many families that means outdoor cooking, meat on the grill, and picnic fare. No doubt millions of burgers and steaks will find their way onto plates this afternoon and evening. The traditional Father's Day meal is often the main food memory people have with their dads (although that is changing with the times).

The food memories I have of my father are not associated with Father's Day, however. In our household, as was typical in most homes in the 70s and 80s, my mother did the vast majority of cooking. My dad was grill master, also a stereotypical role, although he had a few other specialties that were his province. All of them involved ground beef.

The one we most looked forward to was the sloppy joe dinner. My father never used a recipe, preferring to ad lib each time. There were some basic ingredients, but he often riffed on the seasonings, trying out new combinations and proportions. A few key spices like chili powder and ground black pepper formed the backbone of the flavor, but there were always pinches of other spices and splashes of sauces like Tabasco and Worcestershire as well. 

My dad tasted as he added, stopping when he reached the flavor profile he was after. Even though the taste was never exactly the same the sloppy joes were always delicious, and we kids lavished praise on the meal (probably to my mother's chagrin). While I've had a complicated relationship with my father over the years, the pleasant memories of the sloppy joe dinners always bring a smile to my face. 

What is your favorite food memory with your father? 

Seen anything interesting? Let us know & we'll share it!

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