Tag Archives: Recipes

Roasted Chicken Wings

I’m not sure when I came around on wings. When I was a kid, they were sold as “Drumettes” and my mom might make them if we were camping or at a group picnic, but in general I always thought they were too much work, too little food. And when I’d have them in later years, they were drowned in a sauce that made them soggy and a total mess to eat. Frankly, if it hadn’t been for Pan-Asian take out places that straight up fried the wings with no sauce, I might have given up on them forever.

Roasted Chicken Wings

Unfortunately… the wings were fried. It became a great comfort food for me… and my belly… and my waistline. So I tried doing them myself at home, baking them didn’t have the mojo at all, smoking them was hit or miss and roasting them was good, but the main method I followed–Alton Brown’s–was a little more tedious than I liked. It still became a go-to recipe, however, until a little more browsing around online resulted in my new method.

Continue reading Roasted Chicken Wings

False promises and simple cocktails…

I’m fortunate enough to have one telework day during the week and have generally been taking advantage of the opportunity to go out for an early breakfast. As there’s an IHOP right across the way from me, it’s a good bed for someplace open super-early in the morning. So I’d just sat down, ordered some coffee and noticed this on my table…

IHOP - Squeeze more joy into your day.

“Squeeze more joy” into my day, IHOP? Really? When you offer me something called a “mimosa” that is nothing of the kind? (And I suppose the word ‘squeeze’ is meant to make us think the juice is fresh-squeezed, but I’ll let someone else charge that windmill.) There is no joy in a cocktail ordered without alcohol.

Yes, non-alcoholic cocktails–it hurts to even utter the phrase–do exist, often called “kiddie cocktails” which I think shows an extreme lack of responsibility and taste. I mean, who would give a kid a cocktail in the first place? Or even anything resembling one? We don’t want children emulating behavior like smoking, but we’ll mix up a Shirley Temple or a Roy Rogers and serve it to them without thinking twice.

Continue reading False promises and simple cocktails…

The Black Pearl

So, it’s been a while, how’ve you been? I took a much-needed hiatus from food blogging for a bit while I sorted a few things out, but there will be more about that later.

I also had to take a bit of a break from… calories. The boy and I have been doing our best to watch what we eat, get a bit more exercise and try to shed a few pounds. Unfortunately, this meant that I would have to cut back on something I love: booze. No more pitchers of martinis for me! Instead enjoying one or two drinks every few nights is a more conducive habit to good fitness goals. I wouldn’t cut drinking out completely, but applying a bit of moderation didn’t hurt.

Still, it had been a while since I’d come up with anything new on the bar and I decided that the result of my next set of cocktail experiments should reflect my “mourning period” and be colored an appropriate shade of black. Thing is, it is amazingly difficult to find “black” cocktails using Google without coming up with a lot of unhelpful results. I found a lot that have the word black in the name, but not too many that are the color black after being mixed. Or worse, recipes that didn’t “cheat” by using either Blavod Black Vodka which I wasn’t in the mood to hunt down, or Black Raspberry or Cherry liqueurs, neither of which I’m a fan of.

The Black Pearl

The flavors of peach, pear, orange and pomegranate come together for a cocktail on the sweet side with a gothic black tint.

Ingredients

  • 1 12 oz vodka, pear infused
  • 34 oz 100% pomegranate juice
  • 12 oz peachtree schapps
  • 12 oz blue curacao

Instructions

  1. Shake ingredients with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and serve.

This recipe produced the visual result that I was looking for with that “just a hint of sweet” undercurrent that I enjoy. I have no problem with pink drinks, but when it comes to my bar, the “girlier” the cocktail, the faster you’re hitting the floor… I tried adding spirits of other colors, but the flavors didn’t help the drink at all and while it isn’t “true” black, with the right lighting, it does the trick. The fun of it is that the longer the drink sits–as if you’d let this cocktail settle?!–the purple of the pomegranate separates from the blue curacao to create a BIV (as in ROY G.) spectrum of color flowing from the top to the bottom.

With my usual boldness and panache, I’ll go out on a limb and call The Black Pearl–named by a good friend–my signature cocktail for the season. I’m not likely to be creating too many more drinks this summer as that might be too much temptation to break the drinking limits, it’s a safe call.

Bohemian goes Barefoot, Pt. 2: He Cooks

So where was I? Ah yes, I’d gone out to Arlington in the middle of a workday, waited 2 hours in the warm and muggy rain and got shuffled past Ina Garten as she swiftly signed 2 books for me and a friend. Was it worth it? … *eh, I still say it was but I’m working harder and harder each day to say that. But I met her, I have proof and that’s that.

When I got home, I started going through the book looking for something easy to make. I haven’t made a recipe from a cookbook in a long while, choosing to go the internet route far too often. It isn’t that I don’t like cookbooks, but before having some books on my iPad of late, I just don’t have them at the office when I’m thinking of what to grab from the store and cook that night or that weekend. And while a certain Food Network hostess can go on all she likes about a 30-minute meal, I’m sure that’s a lot easier to accomplish when you have a staff that heads out to the store for you, cutting out that 1-2 hour post-work chore. But her recipe for weeknight bolognese seemed like an easy enough shopping trip and I was able to pick up the ingredients while taking a midday break to the store to get ingredients for mulled cider for an office potluck.

weeknight bolognese (serves 4 to 5)

  • 2 tbsp “good olive oil” plus extra to cook the pasta
  • 1 lb lean ground sirloin
  • 4 tsp minced garlic (4 cloves)
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 14 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 14 cups dry red wine, divided
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 34 lb dried pasta, such as orecchiette or small shells
  • 14 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 14 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
  • 14 cup heavy cream
  • 12 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground sirloin and cook, crumbling the meat with a wooden spoon, for 5 to 7 minutes, until the meat has lost its pink color and has started to brown. Stir in the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 more minute. Pour 1 cup of the wine into the skillet and stir to scrape up any browned bits. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper, stirring until combined. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a tablespoon of salt, a splash of oil, and the pasta, and cook according to the directions on the box.

While the pasta cooks, finish the sauce. Add the nutmeg, basil, cream, and the remaining 1/4 cup wine to the sauce and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened. When the pasta is cooked, drain and pour into a large serving bowl. Add the sauce and 1/2 cup Parmesan and toss well. Serve hot with Parmesan on the side.

Easy enough, right? So simple that I figured it would be easy to grab everything at the store, drop it off at home and get back to the office in no time. I wrote a quick list of ingredients, even took a picture of the page in the book with my iPhone. I even found the oreccheitte pasta at the store, which I took great pleasure in over-pronouncing as if I were yet another Food Network hostess fond of deep v-neck shirts. I strode through the store with the confidence of someone that’s got his act together. I had my list, my cart full of groceries and I was all set.

Fast forward to the next evening and everything was proceeding apace. I didn’t do a mise en place due to the low number of ingredients and my carried-over confidence. I had the meat browning in the pan, added the spices and when it came time to add the tomatoes, I tossed in the can of tomatoes, looked at the recipe and reached for the tomato paste… which I had completely neglected to buy.

Um… oops?

Not one to panic, I turned down the heat and went to the internet for that Google search that almost every home cook has had to use at one time or another: Substitutions. Tomato paste isn’t one of those things that’s easy to substitute, but after reading all the suggestions I settled on reducing/thickening a bit of ketchup in a small saucepan. A small setback with a rather elaborate–some might say unnecessary–fix, but I pressed on.

Crisis averted, the rest of the recipe was simple. It’s just heat, add and stir. Compared to a usual bolognese ragu that includes at least beef, onions, carrots, celery, tomato paste and broth this was nothing major and very easy to turn out in under an hour. As Ina would say, “How easy is that?” And I was clearly so into the relaxed and easy vibe of this recipe that I wasn’t paying attention when I opened the box of pasta. There was something on TV and I was talking and before I knew it, all of my “little ears” were flying all over the kitchen and onto the floor.

Cue the kitchen freakout.

No, seriously, hysterical laughter, screams of “You have GOT to be kidding me”, frantic searches of the cabinets for a suitable replacement pasta… all to no result. While my friend was able to clean up the floor for me, I headed out to CVS thinking that I’d just have to settle for spaghetti and cope. It happened to be an unseasonably warm day for late October so I could walk outside and across the street in my Ina-inspired black button down shirt, some shorts and my chucks. I wasn’t hopeful, but I spied some familiar blue boxes–no, not Kraft–above the words “New Item” and managed to snag some Barilla penne pasta!

Crisis averted once more, peace of mind regained, pasta tossed with sauce and then cheese and a glass of red wine thrown for good measure. And then another glass just because.

How Easy Is That? is a good cookbook with emphasis on the easy. Not every recipe will feel simple to the average cook, but there’s nothing in here that anyone wouldn’t be able to make with a bit of preparation and a little bit of patience… hopefully at least a bit more than I had last week.

Barefoot Contessa Book Signing, 10/27

If you’re a fan of Ina Garten, TV’s Barefoot Contessa, then the title of her new book should come as no surprise: How Easy Is That? Even though her “How _____ is that?” catchphrase is easy to snark on, it’s often pretty true and as a devoted Barefoot Contessa fan, I find myself muttering it while in the kitchen every now and then. Especially when using her go-to recipe for Roast Chicken again and again. Not that roast chicken is terribly difficult, but the thought of it can be really daunting until you see how easy it is to make–it’s also easy to mess up, but few things aren’t!

Still, the recipes on her show do range from simple to complex and at times she does suffer from what I call “Martha Stewart Syndrome” where she will say a recipe is “simple” and then call for ingredients or devices that you simply can’t get at your local store or even on a weekend errand run. Not that I mind buying hard-to-get items online, but waiting 2-7 days for something to arrive so I can make a dish isn’t all that fun. She’s also not afraid of cooking with butter or alcohol, though it’s the former that sends most people running… that and her penchant for heavy cream! But most of her dishes are designed to feed at least 4 people and we can always determine our own healthy-sized portions, right?

Of course, if you hit this entry, you don’t need me telling you what you likely already know, so here’s the important news: Ina is currently on a signing tour with the new book and she’ll be at Sur La Table at Pentagon Row in Arlington, VA tomorrow October 27 from noon to 2pm. (If you’re anything like me, you had a little *SQUEE!* moment when you first heard about this.) I’m hoping to arrange a little food-lover group of signing buddies to go, but if you can’t make it, I believe they will let you call ahead–703-414-3580–and purchase a signed book or possibly order one through their website.

I’ll be honest though, I’m mainly going to meet Ina and make this year one where I meet two of my food idols. And I sort of have this fantasy that she’ll sweep me up in her magical button-down oxford shirt to The Hamptons and make me one of her gays… but that can’t happen without eye contact! If you’re into her recipes and not bothered about an autographed copy, some online retailers have her new book for nearly 50% of the list price. But she has signings scheduled through the end of the year, so if you’re not in the DC area, there’s still a chance to see her.

Admittedly, I’m no book reviewer, just a huge fan so if you’re not yet sold on the idea of the cookbook, here are some excerpts & recipes that might help make up your mind:

Chipotle & Rosemary Roasted Nuts (Serves 8 to 10)

Recipe: Chipotle & Rosemary Roasted Nuts

  • vegetable oil
  • 3 cups whole roasted unsalted cashews
  • 2 cups whole walnut halves
  • 2 cups pecan halves
  • 12 cup whole almonds
  • 13 cup pure maple syrup
  • 14 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tsp ground chipotle powder
  • 4 tbsp minced rosemary leaves, divided
  • Kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 350°

Brush a sheet pan generously with vegetable oil. Combine the cashews, walnuts, pecans, almonds, 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, the maple syrup, brown sugar, orange juice, and chipotle powder on the sheet pan. Toss to coat the nuts evenly. Add 2 tablespoons of the rosemary and 2 teaspoons of the salt and toss again.

Spread the nuts in one layer. Roast the nuts for 25 minutes, stirring twice with a large metal spatula, until the nuts are glazed and golden brown. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with 2 more tablespoons of rosemary. Toss well and set aside at room temperature, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking as they cool. Taste for seasoning. Serve warm or cool completely and store in airtight containers at room temperature.

If you’re planning on going, leave a comment or drop me a note! Because just like with Sara Moulton, I want to get a picture of me with Ina Garten. And let’s face it: The Urban Bohemian and The Barefoot Contessa? How perfect is that?

Dry Rubbed Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

It’s funny how things come full circle. Just over a year ago, I was starting to discover and connect with the DC foodie scene. My cooking posts were tossed in with the other things I wrote about in DC and if you’d mentioned a “food blog” to me, I would have laughed in your face. And well… here we are!

When I got my first crock pot, my inbox and IM windows were flooded with recipes to try and one that worked out well for me was a pulled meat style barbecue. It was ridiculously simple, put meat in the crock pot with a bottle of your chosen barbecue sauce and set on Low for six hours, shredding it at the seventh hour and simmering in the developed sauce. I shared the technique with a friend and ended up getting a mention as a “foodie friend” in her post on Pulled Pork. After looking back at that recipe, I decided to give it a try with a pork shoulder I recently picked up at the supermarket. Instead of a wet sauce, it uses a dry rub and relies on a bit of water and the pork’s fat to develop a sauce as it slowly cooks.

The dry-rub recipe is a “classic” from Cook’s Illustrated and the method is pure crock-pot with just a little bit of fiddling. You normally can leave things in the crock pot and walk away, but this requires some turning early on and obviously some shredding in the later hours:

  • one 6 to 8 lb. pork shoulder
  • 1/4 cup water (optional, depending on how much sauce you want to form)
  • spice rub
    • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
    • 1 tablespoon ground white pepper
    • 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
      (2 tsp if you like it spicy, I substituted chipotle pepper to trade heat for smokiness)
    • 1 tablespoon chili powder
    • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
    • 4 tablespoons paprika
    • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
    • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
    • 1 tablespoon white sugar
    • 2 tablespoons salt

  1. Mix together the spice rub in a large ziploc/oven bag, shaking it to combine the spices thoroughly.
  2. Add the pork shoulder and vigorously shake the bag until the pork is fully covered in the spice rub.
  3. Place the sealed bag in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours/overnight. The longer the pork is allowed to marinate, the stronger the flavor will be.

Crammed into the crock!

On cooking day, remove the pork shoulder from the bag and place it in the crock pot. Discard any leftover spice that didn’t “cling” to the meat.

  1. Add the 1/4 cup of water, if desired, and place the pot on low.
  2. Cover the pot with the lid and allow to cook for 1 hour.
  3. After an hour, turn the pork shoulder over and continue to cook for 1 more hour.
  4. Turn the pork shoulder over one more time and let it continue to cook for another 4 hours.
  5. Check to see if the pork is starting to tenderize. If it is, shred the pork using a fork (or tongs–or bear paws!) and stir the shredded meat around in the sauce created during cooking.
  6. Cook for another 30 minutes to an hour, depending on your crock pot and the desired flavor/texture.

Shredded and ready to serve

If your pork shoulder is closer to 8 pounds, you may need a longer cooking time and vice versa for smaller cuts of meat. Because of the fattiness of pork, it’s hard to mess this one up. Please note, this recipe makes a lot. It would be great made in advance of a picnic or party, but if you’re making this for just yourself, plan on a lot of leftovers!

To appease the BBQ purists out there, I admit that this isn’t barbecue. It was slow cooked using a steamed/simmering method, not slow-roasted over low heat on a grill/smoker. Some people like the charred bits that barbecue brings and if you feel that’s missing from this recipe, I advise that you remove the pork shoulder at about hour 5 or 6, place it on a baking or roasting pan and set it under the broiler for a few minutes per side to crisp up the edges before returning it to the crock pot for shredding. Just be careful moving the pork shoulder around at this stage as it’s quite ready to fall apart.

Even if it isn’t traditional barbecue, it will do for me in a pinch. Especially if I see that a planned cookout might be rained out, this wouldn’t be bad to have in the fridge as a backup dish. And while a sandwich is certainly the most satisfying serving method for the pork, I could also see it going over couscous or steamed rice, rolled up in a wrap with chopped veggies or even tossed with some cheese into an omelette for brunch. As I said, you’re going to have a lot of it, so if you and your guests aren’t feeling piggy–pun intended–when it’s first served up, plan ahead to freeze some or make some unique dishes with the leftovers. Enjoy!

Chopper’s Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake

We all have our standby recipes that are, first and foremost, easy. They may also be impressive, but like a well-known commercial illustrates, they really aren’t any trouble at all. And then there are those recipes that may happen to be easy, but are also chosen clearly to knock people’s socks off.

Parchment off, ready to travel

I first made this cake nearly 4 years ago when some friends were getting together for a cooking night. I’d never tried making any sort of mousse before, let alone into a cake, so I was pretty nervous about it. Mostly I was nervous about dealing with egg whites as I’d heard so many horror stories about how easy it is to screw up trying to whip them! Armed with that experience though, I was able to triumph this time around with no problems at all. I even decided to add a little snowflake effect to the top of the cake as a symbolic way to say goodbye to DCs snowy season–one hopes.

The recipe is not mine, but comes from Belly Timber, where Chef “Chopper Dave” adapted some recipes to develop a chocolate/hazelnut cake base, a chocolate mousse center layer and a chocolate ganache top. Since this is proper baking, a scale is best, but I was able to make adequate conversions to survive without one. And as the recipe is in three distinct parts, you’re not rushed to make sure everything is happening at once and I had time to make and eat dinner between the mousse setting in the freezer for a while and whipping together the ganache.

I wouldn’t say this is easy for the absolute beginner, but if you’re looking for a recipe with impressive results that draws on basic techniques, this is a great recipe for you. Plus, if you’re serving it to chocolate lovers, it won’t have to be perfect anyway!

Smoked Turkey Legs

It still feels weird to open up the browser to write for this blog when the devastation in Haiti continues. Adventures in Shaw wrote about some local venues and restaurants making donations and the Washingtonian has an updated listing of benefit events still taking place.

Help for Haiti: Learn What You Can Do

One of my Christmas presents to myself was a Camerons stovetop smoker and while I’ve been enjoying trying a few different dishes prepared with it, the main thing I was looking forward to was smoked turkey legs! These tender salty & seasoned treats are often the only reason I go to Renaissance Faires anymore. Those are usually the only places that one feels perfectly at home walking around gnawing on a humongous bird leg. So after a bit of research online for tips and methods, I cobbled together a fairly good recipe to try them on my own. I will note that nowhere online was an “official” recipe. I doubt it’s a trade secret, but it’s more likely that home cooks just don’t have the right equipment and supermarkets don’t have the right supply of legs prepared for “easy” cooking.

While these don’t have the look of legs from the fair, they certainly had the right flavor! The stovetop smoker mainly acts as an enclosed oven with smoke. It uses the heating element (gas or electric) to smolder wood chips while the body heats/cooks the food. Some smoke escapes during cooking, but that just makes the kitchen smell great and is never enough to trip the smoke alarm. Stovetop smokers don’t seem to be made for “slow & low” cooking as some standalone smokers can accomplish, but it does a good job of thorough cooking while imparting a nice smoky flavor to meat, veggies… even cheese and nuts!

Preparation is simple, but not quick as it requires brining overnight and up to 24 hours:

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar (optional: brown sugar)
  • 1 gallon water
  1. You can also add any other seasoning you like to the brine. I added garlic powder, but some recipes have suggested cayenne, onion powder, paprika for color, etc.
  2. After dissolving the spices in hot water, let it get cold in the fridge while you prepare the legs–basically pricking them with a fork in spots to help the brine penetrate. But if you plan to soak them longer than 8 hours, that step isn’t really necessary.
  3. Before cooking, rinse the legs, pat them dry and let them come to room temperature. While they come to temp, prepare your smoker–or oven-smoking method. I used a combination of cherry and alder wood chips
  4. Lightly season the legs with salt and pepper (mostly for appearance) or a dry rub of your choice. I used Cavender’s Greek Seasoning. You won’t need to use much because of the brine.
  5. My smoker has the wood chips in the base, a drip tray atop that and then a rack for the food. Arrange the legs with some space around each one, turn the heat to medium and at the first sign of a wisp of smoke, place the cover on. My cover wouldn’t easily slide over the legs, so I made one out of heavy duty foil for the first stage of cooking.
  6. Most recipes for smoked turkey legs will call for low steady heat for about 4-6 hours, but the stovetop smoker isn’t really about low and slow. I let it cook for 1 hr 15 min and checked the meat. It had reached the right internal temperature and cooked down enough for the proper cover to be used. I turned the heat off and let them continue to cook/smoke for another 15 minutes before removing the legs.

As I said, they don’t have the look of fair legs, but the taste was excellent. The meat was tender and slid right off the bone–with the exception of the brine prep, they were done in under 2 hours which is a passable (though not optimal) cooking time for a nightly meal. So far I’ve used the smoker for poultry and pork chops, but am looking forward to trying out some fish and sausage in it as well. I don’t advocate that anyone become as much of a kitchen gadget person as I am, but I’m happy with this purchase and it allows to recreate some flavors and methods at home that I’d normally have to go out–sometimes to the country–for.

If anyone out there has some great smoker recipes, let me know! I admit to a bit of puppy love with the smoker right now, but I’m sure it’ll pass soon… right?

Waffle Iron French Toast

Happy (Belated) New Year! With the lovely cold snap January in DC brings, I’ve been keeping it pretty simple on the food front. It’s hardly the time for grand meals when it’s a bit too frigid to walk to the store. Still, I wanted more than the standard cereal and coffee this morning for breakfast so I thought I’d dust off the Waffle Iron French Toast recipe for another go.

It’s a simple French Toast recipe, cut back to 1 serving for about 2 slices of bread, scale as needed:

  • 1 egg
  • ½ to ¾ cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt

The first time I tried this recipe, it didn’t come out as I’d hoped and the main reason for that was I was using the waffle iron’s suggested temperature setting for waffles. Today I bumped it up an additional setting (mine has five) and they came out nicely browned & crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. My waffle iron has a red/green light indicator to tell when the waffles are ready, but just in case, I set a timer to 3 minutes for each slice. I kept the finished waffles on a plate in a 200° oven while the rest cooked so they’d be nicely warm and ready to eat!

For a classic waffle maker, using relatively thin sliced bread, I just soaked the slices before cooking. If I had a belgian or deeper pocket waffle iron, I would use thicker sliced bread (brioche? baguette?) and let it soak overnight. Thinner bread always seems to break apart on me if soaked too long. Even transferring bread from the dish to the waffle iron was a very careful operation with a long spatula. This is not a recipe that I’d advise you use Wonder bread! But it took about 25 minutes from cracking the first egg to spreading the butter on the last waffle, so it is very fast and easy.

This recipe/method will likely become a favorite of mine because–confession time–I can’t make french toast in a pan to save my life, pancakes either, truth be told. I can do a baked french toast with no problem, but when it comes to a pan, I’m hopeless. Thankfully it isn’t a vital cooking skill, but every now and again I crave french toast and when it’s 20° or less outside, I’m certainly not heading out into the cold for brunch! It would especially make for a good “empty pantry” or “snowpocalypse” meal when you’re down to the basics but have rushed out to buy plenty of milk, bread and eggs… and perhaps you could make a nice centerpiece out of the toilet paper.

Martha Stewart Thanksgiving Hotline Cookbook (Free!)

Cover of Martha Stewart Thanksgiving recipe book

As part of her Sirius|XM Thanksgiving hotline radio show, Martha is offering a free PDF collection of Thanksgiving recipes.

These recipes cover all courses of the Thanksgiving meal, from savory turkey to fresh salads and creamy mashed potatoes to sweet desserts. The dishes come from acclaimed chefs, such as Emeril Lagasse, Nigella Lawson, and Mario Batali.

All 30 chefs will be on call to answer your questions on Martha Stewart Living Radio’s Thanksgiving Hotline. The hotline is live from Monday, November 23 to Wednesday, November 25. See schedule for the full list of celebrity chefs and exact times at www.sirius.com/martha.

It’s 56 pages containing 35 recipes and entertaining tips and it’s done in classic Martha Stewart style. Very clean and informative, though a mac & cheese recipe calls for grana padano, which I knew was a cheese, but I couldn’t recall its characteristics to know a good store-found substitute. Even so, the price is right for a good collection of famous/celebrity chef recipes and some contributions from Martha herself. And I think pairing it with the radio show is a great idea, I almost wish I had Sirius|XM to listen in later this month.

msl-2

Even if you’re all set for some items, she also offers the download in specific chapters: Soups & Starters, Sides & Salads, Turkey & Entrees, Desserts and Wine, Liquor, & Entertaining. So you might get some new ideas. I believe I’ll be bringing some of those Pilgrim-themed cocktails to my host’s place for the holiday.

And yes, I know… It’s still Martha Stewart and some people place her firmly in the “evil” camp. But if my food novice friends were going to learn to cook from a lifestyle personality, I’d rather it be from one of Martha’s meticulously detailed recipes than one of the Food Network deep-V-neck cleavage crew. I think the book has some good recipes, and they’re not all her recipes, but YMMV.