F*CK THAT’S DELICIOUS | RECIPE

9781419726552.IN01

Part cookbook, part memoir, part travelogue, and wholly original, F*ck, That’s Delicious is rapper Action Bronson’s comprehensive guide to the food, chefs, food makers, regions, neighborhoods, and restaurants that every food obsessive should know. Organised as a full-colour illustrated guide with 100 entries, the book captures all the foods that get to him: When his mama makes him a good ol’ bagel and cheese with scrambled eggs. The tacos in LA. Dominican chimis. Jamaican jerk. Hand-rolled pasta from Mario Batali and Michael White. The best Chinese red-pork char siu buns in the world, found in London. And more, lots more. F*ck, That’s Delicious also includes 40 recipes inspired by Action’s childhood, family, tours, and travels—like the Arslani Family Baklava and Bronson’s Original Lamb Burger—and adapted from name-brand chefs and street cooks he’s met on his show. Richly visual, the book is layered with illustrations and photographs of Action’s childhood, food excursions, tours, lyric notebooks, and more.

The following recipe is from F*ck That’s Delicious by Action Bronson, with Rachel Wharton, photographs by Gabriele Stabile


Photographs by Gabriele Stabile
Photographs by Gabriele Stabile

Flatbreads with Ricotta and Pickled Jalapeño Honey

Olive oil before, during and after.

MAKES 4 FLATBREAD PIZZAS

This started as a Neapolitan-style pie I made for myself at my birthday party at Otto, but it is also banging as a flat-bread pizza on leftover Balkan bread like the ones on the previous page. I like to use La Morena pickled jalapeños as they have a good kick to them. Pair it with a ginger ale.

  • 1 12 ounce (340g) bear of clove honey
  • 3 pickled jalapeños, diced
  • Calabrian chile oil, optional
  • 4 Balkan flatbreads or thick pitas
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces (245g) good-quality ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup (135g) hazelnuts

1. Preheat your broiler and set out a sheet pan.

2. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the clover honey and the pickled jalapeños. If you want, swirl in a little Calabrian chile oil for color too. Set aside.

3. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top of the breads, then spread each with of the ricotta cheese and sprinkle on of the hazelnuts. Place them on a baking sheet and drizzle them with olive oil again.

4. Coat the bottom of a small skillet with olive oil, then heat it over medium-high. Add one of the flatbread pizzas and cook just until the bottom has toasted. Remove it to the sheet pan and repeat with the remaining 3 pies.

5. Toast the pies under the broiler until the edges of the bread and the top of the hazelnuts are well toasted. Drizzle on some of the pickled chile-honey (you’ll have some left over, but it keeps forever), then some more olive oil and eat right away.


F*ck That’s Delicious by Action Bronson, with Rachel Wharton, photographs by Gabriele Stabile is out now – find out more here. 

You could win a copy of F*ck That’s Delicious, a meal for two at Pitt Cue Co in London and a free bottle of Pitt Cue wine over at Munchies UK. Find out more here!

BÄCO | RECIPE

130 recipes that redefine the way we think about flavour. Visually stunning and conceptually fresh, this is the cookbook of the season from Josef Centeno, the chef credited with capturing the myriad tastes of Los Angeles on the plate. Recipes span from simple to show stopping, exploring sauces, soups, mains, salads, and desserts, too. More than 130 vivid photographs convey the beauty and excitement of Chef Centeno’s extraordinary cooking. Josef Centeno is the chef and owner of Bâco Mercat, Bar Amá, Orsa & Winston, Ledlow, and P.Y.T. In Bäco, he draws on his multicultural heritage, formal training in top-notch restaurants such as Manresa and Daniel, a lifelong obsession with cookbooks, and his insatiable curiosity. Centeno’s cooking layers textures and explores how spices and sauces can be used to transform the most basic vegetables.

The following recipe is from Bäco by Josef Centeno and Betty Hallock, photographs by Dylan James Ho


 

 

Photographs by Dylan James Ho
Photographs by Dylan James Ho
Sautéed peaches and shishito peppers
with goat cheese, cashews, and saffron honey

Peaches and shishito peppers seem an unlikely combination. But the ripe, oral fruit and the mildly peppery Japanese chile both peak in summer and are oddly great together—a little sweet with a little spice. They also make for an interesting textural contrast: one yielding and juicy and the other slightly crunchy. It’s easy to get a lot of good charred browning on shishito peppers because they’re especially thin-skinned compared with other pepper varieties. The edges of the peaches get nicely caramelised. Creamy, tangy goat cheese goes with the sweetness of the peaches and the smokiness and heat of the shishito peppers. They’re mixed with crunchy cashews, and the dish is finished with lemon juice and musky- oral saffron honey.

SERVES 4

  • 1/4 cup [35 g] whole cashews
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 5 ripe peaches, pitted and cut into wedges
  • 1 cup [70 g] shishito peppers
  • Salt
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/3 cup [5 g] fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/3 cup [4 g] fresh chervil
  • 1/3 cup [4 g] fresh tarragon leaves
  • 3 Tbsp crumbled fresh goat cheese
  • 1/2 Tbsp saffron honey (recipe follows)

Heat the oven to 350°F [180°C]. Spread the nuts in a single layer on a small baking dish and place on a middle rack in the oven. Roast, stirring the nuts once for even cooking, until toasty and fragrant, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven. When cool enough to handle, coarsely chop and set aside.

Heat the butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat. When the butter melts and begins to foam, add the peaches and shishito peppers and sear, turning once with a spatula, until the edges are well browned, 3 to 4 minutes.

Pour off the butter from the pan and transfer the peaches and shishito peppers to a bowl. Toss with a pinch of salt and half of the lemon juice. Transfer half of the peaches and shishito peppers to a platter and sprinkle with half of each of the parsley, chervil, tarragon, cashews, and goat cheese.

Top with the remaining peaches and shishito peppers and sprinkle the remaining parsley, chervil, tarragon, cashews, and goat cheese on top. Drizzle with the remaining lemon juice and saffron honey. Serve immediately.

Photographs by Dylan James Ho
Photographs by Dylan James Ho

Fennel honey

Infusing a savory element into honey makes it that much more versatile. In dishes where honey might otherwise be just a little too cloying, it is instead
a little more nuanced. Use fennel seeds, fresh thyme or rosemary, saffron threads, long pepper, cubeb pepper, Sichuan pepper, lemon zest, mint, ginger, or dried chiles—these all add another layer of flavor to oral honeys. I use saffron, fennel, or cubeb pepper honey mixed into yogurt or drizzled on fried dishes such as ricotta fritters or crispy battered boquerones (marinated anchovy fillets).

MAKES 1⁄2 CUP [150 G]

1/2 cup [150 g] honey 2 tsp water
1/2 tsp fennel seeds

Put the honey, water, and fennel seeds in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer for 30 seconds, then immediately remove from the heat. Strain into a small lidded jar and discard the seeds. Store at room temperature for several weeks.

VARIATION

Cubeb honey, saffron honey, and fennel pollen honey: Substitute 1/2 tsp cubeb pepper or 1/2 tsp saffron threads (mixed with 2 tsp water). Or substitute a pinch of fennel pollen; stir in the pollen during the last few seconds of heating (do not strain).


Bäco by Josef Centeno and Betty Hallock, photographs by Dylan James Ho is out now  – find out more here.

Vegetables on Fire | Recipe

Because grills are not just for meat eaters!

Vegetables on Fire

This is a grilling book dedicated to vegetables that eat like meat. The first of its kind, this cookbook features 60 recipes that star vegetables caramelised into succulence for satisfying, flavour-forward meals. Cauliflower steaks, broccoli burgers and beets that slow-smoke like a brisket are just three of the meaty but meatless meals to base a great cookout around. More than 30 stunning images showcase the beauty and variety of these recipes, each of which includes instructions for charcoal and gas grilling as well as using a grill pan on the stovetop or under the broiler. For vegetarians, those who love to grill, and anyone looking for more creative ways to prepare vegetables, this handbook is destined to live beside the grill.

The following recipe is from Vegetables on Fire by Brooke Lewy. 


 

SQUASH TACOS WITH BLACK BEANS, PICKLED ONIONS, AND PEPITA SALSA
© 2017 by Erin Kunkel

 

SQUASH TACOS WITH BLACK BEANS, PICKLED ONIONS, AND PEPITA SALSA
Serves 4

Like all good tacos, this version, made with butternut squash, is full of flavour, colour and texture. Be sure to make the pickles as their crunchy, salty bite brings out the best of the sweet squash.

  • Red onion and radish pickles
  • Pepita Salsa (recipe follows)
  • One 15-oz [425-g] can black beans
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1½ lbs [680 g] butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-in [2.5-cm] cubes, or yellow and green summer squash, cut into wide strips
  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • Cilantro leaves, for garnish

Make the pickles and the salsa.

Drain and rinse the beans and then add them to a small pot with the oregano, ½ tsp of salt, the red onion, and a ¼ cup (60 ml) water. Bring to a simmer and cook 10 to 15 minutes until beans are slightly thickened and flavours have melded, but the beans are still fully in tact. Keep warm.

In a large bowl, toss the squash with the oil, 1 tsp salt, cumin, and chili powder. If using a charcoal grill, make a medium-hot fire; otherwise heat gas grill to high. Using a grill topper, cook squash cubes over the hottest part of the grill and turn until they have grill marks on all sides and are a bit charred at the edges, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Once the squash has taken on color, move the whole grill topper to the cool part of the grill, cover, and cook until the pieces are tender but still offer some resistance when pierced with a knife, 8 to 10 minutes more. Remove from the grill.

Lightly grill the tortillas on the coolest part of the grill. When they’re heated through and soft, wrap them in a clean kitchen towel to transport them to the table. To assemble the tacos, top each tortilla with pepita salsa, squash, beans, and pickled onions and radishes. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve immediately.

INDOOR METHOD: Prepare the pickles, salsa, and beans as directed. Preheat oven to 400°F [200°C]. On a foil- or parchment-lined baking sheet, oil and season the squash as directed. Roast until tender and caramelized, 15 to 20 minutes. Proceed with remainder of recipe as directed, using a medium dry skillet, or the microwave, to heat tortillas before serving.

PEPITA SALSA

Adding pumpkin seeds to the salsa adds a nice texture to the Squash Tacos. This salsa is also great in a bowl with tortilla chips or spread on a quesadilla before grilling.

  • 3 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup [70 g] roasted, salted pepitas or shelled pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • 2 Tbsp chopped red onion
  • 1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce,
  • plus 1 Tbsp adobo sauce
  • 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

In a blender or food processor, combine the tomatoes, pepitas, onion, chipotle, adobo sauce, cilantro, and garlic clove and blend until the mixture is well combined but still has texture.

Taste and adjust seasoning.


 

Vegetables on Fire: More Than 60 Recipes for Vegetable-Centered Meals from the Grill by Brooke Lewy is out 27th June 2017 – order your copy today.

 

Vegetarian Heartland | Recipe

 Eat well, wherever your ventures lead you

Vegetarian Heartland

Celebrated photographer and blogger Shelly Westerhausen presents 100 wholesome, meatless recipes for everything from drinks to desserts. Thoughtfully organised by the adventures that make a weekend special-picnics, brunch, camping and more-this gloriously photographed book will inspire folks to eat well, wherever their vegetarian ventures lead them. Celebrating a fresh perspective in food, here’s a new go-to that’s perfect for vegetarians and anyone looking for more delicious vegetable-forward meals.


The following recipe is an extract from Vegetarian Heartland by Shelly Westerhausen

Hiking_Excursion_Vegan_Chocolate_Chip_Chunkin_Bread
© 2017 by Shelly Westerhausen

Vegan Chocolate-Chip Pumpkin Bread

MAKES 1 LOAF

I really, really, really wanted to include a savoury pumpkin bread recipe in this book, but I served it alongside this chocolate pumpkin bread recipe and several of my recipe testers said that this sweet (and vegan!) recipe was just too good to pass up. The bites of coarse salt you taste every once in a while give the perfect savoury balance to the not-too-sweet, spiced bread.

  • 2 cups [280 g] whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup [200 g] packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1⁄2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1⁄2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1⁄2 tsp ground cloves
  • 2⁄3 cup [165 g] pumpkin purée
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1⁄2 cup [120 ml] melted coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1⁄2 cup [60 g] chopped pecans
  • 1⁄2 cup [90 g] dark chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup [105 g] raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/8 tsp coarse sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350°F [180°C]. Line a 10-in [25-cm] loaf pan with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, fine sea salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. Make a well in the centre of your dry ingredients and add the pumpkin purée, maple syrup, water, and coconut oil into the centre. Fold the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in the pecans, chocolate chips, and 1⁄2 cup [70 g] of the pumpkin seeds. (Be careful not to over-mix.)

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and top with the remaining 1⁄4 cup [35 g] of the pumpkin seeds and the coarse sea salt.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the bread comes out clean, about 1 hour. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Cut into slices and serve at room temperature. To store, wrap in aluminium foil and store at room temperature for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 2 months.


Vegetarian Heartland by Shelly Westerhausen is on sale 20th June 2017 – order your copy today.

Pizza Camp | Recipe

Pizza Camp

The ultimate guide to achieving pizza nirvana at home, from the chef who is making what Bon Appetit magazine calls “the best pizza in America.”

Joe Beddia’s pizza is old school – it’s all about the dough, the sauce and the cheese. And after perfecting his pie-making craft at Pizzeria Beddia in Philadelphia, he’s offering his methods and recipes in a cookbook that’s anything but old school. Beginning with D’OH, SAUCE, CHEESE, and BAKING basics, Beddia takes you through the pizza-making process, teaching the foundation for making perfectly crisp, satisfyingly chewy, dangerously addictive pies at home.


The following recipe is extracted from Pizza Camp by Joe Beddia

© 2017 Randy Harris
© 2017 Randy Harris
Asparagus, Spring Cream, Onion, Lemon Pizza

Makes one 14- to 16-inch (35.5- to 40.5-cm) pizza

The first asparagus of the season is always a treat. Make sure you wash it, as it can be a little sandy. You also need to make sure that you get rid of the woodsy, inedible bottoms. The freshest cut stuff that you find at the farmers’ market is always best. I slice the spears into little coins. The thinner the better.

  • 1 ball dough: use your favourite dough or pick some up from a local pizzeria
  • ⅔ cup (165 ml) Spring Cream (See note 1)
  • 3 ounces (85 g) fresh mozzarella, pinched into small chunks
  • 2 cups (220 g) shredded low-moisture mozzarella
  • About 2 cups (270 g) chopped fresh asparagus
  • Fine sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons grated hard cheese
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Preheat the oven and pizza stone to 500°F (260°C) or, if possible, 550°F (287°C). To make the pizza, first follow the instructions on prepping and rolling out the dough included in the Make & Bake section (see below).

Cover the dough with the spring cream, then add the mozzarellas. Now I like to add a very liberal amount of asparagus. Season with salt. Bake as described in Make & Bake (see below).

Finish with the grated hard cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, a spritz of fresh lemon juice from the wedge, and the chives.

Note 1: Spring Cream

Makes about 4 cups (960 ml)

This pizza marks the end of winter, when the only in-season ingredients have been mushrooms and potatoes for a few boring months. Winter in Philly is the longest season: It’s cold, there’s no parking, and everyone is angrier than usual. So when spring arrives and you emerge, like Punxsutawney Phil, from drinking in dark bars and see your fat, bloated shadow, this pizza—highlighted by a few fresh herbs plus lemon juice and zest for acid—will make you feel better about the world again.

  • 1 handful of basil (10 to 20 leaves)
  • ½ cup (25 g) chopped fresh fennel fronds
  • ½ cup (25 g) chopped fresh chives
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 large clove garlic, pressed or minced
  • Fat pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups (960 ml) heavy cream
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor. Blend until slightly emulsified. It will keep in the refrigerator for about 5 days.

Make & Bake

Use your favourite dough or pick some up from a local pizzeria.

Our goal is to replicate the brick oven we use at Pizzeria Beddia, which absorbs and radiates heat, for baking in your home. I recommend using a good baking stone. A thick stone will hold heat better and longer. If you don’t already have a stone (or a baking steel), you can always go to a home supply store and buy a bunch of terra-cotta tiles. They come in all different sizes, so just get enough tiles to cover the rack of your oven. They’re perfectly square so they fit together really well with no gaps—just find ones that fit your oven. Those work—trust me, I’ve tried everything.
Place your stone on the lowest shelf of your oven, then turn your oven to its highest temperature. Most ovens go to 500°F (260°C) and some to 550°F (287°C). Heat your stone for at least one hour before baking.
Now that the oven is good, we can focus on the dough. If you’re taking your dough out of the fridge, give it about 15 minutes or so to warm up a bit so it will be easier to work with. It should have doubled in size in the fridge. If it hasn’t, let it sit at room temperature, covered with a slightly damp towel, until it does.
Next you can set up your “pizza station.” Take the sauce out of the fridge. Then get your utensils ready: sauce ladle, dough scraper, and pizza cutter. You’ll also need a medium to large bowl with a couple cups of flour in it. This will act as a dunk tank for your dough and for flouring your workspace. You’ll also want a cup with a few ounces of semolina flour for dusting your pizza peel. Please do not use cornmeal. I find its texture distracting and don’t think it belongs on a pizza.
Rolling out the dough
Lightly flour your counter and your hands. There is a lot of moisture in the dough, so you want to keep your counter and hands well-floured at all times—otherwise the dough will get sticky and impossible to handle. Lift the dough from its surface or container. If it doesn’t seem to want to move, you’ll have to use a dough scraper. Flip the dough into the flour bowl so the top side of the dough ball gets dusted first. Flip it once more, making sure that the dough is completely coated. Press the dough down into the flour, then pick it up and place it on the floured countertop.
Pressing your fingers firmly into the dough, start by flattening the center and work your way out toward the edge to make it wider, until it’s about 7 to 9 inches (17 to 23 cm) wide. Pushing down on the dough will release some of the gas and actually begin opening up the dough. Be careful not to disturb the outermost lip. This will eventually become your crust.
The next step is a bit tricky. Your goal is to take this disc of dough and carefully stretch it to about 14 to 16 inches (35.5 to 40.5 cm) without tearing it or creating a hole. I pick it up with floured hands and begin to gently stretch it over my fists, letting gravity do most of the work.
Once you’ve stretched it enough, put the dough back on the counter, making sure there is a generous dusting of flour underneath. Take a few generous pinches of semolina flour and dust your pizza peel. Make sure it’s coated evenly. Gently lift and transfer your dough to the peel. Make sure both your hands and the peel are well-floured. You are now ready to dress your pie.
Baking the pizza
Now it’s time to put the almost-pizza in the oven. With a firm and steady hand, take the peel and insert it into the oven at a slight downward angle, touching the tip of the peel to the back edge of the stone. This may not come easy on your first try, and it will take some practice to gain confidence. Give the peel a short jerk forward so that the dough begins to slide off the peel. Once you have the front end of the dough safely on the stone, gently pull the peel out and close the oven.
The hard part is over. It’s time to let the oven do the work. Time your bake. It’s best when your oven has a window and a light for watching the bake. I like to watch.
Let it go for 4 minutes. The crust will rise significantly. Then change the oven setting from bake to broil, cooking the pizza from the top down until the crust begins to blister. The residual heat of the stone will continue to cook the bottom. (If your broiler is at the bottom of your oven, skip this step and continue to bake the pizza as described.)
I cook all my pizzas until they’re well done, which could take up to 10 minutes total (sometimes less). Just keep checking so you don’t burn it. Look for the cheese to colour and the crust to turn deep brown. It may blacken in spots, and that’s okay.
When the pizza is finished baking, slide your peel underneath it in a quick motion so that the pizza is sitting directly on top of the peel. Take it out of the oven and place it on a cutting board. There it is: a glorious pizza.
NOTE: Do not use your peel as a cutting surface. I made that mistake early on and ruined the peel. A cutting board or an aluminium pizza tray is best.

Pizza Camp by Joe Beddia is out now – order your copy today.

Grocery | The Invisible Behemoth on Main Street

Grocery: The Buying and Selling of Food in America

In Grocery, bestselling author Michael Ruhlman offers incisive commentary on America’s relationship with its food and investigates the overlooked source of so much of it – the grocery store.

In a culture obsessed with food – how it looks, what it tastes like, where it comes from, what is good for us – there are often more questions than answers. Ruhlman proposes that the best practices for consuming wisely could be hiding in plain sight – in the aisles of your local supermarket.

The following is an extract from Grocery: The Buying and Selling of Food in America by Michael Ruhlman


THE INVISIBLE BEHEMOTH ON MAIN STREET

Grocery stores are where we purchase most of our food – $650 billion annually at thirty-eight thousand of them in America, $1 trillion if you count all retail food sales(1) – yet most people know almost nothing about how they operate or where the food they sell comes from. We do, however, count on their always being here. While food issues drive some of the most compelling stories in the news (after national and international crises) – everything from the gluten-free fad, the pros and cons of genetically modified foods, questions about food’s possible impact on increasing gastrointestinal illnesses, food fanaticism, food recalls, anxiety about food expiration dates, eating disorders, the paleo diet, our $1 billion-per-day health care crisis – we remain more confused than ever by conflicting information we receive in the news about the food we eat.

Some of this confusion can be clarified and explored by looking inside a grocery store.

The American supermarket is like no other retail store, and we use it like no other retail store, venturing out to buy groceries on average twice a week, every week, all year long, to feed ourselves. A family’s biggest expense, after housing and transportation, is groceries (about 10 percent of its income). A small portion of the population grows some of their own food, but almost no one, or no family, fails to go to a grocery store each week. It’s the only store most Americans have to spend money in. Those who can’t get to one tend to be sicker than those who can, according to researchers who study urban and rural food deserts, places where there are no convenient grocery stores.

Grocery stores are more than just places to buy food. They are in a broader sense a reflection of our culture. During the Cold War, for instance, supermarkets were a powerful symbol. “With their dizzying array of processed foods, [supermarkets] came to be regarded as quintessential symbols of the triumph of American capitalism,” writes Harvey Levenstein in Paradox of Plenty: A Social History of Eating in Modern America. During the impromptu 1959 Kitchen Debate in Moscow, then Vice President Richard Nixon pointed to the astonishing variety of goods available to Americans as evidence of capitalism’s superiority, pooh-poohed by Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev. The next year, however, when Khrushchev and his pals visited a San Francisco supermarket, “the expression on their faces was something to behold,” writes Levenstein, quoting Henry Cabot Lodge, one of the hosts.

Because they are a reflection, even symbol, of our culture, and thus a gauge of who we are, supermarkets illuminate what we care about, what we fear, what we desire. They offer a view of our demographic makeup, including how much money we have and how big the country is, not to mention how much it is changing. The grocery store describes the effects of global warming on farms from Washington down through California, the state of our oceans, and the health of our land. It is a showcase for the latest food production innovations, which is critical given the world’s escalating population. And the grocery store is at the center of broader issues of how the food we eat affects our bodies and our body politic.

All these issues, and countless others, come into focus when viewed through the lens of the American supermarket, food’s last stop before it enters our homes. Though we aren’t often reflective or thoughtful about grocery stores, they are in truth a barometer of our country’s collective state of mind.

Why this lack of attention? Perhaps because on the surface, grocery stores seem banal. Perhaps because they are so ubiquitous. I don’t know. There’s a scene in the extraordinary film The Hurt Locker, in which an American serviceman, a bomb diffuser, is home after a tour in Afghanistan, and is grocery shopping with his wife and young child. The fluorescent lighting in the supermarket aisles makes even the brightly colored boxes and packaging seem flat; we sense that the character, played by Jeremy Renner, will not be able to exist in this colorful but dead consumer landscape – a landscape embodied by the grocery store. Sure enough, he is soon back in Afghanistan, suiting up to dismantle a car bomb.

We tend to use grocery stores without thinking about them, or if we do think about them, it’s with mild annoyance, the thought of shopping itself a chore. What we rarely reflect on is what a luxury it is to be able to buy an extraordinary variety and quantity of food whenever we want every day of the year.

I’m often asked about the reason for our country’s growing obsession with food—the emergence of “the foodie,” the 1993 creation of a 24-hour TV channel devoted to food, chefs becoming celebrities, new cooking appliance fetishes, and ever-fancier kitchens that see less and less actual cooking. My response is that when something you need to survive starts making you confused and sick, you become obsessive about it. We don’t tend to think much about air, but if we suddenly didn’t have any, it would be pretty much all we’d be able to think about. The same might be said about grocery stores—if they suddenly vanished, if our only option for sustenance was the Cheesecake Factory or a CVS pharmacy, we’d think about them a lot.

Part of the reason we don’t think about them is that food, on a daily basis, isn’t a concern in this country. We have a lot of food—more than what we need, in fact. It’s available every hour of every day. Just walk into any supermarket in America, an industry that responds aggressively to what America wants to buy, and you enter a landscape composed of tens of thousands of square feet of inexpensive food, food that’s critical first to our comfort and ultimately to our health and happiness. And yet there’s something wrong here, and we know it, though we can’t we quite get at what it is.

Here’s what this book is not: It is not a history of grocery stores, though their transformation from trading posts to country stores to stores selling packaged food to everything-under-one-roof supermarkets is part of the story. It’s not an aisle-by-aisle tour of each of the ten main departments of a grocery store (produce, grocery, seafood, meat, floral, bakery, frozen/dairy, deli, prepared foods, wine and beer). Nor do I report on the industrial system we’ve developed to feed our hunger

for beef and pork, the methods and impact of overfishing our oceans, or even the ways the major food manufacturing companies (Kraft, Kellogg, PepsiCo, Nestlé, etc.) create, market, and profit from the food that seems to be making us sick. And this is not a nutritional guide to what is on the shelves and how it affects our health, though food choices and health are central to my story. These issues have been widely covered in other books and in the media. (2)

This book is instead what I would call a reported reflection on the grocery store in America, and an expression of my own love, anger, opinions, and concerns over what is in them, how it got there, and what it all means. I’ve been writing about food and cooking since 1996, when I snuck into the Culinary Institute of America to write about what the most prominent cooking school said you had to know in order to be a chef. In the intervening two decades, food issues have become some of the most pressing and confusing of our time. Because these issues are so numerous and disparate, I’ve had to be selective about what I choose to write about, and about these subjects I do not attempt to conceal my opinions.

I cover the food that interests me, the people who are most outspoken in the grocery business, and follow the stories that matter to me, whether it’s on a vast ranch in a national park in Idaho or on a tour of the grocery store with my physician. In researching this book, I visited farms, stores, and produce auctions; I joined grocers at food shows and interviewed the cheese makers they buy from; I toured a fish auction in Honolulu, one of the major fish auctions in the country; I bagged groceries, got to know the people who ran the stores and who worked in them, and generally hung out in the supermarket. In short, as a lover of food, a cook, and a person who cares about the future of food in America, I wrote a book that, using a small family grocery chain in my hometown of Cleveland as my inroad, is the book that I wanted most to read. Ultimately it is a story that’s never been written: an appreciation of, and wonder at, the American grocery store and the complex and fascinating business of retailing food to a country of 350 million people.

But it is also, as you’ll see, a deeply personal subject, and I try to tell that story as well. Happily, I grew up in a household that loved food and cooking, the place where, surely, my love of food and my fascination with grocery stores began. Having written about the food world for twenty years now, I’ve come to care about food more than I ever thought possible—about how we grow it, raise it, catch it, kill it, package it, distribute it, buy it, cook it, and dispose of what we don’t want. Our food (and the cooking of it, or lack thereof) is more important than most people realize, and we fail to understand this at our peril.


1 Figures from Food Marketing Institute and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

2 See Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma for beef (and more), Ted Genoways’s The Chain for pork, and Paul Greenberg’s Four Fish for seafood. Michael Moss’s Salt Sugar Fat investigates food manufacturing giants. Dan Barber contrasts industrial agriculture with potential models for growing food sustainably in The Third Plate. Marion Nestle explores every department in the grocery store, examining food from a nutritionist’s vantage point in What to Eat.

Five Ways to Cook Asparagus | Skinny Asparagus with Tomatoes and Hot Pepper

Today there seems to be less time to shop and cook, and yet the time eating together seems more important than ever. Five Ways to Make Asparagus is about making dinner in real time and under real conditions. Peter Miller argues that no matter how busy your day has been that you can still cook and eat well. The only difficulty is to recognise the possibilities.

Using the number five as a reference, Five Ways to Cook Asparagus (and Other Recipes) is built around a hypothetical five day workweek, offering a plan to make the best use of your time, materials and interest in good, healthy food. To help simplify the process of deciding what to cook and how, there are five exceptional ways to cook asparagus that best represent and celebrate the asparagus. The recipes range from the extremely basic, allowing the ingredient to truly shine, to more nuanced preparations. If you try them, you will know more about asparagus, and it will become a more versatile character in your plans for cooking – and so forth, with broccoli and cauliflower, with quinoa and lentils.

Peter has carefully selected a group of specific foods, focusing on vegetables, grains and legumes. As some of the most versatile and healthy foods, they form an easily adaptable arsenal that can be quickly converted into simple, delicious meals. While his recipes are vegetable centric, he also offers select preparations for incorporating fish and meat.

This week why not try out his recipe for Skinny Asparagus with Tomatoes and Hot Pepper:

Five Ways to Cook Asparagus
© 2017 Hirsheimer & Hamilton

Skinny Asparagus with Tomatoes and Hot Pepper

SERVES 4

At the very start of the spring season, you can get fresh, skinny asparagus, and you can cook it with a particular, sprightly abandon. Once the asparagus matures, you can still make the dish, but it will not have the same flourish as in the early first days. The same, of course, is true of spring garlic, or the first wild mushrooms, or the early beans and peas.

1 pound (455 g) skinny asparagus, trimmed, soaked, and drained (see below)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter

1 shallot or 2 spring onions, finely chopped

1 small dried red chile

1 garlic clove, thinly sliced

Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

6 to 8 cherry tomatoes

¼ cup (60 ml) chicken stock, at a simmer

¼ cup (10 g) chopped fresh cilantro or basil leaves

First, trim the asparagus, cutting 1 or 2 inches (2.5 or 5 cm) off the woody ends. With a swivel peeler, shave the bottom 3 to 4 inches (7.5 to 10 cm) of the stalks, taking off the harder outer skin. As you work, set the peeled asparagus in a shallow dish filled with cold water. Soak it for 5 minutes, then drain. (This seems to rehydrate the asparagus and help it cook more quickly.)

Heat a big pot of water to a boil and toss the asparagus in. When the water comes back to a boil, quickly pull out and drain the asparagus.

Heat a wide sauté pan over medium-high heat for a minute. Add the olive oil, half the butter, and the shallot. After a minute, crush the dried red pepper into the pan and add the garlic. Toss and stir so the parts mix, then throw in the asparagus. Cook for no more than 3 minutes. The sauté cycle is a flash of exuberance for the first of the asparagus. You must shake the pan vigorously to get the asparagus to touch all the other elements. Add a good pinch of salt and black pepper. Throw in the tomatoes and stock and shake the pan even more, above the heat, to get the parts in contact. The stock will loosen and deglaze the pan’s contents, and the tomatoes will create even more disorder as they split and leak.

Add the last of the butter, swirl for a second, then lay the asparagus in a jumble on a warmed platter. Sprinkle with the cilantro and give one last grind of black pepper.


 

Five Ways to Cook

Five Ways to Cook Asparagus (and Other Recipes): The Art and Practice of Making Dinner by Peter Miller (Abrams, out April 11, £18.99)

Offering more than 75 recipes, adjustable menus, tips for giving new life to leftovers and detailed information on sourcing ingredients, with Five Ways to Make Asparagus you can cook a dinner with only one or two fresh ingredients and you can be confident that that will be more than enough.

 

Budapest Bowl | Recipe from Bowls!: Recipes and Inspirations for Healthful One-Dish Meals by Molly Watson

Budapest Bowl
© 2017 by Nicole Franzen

Budapest Bowl

Mushroom barley pilaf + paprika-braised chicken + dilled white beans + sweet pepper slaw + sour cream + dill

ORDER OF OPERATIONS

  1. Cook the chicken
  2. Make the pilaf
  3. Make the slaw
  4. Heat the beans
  5. Assemble the bowls
Paprika-braised chicken
  • 1 lb [455 g] boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp mild Hungarian paprika
  • 1 tsp hot paprika, or 1⁄2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup [240 ml] chicken, vegetable, or mushroom broth
Mushroom barley pilaf
  • 8 oz [230 g] button or cremini mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1⁄2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 cup [180 g] pearled barley, rinsed
  • 3 cups [720 ml] chicken, vegetable, or mushroom broth
Sweet pepper slaw
  • 3 bell peppers (a mix of red, orange and yellow is nice)
  • 3 Tbsp canola or olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1⁄2 tsp salt
  • 1⁄2 tsp freshly ground black pepper dilled white beans
  • One 141⁄2-oz [415-g] can white beans, rinsed and drained, or 13⁄4 cups [420 g] drained homecooked white beans
  • 1⁄2 cup [20 g] chopped fresh dill
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1⁄2 cup [120 ml] sour cream
  • Chopped fresh dill for garnish

FOR THE CHICKEN: Preheat the oven to 375°F [190°C]. Pat the chicken dry. In a large frying pan or sauté pan with a tight-fitting lid, warm the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, undisturbed, until it starts to brown on the underside, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the pieces over and brown on the second side, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Add the butter to the same pan and melt over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until soft, about

3 minutes. Add the mild and hot paprika and cook, stirring, to coat the onion. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil.

Return the chicken to the pan, cover, and transfer to the oven. Bake the chicken until it is very tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, uncover, and use a wooden spoon to separate the chicken into shreds (that’s how tender it should be). Place the pan on the stove top over medium heat and cook, uncovered, until the sauce is reduced by one-third, about 20 minutes.


FOR THE PILAF: Begin the pilaf while the chicken is in the oven. Trim off the stem ends from the mushrooms, then cut off the stems. Finely chop the stems and thinly slice the caps. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft, about 3 minutes. Increase the heat to high, add the mushroom stems and caps, and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms release their liquid, about 5 minutes.

Add the barley and stir to mix everything well. Pour in the broth and stir again to mix. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to maintain a steady simmer, cover partially, and cook, stirring every few minutes, until the liquid is absorbed and the barley is tender, about 30 minutes. If the liquid is absorbed before the barley is tender, add up to 1 cup [240 ml] water, 1⁄4 cup [60 ml] at a time.


FOR THE SLAW: Seed and thinly slice the peppers. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Add the peppers and toss to combine.


FOR THE BEANS: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm the beans until hot (or put them in a microwave-safe bowl and heat them in the microwave). Add the dill, season with pepper, and toss to mix well. 


TO ASSEMBLE: Divide the pilaf among four bowls. Arrange the chicken, beans, and slaw in three separate and equal sections on top of the pilaf. Dollop the sour cream on the chicken and sprinkle everything with the dill.


NOTE: Want to gild the comfort lily? Try this with Mashed Potatoes instead of barley pilaf.


This recipe is from Bowls!: Recipes and Inspirations for Healthful One-Dish Meals by Molly Watson, published by Chronicle Books (£13.99)

Bowls

Travel Guide – time to reconsider Detroit

Detroit: The Dream is Now

Detroit is the new Brooklyn: a city in flux, fighting against the negative images of a city in decay pervading the media in recent years. If you know where to look, Detroit is a city of vibrant design, art and food scenes, and that is were Michel Arnaud comes in. In his follow-up to Design BrooklynDetroit: The Dream is Now, Arnaud turns his lens on the emergent creative enterprises and new developments taking hold of this vibrant city.

Detroit: The Dream is Now will have you booking the next flight out, ready to explore a city that has so much to offer.


The following is an extract from Detroit: The Dream is Now by Michel Arnaud.


DETROIT: THE DREAM IS NOW

The food scene.

EASTERN MARKET

Detroit: The Dream is Now - Eastern Market Mural
A mural by The Weird, a crew of artists from Germany and Austria, welcomes visitors to Eastern Market.

Eastern Market is the centre of all things food in Detroit. Farmers and wholesale vendors from across Michigan bring their wares, produce, and food products to the market on Saturdays, and to a smaller version on Tuesdays, throughout the year. It is a testing ground for new foods and a direct connection to the public for many farmers and suppliers. There are five sheds, which have both indoor and outdoor features and are open according to the season. It is a rich cornucopia of regional harvests that has existed in the same forty-three-acre location since the late 1800s. The businesses that surround the market – meat processing plants and packinghouses, restaurants, clothing stores, galleries, and letterpress studios – thrive on the crowds that come to town on market days.

Detroid: The Dream is Now - Easter Market Shed 2
Shed 2 is an open-air, brick-and-wood building.

From restaurants around the market to the vendors and food trucks that park between the sheds, Eastern Market is a hub of activity on the east side of Detroit.

Detroit: The Dream is Now - Eastern Market

Every year the Sunday after Mother’s Day is Flower Day in Eastern Market. The market is full of flowers from hundreds of vendors.

Detroit: The Dream is Now - Easter Market Flowers


Discover more places to explore in Detroit in Michel Arnaud’s Detroit: The Dream is Now - available now.

Recipe | Lime and Coconut Energy Balls

Lime and Coconut Energy Balls
 2017 Christal Sczebel

High energy, high flavour, low calorie – it is time to try ENERGY BALLS!

The following recipe was extracted from Energy Balls by Christal Sczebel

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Lime and Coconut

Craving some refreshing tropical flavours? These delicious balls contain vitamin C from the lime, which enhances immune function and serotonin production. Enjoying some vitamin C at bedtime is especially helpful, as it may improve the brain chemistry that is essential for restful sleep. Along with the benefits of the lime, these balls are loaded with coconut which is high in fibre, selenium, and vitamin B₆, also known as pyridoxine, which helps the body produce more serotonin for a sound night’s sleep.

Serving size: 1 ball

  • Calories 101 kcal
  • Protein 2g
  • Fat 5g
  • Carbohydrate 12g
  • Sugar 8g
  • Dietary fiber 3g
  • Vitamins B₂, B₆, C, E
  • Minerals magnesium, manganese phosphorus, selenium

Makes 12 balls

  • ½ cup [60 g] almond meal or ground almonds
  • ½ cup [50 g] coconut flour
  • ½ cup [40 g] unsweetened shredded coconut, plus 2 Tbsp
  • 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice, plus 2 tsp finely grated zest
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk 10 pitted dates

1 In a food processor, combine the almond meal, coconut flour, ½ cup [40 g] shredded coconut, maple syrup, lime juice, almond milk, and 1 tsp of the lime zest, and process for 1 to 2 minutes until a crumbly mass forms. Add the dates and process for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until a sticky but slightly crumbly mass forms.

2 In a small bowl, combine the remaining 2 Tbsp shredded coconut with the remaining 1 tsp lime zest then spread on a large plate.

3 Using a tablespoon, scoop the mixture and, with clean slightly wet hands, shape the mixture into a ball between your palms. Roll the ball in the coconut and zest mixture to lightly coat, and set on a plate. Repeat with the remaining mixture until you have 12 balls slightly smaller than a golf ball.

4 Place the balls in the freezer to set for 30 minutes. Store in the refrigerator until required.

Try this! Chocolate-Coated Lime Add the desire-enhancing benefits of dark chocolate to these balls. While the shaped balls set in the freezer, combine [50 g] chopped dark chocolate and ½ Tbsp coconut oil in a saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring, until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat. Place one of the frozen balls on the end of a skewer or toothpick. Holding the skewer, roll the ball in the melted chocolate mixture until it is coated. Repeat with the remaining balls. Return the balls to the freezer for another 30 minutes to set.

Energy Balls