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!

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.

Break-the-Fast Feast.

You don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy the feast celebrating the end of Yom Kippur. 

Yom Kippur, Jewish Lent, is the holiest of Jewish holidays. Jews honour this day of repentance and atonement with a twenty-five hour fasting, followed by a Break-the-Fast feast. This break-fast usually includes light dishes and often cake, like this Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Pecan Streusel from Leah Koenig’s Modern Jewish Cooking

Sour_Cream_Coffee_Cake_Hero_MT15
© 2015 by Sang An.

Serves 12

Sometimes I wonder what happened to the coffee cake; the moist, streusel-topped pastry that once sat at the center of family breakfasts and served as the premise for countless afternoon get-togethers for another generation. You don’t see it much anymore, and it likely has something to do with our society’s long-standing fear of fat. Enriched with both butter and sour cream, coffee cake has plenty of it. Or maybe we are simply too busy these days to spend so much time chitchatting over a slice of something sweet? But I think this cake is worth finding time for. Simple to make and covered with a layer of toasty, caramelized pecan streusel that sinks into the tender crumb, this is the sour cream coffee cake your grandmother made. Or maybe she didn’t. Either way, the cake’s old-world flavor, and the conversations that come with it, are yours for the baking.

FOR THE STREUSEL

2/3 CUP/130 G PACKED DARK BROWN SUGAR

1/2 CUP/60 G ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR

1 CUP/115 G PECANS, ROUGHLY CHOPPED

1 TBSP GROUND CINNAMON

1 TSP GROUND GINGER

1/4 TSP KOSHER SALT

6 TBSP/85 G COLD UNSALTED BUTTER, CUT INTO SMALL PIECES

FOR THE CAKE

2 1/2 CUPS/315 G ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR

2 TSP BAKING POWDER

1 TSP BAKING SODA

1 TSP KOSHER SALT

1/2 CUP/115 G UNSALTED BUTTER, AT ROOM TEMPERATURE

1 CUP/200 G GRANULATED SUGAR

3 EGGS

1 TSP VANILLA EXTRACT

1/4 TSP LEMON ZEST (OPTIONAL)

1 1/2 CUPS/360 ML SOUR CREAM

CONFECTIONERS’ SUGAR, FOR DUSTING

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C and grease a 9-by-13-in/23-by-33-cm metal baking pan.
  2. Make the streusel: In a medium bowl, stir together the brown sugar, flour, pecans, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Add the butter and, using your fingers or a pastry cutter, combine until the mixture is crumbly and the butter pieces are pea-size.
  1. Make the cake: Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl.
  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or using a handheld electric mixer and a large bowl, cream the butter and granulated sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla and lemon zest (if using), beating after each addition until fully incorporated. Add approximately half of the sour cream and beat on medium-low until incorporated, then add half of the flour mix­ture and beat until incorporated. Repeat with the remaining sour cream and flour mixture.
  1. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth with a rubber spatula. Top evenly with a thick layer of streusel. Bake until the cake is golden brown, springy to the touch, and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and set the pan on a wire rack to cool slightly. Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
9781452127484
Modern Jewish Cooking: Recipes & Customs for Todays Kitchen
By Leah Koenig and Sang An
Chronicle Books

 

#DidJewKnow? Yom Kippur is actually considered the happiest day of the year, because it is a day of forgiveness for all sins. Think of it as cleaning out the closet: It’s a pain in the neck while you’re doing it, and you are forced to confront the embarrassing stuff you used to wear, but afterward you feel so fresh and so clean.

#FiveYearsOfBooks | Top Five Food & Drink Books

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I Love Macarons
I Love Macarons Hisako Ogita Chronicle Books

An oldie but a goodie! We still LOVE macarons and this I Love Macarons by Hisako Ogita is a superb way to launch our Top 5 Food & Drink List!

I Love Macarons is a step-by-step guide to making macarons, with accompanying photographs. Hisako Ogita offers up recipes for making superb macarons at home.

Eat Pretty
Eat Pretty
Nutrition for Beauty, Inside and Out
Jolene Hart
Chronicle Books

Eat Pretty, the foodie revolution has, without a doubt, earned its place on our Top 5 Food & Drink list.

Beauty nutrition is the fastest rising beauty trend around the world. Eat Pretty simplifies the latest science and presents a user-friendly program for gorgeous looks, at any age. Nutrition buzzwords like antioxidants, biotin and omega-3s are explained alongside more than 100 everyday foods, each paired with their specific beauty-boosting benefits: celery for skin hydration, red peppers for sun defence, nutmeg for beauty sleep and kale for bright eyes, to name a few. Charts, lists and immediately actionable bullet points, plus 20 recipes, make for a delicious and infinitely useful package.

Home Made Summer
Home Made Summer
Yvette van Boven, photographs by Oof Verschurem
Abrams

Our favourite Dutch Foodie Yvette Van Boven’s Home Made Summer is an office favourite. It’s seasonal recipes and amazing photography have captured our hearts. Home Made Summer adds a touch of sunshine to our Top 5 Food & Drink titles.

Inspired by her childhood in Ireland and her frequent sojourns in France, Yvette van Boven has created a collection of recipes that will truly inspire you to step into the kitchen. Using seasonal ingredients such as freshly picked apples and berries, as well as delicate summer lettuces and fresh herbs, Yvette presents recipes for Breakfast, Brunch & Lunch, Snacks, Beverages, Appetizers and Dessert. The book includes savoury baked goods perfect for a weekend morning with friends, light salads to enjoy on a warm summer evening and hearty dinners that celebrate great flavour.

The Forest Feast
Forest Feast: Simple Vegetarian Recipes from My Cabin in the Woods, The
Erin Gleeson, illustrated by Erin Gleeson
Abrams

From her cabin in the forest, Erin Gleeson created one of our favourite cookbooks of all time. Adorned with wonderful watercolours and filled with mouth watering recipes. We aren’t sure whats NOT to love about The Forest Feast.

Talented artist and professional food photographer Erin Gleeson began her blog, The Forest Feast, in 2011 to document the beauty and simplicity of vegetarian food. Her recipes contain very few ingredients (less than 5 in many cases) and are notable for their simplicity and creative flavours.

Tartine Bread
Tartine Bread
Chad Robertson
Chronicle Books

Bread baking at its finest. Tartine Bread is a superstar in our Food & Drink list, with good reason; Chad Robertson is one of the most celebrated bread makers in the United States!

Tartine Bread is a master formula for basic bread with many variations forming the backbone of the book, which also includes yeasted breads and recipes for sweet and savoury foods made with days-old bread.

This delicious cookbook is a must have for bread bakers everywhere.

What is your idea of Foodie Heaven? Send us your favourite cookbooks. #FiveYearsOfBooks

Midsummer’s Day Blackberry Thyme Cake with Honey–Goat Cheese Frosting

Summer means blackberry picking and we’ve got the perfect recipe for you this Midsummer’s Day from Hannah Queen’s Honey & Jam!

© 2015 Hannah Queen
© 2015 Hannah Queen

In late July my sister and I brave the thorny blackberry bushes in our backyard and are rewarded with baskets full of ripe berries. When we’ve had our fill of eating them by the handful, I like to use up whatever is left by making this cake.

Serves 8

For the cake and assembly:

3 cups (300 g) fresh blackberries, plus more for garnishing

¼ cup (60 ml) honey

1 teaspoon thyme leaves, plus more for garnishing

1²⁄³ cups (215 g) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup (1 stick/115 g) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup (120 ml) buttermilk

For the frosting:

4 ounces (115 g) goat cheese, room temperature

4 ounces (115 g) cream cheese, room temperature

¹⁄³ cup (75 ml) honey

About 2 cups (200 g) powdered sugar

To make the cake:

In a small bowl, stir together the blackberries, honey and thyme.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter two 6-inch (15-cm) round cake pans.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla.

Alternate adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the mixer bowl, beginning and ending with the flour.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans, and top each with 1 cup of the blackberry mixture.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pans before turning the layers out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting:

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the goat cheese and cream cheese until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in the honey. Reduce the speed and add the powdered sugar ½ cup (50 g) at a time.

To assemble the cake:

Place one cake layer on a plate and spread the top with frosting, then add the remaining blackberry mixture. Set the remaining cake layer on top and cover the outside of the cake with frosting. Top with fresh blackberries and thyme.

Text and Images from Honey & Jam by Hannah Queen published by ABRAMS Stewart Tabori and Chang.

© 2015 Hannah Queen

Recipe for the Weekend: Smoked trout salad from Home Made Summer.

It’s JUNE! Can you believe it? Enjoy this summery treat from Yvette Van Boven’s delicious Home Made Summer.

Smoked Trout Salad

Smoked trout (or mackerel) salad

SERVES 2 OR 3 AS A LUNCH DISH, OR 4 AS A STARTER

for the dressing

3 tbsp buttermilk

2 tbsp mayonnaise

½ tbsp finely grated fresh horseradish, or 1 tbsp prepared horseradish

2 to 3 tbsp minced fresh chives

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper

for the salad

3½ oz (100 g) arugula

2 heads little gem lettuce, or 2 small heads romaine, very finely chopped

1 Granny Smith apple

juice of ½ lemon

2 smoked trout fillets, or 1 smoked mackerel fillet

toast for serving

Make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk, mayonnaise, horseradish, and chives thoroughly, then trickle in the oil, whisking constantly. Season with salt and pepper.

Make the salad: Toss the arugula with the lettuce. Julienne the apple (leave the skin on), and sprinkle it with the lemon juice. Pull the fish from the bones and toss the fish and the apple with the lettuce mixture. Spoon the dressing on top, toss, and serve the immediately in nice coupes, with toast.

Home Made Summer

Copyright © 2012 Yvette Van Boven

Recipe for the Weekend: Caper-Burrata Crostini

Today we have a quick, easy and delicious snack for you to try; Caper-Burrata Crostini from Erin Gleeson’s The Forest Feast: Simple Vegetarian Recipes from My Cabin in the Woods.

ForestFeast_p030a ForestFeast_p031

CAPER-BURRATA CROSTINI

Slice and toast one baguette

Sauté in 2 tsp butter until soft:

  • 1 small shallots
  • 1 small (3.5-oz. or 100-g) jar of capers (drained)

Put a spoonful of burrata cheese on each slice of bread, plus 1 tsp of caper mixture

Sprinkle with salt before serving

Text, illustrations and photography copyright © 2014 Erin Gleeson

Recipe for the Weekend – Spicy Spinach, Lemon & Tofu Soup.

It is gooey and slimy who even really likes tofu?

…We do!

And with the recipes from Tucker Shaw’s I Hate Tofu Cookbook we are sure you will too!

Be brave, try this Spicy Spinach, Lemon & Tofu Soup.

Spicy Spinach, Lemon and Tofu Soup

Spicy Spinach Lemon & Tofu Soup

Sometimes soup should be soothing, but other times it should be invigorating, like this one. Serve this when your nose is clogged up, or whenever you want your soup to make you stand up and say “Ma’am, yes ma’am! May I have another?

Serves 4.

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 medium onions, chopped

1 medium carrot, peeled and diced

1 package (14 ounces/400 g) firm tofu, drained, pressed, and cubed

6 cups (1.4 L) vegetable stock

1 bag (about 5 ounces/ 140 g) baby spinach or 1 cup (120 g) frozen

Juice of 2 lemons

Salt and black pepper

1 Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the onions and carrot and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tofu and cook until just starting to turn golden, stirring frequently, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the stock and 2 cups (480 ml) water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

2 Turn off the heat and stir in the spinach and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a big hunk of bread.

It is so simple, so delicious, and so healthy…what have you got to loose?

Let us know what else you hate by tweeting at us with the #IhateTofu.

I Hate Tofu and I Hate Kale are out next week – pre-order your copies through our website.

I Hate Tofu

Text copyright © 2015 Tucker Shaw

Illustrations copyright © 2015 Joel Holland

Happy Paella Day!

Turns out today is Paella Day!

What better way to celebrate this weird, but wonderful, day than turning your hand to making paella for dinner?

Spain_Shellfish Paella

SHELLFISH PAELLA

PAELLA DE MARISCO

Serves 6

Baroque, regal, and always impressive carried out to the table, shellfish paella is one of Spanish cuisine’s grandest dishes. For me, it also best represents this culture where food and family often swing hand and hand. My mother-in-law, Rosa, has been making one of these paellas nearly every weekend for fifty years. It was around her shellfish paella that I met the family of the woman I had followed to Barcelona in 1996, and where countless other memorable occasions have been announced and celebrated since. Over plates of her golden, flavourful rice, I learned how a simple staple could be converted into a family bond. I was so enamoured with this concept that I wrote my first cookbook about Spanish rice dishes, with Rosa’s paella at its centre. And while this isn’t exactly her recipe here—you can find it in that first book, La Paella—her influence is clearly discernible.

If there is anything that I have learned from Rosa about her paella, it is that it is a rice dish—not a seafood dish with rice. As I repeat elsewhere in the book, everything is done to flavour the rice. Using a good Spanish short- or medium-grain variety or one of the options listed in the Note following is crucial. As well, note that the clams are best prepared separately, because if they have any sand at all, they will wreck the rice.

8 ounces/225 small clams, scrubbed

8 ounces/225 small to medium mussels, cleaned and debearded

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

6 langoustines with heads and shells

2 small sweet Italian green peppers or 1 small green bell pepper, cut into ½-inch/1.25-cm pieces

1 pound/445 g small cuttlefish or squid, cleaned and cut into ½-inch/1.25-cm pieces

18 fresh whole large shrimp with heads and shells

3 ripe medium tomatoes, halved crosswise, seeded and grated (see note 2)

1 pinch saffron threads, dry-toasted and ground (see note 3)

1 teaspoon Spanish pimentón dulce (sweet paprika)

7 cups/1.7 L fish stock or water

3 cups/600 g bomba rice or another short – or medium – grain Spanish rice (see note 1)

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1. Purge the clams of any sand by soaking them in salty water following the directions on note 4. Discard any with broken shells.

2. In a saucepan, add the clams, cover with 1 cup/240 ml water, and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and cook, shaking from time to time, until the clams have opened, about 5 minutes. Transfer the clams to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Filter the liquid and reserve. Discard any clams that did not open. Twist off the empty half of each clam and discard.

3. Steam the mussels: Place them in a saucepan with ½ cup/60 ml water and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat, cover the pot, and simmer, shaking the pot from time to time, until the mussels have opened, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Drain, reserving the liquid. (Strain and set aside.) Discard any mussels that did not open. Remove the meat from each shell; discard the shells.

4. In a 16- to 18-inch/40- to 45-cm paella pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the langoustines and cook, turning over until pink, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a platter. Add the green peppers and cuttlefish and cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook, turning over once, until opaque, 4 to 5 minutes. (Remove any stray legs or antennae from the pan and discard.) Add the tomatoes and cook until soft and pulpy, about 10 minutes. Tip in some of the reserved liquid from the clams to keep it moist. Stir in the saffron and pimentón.

5. Pour the stock into the pan and bring the liquid to a boil over high heat. When the liquid comes to a boil, sprinkle the rice around the pan. With a wooden spoon, check that the rice is evenly distributed and that the grains are below the surface of the liquid. Do not stir again.

6. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes over high heat. Arrange the reserved langoustines across the top of the rice. Reduce the heat to low and cook uncovered for 8 to 10 minutes more, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice grains are tender but still have an al dente bite to them. If all the liquid has evaporated and the rice is still not done, shake the reserved liquid from the clams (and, if needed, from the mussels) tablespoon by tablespoon over the rice where needed and cook for an additional few minutes.

7. Remove the paella from the heat, cross wooden spoons over top, cover with paper towels, and let rest for 5 minutes to allow the rice – particularly the grains on top – to finish cooking and the starches to firm up.

8. Carry the paella to the table and serve from the pan.

NOTE 1: Spanish Bomba rice is a highly absorbent short-grain Spanish variety. It is found at many supermarkets with a decent international section, as well as numerous specialty stores. See Sources, page 345, for where to look. The best substitute is the Italian rice Carnaroli. Alternatively use CalRiso, Calrose, or Japanese short-grain rice. For moister rice dishes (but not paellas), use the superfine-grade Italian varieties such as Arborio or Vialone Nano.

NOTE 2: GRATING TOMATOES

Grating tomatoes is a recommended alternative to peeling and finely chopping, and a way to maximize the sweet flesh that lies close to the skin.

Cut the tomatoes in half crosswise. Gently squeeze the seeds into a bowl and then run a finger through the seed cavity to remove any remaining seeds. Cup a tomato half in one hand and slowly grate it on a box grater until the skin peels back and all the flesh has been grated away. Discard the flattened skin. Repeat with the remaining tomato halves. Strain the liquid from the seeds (press with the back of a spoon to get all of the juices) and add to the grated pulp.

NOTE 3: USING SAFFRON

To dry-toast: Heat a small ungreased skillet over medium-low heat, add the saffron threads, and toast for 2 to 3 minutes, or until aromatic and the threads have turned a shade darker in colour. Place the toasted threads in a small sheet of paper that has been folded in half, crumble with your fingers—be sure they are dry—from the outside, and then shake the saffron from the paper into the dish (this prevents any saffron from sticking to your fingers). Alternatively, transfer the toasted threads from the skillet to a mortar, pound into a powder, and add to the dish. Swirl 2 tablespoons water in the mortar to get all of the crushed saffron.

NOTE 4: PURGING CLAMS OF SAND

Discard any clams with cracked or broken shells. Fill a large bowl with cool water. Add 1 teaspoon of salt for every 1 quart/1 L water and dissolve. Set the clams in the water and soak for 30 minutes. Dump out the water, rinse out the bowl, and soak for another 30 minutes in clean, unsalted water. Drain, set in a dry bowl, cover with a damp paper towel, and place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or so before using.

9780811875011

Book credits:

Spain by Jeff Koehler, published by Chronicle Books

Image credits:

Plated food photographs copyright © 2013 by Kevin Miyazaki

Shellfish market photograph copyright © 2013 Jeff Koehler

Meat Free Week, Day Four – Apple and Honey Galette

Meat Free Week Day Four! You’ve made it this far, you deserve a treat!

How about an Apply and Honey Galette from Erin Gleeson’s Forest Feast?

ForestFeast_p219

Apple and Honey Galette

Lay out a 14-oz (400g; 9 inch) store bought pie dough on a baking sheet & top with:

  • ½ cup (120 g) Brie
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons sliced almonds
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Cover the cheese layer with 2 thinly sliced apples fanned out (peeling optional).

Dot the top with butter, drizzle with honey, then punch the edges to form a crust.

Bake at 350 °F (180 C°) for 20-25 minutes until golden. Garnish with pomegranate seeds.

9781617690815

Text copyright © 2014 Erin Gleeson
Illustrations and photography © 2014 Erin Gleeson