As families gear up for Mother’s Day, here’s a great way to show your appreciation for mom and mom figures than by putting three little words into action: Breakfast in Bed, says celebrity chef Curtis Stone.
Australian-born, Stone is an award winning chef and is chef/owner of Maude in Beverly Hills, Gwen Butcher Shop & Restaurant–and English-style butcher shop eatery, and Georgie by Curtis Stone in Dallas.
Unsure what to whip up? Not too worry. Stone’s got you covered with his ALL-NEW breakfast in bed recipe (approved by his wife Lindsay and kids), that blends savory and sweet in a “sparkling” delicious way using Waterloo Orange Vanilla Sparkling Water.
“My cooking philosophy is to keep it simple and cook with naturally produced ingredients just as Mother Nature intended,” says Stone who is an Iron Chef and is one The Iron Chefs from the new Netflix show (left to right): Marcus Samuelsson, Dominique Crenn, Curtis Stone, Gabriela Camara and Ming Tsai.
Orange Vanilla Crepes with Whipped Mascarpone and Caramel Sauce
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup Waterloo Orange Vanilla Sparkling Water
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 large eggs
4 tsp sugar
Pinch of salt
2 tbs unsalted butter
8 oz mascarpone cheese, chilled
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
Pinch of salt
To make crepes:
1. In blender, combine flour, Waterloo Orange Vanilla Sparkling Water, cream, eggs, sugar, and pinch of salt and blend until smooth. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.
2. Heat medium (10-inch) frypan over medium-low heat. Melt 1 tsp butter in pan.
3. Pour about 1/4 cup batter into center of pan and swirl to coat bottom thinly. Cook 2 minutes, or until edges of crepe are light brown.
4. Loosen edges gently with thin spatula and carefully turn crepe over. Continue cooking 1 minute, or until bottom begins to brown in spots.
5. Transfer crepe to a plate. Repeat with remaining batter, adding butter to pan as needed, and forming about 10 crepes in total.
Meanwhile, to make whipped mascarpone and caramel sauce:
6. In medium bowl, using whisk, lightly whip mascarpone, cream, and zest until soft peaks form. Set aside.
7. In medium saucepan over low heat, stir sugar and 1/4 cup water until sugar has dissolved. Increase heat to medium-high and boil without stirring for about 8 minutes, brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush to dissolve any crystals, until caramel is golden brown. Remove pan from heat and slowly whisk in cream and pinch of salt; caramel will bubble vigorously.
To assemble and serve crepes:
8. Lay one crepe flat on work surface and spread some whipped mascarpone over crepe in thin layer. Repeat to assemble remaining crepes. Divide crepes among plates. Spoon caramel over crepes and serve.
Serves: 4 (makes about 10 crepes)
Prep Time: 35 minutes; Cook Time: 25 minutes
Make-Ahead: Crepe batter can be made up to 1 day ahead, covered and refrigerated.
Tapas—delicious tidbits served on tiny dishes that originally served as lids for glasses of wine or sherry—are meant to be just two mouthfuls and were until recently free for those ordering spirits. All that has changed with the increasing popularity of tapas, writes Elisabeth Luard, an award-winning food writer who spent 15 years living in Spain who brings this expertise and experience to her latest cookbook,Tapas: Classic Small Dishesfrom Spain (Grub Street). But that doesn’t change the enchantment of getting to try many bites of an assortment of delicious foods.
Describing tapas as embodying a way of life, Luard tells about her experiences of moving with her novelist husband and their four children to a remote Andalucian valley and learning to appreciate the pleasures of this thoroughly Spanish way of eating.
“Long before the fashion for open kitchens in Michelin-starred restaurants, the humble provider of tapas cooked to order and set everything out on display,” she writes in the introduction of her book.
There was a lack of entertainment at the time—they moved there in the 1960s—but there were tapas and wine to be found in the small towns of Andalucía with their Moorish influences and names like Pelayo, Valdepenas, and Puerto de Santa Maria, or the bigger cities such as Algeciras, a bustling seaport. Here, they could enjoy dishes of tapas, drink the local wine, and socialize.
“Since we did not live in a village, we would make our way to our chosen locale and do the rounds,” she continues. “If we turned east down the road towards the Atlantic, we could have spider-crabs and sea snails in a bar set into the Moorish battlements of Tarifa, and the go on further, to the chozo down by the beach at Punta Paloma, for deep-fried quail and the fattest crispiest chips in Spain.”
Saturday night was typically when Luard and her husband and their four children would plan where to go for tapas. Once they arrived it was typical for bartenders to be ready to recite the list of tapas when asked “Que hay para tapar?” or “What is there to pick on?” And the answer to that depended upon not only local ingredients but also the kitchen equipment as well. That might include a plancha—the flat metal griddle used to grill sardines, prawns, thin slices of tuna, swordfish, and pork fillets marinated with garlic and paprika, a cazuela—a shallow earthenware casserole, or a metal tin filled with white-hot charcoal that dates back to the days of Moors.
Luard provides a plethora of recipes that she hopes will encourage us to get the tapas habit and once that happens, she suggests we raise our glasses together in the traditional Spanish toast, “Salud, amor y pesetas!” Here’s to health, love and wealth!”
And with her recipes, all simple to make including such small plates as croquettas de atun (tuna croquettes), pinchitos morunos (Moorish kebabs), filetes con cabrales (steaks with blue cheese), and a variety of omelettes, the salutation will be a joy to make.
The following recipes are from Tapas by Elisabeth Luard.
Fried Baby Artichokes
6 baby artichokes
Olive oil for shallow frying
1 lemon, quartered, to serve
Wipe the artichokes and trim the stalks off level with the base. With a sharp knife, peel off the rough outside of the stalks and cute them in half lengthwise. Halve the artichokes and nice out the hairy little choke.
In a frying pan heat enough oil to half-submerge the artichokes when placed cut-side down in the pan. When a faint blue haze rises from the surface of the oil, put in as many artichoke halves as the pan with accommodate in a single layer.
Fry until the leaves are prettily bronzed and the choke tender, turning them once. Continue until all are ready, leaving the stalks until the end.
Drain on kitchen paper, sprinkle with salt and serve with the quartered lemon.
Eat them with your fingers, from the choke towards the leaves as far as is tender.
Grilled (broiled) Mushrooms with Garlic and Rosemary
Champinones a la parrilla
8 ounces mushrooms
1 to 2 fat garlic cloves
2 tablespoons olive oil, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
Bread squares, to serve
Wipe the mushrooms and trim the stalks level with the caps. Discard the trimmings. Arrange the mushrooms stalk upwards on a grill or broiling pan or griddle.
Sprinkle the mushrooms caps with the chopped garlic, rosemary, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Grill (broil) the mushrooms fiercely until the juices run and the caps are spitting hot. Serve on squares of fresh bread, each speared with a cocktail stick.
“even if we never make these dishes of ancient times, Miller’s book is a fascinating read.”
“They say ‘history is written by the victors,’ but in my experience, history is written by those who write stuff down, and food is no exception,” writes Max Miller in the introduction to Tasting History, his new cookbook that delves into the foods we’ve eaten throughout millennia.
Four years ago, Miller had little interest in cooking. But when a friend became sick while they were vacationing and they watched seasons of a cooking shows while overindulging on nachos, that all changed. Developing a passion for baking, he soon was taking his cakes and pastries to Walt Disney Studios where he worked. Besides sharing his creations, Miller also explained the origins of the recipes. Suggestions from friends influenced him to start a YouTube show titled “Tasting History with Matt Miller.” Shortly after, the pandemic hit, Miller was furloughed from his job, as were many others, and his show became a hit to all those stuck at home.
Now Miller has taken it to the next level with this deep dive into food history that includes original recipes and Miller’s adaptations for home chefs as well as photos, original drawings, anecdotes, and cook’s notes.
The recipe for this stew is easy, but even if a person could, though it’s unlikely, find the fatty sheep tails, another ingredient—risnatu—has no definite translation, though Miller says it’s commonly agreed upon that it’s a type of dried barley cake. He solves both those problems in his adaptation of the recipe by providing appropriate substitutions that honor the dish’s origins but make it available to modern kitchens.
But even if we never make these dishes of ancient times, Miller’s book is a fascinating read. As we get closer to our own times—the book is arranged chronologically—we find dishes that are more recognizable such as precedella, a German recipe originating in 1581 that instructed cooks to “Take fair flour, a good amount of egg yolk, and a little wine, sugar and anise seed and make a dough with it.”
Of course, modern pretzels don’t typically have wine and anise seeds in them, but Miller provides a recipe using all those ingredients so we can get the same flavor profile as the precedellas that were baked almost 500 years ago. It is indeed tasting history.
Miller has culled recipes from around the world. The book also includes the foodways of medieval Europe, Ming China, and even the present with a 1914 recipe for Texas Pecan Pie that Miller describes as “a time before corn syrup came to dominate the dessert.” His adaptation of the original recipe uses sugar since corn syrup didn’t begin to dominate until the 1930s. The 1914 recipe also calls for a meringue topping, an addition not found in modern pecan pies. So even within a short time span of just over 100 years, Miller shows us how a recipe has evolved though he assures us, we’ll like the 1914 version best.
Now one of the most popular retirement area for Americans and Canadians, the Lake Chapala Region, nestled in a valley almost a mile high in Mexico’s Volcanic Axis, has long been a draw for ex-pats and vacationers, lured by its almost perfect climate and beauty.
He met his wife, Gwen Chan Burton who was a teacher of the deaf and then director at the Lakeside School for the Deaf in Jocotepec, one of the three main towns lining the shores of Lake Chapala. Though they now reside on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, the Burtons continue to revisit Mexico regularly and he is currently editor-in-chief of MexConnect, Mexico’s top English-language online magazine.
The other two towns, each with its own distinctive vibe, are Ajijic and Chapala, native villages resettled by the Spanish Conquistadors in the 1500s. “This book looks at how Chapala, a small nondescript fishing village in Jalisco, suddenly shot to international prominence at the end of the nineteenth century as one of North America’s earliest tourist resorts,” writes Burton. “Within twenty years, Chapala, tucked up against the hills embracing the northern shore of Mexico’s largest natural lake, was attracting the cream of Mexican and foreign society. Thus began Lake Chapala’s astonishing transformation into the vibrant international community it is now, so beloved of authors, artists and retirees.”
The book, organized as a walking tour, covers not only existing buildings but also pinpoints the spots where significant early buildings no longer stand but their histories still weave a story of the town. It’s only a partial guide, explains Burton, noting that an inventory prepared by the National Institute of Anthropology and History identified more than eighty such buildings in Chapala including many not easily visible from the road but hidden behind high walls and better viewed from the lake.
Among the famous people who lived in Chapala at some point in their careers was author D.H. Lawrence, probably best remembered for his risqué (at the time) novel, Lady Chatterley’s Lover.
In 1923, Lawrence and his wife, Frieda, rented Casa de las Cuentas (House of Rosary Beads), a house that dates back to the 1800s. At the time, a one-story abode with a half-moon entrance and heavy wooden gates, it was located at 307 Calle Zaragoza, a street formerly known as Calle de la Pesquería (“Fishing street”) so named as it was where the local fishermen repaired their nets and hung them out to dry. It was while living on Calle Zaragoza that Lawrence wrote the first draft of The Plumed Serpent, published in 1926. The novel is described as “the story of a European woman’s self-annihilating plunge into the intrigues, passions, and pagan rituals of Mexico.”
Over the decades, after the Lawrences moved out, subsequent changes were made to Casa de las Cuentas including the addition of a swimming pool in the mid-1950s when artist Roy MacNicol and his wife, Mary, owned the home.
While Lawrence’s writings were considered by some as scandalous, MacNicol’s life had its scandals as well. Burton describes him as “colorful” in that he was married multiple times and was involved in many escapades as well as lawsuits.
It wasn’t the work of a dilettante as reviews of her book such as this one on Amazon shows.
“Flower Cookery is recipes, but far more than recipes,” writes one reviewer. “The book is organized by the popular name of the flower in question. Each section is introduced with quotations from literature, philosophy, and poetry that feature the blossom. This is followed by the recipes, interwoven with mythology, stories, and aphorisms about the flower, the plant from which it grows, its symbolism, and the culture or society in which humans discovered the value of the plant or blossom. The recipes include original favorites as well as recipes collected from historical sources and contemporary sources around the world. Here is just the tiniest sampling of the riches in the book.”
Burton shares her Christmas Cheer recipe from when she lived at Casa de las Cuentas.
10-12 squash blossoms with stems removed
2 eggs, beaten
2 to 3 tablespoons water
Flour, enough to thicken mixture about one tablespoon
Salt and pepper
1 cup neutral oil such as grapeseed, canola, or safflower
Wash and dry squash blossoms on paper towels, making sure to remove all the water. Mix remaining ingredients except oil to make a smooth batter. Place oil in a large, heavy skillet to 350-375°F. Dip blossoms in batter and fry in oil until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot.
As for the house, it was renovated again in the early 1980s and is now Quinta Quetzalcoatl, a lovely boutique hotel.
The above maps, both copyrighted, show Chapala 1915 [lower map] and 1951 [upper map].
In all, he’s planning on adding several more to what he currently calls the Lake Chapala Quartet, these focusing on the writers and artists associated with the area. I asked him to describe the region so readers who have never been there can get an idea of what it is like, but it turns out the Burton is NOT a traveler who meticulously plots every moment of a trip before he arrives. Instead, he tells me that part of the fun when traveling is to not know in advance what places are like and instead to see and experience them for yourself.
“That said,” he continues, “the various villages and towns on the shores of Lake Chapala are all quite different in character. The town of Chapala, specifically, is a pretty large and bustling town. It is growing quite rapidly and has added several small high end boutique hotels in recent years, as well as some fine dining options to complement the more traditional shoreline ‘fish’ restaurants. The many old–100 years plus–buildings in Chapala give the town a historic ‘air’ where it is relatively easy to conjure up images of what it was like decades ago. By comparison, Ajijic, now the center of the foreign community on Lake Chapala, has virtually no old buildings and more of a village and artsy feel to it, though it also has very high quality accommodations and more fine restaurants than you can count.”
Other structures still standing include the Villa Tlalocan, completed in 1896 and described by a contemporary journalist as “the largest, costliest and most complete in Chapala… a happy minglement of the Swiss chalet, the Southern verandahed house of a prosperous planter and withal having an Italian suggestion. It is tastefully planned and is set amid grounds cultivated and adorned with flowers so easily grown in this paradisiacal climate where Frost touches not with his withering finger…”
Also still part of the landscape is Villa Niza. One of many buildings designed by Guillermo de Alba, the house, according to Burton, was built in 1919 and looks more American than European in style. Located at Hidalgo 250, it takes advantage of its setting on Lake Chapala and has a mirador (look out) atop the central tower of the structure, which affords sweeping panoramic views over the gardens and lake. De Alba’s strong geometric design boasts only minimal exterior ornamentation.
Burton, who specializes in non-fiction about Mexico, related to geography, history, travel, economics, ecology and natural history, has written several fascinating books about the history of the Lake Chapala region.
In If Walls Could Talk, Burton invites you to walk with him through time as you explore the city.
“for the adventuresome home chef, Allahyari offers a world of flavors.”
In mortal danger for his beliefs, Hamed Allahyari and his pregnant girlfriend fled their homeland of Iran, first spending two months in Indonesia and then, after grueling hours long by truck over badly paved back roads and then days crammed aboard a boat another five months on Christmas Island before being granted asylum by the Australian government. Once there, life remained extremely difficult for the young couple who were now parents of two young children, and though Allahyari had been a chef and restauranteur in Iran, no one was interested—or so it seemed—in Persian cuisine.
Unable to find work Allahyari began volunteering at the Resource Center, an organization that provides support, legal advice, and other assistance including meals to refugees and people seeking asylum.
“Every day they feed 250 people a free lunch,” Allahyari writes in the introduction to his cookbook Salamati: Hamed’s Persian Kitchen: Recipes and Stories from Iran to the Other Side of the World. “I started cooking there two days a week, making Persian food for people from all over the world: Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Miramar, Sierra Leone, all kinds of places, and most of them had never tried Persian food before. But when they tried it, they liked it. They talked to me about it, asked me about it, and it made me happy.”
At the recommendation of others, Allahyari also began teaching cooking classes, demonstrating how to make such dishes as Zeytoon Parvadrah (Olive and Walnuts Chunky Dip), Yogurt and Cucumber soup, Sabzi Pofow Ba Mahi (Fish with Herb Pilaf) Sabzi Pofow Ba Mahi (Fish with Herb Pilaf), and Persian Love Cake. Over the years, Allahyari taught more than 2500 people how to make Persian food. Now, he caters and is chef/owner of SalamiTea, a restaurant located in Sunshine, an ethnically diverse neighborhood in Melbourne. The name is a play on “salamati,” the Persian word meaning both “health” and “cheers.”
Salamati is more than just a cookbook, it’s also a memoir and homage to the country he had to flee. The introduction to the featured recipes in his book might offer a personal connection to the dish, a description of a unique ingredient that helps define it and bring out its best flavors—though he also offers a substitute for such items as Persian dried limes, which might be difficult to locate outside of a major city, and/or puts the food in context with the scenes to Iran.
“This dish is traditionally served in Iranian shisha shops, the cafes where older men gather to smoke water pipes, drink tea and solve the problems of the world,” he writes about Ghahve Khunee Omelette (Street-Food Tomato Omelette). “Shisha shops don’t really serve food but inevitably people get hungry while they’re hanging around, so it’s become traditional for staff to whip up a quick tomato omelette for customers and serve it with bread, raw red onion, herbs and lemon. If you want one, all you ask for is ‘omelette.’ There’s no menu as such.”
Not all the recipes are easy but for those who don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, there are enough simple ones to get started. Full-color photos of each recipe show what the finished product will look like. And for the adventuresome home chef, Allahyari offers a world of flavors.
“If you love to cook, are undaunted with unique ingredients, and want to capture the flavors of another land, accept the challenge and get cooking.”
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, chop suey houses were all the rage. Opening early and closing late, they were a place to get a good, cheap meal no matter what time of day or night. Over the following decades chop suey and chow mein remained the go-to dishes for those ordering Asian food. It wasn’t until the late 1960s that American diners discovered other regions of Chinese cuisine, Hunan and Szechuan being the first two major ones. For those who loved the flavors of Asia, Malaysian, Indian, Thai, Korean, and Vietnamese were also added to the selection of what to eat and cook. But Singapore gastronomic endeavors were often overlooked.
To those in the know, Singapore cuisine has always been, as Terry Tan and Christopher Tan write in their introduction of the cookbook Singapore Cooking: Fabulous Recipes from Asia’s Food Capital (Tuttle Publishing), a topic of utmost importance.
“Some wag once said that the quickest way to start a debate in Singapore is to walk up to a random group of people and ask them “So where can I get the best chicken rice?” the two Tans write in the book’s foreword.
The great Anthony Bourdain also weighed in about the foods of this island nation saying, “New York may be the city that never sleeps, but Singapore’s the city that never stops eating. For a gastro-tourist, somebody who travels to eat, any kind of serious eater, Singapore’s probably the best place you can go . . .”
Looking through this glossy paged book with its full-color photos and 100 recipes including those for such dishes as Ayam Tempra–Chicken Braised in Spicy Sweet Soy, Gulai Prawns with Pineapple, Nangka Lemak Young Jackfruit Coconut Curry, and Coconut Pancakes with Banana Sauce, it’s easy to agree that Singapore gastronomy is all “shiok” or in other words “sublime and unspeakably wonderful.”
But though it all sounds delicious, this isn’t necessarily an easily accessible cookbook. Ingredients such as dried prawns, pandanus leaves, and tamarind may mean for many not only a search or special trip to an Asian grocery store but also an added expense and one where they’ll wonder when they might use the product again. Despite this, for anyone who wants to explore a multicultural cuisine that encompasses influences from many of the surrounding countries as well, it is very much worth the effort.
To make it easier for the novice, the authors have organized their book into chapters such as “Marinades, Chutneys, Sambals and Achars” and “Breads, Rice and Noodles” and included a nice glossary of ingredients (with photos!) as well as a brief history of Singaporeans cuisine.
If you love to cook, are undaunted with unique ingredients, and want to capture the flavors of another land, accept the challenge and get cooking.
About the Authors and Photographer
Terry Tan is a distinguished cooking teacher, food consultant, food historian, and writer who has been dishing up Singaporean delights to people around the world for many years. He writes and broadcasts regularly on Asian and Oriental food and cookery from his base in London.
Christopher Tan is an award-winning writer, cooking instructor, and photographer who contributes articles, recipes and pictures to numerous magazines in Asia. Singaporean by birth, he grew up in London and now hangs out anywhere there is good food. You can find his work at www. foodfella.com.
Edmond Ho is a noted food, travel, and lifestyle photographer based in Singapore. In the late 1990s, he introduced a new style of food photography in Singapore using extreme close-ups and blurred backgrounds together with natural lighting. He has done shots for more than 25 cookbooks.
Sunrise paints a graduated array of colors as the deep orange and red fade into yellow. That beautiful view is what gave this historic drink its name. While the drink is as old as the Prohibition era, it became popular in the 1970s when a bar in Sausalito, near San Francisco, reinvented it and traveling musicians from famous rock bands tasted it and helped seal its place in pop culture. The current drink is made of orange juice, grenadine, and tequila—and this cake captures those wonderful flavors and the striking colors.
Non-stick cooking spray
1 (15.25- to 18-ounce) box yellow cake mix
Eggs, oil, and water as directed on the cake mix
1 cup water
1 (3-ounce) box orange gelatin
¼ cup tequila
3 tablespoons grenadine syrup
1 (8-ounce) tub frozen whipped topping, thawed
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish
with nonstick cooking spray.
Prepare and bake the cake according to the package directions for a 9 x 13-inch cake. Place cake on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.
Poke holes evenly over the baked cake using the tines of a fork.
Place the water in a 4-cup microwave-safe glass bowl. Microwave on High (100%) power for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the water comes to a boil. Stir the gelatin into the water until it is dissolved. Stir in the tequila. Pour the gelatin mixture evenly over the cake.
Slowly and evenly drizzle the cake with the grenadine, making a striped design across the cake. Cover and refrigerate the cake for 1 hour. Frost the cake with the whipped topping. Cover and refrigerate the cake for at least 1 hour or up overnight before serving.
If you prefer to omit the tequila, prepare the gelatin as directed. Stir in ¼ cup cold water and proceed as the recipe directs. If desired, instead of using all water to prepare the cake mix, substitute ¼ cup tequila and ½ cup orange juice for part of the water. Add water, as needed, to equal the required amount of liquid specified on the cake mix box. Proceed as the recipe directs.
Grenadine is a sweet, red syrup that is often used to flavor cocktails. While it is not a liquor, you will often find it in the grocery store shelved with mixers and supplies for cocktails.
Chocolate and Vanilla Poke ’n’ Tote Cakes
Neat and portable, these luscious chocolate cakes are ready to take to the park, soccer field, or office, or any time you want a dessert to go. They are a winner, and the chocolate cake, topped with a creamy vanilla pudding and then a chocolate glaze, just may remind you of a cream-filled snack cake!
Nonstick cooking spray
½ cup boiling water
1⁄3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1⁄8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
2½ cups whole milk
1⁄3 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 (3.4-ounce) box vanilla instant pudding mix
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1⁄3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2½ tablespoons whole milk
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Spray 12 (8-ounce) canning jars with nonstick cooking spray. Set the lids and rings aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the boiling water and cocoa powder until smooth; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Using a handheld mixer on low speed, beat in the egg, ½ cup of the milk, the oil, vanilla, and cocoa mixture.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl well and beat for 2 minutes on medium speed. Spoon about ¼ cup of the batter into each prepared jar. Do not cover.
Arrange the jars in a shallow baking pan, leaving about 1 inch between the jars.
Bake for 24 to 28 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. (Do not overbake.)
Place the baking pan with the jars in it on a wire rack and let the cakes cool completely. Poke holes evenly over the baked cakes in the jars using a drinking straw.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the pudding mix and the remaining 2 cups of milk until the pudding is blended. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the pudding over each cake.
Seal each jar with its lid and ring and refrigerate the cakes for 1 hour.
MAKE THE CHOCOLATE GLAZE: In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Stir in the cocoa powder. Remove from the heat.
Stir in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Add the milk and vanilla and stir until smooth. The glaze should be thin enough to drizzle off the tip of a spoon.
Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the Chocolate Glaze over the pudding in each jar. Gently, using the back of a spoon, spread the glaze to cover the pudding completely.
Seal each jar again and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight before serving.
Poke Cupcakes: Line muffin pans with paper liners. Prepare the batter as directed and spoon it into the prepared pan, filling each cup about halfway full. Bake 15 to 18 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.
Proceed as the recipe directs, poking the cakes with a drinking straw, topping with pudding, and spreading the pudding to the edge of the cupcakes. Top with the glaze, gently covering the pudding. Individual Poke Cakes: Instead of canning jars, prepare the individual poke cakes in 8-ounce ovenproof ramekins. Spray the ramekins with nonstick cooking spray, then spoon in the batter, filling ramekins about halfway. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Proceed as the recipe directs, poking the cakes with a drinking straw, topping with pudding, and spreading the pudding to the edge of the cakes. Top with the glaze, gently covering the pudding.
Crunchy Toffee Poke Cake
Do you need to bring a dessert to the office party, potluck, or bunko night? No worries! Bake Crunchy Toffee Poke Cake the day ahead, and you’ve got it covered. This will make the gathering memorable to many, and there won’t be one piece left to carry home. That’s a good thing, right?
Nonstick cooking spray
1 (15.25- to 18-ounce) German chocolate cake mix
1 (3.9-ounce) box chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
2⁄3 cup water
½ cup vegetable or canola oil
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 (12.25-ounce) jar caramel ice cream topping
1 (8-ounce) tub frozen whipped topping, thawed
4 (1.4-ounce) milk chocolate English toffee candy bars
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl using a handheld mixer on low speed, beat together the cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, water, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl well and beat for 2 minutes on medium speed.
Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Place the cake on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Poke holes evenly over the baked cake using the handle of a wooden spoon. Let the cake cool completely.
Drizzle three-quarters of the caramel topping into the holes on the cake.
Frost the cake with the whipped topping.
Place the candy bars in a zip-top bag and coarsely crush with a rolling pin or mallet. Sprinkle the candy bars evenly over the cake.
Refrigerate until ready to serve. Just before serving, drizzle the top of the cake with the remaining caramel topping.
You can substitute caramels and milk for the caramel ice-cream topping.
Combine 1 (14-ounce) package caramels, unwrapped, and ¼ cup whole milk in a microwave-safe glass bowl. Microwave on High (100%) power in 30-second intervals, stirring well after each, until the caramels are melted and the mixture is smooth, making sure not to overcook the caramels.
Pour three-quarters of the caramel mixture into the poked holes in the cake.
Warm the remaining caramel mixture in the microwave on high power for 10 to 15 seconds or until warm.
Drizzle over the cake just before serving.
If you want to reduce the amount of chocolate, use a white or yellow cake mix in place of the German chocolate cake mix.
Returning to the flavors of his very earliest years, chef Peter Serpico was born in Seoul, Korea and adopted when he was two. Raised in Maryland, he graduated from the Baltimore International Culinary School and cooked professionally at such well-known restaurants as Momofuku Noodle Bar in New York City’s East Village. Serpico worked with David Chang, who founded the Momofuku chain, in opening two new restaurants. His job as director of culinary operations for Momofuku, Serpico garnered three stars from the New York Times, two Michelin stars and a James Beard Award. He currently owns KPOD, a contemporary Korean-American concept in Philadelphia’s University City.
Serpico was already an award winning chef when a taste of marinated short ribs and black bean noodles reeled him back through the years, giving him a taste of his original home. Now that reckoning, exploration, and elevation of the foods of his past has resulted in his debut cookbook,Learning Korean: Recipes for Home Cooking (Norton), Serpico has long been recognized as a virtuoso with ingredients but his lesser known talent becomes apparent in this book. He makes Korean home cooking easy. For anyone who has tried to master this intricate and delicious cuisine, it’s a relief to be able to easily cook Korean cuisine in a home kitchen using everyday home equipment.
Serpico starts with kimchi, that Korean staple often served in some guise or other, at every meal (and yes, that includes breakfast) with a recipe for Countertop Kimchi and then quickly segues into a master recipe that can be used to make a plethora of the fermented vegetable dishes.
“I also wanted to develop an easy ‘master’ method that could be applied to any vegetable, regardless of its texture, density, surface area, or water content,” writes Serpico before giving us the way to make Apple Kimchi, Carrot Kimchi, and Potato Kimchi, among others.
He continues with the simplification. Sure, there are some complicated recipes for those who already have or want to advance their skills with such dishes as Crispy Fried Rice–a recipe that’s a full page long. Add to that the ancillary recipes needed to complete the dish–Korean Chili Sauce, Marinated Spinach, Marinated Bean Sprouts, and Rolled Omelette which are all on different pages. But for those not up to or interested in the challenge, just flip to the recipes for such dishes as Easy Pork Shoulder Stew, Soy-Braised Beef, Battered Zucchini, Potato Salad, Chocolate Rice Pudding, and Jujube Tea as well as many others.
And while anyone experimenting with the cuisine of another country understands that they’ll need to purchase some unique ingredients, these are not budget breakers or, in many instances, so esoteric that after one use they’ll sit unused in your cabinet for an eternity. For example Serpico’s recipe for potato salad calls for Kewpie Mayonnaise instead of the mayo we typically have in our refrigerator. The latter uses whole eggs and white vinegar while Kewpie is made from just egg yolks and rice or apple cider vinegar. But the cost difference is definitely reasonable and a home chef might just find the extra richness translates to other recipes as well whether they’re Korean or not.
About the Author
Born in Seoul, South Korea, Peter Serpico was adopted when he was two years old, and was raised in Laurel, Maryland. Serpico graduated from the Baltimore International College Culinary School and his first cook job was at the Belmont Conference Center, where he worked under chef Rob Dunn. In 2006, Peter began as sous chef at the original Momofuku Noodle Bar in the East Village. For the next six years, Serpico worked with David Chang to open Momofuku Ssäm Bar and Momofuku Ko. As director of culinary operations, Serpico earned three stars from the New York Times, a James Beard Award, and two Michelin Stars, among other accolades. Serpico’s highly praised eponymous restaurant on South Street in Philadelphia opened in 2013.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Serpico was reimagined as Pete’s Place. In 2022, Serpico and restaurant-partner Stephen Starr launched a revamp of Pod, a long-standing Philadelphia pan-Asian restaurant, as KPod, with a menu inspired by Serpico’s native South Korea. Serpico lives with his family in Philadelphia.
Unless you’re deeply committed to a life of vegetables, words like plant-based can be a turnoff when it comes to menus and cookbooks. Sure, many of us, myself included, want to expand our vegetable repertoire but still need to indulge their inner carnivore—particularly when we think of a bleak future with nothing but quinoa and steamed broccoli. But Kate Ramos, who created the blog ¡Hola! Jalapeño! with the goal of merging authentic ingredients and flavors with modern preparations, has our back. Taking that philosophy, Ramos has written her Plant Powered Mexican: Fast, Fresh Recipes from a Mexican-American Kitchen , published by Harvard Common Press, it’s a lushly photographer book with recipes that are so wonderful it’s easy to forget there’s nary an animal protein anywhere in her book.
Instead, Ramos offers us such dishes as Chileatole (a thick soup) with Masa Dumplings and Lime Crema, Potato and Collard Greens, Crispy Tacos with Ancho Chile Crema, and my personal favorite–One-Pan Cheesy Rice Chile Relleno Casserole.
In her first chapter, Ramos tells us what’s in her pantry, providing us with an entrée into the world of chiles, peppers, oils, spices, herbs, and Mexican cheeses as well as the equipment she relies upon. The latter are simple enough. Just a comal (but she notes you can use a cast iron skillet instead) and a molcajete and tejolote, a volcanic stone mortar and pestle for grinding spices and making chunky salsas. As for the ingredients she commonly uses, I’d be willing to bet that many of us have such items as black pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, kosher salt, and coriander in our spice drawer already. That just leaves a variety of dried chile powders—ancho, guajillo, arbol, and habanero as well as a few other ingredients that can be bought as needed. Unlike many entrees into a new cuisine, Ramos keeps it simple and inexpensive.
Six of the remaining chapters are divided into cooking methods—slow cookers, stovetop, grills, and oven. Instant Pot aficionados will be very happy to hear that there’s an entire chapter devoted to recipes using the beyond popular small kitchen appliance. Ramos cooks out of a small kitchen and says she’s never been enamored of kitchen equipment until, that is, she fell in love with her Instant Pot. Besides, its ability to cook beans—a common ingredient in Mexican cookery–quickly, Ramos offers a selection of recipes she’s developed for quick dinners for busy home cooks like Black Bean Enchilada Casserole, Smoky Tomato Tortilla Soup, and her Loaded Sweet Potatoes with Lime Crema, Sofrito Beans, Roasted Kale, and Chives.
The recipes I made all worked without me having to make tweaks to salvage them. That’s a plus because I have encountered recipes that haven’t been tested or at least not well evaluated before being included in a cookbook. If I have one complaint about Plant Powered Mexican it’s that the font is small so instead of just glancing at the recipe while cooking, I often had to pick up the book to be able to read the directions. It’s a small complaint and shouldn’t stop anyone who is interested in plant-based cooking from purchasing this well-written cookbook.
Vegan Picadillo Tostadas with Rice and Peas
For the tostadas
12 6-inch corn tortillas
For the picadillo
2 tablespoons avocado or sunflower oil
1 medium white onion chopped
2 medium carrots chopped
3 cloves garlic chopped
3 small Yukon gold potatoes peeled and diced
1 pound plant-based beef
1 recipe Magic Spice Mix see below
1 ¼ cups Gluten-free beer or vegetable broth
½ cup frozen peas no need to thaw
¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
3 cups steamed rice
1 large avocado diced
1-2 medium jalapeños thinly sliced
To make the tostadas: Heat the oven to 350°F. Once the oven is ready, lay the tortillas directly on the oven racks with plenty of room around them for air to circulate. (I put six on the top rack and six on the bottom in my oven.)
Bake for about 15 minutes, turning the tortillas halfway through, until they are very crisp and crack if you break them. Look for a light brown color, no darker than the shade of a roasted peanut. Remove the tortillas to a serving platter.
To make the picadillo: Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, garlic, and potatoes. Cook until the garlic and onions start to brown, about 5 minutes.
Add the plant-based beef and spice mix, breaking up the meat with the back of a wooden spoon. Continue cooking until the beef is browned, about 3 minutes. Add the beer or broth, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cover. Simmer the picadillo for about 10 minutes or until the veggies are tender. Stir in the peas and parsley, and cook for about 1 minute.
To Serve: Spread ¼ cup of rice on a tostada, and top with ¼ cup picadillo. Pass the garnishes at the table.
Magic Spice Mix:
Mix 1 tablespoon guajillo chile powder, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, ½ teaspoon smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon ground coriander, ½ teaspoon dried epazote or oregano (preferably Mexican) together in a small bowl until evenly combined. Use immediately or keep in a container for up to 1 month.
Chilled Avocado Soup
FOR THE SOUP:
1 large ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
2 cups cold water
2 small Persian cucumbers
2 scallions, trimmed and chopped
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 limes)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
FOR THE FAIRY DUST
1/4 cup roasted, salted sunflower seeds
1/4 cup white sesame seeds
1/4 cup popped amaranth
1/4 cup edible flower petals, such as nasturtium, pansies, marigolds, or cornflowers
1 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds
To make the soup:
Blend soup ingredients. Add avocado, water, cucumbers, scallions, chile, lime juice, cilantro, oil, and salt to a blender. Blend until smooth.
Chill. Cover and chill in the refrigerator until completely cold, at least 2 hours.
To make the fairy dust:
Combine. Add the sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, amaranth, flowers, and cumin seeds to a small bowl. Mix gently.
Serve. Ladle the cold soup into bowls and sprinkle fairy dust over the top.
Known as “the gumbo of the Bluegrass,” burgoo is a meat stew consisting of a variety of meats that were often smoked as that’s one of the ways they preserved food back then. The list of ingredients included at least one “bird of the air” and at least one “beast of the field.” The latter could include squirrel, ground hog, lamb, pork jowl, and rabbit. Added to that were whatever vegetables (think corn, tomatoes, turnips, potatoes, carrots, onions, okra, and lima beans) were either in season or still stored and edible in the larder. Sometimes oysters, oatmeal and/or pearl barley were thrown in as well. Schmid also includes, among his many burgoo recipes, one that feeds 10,000 which calls for a ton and a half of beef (I’m not including it but if you’re expecting a huge crowd over email me and I’ll send it) and another that makes 1200 gallons.
“Often you’ll find this dish paired with one of the Commonwealth’s other favorite exports, bourbon, and the state’s distinctive barbecue,” writes Schmid, who immersed himself in archives of early cookbooks.
He takes us back to the days of Daniel Boone, uncovering forgotten recipes of regional dishes and such lost recipes as Mush Biscuits and Half Moon Fried Pies. There are numerous recipes for burgoo starting from early pioneer days, each unique depending on the region, food tastes, and what ingredients were easily sourced. Burgoo was an early community dish with people coming together to prepare it in vast amounts for celebrations.
Women would gather for peeling parties which meant endlessly peeling and dicing vegetables while men would stir the ingredients as they simmered in the huge pots throughout the night, most likely with sips of bourbon to keep them enthused about the task. Whether women got to sip bourbon too, we can only hope so. But in an age where water wasn’t safe to drink and even children were given wine, cider, small beer, and the dregs of their parents sweetened spirits to drink, I’m guessing so.
The Mysterious Name of Burgoo
As for the name burgoo, well, no one, not even Schmid is sure where it comes from.
“It may have described an oatmeal porridge that was served to English sailors in the mid-1700s, or it may have come from the small town of Bergoo, West Virginia,” Schmid hypothesized. The word might also be a slur of bird stew or perhaps bulger; it could also be a mispronunciation of barbecue, ragout, or an amalgam of the lot. If the oatmeal story is true, burgoo continued as a military staple as it became a hearty stew for soldiers who could travel light and hunt and gather ingredients ‘from wild things in the woods’ once they stopped moving for the day—so they did not have to move the supplies from one location to another.”
Of course, a hearty burgoo demands a great bourbon drink and Schmid offers quite a few of those as well. One name I’m particularly taken with is called Kentucky Fog, presumably because over-consumption left one in a fog. Other great names for bourbon drinks mentioned in the book are Moon Glow, Bourbaree, and the Hot Tom and Jerry.
The following recipes are from Burgoo, Barbecue, and Bourbon.
1 quart Kentucky bourbon
1 quart strong coffee
1 quart vanilla ice cream
Combine the ingredients in a punch bowl and serve.
1½ ounces bourbon
2 ounces cranberry juice
2 ounces orange juice
2 teaspoons maraschino cherry juice
Pack a tall glass with crushed ice. Add the cranberry juice and the orange juice. Add the maraschino cherry juice. Then add the bourbon. Stir well with a bar spoon and garnish with 2 maraschino cherries and a straw.
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven. Brown the stew meat with the herbs and garlic. Add the remaining ingredients, except the cornstarch, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for at least 3 hours. Adjust seasonings to taste and thicken with cornstarch.
Spoonbread with Bourbon
2 cups water, boiling
1 cup cornmeal
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
3 egg yolks, beaten
3 egg whites, stiffly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
4 tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons lard
1 tablespoon bourbon
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Boil the water; add the lard and butter; to this mixture add
the cornmeal, egg yolks, and baking soda. Stir in the buttermilk and stiffly beaten egg whites. Add the bourbon and pour into a buttered casserole dish. Bake for 35 minutes.
Original Kentucky Whiskey Cake
5 cups flour, sifted
1 pound sugar
1 cup brown sugar
¾ pound butter
6 eggs, separated and beaten
1 pint Kentucky bourbon
1 pound candied cherries, cut in pieces
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 pound shelled pecans
½ pound golden raisins, halved, or ½ pound dates, chopped
Soak cherries and raisins in bourbon overnight.
Preheat oven to 250–275 degrees F.
Cream the butter and sugars until fluffy. Add the egg yolks and beat well. To the butter and egg mixture, add the soaked fruit and the remaining liquid alternately with the flour. Reserve a small amount of flour for the nuts. Add the nutmeg and baking powder. Fold in the beaten egg whites. Add the lightly floured pecans last. Bake in a large, greased tube pan that has been lined with 3 layers of greased brown paper. Bake for 3–4 hours. Watch baking time carefully.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Richard Hougen was the manager of the Boone Tavern Hotel of Hotel and Restaurant of Berea College and the author of several cookbooks, including Look No Further: A Cookbook of Favorite Recipes from Boone Tavern Hotel (Berea College, Kentucky), Hougen includes the recipe for Boone Tavern Cornsticks. He notes at the bottom of the recipe, adapted here, how important it is to “heat well-greased cornstick pan to smoking hot on top of the stove before pouring in your batter.
Boone Tavern Hotel Cornsticks
2 cups white cornmeal
½ cup flour
2 eggs, well beaten
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 cups buttermilk
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons lard, melted
Preheat oven to 450–500 degrees F.
Sift the flour, cornmeal, salt, and baking powder together.
Mix the baking soda with the buttermilk, and then add to the dry ingredients; beat well. Add the eggs and beat. Add the lard. Mix well. Pour the batter into very hot well-greased cornstick pans on
top of stove, filling the pans to level.
Place pans on the lower shelf of the oven and bake for 8 minutes. Move the pans to the upper shelf and bake for an additional 5–10 minutes.