Tag Archives: cookbook

Cook90 is our Cookbook Club Pick for January

I still remember the day a few years back when David Tamarkin, the site director of Epicurious, announced to me that he had chosen a word to summarize the brand’s new approach: realness. Having worked alongside David for (not even kidding) more than ten years, I know that when he says realness, he means it. It’s not just an ethos that he applies to everything on the Epicurious site; realness is David’s way of life. Which is why it didn’t surprise me that one January, he challenged himself to make three meals a day, with very few repeats, for the entire month, a project he dubbed “Cook90.” That project is now a book (buy it!), which is, I’m happy to say, our January selection for the Bon Appétit Cookbook Club.

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In a world of aspiration and lifestyle and glitter bagels and CBD water, Cook90 is the ultimate distillation of “home-cook realness,” to use David’s terminology. It’s not about the latest iteration of Keto or how amazing your life will be if you eat cold oats that have been sitting in your fridge overnight. The Cook90 book is unflinching in its dedication to recipes, tools, and strategies that make weeknight cooking not just possible but enjoyable—like a gift to yourself rather than an end-of-day chore. And the concept is totally, refreshingly un-prescriptive: Cook the recipes in the book, or simply cook whatever you want. Either way, you’re still doing Cook90.

cook90 salmon spread

Before David walks over here and says that I am telling people they don’t need to buy the book and can just cook whatever recipes they want, let me just add one final note: Even as someone who is pretty much resigned to being what I’ll call a “Cook9” (and that’s in a good month, and yes I’m including breakfast in that figure), David’s perspective on cooking is so smart and practical, and his voice is so candid and—yes—real, that he makes the prospect of cooking 90 meals in 30 days feel not just accomplishable but truly rewarding.

Later this month, we’ll be sharing some of our favorite recipes from the book. And in lieu of a blowout Cookbook Club dinner, we’re all going to bring “nextovers” (the Cook90 term for non-depressing leftovers) to work one day and trade lunches with each other. That, my friends, is realness.

Pick up a copy of Cook90 wherever you buy cookbooks. And if you want to learn more about the BA Cookbook Club and how to start your own club, you’ll find all that right here.

https://www.bonappetit.com/story/january-cookbook-club-cook90

A Very Martha Stewart Cookbook Party

Contributing editor Sarah Jampel made these poached pears. My new winter color palette? I think yes. She made them the night before, so these too take the pressure off day-of. “I cooked them until ‘just tender,’ per Mar’s instrux, but if you want spoonably soft pears, you’ll want to poach them for longer,” Sarah explained. “Also, while the pears are poaching, I think it’s good to cover them with a parchment paper cartouche.” FANCY!

https://www.bonappetit.com/gallery/martha-stewart-cookbook-club-recap

The Cookbook Gift Guide That Covers EVERYONE You Know

Everyone at BA loved Almonds, Anchovies, and Pancetta, the tiny but mighty cookbook that uses three simple, fatty ingredients in exceptional ways. At our cookbook club dinner, the standout recipes were cucumber and green tomato salad with avocado, fish sauce, cilantro, and lime; almond butter cookies with chocolate; Bagna cauda salad with optional truffle upgrade; spicy almond crack; and the pork meatballs with farro, hazelnuts, and sage. The recipes are fab, and that’s what we’re here for, but the writing is so damn funny you’ll want to read it cover-to-cover while snacking on toast bites with basil, anchovy, sambal oelek, and a single peanut (a “fucked-up Frankensnack”). Salty fishes forever!

Buy it: Almonds, Anchovies, and Pancetta: A Vegetarian Cookbook, Kind Of, $18 on Amazon

https://www.bonappetit.com/gallery/cookbook-gift-guide-for-every-type

Martha Stewart’s Legendary First Book Is Our December Cookbook Club Pick

Before she launched a magazine and moguled a media empire and bathed her Sicilian donkeys and took her first Uber ride, Martha Helen Stewart ran a catering company in Connecticut. In 1982, Clarkson Potter published her first book, Entertaining—a catalogue of her catering feats, including no less than three variations on an omelette party. This iconic book is still in print thirtysome years later, and it’s our selection for the third month of the Bon Appétit Cookbook Club. Allow me to explain why!

BA cookbook club logo

How many cookbooks do you actually cook out of? As something of a cookbook hoarder, I’m embarrassed to admit that my answer to that is relatively few. Most of the books that come across my desk float in and out; only a scarce few are, uh, lucky enough to get stained with smudges of olive oil. So when my colleagues and I decided to launch this here Cookbook Club, we knew from the onset that we didn’t want to feature only new books. We wanted this to be an opportunity to give a little love to those that had withstood the test of time. So to follow two new releases—Nik Sharma’s modern Indian-American tome and a sweet little book called Almonds, Anchovies, and Pancetta—we knew that only one book could sum up the joy, the excess, the roquefort-stuffed aspirations of the coming holiday season: Martha Stewart’s Entertaining.

To kick things off, we’ve got Martha’s recipe for Ham and Cheese Feuilleté, which appears in the chapter of the book titled “Cocktails for Two Hundred: Country Fare.” (Don’t worry: BA food editor Molly Baz adapted the recipe to a slightly more manageable scale.) Later this week, we’ll be hosting our own Cookbook Club potluck, where a bunch of us on staff will be skewering lamb and forming smoked trout into chevrons. So grab a new or old copy of the book, round up two hundred of your closest friends, and holiday party like it’s 1982.

Get the recipe:

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Pick up a copy of Entertaining wherever you buy cookbooks. And if you want to learn more about the BA Cookbook Club and how to start your own club, you’ll find all that right here.

https://www.bonappetit.com/story/martha-stewart-entertaining-december-cookbook-club

How Our First Cookbook Club Went Down

Every Friday morning, Bon Appétit senior staff writer Alex Beggs shares weekly highlights from the BA office, from awesome new recipes to office drama to restaurant recs, with some weird (food!) stuff she saw on the internet thrown in. It gets better: If you sign up for our newsletter, you’ll get this letter before everyone else.

How the first #bacookbookclub went down

Normally I live by the Groucho Marx maxim “I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member,” but made an exception for the newly launched Bon Appétit cookbook club. You get food at the end? Okay, I’m in. 16 staffers and not a single man (you know who are—and you better join in next month or ELSE) cooked recipes from Nik Sharma’s beautiful new book, Season, and gathered around the table to talk about how it went. I made a pineapple-serrano infused gin cocktail that had me squeezing pineapple pulp in cheesecloth over my sink at 8 a.m. like an amateur milkmaid, which was a first but not a last. The finished cocktail had a subtle heat and clean pineapple flavor—refreshing! Molly Baz made chaat masala-rubbed pork chops (pictured above) that wowed us all, Carla Lalli Music made lamb-stuffed mashed potato pancakes I wanted to sit in close proximity to, and Carey Polis’s sweet potato bebinca, a smooth pudding cake of my favorite texture (jiggly), was all I wanted for breakfast today. The challenge to tackle a recipe you might not have otherwise, coordinate and gather with friends around a table, talk about your successes and pitfalls in the journey of cooking—it’s not just for Thanksgiving! Find a cookbook you’re excited about and give it a go. A Google doc and a little planning is all it takes.

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Peden + Munk

The price of pasta

You know how people lie? They say, “Yum! That was delicious.” But you can tell they’re just saying what they’re supposed to say as dinner guests at your table. And I can live on that alone! But sometimes they tell the truth and in those moments you bask in the glory. I made this winter squash carbonara recently and everyone at the table went back for seconds, using tongs to grab extra slivers of chopped bacon. My great aunt, whose kitchen I was crashing, went back for thirds. And she does thing where she puts a New York menu price on the dish, which I love. “You could charge $16 for this!” She told me over the blasting audio of whoever was pontificating on MSNBC. “At Via Carota!” She added. My heart was full. The roasted squash melts into the noodles + egg yolks + pasta water and becomes creamy, coating each strand. The bacon is bacon. We added a little Lacinato kale for health. Make this pasta.

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Alex Lau

Garlic powder 4 lyfe

This chicken cutlet is a great recipe, but a lot of people decide not to make it because they can’t find Maggi seasoning (a super concentrated “flavor enhancer” like extreme soy sauce). It goes in the buttermilk ranch dressing that’s doctored up with crème fraîche, onion powder, and garlic powder, the ingredient we waxed poetic about this week. Why use garlic powder instead of fresh? You can find out here, and then buy yourself a new jar, because yours looks dusty.

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The sprouting sweet potato

Speaking of natural wonders of the world, we’ve have a purple Japanese sweet potato on our snack table for a few…months now. When it finally sprouted, Basically editor Amiel Stanek started referring to it as his “son.” Suddenly we were all emotionally attached to this grotesque and lumpy potato boy. As it sat in the sun, more sprouts grew into what looked like a curly head of hair atop the potato head. This week, Brad Leone walked over and gasped in delight: “Look at that! You can plant it in some dirt and it’ll sprout more sweet potatoes.” Alex Delany popped up from his desk, “No it won’t,” which really riled Brad up. “PUT IT IN THE DIRT, YA DINGLE!” He said. “I do it every year—decoratively.” So when the time is right, we might just do that. If Amiel can say goodbye.

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Photo by Heather Sten

Two great reads

Cecilia Chiang is a 99-year-old restaurant icon. I can’t believe Priya Krishna was invited to her birthday dinner and got to snag a selfie with the (selfie-loving) lady of the hour. (Read for her aside about James Beard.)

I’m intrigued by udon master (and BA Hot 10 chef) Tsuyoshi Nishioka’s obsession with dreams. Am I workshopping my life goals enough? Clearly not. Am I eating enough udon? Also no. I gotta work on that.

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Unnecessary food feud of the week

Apple announced a few new food emojis this week, the most controversial being this shiny, dry-looking abominably plain bagel. “Dewy,” wrote Healthyish editor Amanda Shapiro, shuddering as she typed. “It’s like a Ken doll version of a bagel,” said restaurant editor Elyse Inamine. “The inside is like unexpectedly looking into a high def zoom mirror that shows you all of your pores,” said editorial assistant Jesse Sparks, who’d rather not catch that glimpse. “Uncomfortable,” noted social media manager Emily Schultz. “rly firm” typed editorial assistant Emma Wartzman. Molly Baz uploaded an image of a Thomas brand bagel for some reason. Like the drooly face, clown face, and blue bowl with NOTHING IN IT, the new bagel will be relegated to the emojis of little purpose file. At least it wasn’t…blueberry?

We’re Starting a Cookbook Club at Bon Appétit, and So Can You

In the words of Michael Jackson, “Ya gotta be startin’ somethin,” and guess what?! We’re starting a Bon Appétit Cookbook Club. Each month, we, the editors of Bon Appétit, will choose a cookbook we’re obsessed with, whether it’s one that’s hot off the press or the one that we’ve been cooking out of for a decade. On the first Monday of each month, we’ll announce that month’s cookbook, give you the low-down on what makes it a must-have, and share one of our favorite recipes from it. This month’s inaugural pick: Nik Sharma’s Season; read about why we chose it (and get the recipe for his curry leaf popcorn chicken right this way. Then, here’s how to get in on the Club:

1. Find the book

…from the library, from a bookstore, from your friend’s house, from one of those sites on the internet that sells things, whatever it takes.

2. Find friends (or internet friends)

Pass the cookbook around to all of your friends and get them amped up about Cookbook Club.

3. Make a date

Craft that group text, then use a Doodle poll to pick a date.

4. Decide who’s making what

Cookbook Club is potluck-style. Get a Google Sheet going (to avoid duplicate recipes), and ask people to sign up for a recipe (or two) to make. You can also have a column for dietary restrictions, if you’re nice like that.

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5. Prep your dish

It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for, the time to cook your dish. Make sure you read the recipe a few days in advance, in case you suddenly find out you were supposed to soak almonds overnight, or something like that. Choose a recipe that you know will transport well (sorry, fried calamari) and bring your own servingware. If you need to reheat something, quickly whip cream, or chop some garnishes, ask your host if you can come over a few minutes early to prep; it’ll be way easier that way, trust us.

6. Party

Break out the triangular party hats, put on that playlist of good vibes, and open that Gamay you’ve been chilling: It’s party time. Have everyone bring a bottle of wine or the ingredients for a cocktail. (I’ve heard a pitcher of these spritzes is the move.)

7. Tell us about it!

Follow along right here on bonappetit.com, on Instagram (you follow us, right?), and in our newsletter (sign up for that here) for all of the updates on what our editors and readers are psyched about making from each book. Use the hashtag #BACookbookClub when you’re cooking for your party!

A New Persian Cookbook from Naz Deravian Recovers Memories from Iran

No matter how many times she’s tried, Naz Deravian can’t remember the last meal she ate in Tehran. It was 1980 when her family fled the city in the thick of the Iranian Revolution and the hostage crisis. She was eight years old.

Deravian only recalls what she ate when the family landed in Vancouver: a McDonald’s quarter-pounder with cheese and a side of french fries. The meal was heavenly, but it was a far cry from a bowl of restorative aash, a Persian soup bursting with legumes and green herbs.

“You don’t commit to memory the lasts when you don’t know it’s going to be your last,” Deravian told me. “The last meals and the last hugs go undocumented. And you spend the next 35 years of your life trying to conjure them up in a simple pot of stew.”

Deravian, now 46 and living in Inglewood, California, has kept an award-winning Persian food blog, Bottom of the Pot, since 2013; she makes a living writing about food and occasional screen acting. This month, her first cookbook, Bottom of the Pot: Persian Recipes and Stories, is out from Flatiron Books. Deravian writes with a sure hand, treating chapter and recipe introductions as forms of memoir; like her writing, the book’s photographs are lush, almost wistful. The nearly 100 recipes within are a nod to her heritage: khoresh fesenjan, a sour pomegranate walnut stew; morgh ba zafaran, chicken cooked in saffron water; pistachio sanbuseh, airy turnovers padded with ground pistachios and perfumed with cardamom and rosewater.

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Photo by Chelsie Craig

Deravian wrote the book with two audiences in mind: those unfamiliar with but curious about Persian food and a younger generation of Iranians who, like her, may live abroad but crave the food they grew up eating. Every recipe is a self-contained story, headnotes sometimes lasting paragraphs as Deravian zigzags through time periods and memories, demonstrating how displacement fosters its own kind of culinary education.

Though she dabbled in the kitchen as a child, she began cooking for herself when she moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting in 1996. She called her mother up in a fit of desperation, gripping a notebook and pencil and asking her to dictate her recipe for crispy Persian rice, or tahdig. Cooking came naturally to her from there. “The kitchen became a place where I could escape, relax, and reconnect with myself,” she writes.

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Photo by Chelsie Craig

She began blogging nearly two decades later after she’d host non-Iranian friends for dinner who confessed they were too timid to try cooking Persian food themselves. “This notion of the inaccessibility of Persian food for the average American home cook always saddens me,” Deravian said. “At its heart, Persian food is meant to be shared with family and friends.”

She noticed that the blog posts that generated the greatest number of kind comments and letters from readers were ones with deeply personal anecdotes attached to them. These were recipes like aash-e reshteh—a soup of beans, herbs, and noodles to be eaten before the Persian New Year—which she used as a vehicle to tell to the story of teaching her young daughter, Luna, the meaning of the word azadi, Farsi for “freedom.” Another recipe for aash-e anar, a tart pomegranate soup, told Luna the story of Shab-e Yalda, the winter solstice celebration in which families gather to eat and read poetry late into the night on the longest night of the year. She was using recipes as a medium to explain her own heritage. In Bottom of the Pot, she synthesizes them to tell her whole story.

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Photo by Chelsie Craig

As she wrote and cooked her way through the book, Deravian’s parents fell ill.

“It became even more imperative for me to get these stories down,” she said. “To listen, to ask questions, to be present.” Time took on a new meaning for her in this period, and she extracted recipes and stories from them both. Her father, who died in May, told her the stories of dishes like aash-e dogha, a soup of full-fat sour yogurt with beef meatballs. He explained that their family’s recipe had originated with her paternal grandfather, who picked it up when he was a rice merchant in Baku, Azerbaijan, and brought it back to Iran’s Gilan Province. The recipe traveled through generations—and, eventually, continents.

Deravian wrote the book during a time of political chaos too. “This was, and still is, an anxiety-ridden time,” she told me. “Here I was writing about my childhood memories of a revolution and immigration, while very similar scenarios were playing out in real time around me.”

There was a lot of noise, she told me, people shouting opinions and making declarations about the value of Iranian immigrant lives like her own. The best she could do was drown out the noise, hunker down, test her recipes, and keep writing.

Mayukh Sen is a James Beard Award-winning food and culture writer based in New York.