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Feb 24, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘cookbooks’

The List: The Cookbook Nook at Juniper

Friday, April 4th, 2014

Welcome to The List, our annual homage to the people, places, dishes and drinks we love in St. Louis. Don’t miss a single pick; click here to read the whole List and share your thoughts on Twitter with #thesaucelist.




If you’re a lover of all things food, Juniper’s jam-packed bookcase will not just catch your attention, it will compel you to finally renew your library card. Listen to its shelves groan under dozens of cookbooks and memoirs by culinary heavyweights such as Thomas Keller, Ferran Adrià, Julia Child and Jacques Pépin. More recent hits like David McMillan’s The Art of Living According to Joe Beef or April Bloomfield’s A Girl and Her Pig will have you wondering what recipes Juniper’s chef-owner John Perkins has dog-eared when creating his own rustic and tantalizing menus. – B.K.

360 N. Boyle Ave., St. Louis, 314.329.7696, junipereats.com

By the Book: Scaloppine di Vitello al Marsala with Insalata di Arance

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013



Sicily: the largest island in the Mediterranean, the deflated soccer ball that Italy’s boot is kicking, the home to perhaps the hottest region for wine, and the latest subject of Phaidon Press. For me, what makes Sicilian cooking so interesting is that it isn’t the typical cuisine one might expect coming from an island off the coast of Italy. In fact, it isn’t very Italian at all. Based on Sicily’s location in the middle of the Mediterranean, the island was conquered throughout history time and time again. Consequently, Sicily’s cuisine has been influenced by the Greeks, Romans, Carthaginians, Arabs, Normans, Spaniards and so on … As the cookbook states, Sicily truly is “the original fusion cuisine.”




I chose the citrus and fennel salad because it looked beautiful in its photo. I chose the veal Marsala based on the amount of butter the recipe called for; I knew it would taste ridiculously decadent. I was right on both counts.




The recipe for the fennel salad seemed so weird – one of those combos that I figured would taste probably taste good, but I never would have thought of on my own. The salad was quick to put together, and although the flavors were powerful, the salad itself was light, which complemented the heaviness of the veal.




The veal was almost too rich for my tastes. Almost. Perhaps if I ordered it in a restaurant, I wouldn’t have thought twice about how it was prepared. But since I made it, it was hard to erase the image of the meat boiling in butter. The same idea goes for fried chicken – I would rather just eat it, not cook it. Although the veal melted in my mouth, it was so buttery that just one or two medallions seemed like enough, coupled with some salad and wine, of course.



Insalata di Arance
Preparation time: 30 minutes
8 servings

For the dressing:
5 Tbsp. olive oil
Juice of half a lemon, strained
2 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley
Fennel fronds from 3 to 4 fennel bulbs
1 tsp. fennel seeds (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the salad:
3 to 4 fennel bulbs, thinly sliced, fronds reserved
8 oranges
1 cup roasted olives

• First make the dressing. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, fennel fronds and fennel seeds, if using, in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
• Cut off the peel from the oranges, removing all traces of bitter white pith. Cut the flesh into rounds, put them into a large bowl and add the fennel and olives.
• Drizzle the dressing over the salad, mix well and serve immediately.

Scaloppine di Vitello al Marsala (veal scallops with marsala)
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
4 servings

1 lb. 2-oz. veal scallops
All-purpose flour, for dusting
3 oz. (6 Tbsp.) butter
14 oz. (1½ cups) dry Marsala
2 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley, to serve

• Dust the veal with flour, shaking off the excess.
• Melt the butter in a large pan and heat until it turns hazel in color.
• Add the veal, in batches if necessary, and cook over high heat for 5 minutes on each side.
• Season to taste with salt, reduce the heat to low and cook for a few minutes more, then remove the veal from the pan and set aside on a plate in a warm place.
• Scrape up the sediment from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, then pour in the Marsala, stir well and cook until reduced. Spoon the sauce over the veal, garnish with the parsley and serve.

Reprinted with permission from Phaidon Press

Tell us about your favorite lettuce-less salad in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of Sicily. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Stacie, whose comment on last week’s By the Book column has won her a copy of Lidia’s Commonsense Italian Kitchen. Stacie, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew!



By the Book: Lidia Matticchio Bastianich’s Pipette or Elbows with Sweet Potatoes, Parsley and Capers

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013



I had a plan. After a leisurely Sunday afternoon browsing through Lidia’s Commonsense Italian Kitchen, I would cook up an Italian feast. Maybe try my hand at homemade pasta (She offers wonderfully simple instructions with or without a pasta roller.). Or I’d give her Pepperadelle with Turkey Rolls a go. Maybe I’d bake something.

Then the wind picked up. In the next 10 minutes, rain blew sideways; branches crashed into the street; hail pelted the driveway. My lights flickered once, twice, and then died completely. And they remained off for the next 36 hours. Instead of preparing for my feast, I spent the limited hours of daylight purging my freezer of dripping ice cream and thawing leftovers. I ferried all my precious dairy products – half-and-half, milk, the good cheese – to the refrigerator at my office.




With deadline – and darkness – approaching on Monday, I called my parents and offered to cook dinner in exchange for their kitchen. Then I flipped open the book again, this time hunting for something simple and fast. Luckily, Lidia Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali’s recipes are delicious and as touted, based on common sense. After a quick trip to the grocery store for some fennel, leeks, a sweet potato and some quality cheese, I whipped up a filling meal.




Bastianich’s Pipette or Elbows with Sweet Potatoes, Parsley and Capers was a great seasonal pasta dish that warmed us up on a cold night. Bright orange sweet potatoes and soft green leeks studded the pan sauce, bulked up with plenty of pancetta. Fresh parsley and capers brightened it up, and the whole thing coated the elbow macaroni without weighing it down. A note of caution: Use a light hand when seasoning. With all the pancetta, capers, pasta water and cheese, the dish didn’t need another pinch of sodium.




The bonus dish – Baked Fennel with Sage – was the surprise hit of the night. As I sliced and blanched the bulbs, the potent smell was a tad off-putting to some (Exact words: “It smells like my old fish tank.”). But baking the fennel in a hot oven (and smothering it in fontina and Parmigiano-Reggiano), turned the strong, licorice-y vegetable into a mild, earthy side dish that screamed for a slice of rustic bread to sop up all that gooey cheese.




Each dish took only about 20 minutes of active cooking time, and the instructions encouraged home cooks to trust their instincts. But the best part? I returned home to a well-lit apartment where I stored my leftover ingredients in a nice, chilly fridge. Now back to that grand Italian meal…



Pipette or Elbows with Sweet Potatoes, Parsley and Capers
6 Servings

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
4 oz. thick-sliced bacon or pancetta, cut into julienne strips
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
4 fresh sage leaves
1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into ½-inch cubes
2 leeks, white and light-green parts only, sliced (about 2 cups)
¼ cup rinsed small capers (optional)
½ tsp. Kosher salt, plus more for the pot
¼ to ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 lb. pipette or elbow pasta
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 cup grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano

• Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for pasta.
• In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil and add the bacon or pancetta, the garlic and the sage. Cook until fat has rendered, about 3 to 4 minutes.
• Add the sweet potatoes and leeks and cook, stirring continuously, until both begin to soften, about 4 minutes. Add the capers, if using. Season with the salt and crushed red pepper.
• Ladle in 1 cup of pasta water and simmer rapidly until the sweet potatoes and leeks are very tender but the sweet potatoes retain their shape, about 7 to 8 minutes, adding more pasta water if necessary to keep it saucy.
• Meanwhile, cook the pipette until al dente. When the pipette are done, remove with a spider directly to the sauce.
• Add the parsley and toss to coat the pasta with the sauce. Increase the heat and boil 1 minute if the sauce is too thin or add a little more pasta water if it is too thick.
• Remove the skillet from the heat, sprinkle with the grated cheese and serve.



Baked Fennel with Sage
6 Servings

½ tsp. Kosher salt, plus more for the pot
3 bulbs fennel, trimmed (about 2 lbs.)
8 oz. grated Italian fontina
½ cup grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
6 large fresh sage leaves, chopped

• Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Bring a large lot of salted water to a boil.
• Halve and core the fennel and slice it ½-inch thick. Add the slices of fennel to the boiling water and blanch until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and rinse.
• In a medium bowl, toss together the fontina and grated Grana Padano.
• Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Spread in the blanched fennel and season with the salt. Scatter the chopped sage over the top and sprinkle with the grated cheese.
• Bake until browned and bubbly, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Reprinted with permission from Alfred Knopf Publishing

Power outages, broken ovens, hungry dogs… What’s the biggest obstacle that was interfered with your cooking plans? How did you adapt? Tell us about it in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of Lidia’s Commonsense Italian Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Sue, whose answer on last week’s By the Book has won a copy of Roberta‘s Cookbook by Carlo Mirarchi, Brandon Hay, Chris Parachini and Katherine Wheelock. Sue, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew.

By the Book: Einat Admony’s Harissa and Honey Hot Wings and Tangy Tabbouleh

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013



Balaboosta: Bold Mediterranean Recipes to Feed the People You Love from Einat Admony is the first book by the Israeli chef. She’s worked in the kitchen for many fine-dining restaurants, including Bolo (which I loved), Danube and Tabla, but her first restaurant, Taïm, is anything but fine dining. It’s a hole in the wall where she serves dishes like falafel and hummus,  but her experience in fine-dining kitchens makes her everyday food special. You can see that in the book’s recipes, too, which is why it was so fun to use.




These recipes are straightforward and unfussy. I tried out her honey harissa hot wings because our photographer Greg Rannells dropped off some homemade harissa to our office (He drops off gifts periodically. So nice!). The prep was a quick marinade of honey, olive oil, salt, harissa and lime juice whisked together and poured over the wings for an hour or overnight. I just let them marinade for three hours. The recipe recommends grilling them, but Admony provides a baking alternative I appreciated. The wings turned out delicious: spicy, sticky and sweet with a burnished skin from all that honey.




I also tested her Tangy Tabbouleh, which was refreshing. I normally don’t like tabbouleh because it tends to be parsley-heavy, and honestly, parsley alone is too grassy. This version has parsley, but it also has cilantro, scallions and mint for a bright salad of herbs enhanced by a lemony zing.




Harissa and Honey Hot Wings
4 to 6 Servings

½ cup honey
1/3 cup olive oil
3 Tbsp. World’s Best Harissa (Recipe follows. You can also used your favorite store-bought harissa.)
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
3 lbs. chicken wings

• Whisk together all the ingredients except the chicken wings. Taste the marinade, and if you can handle a little more kick, add another dollop of harissa.
• Dry the chicken with paper towels, then coat thoroughly in the harissa and honey mixture. Allow the meat to marinate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
• Prepare a grill and cook the wings over a low flame for 15 to 20 minutes, flipping them over halfway through the cooking time. If you don’t have access to a grill, bake the chicken wings in the oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

World’s Best Harissa
Makes about 2 ½ cups
10 garlic cloves
1 large roasted red bell pepper, peeled, cored, and seeded
1 ¼ cups canola oil, divided
¼ cup tomato paste
½ cup ground cumin
1/3 cup cayenne
1/3 cup sweet Hungarian paprika
¼ cup ground caraway
2 Tbsp. kosher salt

• Combine the garlic, bell pepper, 1 cup oil and the tomato paste in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is almost pureed.
• Add the cumin, cayenne, paprika, caraway and salt. Slowly drizzle in the remaining ¼ cup oil while the machine is running. Keep processing until the harissa is completely pureed, and all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
• Store the harissa in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 months.

Tangy Tabbouleh
6 to 8 Servings

1 cup medium bulgur
1 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 cup cilantro, finely chopped
4 scallions, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh mint, finely chopped
1 cup diced tomatoes
Zest of 2 lemons
¼ cup lemon juice
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. kosher salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

• Pour enough hot water over the bulgur just to cover it and soak for 10 minutes. The bulgur will absorb most of the water, and it should have a slight crunch when you bite into one of the grains.
• Meanwhile, toss together the remaining ingredients in a very large bowl. Add the bulgur and mix thoroughly. Allow the salad to soak in all the wonderful tangy flavors for 30 minutes before serving.

Taïm may be a hole in the wall, but it serves up great food. What is your favorite St. Louis hole in the wall and why? Tell us about it in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of Balaboosta by Einat Admony. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Lauren, whose comment on last week’s By the Book has won a copy of Ottolenghi: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. Lauren, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew.

By the Book: Arthur Schwartz’s Chocolate Babka

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013


Arthur Schwartz’s Jewish Home Cooking: Yiddish Recipes Revisited should be subtitled A Crash Course in the History of Jewish-American Gastronomy. The lengthy introduction goes into great detail about the steady migration of Eastern European Jews to New York City, bringing with them the kosher dishes of their homelands. As Jews assimilated into American culture, those traditional dishes evolved. Most of the recipes in this book were collected from New York deli owners, restaurateurs and ordinary people who’ve put twists on their family’s longtime recipes. The history and evolution of each dishes proved as intriguing as the recipes themselves.

The chocolate babka is a prime example of how a simple coffee cake became a luxurious treat. According to Schwartz, the word “babka” comes from “baba,” the Polish word for old lady or grandma. The cake got its name because its original incarnation was “stout and round, just like grandmothers used to be before they went to aerobics class and practiced yoga.” These dry-ish cakes were traditionally plain and served with coffee or tea, but today, Schwartz says their purpose is largely to serve as a vessel for chocolate and sweet stuffings.




He had me at chocolate. This babka is simple to make, but it does require some time. The buttery yeast dough must rest refrigerated overnight, then rest another two hours after the rolls are assembled. Plan accordingly.




Since there’s a generous amount of sugar in the dough and filling, and I’m not one for overly sweet desserts, I used dark chocolate chips instead of the called-for semisweet.




In lieu of a second loaf pan, I tucked most of the slices into a 8-inch round, cinnamon-roll style. Two hours later, they had puffed up against each other in a lovely, chocolate-studded nest.




The end result was definitely still a coffee cake: dry with enough sweetness to warrant a bitter beverage. Though technically included in the dessert section of this book, the coffee pairing necessitates that – like doughnuts or sticky buns – you eat this for breakfast. After all, chocolate in the morning makes the day just a little easier.




Chocolate Babka
Makes 2 loaves

3 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
A generous ¾ cup sugar, divided
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces
½ cup whole milk
1 package (about 2 ¼ tsp. active dry yeast)
3 eggs, separated
1 tsp. ground cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling (optional)

2 cups (12 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts (optional)

• To make the dough, in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the flour, salt and 3 heaping tablespoons of the sugar. Pulse to blend.
• Add the butter to the flour mixture and pulse until crumbly.
• In a small saucepan, heat the milk over low heat until warm, not hot, to the touch (no more than 110 degrees). Stir in 1 level tablespoon of the sugar and the yeast. Allow to stand 7 minutes, until bubbly and risen.
• Add the egg yolks and yeast mixture to the flour mixture. Pulse several times, scraping down the bowl once or twice, until a ball is formed. Remove the dough and place it in a large bowl. Cover with a clean towel and refrigerate overnight.
• Grease 2 8½-by-4½-inch loaf pans. Flour a work surface and a rolling pin.
• To assemble the babkas, in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
• One tablespoon at a time, add the remaining ½ cup sugar, then the cinnamon. Beat until the whites form firm peaks.
• Divide the dough in half. Keep one half refrigerated while working with the other. For each half, knead the dough a few times. Roll out on a floured surface to an approximately 22-by-18-inch rectangle. It will be thin.
• Spread the rectangle of dough with half the beaten egg whites to within 1 inch of the edges. Sprinkle evenly with half the chocolate, half the walnuts, and lightly with more cinnamon.
• Turn in about 1 inch of the short edges of the dough rectangle, then carefully roll up jelly roll-style. If the dough is sticking slightly, use a bench scraper (pastry scraper) to ease it off the work surface.
• Slice each roll into 8 even pieces. For each babka, place 8 slices sections in 1 loaf pan, cut sides up like a cinnamon roll, packing them so the edges touch. Cover each with a clean towel and let rise at room temperature for 2 hours. The dough should come up higher than the sides of the pans.
• Position an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the loaves for 35 to 40 minutes, until light brown. Cool the babkas in the pans for about 5 minutes, then invert them onto serving plates.
• Serve with a serrated blade, or break apart into natural segments.

Reprinted with permission from Ten Speed Press

What’s your favorite sweet breakfast treat to pair with your morning coffee and why? Tell us about it in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of Jewish Home Cooking by Arthur Schwartz. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Joe, whose comment on last week’s By the Book has won a copy of The Mile End Cookbook by Noah and Rae Bernamoff. Rebecca, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew.



Sauce Celebrity Chef Series Presents an Evening with Edward Lee

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013


Join Sauce Magazine, in partnership with Left Bank Books, for the next Sauce Celebrity Chef Series event with Edward Lee.

Lee, chef-owner of 610 Magnolia and MilkWood in Louisville, Ky., came to national attention as a three-time James Beard Award Finalist for Best Chef: Southeast and as a contestant on Bravo’s Top Chef: Texas. At this intimate event, which takes place at Taste, Lee will mingle with guests over passed hors d’oeuvres as he discusses and signs his first book, Smoke & Pickles: Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen. The cookbook features 130 dishes that meld Lee’s Korean heritage with his French culinary training and Southern home.

Tickets, available here, are $50 each and include Smoke & Pickles-inspired hors d’oeuvres prepared by the chefs at Taste, a Bourbon Sweet Tea cocktail featuring Jefferson’s Bourbon, and a copy of Smoke & Pickles.

What: A conversation and book signing with chef Edward Lee, food and drink

When: Aug. 13 – 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Where: Taste, 4584 Laclede Ave., St. Louis, 314.361.1200

Only 60 tickets are available for the event, which is expected to sell out quickly.



In This Issue: Southern Comforts – Books

Monday, July 15th, 2013


Inspired to bring a taste of the South into your kitchen? Crack open these titles, and you’ll have grits, greens and gumbo down in no time.



By the Book: Andrew Feinberg’s Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Almonds and Pecorino

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

If I ever write a cookbook (haha) and Alice Waters writes the foreword, I will immediately retire from the business because it just doesn’t get better than that. Such is the case in Andrew Feinberg, Francine Stephens and Melissa Clark’s much-anticipated cookbook Franny’s: Simple Seasonal Italian, which is based on recipes from Feinberg and Stephens’ restaurant Franny’s in Brooklyn. In her foreword, Waters sums up the book best when she writes, “This book captures the beating heart of what makes Franny’s so beautiful: its simplicity, its ability to make the ordinary surprising, and – above all – its celebration of honest everyday cooking.”

From Feinberg’s recipe for his famous Clam Pizza to his Roasted Romano Beans with Calabrese Olives to his Bucatini alla Puttanesca, this cookbook includes a wide range of delicious-looking recipes for everyone from the novice home cook to the expert.



I chose Feinberg’s recipe for Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Almonds and Pecorino because I wanted to shake up the way I always prepare the tiny cabbages – shaving them with a mandoline and simply sauteeing them in olive oil with salt and pepper. Finding a preparation that allows me to avoid my mandolin also was a plus, since I manage to shave a fingertip nearly every time I use it. I also felt that the dish would test Waters’ statement: Would such a simple recipe highlighting an ordinary ingredient become surprising?



At the bottom of the recipe, Feinberg notes the difference between pecorino romano and pecorino ginepro, advising to avoid the romano and using a manchego if the ginepro was unavailable. I didn’t find the ginepro at Schnucks, so I used manchego. And then, because I’m stubborn, I also tried the recipe with pecorino romano, just to see if he was right.



Of course, he was right. The romano, as noted, did overpower the sprouts and made them too salty, whereas the manchego was just perfect. The touch of acid with the splash of lemon juice added a brightness to the dish, and the toasted almonds provided an earthy crunch without taking away from the true flavor of the sprouts. Simple. Ordinary. Surprising. Delicious.



Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Almonds and Pecorino
Serves 4

Roasting Brussels sprouts is an easy and spectacular way to cook them. After they are halved and roasted in a super hot oven, their exteriors become wonderfully dark and crunchy, while the insides stay supple and soft. Once they cool to room temperature, we dress them with lemon juice, roughly chopped toasted almonds and ragged chunks of tangy pecorino. Try to find young (aged 4 to 5 months) pecorino, or feel free to use manchego, which is widely available.

5 cups (about 1½ lbs.) trimmed Brussels sprouts, halved through the stem end
6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ cup pecorino ginepro or manchego, cut into ¼-inch jagged pieces
6 Tbsp. roughly chopped, toasted, skin-on almonds
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

• Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
• Toss the Brussels sprouts with ¼ cup of the olive oil. Season the sprouts with salt and pepper and spread them out in one layer on a baking sheet. Roast until browned and just tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool.
• Put the Brussels sprouts in a medium bowl and add the pecorino, almonds, lemon juice and the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine.
• Divide the Brussels sprouts among four plates and finish with a drizzle of olive oil.

Andrew’s Note: When people see the word “pecorino,” they think of pecorino romano, but there are many different types of pecorino – which simply means a cheese made from sheep’s milk. Romano is generally used in cooked dishes; it’s very salty and strong on its own, and it would overwhelm this dish.

Reprinted with permission from Artisan Press.

How do you simply prepare an ordinary summer vegetable so that it becomes surprising? Tell us in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of Franny’s: Simple Seasonal Italian by Andrew Feinberg, Francine Stephens and Melissa Clark. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Lesley, whose comment on last week’s By the Book has won her a copy of Polpo: A Venetian Cookbook (of Sorts). Lesley, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew.



By the Book: Max and Eli Sussman’s Gingersnap Ice-Cream Sandwiches

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

With this week’s column, we wrap up a month of looking at cookbooks that inspire us to gather around for great food and drink. With spring officially here, entertaining season is upon us, and in this month’s book, This Is a Cookbook, brothers Max and Eli Sussman provide great menus for whatever party you have in mind: from a Father’s Day brunch to a backyard barbecue to a night in with your significant other watching Homeland and cuddling with the dog (wait, that’s me).

While most people have one dish they make every time they’re asked to “just bring something” – the thing they can whip up with their eyes closed and one hand tied behind their backs – I tend to veer toward the unexpected (sometimes to my own detriment, I admit). It depends what’s in season, where I’ll be and who will be there. The one thing that’s never served me wrong, however, is gingersnap ice-cream sandwiches. I got the idea from Sauce restaurant reviewer Michael Renner, whose affinity for these triple gingersnaps I wholeheartedly share. I’ve made these tiny little treats for barbecues, Super Bowl parties and dinner parties, and they’re always a hit.

So as I flipped through This is a Cookbook and saw the recipe for giant gingersnap ice-cream sandwiches, I knew it was time to make my go-to dessert from scratch. The recipe is easy enough – a simple mixture of melted butter, sugar, eggs, flour, deep-dark molasses and a few warming spices. The cookies came together in less than 10 minutes and baked up beautifully: crisp on the outside with a nice crackling of sugar and nice and chewy in the center.

There are just a few things to keep in mind before you bake these up for your next get-together, however. First, the recipe makes nearly double the yield that it states. Instead of 12 cookies, I ended up with 20 – and that was after said significant other couldn’t get his fingers out of the bowl, so there could have been even more. Second, the peach ice cream was tasty, but I think a good ol’ high-quality vanilla bean would have been a better match for the warm cinnamon, ginger and cloves in the cookies. Finally, the Sussmans tell us to serve these immediately, but I found that placing them in the freezer for 30 to 45 minutes yielded a much easier-to-eat dessert. This tweak to the recipe actually makes them the perfect make-ahead dessert for entertaining. So what are you waiting for? Get those invites out. It’s time for a party.

Gingersnap Ice-Cream Sandwiches

4 to 6 Servings

Courtesy of Max and Eli Sussman

2 cups (1 lb./500 g.) sugar, plus more for rolling the cookies
¾ cup (6 oz./185 g.) salted butter, melted
2 large eggs
½ cup (5½ oz./170 g.) unsulphured molasses
½ tsp. baking soda
3 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground cloves
3½ cups (17½ oz./545 g.) all-purpose flour
1 pint (14 oz./440 g.) best-quality peach or other flavor ice cream, slightly softened

• Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
• In a large bowl, combine the 2 cups (1 lb./500 g.) sugar and melted combined and smooth. Add the eggs and molasses and stir to mix well. Add the baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and cloves and mix well. Add 2 cups (10 oz./315 g.) of the flour and stir thoroughly until no flour can be seen in the mixture. Add the remaining 1½ cups (7½ oz./230 g.) flour and stir until incorporated.
• Pour sugar onto a plate. Form the dough into 12 balls about 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter. Roll each ball in the sugar to coat thoroughly, then place on a baking sheet. Bake until they just begin to crack on top, about 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 2 minutes. Using a wide spatula, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
• To assemble the ice-cream sandwiches, place 6 of the cookies, top sides down, on a work surface. Spoon about 1/3 cup (2½ oz./75 g.) ice cream onto each, then top each with another cookie, top side up. Press gently to seal and to push the ice cream to the edges of the cookies. Serve right away.

What’s your go-to dessert for a party? Tell us in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of This Is a Cookbook. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Mark, whose comment on last week’s By the Book has won him a copy of Nigellissima. Mark, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew.

By the Book: Nigella Lawson’s One-Step No-Churn Coffee Ice Cream

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Last night was a late night. I was at the office until around 10 p.m., drove through what felt like a hurricane and arrived home weather-beaten and starving. Luckily, I found some takeout in the fridge and the energy to make Nigella Lawson’s One-Step No-Churn Coffee Ice Cream, although it didn’t require much energy at all. It literally took 7 minutes to make the ice cream base and stick it in the freezer.

Full disclosure: I have been a fan of Nigella Lawson for years, because so many of her recipes are easy and I’ve had success with them. In her newest book, Nigellissima: Easy Italian-Inspired Recipes, she applies her signature style – “Recipes that excite the imagination without stressing the cook” – to dishes like: Shortcut Sausage Meatballs and Spaghettini with Lemon & Garlic Breadcrumbs. But I wanted to try out her ice cream recipe. I’ve watched her make various no-churn ice creams over the years from bitter orange to pomegranate that don’t require making a custard, which can be a pain, or an ice-cream maker. This last part is exceptionally great, because most people don’t have one.

The recipe was really easy, the longest step being making the whipped cream, which I did in a stand mixer. The ice cream turned out wonderfully, with a strong coffee flavor from the liqueur and espresso powder, and a velvety richness from the condensed milk. This book has a plethora of low-maintenance dishes like this one, making it awesome for cooking for a crowd – or even at 11 o’clock at night when whipping up a dish by yourself is the last thing you want to do.

One-Step No-Churn Coffee Ice Cream
Makes 1 pint

2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 Tbsp. instant espresso powder
2 Tbsp. espresso liqueur
1¼ cups heavy cream
1-pint airtight container

• Put the condensed milk in a bowl and stir in the espresso powder and liqueur.
• In a separate bowl whisk the cream until it reaches soft peaks.
• Fold the cream into the condensed milk mixture, then pour this gorgeous cafe-late-colored airy mixture into an airtight container and freeze for 6 hours or overnight.
• Serve straight from the freezer.

Who makes your favorite ice cream in town? Tell us in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of Nigellissima. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Mary, whose comment on last week’s By the Book column has won her a copy of Cindy’s Supper Club. Mary, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew.

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