I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to get back to some serious cooking. Nothing against delicate summer salads and all that healthy, crunchy stuff I should probably be eating more of. But a fellow can eat only so many cucumbers and carrots before dietary virtue starts to wane and more robust instincts prevail.
In short, it’s high time for some COMFORT FOOD – my new book – and the stuff we REALLY like to eat when the chips are down, the temps start to drop, nostalgia kicks in, a crowd is on the way – or – by golly – your Sunday afternoon suppers need a little inspiration and a kick in the butt.
You probably know me best as the Dean of The Pie Academy, but long before I held that position I cooked for living, wrote hundreds of magazine articles, and more than a dozen cookbooks. COMFORT FOOD is the distillation of those years in the kitchen, the best recipes and ideas I’ve come across – updated and streamlined when necessary, and left alone when appropriate. It’s the down home recipes I make over and over again, the ones I serve to family and company (who think nothing of begging for me to serve their own favorites) without hesitation.
For instance? The Hot Buffalo Chicken and Cheese Dip you see here (recipe appears below). It’s chunky, cheesy, and has a bite you won’t forget but can’t get enough of. You’ll have a hard time deciding whether this, or the Hot Crab Dip on page 29 is your favorite.
Balance the richness of our dip with a healthy, whole meal salad like this Tex-Mex Cobb Salad from page 74. Goes great with your favorite ranch dressing, but I’d recommend my Barbecue Ranch Dressing (page 80.)
Here’s one of those comfort food classics I’ve updated for anyone on the hunt for clever ways to incorporate more lean poultry into their diet: Turkey Sloppy Joes (page 148). The secret is in the seasoning, so when you tuck into this dish you’ll never miss the beef. (Not that you would, anyway: Meatball Stroganoff, Southwestern Chipotle Meatloaf, Bacon Cheddar Burgers, and Slow Cooker Barbecue Brisket, among others, are only a few pages away.)
Did I mention that COMFORT FOOD made its debut on the Publishers Weekly Trade Paperback bestseller list last week? (See screenshot here). Apparently I’m not the only one who’s ready for some serious down home cooking.
My first professional cooking job was at a group home in New Hampshire for kids who’d had some tough breaks and needed a safe place to settle in for a while. My job was to feed some 30 to 40 children and staff several meals a day – several meatless meals. It was during my tenure there that I learned how to make vegetarian dishes that folks really crave, dishes like these Southwestern Pumpkin Burgers you see here. You’ll find the recipe on page 180, with a number of other meatless favorites nearby.
In COMFORT FOOD, I like to take dishes we know, like ratatouille, and give them a surprising twist, like poaching eggs right on top to make Ratatouille Poached Eggs from page 186.
And I think you’ll love the fish section of COMFORT FOOD, including Shrimp Tacos, Baked Crab-Stuffed Fish, and the Bourbon and Brown Sugar-Glazed Salmon below, from page 152.
Not to mention an enticing selection of cakes, pies, and quick breads like the Glazed Lemon Cream Scones from page 250. The baking section alone is worth the cover price.
In all, it amounts to 288 pages with more than 200 can’t-wait-to-try-these recipes, with stunning color photography throughout (including the photos here) by acclaimed photographer Becky Luigart-Stayner, with food styling by Ana Kelly and prop styling by Jan Gautro.
So here’s the deal…I really want you to have a copy of COMFORT FOOD. It’s cooking not just for the stomach, but for the soul, and I know you’ll enjoy spending time in the kitchen getting to know these dishes.
So here’s what I’m going to do: for each autographed copy of COMFORT FOOD you order from our online store in September, I’ll send you 3 free copies of our foldable, laminated tailgating guide – LET’S TAILGATE! It’s got more than a dozen tried-and-true recipes that you can use for any occasion, and lots of great tailgating tips. These sell for $5 each, so just do the math and you’ll see you’re getting a great deal.
In fact, I’m extending this offer to anyone who buys anything in our online store this month: 3 free copies of LET’S TAILGATE with your purchase.
I almost forgot to mention: I’ll personally be preparing the meals for our first Lowcountry Pie Getaway next month in Savannah, and I’ll be using the recipes from COMFORT FOOD for this special occasion. If you’re still thinking about coming, there are a few slots left, so let us know right away if you’d like to register.
The No-More-Tears Pie Pastry Course: Our Launch Update
Congratulations to all of you who signed up for our brand new video training course – The No-More-Tears Pie Pastry Course. Nearly 50 of you took the plunge and are now on your way to becoming pie making legends!
The feedback has been very positive and I look forward to more of your pie making questions, comments, and suggestions for making the course the most dynamic and helpful training of its kind.
In case you missed last week’s launch promotion and you’d like to join me and your fellow pie makers, you can find everything you need to know right here.
One Final Note: Cookstr Chef-0f-the-Day
If – like me – you enjoy checking out different cooking websites, have a look at Cookstr.com if you haven’t already. I think you’ll like it. Their mission, as they put it, is to “organize the world’s best cookbooks and recipes and make them universally accessible.”
Their online library of recipes numbers in the thousands and includes offerings by the top chefs and cookbook authors in the country. (I like that you can do searches by author.) And for those who want it, their nutritional profiles of recipes are extensive and quite helpful.
One regular feature of Cookstr.com is their Chef-of-the-Day profile, and I happen to be today’s. I’m flattered. Thanks to my colleagues at Cookstr.