Beat the Heat With Refreshing Gazpacho

Make this easy summer gazpacho recipe from The Stocked KitchenCool off on a hot summer day with this stove-free soup recipe from The Stocked Kitchen: One Grocery List…Endless Recipes, by Sarah Kallio and Stacey Krastins.

Gazpacho

Serves 6

3 medium tomatoes, diced, or one 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
One 15-ounce can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons diced shallot or 1/4 cup diced onion
1/2 English cucumber, diced
1/2 bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and pulse until blended to desired consistency.
2. Chill for 1 to 24 hours. Serve cold.

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Jonathan Waxman’s Tips for the Perfect Pizza

Making pizza at home can be easy with tips from Jonathan WaxmanPizza fanatic? Celebrity chef Jonathan Waxman explains what ingredients and equipment are critical for homemade pies–it’s simpler than you think. From Italian, My Way: More Than 150 Simple and Inspired Recipes That Breathe New Life Into Italian Classics.

San Francisco had some damn good pizza when I was growing up. I played in a lot of pizza joints as a trombone-playing rock ’n’ roller, and Tommaso’s in North Beach was way ahead of the curve. The restaurant has been offering wood-oven pizza since 1935, and hungry customers still line up around the clock to eat at this landmark.

I’ve eaten pizzas all over Italy, and one standout was in the old Milano train station many years ago. I noticed three things: a roaring wood fire, a reluctance to hurry the pie, and dough that was both tender and sticky. The image of that perfect pie has stayed with me, and over the years I have worked hard to replicate the dough. Flour is critical. I’ve tried bread flour, organic pizza flour and Italian hard wheat flour, and I have settled on one that is readily available: King Arthur white organic flour. It is perfect. It does change according to the season, and altitude is a huge factor, as is relative humidity.

I agree with the argument that fresh dough is not as delicious or as imbued with that certain tang as it is when enhanced by adding old dough. Therefore, I find that saving the dough for a day in the fridge helps achieve two things: a crisp crust and a better taste. I want bubbles to appear as the dough bakes, and day-old dough helps to promote those bubbles. Don’t keep the dough in the fridge for longer than a day or it will look like pita.

Yeast is a major factor. I like fresh yeast, but it is sometimes hard to come by. Granular yeast is convenient but has a less interesting flavor. I add some organic unprocessed honey as a feeder for the dough. A little stale organic beer is good as well. Sea salt is important for texture and flavor, and last, the water needs to be fresh. If your water is hard, too warm from the tap or otherwise suspect, use bottled water.

Ovens are an exciting subject. I have used electric, wood-burning, grills, gas, gas/convection, and a new-fangled device with convection and microwave. I find that an oven with a tight seal is not as good as one that has a bit of a gap that allows it to breathe. The addition of a pizza stone is nice, but unnecessary. An old-fashioned perforated pizza pan is good, but a simple baking sheet works well, too. Your oven needs to have constant, regulated heat; always use a thermometer. I worry about the crust more than the top, and always check the pizza’s bottom as it bakes. Timing can be erratic; the first pie is always a tester.

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4 Ingredients Recipe: Asparagus with Balsamic Dressing

Asparagus with balsamic dressingBored with bland weeknight salad? Spruce it up with the season’s asparagus harvest. Get this and more fast weeknight meals from 4 Ingredients: More Than 400 Quick, Easy, and Delicious Recipes Using 4 or Fewer Ingredients, by Kim McCosker and Rachael Bermingham.

Asparagus with Balsamic Dressing
Serves 4

INGREDIENTS
2 bunches asparagus
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
2 vine-ripened tomatoes, diced

Preheat the broiler. Brush the asparagus with some of the oil, then broil for 5 minutes, or until tender. Serve drizzled with combined remaining oil, vinegar, and diced tomato.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Rachael Bermingham is the energetic, dynamic, and proud mum of Jaxson and six-month-old twin boys, Bowie and Casey. She has written six bestselling books in the last four years and is regarded as one of Australia’s number one female authors.

Kim McCosker is the proud mother of three boys (Morgan, eight; Hamilton, five; and Flynn, two), the lady who had the idea and who is now the coauthor of the internationally bestselling 4 Ingredients series, which includes 4 Ingredients, 4 Ingredients 2, and 4 Ingredients Gluten Free.

Jonathan Waxman’s Essential Kitchen Tips and Tools

Leave your linens, overpriced olive oils and al dente anxieties at the door. Get kitchen kudos from your guests with these easy tips from casual-cuisine chef Jonathan Waxman, author of Italian, My Way: More Than 150 Simple and Inspired Recipes That Breathe New Life into Italian Classics.

We grabbed a few minutes with Jonathan to discuss the focus on simple, flavorful dishes and how you can make the most of seasonal produce — and even recreate his most popular dishes at home.

You brought a very California style of fresh cooking and casual eating out to NYC, which as Tom Colicchio mentions in the foreword to your bookJonathan Waxman, was very formal at the time (in the 1980s). What are the major differences between top California and New York restaurants today?

Jonathan: Everybody now is leaning toward informality. The day of tablecloths, fancy service, and the big wine list is, at least temporarily, disappearing. What people want is really good food and they don’t want to spend four hours eating dinner. The world has changed in that respect. At Barbuto people dine in an hour and a half, forty-five minutes. After, they’re going to a movie, going back to work, whatever — they’re busy! Back when I had Jams, dinner was entertainment. What you had planned for the night was dinner: You spent money, you had a great time.

That’s all changed. The food now is much more casual, everywhere.

What makes everyone so gaga for your gnocchi?
It’s really the dish itself. I didn’t like gnocchi in Italy; it was gummy and sticky and not delicious. I made it by accident at a dinner party by sautéing it — it was a happy accident, or rather, a forgotten step. Forgetfulness turned into what has become a great dish.
Make It at Home: Jonathan Waxman’s Gnocchi with Spring Vegetables

Learn how to make Jonathan’s legendary roasted chicken:

What are 5 things everyone should know how to cook properly?
There’s 20 things probably, but these are my 5.
–How to cook a hamburger properly (which no one does)
–Scrambled eggs
–Soup
–Salad and salad dressing
–Pudding
*Bonus:
Pie

I always seem to screw up risotto lately, even though I bought a good pan, good rice, and keep the heat low. What is the secret to making it turn out great?
When you sweat the onions, throw the rice in at the same time so that the rice gets cooked by the oil, for five minutes. Immediately add the wine and cook it down to nothing. If you don’t, you’re going to ruin the risotto. Don’t add the stock until all the wine is gone. The stock has to be hot, and you should add just enough to have a finished dish.

The soupiness never changes. Never let it go too dry or too hot. Now, you can relax: You can drink wine, you can watch TV, just don’t rush it. Don’t be impatient. That’s why it never turns out — impatience. Use a small wooden spoon, circle the rim and zigzag the middle. Don’t do it hard, just do it gently. You want the rice kernels to absorb. When they get hard, they’re not absorbing liquid.
Make It at Home: Jonathan Waxman’s Risotto with Spring Peas

Your wife shops at the Greenmarket frequently. What are your favorite spring veggies? What are some dishes you love to make this time of year?
I don’t have a favorite. Spring really has too many choices: Morels, peas, ramps, baby leeks, fava beans, baby spring beans, the first new potatoes. Yesterday I cooked Easter supper, and made a little wilted vegetable thing with spring onions, and took some other veggies and sautéed them pretty hard and added roasted baby cauliflower. I did celery root puree with cream and butter.

Lucky family! How do you pick great produce at the greenmarket or store?
I let the vegetables talk to me, not the other way around. They say “Pick me!”

Do I really need to buy overpriced olive oil, or does the everyday stuff do the trick?
The trick is three-fold. Buy different ones and look online, too. Read surveys. Don’t buy cans; they’re terrible unless you’re massaging it on your body. Don’t buy big bottles, buy small. I have five different olive oils in my house. Spanish ones are a little buttery, the Tuscans are green and peppery and fun for salads.

Ceramic knives: yay or nay?
I have a gorgeous one, but I don’t even know where it is right now. They’re really weird, I love them. They’re very fragile and sharp as hell. You can’t sharpen them at home — you have to send them to the manufacturer. But they do stay sharp for a long time.

I read in your book that your wife does all the shopping and you just make whatever you can from what she brings home. Do you think being a good cook is the key to a solid relationship?
Of course. You knew I was going to say that!


What if you both want to cook?

We just draw straws.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jonathan Waxman first stepped into the culinary scene in 1970 when he retired from his career as a professional trombonist to enroll in the La Varenne cooking school in Paris. After working at the prestigious Chez Panisse alongside Alice Waters, he brought New American cuisine to New York City by opening the restaurants Jams and Washington Park. Today, he is the chef-owner of the Big Apple’s Barbuto, an Italian brasserie.

Recipe: Jonathan Waxman’s Gnocchi with Spring Vegetables

Hit the local greenmarket and whip up this beloved springtime dish from New York City’s Barbuto, owned by celebrated chef Jonathan Waxman, author of Italian, My Way: More Than 150 Simple and Inspired Recipes That Breathe New Life into Italian Classics.

I’ve never liked the renditions of gnocchi that I’ve eaten in Italy and America. They were always gummy, covered with béchamel or another yucky sauce. One day my chef, Justin, knowing of my aversion to the classic preparation, froze a batch of raw gnocchi after he had rolled them out and cut them. We had a dinner party at my house and I took the gnocchi along as an afterthought. At home, I threw the gnocchi into a sizzling hot pan with butter and olive oil, while Justin looked at me with a crazy, quizzical expression. But the gnocchi turned into crisp pillows that were tender and fluffy on the inside and golden brown and crunchy on the outside. We served them with English peas, mint and a little fresh butter. They were a hit.

We prepare gnocchi at the restaurant the same way, but we do alter the vegetables, herbs and sauce occasionally.

INGREDIENTS
3 large organic russet potatoes
2 tbsp. organic all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 c. thumbelina carrots, washed and stemmed
6 tbsp. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
2 c. shelled English peas
12 fresh basil leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS
1. Prepare the gnocchi:
Steam the potatoes in a pot until cooked and tender (about 30 minutes). Remove and let cool for 2 hours. Peel the skin (this is very easy). If you have a food mill or ricer, rice the potatoes in it, or better yet, pass the potatoes through a fine-mesh sieve. Rice the potatoes onto a lightly floured marble or wood surface. Dust the potatoes with the flour and dribble 1 tablespoon of the olive oil on top. Very gently form a soft dough, making sure not to overwork it or it will be tough. Do this for 2–3 minutes and let the mass rest. Roll the dough into 1-inch-diameter tubes. With a paring knife cut the gnocchi into 1-inch lengths. Then roll each gnocchi over the tines of a fork to create slight grooves. When the gnocchi are finished, freeze them for at least 1 hour and up to 1 month.

2. Cook the carrots in simmering water for 20 minutes. Cool and cut into bite-size pieces.

3. Cook the gnocchi: Heat the butter and the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter and oil are almost golden, add the frozen gnocchi and sauté for 3 minutes, moving them around so all sides start to darken.

4. Add the peas and carrots and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Toss in the basil leaves and season with sea salt and black pepper.

Serves 4 as a first course

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jonathan Waxman first stepped into the culinary scene in 1970 when he retired from his career as a professional trombonist to enroll in the La Varenne cooking school in Paris. After working at the prestigious Chez Panisse alongside Alice Waters, he brought New American cuisine to New York City by opening the restaurants Jams and Washington Park. Today, he is the chef-owner of the Big Apple’s Barbuto, an Italian brasserie.Gnocchi with spring vegetables

Recipe: Jonathan Waxman’s Risotto with Sweet Peas

Risotto with peasDon’t fear the risotto. Indulge your guests with this savory spring dish from celebrated chef Jonathan Waxman, author of Italian, My Way: More Than 150 Simple and Inspired Recipes That Breathe New Life into Italian Classics.

This recipe is easily adapted to any other ingredient, so feel free to improvise, but as they say in Italy, it’s all about the rice.

INGREDIENTS
2 c. shelled fresh peas
4 qts. cold water, plus more as needed to cook the peas
2 tbsp. plus 1 1/2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 sweet onion (white or yellow), peeled and finely minced
Sea salt to taste
2 c. Carnaroli rice
2 c. good white wine (unoaked)
4 c. hot water
1 c. pea shoots
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 c. grated Parmesan
1/4 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1 tbsp. fresh tarragon leaves, chopped

1. Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the peas for 1 minute, drain and rinse with cold water to halt the cooking.

2. Bring the 4 quarts of cold water to a simmer in an 8-quart stock pot. In a heavy casserole add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and bring the heat to medium. Add the onion and sweat for 8 minutes; season with sea salt only. Add the rice and continue to stir for 5 minutes, then add the wine.

3. Cook the rice until the wine has reduced to 1/2 cup, then slowly add the hot water, 1/2 cup at a time. You want the risotto to remain loose, but not too soupy.

4. Continue to add more water until the rice is done (al dente). Add the peas, the pea shoots, butter and three-quarters of the Parmesan. Taste for seasoning and add the black pepper. To finish, drizzle with 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and the chopped tarragon.

Serves 6

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jonathan Waxman first stepped into the culinary scene in 1970 when he retired from his career as a professional trombonist to enroll in the La Varenne cooking school in Paris. After working at the prestigious Chez Panisse alongside Alice Waters, he brought New American cuisine to New York City by opening the restaurants Jams and Washington Park. Today, he is the chef-owner of the Big Apple’s Barbuto, an Italian brasserie.