Cooking with Love: Comfort Food that Hugs You
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Cooking with Love: Comfort Food that Hugs You

4.1 7
by Carla Hall
     
 

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Comfort food never tasted so good!

Carla Hall is co-host of ABC’s daily lifestyle series The Chew. Carla first won the hearts of fans nationwide on Bravo’s Top Chef. When she returned for Top Chef All-Stars, she went on to win Fan Favorite with her warmth, enthusiasm, and delicious food. In this book, she serves

Overview

Comfort food never tasted so good!

Carla Hall is co-host of ABC’s daily lifestyle series The Chew. Carla first won the hearts of fans nationwide on Bravo’s Top Chef. When she returned for Top Chef All-Stars, she went on to win Fan Favorite with her warmth, enthusiasm, and delicious food. In this book, she serves up more than 100 fantastic recipes that revolutionize comfort food by using fresh ingredients in her twists on tried-and-true classics.

From the Southern staple Down-Home Deviled Eggs with Smoky Bacon to silky and light Spicy Carrot-Ginger Soup to the ultimate Chicken Pot Pie with buttery crust on the bottom to her Granny’s unforgettably luscious Five-Flavor Pound Cake, Carla’s beautiful, flavorful recipes are so deeply satisfying, they’ll become family favorites in your kitchen.

Carla believes that the only way to make truly comforting food is to cook it from the heart. And she does it by making the most of seasonal, whole ingredients while keeping preparation easy and getting reliable, accurate results. In Cooking with Love, Carla shows us the love with tempting and inspiring recipes for all sorts of sumptuous dishes, displayed in beautiful full-color photographs. Carla also teaches culinary basics and shares kitchen tips as well as funny, poignant tales of her own experiences cooking with family, friends, and fellow chefs.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Currently the cohost of ABC’s The Chew and owner of Alchemy, an artisan cookie company, Hall, a Nashville native, tackles her first cookbook. Hall describes herself as “a simple southern girl who loves to cook and who cooks to love.” As she confirms in her intro: “The only way you can make transformative food is to cook it from the heart.” With 125 recipes incorporating flavors from all over the world, most still are inspired by Hall’s American South, where she grew up eating traditional Southern food at her “Granny’s” table. The book is separated into chapters of basics such as side dishes, vegetarian dishes, meat, poultry, and dessert enhanced by Hall’s personal stories of cooking with friends and family. Down-home deviled eggs with smoky bacon, Backyard BBQ salad made with chicken and Southern fried catfish are examples of straightforward, classic dishes. Recipes with international flair include curried beef dumplings, Persian marinated lamb roast with cucumber-yogurt sauce on grilled pita, and ginger chicken stir-fry. Tips labeled “Catering Like Carla” (Hall catered for decades) give readers extra ideas and instructions, such as having guests assemble their own tortillas by setting up a buffet line for her Cuban pork loin with marinated red onions and queso blanco. What the book lacks in continuity it more than makes up for in diversity of recipes. (Nov.)
The Dorm Room Diet
Whoever put this book in your hands loves you - and you're about to love them right back! Carla is a born teacher. Full of useful insights, helpful quick-fixes learned from years of trial and error, and her signature humor (and patience), Cooking With Love puts Ms. Hootie Hoo herself right there at the stove next to you, every step of the way. Whether you're a novice or expert, she'll have you dancing into the kitchen to whip up unbelievably simple, sumptuous feasts from scratch, whether it's weeknight Buffalo Wing Burgers, or The Saints' Gumbo for a weekend get together. If I'm coming to dinner, please make the Groundnut Stew - it's my favorite!
— Daphne Oz
The Dorm Room Diet - Daphne Oz
"Whoever put this book in your hands loves you - and you're about to love them right back! Carla is a born teacher. Full of useful insights, helpful quick-fixes learned from years of trial and error, and her signature humor (and patience), Cooking With Love puts Ms. Hootie Hoo herself right there at the stove next to you, every step of the way. Whether you're a novice or expert, she'll have you dancing into the kitchen to whip up unbelievably simple, sumptuous feasts from scratch, whether it's weeknight Buffalo Wing Burgers, or The Saints' Gumbo for a weekend get together. If I'm coming to dinner, please make the Groundnut Stew - it's my favorite!"
Mario Batali
“Carla Hall knocks it out of the park with her first book, all about love, tradition, family, flavor and style, and flavor again. Her true natural ability to make things delicious is all over every single recipe. I love working with Carla on “The Chew” every day and simply get jiggy every time we get to taste her magic on set. With this sweet tome in the home kitchen anyone can make thoughtful tasty food with real style. I am making Carla’s poetic Hoppin’ John and pure-comfort chicken pot pie tonight.”
Make the Bread, Buy the Butter - Jennifer Reese
“As a cook who enjoys kitchen experiments, I love Carla’s stories of how she develops her delicious dishes, tinkering with flavor combinations until she gets them just right. And they really are just right. And what a range: her rustic mushroom tart is great and Granny’s five-flavor pound cake is worth the price of the book.”
From the Publisher
"Whoever put this book in your hands loves you - and you're about to love them right back! Carla is a born teacher. Full of useful insights, helpful quick-fixes learned from years of trial and error, and her signature humor (and patience), Cooking With Love puts Ms. Hootie Hoo herself right there at the stove next to you, every step of the way. Whether you're a novice or expert, she'll have you dancing into the kitchen to whip up unbelievably simple, sumptuous feasts from scratch, whether it's weeknight Buffalo Wing Burgers, or The Saints' Gumbo for a weekend get together. If I'm coming to dinner, please make the Groundnut Stew - it's my favorite!"

“Carla Hall knocks it out of the park with her first book, all about love, tradition, family, flavor and style, and flavor again. Her true natural ability to make things delicious is all over every single recipe. I love working with Carla on “The Chew” every day and simply get jiggy every time we get to taste her magic on set. With this sweet tome in the home kitchen anyone can make thoughtful tasty food with real style.”

“As a cook who enjoys kitchen experiments, I love Carla’s stories of how she develops her delicious dishes, tinkering with flavor combinations until she gets them just right. And they really are just right. And what a range: her rustic mushroom tart is great and Granny’s five-flavor pound cake is worth the price of the book.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781451662214
Publisher:
Atria Books
Publication date:
11/06/2012
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
368,276
File size:
85 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.

Read an Excerpt

Cooking with Love


  • Introduction

    Hootie hoo! Welcome to my very first cookbook. I’ve been a chef, a caterer, a lunch lady, a dancer, a runway model, a reality show star, a daytime cooking show host, even an accountant (really!)—and now I’m a cookbook author. But most of all, I’m a simple Southern girl who loves to cook and who cooks to love. What you’ve seen on The Chew and Top Chef isn’t a gimmick, or an act, or something that ends when the dishes are cleared. That’s who I am and what I cook. Food that hugs you. What could be better than that?

    Now, giving a hug is easy, but making food that hugs requires a little bit of practice, but it’s actually easier than most people think—and so much more fun! Whether you’re starting to cook for the first time or you’ve been in the kitchen forever, I’m here to give you the techniques, the recipes, and the confidence you need to cook with love.

    As you’ll see, my food comes from all over the place. I draw as much comfort from Italian flavors as I do from Japanese ones. But at the end of the day, much of my inspiration comes from the American South. I grew up in Nashville, Tennessee, home of the Grand Ole Opry and the Titans. But my grandmother’s house is my favorite spot in town. Every week of my childhood, I was smothered with a giant food hug at my Granny’s Sunday supper. I can’t say that I learned how to cook at Granny’s side, though. Most of the time when we went to her house for a family meal after church, the closest I came to cooking was making mud pies.

    Then one afternoon, Granny asked me to help harvest collard greens from the garden. Like any kid, I tried to beg my way out: “Really? Do I really have to pick the greens?” My complaining didn’t get me anywhere, so I relented and did it. I wasn’t happy about it. When we sat down to eat, I had to make sure I wasn’t asked to pick the greens again and informed everyone, “I don’t know what you’re eating. I couldn’t tell the difference between the greens and the weeds. You might just be eating weeds right now.”

    I’ve learned a lot since then: the difference between greens and weeds, the fact that, of course, Granny knew which was which and cooked only the collards, and how much the memories from our Sunday suppers have defined me. Granny’s weekly ritual started long before I came around. She was born Freddie Mae Price to Jessie, who came from a family that was spread across South and North Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Jessie had been bought as a slave by the Price family and was among the last to be freed. In her 102 years on this earth, she lived to see generations of change in the South. She also passed on to Granny the depth and breadth of great Southern black cuisine. I wish every person in America could have sat at Granny’s table and been transformed by her cooking, warmth, and hospitality. I’m writing this book to honor Granny—and the women who came before her—and to give you a taste of just how much joy can be had in the kitchen and at the table.

    I’m even giving you some of Granny’s treasured recipes, like her buttery pound cake and juicy smothered pork chops, and passing on my interpretations of soul food. Sure, I cook my collard greens low and slow, but guess what? I also sauté them quickly and top them with gremolata, an Italian parsley-lemon-garlic mix. And I do a mean French bouillabaisse sauce of fennel and tomatoes to serve with a roasted whole snapper. Yep, I do all that. I’ve been cooking professionally for years (and I mean years!) and travelling and eating around the world. I’ve discovered that I can draw comfort from all types of cuisines. Here I’ve created a collection of my all-time favorites. Sort of an “all you’ll ever need” repertoire of global comfort food. Because it’s not the geographic origins of the food that matters, it’s the heart you put into it.

    And the book is about making comfort food good for your heart, too. I never count calories or sacrifice flavor. Instead, I boost flavors by using just the right amount of butter (which I love!) and the ideal cooking technique. I say “no” to nothing. It’s all about moderation. For example, I always make sure that both my pan and the oil are hot enough when cooking cornmeal-crusted Southern fried catfish. That way, the cornmeal doesn’t soak up the oil, it just gets super crisp in it. My dishes end up being naturally nutritious. My goal is to create the most delicious, comforting dishes possible, but I’m also always thinking of ways to lighten ultrarich soul food classics and other soulful hearty favorites. It’s a way of bringing out the fresh, natural flavors in great ingredients, but my motivation hits closer to home.

    While living abroad, I received a call and found out that my mama was seriously ill. I flew home right away and was relieved to find that her emergency surgery had been a success. Since that experience, I’m constantly tinkering with dishes to make them lighter, healthier for Mama. Even when I started my first “professional” cooking company, delivering lunches using a retired mail truck and sheer grit in getting my food out through rain, sleet, and snow, I was providing options far superior to the surrounding fast foods, both in flavor and nutrition. With my company, The Lunch Basket (which I later renamed The Lunch Bunch), I became the lunch lady of Kennedy Street in Washington, D.C., a primarily African American neighborhood with lots of beauty salons, barber shops, florists, and doctors’ offices.

    Even though I didn’t realize it at the time, my decision then to not use beef or pork (though some of my recipes here do) came from a desire to show people how tasty food could be without those things. I stuffed my biscuits with lean smoked turkey and put together fresh green salads, seasonal fruit, and rich veggie soups. At the end of the day, I’m giving you delicious fresh food—whole ingredients, lovingly prepared. I’m making dishes good for my family, in every sense of the word, and I’m here to help you do the same for your family and friends, too.

    The act of cooking for and feeding loved ones yummy wholesome food is deeply fulfilling. I didn’t completely understand that until I was an adult well into my food career. I went through a heart-wrenching breakup (boyfriend left me for best friend—you know the story), so I poured myself into my lunch business to shield myself from the pain. By cooking for others, I was nurturing them with food, and in turn, felt nurtured myself. I expanded the lunch business into a catering company and called it Alchemy Caterers, because I needed it to change my life, to turn the lead in my hurt into gold. I wanted my food to do the same for others and be a conduit for healing. I don’t know exactly what you need right now, but I do know that there’s comfort in food. Alchemy is all about transformation, and I want to change the way you experience food by cooking with love.

    The only way you can make transformative food, even if it’s one of the simple dishes in here, is to cook it from the heart. You have to want to do it. If you’re not in a good mood and don’t feel like cooking, the only thing you should make is a restaurant reservation. And you can’t cook with fear. I didn’t grow up in the kitchen and I know how it feels to be intimidated by a recipe and be immobilized by that fear. I’m here to tell you it’s okay to mess up! I’ll help you avoid screwing up and tell you what to do in case something does go wrong.

    Now, it’s time to have fun! I’m going to make sure you enjoy cooking for family and friends by sharing easy entertaining tricks I’ve learned from decades of catering. When you’re armed with tips from a pro, cooking with and for friends is the best way to have fun in the kitchen. One of the happiest moments in my life—my wedding day—came from doing just that. My husband, Matthew, and I celebrated our marriage with forty friends and family and a group of us prepared the food together. I didn’t stress over the planning or micromanage the meal. I just let everybody express themselves in the kitchen and it was awesome. I felt like I was on top of the world and I honestly can’t imagine a more memorable wedding day. But take my advice as a former caterer: Please don’t try this if you have hundreds of guests celebrating with you. LOL.

    So, are you ready? With all my yummy recipes and tips, get excited to welcome friends and family over for big meals and good times!

     A little note: Any brand names of products I use in this book are included just because I like them!

  • What People are saying about this

    Mario Batali
    Carla Hall knocks it out of the park with her first book, all about love, tradition, family, flavor and style, and flavor again. Her true natural ability to make things delicious is all over every single recipe. I love working with Carla on “The Chew” every day and simply get jiggy every time we get to taste her magic on set. With this sweet tome in the home kitchen anyone can make thoughtful tasty food with real style. I am making Carla’s poetic Hoppin’ John and pure-comfort chicken pot pie tonight.

    Meet the Author

    Carla Hall attended L’Academie de Cuisine in Maryland and is owner and executive chef of Carla Hall Petite Cookies, an artisan cookie company based out of Washington, DC. A cohost on the ABC talk show The Chew, she lives in Washington, DC, with her husband, Matthew Lyons, and stepson, Noah.
    Genevieve Ko is coauthor of Home Cooking with Jean-Georges and senior food editor at Good Housekeeping.

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    Cooking with Love: Comfort Food that Hugs You 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
    bookchickdi More than 1 year ago
    Hall is a co-host of ABC's daytime show, The Chew, but I first saw her on Bravo TV's Top Chef. She reminded me of an exotic bird, tall, thin and with her down-home Southern way, I think many people (including her competitors) underestimated her. She was voted Fan Favorite from the Top Chef All-Stars competition in 2011. It was her big heart and the way she "hugged you with her food" that made people fall in love with her. She grew up in the South and learned how to cook from her beloved granny, and then she went to France to become a model. There she fell in love with a different kind of food, and returned home to train as a professional chef. She now owns Alchemy, a popular and successful catering company in Washington DC. Hall sprinkles the cookbook with stories from her life: the amazing meals her granny made and taught her and her sister to cook, the difficult boss she worked for in the Bahamas (I wonder if he will read this book and recognize himself), some amusing anecdotes from The Chew and my favorites, some behind-the-scenes of her most famous Top Chef moments. On the All-Stars edition, one task was to create a birthday lunch for Jimmy Fallon. Hall whooped with joy when she was drew Chicken Pot Pie as her meal; it is one of her specialties, and she shares one of her most famous recipes in this book. Hall also gives some great tips, like serving deviled eggs on a bed of dried washed black beans on a platter and if you want to sell your house "pop a batch of buttery yeast rolls in the oven" before a showing. Layering flavors is a key to her cooking, and I found it interesting that she starts a meal by thinking not about the meat she will cook but the vegetables and "then builds from there."Some recipes I look forward to trying are: Down Home Deviled Eggs with Smoky BaconCreamy Goat Cheese GritsCreamy Mac & CheeseOsso BucoBlack Bean Patties with Mango Relish & Tropical VinaigretteCreamed Chicken with Broccoli This is a book for cooks who have some experience in the kitchen; these recipes require some skills and beginners may find it a bit too challenging. But if you enjoy cooking and are looking for some new recipes that will kick up your taste buds, this is a book for you.
    KM29 More than 1 year ago
    Carla Hall truly understands Southern cooking! True comfort food! I love her wonderful recipes on The Chew and can now savor the incredible recipes in her book. She has created a very personal look at cooking while including her castmates as well. Great job Carla!! Keep up the good work! I truly look forward to your next cookbook!
    DIANE-FROM-OHIO More than 1 year ago
    I find this book to be accurately representative of Carla's southern cooking. It is easy to understand and follow, and the recipes I have tried have been delicious. It is a book you will use and not just collect dust in a collection.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I am such a fan. I can't wait to get cooking. I trust you.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    recipes were terrible. returned book.