The Food You Want to Eat: 100 Smart, Simple Recipes

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Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’s food-and-wine connoisseur, Ted Allen, presents a quick-reference cookbook—giving you the food you really want to cook and eat, and the know-how to pull it off with ease.

"With most cookbooks, you could plow through 134 pages of complicated hors d’oeuvres, salads, and the author’s philosophical musings about food before you get to the stuff you actually want to eat. Not here. I’m going to save you the trouble and get to the point right up front.” ...

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Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’s food-and-wine connoisseur, Ted Allen, presents a quick-reference cookbook—giving you the food you really want to cook and eat, and the know-how to pull it off with ease.

"With most cookbooks, you could plow through 134 pages of complicated hors d’oeuvres, salads, and the author’s philosophical musings about food before you get to the stuff you actually want to eat. Not here. I’m going to save you the trouble and get to the point right up front.” These first sentences of the book sum up what Ted Allen’s The Food You Want to Eat is all about—the tempting, delicious, satisfying fare you really want on your dinner table tonight, without the fuss and the formalities. Chapters include:

•I Know What You Want to Eat: the essentials of steak, chicken both fried and roasted, warm caramel brownie sundaes, and a luscious mac and cheese that will have you thinking outside the box—way outside.

•Happy Hour: for the kind of parties real people actually throw; no engraved invitations or seating charts, just easy, delicious recipes like crostini, a simple tuna tartare that kicks, the crowd-pleasing spicy Cajun “pigs” in much nicer “blankets” than you’re used to, four incredible pizzas (one for each season), and of course ten perfect cocktails.

•The Cookout: fulfilling everyone’s desire for great barbecued ribs, plus the more adventurous (but even easier) rosemary grilled leg of lamb, and Ted’s secret to the ultimate hamburger.

•Poultry: whether baked, braised, or sautéed, chicken is often what’s for weeknight dinner, and here’s everything from soy-and-honey-glazed roast chicken to “around the world on a chicken breast” with superb ways to liven up those boneless, skinless, tasteless cutlets. Plus a simple (really!) duck, and a turkey that doesn’t demand the traditional Thanksgiving heroics.

Ted also delves into chapters on an array of fantastic salads that are a far cry from rabbit food; pastas featuring Italian classics like a great ziti with sausage and your basic pasta with red sauce, as well as easy Asian adventures such as cold soba noodles with sesame-peanut sauce; seafood for everyone who’s afraid to cook fish; meats that range from an amazing marinated grilled pork tenderloin and killer chili to a classic pot roast and osso buco; vegetable recipes that will make you love broccoli in a whole new way; and desserts for after dinner—and breakfasts for after after dinner.

This is the debut cookbook from one of the most engaging, most entertaining people ever to wield a spatula, filled with the incredibly simple, delicious real-life recipes for The Food You Want to Eat. In a word, mmmm.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
On Bravo's Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Ted Allen serves as a food and wine expert with a taste for wry comments. But he has other talents too: This former contributing editor at Esquire has won two writing awards and coauthored two books. All those skills come together in The Food You Want to Eat, his first cookbook. With informal flair and straightforward presentation, Allen teaches home cooks to make basic yet truly delicious food. The hassle-free recipes include everything from Garlic-Rosemary Leg of Lamb to Asian-inspired noodle treats.
Library Journal
Allen is known as the food and wine expert on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy; he's also a contributing editor to Esquire. His approachable cookbook offers simple yet sophisticated recipes, e.g., Roasted Cod with Red Peppers and Green Herb Sauce, and comfort food like meat loaf (though his version comes with a mushroom-walnut sauce). The first chapter, "What You Want To Eat," is intended to get even hesitant cooks into the kitchen, with Simplest Roast Chicken with Lemon and Herbs, Saucepan Macaroni and Cheese, and Caramel Brownie Sundaes. Many of the recipes include variations, and there are explanations and tips on everything from cuts of meat to the fact that "Parmesan Cheese Does Not Come from a Green Can." Allen has a relaxed, conversational style, and color photographs add to the book's appeal. For most collections. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400080908
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/11/2005
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 7.68 (w) x 10.22 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Meet the Author

Ted Allen is the food-and-wine specialist on the Emmy Award–winning hit show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and one of the authors of the New York Times bestselling book of the same name. Ted also is a journalist and a contributing editor to Esquire, where he was a finalist for a National Magazine Award in 2001. Originally from Ohio, he cut his culinary teeth as a dining critic and editor at Chicago magazine. He lives in New York City.
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Read an Excerpt

Here’s a sneak peak at a recipe for Roast Prime Rib with a Mustard-Herb Crust from The Food You Want to Eat.

Roast Prime Rib with a Mustard-Herb Crust

This roast is coated with a simple herby, garlicky paste to add flavor to the meat (and to make your entire house smell fabulous). But you can just as well rub the meat with salt and freshly ground pepper and stick it in the oven like that. Ask your butcher to cut the roast from what they call “the small end,” where you’ll get the largest, most tender piece of meat. (You do have a butcher, right?) Have him remove the chine bone and cut between the ribs to make carving easier.

Serving roast prime rib is also an excellent excuse for making Yorkshire Pudding. Prepare the batter while the roast cooks, and refrigerate it. Then, while the roast is resting, you’ll have the oven free to bake the pudding.

Serves 6
WINE PAIRING: Syrah, Rhône, or young Barolo


• 1 (3-rib) rib roast, 6 to 7 pounds, chine bone removed
• 4 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
• 3⁄4 (.75)teaspoon kosher salt
• 1⁄4 (.25)cup fresh rosemary needles, chopped
• 1⁄4 (.25)teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
• 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Barbecue Rub (for variation)

• 1 1/2 (1.5) teaspoons kosher salt
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 1 1/2 (1.5) teaspoons chili powder
• 1 1/2 (1.5) teaspoons paprika or other ground chili, such as ancho
• 4 teaspoons ground cumin
• 1 teaspoon Colman’s dry mustard
• 2 pinches ground allspice

Yorkshire Pudding

• 4 large eggs
• 1 cup whole milk
• 3⁄4 (.75) cup all-purpose flour
• 3⁄4 (.75)teaspoon kosher salt
• 4 tablespoons beef fat from a roast

To Prepare

1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.

2. Place the roast in a large roasting pan with the bones facing down. On a cutting board, use a fork to mash the garlic with the salt to make a paste. Put that in a small bowl and stir in the rosemary, pepper, mustard, vinegar, and oil. Smear that all over the meaty part of the roast (not the bones). Then put the pan in the oven and roast for 15 minutes. Turn the heat down to 350°F. and continue roasting until the meat registers 125° to 130°F. (for rare meat) on an instant-read thermometer. This could take about 1 more hour for a 6-pound roast, or 1 hour and 20 minutes for a 7-pounder. (For medium rare, roast for an additional 10 minutes.)

3. Remove from the oven and let stand at least 10 minutes. Lay the roast on its side (bones to one side, meaty section to the other) on a cutting board, preferably one that has an indented “gutter” around the edges for catching the juices. Holding the roast steady with a large fork, and cutting parallel to the cutting board with a large knife, cut the roast into slices. Figure on getting 2 slices from each rib–one with a bone and one without. Carve and serve with the juices and Yorkshire Pudding.

Variation: Spiced Prime Rib

• In a small bowl, combine all the rub ingredients
• Sprinkle the meat all over with the Barbecue Rub instead of the mustard glaze, and roast as in the recipe above.

Yorkshire Pudding—Serves 6

Yorkshire Pudding is a delicious English classic–the perfect side to prime rib. It’s really just a big popover that you make with a tiny bit of flavorful juices and fat from a roast (no need to tell your date about that latter ingredient). If you can get organized ahead of time, an easy way to make this batter is to combine all the ingredients except the juices in a blender and blend until smooth; let that sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before adding the juices and baking.

• In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk and 1⁄4 cup water until frothy. Add the flour and salt and whisk just to combine. When the roast is finished cooking, take it out of the oven and let it rest. Raise the oven temperature to 500°F. Put the beef fat into a large (at least 13-inch) cast-iron pan and put it back in the oven to heat for 5 minutes. Then pour the batter into the pan and bake for 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to 400°F. and cook until the pudding is puffed and browned, 10 more minutes.

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Customer Reviews

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  • Posted March 26, 2010

    The author you don't need to read

    I was not impressed. I was expecting much more from a Food Network judge.
    Mr Allen did not provide the depth of knowledge a cooking expert would normally have. I would not recommend this book.

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  • Posted December 22, 2008

    One of the best cookbooks I own

    I bought Ted's cookbook after enjoying his meatloaf at a dinner party. His recipes don't use complexity to cover for lack of finesse. The duck breast recipe is simple, yet elegant. It tastes MUCH more "posh" than it really is. In fact, we just had dinner at the wonderful Geronimo in Santa Fe. We were with friends for whom we've prepared Ted's duck recipe in the past. They told us that my duck was better than Geronimo's. Huge compliment!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted October 14, 2011

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    Posted August 28, 2010

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