From the Publisher
“Rarely do we appreciate cooking for what it is: an act of sharing. That’s exactly what Liz Neumark reminds us in this remarkable book. With its generous blend of storytelling and farm-to-table wisdom, Sylvia’s Table is less a cookbook than an invitation—into Liz’s family, her work (as a New York caterer, farm owner and pioneering advocate for children’s health), and most important, her kitchen. It’s a vibrant and inspiring place to be.”
—Dan Barber, executive chef and co-owner, Blue Hill
“There’s no shortage of seasonal locavore cookbooks out there, but Sylvia’s Table is especially appealing on other counts. Many of the recipes are uncomplicated and use farm-fresh ingredients, and are explained in a way that children can prepare them. . . . Take the book into the kitchen for the shiitake, corn and fava-bean salad; mint pesto for lamb on the grill, and a caramelized peach and ginger crisp. The book is also filled with historic tidbits and basic cooking tips, like making stock. . . . For Budding Locavores.”
—Florence Fabricant, The New York Times
“Liz Neumark is one of the most dynamic women in food—and her food is incredibly delicious to boot! She always knocks it out of the park with the freshest, seasonal and succulent ingredients straight from her farm to your table.”
—Padma Lakshmi, author of Tangy, Tart, Hot & Sweet
“As a chef and a father with three kids of my own, I think it is so very important to educate kids and parents on healthy eating and to start good eating habits with children right from the start. I'm a huge supporter of what the Sylvia Center is doing and I hope you enjoy this cookbook and cooking with your family as much as I do. Happy cooking always!”
—Chef Todd English
“[Sylvia’s Table] is filled with beautiful photographs of Katchkie Farm in Kinderhook, New York, where children from the city go to fetch eggs and harvest eggplant and apples. . . . Almost every recipe has loving instructions for getting kids involved in the kitchen.”
“A beautiful, big collection of recipes and stories, with a tone that inspires the reader to visit a market and turn the harvest into good meals.”
—The Montreal Gazette
“Introduce your children to healthy cooking with caterer Liz Neumark’s new cookbook, Sylvia’s Table, which is loaded with recipes that families can make together. . . . Listen up, kids: There’s more to dining than Lunchables.”
—New York Daily News
“A cookbook that's meant to be used—it's meant to be read out loud with your kids, picked over for recipes, splattered with sauce, and marked with notes. . . . You—and your kids—will discover something new every time you open this book. At first, you might be drawn to the familiar comfort foods like mac n' cheese and roasted chicken. But as you get comfortable with these, you'll notice recipes on the adjoining pages for things like sweet potato gnocchi and turkey burgers flavored with tamarind paste. Don't know how to cook with tamarind? No worries. You'll find a helpful descriptions for this and other key ingredients located right next to the recipe.”
“Liz takes fresh seasonal ingredients and mixes them up with creative simple recipes. It is exactly how I like to cook and eat. Nothing is too complicated and each recipe is better than the next. I am thinking about how many of them I can make in the next month. . . . Sylvia's Table celebrates food, family, health and life. I highly recommend picking up this book.”
“Exuberant. . . . Neumark wants families not just to eat together, but to cook together and gain a real appreciation of what good food is and where it comes from. [Sylvia’s Table is] a book for grownups who can share the hundreds of recipes that come from Neumark’s personal collection. . . . Springing up among the recipes are lots of short essays that inform, entertain and spark your imagination.”
Read an Excerpt
Grilled Tamarind Turkey Burgers
Most children today have been exposed to a greater range of flavors than we were when we were very young, and their tastes are more developed, even for spicy foods. I cannot count the number of times I meet children who can rattle off their favorite sushi! So there’s no worry that the warm but not too spicy Southeast Asian seasonings in these turkey burgers won’t appeal to young palates.
Ground turkey, like boneless chicken breasts, is receptive to a wide range of flavorings, making it another option for good, tasty, quick, and affordable meals. This recipe can be halved, but the mixture freezes well, so, unless the turkey has already been frozen, you may want to make it all and freeze some of the burgers.
Makes 8 patties
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 jalapeño with seeds, minced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro
½ cup thinly sliced scallions, white and about 1 inch of green parts
2½ pounds ground turkey, ½ white, ½ dark meat
Hamburger or other rolls
Garnishes of your choice:
sliced tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, pickles, etc.
for the glaze
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon peeled and minced garlic
½ cup tamarind concentrate (see page 168)
½ cup honey
2 tablespoons Sriracha (see page 168)
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice for the burgers
Cooking spray or vegetable oil
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
For the glaze, heat the oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the tamarind concentrate, honey, Sriracha, and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the mixture until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and reduced to about 1 cup, stirring often, about 8 minutes.
Let the glaze cool completely, then mix in the lime juice.
Prepare a charcoal fire or gas grill to medium heat or place a grill pan over medium- high heat and coat it with cooking spray or oil. A nonstick or cast- iron pan is also fine for cooking these.
For the burgers, mix together the mayonnaise, ginger, salt, pepper, cumin, jalapeño, cilantro, and 4 teaspoons of the glaze in a large bowl, then mix in the scallions. Add the ground turkey and mix it well but loosely with the mayonnaise mixture; do not overwork. Shape the turkey into eight ½- inch- thick patties (or smaller ones for little people).
Grill the rolls, cut side down, until golden, about 2 minutes; transfer them to a serving platter. Grill the burgers until cooked through and a thermometer inserted into the center registers 160 degrees, about 8 minutes on each side. Brush each burger with the remaining glaze and serve with garnishes, and a spread of your choice for the buns— I like mayonnaise spiked with a drop or two of Sriracha.
Lime- Seared Scallops in Lemongrass Broth
Lemongrass can be nearly addictive, with its delicate lemony scent and flavor. No wonder it is pretty much indispensable in Thai cooking. I am seeing it more and more in ordinary supermarkets, and it is certainly available in Asian and specialty markets.
Get the largest scallops you can find for this recipe and remove any tough ligament that is still attached at the side.
Serves 4 to 6
4 teaspoons extra- virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon finely chopped tarragon
Zest and juice of 1 lime
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 teaspoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
2 pounds fresh sea scallops
2 stalks lemongrass
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 cup vegetable stock, homemade or good-quality store bought
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions or chives
Cooked white or basmati rice, for serving
Whisk together 2 teaspoons of the olive oil, the tarragon, lime zest and juice, and half the garlic, shallots, and ginger in a wide, shallow dish. Add the scallops, toss to coat, cover, and refrigerate for no longer than 30 minutes.
While the scallops are marinating, prepare the broth. Cut away the small pale bottom part of the lemongrass and peel off the tough outer leaves. Place the pieces on their sides and press down, with your palm or the side of a large knife, to bruise them. Heat the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat; add the remaining shallots and slowly sauté until they are caramelized— richly browned but not burned. Add the remaining garlic and ginger and stir for about 1 minute.
Add the lemongrass and fish sauce to the pan and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute, then pour in the vegetable stock. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Pour in the coconut milk and simmer for about 5 minutes longer. Set the sauce aside and keep it warm.
Meanwhile, drain the scallops of excess marinade and set them on paper towels for a minute or so to dry.
Place a large skillet over medium heat for about 2 minutes, then coat the surface with the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil. When the oil is hot, gently add the scallops to the skillet without crowding them; sear the scallops in two batches if necessary.
Cook the scallops on one side for about 2 minutes, or until they are browned. Do not move them about or the searing process will be affected. Turn the scallops over and cook for 2 more minutes.
To serve, pour some of the warm sauce onto individual plates and set the scallops on the sauce; garnish with the scallions and place the rice to the side.
Sage and Arugula Pesto
The flavors here are pretty assertive, but this pesto is great on boiled small whole potatoes or tossed with whole- wheat pasta. Use it as a sauce with pork, grilled steaks, or seafood.
Makes 2 cups
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, 3 whole and 1 minced
½ cup shelled walnuts
4 cups (loosely packed) arugula leaves
½ cup sage leaves
½ cup grated Parmigiano- Reggiano
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Heat about 1 tablespoon of the oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the whole garlic cloves and sauté until they are golden brown, about 5 minutes; do not let the garlic burn or it will become bitter. Pour the garlic and oil from the pan and set them aside.
Toast the walnuts in the skillet over medium heat until golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the walnuts from the heat.
Put the arugula, sage, walnuts, and both the sautéed and minced garlic in a blender or a food processor; pulse to mince the ingredients.
With the machine running, or while pulsing the food processor, slowly pour in the remaining oil and blend just until the ingredients are well incorporated.
Scrape the mixture into a bowl and stir in the cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.