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The debut cookbook from Athena Calderone, creator of EyeSwoon, with 100 seasonal recipes for meals as gorgeous as they are delicious. In Cook Beautiful, Athena reveals the secrets to preparing and presenting unforgettable meals. As the voice and curator behind EyeSwoon, an online lifestyle destination for food, entertaining, fashion, and interior design, Athena cooks with top chefs, hosts incredible dinners, and designs stunning tablescapes, while emphasizing the importance of balancing the visual elements of each dish with incredible flavors. In her debut cookbook, she’s finally showing the rest of us how to achieve her impeccable yet approachable cooking style. Included are 100 recipes with step-by-step advice on everything from prep to presentation—from artfully layering a peach and burrata salad to searing a perfect steak. Recipes include Grilled Zucchini Flatbread with Ramp-Pistachio Pesto, Charred Eggplant with Zaatar and Yogurt Tahini, Mezzi Rigatoni with Radicchio and Guanciale, Stewed Pork with Squash and Walnut Gremolata, Blood Orange Bundt Cake with Orange Bitters Glaze, and more. Organized by season, each section closes with a tablescape inspired by nature, along with specific table décor and entertaining tips. Cook Beautiful is where design meets food, where culinary tradition marries food styling, where home chefs become experts. These are luscious dishes to make for friends and family, with advice that will inspire you to create visually stunning, and still wholly delicious, culinary masterpieces.
|Product dimensions:||8.10(w) x 10.10(h) x 1.20(d)|
About the Author
Athena Calderone is a celebrated interior designer, chef, entertaining expert, and creator of award-winning lifestyle site EyeSwoon. Deemed “The modern girl’s Martha Stewart” by New York Times T Magazine, she is recognized and respected by culinary, fashion, and design worlds alike. Whether layering flavors in the kitchen, setting a bountiful table, or designing a room, Athena is renowned for her use of graceful yet juxtaposed pairings–always with an underpinning of sophistication. Fueled by her belief that beautiful food and design bring us together and turn little moments into lasting memories, Athena remains committed to pushing the boundaries of her craft.
Read an Excerpt
WHEN I WAS GROWING UP, words like seasonal and locally sourced may as well have been a foreign language. We didn't think much about which vegetables were being harvested just a few miles from our suburban home, or which fruits were reaching their perfect juicy peak on the trees of Long Island's orchards. In my family, we ate frozen corn in the winter and bought our tomatoes — usually flown in from California — at the Key Foods all year long.
What changed that mindset, for me, was discovering New York City's greenmarkets. That first fresh, sugary-sweet pea, popped from the pod and eaten raw — right there in the veggie stall — sent me swooning. Shopping seasonally made me increasingly attuned to the way produce shifts from month to month, and those changes now inform the way I cook.
Starting in mid-April, after dropping my son off at school, I often head to Union Square, where New York City's largest greenmarket is in full swing four days a week. After enduring months of brutal cold, I feel as though I've come alive again, right in sync with the tender shoots pushing their way through the thawing earth. I'm always in awe at the lush transition: Whereas just a month earlier, the stalls were filled with potato after potato, suddenly there are bright green fava beans, ramps, and asparagus. I tend to get a little carried away and buy too much. Some people spring clean, but I spring market!
This time of year we crave something lighter than winter's long braises and cozy flavors, but haven't reached the point of completely avoiding the oven. We want the best of both worlds, the raw and the cooked. For lunch, I might pull out my mandoline and slice up paper-thin wisps of raw fennel for a vibrant salad. For dinner, I might roast asparagus and radishes, dousing them in a tangy mustard sauce.
As April turns to May, my family begins to spend more time at our home in Amagansett, where I plant my herb garden, nestling the little plants into the fertile soil. I always seem to hurry home from the nursery and dig right in with my hands, emerging a few hours later happy as a clam despite my mud-splattered white jeans and the clods of earth stuck under every nail.
When I'm not tending to my own (very modest) crop, I love to spend time at Amber Waves, the picturesque, eight-acre organic farm where I collect my weekly CSA box. I catch up with the farmers and explore the fields, picking the first dainty strawberries and snipping fragrant lavender sprigs. I always leave inspired by the energy invested in growing this beautiful food — and feeling a renewed sense of connection to the community I'm so lucky to be a part of. And of course, I can't resist sharing my spoils with friends. Perhaps I jump the gun a bit by firing up the grill at the first hint of warm weather, but spring lamb chops practically beg to be flame kissed. I invite a crowd, fill the house with blooming quince branches, open the windows, and breathe deep. Finally, it's spring.
SPINACH AND GOAT CHEESE FRITTATA
Starting in late spring, I tend to have a steady stream of friends staying at my house in Amagansett, so I've learned to embrace an all-day mindset when it comes to entertaining. Guests appreciate a beautiful breakfast just as much as — if not more than — a fancy dinner. Frittata is one of my favorites. Fast and easy, it's a great vehicle for showcasing spring greens — and using up leftovers from the night before. If you're pressed for time, frittata can be made ahead and served room temperature. Just spruce it up with a handful of torn herbs before serving. Feel free to sub zucchini for the spinach here, or replace goat cheese with ricotta. And spare yourself the anxiety of getting the finished dish to release perfectly onto a platter — I slice mine directly in the cast-iron pan.
½ pound (225 g) baby potatoes
Preheat the oven to 350ºF (175ºC). In a saucepan, boil the potatoes until fork tender. Drain and when they are cool enough to handle, thinly slice the potatoes.
Whisk together the eggs, crème fraîche, and salt.
In a cast-iron or nonstick 10-inch ovenproof skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the leek and onion and sauté until soft and translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook another few minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the spinach and cook just until wilted. Lower the heat to medium-low and pour in the egg mixture. Cook for a few minutes, pushing the eggs toward the center of the skillet as they cook. As you work, be careful not to break apart the potatoes. Once the eggs have set on the bottom, dot the top of the frittata with goat cheese. Place the skillet in the oven and cook just until the frittata has set, 12 to 15 minutes.
Remove the frittata from the oven and cool slightly. To serve, garnish with fresh herbs and lemon zest.
SMOKED SALMON TOAST WITH RED ONION AND HERBS
Little toasts are one of my favorite nibbles to serve guests, and of all the many varieties I've put together over the years, this is the one that gets gobbled with the most ferocity. People go crazy over smoked salmon! Of course, the appeal here goes beyond the fish — there's also the cooling lemon crème fraîche, the sharp, tangy pickled onion, and the refreshingly crunchy cukes. The elements truly harmonize. On weekends when I suspect I'll have friends around, I often make the components in advance so these toasts can be assembled in a pinch for an elegant, impromptu brunch.
MAKES 4 TOASTS
FOR THE PICKLED ONION
FOR THE LEMON CRÈM FRAÎCHE
FOR THE TOAST
Make the pickled onion: In a small saucepan, bring the vinegar, honey, coriander seeds, and salt to a boil. Place the onions in a nonreactive bowl. Slowly pour the hot liquid over the onions and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until ready to use. Stored in a well-sealed container, onions will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Make the lemon crème fraîche: Whisk together the crème fraîche and lemon zest and juice. Season with salt and pepper.
Make the toast: Preheat the grill over medium-high heat to about 400ºF (250ºC). Lightly drizzle both sides of the bread with oil. Grill until lightly charred, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Top with the lemon crème fraîche, smoked salmon, cucumbers, capers, and a few pickled red onions. Scatter with fresh herbs, chive blossom flowers, and a few grinds of pepper. Serve with lemon wedges on the side, if desired.
GRILLED ZUCCHINI FLATBREAD WITH RAMP-PISTACHIO PESTO
The appearance of ramps at the farmer's market is often the first sign that spring has sprung. And thanks in part to their short season, from late April until very early June, they tend to set off a bit of a culinary frenzy. The trendiest veggie since kale, this green queen is actually a long, wild spring onion — and, in terms of flavor, it packs a deliciously garlicky punch. I try to make the most of ramps while they're around, using them in everything from frittatas to pestos — including this one, which I love to slather on my homemade flatbread. Brightened by lemon and mellowed a bit by rich, crunchy pistachios, it's just the right foil for sweet and smoky charred zucchini.
SERVES 6 TO 8
FOR THE PESTO
FOR THE ZUCCHINI
FOR SERVING Grilled flatbread (page 270)
Make the pesto: Trim the roots from the ramps and pull off the thin membrane that covers the bulb. Rinse thoroughly under cold water. Cut the leafy green tops from the bulbs and set aside.
Bring a small saucepan of salted water up to a simmer over medium-low heat. While the water heats, prepare an ice bath and have it ready by the stove. Add the ramp greens to the saucepan and cook for 30 seconds. Using tongs, remove the greens and plunge them into the ice bath. Once they've cooled, drain them thoroughly.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the ramp bulbs and sauté for about 2 minutes or until softened, being careful not to let them brown.
Transfer the ramp greens, bulbs, cheese, olive oil, salt, and lemon juice to the bowl of a food processor. Add ¼ cup (32 g) of the pistachios. Pulse until a smooth pesto forms. You should have about 2? cups (555 ml), but will only use about half for the flatbread. The remaining pesto can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for 3 days. To help maintain its color, drizzle it with a little olive oil or place a piece of plastic wrap directly on its surface. You can spread the leftover pesto on a sandwich, stir it into pasta, or use it as a dip.
Make the zucchini: Preheat the grill over medium-high heat to about 400ºF (205ºC). Drizzle the zucchini with oil. Sprinkle with paprika and season generously with salt and pepper, tossing until the zucchini is evenly coated. Grill until the zucchini is cooked through and lightly charred on both sides, about 8 minutes total.
Spread the pesto over a grilled flatbread, leaving a ½-inch (12-mm) border around the edges. Top with the zucchini, mint, sunflower sprouts, and remaining ¼ cup (32 g) pistachios. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with flaky sea salt.
THE SPRINGIEST SPRING SALAD
Highlighting the season's daintiest delights — watercress, pea shoots, tender herbs — this salad is such a welcome change of pace after the muddled and muted flavors of winter. Making it relies heavily on a mandoline, so I encourage you to buy one if the tool isn't already part of your arsenal. The lemon vinaigrette is a variation on my go-to dressing, with crème fraîche lending some welcome richness to the light, crunchy veg. Feel free to ad-lib with whatever looks best at the farmer's market — endive, watermelon radish, and snaps peas would all work beautifully here. But whatever you do, don't skimp on the fresh tarragon; its tender leaves add a complex anise-like flavor that really rounds out the dish.
FOR THE VINAIGRETTE ¼ cup (60 ml) fresh lemon juice 1 orange, grated zest and juice 3 tablespoons crème fraîche 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 1 teaspoon honey ½ cup (120 ml) extra-virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon kosher salt Freshly cracked pepper 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
FOR THE SALAD 1 fennel bulb, quartered, cored, and thinly shaved on a mandoline, fronds reserved 1 green radish, thinly shaved on a mandoline 1 bunch watercress 1 cup (145 g) shelled peas, blanched and shocked 1 handful pea greens or pea shoots ¼ cup (30 g) toasted pistachios, roughly chopped Chive or pea shoot blossoms, for serving Flaky sea salt, for serving
Make the vinaigrette: Whisk together the lemon and orange juice, crème fraîche, mustard, and honey. In a slow, steady stream, whisk in the oil until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the fresh herbs.
Make the salad: Toss the fennel, radish, watercress, and peas with just enough vinaigrette to lightly coat them. Transfer to a serving platter. Top with the pea greens, pistachios, reserved fennel fronds, chive blossom flowers, and a light sprinkle of flaky sea salt.
GRILLED BABY ARTICHOKES WITH HERBED AIOLI
I have a soft spot for artichokes. As a child, I considered these spiky vegetables to be "adult food," so the fact that I enjoyed eating them made me feel so sophisticated and grown up. Etched in my memory is the ritual my father and I always shared: After plucking off and scraping my teeth against each and every petal, I'd carefully spoon away the rtichoke's fuzzy center and proudly present the heart to my dad — it's his favorite part. Here, baby artichokes — which aren't actually babies at all, but just smaller buds that grow low down on the plant — are simply grilled and served with a garlic aioli. Classic and delicious.
SERVES 6 TO 8
FOR THE AIOLI 1 clove garlic ¾ teaspoon kosher salt 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1 egg yolk 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice ½ cup (120 ml) canola oil ¼ cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs such as tarragon, chives, or parsley
FOR THE ARTICHOKES 4 lemons, divided 4 pounds (1.8 kg) baby artichokes 2 bay leaves Kosher salt Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling Salt and freshly cracked pepper Chopped fresh herbs, for serving
Make the aioli: Using a mortar and pestle, mash the garlic and salt into a paste. Add the mustard and continue to mash until a smooth paste forms. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and whisk in the egg yolk and lemon juice. Whisk in both oils in a slow, steady stream until the aioli has emulsified and thickened. Stir in the herbs and taste and adjust for seasoning. If you're not using the aioli immediately, cover and keep it refrigerated.
Make the artichokes: Fill a large bowl with cold water. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the rind from two of the lemons into strips and reserve. Cut the peeled lemons in half, squeeze the juice into the bowl of water, and place the squeezed halves in the water.
Using a sharp knife, peel off the artichoke's tough outer leaves until you've reached the tender inner leaves. Peel and trim the artichoke stem, then cut the artichoke in half lengthwise. Place in the lemon water to prevent browning. Repeat with the remaining artichokes.
Fill a large pot about halfway with cold water. Add the strips of lemon zest, bay leaves, and a large pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then add the artichokes. Reduce the heat and simmer until the artichokes are fork tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain the artichokes and transfer to a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, tossing to evenly coat.
Preheat the grill over medium-high heat to about 400ºF (205ºC). Grill the artichokes, cut-side down, in a single layer until they form nice, dark grill marks, 5 to 6 minutes. Flip and grill the second side until lightly charred, about 3 minutes. Quarter the two remaining lemons and grill until charred, 2 to 3 minutes. Finish the artichokes with a sprinkle of fresh herbs and a squeeze of juice from the grilled lemons. Serve warm with the herbed aioli.
Excerpted from "Cook Beautiful"
Copyright © 2017 Athena Calderone.
Excerpted by permission of Abrams Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
SAUCES & EXTRAS, 266,
MY TOOL BOX, 272,
MY PANTRY, 273,
MY LITTLE BLACK BOOK, 276,