The New Basics Cookbook

The New Basics Cookbook

by Sheila Lukins, Julee Rosso


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It's the 1.8-million-copy bestselling cookbook that's become a modern-day classic. Beginning cooks will learn how to boil an egg. Experienced cooks will discover new ingredients and inspired approaches to familiar ones. Encyclopedic in scope, rich with recipes and techniques, and just plain fascinating to read, The New Basics Cookbook is the indispensable kitchen reference for all home cooks.

This is a basic cookbook that reflects today's kitchen, today's pantry, today's taste expectations. A whimsically illustrated 875-recipe labor of love, The New Basics features a light, fresh, vibrantly flavored style of American cooking that incorporates the best of new ingredients and cuisines from around the world.

Over 30 chapters include Fresh Beginnings; Pasta, Pizza, and Risotto; Soups; Salads; every kind of Vegetable; Seafood; The Chicken and the Egg; Grilling from Ribs to Surprise Paella; Grains; Beef; Lamb, Pork; Game; The Cheese Course, and Not Your Mother's Meatloaf. Not to mention 150 Desserts! Plus, tips, lore, menu ideas, at-a-glance charts, trade secrets, The Wine Dictionary, a Glossary of Cooking Terms, The Panic-Proof Kitchen, and much more.

Main Selection of the Better Homes & Gardens Family Book Service and the Book-of-the-Month Club's HomeStyle Books.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780894803413
Publisher: Workman Publishing Company, Inc.
Publication date: 01/28/1989
Pages: 849
Sales rank: 90,799
Product dimensions: 8.00(w) x 9.13(h) x 1.75(d)

About the Author

Sheila Lukins, one of America's best-known and best-loved food writers, was the co-founder of the legendary Silver Palate take-out shop. Her celebrated cookbooks, written alone and with her Silver Palate partner, Julee Rosso, helped change the way America's eats. For the past 23 years, she was also the Food editor of Parade Magazine.

Julee Rosso Miller co-authored the Silver Palate in 1979, and wrote The Silver Palate Cookbook in 1982, followed by The Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook and The New Basics Cookbook. She also wrote Great Good Food and Fresh Start, and with her husband runs the Wickwood Inn in Saugatuck, Michigan.

Read an Excerpt


This is pasta short-order cooking—fifteen minutes maximum—and very tasty.

1 pound penne

2 heads broccoli

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

10 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced crosswise

Freshly ground black pepper

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the penne, and cook at a rolling boil until the pasta is just tender. Drain, rinse under cold water, drain again, and reserve.

2. Cut the broccoli florets into fairly small pieces. Reserve the stems for another use. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the broccoli, and simmer for 2 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water, pat dry, and reserve.

3. Pour the oil into a large skillet, and heat over medium heat until it begins to ripple, about 1 minute. Add the garlic slices and cook, shaking the pan, until the garlic begins to brown around the edges, another minute.

4. Add the broccoli to the skillet, stir well, sprinkle with black pepper, and cook 2 minutes longer, shaking the skillet.

5. Add the butter and penne to the broccoli and cook, stirring often, until the penne is well mixed with the broccoli, oil, and garlic and the mixture is hot—3 to 4 minutes.

6. Place in a serving dish, sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese, and serve immediately. Pass the pepper mill.

8 portions


Figs, sweet potatoes, dried apricots, and cassis are succulent additions to our ducklings stewed in red wine. The sauce will thicken without adding flour. Serve with a robust winter green salad highlighted with julienned radicchio.

4 cups dry red wine

1 cup homemade beef stock or canned broth

1 pound dried figs

3 pounds sweet potatoes

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

3 ducklings (4 1/2 pounds each), well rinsed, patted dry, and each cut into 6 pieces

2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper

2 cups dried apricots

6 large cloves garlic

1/4 cup creme de cassis

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

1. Combine 3 cups of the wine and the stock in a saucepan, and bring just to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat, add the figs, and set aside.

2. Peel the potatoes, and cut them into balls with a melon baller; you should have about 4 cups. Place the potato balls in a large saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, then drain the potatoes and set them aside.

3. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

4. Melt the butter in a large deep flameproof casserole or dutch oven. Brown the ducklings, a few pieces at a time, over medium heat. (While the ducks are browning, it may be necessary to pour off some of the fat. There should be no more than 4 tablespoons in the casserole.) As they are browned, transfer the pieces to a plate.

5. When all the duck has been browned, pour off any remaining fat from the casserole and return it to the heat. Add the remaining 1 cup wine and bring to a boil over medium heat, scraping up any brown bits in the casserole.

6. Return the duckling to the casserole, and sprinkle it with the pepper. Add the figs and their soaking liquid, the potatoes, and the apricots, garlic, creme de cassis, and brown sugar. Stir well, and bring to a boil over high heat.

7. Cover the casserole, transfer it to the oven, and bake for 30 minutes. Then stir it thoroughly, and bake another 30 minutes.

8. Arrange the duck, fruits, and vegetables on a large serving platter. Skim the grease from the sauce. Pour a bit of the degreased sauce over the duck, and sprinkle it with the parsley. Serve the remaining sauce on the side.

8 portions


Tuna must be grilled quickly, since it will dry out badly if overcooked—so watch it carefully. Of course you can also grill tuna under an oven broiler.


1/4 cup fruity olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup chopped scallions (green onions)

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 1/2 pounds fresh tuna, cut into 2-inch chunks

1 fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces

1 red onion, cut into 8 wedges

1. Whisk the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl until smooth. Add the tuna, fennel, and red onion, and turn in the marinade. Cover loosely, and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

2. Prepare hot coals for grilling.

3. On four large metal skewers, thread the tuna chunks alternately with pieces of fennel and onion.

4. Oil the grill, and cook over medium heat about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Serve immediately.

4 portions

Excerpted from The New Basics Cookbook. Copyright c 1989 by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins. Reprinted with permission by Workman Publishing.

Table of Contents

Preface: Our Next Chapter

Introduction: The Basics Become New



At Table


Beautiful Soup

Pizza Pizzazz

Prime Time Pasta

The Risotto Rage

Salad Daze


Vegetable Magic


Going with Grains and Beans


A School of Fish

Seashore Shellfish


The Chicken (and the Game Hen and the Turkey and the Duck)

The Elegant Egg


Hot off the Grill


Meat Know-How

Here's the Beef

Chili, Burgers, Meat Loaves, and Hash

The South of France

The Pig Stands Alone

Season to Taste: Herb and Spice Chart

For the Love of Lamb

Bravo Italia!

Taming Game


A Fresh Loaf

The Cheese Course


Chocolate, the Magnificent Obsession

Cake and Coffee

The Fruit Orchard

Island Fruits

Desert Fruits

The All-American Pie

Nuts About Nuts

Cookies and Milk

The Proof of the Pudding is the Creme Brulee

The Soda Fountain


Microwave Miracles

The Basics

The Panic-Proof Kitchen

Basic Pantry

Glossary of Cooking Terms

Conversion Chart




Minty Roasted Potatoes

Our very favorite potatoes are roasted and then tossed with lots of garlic and fresh mint. Be sure to hide potato them before you serve them, or you'll have less than expected!

  • 8 red new potatoes scrubbed and patted dry
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Coarse (kosher) salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves or Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.
2. Prick the potatoes with the tines of a fork and arrange them on a baking sheet. Bake for 1 1/2 hours.
3. Cut the potatoes into quarters and place them in a serving bowl. While they are still hot, toss them with the oil, coarse salt, pepper, and garlic.
4. Gently toss in the mint. Serve hot or at room temperature.

4 portions

Shrimp on a Bed of Leeks

Light and easy to prepare, this dish makes a meal. The leeks and shrimp still have a slight crispness to them, in both flavor and texture, when cooked in the microwave. It's delicious served over couscous in shallow soup plates.

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 2 leeks (white part and 1/2 inch green), well rinsed and cut into fine julienne
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ripe plum tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1. Place the lemon juice, oil, and butter in a 2- to 21/2 -quart microwave-safe casserole with a lid. Cover and cook on high power (600 to 700 watts) for 2 to 21/2 minutes.
2. Add the leeks, parsley, and rosemary. Sprinkle with the sugar and pepper. Stir well, cover, and cook another 2 1/2 minutes.
3. Add the tomatoes, stir, cover, and cook 2 minutes. Then add the shrimp, and toss well with the vegetables and liquid. Cover and cook, stirring once, until the shrimp are done but not overcooked, 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 minutes.

4 portions

Hot and Sassy Cornbread

If Fats Waller were around, he'd write a song about this cornbread. Made with cornmeal, sweet corn kernels, and jalapeno pepper, this is just grand! And right up Fats' alley.

  • 1 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup canned cream-style corn
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1 to 2 fresh jalapeno peppers, minced
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan.
2. Toss the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl.
3. In another bowl, stir the cream-style corn and all the remaining ingredients together until smooth. Add half the liquid mixture to the dry mixture, stirring just until blended. Add the remaining liquid and again stir until just blended. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
4. Bake until the top is golden and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 minutes.

Cool slightly in the pan before cutting into squares.

Excerpted from The New Basics Cookbook. Reprinted with permission by Workman Publishing.

Customer Reviews

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The New Basics Cookbook 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
BakerBrooke More than 1 year ago
This cook book was given to me by accident. A friend who got it twice as a gift and asked if I wanted one. That was 1996! It has been my favorite and my go-to cookbook for over twelve years. It is the first one I go to for ideas or questions about "the basics." Give it to a new bride or graduate and they will love it for life!
michanne on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I bought this 10 years ago and still use it as a cooking reference, broken spine and all. Many of the classics add some ingredient or method that makes them extra delicious. There is also a healthy mix of non-traditional recipes (like cold avocado soup) that have become regular in my house.
Mendoza on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My favorite cookbook. I am constantly refering to it for information and recipes. I only wish it had color photos to enhance what I am trying to make....
wenestvedt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Underutilized. Oh, there's dozens of pages marked with recipes I want to try, but honestly, I don't get around to it.
Marliesd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I bought this in the early 90s, when the whole "foodie" thing had recently happened in NYC. I would read this like a novel. Love it, even though I've only cooked a tiny fraction of the recipes.
smbmom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a classic cookbook that I recommend to any adult who is starting out in the kitchen. The recipes are somewhat complicated, involving lots of steps, but the results are phenomenal. Even novice chefs can produce gourmet results.
DPuig More than 1 year ago
Every recipe I have tried in this book has turned out perfect. You don't have to be an experienced cook to have success. Their first book "The Silver Palate Cookbook" is also great, I might even like better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I cannot praise this book enough. The recipes are fail proof if followed step by step. This book has been in my kitchen for a number of years. The recipes are easy to follow and very well explained. It's more than just recipes. It has terms, charts, tips, suggestions, definitions and much more. The perfect gift for the novice cook.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This, along with The Silver Palate are really the only cookbooks whose recipes consistently bring rave reviews from my guests. I don't even test them in advance. Everything is delicious and makes this weekend cook look like a gourmet chef. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to serve four star restaurant meals at home without going to cooking school.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This thick, well-organized, delightful cookbook is the cornerstone for any budding kitchen. It is fanciful, serious, authoritative, thoughtful, adventurous and classical - all in the same breath. I could not live without this book. In addition, it is the perfect wedding or graduation gift. It truly has something for everyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This cookbook is one of the best basic cookbooks I have ever seen. As a collector of cookbooks, this is the book I return to time and again to get basic information like boiling eggs, roasting meats and using herbs. Additionally, the cokobook has many new and interesting recipes that are delicious and easy to prepare. This book is a MUST for anyone interested in cooking, and it is a great resource for every kitchen.