If you love cookbooks but don't feel confident enough to cook, Gourmet magazine has something for you. To celebrate its 65th anniversary, the magazine is re-releasing its best-selling 2004 cookbook, simply called "The Gourmet Cookbook." It includes a 45-minute DVD showing how to follow the recipes and make anything you want to eat.
Ruth Reichl, Gourmet's editor in chief, and John Willoughby, its executive editor, stopped by The Early Show Wednesday.
For instance: Want to learn what "dicing" means, and how to do it? You could check this book or DVD.
The book features more than a thousand recipes and, Gourmet says, is hailed by food lovers as important, comprehensive and authoritative, joining other classic cookbooks such as "The Joy Of Cooking."
The editors of Gourmet went back through the more than 60,000 recipes that the magazine has published in the past six decades.
Reichl and Willoughby showed Early Show viewers a few of their favorite dishes, similar to the ones highlighted on the DVD.
To see an excerpt, and more, click here.
Makes about 55 hors d'oeuvres; active time: 20 minutes; start-to-finish, 1 1/4 hours
Gougeres are one of the simple glories of French cuisine, as much at home in an elegant setting as in a rustic one. Think of them as savory cream puffs, because the dough, pate a choux, is exactly the same. The pronounced nutty flavor of Gruyere is important, as in the nutmeg — just the littlest bit of the spice rounds out the flavors beautifully. (Try some in macaroni and cheese or a potato grati.) Note that we specify freshly grated nutmeg; pre-grated nutmeg in a tin is a pallid version of the real thing.
1 cup water
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4-5 large eggs
1 1/2 cups finely grated Gruyere (about 4 ounces)
2 tablespoons finely grated parmigiano-reggiano
rounded 1/4 teaspoon
Special equipment: parchment paper (optional); a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch plain
Put racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 375. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly butter them. Combine water, butter and salt in a 3 quart heavy saucepan and bring to a full boil over high heat, stirring until butter is melted. Reduce heat to moderate, add flour all at once, and cook, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon, until mixture pulls away from sides of pan, about 30 seconds. Continue to cook and stir to remove excess moisture for about 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly, about 3 minutes. Add 4 eggs, one at a time, beating well with wooden spoon after each addition; batter will appear to separate but will become smooth once beaten. Mixture should be glossy and just stiff enough to hold soft peaks and fall softly from a spoon. If it is too stiff, beat remaining egg in a small bowl and add to batter 1 teaspoon at a time, beating and then testing batter after each addition until it reaches desired consistency. Stir in cheeses, nutmeg and pepper.
Fill pastry bag, if using, with batter and pipe fifteen 1-inch diameter mounds 1 inch apart onto each baking sheet, or spoon level tablespoons of batter onto sheets. Bake, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until puffed, golden and crisp, about 30 minutes total. Make more gougeres in same manner with remaining batter. Serve warm. If you spoon the batter onto the baking sheets rather than piping it, the active time will be about 15 minutes longer. It is helpful to use a regular teaspoon to scoop the batter out of the measuring spoon onto the baking sheet.
For more recipes, go to Page 2.
Serves 6 to 8 as a first course, 4 as a main course; active time: 35 minutes, start-to-finish, 35 minutes.
The inspiration for this risotto is the soupy dish called risi e bisi ("rice and peas"), which is Venetian in origin and is traditionally eaten on St. Mark's Day, April 25, when the first local peas appear in the Rialto market. We call for frozen baby peas (unless fresh peas are really fresh, they can be too starchy), and we eat this year round. We stir in some prosciutto for depth (pancetta will work well too) and a bit of lemon zest to perk things up.
5 cups chicken stock or store-bought low-sodium broth
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 1/2 cups (about 10 ounces) Arborio rice
1/2 dry white wine
1 cup frozen baby peas, thawed
2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut crosswise into 1/4 inch wide strips
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2/3 cup finely grated parmigiano-reggiano, plus additional for serving 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bring stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan; reduce heat, cover, and keep at a bare simmer. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a 3 to 4 quart heavy saucepan or moderate heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add wine, bring to a simmer, and simmer, stirring, until it is absorbed. Continue adding stock, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and letting each addition be absorbed before adding next, until rice is tender and creamy-looking but still al dente, 18 to 20 minutes (there will be leftover stock). Stir in peas, prosciutto, lemon zest, cheese, parsley, remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and salt and pepper to taste. If necessary, thin risotto with some remaining stock. Serve immediately, with additional cheese.
Duck Breasts with Orange Ancho Chile Sauce
Serves 6; active time: 40 minutes; start-to-finish, 1 1/4 hours
Body is probably not a characteristic that comes to mind when you're looking at an ancho chile (a dried poblano), but soaked and pureed, it gives richness and roundness to a sauce such as the one here. The heat is present, but it's balanced by the sweetness or the orange juice. What you end up with is a beautiful, deep red, earthy sauce, a New World treatment of an Old World pairing.
3 dried ancho chiles (1 1/4 ounces) stemmed and seeded
2 cups boiling water
1 cup garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 fresh lime juice
6 muscovy duck breast halves, rinsed and patted dry
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Special equipment: an instant-read thermometer
Toast chiles in a small dry heavy skillet over moderate heat until slightly darker, turning once with tongs, about 40 seconds total. Transfer to a small heatproof bowl, add boiling water, and soak until smooth. Cook sugar in a dry 1 1/2 quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, undisturbed, until it begins to melt. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally with a fork, until sugar has melted to a deep golden caramel, about 8 minutes. Carefully add orange and lime juices (caramel will steam vigorously and harden). Cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until hardened caramel is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. With a sharp paring knife, score skin, through fat, on each duck breast in a crosshatch pattern, making score marks about 1 inch apart. Pat dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put 3 breast halves skin side down in a 12-inch heavy skillet and turn heat to moderate. Cook until skin is well browned, about 10 minutes. Pour off and discard rendered fat, turn breasts over with tongs, and cook until meat is browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and brown remaining duck in same manner. Return all breast halves to skillet (set plate aside), cover, and cook over moderate heat until thermometer inserted horizontally into center of a breast registers 135 from medium rare, about 6 minutes. Transfer duck to a carving board and let stand, uncovered, while you make sauce. (Duck will continue to cook as it stands.)
Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat from skillet, add chile puree and any duck juices from plate, and cook over moderately high heat, stirring and scraping up any brown bits, until thickened, about 6 minutes. Add caramel and any juices accumulated on carving board and simmer for 5 more minutes. Whisk in butter until incorporated, then whisk in salt to taste. Slice duck breasts and serve with sauce.
For another recipe, go to Page 3.
Serves 10; active time: 1 hour; start-to-finish: 2 hours (include cooling)
This is the ultimate chocolate birthday cake. Many people assume that this kind of chocolate cake is called "devil's food" because of its "sinfully rich" nature. In fact, it takes its name from the distinctive reddish brown color that results from the chemical reaction between the cocoa and baking soda, which is used both to leaven the cake and to neutralize the natural acidity of the cocoa. (Be sure to use regular cocoa, not Dutch-process, or you will throw off the delicate balance in the recipe.) More important, though, this cake is particularly soft and deliciously moist. It's best when the layers are made ahead of time, which allows the flavors to intensify. You could use Chocolate Ganache Frosting or Seven-Minute Frosting, but the brown sugar buttercream rounds out the chocolate flavor in an especially wonderful way.
1 cup boiling water
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
brown sugar buttercream
Special equipment: three 8 by 2 inch cake plans
Put racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350. Butter cake pans and line bottoms with rounds of parchment or wax paper. Butter paper and dust pans with flour, knocking out excess. Whisk together boiling water and cocoa powder in a medium bowl until smooth, then whisk in milk and vanilla. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt into another bowl. Beat together butter and sugars in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in flour and cocoa mixtures alternately in 3 batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture (batter may look curdled). Divide better among pans and smooth tops. Place two pans in middle of oven and one pan in bottom (do not put top pans directly above bottom pan). Bake, switching position of pans halfway through baking, until a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cakes comes out of clean and layers begin to pull away from sides of pans, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool lays in pans on racks for 10 minutes, then invert onto racks, remove paper, and cool completely.
Put 1 cake layer right side up on a cake plate and spread with about 1 cup buttercream. Top with another layer, right side up, and spread with another cup buttercream. Top with remaining layer and frost top and sides of cake with remaining buttercream.
The cake layers can be made up to 2 days ahead and kept, well wrapped in plastic wrap, at room temperature. They can also be frozen for up to 1 week. Thaw, still wrapped, in the refrigerator. The cake can be assembled up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated in a cake keeper or loosely covered with plastic wrap (use toothpicks to hold wrap away from frosting). Bring to room temperature before serving The batter can also be baked in two 9 by 2 inch baking pan for 35 to 40 minutes; or in a 12 cup Bundt pan for 35 to 40 minutes. Or it can be used to make cupcakes: bake in 24 muffin cups for 20 to 25 minutes.