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The Cookstr Weekly: Get Baking

September 19, 2014

As the first leaves start to fall and it’s no longer unbearable to turn the oven on, I’m starting to think about fall baking. The coming months will bring plenty of birthday parties, family dinners, Rosh Hashanah, and Thanksgiving, which means cakes, cookies, and quickbreads.

By all means, let’s dust off those tried and true favorites, but I’m also taking time to experiment with new ingredients and techniques to debut at holiday gatherings this season. But don’t worry, friends – I promise I’ll still make that pumpkin cake at least once.

Warmest regards,

Kara Rota
Editorial Director
Cookstr

Cinnamon Crumb Surprise
  by Rose Levy Berenbaum

 
Topped with fragrant cinnamon crumbs, this golden loaf has a hidden treat in the middle: a tart layer of buttery apple slices, nestled inside a layer of cinnamon crumbs. This is a real favorite in our house, perfect with coffee or tea; I also enjoy it with a glass of cold milk.” 

- Rose Levy Berenbaum

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The Cookstr Weekly: Ten Dinners Under Ten Dollars

September 8, 2014
 

If I’m going to splurge, it’s likely not going to be on this-season designer jeans or a shiny new gadget. It’ll probably be on a set of dry-aged rib eyes, or some really spectacular chocolate, or a must-have cheese. My splurges are usually edible, and I enjoy them for all they’re worth. But most nights, I’m just trying to get a delicious, inventive, and inexpensive dinner on the table.

These recipes will help. At under ten dollars a plate, they’re not just plain old spaghetti, but they certainly won’t break the bank. So you can save up for those fall fashions…or, if you’re like me, maybe some truffle oil. 

Warmest regards,

 

Kara Rota
Editorial Director
Cookstr

 

  Swiss Chard, Rotini, and Cannellini Beans in Parmesan Broth
  by Stephanie Stiavetti and Garrett McCord

 All too often, people toss away the rinds from their Parmesan, not realizing what flavorful bounty they are. Just like the greens from leeks or the bones of a chicken, these scraps have tons of flavor if you know how to coax it out. Stuff a chicken with Parmesan rinds before roasting; toast them under a broiler and use them as Parmesan “croutons”; or pop them into a pot and simmer them to make a hypnotic Parmesan broth. This aromatic brew is sure to lure anyone nearby into the kitchen. The flavor is salty, nutty, and unmistakably cheesy. Fortified with a bit of pasta, hearty Swiss chard, and cannellini beans, it results in a soup that is satisfying, inexpensive, and easy to make.

- Stephanie Stiavetti & Garrett McCord

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The Cookstr Weekly: Labor-Free Labor Day

September 3, 2014
 

Approaching the last long weekend of the summer always prompts in me a bit of a life-flashing-before-my-eyes feeling. There were so many things I had enthusiastically planned back in May: road trips, blueberry picking, reading heavy books while drinking herb-infused cocktails on a porch somewhere, finally making ice cream at home, more than one trip to the beach.

But there’s still time for one last picnic or backyard barbecue to celebrate the last hurrah of summer. Kebabs and skewers on the grill are perfect for Labor Day get-togethers: fun to make and to eat, they’re pre-portioned and just the answer to September burger burnout. With some fresh salads, fruity desserts, and roasted vegetables, you’ll be sending summer out in style.

Warmest regards,

 

Kara Rota
Editorial Director
Cookstr

 

 
  by Katie and Leeann Chin

Skewers and kebabs make perfect party food, in part because they do away with the impossibility of trying to balance a plate, knife, and fork while standing and chatting with the neighbor’s daughter. Beef, chicken, pork, fish, shellfish, and vegetable chunks all do well on the grill, and can also be cooked under the broiler if you run out of barbecue space or get rained out. This recipe employs a spicy, umami-filled marinade that turns flank steak into a tender and savory treat.

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The Cookstr Weekly: Quick & Easy Late Summer Recipes

September 3, 2014
 

Let’s be very clear about something: it is, as of the writing of this email, still summertime. Despite the premature onset of back-to-school “season,” the excited whispers about potential future “sweater weather,” and the tendency of certain pumpkin beverages to announce their arrival as inexcusably early as August 25th, I, for one, am planning to cling to these last warm weeks for all they’re worth.

That means plenty of eggplant, tomatoes, and summer squash, which can be prepared and enjoyed before the sun begins setting hours earlier. Here’s a handful of quick, simple, and memorable summer recipes that will have you putting off pumpkin at least until Labor Day.

 

Warmest regards,

 

Kara Rota
Editorial Director
Cookstr

 

 

 
Pasta-Stuffed Peppers
  by Michele Scicolone

Capers, olives, and anchovies are the Three Musketeers of Southern Italian cooking. Here they are mixed with tomatoes and pasta to stuff sweet bell peppers before roasting. If the peppers are very large or if I am making these as part of an antipasto and want smaller portions, I cut the peppers in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and stuff each half for smaller individual servings.”  

- Michele Scicolone

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The Cookstr Weekly: Eggs That Go Beyond Breakfast

August 28, 2014
 

Eggs are a go-to for just about every breakfast option, but their ability to do double duty in lunches and dinners is underrated. A cheap protein that fills in when you’re feeling stuck in the meat-poultry-fish rotation, eggs are embraced cross-culturally and take well to most quick and easy cooking techniques.

Whether soaking up flavors in a stir-fry or scramble, lending body and that signature creamy texture to a soup or dessert, or fried up on top of a dish in all their photogenic glory, eggs are the ingredient you should promote to main course status.

 

Warmest regards,
Kara Rota
Editorial Director
Cookstr

 

 
  by Sharon Crayton 

 
A friend’s father used to make this dish as a weekend treat when she was a child. Kids like the trick of the egg inside the bread. Using good quality eggs and flavorful whole-wheat bread makes it delicious. The French eat their eggs for lunch or dinner, and this dish can work as a meal at any time of day.”
– Sharon Crayton

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The Cookstr Weekly: Ten Liquid Shortcuts to a Cooler Summer

August 11, 2014
 

When it’s too hot even to turn on the stove, and the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables in your refrigerator leaves you dreading the thought of one more produce-laden pasta salad or stir fry, it’s time to break out the blender. Tangy, sweet, and fruit-heavy smoothies can do double-duty as breakfast and a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. And chilled soups that run the gamut from reimagined gazpacho to fruit and vegetable concoctions provide a refreshing break from a sandwich for lunch.

Of course, produce should find its way into grownup drinks as well. Turn on the blender, whip up a batch of something refreshing, and keep your cool all August long.

Warmest regards,
Kara Rota
Editorial Director
Cookstr

 
  by Louisa Shafia

 
It’s unusual to slot watermelon into a savory recipe, but think about the now-nearly-classic watermelon and feta salad. Watermelon and tomato share a high percentage of water and an in-season flavor intensity that make them a stellar pair in this inventive gazpacho. Toasted almonds give the soup body where stale bread is usually employed to do the same.

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The Cookstr Weekly: Ten Recipes for Tomatoes and Eggplant

July 31, 2014
It’s a common saying among gardeners and cooks that “things that grow together, go together.” Seasonality matters, because it provides a useful guide for combining ingredients. As both tomatoes and eggplant come into season, I’m reminded of how well their juicy flavors and complementary textures work in tandem.

Tomatoes have high levels of natural umami, the savory taste distinct from saltiness that gives foods like ramen and aged cheeses their lip-smacking quality. That makes them a perfect foil for the toothsome meatiness of eggplant. Try them together and separately in breakfasts, appetizers, and mains.

Warmest regards,

Kara Rota
Editorial Director
Cookstr

  by Sophie Dahl 

I love nothing more than vegetables for breakfast, especially this time of year when so much good produce is available. This dish echoes the flavor profile of shakshouka, or eggs poached in tomatoes, chili peppers, and onions. In this version, you poach the eggs separately, then serve them atop a mixture of eggplant, tomatoes, and tahini seasoned with paprika, fresh parsley, and lemon juice. 

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