Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Off The Shelf: Food Magazines

We thought we'd start our Off The Shelf posts with a review of some of the cooking magazines that we benefit from. Cooking magazines can be a great way to find new inspiration each month. Most are filled with beautiful pictures and usually contain somewhere from 50-120 recipes! It's worth buying one issue of a new magazine, or browsing through it at the library, before deciding for sure to buy a subscription. We've also found that after a year or two, it may be time to switch to a different magazine so inspiration continues afresh.

IMG_7293Food Network Magazine (October 2009)

Food Network Magazine is a new magazine that I've just recently come across. I like it so much that I'm considering making it a subscription next year. I find it's size and layout very appealing. There are lots of beautiful photographs and the recipes are laid out in an easy-to-follow manner. For a number of years I've been looking for a US magazine to compare with the amazing British BBC Good Food. I think this is it!

The October issue of Food Network Magazine has 120 new recipes, including a helpful little tear-out booklet with 50 Easy Soups -- just in time for soup season! I decided to try Soup #26 -- Curried Red Lentil. Red lentils are my favorite member of the lentil family because they melt away into a thick broth and don't give me that "bean texture" that I dislike. I'll be making this soup again for it's lovely, Thai-inspired tastes.

(October Food Network Magazine)

3 chopped garlic cloves
1 chopped onion
1 chopped carrot
1/2 Tbsp. grated ginger (I keep a large piece of ginger root in a plastic bag in the freezer and just grate from frozen, peel and all)

6 cups water
1 can coconut milk
1 cup red lentils (washed)
1/2 cup rice (I used brown)

Garnish: lime, cilantro, green onions

Cook the garlic, onion, carrot, and ginger in a bit of oil until softened. Add the water, coconut milk, lentils and rice. Simmer 20 minutes. Garnish with lime, cilantro, and green onions.

Serves 4-6.


IMG_7700Everday with Rachael Ray (October 2009)

This magazine has some great tips and what appear to be some yummy recipes. I can definitely vouch for the one I tried! And I have a few more bookmarked that I hope to make. These brownies are decadent and not very difficult. They were inspired by the Samoa Girl Scout cookies - honestly, I'd rather have these any day along with a cup of coffee!

(Everyday with Rachael Ray)
6 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used Ghiradelli bar)
6 Tb. unsalted butter
1 c. sugar
2 lg. eggs
1/2 c. flour
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. chewy caramel candies (about 20 candies), unwrapped (my kids did this!)
1 tsp. milk
1/2 c. sweetened shredded coconut, toasted*

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan and line with a 14-inch-long sheet of parchment paper,** allowing the ends to hang over 2 sides of the pan. In a medium glass bowl, combine the chocolate, butter and 3 Tb. water. Microwave*** on medium power for 2 1/2 minutes. Whisk in the sugar, then the eggs one at a time. Whisk in the flour, cocoa and salt until smooth. 

Scrape the batter into prepared pan and spread to the edges with a spatula. Bake until cracked on top, 25-30 minutes. Let cool completely.

In a small glass bowl, combine caramels and milk. Microwave at medium power for 2 minutes, then stir until smooth. Spread the caramel evenly on top of the brownie layer, Top with the coconut, patting lightly.

Cut in 16 pieces and enjoy (you do not want these any bigger - they are rich!).

*I put the un-toasted coconut in the oven while it was preheating and stirred it every couple of minutes until lightly browned.
**Parchment paper makes them easier to remove and easier to cut but you could omit it and just grease the pan very well.
***If you don't want to use the microwave, you could melt the chocolate and the caramels over a double boiler.



Everyday Food (October 2009)

Everyday Food is a paper-backed-book-sized magazine which I always welcome in the mailbox each month. Don't let Martha Stewart's picture on the front scare you away! Although this magazine is published by her company, the recipes are fast and simple. The photos and recipes in this magazine have always measured up to my wishes.

Feeling in the mood for something oriental, I decided to make the "Cashew Chicken" from the October issue. Despite the fact that I didn't have any cashews, this recipe turned out very well and will be made again. I accompanied it with the Simple Sesame Noodles from Pioneer Woman (made with whole grain pasta), and roasted broccoli.

(October Everyday Food)

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tbsp. dry sherry (or cooking wine, or leave out)
2 tsp. minced, peeled, fresh ginger
3 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
coarse salt

1/2 cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. sugar

1 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. vegetable oil

2 garlic cloves, chopped
2/3 cup unsalted cashews, toasted
2 green onions, white and green parts separated and thinly sliced

In a medium bowl, toss chicken with sherry, ginger, and 1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch; season with salt. (Note: watch the salt on this recipe. It adds up fast, so season lightly.) Refrigerate 30 minutes.

In another bowl, combine broth, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and 2 tsp. cornstarch. Set sauce aside.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. oil over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken and cook until golden and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer chicken to a covered plate. Add 1 tsp. oil to skillet and cook remaining chicken (reduce heat if chicken is over-browning). Transfer to plate.

To same skillet, add 1 tsp. oil, garlic, cashews, and green onion whites. Cook, stirring constantly, until garlic begins to soften, about 30 seconds. Whisk sauce and add to skillet along with chicken. Cook until sauce thickens, about 30 seconds. Top with green onion greens and serve with rice or noodles.

Serves 4+.


IMG_7929Cooking Light (October 2009)

Cooking Light is one of my favorite cooking magazines. The colorful pictures and healthy recipes are inspiring. I love the fact that they don't use a lot of sugar-free, light and fat-free ingredients but rather make it healthy by choosing better ingredients. Fresh food is often featured and each recipe includes serving information with calories and other important health facts.  

I had company when I made this dish and it was a hit! Koshari is an Egyptian street food and is vegetarian. It is spicy which my kids didn't appreciate but everyone else thought it was good!

(Cooking Light October 2009)

1 Tb. extra-virgin olive oil
1 c. onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 Tb. garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes, undrained

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped onion to pan, and cook for 15 minutes or until golden, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook for 2 minutes. Stir in salt, peppers, and tomatoes; cook 10 minutes or until slightly thick. Transfer tomato mixture to a food processor; process 1 minute or until smooth (I used an immersion blender). Keep warm.

3 Tb. extra-virgin olive oil
3 c. onion, thinly sliced
1/2 c. vermicilli, uncooked, broken into 1-inch pieces*
5 c. water**
1 1/4 c. dried lentils or yellow split peas (I used brown lentils)
2 1/2 c. hot cooked long-grain rice
1 tsp. sea salt

Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Add sliced onion; cook 15 minutes or until deep golden brown, stirring frequently. Remove onion with a slotted spoon to several layers of paper towels; set aside. Return pan to medium heat. Add vermicelli; saute 2 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently. Set aside.

Combine water and lentils in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until lentils are tender. Remove from heat; add vermicelli, stirring well to combine. Wrap a clean kitchen towel around lid, and cover lentil mixture; let stand for 10 minutes or until vermicelli is tender.

Add rice and salt to lentil mixture; fluff with a fork. Serve immediately with sauce and onions.

Makes 6-8 servings.



  1. Mmmm, that curry lentil soup is something I'm going to have to try! I don't generally like ginger, but I can imagine it being a good subtle flavor in that soup. Also, the brownies look heavenly!!

  2. I'm definitely going to try the koshari. I'm always looking for new things to do with lentils. Thanks!

  3. I really like lentils - thanks for the recipes. We have been Bon Appetit subscribers for several years and have always been very happy with how the recipes turn out; it helps to be able to check the online version at for reviewers' opinions if we are in doubt about something. We also have the Bon Appetit cookbook and love it (although the number of photos is less than ideal).