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Amanda and Merrill on Food52 Volume 2

Amanda and Merrill on Food52 Volume 2


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The authors discuss their second collection of recipes from their site

Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs started with a concept to crowdsource a cookbook and along the way they built a large community of home cooks at their site, Food52. After the success of the first book one year ago, they immediately started over to make the second. And from that has come the new Food52 Cookbook Volume 2: Seasonal Recipes from Our Kitchens to Yours.

It’s a continuation of the purpose of Food52. As Stubbs says, “We were planning all along to have a volume two because it has to do with how we started Food52”. On what’s different, Hesser has a few observations, “You will notice its a slightly shorter book. We’ve kind of gotten our system down better and its like the book has kind of come together in a stronger way.” But like the first book, “it’s a snapshot in time of what people are obsessed with” in a given year.

Yet with this book they feel Food52 has evolved. Stubbs notes, “We started with really just one project and since the first book we’ve added layers onto the site... It’s in the same spirit, but the site has burgeoned.”

For more on the book and what recipes the authors recommend watch the video above!


Biography [ edit ]

After finishing her first book, in 1997, Hesser was hired as a food reporter for The New York Times where she wrote more than 750 stories. While at the Times Hesser wrote about the influence of Costco on the wine industry, and how the Farmer Consumer Advisory Committee made decisions for the New York City Greenmarket. Ώ] She was also among the first to write about Ferran Adria of El Bulli in a major American publication. ΐ]

Hesser was involved in two cases of conflict of interest while working at the Times. In 2004, she awarded the restaurant Spice Market a three-star rating without disclosing that the year before, the restaurant's owner, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, had provided a complimentary jacket blurb for her book Cooking for Mr. Latte. In 2007, Hesser published a favorable review of Vegetable Harvest by Patricia Wells, without noting that in 1999, Wells had provided a jacket blurb for Hesser's book The Cook and the Gardener. In both cases, the Times subsequently pointed out the conflicts of interest with editors’ notes. Α] Β]

While Hesser left the Times in March 2008 to focus on the development of Food52 she continued to write the "Recipe Redux" feature for the Times magazine until February 27, 2011. Γ] Δ]

As co-founder and CEO of Food52 she has raised two rounds of investment from parties including Lerer Hippeau Ventures and Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments. Food52 has won numerous notable awards including the James Beard Award for Publication of the Year (2012) Ε] and the IACP Award for Best Website (2013). In February 2017, noting that 92 percent of the company was white, she and her co-founder Merrill Stubbs "issued a statement about the ways in which the company intended to redress a lack of racial equality in its workplace." By the following January, "they published a follow-up letter updating readers on the progress of their efforts, stating that their staff had been reduced to being 76 percent white." Ζ]

Hesser was featured in Food & Wine's 40 under 40 Η] list, was named one of the 50 most influential women in food by Gourmet Magazine, and had a cameo as herself in the film Julie & Julia. ⎖]

Hesser lives in Brooklyn Heights with her husband, Tad Friend, ⎗] a staff writer for The New Yorker, and their two children.


The Epicurious Blog

January 25 is the birthday of Robert Burns, the great national poet of Scotland, who gave us, among other immortal works, "Auld Lang Syne," "A Red, Red Rose," and "Comin&apos Through the Rye," the poem that inspired Holden Caulfield of The Catcher in the Rye. The traditional way to observe the Scottish Bard&aposs birthday is with a Burns Night supper, a wonderfully booze- and poetry-soaked affair that follows a fairly ritualized run of show. If you&aposve ever attended a Burns Night Supper yourself, you know that half of the fun is in trotting out your best Scottish accent while reading Burns poems and getting steadily more and more soused on good whiskey.

The other highlight of a Burns Night Supper is the trotting out of the haggis, the event&aposs customary centerpiece. What can be said about haggis that was not first and best said by Robert Burns himself, in the "Address to a Haggis" that must be recited as the dish makes its way out of the kitchen?

Fair fa&apos your honest, sonsie face,

Great chieftain o&apos the pudding-race!

Haggis isn&apost something for which we have a recipe in the Epicurious database, but if you can find yourself a sheep heart, lungs, and liver, then do feel free to season them, encase them in sheep stomach, and set them boiling in a pot. The sale of haggis is actually banned in the U.S. (the lungs of a sheep are considered "inedible items" by our government agencies, but apparently chicken nuggets are A-OK. ), which poses a bit of a challenge for American Burns Night celebrants who don&apost know anyone willing to smuggle a canned haggis out of the U.K., where it&aposs widely sold in supermarkets.

One alternative, and we admit it&aposs a sorry one, is to serve a savory lamb sausage as part of your Burns Supper menu. You may not have thought to do it lately, but making your own sausage is far from impossible for a cook with a meat grinder, casings, and some of what Burns might have called the "noble enterprise" of John Barleycorn. The site RobertBurns.org also has a recipe for Bagless Haggis, which is doable for anyone who lives near a well-stocked butcher.

Our American Burns Night Supper menu suggests lamb sausage as well as roasted venison, since at most such suppers the haggis is considered more honored guest than true main course.


Food 52's Recipe Neighborhood

1 of 3 Roasted Butterflied Chicken with Cardamom and Yogurt from The Food52 Cookbook, Vol. 2, Seasonal Recipes From Our Kitchen to Yours by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs. William Morrow/Contributed Photo Show More Show Less

2 of 3 The Food52 Cookbook, Vol. 2, Seasonal Recipes From Our Kitchen to Yours by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs and the Food 52 Communities, William Morrow, 296 pages, $30. Contributed Photo Show More Show Less

Let's face it. The Web is home to about a gazillion food blogs. Finding the best ones -- i.e. those that will help you not make the same six recipes week in and week out -- could be a full-time job.

Enter Food52.com, an online site dedicated to one basic idea: finding and sharing the best recipes from home cooks. Edited by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, the best of Food52 is now available in one handy cookbook, The Food52 Cookbook, Volume 2.

It includes 104 recipes from a year in the online life of Food52 (the extra 23 recipes are wildcard winners chosen by Hesser and Stubbs because they're among their favorite recipes). Divided into seasons, the recipes are a result of a year of contests -- cooks entering their recipe for the best gravy, the best recipe with citrus and olives, the best chicken wings, etc.

Each recipe includes a brief bio of the winning chef -- amusebouche (they use their Web usernames), for instance, is a student in Boston whose first love is baking -- as well as why the authors love the recipe. The recipe concludes with a comment from the online community about this particular recipe as well as tips and techniques for having the best success. The result is foolproof recipes -- chosen by reader votes and obviously trying the recipes -- complemented with mouth-watering photos.

Hesser, an award-winning book author and editor for the New York Times, says the theme-a-week for this cookbook was designed to help home cooks get out of their culinary rut. "It really kind of gets home cooks' creative juices flowing," she says. "It lets them riff on what they already make and show off their talents rather than going to the recipe box and sending in their favorite recipes."

Food52 is also meant to give home cooks their due. In an era of food networks and the celebritization of professional cooks, the authors want to create a place for the rest of us. "We knew there were a ton of cooks out there with talent and who were underserved online in terms of having a place to share their ideas and be celebrated," Hesser says. "Working on a book project together was a way to focus everyone together. It also includes people who love food and cookbooks and have great conviction about what makes a great recipe and what's interesting and give them a place to also be heard.

"Our whole ethos is to help people eat better and live better and involve them in the process," she adds. "We consider ourselves a collaborative community, a constructive community."

Although Hesser and Stubbs (a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in London and an experienced food writer) are obviously seasoned cooks, Hesser says they had some surprising moments while putting together this book. "One is that home cooks are more innovative than they get credit for and much more practical than chefs who write recipes," she says, noting that the pros operate in a team format while home cooks work alone, "so they have to be clever in how they use their time."

Another surprise was the winning recipes themselves.

"The recipes that win are not elaborate fantasy dishes," Hesser says. "It's often what you'd cook on a weeknight but with a twist."

So what trends can we expect to see coming from these creative home cooks? More experimenting with greens and grains, says Hesser. "They're interested in healthy eating but starting to feel more comfortable exploring the world of rices and grains, such as faro and wheatberries. [With] all these different flavors and textures, you can really play around a lot."

Home cooks looking for something creative to whip up on a Wednesday are not the only ones benefitting from Food52. "I cook a wider range of things," says Hesser. "Like home cooks I get attached to a few things, and when I'm feeling lazy I cling to them. This has pushed me to experiment more."

The Food52 Cookbook, Vol. 2, Seasonal Recipes From Our Kitchen to Yours by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs and the Food 52 Communities, William Morrow, 296 pages, $30

Roasted Butterflied Chicken with Cardamom and Yogurt

Seeds from 6 cardamom pods

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 teaspoon freshly ground coriander

1 teaspoon freshly ground cumin

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 3-4 pound chicken, butterflied

fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

Grind the cardamom seeds and peppercorns to a fine powder in a mortar and pestle or a spice/coffee grinder. Stir in the salt, coriander and cumin then add the garlic and smash it. Add the olive oil and work everything together to form a paste. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the yogurt, ginger and lemon juice.

Place the chicken in a large bowl or baking dish. Rub about half the yogurt mixture between the skin and the meat over the breasts and thighs. Then smear the remaining yogurt all over the chicken, front and back. Refrigerate at least 3 hours, and up to 24 hours.

Thirty minutes before roasting, remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature. Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Place the chicken breast-side up in a cast iron skillet or baking pan. Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees. Let the chicken rest 15 minutes before carving. Garnish with cilantro leaves.


The Food52 Cookbook, Volume 2: Seasonal Recipes from Our Kitchens to Yours

Maybe it is the fact that I am messing with a Thanksgiving recipe or just finally getting the draw of Food52 but this is the book that gave me the impetus for signing up for the website. I saved the recipes that I wanted from the book.

These recipes are organized in a seasonal way and according to the site. So, the recipes located there are good but many are adaptations on a theme. I did save a few recipes and there was a reminder for making a spice blend, za&aposatar. That will be part of my projec Maybe it is the fact that I am messing with a Thanksgiving recipe or just finally getting the draw of Food52 but this is the book that gave me the impetus for signing up for the website. I saved the recipes that I wanted from the book.

These recipes are organized in a seasonal way and according to the site. So, the recipes located there are good but many are adaptations on a theme. I did save a few recipes and there was a reminder for making a spice blend, za'atar. That will be part of my project next week on my blog. Not za'atar per se but.

Anyway, here are the recipes.
Warm Custard Spoon Bread
Aunt Mariah's Lemon Sponge Cups
Gong Bao ji Ding
Sunday Pork Ragu (reminds me of a red sauce recipe I have)
Salvadorean Breakfast Pancakes (aka Quesadilla)

Largely recipes of a sort that I have but in a clearer and more accessible way. It makes me want to revisit my cookbook shelf and that is a good thing. . more


Amanda and Merrill on Food52 Volume 2 - Recipes

A sunny ricotta cake that is so moist, buttery, and rich.

We all grew up seeing our parents and grand-parents, who lived through the Great Depression, wars, and/or famines, take care — to the extreme — to not let any drop of sauce from a can, any heel of bread or any minute shred of fish off the bone ever go to waste.

And now, not on ours, either.

With the pandemic creating food shortages — both real and exaggerated ones — we find ourselves looking at food much differently now, treating everything with the reverence it deserved all along.

The very bottom stems of parsley that I once tossed? No more. Now, they get finely diced and tossed into salads and soups. Those radish tops I once never looked twice at? Now, I savor them sauteed in an egg scramble.

The leftover ricotta I had from making lamb meatballs? Not that I would deign to ever throw something like that out, but these days, it takes on an outsize importance. Yes, that leftover ricotta that I once just nonchalantly enjoyed with berries for breakfast the next day, now seemed too good for that. Clearly, it should be destined for something far more special, I thought.

I found exactly that in “Louisa’s Cake.”

I don’t know who Louisa is except that she’s an American art director and graphic designer living in Zurich, according to the recipe in “The Food52 Cookbook, Volume 2: Seasonal Recipes from Our Kitchens to Yours” (William Morrow, 2012) by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, and the Food52 community.

And she surely knows how to design a cake. This one is baked with a generous amount of butter, ricotta, lemon zest, and surprisingly, grated apple.

You don’t taste the apple. In fact, you’d never guess it was there from eating this cake.

It adds moisture, as does the ricotta, along with a little more body to the batter.

This sunny-yellow cake is incredibly moist, very buttery, and quite rich. There’s almost a backbone taste of creamy milkiness to it. Its crumb is somehow compact yet fluffy and light.

This is as easy and straightforward a cake as there is. It’s not full of frills and flourishes, which it certainly doesn’t need.

It may be called Louisa’s Cake. But really, it’s everybody’s cake, because it’s truly that ideal of a one.

A wonderful treat for brunch, dessert, Mother’s Day, or any ol’ time.

Louisa’s Cake

9 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 apple, peeled, cored, and grated (should yield about 1 cup)

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting (optional)

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter and flour a 9- or 10-inch springform pan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. With the mixer on the lowest speed, add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the flour, then add the salt, ricotta, lemon zest, baking powder, and apple, mixing well after each addition.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and is starting to pull away from the sides of the pan. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

From “The Food52 Cookbook, Volume 2” by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs


From Food52 Holiday Recipe & Survival Guide app Food52 Holiday Recipe & Survival Guide app by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs

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The first word that comes to my mind about all of these fascinating recipes is FUN. This is a great cookbook for the adventurous cook who (like me) loves to make something new, always looking for the next specialite to add to my tried-and-true recipes. In other words, this book is not for the cook who is looking for 30-minute easy weeknight meals.

These 140 recipes may be intended FOR home cooks, but they're not all FROM home cooks. Most recipe contributors have some serious food creds. They include several food bloggers, a culinary student, a private chef or two, and even a culinary instructor. I bought the book because I enjoy the food52 com website, and own and appreciate a previous book, "Genius Recipes."

This book is beautifully constructed, curated, and edited. It's the harvest from their year-long recipe contests, the winners of which were adjudicated by other members of the food52 community. The recipes in this volume were tested by "A&M," the author/editors. Every single recipe comes with a headnote that usually combines comments from the recipe's originator with thoughts from A&M. Every recipe has "tips and techniques," "about the cook," and, usually, comments from the members of the food52 community who loved the dish. Every dish has a color photo of the completed dish, and we see many photos of A&M preparing the dishes as well.

Although some recipes are simple and quick, most are not: the recipe contributors want you to get it right, and A&M and their publisher -- THANK YOU! -- don't seem to limit them in terms of ingredients or instructions. Like the individual recipe contributors, the recipes are literally all over the map: from "Secret [Swedish] Cookies" to "Shrimp Biryani," "Turkey Pho," and "Whole Baked Fish in Sea Salt with Parsley Gremolata."

If you're a meat lover, you'll find lots of recipes to bookmark in this volume. I don't eat meat other than fish, but I've bookmarked "Helen's Spicy Shrimp," "Griddled Polenta Cakes," and "Spanish Roasted Potato Salad."

And I may find myself making the "Secret Cookies" for the holidays :).

Sorry, but any cookbook that uses ‘cup’/ volume measurements for baked goods doesn’t last on my bookshelf.

The food world is now ‘global’ especially due to the internet. Persisting with volume measurements is a big mistake especially since there are only three countries at the time of writing who have not embraced metric measurements- Libya, Burma and the US- if one wants to reach out AND sell to an international market AND Amazon reaches an international audience.


After finishing her first book, in 1997, Hesser was hired as a food reporter for The New York Times where she wrote more than 750 stories. While at the Times Hesser wrote about the influence of Costco on the wine industry, and how the Farmer Consumer Advisory Committee made decisions for the New York City Greenmarket. [1] She was also among the first to write about Ferran Adria of El Bulli in a major American publication. [2]

Hesser was involved in two cases of conflict of interest while working at the Times. In 2004, she awarded the restaurant Spice Market a three-star rating without disclosing that the year before, the restaurant's owner, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, had provided a complimentary jacket blurb for her book Cooking for Mr. Latte. In 2007, Hesser published a favorable review of Vegetable Harvest by Patricia Wells, without noting that in 1999, Wells had provided a jacket blurb for Hesser's book The Cook and the Gardener. In both cases, the Times subsequently pointed out the conflicts of interest with editors’ notes. [3] [4]

While Hesser left the Times in March 2008 to focus on the development of Food52 she continued to write the "Recipe Redux" feature for the Times magazine until February 27, 2011. [5] [6]

As co-founder and CEO of Food52 she has raised two rounds of investment from parties including Lerer Hippeau Ventures and Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments. Food52 has won numerous notable awards including the James Beard Award for Publication of the Year (2012) [7] and the IACP Award for Best Website (2013). In February 2017, noting that 92 percent of the company was white, she and her co-founder Merrill Stubbs "issued a statement about the ways in which the company intended to redress a lack of racial equality in its workplace." By the following January, "they published a follow-up letter updating readers on the progress of their efforts, stating that their staff had been reduced to being 76 percent white." [8]

Hesser was featured in Food & Wine's 40 under 40 [9] list, was named one of the 50 most influential women in food by Gourmet Magazine, and had a cameo as herself in the film Julie & Julia. [10]

Hesser lives in Brooklyn Heights with her husband, Tad Friend, [11] a staff writer for The New Yorker, and their two children.



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