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whisk* a practical guide to food // april 2009

PIZZA REDEFINED A New Take on an American Classic

Shopping 101:

Keep your shopping under budget with these easy-to-follow tips

Let’s Do Brunch!

How to personalize this mid-morning tradition and entertain your friends

PLUS

Food Confessions of Whitney Thompson, America’s Next Top Model Winner

8

Simple Tricks for Healthier Eating

*Find your own tear-out shopping list on page 21

28 Fresh Recipes for Spring


THANK YOU Say It Simple Paper Co. b www.sayitsimple.com


Sprinkle

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april 2009

whisk* don’t forget the strawberries!

19

19 24 30 32 38 42

SHOPPING 101 Next time you go to the grocery store, keep your shopping under budget with these easy tips.

LET’S DO BRUNCH Tailor the basics of brunch to fit your entertaining needs, from menu planning to presentation and decoration.

NO MORE PAPER NAPKINS Throw an elegant yet inexpensive dinner party by following these simple rules.

PIZZA OUTSIDE THE BOX Make an old American favorite fresher and more creative with new ideas and new ingredients.

A MODEL DIET Get the inside scoop on the diet of American fashion model Whitney Thompson.

THE LOCAL CATCH Transform dinner into a traveling experience with these seafood recipes from all over the world.

whisk magazine // 5


DEPARTMENTS

11 14

TOOLS OF THE TRADE Discover five top reasons to adore the silicone spatula. GETTING STARTED p. 14: 8 Simple Tricks for Healthier Eating Make a change by following these inexpensive and easy tips. p. 16: How to Roux Use this simple base to make all kinds of recipes.

50 51 54

ADD SOME ZEST Welcome spring with a punchy new playlist and a tasty new food blog. FOODOGRAPHY Celebrate the history of the scrumptious soft pretzel.

56

WHISK AND TELL Where’s the duck? See if you can relate to this unforgettable dinner party!

62

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SECOND HELPING Sample the season’s finest ingredients when you experiment with this recipe index. DESSERT OF THE MONTH Try this quick and easy recipe for mouthwatering mini cheesecakes. ON THE COVER: Fruit pizza is a sweet twist on an old favorite. Photography by Claire Marika Buys.

6 // april 2009

16 16

XX

Revive your leftovers and simplify your meals.

55

62

11

EASY AS PIE

ASK THE CHEF Get practical advice from professional chef Andrea Garvin.

58

51


Take a seat.

Oakley’s Furniture • (626) 873-2392 www.oakleysfurniture.com


april 2009

whisk* Editor Managing Editor Assistant Managing Editor Senior Editors Associate Editors Copyeditor Art Director Designers Photo Editor Photographers Production Director Staff Writers, Editors, Designers, Production Artists

Christopher & Holly Art Studio We paint with passion. 972 Jackson Ave. Nashville, TN 621-548-9621

www.c&h.com

Publisher Advisor

Marvin K. Gardner Sarah Crane Alison Palmer Departments Amanda Fronk Features Charlotte Wood Departments Megan Withers Features Hayley Yates Michelle Bunker Rachel Spohn Erica Olsen, Joanna Galbraith Julia Woodbury Claire Marika Buys, Julia Woodbury Leslie Sherman Michelle Bunker, Amanda Fronk, Joanna Galbraith, Erica Olsen, Alison Palmer, Leslie Sherman, Rachel Spohn, Megan Withers, Charlotte Wood, Julia Woodbury, Sarah Crane, Hayley Yates Marvin K. Gardner Natalie Quinn

Copyright 2009 by Marvin K. Gardner, 4045 JFSB, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah 84602 Printed by BYU Print Services This magazine issue is the result of a project for a class in the BYU editing minor: English Language 430R, “Editing for Publication.� It is not intended for distribution; instead, it is a mock-up created to help students gain and polish their skills and give them experience with magazine writing, editing, design, and production. It is intended to showcase the skills and progress of the students who created this magazine issue. This publication does not represent the opinions of any person at Brigham Young University or of the institution itself.


editor’s note

There’s something in the air

photography by Emily Morgan

in April: the clean scent of a new spring, fresh fruit and vegetables, and the start of grilling season. At whisk we took that fresh start to heart and compiled all the best recipes, ideas, and new takes on your old favorites so you don’t have to. Start off with a refresher course on grocery shopping (p. 19). We put together eight tips for your next shopping trip to save you time and money—perfect for the experienced or beginning home cook. And if you need a little extra help (who doesn’t these days?), we’ve made up a ready-to-go shopping list (p. 21) for you to use the next time you make it to the store. If it’s an easy entertaining idea you’re looking for, check out our take on a good in-between option: brunch. This is one party idea that’s quick and easy and doesn’t take up your whole day. See the article (p. 24) for menu ideas, innovative recipes, and helpful tips. Pizza is an easy, delicious meal for any night of the week. But if you’re as tired of the same old choices as we are, consider our exciting new ideas for inventive pizzas you can make at home (p. 32). Fresh ingredients like diced tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella make a drab pizza interesting and flavorful. These days it seems everyone is cutting back, so we’ve created an international dining experience you can enjoy from your own home—without a passport and expensive airfare (p. 42). Seafood recipes from across the globe give you new opportunities to escape from the ordinary. From England, Spain, France, Italy, and the United States, seafood specialties like shrimp, oysters, and salmon give you a burst of flavor without breaking your wallet. No matter what you’re looking for, we hope you’ll take full advantage of all spring has to offer—and use some of our tips and recipes in this issue to help you along the way!

Sarah Crane Managing Editor

whisk magazine // 9


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silicone spatula

tools of the trade

the

b

written by Erica Olsen

rowsing the aisles at a household goods store can be overwhelming. The various kitchen tools offered are endless, and their uses and purposes are not very obvious at first glance. With all of these new kitchen creations, deciding what you really need in your kitchen can seem impossible! But there is one utensil every well-stocked kitchen should have: the spatula—but not just any spatula— the silicone spatula. New to the market, the silicone spatula offers a variety of features that your everyday, typical spatula lacks. Here are five reasons why you should own and use this versatile tool.

1

   durable. The silicone spatula is made of silicone polymer, a nontoxic, heat-resistant material that can withstand temperatures up to 675°F. The silicone spatula is also cold resistant, making it easy to go from stirring boiling water to mixing up a batch of homemade ice cream without incurring any damage.

2

 nonstick. No matter how messy the meal, the spatula’s nonstick surface ensures a quick and easy cleanup. A nonstick surface makes it easy to scrape everything out of the bowl—an extra bonus when every bit of the batter or sauce is necessary for those strict recipes! And a silicone spatula does it without the scraping sound a typical spatula makes.

3 4

  nonporous. The silicone spatula is nonporous, which means it won’t hold on to any of the flavors or odors of the food you make.   colorful. A silicone spatula can add a splash of color to your kitchen. Available in a variety of colors, these eye-catching tools match and enhance any kitchen décor, especially when placed together to make a silicone spatula bouquet. This is a kitchen tool you won’t want to hide in a drawer!

5

available and affordable. Silicone spatulas are now widely

accessible and are sold at most household goods stores across the nation. These spatulas are easy to find and easy on the wallet, ranging in price from $10–$20, depending on the size. The silicone spatula is more than just any other cooking utensil; it is a tool that is both functional and fashionable—the perfect addition to your kitchen. w whisk magazine // 11


If life gives you lemons, make lemon Water.


Water Lemon, Inc.

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getting started

8 simple tricks for healthier eating written by Rachel Spohn

t

hursday night rolls around and you’re tired after a long day. Since you’re not the type to grab a hamburger or taco from the drive-thru every night, what can you make for dinner that is quick yet healthy? Eating healthy does not have to be expensive or time consuming. If your recent efforts to cook healthier have only resulted in complicated, unappetizing meals that cost more than their easy, fattening counterparts, here is a list of simple ways to make your meals healthier and more enjoyable. Trick: Cook with sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes. Why it’s better: While sweet potatoes have many of the same nutrients as regular potatoes (both are rich sources of antioxidants, vitamins A and C, and dietary fiber) they also have a strong advantage: half the calories. Trick: Opt for lean to extra-lean meat. Why it’s better: Lean meat has all the taste of its more fattening counterparts but none of the associated heart health risks. Want something new and ultra-healthy? Quick Turkey Seasoning Try ground turkey instead 1 tablespoon salt of ground beef for burg1 tablespoon pepper ers. Turkey is a great 1 clove garlic, chopped canvas for any seasoning 2 tablespoons dried rosemary and an excellent source of lean protein. One serving Mix into ½ pound of of turkey provides more ground turkey than half your body’s protein requirement with half the fat and 30 percent fewer calories than beef.

14 // april 2009

Sweet potato purée is an easy, healthy alternative to mashed potatoes.

Trick: Use olive oil instead of vegetable oil. Why it’s better: Olive oil protects against heart disease by controlling LDL (aka “bad”) cholesterol levels while raising HDL (aka “good”) levels. For the same reason, health specialists also tout canola oil as a good substitute for vegetable oil. Trick: Switch to reduced-fat dairy products. Why it’s better: Reduced-fat dairy offers a happy medium between the unhealthy full-fat and the bland fat-free options. Don’t be fooled by the non-fat options either: in order to have the same nutritional value as other dairy products, non-fat dairy products include potentially harmful additives and preservatives.


fotolia.com

getting started

Try herbs like tarragon, sage, oregano, or thyme Trick: Instead of frying your chicken and vegetables, dip them in flour and herbs, a beaten egg, and crushed cornflakes. Cook them under a broiler until done. Why it’s better: You get chicken and vegetables that are golden and crisp without all the saturated fat—a risk factor for heart disease. Trick: Substitute applesauce for vegetable oil when baking. Why it’s better: Applesauce keeps cakes and brownies just as moist without the fat content. Whether you’re using a mix or starting from scratch, use equal measurements: if a half cup of oil is called for, use a half cup of applesauce. For an extra “something,” use cinnamon flavored applesauce. Trick: Cook with whole wheat pasta instead of regular pasta. Why it’s better: In its natural, unrefined state, wheat has a host of important nutrients like dietary fiber and magnesium. It reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and promotes gastrointestinal health to help prevent colon cancer. Additionally, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women who eat whole wheat instead of refined wheat weigh less.1 Eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive or timeconsuming. Use these tricks in your daily diet, and you will be on your way to a healthier lifestyle. w SOURCES 1. Liu S, Willett WC, Manson JE, Hu FB, Rosner B, and Colditz G., “Relation between changes in intakes of dietary fiber and grain products and changes in weight and development of obesity among middle-aged women,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 78, no. 5 (November 2003), 920–27.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming. Apple Cake

Serves 6 to 8 This simple yet delicious recipe shows you how to substitute a healthy ingredient for an unhealthy one— in this case, applesauce in place of vegetable oil. Give it a try! INGREDIENTS

3 cups all-purpose flour 2 cups sugar 1 teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt 3 large eggs, beaten 1 cup applesauce 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 3 cups finely chopped apples

½ cup apple juice 1 cup chopped walnuts Glaze topping for cake 1 cup brown sugar ¼ cup butter 1 /3 cup whipping cream

DIRECTIONS

1. In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, soda, and salt. Make a well in the center and set aside. 2. In a medium bowl combine eggs, applesauce, apple juice, and vanilla. Stir in apples and nuts. Add the egg mixture to dry ingredients; mix until just moistened. 3. Spread batter in a greased and floured 9 x 13-inch pan. Bake at 350°F for 45–50 minutes. 4. In a small saucepan combine brown sugar, butter, and cream. 5. Cook and stir till bubbly and all of the sugar is dissolved. Cool slightly. After the cake has cooled for 5 minutes, drizzle warm sauce over it so it can seep into the cake, keeping it moist.

whisk magazine // 15


roux

getting started

how to

Discover the wonders of this useful cooking basic. written by Amanda Fronk

s

Knowing how to make a simple roux is the secret to delicious, creamy homemade macaroni and cheese.

roux INGREDIENTS

1 cup vegetable oil 1 cup all-purpose flour DIRECTIONS

1. In a skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat until it registers approximately 300°F on a deep fat fryer thermometer. 2. Using a wire whisk, slowly add the flour, stirring constantly. Continue to cook over medium heat and you will begin to see it change in color, getting darker and more aromatic. Stir constantly so the mixture doesn’t burn.

16 // april 2009

auté. Blanch. Julienne. The cooks in my life like to use unusual words as they make delicious meals. These words dance around in my head at the edge of my understanding, making me feel like a foreigner in my own kitchen. Once, when I was visiting my family, I walked into the kitchen to see if I could help my mom and sister cook dinner. My sister turned to my mom and asked, “Do you want me to make the roux?” She tossed it out there like it was a word in everyone’s vocabulary, but I had no idea what she was talking about. If you are like I was and have never heard, let alone read, this word, a roux (pronounced “roo”) is a thickening base used in all kinds of recipes. Making a roux is a great skill to learn because it can be used not only for gravies and soups but also for creamy pasta sauces and many other recipes. The best part is that making a roux is easy: two ingredients and one step. There are different types of roux, but they are all made by heating equal parts flour and fat (usually butter or oil). The types of roux differ according to cooking time and are named for their color, which varies from white to dark brown. A white roux takes only a minute to make; a dark brown roux twenty to thirty minutes. Our recipe will make a nice medium-brown roux—good as a base in most recipes. Using a variation on our roux, the following macaroni and cheese recipe gives a new kick to an old favorite. Made of equal parts butter and flour, the roux in this recipe makes a creamy, cheesy sauce for a delicious meal.


getting started

macaroni and cheese Serves 6 to 8

INGREDIENTS

½ pound elbow macaroni 3 tablespoons butter 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon powdered mustard 3 cups milk ½ cup yellow onion, finely diced 1 bay leaf ½ teaspoon paprika 1 large egg 12 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded 1 teaspoon kosher salt Fresh black pepper to taste DIRECTIONS

photography by fotolia.com

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large pot of salted, boiling water, cook the pasta until firm. 2. While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a separate pot. Whisk in the flour and powdered mustard and stir for about 5 minutes. Make sure the mixture is free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for 10 minutes and remove the bay leaf. Temper in the egg by adding some of the heated cheese base to the egg; whisk and then add egg mixture to the rest of the cheese base. Stir in ¾ of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. 3. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese. Mastering the roux opens up a world of new recipes to try, like this corn chowder.

A roux can also help thicken soups and chowders. In this corn chowder recipe, butter and flour are combined both to sauté the vegetables and to make a rich and hearty chowder. w

corn chowder Serves 8 to 10

INGREDIENTS

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, divided 1 small onion, diced 1 small carrot, finely diced 1 small celery rib, diced 1 clove garlic, minced ½ cup all-purpose flour 3 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen 3 cups chicken stock 2 cups half-and-half Pinch of grated nutmeg Kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper to taste DIRECTIONS

1. Melt 1 stick of butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the flour and stir to make a roux. Cook until the roux is lightly browned. Set aside to cool to room temperature. 2. Combine the corn and chicken stock in another saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. 3. Pour the boiling stock and corn into the saucepan with the roux a little at a time, whisking briskly so it doesn’t lump. 4. Return the saucepan to the heat and bring to a boil. The mixture should become very thick. 5. In a small saucepan, gently heat the half-and-half and then stir it into the thick corn mixture. Add the nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste. 6. Just before serving, cut the remaining stick of butter into large chunks. Add the butter chunks to enrich the soup, stirring until the butter melts.

whisk magazine // 17


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don’t forget the strawberries!

shopping 101: Feeling lost in the aisles? Keep your shopping under budget and your wallet full with these easy-to-follow tips. WRITTEN BY SARAH CRANE

d

eciding to shop smart doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself

to endless hours of clipping coupons from Sunday ads. These days, shopping savings come in a variety of forms: from your local grocery store’s savings club to the handy list you always forget to take with you. Say goodbye to the days of impulse shopping and hello to making your trip to the grocery store work for you. The good news: a few helpful tips and common sense are all you need. Ready! Set! Shop!

whisk magazine // 19


BE AN OUTSIDER When shopping, stick to the outskirts of the store. All the freshest (and healthiest) foods are located in the periphery of the store—a ploy marketers use to get you to navigate through the processed foods in hopes you’ll pick up some unplanned items. And, let’s be honest: it works, doesn’t it? We’ve all found an unplanned item or two in our carts. Like many shoppers, you may casually peruse the aisles of your local grocery store, but keep this in mind: everything from where the cereal boxes are placed to the very colors printed on them is carefully orchestrated by companies looking to sell you their products. Some manufacturers even pay extra to have their items placed at eye-level, so be sure to look to the tops and bottoms of the shelves for the best deals.

STICK TO THE BASICS There are some items that you’ll always need in your pantry: flour, sugar, milk, cold cereal, and don’t worry, we won’t tell if you always need a bag of chips or a box of fruit snacks in there to keep you going. No matter what, make sure you have plenty of these basics on hand, or you’ll find yourself making extra trips to the store and picking up extra items you don’t need. TIP: Keep plenty of these basics on hand.

MILK BUTTER EGGS FRUIT VEGETABLES CHEESE BREAD, PASTA CEREAL CHICKEN, BEEF, PORK, OR FISH GUILTY PLEASURES (we need them, too)

20 // april 2009

TIP: All the freshest (and healthiest) items are on the edges of the store.

SHOP THE SALES & BUY GENERIC Grocery stores are famous for their nearly constant sales. If you’re smart about it, you can get lots of great deals on items you’d regularly purchase at full price. Check your Sunday ads every so often to see what sales are coming up on your pantry staples. Or check by the door the next time you walk in: grocery stores typically have baskets of coupons and special deals stowed right by the entrance. But don’t be fooled by all the advertised deals your store offers. Some sales apply only to the smaller versions of a product, at a higher per-unit price. Double check the price tag on the shelf for the per-unit price (usually right below the total price) to see what you’re really paying. And remember, the generic option is almost always a better deal for comparable, if not equal, quality. So throw away your brand allegiances whenever you can muster it—chances are the product comes from the same manufacturer but with a different label attached.


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I {HEART} SHOPPING LISTS

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dairy

Keep in mind: an entire crate of canned tomatoes for $4.99 may sound like a good deal, but if you won’t use them all in your day-to-day life, you’d be better off spending the money on something else. Be sure that what you’re getting on sale is actually something you’ll use, or that extra money you saved will go to waste. TIP: Shop the sales and go for generic brands to save money on everyday essentials.

produce

SIGN UP FOR THE CARD These days almost every grocery store offers a discount card, and this is one card you don’t have to hesitate to sign up for. Complete with regular discounts on grocery items, fuel rewards, or cash-back options, this card’s savings can really add up. But be aware that there’s a trade-off: grocery stores use your information to track your spending habits.

proteins

TIP: Grocery store savings cards give you extra discounts on items throughout the store.

MAKE A LIST (AND TAKE IT) How many times have you returned from a trip to the grocery store only to look at the items in your bags and wonder how on earth they got there? Stay on task by making a list before you go and sticking to it while you shop. If necessary, add a special section in your list for those spur-of-the-moment splurges you absolutely have to have. But try to stick to a written list (it’s all too easy to add things to a list that’s only in your head). If you have to, let yourself pick up one or two last-minute items but not any more. If you’re short on time or ideas, try using this shopping list we’ve put together for you!

grains (bread, pasta, etc.)

just because

TIP: Make a list before you go and stick to it while you shop.

whisk magazine // 21


DON’T SHOP HUNGRY We’ve heard it before, but it’s still true: never shop on an empty stomach. Walking through the grocery store when you are hungry is only asking for trouble. Your stomach will definitely take over your mind, and you’ll find yourself picking up all sorts of unplanned—and often unhealthy— items. Instead, try planning your shopping trips after mealtime. Not only will you have a full stomach, but chances are you’ll have just taken an inventory of what’s in your kitchen and will have a better perspective on what items you actually need. TIP: To avoid impulse buying, grocery shop only after you’ve eaten or when you aren’t hungry.

GRAB A BASKET (OR BAG) Next time you take a trip to the grocery store, bypass the lines of awaiting carts and opt for a basket instead. The smaller size will make it more difficult to add extra items not on your list. If you have a reusable shopping bag, take that instead. If you don’t, most grocery stores (or healthfood stores) sell inexpensive cloth, linen, or reusable plastic bags. You’ll help the environment and keep your spending under control. Bonus! TIP: A basket will keep your purchases down, and a reusable bag will help the environment.

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WALK OR BIKE If you live in an urban area, try riding a bike or walking to your nearest grocery store. You’ll be a lot less likely to purchase those unplanned items if you know you’ll have to carry them all the way home. If you live in the suburbs, try carpooling or taking the bus: sharing a tight space with other riders will make you think twice about piling in those extra “essentials.” TIP: Walk or bike to your nearest grocery store to w cut back on unplanned purchases.

DID YOU KNOW? You can help the environment, even when you grocery shop, by using a reusable shopping bag. Check out these statistics from the EPA: Four to five trillion plastic bags are made every year. Americans use more than 380 billion plastic bags every year. It takes 1,000 years for a plastic bag to decompose. The average reusable shopping bag costs $1.50.


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let’s do

brunch How to personalize this mid-morning tradition and entertain your guests. WRITTEN BY LESLIE SHERMAN PHOTOGRAPHY BY CLAIRE MARIKA BUYS

24 // april 2009

*


* w

hen it comes to hosting, feeding, and entertaining a group of friends, nothing beats the simplicity of a brunch. Unlike a dinner party, a brunch allows for more flexibility and creativity in menu planning and presentation for the host while also satisfying the guests’ taste buds. A brunch is a perfect opportunity to socialize in a relaxed and comfortable setting: it is the perfect occasion for you and your friends to catch up while enjoying delicious food. Together, let’s explore the basics of planning and preparing the perfect brunch that can be tailored to fit any occasion, casual or formal. Brunches are typically held on weekends and holidays—the perfect time for people to relax and take a break from their everyday routines. Almost any occasion presents an opportunity for a brunch: weddings, baby arrivals, graduations, birthdays, anniversaries, Easter, Mother’s Day, Sundays, family gatherings, or gettogethers with good friends.


planning Before you begin planning, decide what type of brunch you want to host. What is the occasion? Will the gathering be formal or casual? How many people will be invited? Brunches are ideal for small gatherings of about four to ten people to allow everyone to sit and eat together in the same room. If you are hosting a larger get-together, you will need to think about planning a larger menu with a greater variety of food than you would plan for a smaller event. It’s best to plan on serving brunch sometime between 10 am and 1 pm. If you’re holding the brunch in conjunction with a wedding or another event that took place the night before, provide enough time for your guests

to arrive well rested. If you want to have the morning to prepare and arrange the food, plan to serve the meal in the late morning or early afternoon. For casual gatherings, invitations aren’t necessary; a simple phone call or email is enough. However, if the occasion is more formal or includes more people, send invitations through the mail about two weeks in advance. The type and style of brunch you will be serving can be reflected in the tone of the invitation: a simple, handmade invitation signals a basic and easy brunch, while a more elaborate invitation suggests a more sophisticated meal.


the menu

The keys to creating the ideal brunch menu lie in balance and variety. Harmonizing the food on the menu is the most important thing to consider. Serving too many heavy foods together —like French toast, bacon, and scones—might just put your guests back to sleep. Instead, it’s important to offer plenty of light and fresh options to refresh your guests and encourage them to stay and chat. If you aren’t planning to sit and eat around a table, the foods need to be easy to hold or carry. Make foods mini and portable by cutting items like breads, pastries, and muffins into smaller pieces. Making the food small and simple to eat encourages your guests to save room on their plates for a piece of everything. Unlike breakfast, a brunch allows for a variety of different foods that are both savory and sweet. You can incorporate a main breakfast food, like pancakes, waffles, quiche, or crepes, along with several other foods. Offer plenty of choices by planning a menu that includes at least one item from each of the following groups: Baked Goods donuts, muffins, coffee cake, scones, bagels, biscuits Fruits salad, compote, fruit pizza, fruit tart Starches hash browns

Meats sausage, ham, bacon Condiments butter, syrup, jam, fruit spread Beverages milk, orange juice, hot chocolate

Quiche is a great main dish to serve: it can be casual or formal depending on what ingredients you use. For a less formal quiche, bacon and cheddar cheese are good fillings. For a more formal quiche, there are several options: you can combine different meats, vegetables, and cheeses to complement the rest of the menu. Save time and effort by buying a premade piecrust and making the quiche filling with whatever you would like. Fresh fruit is another brunch staple because it is sweet, healthy, and easy to prepare ahead of time in countless ways. Look for fruit that is in season and add it to your menu. Spring and early summer are the best times for pineapples, mangoes, cherries, strawberries, blueberries, and peaches. For an attractive and colorful presentation, layer the fruit in a glass dish or slice and serve the fruit with a dip for added sweetness.

Brunch dishes don’t have to be limited to sweet items. A savory spread with bread or crackers can serve as an alternative to the sweet food on your menu.

Walnut Chicken Spread Serves 6 1 1/3 cups cooked chicken, finely chopped 1 cup toasted walnuts, finely chopped 2 /3 cup mayonnaise (I use at least half plain yogurt) 1 celery rib, finely chopped 1 small onion, finely chopped (good with red onion) ½ teaspoon garlic powder Salt to taste 1. In a medium bowl, combine the chicken, walnuts, mayonnaise, celery, onion, garlic powder, and salt. 2. Serve with crackers or croissants. Refrigerate any leftovers. Creamy Fruit Dip Serves 4 1 (8-ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed 1 (7-ounce) jar marshmallow creme 1 (3-ounce) package strawberry cream cheese 1. In a mixing bowl, combine the frozen whipped topping, marshmallow creme, and cream cheese. 2. Mix until smooth. 3. Serve chilled. whisk magazine // 27


Baked goods are always a favorite item, no matter the occasion. Here, you can serve several items that appeal to the varying taste buds of your guests. Don’t be afraid to try something new! As if your guests don’t have enough choices to make in deciding what to eat, give them even more options for what to drink. Hot chocolate, milk, fruit juices, and water are always good selections to complement any menu.

decorating and presentation

One of the best things about hosting a brunch is that you don’t have to spend a lot of time decorating, regardless of your theme or occasion. Keep decorations and accents clean and simple so your time and focus are spent on the food and friends. Use a buffet table for a quick and easy way to present and serve your food. A buffet table allows your guests to help themselves to whatever they’d like and frees you from being stuck in the kitchen. A white tablecloth, simple arrangements of fresh flowers, and candles of varying sizes are nice ways to complement the food arranged on the table. Brunch is a wonderful meal to share with friends and family: you can enjoy good company, eat delicious food, and take time to relax. And best of all, a brunch won’t take up the rest of your day! Try some of the following recipes for your own brunch. w

Meat, cheese, and vegetable combinations add personality to this classic quiche.

Quick Quiche Serves 8 Pre-made pie crust 2 cups milk 4 eggs

Pinch nutmeg Salt and pepper to taste 2 cups filling*

1. Prebake crust according to packaging directions to avoid sogginess. 2. Add cheese and filling with blended milk, eggs, and seasonings. 3. Bake at 375˚F for about 40 minutes or until set. *Try a combination of some of the following: ham, bacon, sausage, shrimp, crabmeat, broccoli, onion, tomato, spinach, artichoke, asparagus, shredded potatoes, and Swiss, cheddar, Parmesan, Monterey Jack, and ricotta cheeses.

28 // april 2009

Fresh Fruit Salad Serves 10 ½ cup fresh orange juice ¼ cup fresh lemon juice ¼ cup honey ½ teaspoon orange zest ½ teaspoon lemon zest 2 cup apples, chunked 1 cup seedless red grapes 2 bananas, sliced

2 oranges, fully peeled and sectioned 1 grapefruit, fully peeled and sectioned 2 cups ripe strawberries, sliced 3 kiwis, peeled and sliced 1 sprig mint, for garnish (optional)

1. In a small mixing bowl, combine orange juice, lemon juice, honey, and zests. Mix well. Prepare fruit and layer into a glass trifle bowl. (A glass serving bowl works fine too.) 2. Pour juice mix over fruit. Refrigerate several hours. Garnish with mint sprig before serving.


Simple Scones Serves 8 ½ cup sour cream 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 /3 cup sugar 1 large egg ¼ teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon baking powder 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, ½ teaspoon salt frozen ½ cup raisins (or dried currants) 1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 400˚F. In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Grate butter into flour mixture on the large holes of a box grater; use your fingers to work in butter (mixture should resemble coarse meal), then stir in raisins. 2. In a small bowl, whisk sour cream and egg until smooth. Using a fork, stir sour cream mixture into flour mixture until large dough clumps form. Use your hands to press the dough against the bowl into a ball. (The dough will be sticky in places, and there may not seem to be enough liquid at first, but as you press, the dough will come together.) 3. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and pat into a 7- to 8-inch circle about ¾-inch thick. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar. Use a sharp knife to cut into 8 triangles; place on a cookie sheet (preferably lined with parchment paper), about 1 inch apart. Bake until golden, which should take about 15–17 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature. Variations: Cranberry-Orange Scones Follow the recipe for simple scones, adding a generous teaspoon of finely grated orange rind (zest) to the dry ingredients and substituting dried cranberries for the raisins. Lemon-Blueberry Scones Follow the recipe for simple scones, adding a generous teaspoon of finely grated lemon rind (zest) to the dry ingredients and substituting dried blueberries for the raisins. Cherry-Almond Scones Follow the recipe for simple scones, adding ½ teaspoon almond extract to the sour cream mixture and substituting dried cherries for the raisins.

Zucchini Chocolate Muffins Yields 18 muffins 1½ cups zucchini, shredded ½ teaspoon salt 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 2 tablespoons baking powder 2 teaspoons cinnamon ½ teaspoon ground cloves ¼ cup cocoa

1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped 1 cup chocolate chips 1 /3 cup corn oil 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 3 eggs, beaten 1 cup sugar ½ cup buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 375˚F. Place shredded zucchini in a small bowl and sprinkle it with the salt. Set aside. 2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and cloves. Stir in the cocoa. 3. Toast the walnuts in the oven for 4 minutes. Stir the walnuts and chocolate chips into the flour mixture. 4. In a medium bowl, mix together the corn oil, vanilla, eggs, sugar, and buttermilk. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and mix well. Stir in the zucchini. Fill the greased muffin tins. Bake for 20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. whisk magazine // 29


No More i Paper Napkins WRITTEN BY JOURDAN LANCE

30 // april 2009

blame my mom for my inability to eat off plastic plates. My dish snobbery started at a young age, but don’t get me wrong—my childhood was far from elegant. With four children (three of whom are boys), my mom had to have a sense of humor and plenty of paper towels handy. Plastic cups were necessary to avoid certain catastrophe whenever my brothers felt the need to reenact Braveheart at the dinner table. But when my mom had guests over, she always strapped on her hostess boots, wrangled her children, and put on a party that was tasteful and elegant. She came alive when it was time for my father’s work associates to visit or when she simply wanted to give her children a lesson in etiquette. The plastic cups were put away and the paper napkins were replaced with cloth. My mother loved not just making but presenting dinner. Her love of entertaining sifted down to me, her daughter, who would excitedly help set the table and fold the napkins into mediocre animal shapes.


As a college student venturing into the world of adult social gatherings, I now find that I possess the same instinct to put on an impressive dinner party. But I’m on a budget, as many other young adults are, which means I’ve had to find creative ways to host dinner parties that are certain to impress and still easy on the wallet. Unfortunately, the typical rookie dinner party leaves much to be desired. If I had a nickel for every “dinner party” I’ve attended that involved canned spaghetti sauce and mismatched flatware, I could afford that avocado slicer I’ve had my eye on for the past year. Alas, it seems young adults use their meager allowances in expected and cliché ways, never allowing themselves to truly wow their dinner guests. Here are a few tips to create an impressive dinner party on a tight budget: Spice Things Up No matter how tight your budget, it is still possible to have a “grown-up” dinner party without sacrificing too much of your precious (and often scarce) spending money. Take that same canned spaghetti sauce, for example: add some spices you have lying around the kitchen, throw in some sliced Italian sausage, and voilà! You’ve taken a runof-the-mill dinner and made something special. And while we’re at it, the dessert options don’t have to be limited to Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker. Crème brûlée, for example, requires only five ingredients, most of which you probably already have in your cupboards or refrigerator. Skip the Plastic How you present food is just as important as the food itself—a simple menu instantly looks time intensive and expensive if it’s presented the right way, and mismatched plastic plates just don’t do it. Just as a frame enhances a painting, the dishware you choose shows how much you care about the food you put on it. Ceramic serving dishes may seem pricey, but they’re actually a great investment. I purchased relatively inexpensive ceramic serving dishes at my local TJ Maxx several years ago, and I will still be able to use them five years from now. Buying basic white means that if something breaks, it’s easily replaced—no stressing over finding a bowl that perfectly matches your cadmium yellow dessert plate. Know When to Splurge Dinnerware is even more flexible. Because styles quickly become dated, it’s unnecessary to spend a lot of money on your plates and bowls. Dollar stores often have plenty of

options, and larger chain stores carry sets that don’t cost a KitchenAid arm and a table leg. My mom found plates for 25 cents each at a grocery store years ago and has used them ever since. As long as the plates and bowls match each other (it makes all the difference!), your place setting will look pulled together and crisp. And I have two words for you: glass pitcher. Mine was $5 at Wal-Mart and was worth every cent. Plastic pitchers may be half the price, but they also look half the price. Shell out the extra $2.50. Get Creative But what if you really want to impress? I recently stumbled across porcelain ramekins (individual baking dishes) for only $1 at Pier 1. These little gems can be used for a fabulous crème brûlée, or if you’re short on time, pour brownie batter into the individual dishes instead of a pan to add instant class. Each guest will feel like their dessert was made especially for them. What’s $1 for dining happiness? And if you really feel like dazzling your guests, add a sprig of mint to the top of your brownie confections for an elegant touch. Remember the Details And finally, dear readers, buy some napkins. I know that paper towels are handy, but napkins really show guests that you care. And if you really want to knock their socks off, spring for cloth. A package of paper napkins costs about the same as the set of four cloth napkins I bought at IKEA. The difference? Those paper napkins will see only one use before being doomed to the waste bin. My IKEA napkins can be used over and over again—and they look far more elegant on a table than their paper counterparts. By following these basic tips (and using your imagination), you can gain a solid reputation for being a great host or hostess—and you don’t have to be the next Bobby Flay to do it. Food alone isn’t enough to leave a lasting impression on a guest: it takes the whole atmosphere to create a memorable dining experience. Nevertheless, a memorable and beautiful dinner doesn’t require a lot of money—only some bargain hunting and a little creativity. You will never regret investing in some well-chosen dishware and other entertaining essentials, and you’ll never again have to worry about your plastic dishes melting next to a hot surface. Who would have thought that replacing plastic with ceramic could make you feel so much lighter? w

whisk magazine // 31


pizza outside the box

Make an old American favorite more creative and fresh with new ideas and new ingredients.

i

WRITTEN BY ALISON PALMER

remember my first bite of pizza in Italy. I was seventeen years old, sitting in a small, crowded shop alongside a dusty street in Florence. A server placed a pizza the size of my head on the table in front of me—a pizza topped with big tomato slices, chunks of onion, and small pieces of meat. It was unlike anything I had ever seen. The cheese wasn’t mozzarella, the toppings were large, and the crust was thinner than any I had ever eaten before. I folded the pizza in half, took a bite, and tasted the most delicious pizza of my life. The best word I can think of to describe that pizza is fresh. Not only did the ingredients taste like they had just been picked out of the garden, but the entire idea of the pizza was fresh: it was new and unlike anything I had ever eaten before. That spectacular experience was the first time I realized there was a whole world of pizza I didn’t know about, and I don’t think I was alone in my ignorance. When most people think of classy dishes, pizza isn’t usually at the top of the list. Although many fine Italian restaurants serve it as a sophisticated entrée, this popular food item is usually seen on billboards, on commercials, and—perhaps more frequently than we would like—in our own living rooms as a cheesy, greasy comfort food devoured while sitting in front of the television. While fast-food pizzas have their place, the fast-food movement has, unfortunately, done a terrible disservice to pizza’s image. Most people see it as little more than a greasy guilty pleasure. However, I am happy to say that just the opposite is true: pizza may be one of the only foods that should never be stuck in the rut of unsophisticated banality, because it offers countless possibilities. There aren’t many other dishes out there that can incorporate every food on the food pyramid like pizza can. Stop considering pizza as the hobo on the street of common foods and start recognizing it as the classy broad of fine dining. >>

32 // april 2009


Rolling in the Dough The first step in making pizza more sophisticated and fresh is making it from scratch. Not only will this save money, but the result will also be fresher, healthier, and—as you learn to put your own touch on it—more creative. However, before getting creative with spices and toppings, you need your base: the dough. I recommend a simple and healthy recipe like the following from Wolfgang Puck. (If you have your own tried and true recipes, however, go ahead and experiment with what you’ve got.)

Making pizza dough from scratch gives you the freedom to customize your dish as you experiment with new tastes and flavors.

WOLFGANG’S PIZZA DOUGH INGREDIENTS

¼ ounce active dry yeast ¼ cup warm water 1 tablespoon honey 3 cups flour 1 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon olive oil ¾ cup additional water DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 375˚ F. 2. Combine the yeast, warm water, and honey. Lightly stir for about 5 seconds and then let it sit until foamy. 3. In a food processor or blender combine flour and salt. Add the yeast mixture and oil while the machine is on. To help the dough come together, use ¾ cup of water if needed. Do not exceed ¾ cup. 4. Once the dough forms into a ball remove it from the machine and knead for an additional 3 minutes until soft. Do not overwork the dough. 5. Let the dough sit covered 1–2 hours until the dough doubles in size. At this point the dough is ready to be cooked or stored. 6. For one large pizza use all of the dough. Bake about 20–30 minutes, with all toppings on.

This recipe is slightly healthier than most, and it works well with all types of pizza. Use whole-wheat flour if you want your pizza to be even healthier and taste more like grain. If you want a lighter and crisper taste, roll the dough thinner than normal and bake for less time or use a pizza stone. Once you’ve made your dough, you have the green light to start trying new sauces and toppings to create truly innovative and fresh pizza.

34 // april 2009

photography by stockexchange

Although pizza is an old American favorite, it needs a change. And it’s up to pizza lovers like you and me to experiment, create new ideas, and reinvent pizza as a spectacular dish. Pizza can be nutritious enough to feed your family, classy enough to serve at parties, unique enough to impress your friends, and easy enough to make every day of the week. In the spirit of change and rejuvenation that comes along with this spring season, I want to reveal the many ways you can invent a pizza that is new, exciting, and fresh. Instead of just giving you a list of recipes to follow, I recommend that you channel your own creative energies to redefine pizza, raise it out of the slums, and give it the respect, delicacy, and taste that both you and it deserve.


Getting Saucy Another way to make pizza more of a delicacy is to use a good sauce or even none at all. Historically, pizza can be traced back to the Greeks and to the people of the Mediterranean who ate it with olive oil instead of sauce. Thus, sauceless pizzas without a tomato base may be one of the best places to start for the adventurous pizza maker who wants something surprisingly traditional yet original. Instead of a sauce, sprinkle olive oil on top of the dough before piling on the toppings. If you still want that tomato base, try dicing tomatoes into small pieces and spreading them on the dough in place of traditional sauce. Of course, some people may consider the prospect of sauceless pizza a blasphemous suggestion. In that case, experimenting with different brands and flavors of tomato sauce is another way to reinvent your pizza. Pick your favorite brand of basic spaghetti sauce and liven it up by adding your own spices and flavors such as parsley, onion, peppercorn, oregano, basil, or garlic. A white sauce like alfredo has a slightly heavier taste that goes great with meat toppings. For die-hard traditional sauce lovers, here’s a tomato sauce recipe that is delicious, flavorful, and complementary to all types of pizza. FLAVORFUL TOMATO SAUCE INGREDIENTS

1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste 1 ½ teaspoons dried minced garlic 1 tablespoon ground oregano 1 teaspoon ground paprika DIRECTIONS

1. Mix together tomato sauce and paste. 2. Mix in spices until smooth.

Experimenting with different brands and flavors of tomato sauce will reinvent your pizza.

A pizza sauce made from fresh tomatoes is a fun way to make your pizza new without changing your favorite toppings.

Choosing the Cheese Now, I consider cheese essential when it comes to pizza, but mozzarella isn’t the only option. If a French style appeals to you, don a beret and use crumbled goat cheese, which has something of a tangy or tart taste. For a Greek flavor, use crumbled feta cheese. Both goat and feta cheeses have a stronger taste than traditional mozzarella, so if you choose to use them, use less. Usually one cup is all you need for one pizza. If the flavor is too strong for your taste buds, try replacing some of the feta or goat cheese with ricotta cheese. It has a similar taste and texture but is much milder and will soften the flavor. Choosing your favorite cheeses and combining them is another way to vary your pizza options. I recommend the combination of provolone, Swiss, and white cheddar cheeses. The taste isn’t too overwhelming, and the cheeses complement

whisk magazine // 35


each other and create a stronger flavor than traditional mozzarella. But if mozzarella is your favorite cheese and asking you to part with it would be like asking you to give up pizza altogether (I shudder at the thought), then try experimenting with how you slice it. Different cuts of cheese can affect the overall taste and appearance, so try cutting mozzarella cheese into slices instead of shredding it. Slices of cheese versus shreds create a sleeker look and a smoother texture.

Vegging Out Many of us remember a time in college (or perhaps just last week) when pizza was a staple. However, as delicious as it was, cold, stale pizza doesn’t sound as good on Wednesday morning as it did the night when you ordered it. Aside from questionable taste issues, one reason people get tired of pizza is that most lacks variety. And I’m not talking about ordering deep dish instead of regular or replacing pepperoni with sausage. To make pizza more creative and adaptable for any occasion and situation, consider the following varieties of in-season vegetable toppings. Spring is the perfect time of year to make vegetable pizzas. Veggie toppings have a fresh taste and allow you to take advantage of all the delicious produce in season. For instance,

Using a new blend of cheeses is another way to change the flavor and texture of homemade pizza.

mushrooms, onions, and potatoes are all vegetables in season during spring and are a good combination for colder, rainy days. Green peas and bell peppers are a great option for those who want a sweeter taste. Top your pizza with broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots to combine your bread and vegetable meal servings. Other possibilities include avocados, black olives, and pineapple (not a veggie, but still a great topping!). If you want something more simple, sliced fresh tomatoes are always classy and delicious. In addition to these toppings, you can always add the same spices that you add to the sauce to give your pizza that extra punch.

Remembering Less Is More

36 // april 2009

photography by fotolia.com

Remember when you’re piling toppings on your pizza that there is such a thing as too much. For presentation, you want toppings to be spread out enough to look nice, and if you add too many toppings, the dough may undercook. The old adage “less is more” is never more true than when it comes to cooking and adding toppings to pizza. Although you may love sardines, avocados, mushrooms, and broccoli, it may not be the best idea to put them all on the same pizza.


Aside from causing a potential presentation disgrace or undercooked dough, piles of toppings probably won’t taste very good. Using fewer toppings that have complementary tastes is always the best way to go, and keeping it simple makes the pizza more soph-isticated and elegant.

Pizza can have a fresh taste and can be served in new situations.

Minimizing Pizza can have a fresh taste and can be served in new situations. It’s a perfect dish for get-togethers—and I’m not talking about Super Bowl parties or late-night movie marathons. Mini pizzas are great entrées or snacks for entertaining guests because each pizza can look a little different. To create mini pizzas, separate the dough into four equal pieces and top them however you want. You can decorate them in whatever style or color you choose. For example, I love bell peppers, so I make my mini pizzas with stripes of different colored peppers and black olives.

No discussion of how to make a fresh pizza would be complete without a quick note about fruit pizza. Fruit pizzas provide a fresh taste with a cool and sweet flavor perfect for desserts. Fruit pizzas are better as smaller pizzas because the dough is usually made from a sugar cookie recipe that cooks better when it’s about the size of a large cookie. A smaller size is also ideal for individual servings. To make fruit pizzas, you can buy premade dough from the store or make your own using your favorite sugar cookie recipe. Once you have laid out the dough, spread a whipped cream cheese and sugar mixture on the pizza (about a half cup of sugar for every eight ounces of cream cheese is usually best) and place your favorite fruit on top. Fruits that work the best are kiwis, strawberries, berries, and bananas, but if you want to be a little more unique and adventurous, try placing more exotic fruits on top, like pineapple or star fruit. Experiment with slicing or dicing your fruit to play around with presentation. By channeling your inner culinary artist and getting creative with your food, you can make a fresher, healthier, and tastier pizza. This popular dish no longer has to reside in the realms of guilty over-indulgence but can grace the dining room table, sitting fresh and proud as the focal point of an elegant meal. w

photography by claire marika buys

The possibilities are limitless with fruit pizza. Sugar cookie dough, frosting, and fresh fruit are all you need to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Feeling Fruity

whisk magazine // 37


Š Brett Moen


a

MODEL

How fashion model Whitney Thompson is changing the fashion industry, one meal at a time.

diet

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he modeling industry has been criticized for being a leading contributor to eating disorders that plague teenagers and young adults around the world. Whitney Thompson, the first full-figured winner of America’s Next Top Model, uses her platform to speak out against these crippling diseases. In doing so, the young model is helping to change the face of the modeling industry. Standing at five feet ten inches, the blonde and beautiful Whitney commands any room she enters. Her self-confidence and enthusiasm about life radiate from every inch of her graceful stature. It was this presence that impressed and captivated judges, professional models, and American viewers of America’s WRITTEN BY MEGAN WITHERS Next Top Model (ANTM) in 2008, and she was named the winner of the tenth cycle of the contest. Whitney began her modeling career in Atlantic Beach, Florida, at the age of fifteen. Although an experienced model, Whitney admits that she probably would never have auditioned if a talent agent, whom she met in the Los Angeles airport, hadn’t given her the encouragement she needed. Whitney explains, “I am a true introvert, so [the agent’s] encouragement helped me believe in myself.” That confidence not only encouraged her to compete and win the contest but also helped her obtain contracts from Elite Model Management and CoverGirl. Because she understands the powerful influence that a little encouragement can have, Whitney makes it a priority to encourage others to believe in themselves by advocating the importance of appreciating one’s body. She confesses, “Like most people, I like some parts of my body more than others, but I believe that you celebrate what God gave you!” The twenty-year-old model made her message clear from the onset of the show: “I am a normal woman. I celebrate my curves and want others to as well.” Whitney’s curves singled her out in the competition as a full-figured, or plus-sized, model. She isn’t ashamed of the title and explains, “I embrace it because it is ridiculous to label me as such, but it draws attention to just what the modeling world does. I am a voice for all those people who want to be healthy and not have to starve to do it.” >> whisk magazine // 39


Whitney not only strongly opposes the image of the “ideal” woman that the modeling world creates but also sees the connection between the ideology and eating disorders. “I feel that the industry has been telling women to starve and be super thin.” She further explains, “When I was a size two, with hips that were thirty-six inches, I was told to lose weight and to have thirty-four-inch hips. I just felt like that was a wrong message to send to women. I also had thirteen-year-old cousins who felt like they needed to be on a diet! That is just crazy!” In addition to her personal experiences, while on the show Whitney became increasingly aware of the eating problems within the industry. She says of her fellow contestants on the show: “Many of them

A MODEL DESSERT Whitney’s favorite cake, lemonade cake, is deli‑ cious. Her mom makes it for her every year on her birthday. If you have a sweet tooth, try this model dessert! Thompson’s Lemonade Cake INGREDIENTS

1 small package lemon Jell-O® ¾ cup boiling water 1 package yellow cake mix ¾ cup cooking oil 4 eggs 1 small can lemonade concentrate ¾ cup sugar DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Dissolve Jell-O® in water and set aside to cool. 2. Mix cake mix, cooking oil, and eggs. Add Jell-O®. Pour into a greased and floured tube or Bundt pan. Bake at 350°F 55–60 minutes. Do not open the oven door for first 45 minutes. 3. Mix lemonade concentrate with sugar (do not add water). Prick cake with a fork, and pour mixture around the sides, tube, and top of cake immediately after you remove the cake from the oven. Let cake cool at least 10 minutes before removing it from the pan. 40 // april 2009

did not eat at all. I was cooking all the time saying, ‘eat something.’” Despite Whitney’s encouragement, the other models—in an attempt to maintain their figures—always refused the food she offered them. This experience inspired Whitney to be even more active in the fight against eating disorders. Since winning the show, she has helped champion the cause by participating in many charities and walking for various organizations, including Little in the Middle, a fashion company that makes clothes for “the normal woman.” Whitney is not only a great fashion model but also an outstanding role model. MSN ranked her among the ten most influential women of 2008. “It is humbling to think that my small part in this world can help others,” Whitney says. She has received letters from people who have been inspired by her. Many of these letters are from teenagers and young adults who struggled for years with eating disorders. Whitney tries to write back and encourage them all. “Don’t listen to mean people who always want to bring you down. A lot of people were mean to me as I was growing up. Surround yourself with positive, loving people. My family is my main support. Love yourself and your body. Take care of both! Never give up on your dreams and passions!” she advises. One of Whitney’s passions is cooking. “Cooking and baking is a form of therapy for me,” she says. Whitney never hid her passion for food while on the show. On the first episode she exclaimed to the other models and to the world, “I love food!” She is also not ashamed to admit her love of carbs: “Anything with a potato in it is a good thing. I was forever giving up french fries for Lent when others were giving up sweets!” In typical Southern fashion, chicken and dumplings is her favorite comfort food, even as a professional model: “I still like to have my chicken and dumplings now and then!” she says. Though Whitney appreciates a good, hearty meal, she also understands the importance of taking care of her body through exercise and a healthy diet. While she does not limit her diet to organic foods, she does try to avoid foods with added chemicals and hormones. She explains that she worked out regularly before the show and that the gym in her current apartment makes working out much


Wanting to Be Thinner more convenient. Whitney also loves exercising and being outdoors: “I have always been athletic,” she says. “I love to hike; I have hiked parts of the Appalachian Trail twice. I play tennis, run, and walk my dog, Baxter.” Whitney has inspired many people around the country to embrace life by following her pattern of healthy diet and exercise. She shared with whisk some of the meals that she might eat in a typical day. See if you can incorporate some of them into your day to help you achieve your own “model diet”: Breakfast: 1 cup black coffee Omelet (egg whites only) with vegetables 1 cup yogurt Dinner: 1 glass wine Salad Barbeque chicken Sorbet with blackberries

GoFind theSun! Picnicking Emporium 300 N 1634 E San Francisco www.picnickingemporium.com

Lunch: Turkey sandwich or sushi Fruit

*

Whitney drinks water throughout the day and with every meal. w

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, in 2008 “more than ninety percent of those who have eating disorders are women between the ages of twelve and twenty-five.” There are also increasing numbers of people younger than age twelve who exhibit the early psychological signs that precede eating disorders. A study conducted in 1991 showed that forty-two percent of first- to third-grade girls wanted to be thinner. Another study showed that eightyone percent of ten-year-old girls have a major fear of becoming overweight. This fear haunts the ten million females and one million males in America who are affected by eating disorders. Of these, less than one percent receive treatment. Statistics taken from nationaleatingdisorders.org.


The

Local Catch Make dinner a traveling experience with these seafood recipes from around the world.

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WRITTEN BY HAYLEY YATES

ime and money always seem to be the biggest obstacles to traveling abroad. So how can you get the real authentic flavors of cultural cuisine without hopping on a plane? By making it yourself, of course! Travel with us from the United States to Spain, from France to England, and then on to Italy to explore how these countries use the same ingredient: seafood. Whether you enjoy cod, halibut, shrimp, clams, or all of 42 // april 2009

the above, we’re inviting you to a seafood smorgasbord! We found practical and delicious seafood recipes from each country. With these dishes, you’ll have a flavorful meal just like the locals eat. Best of all, dinner will no longer be a dull experience but an adventurous journey full of authentic flavor everyone will love. There are no passports needed on this international exploration, so grab your placemats and let’s begin.


UNITED STATES

Our first stop is the United States. One favorite American seafood dish is shrimp cocktail. This dish is usually served as an appetizer of cooked shrimp with a classic cocktail sauce. But our recipe has a twist: instead of boiling the shrimp and watering down its wonderful flavors, we’re roasting it.

Roasting shrimp in a little olive oil, salt, and pepper is a new way to cook shrimp that will leave you wondering why you ever boiled it in the first place. So break out your lemons and chili sauce: this is seafood done the American way.

Roasted Shrimp Cocktail Serves 6 to 8 INGREDIENTS

2 pounds (12- to 15-count) shrimp 1 tablespoon olive oil ½ teaspoon kosher salt ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper ½ cup chili sauce (recommended: Heinz) ½ cup ketchup 2 teaspoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce ¼ teaspoon hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco)

photography by Julia Woodbury

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 400˚F. 2. Peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the tails on. Place them on a sheet pan. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper on the shrimp. Spread the shrimp out in one layer. Roast for 8–10 minutes, just until they’re pink and firm and cooked through. Don’t overcook the shrimp. Set aside to cool. 3. For the sauce, combine chili sauce, ketchup, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce. Stir well. Serve as a dip with shrimp.

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SPAIN For our next adventure, we’re headed to the beautiful country of Spain. One of the most popular dishes in Spain is paella. There are many different versions of this rice dish, but the most well-known version is seafood paella. It’s chock-full

of fish. Originally developed in the state of Valencia in Spain, paella is sure to give your dinner a cultural makeover. With this recipe, you’ll feel as if you’re eating in an authentic Spanish restaurant.

Seafood Paella Serves 6 INGREDIENTS

1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined; shells reserved 4 cups water 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 medium onion, chopped 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 1 red pepper, cut into thin strips 1 cup canned tomatoes (with their juice), chopped 2 teaspoons salt 2 cups medium-grain rice ⅛ teaspoon ground saffron 1 pound sea scallops 1 pound mussels 1 cup frozen peas

DIRECTIONS

1. To make shrimp broth, combine shrimp shells and water in a 3-quart saucepan. Heat until boiling and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 30 minutes. Strain broth through sieve and discard shells. There should be about 3 cups of broth. 2. In a deep nonstick 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-low heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until onions are tender, about 7 minutes. Add red peppers and cook for 4 minutes. 3. Add tomatoes with their juice, ½ cup shrimp broth, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Heat until boiling. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in rice, saffron, remaining 2½ cups shrimp stock, mussels, and remaining salt. Cover and simmer until rice is cooked through and mussels have opened, about 20 minutes. 4. Pull off and discard tough crescent-shaped muscle from each scallop. Cut scallops in half horizontally. Stir scallops, shrimp, and frozen peas into the rice mixture. Cover and cook until scallops and shrimp are just opaque throughout, about 9 minutes. Serve immediately.

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FRANCE Cooking authentically doesn’t mean you have to use difficult recipes, as you will see with our next tasty dish from France. We’re making braised halibut Provençal. Provençal simply means “of Provence,” a region in southeastern France. Because Provence is located right

next to Italy and the Mediterranean Sea, traditional Provençal cuisine specializes in seafood. This classic French dish uses halibut and the traditional flavors of Provence to make an elegant yet simple meal. With this dish, you’ll wonder if you’re actually in a French café!

Braised Halibut Provençal Serves 4 to 6 INGREDIENTS

photography by Julia Woodbury

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 clove garlic, pressed ¼ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes 2 shallots, sliced 1 fennel bulb, chopped 1 14-ounce can seasoned tomatoes ½ cup bottled clam juice 12 black olives, pitted 1½ pounds halibut, cut into 3-inch pieces ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon black pepper 1 tablespoon fresh sage, cut into fine strips (chiffonade)

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 400˚F. 2. Heat the olive oil in a deep ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Sauté the garlic and red pepper flakes for 1 minute. Add the shallots and fennel. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the seasoned tomatoes and clam juice. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes until fennel is tender and liquid is slightly reduced. Remove pan from heat and stir in the olives. 3. Season the halibut with salt and pepper and arrange over hot tomato mixture in skillet. Bake in preheated oven 17–20 minutes, until fish is cooked through. Stir sage into hot vegetable mixture and serve.

whisk magazine // 45


ENGLAND Our next stop on this seafood journey is the exciting land of England. We’re visiting the UK and taking an up-close look at one of their most well-known dishes: fish and chips! Though it is widely served in the United States, this seafood staple originated in England. In fact, the British have a specific way of making their fish and chips that many Americans don’t know about. For one, the fish is always dredged in a thick batter before it is fried. It is common in the United

States to use breadcrumbs, but using batter for the breading is crucial to making authentic British fish and chips. The next difference is the type of fish. The British always use cod or haddock—no exceptions! A third difference is in the dipping sauce. Malt vinegar and salt is the most common, but tartar sauce is also good to use. Trust us: this English-style fish and chips recipe is sure to please the crowds.

Fish and Chips Serves 4 INGREDIENTS

Vegetable oil, for deep frying 4 large russet potatoes 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon baking powder 1 12-ounce can soda water

1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning 1 large egg, lightly beaten ½ cup rice flour, for dredging

2 8-ounce cod or haddock fillets, cut in half on an angle Malt vinegar, for serving Tartar sauce (recipe follows)

DIRECTIONS

1. Heat 3 inches of the oil in a deep fryer to 325˚F. In a second deep pot, heat another 3 inches of oil. 2. Peel the potatoes and cut them into chunks about the size of your index finger. Put the potatoes in the pan. Fry the chips 2–3 minutes; they should not be crisp or fully cooked at this point. Remove the chips with a strainer or slotted spoon and place them on a platter lined with paper towels to drain. 3. Turn the oil temperature up to 375˚F. 4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and egg. Pour in the soda water and whisk to a smooth batter. Spread the rice flour on a separate plate. Dredge the fish pieces in the rice flour and then dip them into the batter, letting the excess drip off. 5. Put the chips in the bottom of the fryer basket and carefully submerge in the hot oil. Carefully wave the battered fish into the bubbling oil before dropping them on top of the chips. Fry the fish and chips 4–5 minutes until crispy and brown. Remove the basket and drain the fish and chips on paper towels; season lightly with salt. Serve with malt vinegar and tartar sauce. Tartar Sauce Yields about 1 ¼ cups INGREDIENTS

1 cup mayonnaise 1 tablespoon capers 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped ½ lemon, juiced Dash hot sauce DIRECTIONS

1. Combine all ingredients in bowl. Chill before serving. 46 // april 2009


ITALY What would our seafood experience be without pasta? You guessed it! Our final stop is the elegant country of Italy, which we have to thank for combining pasta, seafood, and delicious sauces. But with this dish we leave the

Serves 4 to 6 INGREDIENTS

3 cups chicken stock 3 cups water 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning 1 pound fregola pasta, uncooked ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 medium onion, chopped Freshly ground black pepper 2 garlic cloves, chopped 1 cup dry Marsala wine or dry sherry 1 cup (about 6 ounces) grape or cherry tomatoes 12 little neck clams, cleaned 12 mussels, cleaned ½ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped

photography by Claire Marika Buys

Fregola with Clams and Mussels

heavy cream sauces behind and use rare Italian pasta, clams, mussels, and fresh vegetables. The light, elegant sauce won’t weigh you down, and this traditional Italian dish will satisfy any pasta craving. w

DIRECTIONS

1. In a large pot, combine chicken stock, water, and 1 tablespoon salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, about 8–10 minutes. 2. While the pasta is cooking, heat ¼ cup of the oil over medium-high heat in a large cast iron pot. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook until soft, about 5–7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer. Add the Marsala wine and the grape tomatoes and cook for 1 minute, scraping the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan. Add the clams and mussels to the pan. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook until all the shellfish have opened, about 5–8 minutes. Discard any unopened shellfish. 3. Using tongs, remove the shellfish from the pan and reserve. Drain the pasta and transfer to a large serving bowl. Pour the shellfish cooking liquid over the fregola. Add the remaining olive oil and ¼ cup of the parsley and toss. Place the reserved shellfish on top of the fregola and garnish with the remaining parsley.

whisk magazine // 47


>>TIPS FOR COOKING SEAFOOD Cooking with fish can be intimidating—especially if it’s your first time. Here are a few tips to remember:

purchasing fish

marinating seafood

Buying seafood is all about quality. Your fish should never smell like fish.

Always marinate seafood in the refrigerator.

Whole fresh fish should have bright, clear, and shiny eyes. Scales should be shiny and cling tightly to the skin. Look for bright pink or red gills. Choose fillets that are moist and are not dry or brown around the edges. Look for firm fish that springs back when pressed gently with your finger. Don’t buy cooked seafood products that are in direct contact with raw seafood products in the display case of your market because there could be cross contamination.

Always discard marinade that contains raw juices, which may harbor bacteria. When marinade is needed for basting, be sure to set aside a portion of the marinade before adding raw seafood to it.

cooking fish

steaming

When you sauté fish, place fish in the pan, skin side up (if the skin is still on) to help keep it moist. After you’ve turned it over, the presentation side will face up.

Oysters and clams should be steamed until their shells open completely. Shrimp and scallops only need to steam for 3–5 minutes.

Scallops, clams, oysters, and shrimp become opaque and firm when fully cooked. Don’t overcook to avoid loss of moisture, which affects texture and taste. Before cooking, rinse seafood under cold water to remove surface bacteria. 48 // april 2009

Tips courtesy of fl-seafood.com


Life in a different light

E N L I G H T E N M E N T C A N D L E C O M PA N Y

www.enlighten.com


add some zest

spring playlist You’ve just finished your spring cleaning: your dresser drawers are organized, your wardrobe has been purged, your yard is prepped for anticipated bursts of spring color, and your surfaces are dust free—for now anyway. After a long winter, spring finally makes an appearance, and even though your kitchen has been newly organized, you still need something to freshen your culinary space. Going out and splurging on new dishes may not be in your budget, but you can add spice to your kitchen by sprucing up your music selection. —Charlotte Wood For a snappy beat to get you started: “Syndicate,” The Fray “Bruises,” Chairlift “Waking Up,” Caesars For an upbeat yet mellow feel: “Tidal Wave,” Josh Kelley “Think of You,” A Fine Frenzy “I’m Yours,” Jason Mraz “Madly,” Tristan Prettyman “Taylor, the Latte Boy,” Kristin Chenoweth For a fast tempo and catchy beat: “Just Dance,” Lady Gaga “Every Time We Touch,” Cascada For distinctive sounds from popular artists to grace your kitchen: “Best for Last,” Adele “Viva la Vida,” Coldplay

A ////april 50 april2009 2009

blog review written by Joanna Galbraith

e

very month, whisk combs the blogging world for helpful and entertaining cooking websites. There are thousands of cooking blogs, and we search until we find the best of the best—so you don’t have to. The featured blog this month is Smitten Kitchen, a site that is jam-packed with delicious recipes, mouth-watering pictures, and clever humor. Deb is a food fanatic living in New York City. She makes all of her recipes in the tiny kitchen of her fourth-floor walkup. What we love most about Smitten Kitchen are the amazing pictures and witty writing. Deb has a story behind every recipe, and you will certainly find yourself laughing each time you visit her site. Her award-winning recipes are delicious and delightful, thanks to her amusing insights. Just to give you a peek at Deb’s writing style, here’s a snippet of one of her posts about Double Chocolate Layer Cake: “Last week, when it was 95 hateful, humid degrees outside and the 13-block walk home had entirely sucked what traces of motivation remained out of me, I had what I still consider The Best Dinner Idea Ever: chocolate cake with chocolate icing and watermelon. I’ll give you a moment to absorb my utter genius.” Deb’s “utter genius” manifests itself in a variety of ways: Smitten Kitchen offers detailed written and visual instructions for each recipe. The pictures look good enough to eat! Although Deb’s recipes vary in complexity, the easy-tofollow instructions and images make all the recipes very accesible. We would recommend this site to anyone looking for the fun side of cooking. Find Smitten Kitchen at www.smittenkitchen.com. w


pretzels

soft

w

foodography the history and traditions behind one of America’s favorite snacks. written by Michelle Bunker

hen you think of stories about the soft pretzel, you may be inclined to think back to 2002, when President George W. Bush choked on one while watching a football game. But what do we know about pretzels before that happened? Where did they originate? How have they evolved? What has made them a popular food item? a monastic whim Pretzels date as far back as 610 ad in either southern France or northern Italy. Some historians believe pretzels were invented by a monk who was experimenting with some leftover bread dough. He formed the extra dough in a way that resembled children’s arms folded during a prayer. He then gave his new creation, which he called pretiola (meaning “little reward”), to children who learned their prayers. After growing in popularity, the pretiola made its way over to Germany, where it was called brezel—or in English, “pretzel.” the bakers’ emblem About four hundred years later, in 1111 ad, pretzels appeared in bakers’ emblems affixed to official documents from southern Germany. This emblem is believed to have been given out by the Austrian king to award certain bakers for their bravery. In Vienna, bakers working late into the night heard troops of the Turkish army coming underground to attack the city. Because these bakers warned the king that the Turkish troops were coming, the city was able to prepare for the attack and defeat them. The bakers were awarded a coat of arms depicting two charging lions along with a pretzel—showing that the pretzel was growing in popularity. This coat of arms is still used today as the bakers’ emblem. knot-tying traditions Since 1614 ad, there has also been documentation of soft pretzels used in royal wedding ceremonies to “tie the knot.” This association accounts for the pretzel’s intertwined middle section. It is believed that the couple getting married would pull apart the pretzel while making a wish. Whoever would pull off the bigger part would have one wish granted. >> whisk magazine // 23


American debut Just a century later, Germans settled in America, primarily in Pennsylvania, and brought pretzels with them. The modern market for pretzels is now more than $550 million, with the average American consuming one and a half pounds of pretzels per year. However, pretzel consumption in Philadelphia is about twelve times greater than the national average. That’s eighteen pounds of pretzels per person per year! Pennsylvania has clearly maintained its early German roots: today it is the heart of the pretzel industry. While Pennsylvania may be the cradle of the nation’s pretzels, they have become so widespread that anybody can buy them in any state. Just go to your nearest grocery store and pick up a box—or head over to a specialized pretzel shop like Auntie Anne’s Pretzels. Auntie Anne’s Pretzels have so many different toppings that you’ll have a hard time deciding which to buy. You can solve that dilemma and make Auntie Anne’s at home! These delicious treats are surprisingly easy to make and sure to wow any company—or you can even kick back and enjoy the savory flavor all for yourself. The best part about making these at home is that you’ll probably have most of the ingredients in your kitchen already. w

Auntie Anne’s Soft Pretzels Yields 12 pretzels INGREDIENTS

1½ cups warm water 1⅛ teaspoons active dry yeast 2 tablespoons brown sugar 1⅛ teaspoons salt 4 tablespoons sweet butter, melted

1 cup bread flour 3 cups all-purpose flour 2 cups warm water 2 tablespoons baking soda Coarse salt to taste

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Sprinkle yeast in lukewarm water in a mixing bowl; stir until dissolved. Add sugar and salt and stir until they dissolve. Add flour and knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. Let rise at least 30 minutes. 2. Mix warm water and baking soda while the dough is rising. Stir this mixture often. After the dough has risen, pinch off bits of dough, roll into a long rope (about ½ inch or less), and shape into pretzels. The longer and thinner you make the dough rope, the more like Auntie Anne’s they will be. 3. After the ropes are formed, dip the pretzels in the soda solution and place them on a greased baking sheet. Allow the pretzels to rise again for about 10 minutes. Bake at 450°F for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter. 4. After you brush the pretzels with butter, try sprinkling them with coarse salt. Or for Auntie Anne’s famous cinnamon sugar pretzels, try melting a stick of butter in a shallow bowl (big enough to fit the entire pretzel). In another shallow bowl make a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Dip the pretzel into the butter, coating both sides generously, and then dip it into the cinnamon mixture. 52 // april 2009

photography by fotolia.com

foodography


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easy as pie

y

forget the

cheerios

54 // april 2009

written by Charlotte Wood

photography by fotolia.com

ou know what a long day feels like. By the time you’re home for good, you can hardly remember what you ate for breakfast. You look in the mirror and see signs of your long day written all over your appearance: your hair is flat, your clothes are rumpled, and your under-eye areas are looking suspiciously dark. The last thing you want to do is figure out what to make for dinner. Normally you’d opt for a bowl of cereal or Chinese takeout from the restaurant a few blocks down, but none of that sounds very tasty at the moment. What do you do? Here’s one way to simplify your meals while still eating something delicious. One of the easiest dinners—and one of the most well known—is leftovers. Before you roll your eyes and put this idea down the garbage disposal, think about it. What’s so strange about heating up leftovers from a meal made only a day or two ago? Let’s say this week you made sweet-and-sour chicken (which may just rival the dish made by that Chinese restaurant down the street), pasta salad, and macaroni and cheese, and a little bit is left over from each meal. Individually, these leftovers are not enough to become tonight’s dinner, but what if you revive Tuesday’s meal to make Thursday night’s special? Take the sweet-and-sour chicken, for instance. All you have to do is pop it in the microwave for a few minutes, take an extra fifteen minutes to make some rice and maybe some broccoli (if you really want to dress it up), and you have a steamy plate of delicious food! You can revive any of your meals from previous days and whip up a side dish or two, or you can combine all your leftovers into one meal. This works best when you have more than one person to feed and a whole fridge to clear out. Take a few minutes and mine your fridge for all of your recent leftovers (making sure to toss all of the older, not-so-new food). Make leftovers a true meal by setting the table, dishing up the leftovers into real serving dishes, and allowing everyone to take their pick. Tonight you have the delight of eating whatever leftovers you want: feel free to eat the macaroni and cheese and the pot roast. This is a great way to clean out your fridge without wasting food. By just spending a few minutes heating up food in the microwave, you can have a full meal that will leave you satisfied after a long day. Regardless of what you choose to do with your leftovers, keep these sides on hand to make your leftovers a meal: rice, broccoli, ingredients for biscuits, carrots, pasta, mashed potatoes, and maybe some punch or grape juice. You can dress up leftovers for just yourself, for friends, or for your family. Just because a dinner is simple and already on hand doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea! Aren’t you glad you didn’t just pour that bowl of cereal? w

Just because you stay in for the night doesn’t mean you have to resort to cold cereal for dinner.


andrea garvin

ask the chef

shares her cooking tips and secrets. written by Julia Woodbury

a

ndrea Garvin, age twenty-three, began her cooking career making Kool-Aid as a young girl. Her passion for cooking led her through high school gourmet classes and into the Art Institute of Colorado where she spent two years (2004–2006) mastering the art of cooking. Andrea now works as a professional chef. We sat down with Andrea to discover her best cooking tips and secrets.

Q: What has been your best cooking Q: What other kitchen essentials experience in your career so far?

A: I would say the best moment

came at the Art Institute when I finally got the concept of certain cutting skills. I think that was a key experience for me because cutting is such an important part of good, beautiful cooking.

Q: What is the best way for a home cook to master good cutting skills?

A: I suppose the first step would

be getting the right knives. One of the essential knives is a chef ’s knife. I use it mostly for dicing, which, I admit, is my favorite kind of cut; it produces such a great look for different foods. You also want a boning knife, which is a skinny, long, unserrated knife. This knife is useful when you’re fabricating—taking apart or cutting meat. And finally, you will really want a good paring knife, which is useful for peeling. You can also do some really great garnishes with a paring knife, allowing for a fast way to beautify a plate.

should every home cook have?

A: In the realm of

essential utensils, I would say everyone needs a whisk. It is good practice to learn how to whisk well. In school my instructor was big on doing things by hand. Once we timed him against a mixer, and he was able to make whipped cream faster! He once told us that our hands can do anything that machines can do, so for that reason, I think a whisk is important.

Q: How can a home cook maintain a

sophisticated cooking style without the tools and resources of a professional kitchen?

A: Creativity. A metal bowl inside a

larger pan makes for a great improvised double boiler. When I don’t have all the ingredients I need, I’ve learned to go out on a limb by just working with what I have. For instance, thickeners are a perfect example of ingredient substitution. If you don’t have anything to use as a thickener, you can just simmer your food lightly to remove some of the water through steam.

Q: What advice do you have for home cooks?

A: Practice. Practice cooking with

different vegetables or different styles that you’ve never tried before. Through practice you learn different tricks and shortcuts, as long as you cook often enough and keep at it. You should also take time to look at and read through recipes. And remember that messing up is good—you always learn from it.

Q: What do you love most about cooking?

A: I love the creating aspect. I also

like how the process becomes second nature: knowing how much salt to add or how much spice to put in. Sometimes I like adding weird ingredients and feeling my way through. I visualize what it might taste like or what it needs. You don’t need to have made or tried a dish before to know how it might taste. If you just feel it and imagine it, you will know. w whisk magazine // 55


photography by stockexchange.com

whisk and tell

ducking out of

dinner written by Charlotte Wood

i

t had been a long day. I didn’t get home until about 5 pm, and I had just received an email informing me that I hadn’t been selected for a job I had very much wanted. Normally on a Friday night (especially after a day like that one) I’d opt for getting out of the apartment by going out to dinner and watching a movie with my boyfriend, Josh; however, with a sigh I resigned myself to the fact that this particular Friday night would not be what I would have planned. A few days earlier, two of my roommates, Stacy and Julie, had invited me to a dinner party they were hosting at our apartment on Friday night. Katelyn (my other roommate) and I were each assigned to bring a date, so I told Josh to be at my apartment by 6:30. Although I was feeling reluctant and unenthusiastic, my roommates were unrestrainedly excited: they weren’t the most social coeds, so the fact that they were throwing this dinner party was a big deal. They scoured our apartment, scrubbed the kitchen, vacuumed the carpet, and mopped the yellowing linoleum. The best part about this soirée was the theme: a duck party—yes, a duck party. Neither of them had ever cooked a duck, and they thought hosting a dinner party for eight would be an excellent way to inaugurate this new dish. 56 // april 2009

As 6:30 rolled around, our dates came in the door, eager for the duck to be served. My stomach rumbled as I went out into the living room to meet Josh and the others. Everyone gathered around, and Stacy and Julie informed us that the duck wouldn’t be ready for another hour and a half: they had just put it in the oven, and a duck takes a while to cook. My stomach growled a little louder. After several rounds of Disney Trivial Pursuit (which thoroughly exposed my lack of Disney knowledge), we migrated to the kitchen in hopes of furthering the dinner preparation. We all pitched in and started making the side dishes: I chopped carrots, Josh peeled potatoes, Julie cooked rice, and her date set the table. Seeing all this cooking activity gave me some relief—at least we’d have a hearty selection of food. The timer finally signaled that the duck was done, so around 8:30 we assembled everything on the table and sat down, stomachs audibly growling, ready for our long-awaited meal. As I scanned the table, my heart sank along with my stomach. A duck doesn’t serve very many people: the strips of meat were few and would hardly feed four— certainly not eight. As I looked around the table, I realized that despite our efforts to prepare the food, we hadn’t


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prepared much. The roasted vegetables looked sparse on their tray, and the rice in its large serving bowl barely covered the bottom of the dish. Feigning contentment, we said a blessing on the food and started passing the dishes around. Josh caught my eye with a hungry, desperate look—I shrugged. Evidently, paltry portions are what you get when you blindly agree to attend a duck party. Assuring our hostesses that the deficiency of duck was no big deal, we casually snacked on our vegetables and duck pieces, trying to ignore the continual hunger pains. The food quickly vanished from our plates and serving dishes. By now the clock read 9:00. Realizing I hadn’t been full since around lunchtime, I started to clear the dishes to distract me from the pain of a still-empty stomach. Josh pulled me aside and whispered something in my ear: I nodded eagerly, finished putting the dishes in the dishwasher, and found my shoes. When asked where we were going, Josh and I replied that, unfortunately, we had to leave: one of his friends was having a Capture the Flag game up on campus, and we had agreed to go. Forgoing dessert—a somewhat runny lemon meringue pie—we made our exit. Buckling our seatbelts, we looked at each other, decided against Capture the Flag, and made our way to the Wendy’s drive-thru. As we rolled up to the second window at Wendy’s and eagerly grabbed our food from a weary-looking employee, I felt that satisfaction was at last within our reach. Each spoonful of Frosty convinced me more and more that ducking out of the duck party had been a shrewd migratory move. Was it foul play to leave the party? My stomach didn’t think so: it was content for the rest of the night, which just goes to show that sometimes fast and functional food is better than fancy and foreign—at least on occasions when you want all of your culinary ducks in a row on a Friday night. w

KG whisk magazine // 57


second helping

Recipe Index t

he coming of spring brings a change in the weather and the arrival of certain fruits and vegetables that are loaded with vitamins and minerals and bursting with flavor. This month, whisk has selected a few of these spring fruits and vegetables to feature in our recipe index. What are you waiting for? Spring into action and try our recipes before these fruits and veggies have come and gone! w —Erica Olsen

apricots are sweet spring fruits rich in vitamins A and C, iron, potassium, and fiber. In their dried or preserved form, apricots are used in a wide variety of dishes, including desserts, smoothies, and poultry dishes.

apricot fruit smoothie Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

ž cup milk 8 ounces canned peach slices, drained 2 fresh apricots, chopped 14 ounces fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced 2 bananas, sliced and frozen 1 Pour the milk into a food processor. 2 Add the peach slices and process gently until combined. 3 Add the apricots and process gently until combined.

58 // april 2009

photography by fotolia.com

DIRECTIONS


roasted asparagus Serves 8 to 10 INGREDIENTS

4 pounds asparagus 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar Salt and pepper to taste DIRECTIONS

1  Preheat oven to 450°F. 2  Snap off the tough ends of the asparagus and, if desired, peel the stalks. 3  Toss the asparagus with oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread a single layer of asparagus in a shallow roasting pan or baking sheet with sides. (If the pan is not large enough, use two pans.)

second helping

asparagus are low in fat and calories. They contain folic acid, fiber, potassium, and vitamins A, B, and C. When shopping for asparagus, look for bright green, firm spears for the most flavor.

4  Roast until tender and browned, 10–15 minutes, shaking once during roasting. Sprinkle with balsamic vinegar and toss. Taste and adjust seasonings. Let cool to room temperature. Serve within 2 hours.

easy guacamole Yields 1 cup INGREDIENTS

2 avocados 1 small onion, finely chopped 1 clove garlic, minced 1 ripe tomato, chopped 1 lime, juiced Salt and pepper to taste DIRECTIONS

1  Peel and mash avocados in a medium serving bowl. Stir in onion, garlic, tomato, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Season with remaining lime juice. Salt and pepper to taste.   2 Chill for 30 minutes to blend flavors.

avocados are high in fiber. In fact they have more fiber than any other fruit. They are also a good source of potassium and vitamins B, E, and K. When shopping for ripe avocados, look for ones that, when squeezed, are firm yet have a little bit of give.

whisk magazine // 59


second helping

peas are high in protein, fiber, minerals, and vitamins B6 and A. They can be eaten raw or cooked. When shopping for fresh peas, search for pods that are full, not bursting. A bursting pod indicates older peas, which are less flavorful.

risi e bisi Serves 4 to 6

INGREDIENTS

½ onion, minced 2 cups fresh peas 1½ cups medium- or short-grain rice 4 cups water or stock, simmering ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

1   Sauté the onions until they are translucent. Stir in the peas, rice, and a big pinch of salt and cook for another 1–2 minutes to heat through. 2   Pour in 3 cups of the simmering stock. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 3   Pour in the rest of the stock and simmer for another 5 minutes. 4   Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan and parsley. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

strawberry shortcake

strawberries are a great spring fruit because of their sweet and juicy flavor. Strawberries are high in fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. When shopping for strawberries, look for plump berries with a rich, red color. Avoid bruises.

60 // april 2009

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

2 1/3 cups Original Bisquick® mix ½ cup milk 3 tablespoons sugar 3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted 2 pints strawberries, destemmed and cut into quarters 2 cups whipped topping or whipped cream DIRECTIONS

1   Preheat oven to 450°F. In a large bowl, stir Bisquick® mix, milk, sugar, and butter until soft dough forms. Drop spoonfuls of dough onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10–12 minutes or until golden brown. 2   Split warm shortcakes in half. Fill and top with strawberries and whipped topping.


watermelon salsa Yields 4 cups

INGREDIENTS

3 cups seedless watermelon, finely diced 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced 1 /3 cup cilantro ¼ cup lime juice ¼ cup red onion, minced ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste

watermelon is bursting with potassium and vitamins A and C, making its sweet taste a staple spring fruit for drinks and salsas. When shopping for watermelons, look for ones with pale undersides, indicating that they ripened in the field.

second helping

Cool dudes wear it any way they want.

DIRECTIONS

1 Place watermelon, jalapenos, cilantro, lime juice, and onion in a medium bowl. Stir well to combine. Season with salt. 2  Serve at room temperature or chilled.

zucchini noodles Serves 3 to 4

INGREDIENTS

4 small zucchini 1 cup prepared pasta sauce or creamy low-fat salad dressing

zucchini is a good source of vitamin A, niacin, copper, phosphorus, thiamin, protein—and the list goes on. When shopping for zucchini, look for ones that are both shiny and firm.

DIRECTIONS

1   Run a vegetable peeler down the length of the zucchini, creating long strips (“noodles”). 2   Steam or microwave for 2 minutes. Toss with pasta sauce or salad dressing.

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dessert of the month Recipe

mini cheesecakes Imagine flipping through a cooking magazine and seeing a picture of a tantalizing cheesecake. As your mouth begins to water, you inadvertently reach out and try to grab a piece of cheesecake from the page. After you recover from your mesmerized state, your eyes scan the page frantically, searching for the recipe. After the half-second it takes you to find it, the phrases “cook for 60 minutes” and “chill for at least 6 hours” jump out at you. Your eyes bore into the page and you feel anger, frustration, hunger, and sadness all at once. If you follow that recipe, you won’t be able to eat any cheesecake until the next day! Enter our mini cheesecakes. They’re delicious, fast, and easy. You can prepare, bake, and cool them in under an hour! w —Joanna Galbraith

Yields 12 mini cheesecakes INGREDIENTS

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened 1 cup sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 eggs 12 vanilla wafers 1 (21-ounce) can blueberry pie filling (or filling of your choice) DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Place a paper cupcake liner in each cup of a muffin pan. 2. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric hand mixer until fluffy. Add sugar and vanilla, beating well. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. 3. Place a vanilla wafer, flat side down, in each muffin cup. Spoon a heaping ¼ cup of the cream cheese mixture over wafers. 4. Bake for 20 minutes. Allow cheesecakes to cool completely. Serve with pie filling on top.

•Use Neufchâtel cheese in place of cream cheese (usually located right next to cream cheese in the grocery store). •Use reduced fat vanilla wafers. •Use fresh fruit in place of pie filling.

A ////april 62 april2009 2009

photography by Jan Galbraith

For a healthier recipe, try these tips:


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