Grubstreet Reviews the Gastrokid Cookbook

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I remember what it was like to be a young New York media type writing book reviews when some 15 years ago I was, well, a young New York media type writing book reviews. That was at the Village Voice where Matthew and I first figured out how to put pub grub and its attendant beverages on an expense report under the guise of cultural criticism. This was long before kids. Long before the Gastrokid cookbook. And I would’ve been proud to have written the recent review of the Gastrokid Cookbook on New York Magazine’s grubstreet blog (an excellent source of restaurant gossip and all things culinary in gotham city). It’s a smart take that gets our conceit, is slightly annoyed by it, then (I think I’m right here) concedes to our ultimately practical and foodiecentric take on sharing unbridled gastronomic enthusiasm with your kids. Check it out here. And while you’re there, read the comments section. Last time I looked, people were debating the value of sharing adult food with kids. You know where we stand on that matter.
—Hugh

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Fast Roasted Tomatoes

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Sweet, ripe summer tomatoes don’t need as much help as, say, hothouse plum tomatoes in cooler months of the year. While nothing beats a slow roasted tomato that’s super unctuous and concentrated, here’s a fast technique for turning tomatoes into a component that can go into any number of dishes.

Fast Roasted Tomatoes

twelve or so ripe summer tomatoes
olive oil
salt
pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Put tomatoes on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for 30 minutes.

You can use these on sandwiches, stirred into risotto, as a fast pasta sauce with fresh basil, more olive oil, chopped garlic and a ton of parmesan, on a pizza, as a fish or chicken topping with chopped black olives and marjoram or parsley. And that’s just a start.

Before:

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After:

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—Hugh

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Gastrokid Cookbook – Dylan Responds to Hugh’s Chicken Photo

Dylan was leafing through the Gastrokid Cookbook this morning and came across Hugh's very amusing picture of a chicken.

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"I can draw a better chicken than that," Dylan said.

And here it is.

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Hugh….we might have another illustrator to call upon!

- Matthew

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Gastrokid Glossary – Keep it Dry

We’re always on the lookout for things to keep the kids occupied while we’re trying to throw together the family meal. And that’s why it helps to get them involved in some of the prep work.

Why not have the kids dry just-rinsed vegetables with a kitchen towel. It teaches the all-important lesson of getting something as dry as possible before browning it in a hot pan. Too much water causes food to steam before it browns.

- Matthew

Find more Gastrotips like this in the Gastrokid Cookbook, published by Wiley. Order your copy now.

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Pizza Pulse – Would You Pay $5 for a Slice?

Di Fara Pizzeria in the Midwood section of Brooklyn charges $5 a slice and has folks lining up around the block to get some.

It's yet another chapter in the saga to identify New York's best pizza. Our kids love Grimaldis under the Brooklyn Bridge but next time we're all back we might just have to give Di Fara's a go…….but just for one slice each!

- Matthew

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Gastrokid Glossary – Emulsify

Emulsify is a fancy word for mixing two liquids that don’t want to combine, such as oil and vinegar. While you’ll never get them to blend into each other, you can break them down into tiny bubbles that will approach a thorough combination. Whisking very well does this, as does shaking the liquids thoroughly in a jar. A bit of mustard in a dressing helps keep the tiny bubbles in suspension and from breaking apart. If you want a well-mixed vinaigrette on your vegetables, mix it just before dressing, since it will break apart over time.

- Matthew

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Soft Shell Crab Pasta

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While I love soft shell crabs, I’ve always thought of them as single-serving food: one or two crabs per person. And when you’ve got a family of four, that can get pretty expensive pretty fast. The fish guy at my farmer’s market only had two little crabs the other day, and necessity being a mother, I figured out an easy, satisfying, and cheap way of making the most of two little crabs for a family of four:

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2-4 softshell crabs, cleaned, chopped into bite size pieces
salt
pepper
1/4 cup chopped Italian/flat-leaf parsley
lemon juice

spaghetti (we use Barilla pasta plus, for its slightly nutty flavor and high protein, non-carb crashyness)

Boil water and start cooking the pasta. Meanwhile, in a big sautee pan over medium high heat, heat up the olive oil until shimmering. Add softshell crab pieces, salt, pepper, and garlic and sautee, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until crab is cooked through. Turn off heat. Add cooked and drained pasta and parsley to sautee pan and stir until combined. Squeeze a bit of lemon over it. Taste for seasoning, adjust if necessary, and serve. (that’s sauteed chard on the side)
—Hugh

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Gastrokid Cookbook Analyst Advises: Buy Buy Buy!

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When Hugh and I first started this blog we already had a book in mind but we had no idea whether our slightly unhinged idea of documenting our adventures in cooking for our kids from Los Angeles and Cardiff respectively would be something anyone really wanted to read.

Nearly three years on I'm really proud to announce that our Gastrokid Cookbook finally has hit the stores (well the virtual ones anyway). The official publication date isn't until mid August but I'm reliably informed that you can buy it right now here and here and very soon here.

So what are you waiting for?

- Matthew

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Goop Roast Chicken Video

You can’t go wrong with this video from goop.com that shows a good basic technique for roasting chicken. Ms. Paltrow does a nice job of deboning (popularly called butterflying; less popularly called spatchcocking) the bird for speedier cooking then makes a lovely farmer’s market salad with fresh peas and favas and radishes (I’m guessing this video was shot in the spring). We like her approximate definition of fast food: one pot/pan and superfresh ingredients.
—Hugh

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Gastrokid Glossary – Burrata

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This specialty cheese ball takes its name from “burro” which means butter in Italian. Its outside skin is made from stretched mozzarella and its center is filled with fresh cream and unspun mozzarella curds.

- Matthew

Find more Gastrotips like this in the Gastrokid Cookbook, published by Wiley. Order your copy now.

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