My Secret Cookbook Gems

IMG_1.JPG

After yesterday’s cookbook slaughter, I thought I’d steer the blog to sweeter waters and talk about a subject I’ve never addressed on the blog before: my secret cookbook gems.

No, I’m not talking about books that I actually cook from. Those would be my favorite cooking cookbooks and you can find those on the lower right hand corner of the page under the heading “The Amateur Gourmet Recommends.” These books, my secret cookbook gems, are the ones with the most sentimental value: the ones that I cherish the most, the ones I’d grab first if the apartment was on fire.

Continue Reading

The Return of The Amateur Gourmet

IMG_1.JPG

Hi Friends,

I’ve had a very restful (and eventful) two weeks. That’s me, above, eating a Dungeness Crab on Eliza Island in the Pacific Northwest (one of the best meals of my life, but more on that next week). After a week there kayaking, playing cards and, of course, crabbing, I journeyed with Craig to Cape Cod where we enjoyed high-speed boat tubing (I chickened out), merciless games of Mafia and fantastic meals of ribs, corn, and clam chowder. I returned with 130 pictures on my camera and crashed my computer yesterday trying to edit them all at once in Photoshop (I’m pretty dumb.)

Was I really able to turn my back on my site for two weeks, without monitoring or reading your comments or worrying about how the next day’s post would fare? As my web guy Justin will tell you (adamantly, I’d guess): NO!!!!

I tried, I really did. But I love this blog and I loved the guest posts! Didn’t you? Allow me to pause for a second and thank thank thank all my guest posters: I’m so honored to have had such talented writers writing on my blog. Thank you thank you thank you for your fantastic posts which I read, secretly, on my iPhone while surrounded by glorious nature. What does nature have on Phoebe Damrosch? Or The Science of Fressing? Nothing, I tell you, nothing!

Now that I’m back, my life’s about to change dramatically. The big news (and only the most fervent of you must have discovered it) is that I will no longer be hosting the FN Dish (here’s my farewell video) ; instead, I’m working on a brand new project for Food Network online. What is it? When will it launch? Who else is working on it? I’m sorry, but these are secrets that I can’t yet reveal, but I will say that the new show is much, much, much more in the spirit of this blog–it’s funny, slightly edgy, and food-obsessed. I think you’re going to love it.

I’m going to miss working with my FN Dish team: especially Matthew and Rachael, who I traveled the country with (to Vegas and beyond) and really enjoyed knowing as friends. But we’ll stay in touch (maybe Matthew will do us another guest post?) and I encourage everyone to keep watching The FN Dish, especially since my replacement, Bruce Seidel, is a really awesome guy.

So what else is in store for The Amateur Gourmet? My book comes out in paperback on September 30th. Check out the nifty new paperback cover:

51ArfN2LB8L._SS500_.jpg

I’ll be doing a reading (and a cooking demonstration! Yikes!) at the Baltimore Book Festival at the end of the month so more on that soon. And my trip to Baltimore fits in perfectly with this month’s banner theme (clear your cache and re-load the site): crabs! Having had Dungeness crabs at the start of the month in the Pacific Northwest, I’ll be able to compare them to blue crabs in Baltimore at the end of the month (though crab season might be over….) Will I finally settle the Great Crab Debate? Stay tuned… (and Baltimorites: where’s the best place to get crab in Baltimore?)

Hope you all had very restful and rejuvenating Labor Day weekends and that your last days of summer are happy ones. Thanks for your patience while I was gone… can’t wait to get blogging again.

Until next week…..

Forever yours,

The Amateur Gourmet

Two Things

(1) If you want a free sushi set, you have a very good chance of winning one by taking a picture of yourself doing an Iron Chef Chairman impression and e-mailing it to fndish@foodnetwork.com. If you have a Mac, just open up the Photo Booth app, look seriously at the camera, snap a pic and send it in. [Contest is part of this week’s episode.]

(2) I am doing something VERY sketchy this weekend. I’m the “celebrity” guest at sketch comedy troupe Slightly Known People’s weekly show tomorrow (Saturday) night, at 10:30, at The Green Room, 45 Bleecker Street. The cover is $12 and my participation involves an Iron Chef-style cocktail-making contest with guest judges Mary Greenwalt from “I Survived A Japanese Game Show” and Serious Eats’s own Erin Zimmer. Hope to see you there!

The FN Dish Goes to Miami (The South Beach Wine & Food Festival)

At the end of the weekend and our trip to The South Beach Wine & Food Festival, my director, Matthew Horovitz, turned to me and said, “You’ve met everyone now. There’s no one left to meet!”

Watch the following video–the 2nd official episode of “The FN Dish”–and tell me if you disagree.

If that video left you dazzled and discombobulated, allow me to walk you through everything you just saw: a day-by-day breakdown of the festival with some big surprises thrown in too.

Continue Reading

Off To South Beach

What a chore this Food Network job is turning out to be… now I have to leave this 26 degree New York weather for the tropical beaches of Miami and a forecast of 83 degrees. Could life get any harder? Feel free to hate me. Full reports and videos on Monday! Until then, have a great rest of your week.

The Big Reveal: Introducing The FN Dish

Today’s my birthday–I’m 29 today–and though I’m usually a birthday junkie, exhausting friends and relatives with desperate cries for attention, presents, phone calls, etc–my focus is not on my own birth today. Instead, it’s focused on the birth of something that’s been gestating for the past three months; a project so big, so exciting, it’s been almost impossible contain it. And now I finally–finally!–get to share it with you. Are you ready America? Are you ready Lithuania? Here we go… I proudly present to you: The FN Dish!

IMG_1.JPG

What’s The FN Dish? What’s going on? What are you talking about?

Settle down, reader! Allow me to explain it. The FN Dish is my very own show on Food Network’s website (hey look, my mug is on the main page!), a show that will allow me access to Food Network’s stars, kitchens, events, and giant cookbook collection. But even more than that, this is a platform for me to share my love and passion for food and cooking: with Food Network’s blessing, I’ll get to steer the show into the kitchens of my favorite chefs, authors, and people–celebrating all of the food-related ideas, recipes and stories that excite me, excite you and that make you check this blog every day.

I can’t tell you how ecstatic I am about this show. Maybe I should stop yammering on and let you watch the first episode–click here to do that.

Wasn’t that fun? And now that you’ve seen that, watch longer versions of my interviews with Alton Brown, Bobby Flay, The Neelys, and Rachael Ray. And then join me as I watch and comment on Ace of Cakes and The Barefoot Contessa. Finally–and best of all–you’ve got to watch these 23 Awkward Seconds with Rachael Ray. See, they sat her down and I introduced myself and then it got weirdly quiet. The discomfort, as you’ll soon see, is palpable. I love it.

Actually, that last clip captures best what I love about this whole thing: I get to be me–strange, uncomfortable, nervous, anxious, excitable me–I get to ask the questions I want to ask, I get to react naturally to whatever circumstances they put me in. And I feel that my loyal readers–and I count you among them–will be grateful that the “me” they’ve grown to love, won’t become a different “me” just because there’s a Food Network stamp on it.

It being “me.”

What was I saying? Oh yes, The FN Dish. Isn’t this exciting? As you can tell, I’m stoked. And you have no idea how much awesome stuff I’ve already done for future episodes: there’s a trip to Cleveland, a California wine tasting, an intern cook-off. It just gets better and better and this Thursday I leave for South Beach to cover the Wine and Food Festival.

I can’t tell you what a relief it is to finally get to share this with you. Of course, once the excitement dies down I’ll be happy to answer questions about meeting the stars, where the show is headed, incorporating your ideas for what you’d like me to cover. But in the meantime, let’s wish a happy birthday to The FN Dish. It’s going to be a great year.