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Recipes teach families to cook like a chef on a shoestring budget |

Recipes teach families to cook like a chef on a shoestring budget

Lisa Clark
| Sunday, July 1, 2001 12:00 a.m

The Book

  • ‘Chef on a Shoestring.’
  • Edited by Andrew Friedman.
  • Simon & Schuster, $23.

  • Most people are short on time and money when it comes to cooking. It’s nice to know some of the most prominent chefs in the country have been in the same position.

    Each week on CBS’ ‘The Saturday Early Show,’ chefs from the best eateries in New York City and beyond are asked to prepare a three-course meal for a family of four – with a grocery budget of just $20.

    Does that challenge sound familiar• Perhaps that’s why the ‘Chef on a Shoestring’ segment, which premiered in 1997, is such a hit.

    Recipes culled from the television show have been compiled into a new cookbook that shares the name of the popular television segment. The 253-page hardcover book contains more than 120 budget-conscious recipes from renowned chefs such as Michael Lomonaco of Windows on the World in New York City and Sara Moulton, executive chef at Gourmet magazine and the host of two cooking programs on The Food Network.

    Rather than reprint complete menus, the book is arranged according to conventional recipe chapters to represent talents from a larger number of chefs.

    The type and layout of the seven-page table of contents is difficult to read, and there are a scant eight photographs in the recipe sections, leading one to wonder if this book was published on a shoestring. But the interesting recipes and their sources make the faults somewhat easy to overlook.

    It’s also nice to know CBS is donating the royalties from the sale of the book to Share Our Strength, a national anti-hunger, anti-poverty organization.

    The sauce in this recipe from Terrance Brennan of Picholine restaurant in New York City also can be used to dress veal and pork. If you use it with fish, substitute mint for sage.

    Terrance Brennan’s Chicken
    Piccata with Cauliflower,
    Capers, Sage and Orange

    • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 8 (2-ounce) slices skinless, boneless chicken breasts
    • All-purpose flour, for coating
    • 4 tablespoons ( ½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
    • 2 navel oranges, peeled and sectioned, juice reserved (if substituting another type of orange, be sure to remove the seeds)
    • 1 cup cauliflower florets, blanched
    • ½ cup small croutons cut from baguette or other fresh bread, brushed with clarified butter and toasted
    • 8 sage leaves, thinly sliced
    • Course salt to taste
    • Black pepper, freshly ground, to taste

    Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a 12-inch saute pan over high heat. Coat the chicken with the flour, shaking off the excess. In a single layer, saute 4 pieces for 45 seconds on the first side, then 30 seconds on the other. Remove and repeat with the remaining oil and chicken. Keep the cooked chicken warm in a slow oven along with 4 plates.

    Heat the butter in a 10-inch saute pan over high heat until it browns. Add the capers, orange sections and juice, cauliflower, croutons and sage. Add salt and pepper, and heat through for 1 minute.

    Place 2 pieces of chicken in the center of each of 4 dinner plates. Drizzle the sauce over and around the chicken.

    Waldy Malouf’s Best
    Chocolate Chip Cookies

    This simple dessert comes from Waldy Malouf of Beacon restaurant in New York City.

    • Vegetable oil spray
    • 12 ounces (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
    • 1 scant cup granulated sugar
    • 1 teaspoon fine salt
    • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 ¾ teaspoons baking soda
    • 2 cups chocolate chips

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a cooking sheet with vegetable oil spray. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars together. Add the salt, eggs and vanilla, and beat to combine well. Add the flour and baking soda to the bowl, and mix until fully incorporated. Fold the chocolate chips into the dough.

    Place scant ¼ cupfuls of the dough 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet, and bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove them from the oven and allow to cool on the hot cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining cookie dough. Serve while still soft.

    Makes about 3 dozen large cookies.

    Shopping on a Shoestring

    Shopping is an important ingredient in cooking satisfying meals on a shoestring budget. Here are tips from ‘Chef on a Shoestring’:

    Buy seasonal ingredients. Fruits and vegetables that are grown locally are less expensive and at their peak in flavor in season. Plan meals that include seasonal ingredients, such as tomatoes, corn and eggplant in the summer; apples, pears and root vegetables in the fall; and peas, asparagus and stone fruits in the spring and early summer.

    Be resourceful. Learn how to use all parts of an ingredient to get the maximum value. Find uses for herb stems, or learn how to butcher and use all parts of a chicken, for example.

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