In the past ten years so much has happened in the world of food, and nothing tells the story of those changes better than a look back through the first decade of Martha Stewart Living magazine
. From its premier in 1990, we have tried to reflect the changing awareness of fine cooking, excellent ingredients, exotic flavors, and healthy cooking, always with an emphasis on technique not only for advanced recipes, but for the 101 recipes essential to every cook's repertoire.
During these years, I, too, have experienced tremendous growth and change in my personal approach to cooking and entertaining. Whereas once I planned my own parties with the same diligence that I catered them for others, today my time available for devising menus, shopping for ingredients, and cooking is much more limited. Entertaining will always be important to me, yet as my busy career demands more of my time, my approach has become quite streamlined. I will always care about how things taste and look, but now I rely on freshness and goodness and simplicity as the most important ingredients.
This is the first time we have collected our favorite recipes from the magazine in a single volume -- the best of the decade's best. For those of you who are recent subscribers, here is an opportunity to try recipes from our earlier issues. If you are a charter subscriber, this clear and beautiful new format will help you rediscover recipes you first saw years ago. We have selected 1,200 of our favorites -- and hope you will use one recipe, or two, or three, every day Enjoy!Chewy Orange Almond Cookies
Makes 2 dozen
It's important to weigh the nuts for accurate amounts, as volume can differ enormously. Extra cookies keep well, covered in plastic wrap and frozen.
4 ¼ ounces sliced almonds (about 1¼ cups)
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
Zest of 2 oranges, finely grated (about ¼ cup)
1 teaspoon anise seed, crushed
3 large egg whites, room temperature
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
2. In the bowl of a food processor, blend 3 ½ ounces of the almonds (about 1 cup) with ½ cup sugar until the almonds are finely ground. Transfer the almond mixture to a medium bowl. Stir in the flour, orange zest, and anise seed.
3. Using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites, salt, and remaining ¼ cup sugar to soft, glossy peaks. Fold the egg-white mixture into the dry ingredients until just blended.
4. Spoon level tablespoons of the batter 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Using the remaining ¾ ounce of the almonds, arrange 3 sliced almonds on each cookie. Sift the confectioners' sugar over the cookies. Bake until the cookies are lightly browned along the edges, about 12 minutes. Cool slightly before removing from the sheets with a spatula.
---------------------Spoon Bread with Leeks and Corn
Any shape of dish can be used, but spoon bread will bake best in one that is a little wider than it is high. The baking time will be slightly different, depending on the size of the pan.
Unsalted butter, for dish
3 large eggs, separated
2 ½ cups milk
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 ears fresh corn, kernels shaved from the cob (1 cup)
2 leeks, white and pale green parts, halved lengthwise, sliced, well washed
1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Butter a 2½ -quart casserole. Lightly beat the egg yolks in a medium bowl; set aside.
2. In a saucepan over medium heat, cover and bring 2 cups milk, the cayenne, and the salt to a boil. Sprinkle the cornmeal into the liquid, stir ring constantly, and cook until thick and smooth, about 3 minutes. Stir in the remaining ½ cup milk, baking powder, and egg yolks.
3. In a mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. Stir 1 large spoonful of the whites into the cornmeal mixture to lighten it, then gently fold in the remaining whites.
4. Pour half of the batter into the prepared dish. Sprinkle on the corn and leeks. Cover with the remaining batter. Bake until set and golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Serve immediately.
----------------Braised Cod with Plum Tomatoes
A cod steak has a row of bones running down its center; to remove them, cut around them with a sharp knife, dividing the fish into two pieces.
4 7-ounce codfish steaks, skin and bones removed
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 plum tomatoes, cut into ½ inch-thick slices
1 ½ teaspoons olive oil
1 cup water
½ teaspoon minced garlic
Fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish, optional
1. Sprinkle both sides of the cod steaks with the oregano, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, and the cayenne pepper. Sprinkle the tomato slices with 1½ teaspoons salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. When hot, add the cod and tomato slices. Cook until the cod steaks are golden on the bottom, about 4½ minutes. Using a metal spatula, turn the cod steaks and the tomatoes. Add 1 cup water and the garlic, and bring the liquid to a simmer.
3. Simmer until the cod begins to feel firm and it starts to flake, about 4 minutes. Divide the cod, tomatoes, and broth among four shallow soup bowls. Garnish with the parsley and serve.
Excerpted from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook by Martha Stewart Living Magazine. Copyright © 2000 by Editors of Martha Stewart Living. Excerpted by permission of Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.