Cooking the Books: Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat

salt, fat, acid, heat bookbook

I’m sure you’d think I was kidding if I told you that I found the best cookbook of all time, but it’s true! I just purchased Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat and it’s by far the best and most comprehensive cookbook out there. I can’t put it down.

It’s more like a textbook really, because it goes deep into the science behind cooking. Want to know the importance of salting your meat before you cook it? Or how to make the perfect scrambled eggs? (The secret is a little lemon juice by the way.) Or how to not break a mayonnaise? This book tells you how while showcasing the four main pillars of cooking every good cook should know. The fun and amusing illustrations and charts, don’t hurt either. There’s als a glossary of delicious recipes you’ll want to try time and time again.

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat cookbook

I’m taking my time getting through it because I really want to soak it all in, but I highly recommend it for everyone, amateur or advanced cook alike.

Oh, and even better, the book is becoming a Netflix original series, so all the more reason to get in on the action!

What’s Cooking: September

corn salad

We’re making use of all the leftover summer produce we have laying around in our kitchens before we start dreaming of soups, stews and braised dishes. Here are our last-of-the-summer dishes we’ve been loving the last couple weeks.

I swear corn tastes sweeter when you know it’s signing off for the season soon. It’s also one of those ingredients that everyone (including the vegans, the vegetarians, the picky eaters and the meat eaters) in my family loves. So I’ve been on a mission to find the perfect raw corn salad. To date, this is the winner. Tonight, I’m trying this one. I’d love it if you sent me yours! Laurie, CEO + Founder

lemon curd

It’s not lemon season right now, but I do love a good lemon curd. I made this one and added it to yogurt, granola, and fresh berries. It’s the best breakfast treat! Netanya, Social Media Manager

pesto

By some miracle, my basil plant is still thriving indoor herbs and filtered sunlight for the win! Until I start craving all-things pumpkin spice, you can bet I’ll be adding basil to most of our dishes. Recently, I’ve been using our organic basil in this pesto spaghetti squash. As far as weeknight dinners are concerned, it’s a winner. Plus, I swear the ‘pasta’ tastes even better the next day. Edie, Account Manager

I’ve just learned the trick to a perfectly-seared salmon fillet—don’t take it out of the pan too early! If you can trust that it’s not burning and allow it to get that deep, golden-brown color, then you can look forward to a truly great meal. I’m obsessed. Obviously, we’ve been eating a lot of salmon lately, mostly paired with roasted cherry tomatoes and a drizzle of basil oil. It feels just right for the end of summer. Renae, Senior Brand Strategist

frittat
This past month has been a whirlwind with loads of travel. Which means I’m constantly cleaning out the fridge and throwing things together for meals. Something easy that I like to do is just throw together a frittata using up random ingredients. They’re also delish for any meal. It’s a win-win. Anna, Brand Strategist

Road Food: Where We’re Eating

milkflower pizza queens

Here at CookIt, we love discovering new restaurants and thought it would be fun to share a few of our favorite spots we’re loving right now!

Tucked behind Melrose Place in the heart of L.A., Croft Alley is a rundown-chic little spot that I love for lunch. If it’s sunny, grab one of the rickety tables on the alley; otherwise, settle in at the communal table in the indoor patio. First, order the turmeric lemonade. From there, you really can’t go wrong with anything on the innovative menu, but I have a soft spot for the risotto and the vermicelli (which are entirely unlike their more familiar renditions). Their most ‘grammed dish is the cauliflower grilled cheese, which hinges on a classic, indulgent bechamel sauce. Laurie, CEO+ Founder

I’m going to go out on a limb here and jump straight to the good stuff: Sweet Cooie’s. This place is unlike any other ice cream parlor I’ve ever been to. With patio lights and an old-timey feel, this quaint Denver establishment is where sweet tooth lovers rejoice. They serve delicious frozen treats (including horchata vegan ice cream!), homemade truffles, and the most insane ice cream sandwiches. The dog days of summer never tasted so sweet. Edie, Account Manager 

There’s one small spot in NYC that I go back to again and again, Cotenna. It’s a dark, intimate spot great for a wine lunch or dinner. You can’t go wrong with anything you pick here, though I swear by the grilled lamb chops, beef meatballs or any of the pasta dishes. Bring your friends, family or SO. It’s the best spot for everything, and tops my list of NYC restaurant recs. My only regret is that I don’t live down the street anymore. Anna, Brand Strategist

When I just want to dive into a big bowl of pasta without the to-do of dressing up or making a reservation, I go to Maccheroni Republic. It’s a casual, no-nonsense spot that does all the classic fresh pastas you could want and does them well. I’m partial to the boar ragu and the pumpkin ravioli. They do indeed have a full menu with appetizers and entrees. Sometimes I will get the octopus or the panzanella, which are both great. But I’m usually inclined to get right to the point: the pasta. Renae, Senior Brand Strategist

Whenever friends come to visit me in Queens, Milkflower is always on the itinerary. This wood-fired pizza joint was transformed from a former laundromat into a classic spot, complete with white-tiled counters and an Italian-built pizza oven. Pies are made with housemade mozzarella, alongside a plethora of classic and innovative toppings. One of my favorites is the St. The Ghost, made with coastal cheddar, mozzarella, parmigiano reggiano, and burnt honey. Nothing beats indulging in a slice and washing it down with a glass of beer. Netanya, Social Media Manager

 

 

 

 

Brand Biz: What to Know Now About IGTV

Are you posting content on IGTV yet? Are you watching IGTV? Is IGTV important to your content strategy?

For answers to these and many other questions, we went to lifestyle personality, successful YouTube brand and video authority, Theodore Leaf.

Q: Should influencers be in a hurry to start posting on IGTV if they aren’t there yet?

A: I would recommend only posting content that makes sense versus just putting things up to “be there first”. People say all the time that they are “too late” to a specific social channel. But we’ve all seen newcomers from out of nowhere come in and amass a loyal following in a social instant.

Q: What’s the trick to thinking in a vertical format vs. horizontal?

A: Make sure the journey you take the viewer on is all about that “phone” perspective-—more casual.  Vertical can be more rough around the edges, and that is part of what makes it work. Try a mix of “produced” content and more “on the fly” type things.

Q: Can we edit existing video content?

A: Editing existing content is a great idea, just make sure the edits are clean and the subject remains inside the vertical frame. I’ve  been seeing some poorly repurposed content that leaves the viewer frustrated because things are missing or “off.”

Q: Can we repost content from our channel or IG Stories to IGTV?

A: You can certainly edit Stories content and post it to IGTV; however, I think the better move is more about true long form versus the jumpy short cuts we expect from Stories.

Q: Other than length, what’s the main difference between IG Stories and IGTV video?

A: The difference between Stories and IGTV is really more about watch time than anything else. With Stories you go in expecting to see several snippets that bring movement to the day, everything from behind the scenes to entire dinners being made. The IGTV platform gives you the opportunity to create longer content that has more of a service intention than simply entertainment. For example, as a viewer, would you really want to learn how to make a macaroon on IG Stories with so many cuts and back and forth? Or would you prefer one smooth 10-minute segment?

Q: How do we know how long our videos should be?

A: Time will tell how long viewers want IGTV content to be. My rule of thumb is keep a steady pace in your videos and don’t obsess over the length.

Q: How do you see IGTV changing the video landscape?

A: IGTV will change the video landscape by pushing creators who were not doing any video to finally jump in. YouTube as a platform is not the easiest to understand, so with Instagram creating this platform, it has broken down a lot of the barriers to entry for video.

Q: Any tips on how to lure our followers to our IGTV channel?

A: Promoting your IGTV channel via Stories is a great way to bring viewers over—think of Stories as a trailer to the feature that is housed on IGTV. Also something I am thinking about is creating regular series that the audience can count on seeing every week.

Q: Is it true that 78% of all mobile traffic will be video in less than 3 years?

A: I am unsure of the likelihood of those numbers being accurate but I can say that video in all of its forms is a highly engaging way to communicate your message, and has the potential to build you an incredibly loyal audience.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About…

Anna

We work with amazing people everyday from brands to influencers and everything in between. We lovingly call them our #CookItCrew and today were checking in with our Brand Strategist, Anna Fatlowitz. We asked and she told us 5 things we didn’t know about her!

  1. I was born in Thailand and lived there until I was two. I’ve been lucky enough to go back a few times, and experience things outside of a tourist lense. I’m finally going back as an adult later this year and can’t wait!
  2. Because I grew up eating a ton of authentic Isaan (northeast region) Thai food, I am seriously so picky. Pad Thai is actually one of my least favorite dishes, and there are about two places in NYC I actually approve of: Somtum Der and Jaiya.
  3. For some reason I’ve never liked sweets, so I always skip dessert unless other people want it. I’ve even asked to replace the dessert course on prix fixe menus!
  4. My favorite cuisine is Japanese, from sushi to soba to kaiseki and everything in between. I think I started eating sushi around age five. My first omakase definitely changed my life.
  5. I’m obsessed with dogs and getting a dog. I probably follow 100+ dog accounts on Instagram.

Cooking the Books: Alison Roman’s Dining In

chocolate chip cookies

Confession: We’ve got some cookbook hoarders over here on #teamcookit. We love to curl up with our cookbooks on the weekends and cook from them during the week. We have a Slack channel devoted to them, and we’re always talking about the latest cookbook we can’t wait to get our hands on.

Over the past couple weeks, Alison Roman’s Dining In has been the topic of choice. Laurie, our CEO & Founder was the first to cook from it, making-roasted pork shoulder with garlic, oranges, chilies and cilantro. Then Netanya, our Social Media Manager, got her hands on it, making everything from crunchy chili oil to cumin-roasted cauliflower with dates and tahini.

At that point, I knew I had to buy myself a copy. Although I’m not one to call myself a baker, the folks at my boyfriend’s office had no complaints about the Instagram-famous Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookies along with the Buttered Raspberry Hand Pies I made (even though I used blackberries instead of raspberries, since they were a better buy and I like them better!).

And just to test out whether this cookbook was really a winner, I made Alison’s Sour Cream Flatbread with Oil-Roasted Mushrooms for dinner one night.

One bite and the verdict was clear. Dining In is truly an incredible cookbook, with easy, delicious and approachable recipes you’ll keep coming back to time and again. So we hope you grab a copy for yourself and “Dine in.”

What’s Cooking: August

chocolate chunk shortbread cookies

 

In the summertime, the last thing we want to do is turn on the oven. That said, there are some recipes we’ll gladly suffer for. These are some of our team’s favorites from the past few sultry weeks.

dining in cookbook

Well, currently my head and heart have been dedicated and devoted to Alison Roman’s Dining In. This week, I made two batches of the Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread, one because everyone was talking about them, and the second because…I get it, I get it, they are delicious! Jackie, Senior Account Manager

strawberry balsamic pie

There is something so quintessential about pie and summertime. Every year, I pull out Four & Twenty Blackbirds’ recipe for strawberry balsamic pie. It’s a perfect crowd pleaser! Netanya, Social Media Manager

fruit salad

I’ve been obsessed for a bit now with salads that combine fruit, tomatoes, cheese and avocado. And I have no intention of stopping. This excellent version from our girl Haley of Brewing Happiness knocked the idea out of the park by adding chunks of country bread for a new take on panzanella. Laurie, CEO + Founder

almond pesto

This time of year, basil grows like a weed in my backyard (how lucky am I?). So I’m making all sorts of pesto variations. I love Deliciously Ella’s take on pesto, made with almonds instead of pine nuts. It has a more delicate flavor than the traditional version—all the better for a light summer meal. Renae, Senior Brand Strategist

Poached Eggs

I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to learn and attempt to make poached eggs. This post and video by Lisa of Downshiftology is the perfect guide: It breaks down all the problems you could have and all the tips you’ll need. Now I can master brunch (in my pajamas)! Anna, Brand Strategist

mediterranean salmon

Salmon en papillote is a year-round staple (so easy and delicious), but we’ve been loving the Roasted Root’s Mediterranean twist. It’s incredibly flavorful and pairs well with leftover grains and leafy greens. Edie, Account Manager

 

 

Cooking the Books: Summer’s 3 Best Cookbooks

p

Summertime cooking is special. It’s less about cooking and more about assembling, using that good farmer’s market produce while the season lasts. The phrase, “thrown together,” comes to mind. For a few blissful weeks, I organize all cooking and eating around stone fruit, basil, sweet white corn, heirloom tomatoes, and all my other favorites.

An ideal summertime cookbook lets you do this. Its recipes are both produce-heavy and flexible enough to accommodate whatever whims you’ve had at the market that day. Here are the three I’ll be using (and probably staining with tomato juice) all season long.

What's Gaby Cooking
Photo: A Cozy Kitchen

What’s Gaby Cooking: Everyday California Food

Gaby writes the type of recipes that inspire al fresco dinner parties with friends and Margaritas on random weeknights (which is basically the point of summer). They’re cravable, colorful, and all about using as much fresh produce as you can get your hands on.

Salad for President
Photo: A Cookie Named Desire

Salad for President: A Cookbook Inspired by Artists

I love jumping into Julia Sherman’s colorful, artistic world where food becomes art and salads receive main-dish status. I’ll make her Heirloom Tomatoes with Crunchy Polenta Croutons until the tomatoes disappear for the season.

river cafe london
Photo: Blackbook

River Cafe London: Thirty Years of Recipes and the Story of a Much-Loved Restaurant

The River Cafe’s simple recipes and focus on good ingredients make this book especially good for summertime, though I’ll use it year-round. I’m also excited to dig into Ruth Rogers’ inspiring words on 30 years running a landmark restaurant, breaking ground for women in food along the way.

5 Things You Don’t Know About…

Edie

Edie Horstman

Our #CookItCrew comprises staff, influencers, brands, agencies, designers, photographers – all the amazing people we work with. Today we’re checking in with our talented Account Manager, Edie Horstman. We asked what we don’t know about her!

5 Things You Don’t Know About Me

  1. I’m Mexican-food obsessed, and I credit my mom. In 2005, she opened a small taqueria in the Bay Area. Fast forward 13 years later, and she has five Mexican restaurants called LuLu’s. Talk about inspiring!
  2. My favorite late-night snack is a scoop (or two) of So Delicious ice cream. Any flavor.
  3. The one cookbook I’d save in a fire (God forbid!) is Oh She Glows Every Day — Angela’s recipes are delicious, satisfying, and encourage me to get creative with veggies!
  4. I love live video (weird, I know)! My secret is practicing beforehand. Notes are also key.
  5. The strangest thing in my pantry is Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies. What can I say? I’m a little kid at heart.

The Brand Biz: What’s Your Story?

brand biz

At CookIt, we talk about “story” all the time. As consultants working to help you define your brand, crafting your story is our first step. Without that key piece, you are rudderless in a vast ocean of competition.

The good news is that, like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, you always had the answer. Finding your story is the process of seeing that it was there all along.

Crazy talk, right? Don’t just take our word for it, try it. Follow this road, and let us know how it goes.

Picture your readers.

Who are they? What’s important to them? What’s really hard for them? What keeps them up at night? Once you feel like you know these things about your audience, go to the next step.

How can you help them?

Within your area of expertise, how can you help them? How can you solve a problem for them? What do you have to offer them that others don’t? Answer those questions, and go to the next step.

Why you?

What is it about you that qualifies you to be the authority your reader needs? Is it education? Life experiences? Values? Find that answer, and you will better understand your role in the story we’re writing. And then…

What’s so important?

Once you have a better understanding of who you’re talking to, how you’re helping them, and what it is about you that they trust and value, it’s much easier to grasp the importance of what you do. It may sound simple — it may be that they look to you for inspiration, for the motivation they need to stick to their goals. But that’s big for them. And that’s where you’ll find your story, and your opportunity!