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The Food Issue

Keep It Simple

It would be nice to know how to whip up braised short ribs with almondine rémoulade and country greens strained through champagne and drizzled with truffle oil, or something like that. But look deep inside yourself. Is that really tastier than a BLT?

It would be nice to know how to whip up braised short ribs with almondine rémoulade and country greens strained through champagne and drizzled with truffle oil, or something like that. But look deep inside yourself. Is that really tastier than a BLT? Or spaghetti? Or just fucking toast? What beats some toast and chocolate milk? We asked the best chefs in the world to chill out and tell us how to make food that people actually eat.


Andrew Carmellini

used to be the executive chef at Café Boulud in New York and just opened a new restaurant called A Voce. He was awarded Best NY Chef by the Beard Foundation last year.

Eggy Toast

Serves 4

-4 eggs

-1 cup milk

-1 tablespoon sugar

-2 tablespoons butter

-4 slices sourdough bread

Mix eggs, milk, and sugar in a bowl.

Melt butter in pan. Dip toast in mixture.

Crisp both sides in pan. Eat with hands. This is the only thing my niece would eat for three years.


Serves 4

-1 pound thick-cut bacon

-2 tablespoons chipotle peppers (canned)

-1/2 cup mayonnaise

-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

-2 ripe beefsteak tomatoes, sliced thick

-1 head iceberg lettuce

-8 pieces multigrain bread

-black pepper to taste

Crisp bacon in pan. Place on paper towel. Reserve warm. Combine peppers and mayo in blender. Using a brush, apply vinegar to tomatoes. Let marinate five minutes. Remove leaves of lettuce and wash. Toast bread lightly in toaster. Assemble sandwich in this order: Bread, mayo, tomato, bacon, lettuce, mayo, bread

Spaghetti (the next morning)

Serves 4

-1/4 cup olive oil

-1 pound leftover spaghetti with tomato sauce

-8 whole eggs

-1/2 cup milk

-1 teaspoon black pepper

-parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat large sauté pan with oil until hot. Add leftover spaghetti and cook until crispy on both sides. Whip eggs, milk, and pepper in bowl till frothy. Add eggs to pan and bake in oven till the eggs are just set. Top with parmesan cheese.


Bob Blumer

hosts the show The

Surreal Gourmet

on the Food Network and drives around the country in a 50s Airstream trailer customized to look like a giant toaster. Apparently he’s wacky.


Serves 2

-1 bottle chilled champagne

-2 flute glasses

-1 personal or global sentiment

Point bottle away from anyone you care about and remove the wire cage. Drape a small towel over the top of the bottle and grip the cork. Turn the bottle slowly and ease the cork out. Slowly pour the champagne into the glasses. Clink glasses while making eye contact and expressing your sentiments.

Inside-Out BLT

Makes 6 appetizer-size servings

-4 strips premium bacon, sliced crosswise into 1/8-inch strips

-4 firm Roma tomatoes or green (unripe) tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch slices

-1 cup flour

-2 eggs, beaten

-1 cup bread crumbs or panko

-3 tablespoons olive oil

-salt and freshly ground black pepper

-2 ounces goat cheese from a log, cut into 1/4-inch slices

-12 arugula leaves, lower stems removed

Cook bacon till crispy. Dredge 12 tomato slices in flour and eggs, then bread crumbs. Set aside. Heat three tablespoons of oil in a sauté pan. When hot, add breaded tomato slices. Fry until browned and crispy. Drain on paper towels. Line up six fried tomato slices. Season with salt and pepper, top each with one cheese slice, bacon shrapnel, and two arugula leaves. Cover with a second fried tomato. Secure with a toothpick. Let cool for a minute before serving (tomatoes have a surprising ability to hold heat).


Spaghetti Pie

Serves 6 to 8

-3 cups cooked spaghetti +6 additional strands for garnish

-4 eggs, beaten +1 egg white, beaten (toss additional yolk in along with the 4 eggs)

-1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

-1/4 pound prosciutto, cooked bacon, or any cooked ham, diced

-1 bunch Italian parsley, stems discarded, chopped finely

-1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, diced

-salt and pepper

-1 tablespoon butter

-1 store-bought pie pastry (comes in an aluminum pie plate)

Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss spaghetti, eggs, cheese, ham, parsley, tomatoes, and salt and pepper. Grease a glass pie plate with butter. Spoon spaghetti mixture into plate to the top. Turn pie pastry upside down over the spaghetti and pinch it against the edge of the pie plate. Brush top with beaten egg white. Re-brush spaghetti with egg wash. Poke a few holes in top to allow the steam to escape. Bake for 12 minutes, until top of pie is browned.

Sara Moulton

is the food editor for

Good Morning America

, the executive chef at


magazine, hosts a show on the Food Network called

Sara’s Secrets

, and used to be buds with Julia Childs.

Toast, 2 Ways

Serves 4

1. Whole Grain with Peanut Butter

-4 slices whole-grain bread (the kind with sunflower seeds too)

-organic chunky peanut butter

Lightly toast bread. While still hot, spread with peanut butter (as much or as little as you like).

2. Grilled with Salted Butter

-4 slices country bread

-lightly salted “designer” butter


Using a grill pan on the stovetop, lightly grill slices of bread until each piece is crisp and has “grill” marks. While still hot, spread with butter.


Serves 4

-pancetta, thinly sliced

-2 beefsteak tomatoes,

-8 slices country bread (6-inch high rustic white loaf)

-1 bunch arugula, washed and dried

-basil mayo (see recipe)

-kosher salt

In a heavy sauté pan, cook pancetta until crisp. While pancetta is cooking, cut tomatoes into thick slices. Place on a plate and sprinkle with salt and allow to stand for 15 minutes. Then pat them dry. Toast bread. Assemble sandwiches in the following order: Toast with mayo, arugula, pancetta, tomato, toast with mayo.

Basil Mayo:

-good-quality mayonnaise (like Hellmann’s)

-packed, rinsed, and dried fresh basil leaves

-kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine mayonnaise and basil in a blender until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Spaghetti with Puttanesca Sauce

-2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

-2 tablespoons olive oil, gently heated

-6 anchovy fillets (from a can)

-1 large can organic whole peeled tomatoes

-chopped olives

-2 tablespoons capers

-salt and freshly ground pepper

-1 pound spaghetti

Fill a large stockpot with cold water and bring to a boil. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add garlic and olive oil. Over low heat, slowly heat the garlic. Don’t burn. When the garlic is golden, add anchovies and allow to melt. Add the tomatoes and all their juice, breaking them up into chunks with a wooden spoon. Increase heat and bring to a boil, then lower heat and allow to simmer until sauce thickens. Add olives and capers. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Once water comes to a boil, add a good amount of salt. Add spaghetti and cook until al dente. Remove a cup of the water and set aside. Strain pasta. In a large bowl, add spaghetti and pour cooked sauce over it. Toss to combine, adding the reserved water if it needs a little more moisture. Enjoy.


Marcel Biro

runs the Marcel Biro Culinary School, owns an eponymous restaurant in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and hosts the PBS show The

Kitchens of Biro


Tuna Bruschetta with Onion and Capers

Serves 10

This recipe is great for an impromptu gathering. Adding some roasted bell pepper slices, which you can purchase packed in oil, will make you look all the more savvy and add some color. You could also garnish with cherry tomato halves. You can skip the capers, if you wish.

-1 pound sliced bread

-5 cloves garlic

-12 ounces chunk light tuna

-1 small yellow onion, minced

-1 tablespoon capers, chopped

-1/3 cup mayonnaise

-sea salt

-freshly ground black pepper

Toast the bread to your liking. When still warm, rub with the garlic. In a bowl, add tuna, onion, capers, and mayonnaise. Stir gently to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the tuna mixture over the toast. Cut each slice in half diagonally, and then in half diagonally again to create four triangles. Serve.

BLT, Bavarian-Style

Makes 2 sandwiches

-4 slices German whole-grain bread

-2 cloves garlic


-2 tablespoons Bavarian mustard

-1 small head Bibb or red-leaf lettuce

-12 strips black pepper bacon, fried and drained

-2 vine-ripened tomatoes, thinly sliced

-sea salt

-freshly ground black pepper

Toast the bread to your liking. When still warm, rub with the garlic.

In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise and mustard. Spread one side of each bread slice with the mayonnaise-mustard blend. Arrange the lettuce over two slices. Top with the bacon and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Top with the remaining bread slices and serve.


Pasta in a Pinch

Serves 4 to 6

-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

-2 tablespoons unsalted butter

-1 medium yellow onion, chopped

-5 cloves garlic, sliced

-12 ounces sliced mushrooms

-3 ounces smoked ham, chopped

-1 quart half-and-half

-1 cup ketchup

-sea salt

-freshly ground black pepper

-1 pound dried spaghetti

-6 ounces freshly grated parmesan cheese

In a large sauté pan, melt the oil and butter over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, mushrooms, and ham and sauté until the onion is glossy, three to five minutes. Do not overcook, as the garlic will become bitter. Add the half-and-half and cook, stirring frequently, until reduced by one-third. Stir in the ketchup and cook for five additional minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Meanwhile, prepare the spaghetti according to the package instructions. Ladle the sauce over the pasta. Top with cheese and serve.

Kathleen Daelemans


Cooking Thin with Kathleen Daelemans

on the Food Network and writes for a bunch of food and women’s magazines. She also owns the Café Kula restaurant in Maui.


Toppings include, but are not limited to: Butter, Marshmallow Fluff, really good honey, jam, peanut butter, gorgonzola cheese and honey, paté, Nutella, chocolate, chocolate and sliced strawberries, really good jam, really mediocre jam, ham and cheese, pizza sauce and cheese, butter and sea salt.

Sliced Bread Toppings To prepare toast, get your toppings in order. Cold toast isn’t fit for a dog. When using butter, be sure it’s room temperature or at least not frozen. Place bread in toaster. Adjust toaster setting to your preferred level of doneness—light, medium, or dark. Press start. With knife in hand and toppings no farther than an arm’s length away from the toaster, lurk. When toast pops up, top immediately. Eat. If multiple slices of toast are in order, before you dig into slice one, place slice two in the toaster. Eat and repeat as necessary.


Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwich

Serves 4

I like the standard bacon, lettuce, tomato, real mayonnaise BLT, but there are many variations. Add fresh basil, avocados, and blue cheese; marinate the tomatoes in balsamic vinegar and olive oil and add thinly sliced chicken or a sweet onion. Sweet onions are bred to be sweet. Common varieties include Walla Walla, Granex, Bermuda, Vidalia, and Maui onions. And of course they’re all widely available. I wouldn’t send you on a goose chase for an onion.

-1/4 pound bacon cut crosswise into 1/2 inch strips, one per sandwich

-8 slices really great bread. Great to you—no one else’s opinion matters

-4 tablespoons mayonnaise

-3 medium tomatoes, cored and sliced

-8 washed butter lettuce leaves, or other lettuce, two nice pieces per sandwich

In a large nonstick pan, over medium-high heat, cook bacon until brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels.

Toast bread in a toaster or on a cookie sheet under the oven broiler for about one minute per side. Slather four bread slices with mayonnaise. Distribute bacon, lettuce, and tomatoes evenly among bread slices. Slather remaining four bread slices with mayonnaise and place over sandwiches. Cut in half crosswise. Serve immediately.

Pasta with Fast Tomato Sauce

Serves 6

-1 package pasta noodles

-4 medium cloves garlic, minced

-2 28-ounce cans ground and peeled or diced tomatoes

-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


-1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil (about 20 leaves)

-1 teaspoon salt

-cracked black pepper to taste

Place olive oil, one teaspoon of water, and the garlic in a large sauté pan and turn heat to medium. Cook until the garlic is fragrant, but do not brown. Stir in the tomatoes, sugar, salt, and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until sauce has slightly thickened, stirring occasionally, about five to seven minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add the basil and simmer for one minute more. Meanwhile, cook pasta in rapidly boiling water until al dente. Drain. Serve sauce over cooked pasta. If you’ve got leftover pasta hanging around, place it an ovenproof dish, toss to coat well with tomato sauce, and top with a slice or two of provolone, parmesan, or skim milk mozzarella cheese for a quick baked pasta supper. Cook in oven at 375°F until pasta is heated through and cheese is bubbly, about 20 minutes.

Lidia Bastianich

is that Italian lady from public TV who makes us feel all warm and fuzzy. She hosts

Lidia’s Family Table

, owns Felidia and Becco in New York, two other restaurants in Kansas City and Pittsburgh, and has created a line of sauces for Williams-Sonoma.

Cheese Toast

Makes 6

-6 1/2-inch-thick slices of day-old Italian bread, each large enough to cover the bottom of an individual soup crock

-2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

-1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


Heat a large, heavy cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Butter both sides of the bread, using all the butter. Press one side of each slice firmly into the grated cheese so the cheese coats the bread in a generous, even layer. Arrange the bread, cheese-side down, in a single layer in the skillet and toast the bread until the cheese is golden brown and crispy, about three minutes. Turn the slices over and toast the other side until golden brown, about another three minutes.

Lidia’s BLT

Makes 4 sandwiches

-1/2 pound large tomatoes

-16 large leaves washed arugula

-1 tablespoon virgin olive oil

-1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

-8 slices whole-grain/wheat bread, toasted

-6 ounces Montasio cheese, sliced thin

-6 ounces speck (a special kind of cured ham), sliced thin

-salt and pepper to taste

Cut the tomatoes into slices, toss the arugula with oil and vinegar. Open two slices of toasted bread and place a slice of speck, a slice of Montasio cheese, the tomatoes, and arugula on one of the slices. Repeat, close the sandwich with a second slice of toasted bread, and serve.

Basic Aglio e Olio—Oil and Garlic Sauce

Good with spaghetti

-1 pound pasta

-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

-1/3 cup garlic slices

-1/4 teaspoon dried peperoncino

-1/4 teaspoon salt or more to taste

-1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Pour three tablespoons of olive oil into a big skillet, scatter the garlic slices in the oil, and set over medium heat. Cook for a minute, add the peperoncino, and cook another minute, shaking the pan now and then, until the garlic slices are an even light-gold. Ladle in two cups of boiling water and cook rapidly for two to three minutes, reducing the liquid by a third or so. When the pasta is not quite al dente, bring the sauce to an active simmer then dump the pasta in. Finish by tossing them together in the skillet over low to medium heat until the pasta is tender to the bite. Toss in the cheese and the final tablespoon of olive oil just before serving.