Cook the Cover. Food and Wine Magazine: March 2011.

Photo from happymundane.com

Let me preface this by saying that I totally acknowledge my bias being a photography nerd, but answer me this, what is the determining factor for why you buy a food magazine.. the content teased on the cover, or the photograph of the food?

I truly believe that there is nothing that our eyes  become more infatuated with than gorgeous photographs. In January 2008, I bought this issue of Bon Appetit because of the cover photograph (Okay, maybe “Best of the Year” caught my eye too)….

In January 2008, I bought a magazine that allowed me to dicover a recipe that transformed my understanding of what immense potential pie has, what chocolate has the power to become, and what creme fraiche can do to a simple whipped cream.

Bittersweet Chocolate Pie, Best of 2007, and the Best, period.

Recently, with my whirl wind experience building GtoG into something beautiful, food magazines serve the purpose of lulling me to sleep each night. Purchased and subscribed to for not only photographic inspiration, but also content that I can share with you all, I felt like it would be an awesome idea to cook the dishes featured on one or two covers each month…. If they are featured on the cover they must have potential for greatness, right?

It is for them to know, and for us to find out.

So I give you March 2011’s first Cover to Cook – Food and Wine Magazine.

With the multiple dishes featured on this month’s cover I chose just two of them:

1. Chunky Tomato Soup (click for recipe)

2. Spinach Salad with Citrus and Roasted Beets (click for recipe)

The best thing about this chunky tomato soup is how basic and healthy it is. The only thing missing from this photograph is the 4 cups of water and a bit of garlic salt….. I also elected to make it without the fennel, but adding that just will up the healthy factor even more!

The more veggies you want to put the better really … You could throw in a few diced carrots to add some sweetness, or grate a bit on top as garnish. Or, what’s better than tomato basil soup? Fresh basil leaves will add awesome flavor.

The more gourmet your ingredients are the more authentic the taste will be. It sounds like a no brainer, but buying cheap tomato paste or junky plum tomatoes will absolutely change the way your meal comes together.

In terms of garnish, F&W recommended a potato based topper, but I thought it would be an awesome idea to grill up some whole grain bread that would be able to serve as a fun dipper… You always need something to clean up the bowl right?

I used my all-time favorite, super seedy and healthy Ezekiel Bread, brushed a bit of Olive Oil on each piece and gave them 3 or 4 minutes on the grill.

Toss atop a bit of basil, and if you have some on hand, a dollop of ricotta cheese… which melts its way throughout the dish. You will not stop sinking your spoon in this bowl of soup. As this is my first time making homemade tomato soup, I was extremely impressed on how well it came out. Great flavor, great texture, and definitely something I would make again.

The same can be said for this sweet-tart take on a Citrus Spinach Salad.

With grapefruit being in season, it is a creative winter salad that can remind you of spring. And the roasted beets…….. wow. Colorful and flavorful.

The best part about this salad is the fact that F&W has now given me the most fabulous idea to soak my red onion slivers in red wine vinegar. Great technique and great way to bring out the sweetest flavors from the onion while preserving the biteyness that is needed to balance out the dish.

 

Cooking the Cover of any food magazine is a fun way to get a taste of not only what the food world is judging as a hot flavor or cuisine for that month, but also what they are simply just proud of! And hey, maybe you will fall in love with a recipe as I did with Bon Appetit’s Bittersweet Pudding Pie…… Although I am thinking this Chunky Tomato Soup might find itself in the “make a million times” category too.

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