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Celebrity chefs offer easy routes to goodness

The Baltimore Sun

Rocco's Real Life Recipes: Fast Flavor for Every Day

By Rocco DiSpirito

Talk With Your Mouth Full: The Hearty Boys Cookbook

By Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh

Stewart, Chabori & Chang / $27.50 / 2007

Both Rocco DiSpirito's and Rachael Ray's books leave the impression of having been tossed off to keep the franchise going. Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh are not as well-known, but they seem to have put much more effort into their book.

They're celebrities, too, albeit of a different order - they're Chicago caterers who won a Food Network reality show and now have their own show, Party Line With the Hearty Boys. Their book offers recipes for party food (I made Crawfish Etouffee, which was delicious and surprisingly doable).

The book also is filled with unexpected, often-funny thoughts and anecdotes on entertaining. For instance, the authors come out firmly against fancy origami folded napkins. And they think show tunes as background music can absolutely ruin a dinner party (too wordy, they say).


Crawfish Etouffee

Serves 8

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon paprika

3/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 medium onion, cut into 1-inch dice

1 large celery rib, cut into 1-inch dice

2 large bell peppers, cut into 1-inch dice

2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

1 pound crawfish tail meat, peeled

Mix the salt, paprika, onion and garlic powders, mustard and peppers in a bowl and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat until it begins to smoke, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the flour all at once and whisk constantly until it turns a reddish-brown color, about 7 minutes.

Immediately lower the heat to medium and add the chopped vegetables and the seasoning mix. Keep stirring for about 5 minutes. Add the broth and stir until the mix thickens.

Lower the heat and let simmer for 15 minutes. Add the crawfish and simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and serve over rice.

From "Talk With Your Mouth Full"

Per serving: 136 calories, 12 grams protein, 6 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 8 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 78 milligrams cholesterol, 323 milligrams sodium

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