These days, when most people are cooking nearly every meal at home, many of us may be left feeling a little starved for inspiration. Fortunately, there is a new digital cookbook that promises to pull you out of meal-planning fatigue with recipes from some of the best restaurants in New York. Aptly titled——it is the passion project of Kristin Tice Studeman, a fabulous food writer and editor whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Vogue and W Magazine, to name a few.
When practically overnight, nearly all of New York City’s 26,000-plus restaurants closed in March, Studeman was eager to find a way to help the countless affected by the mass shuttering. So, she set out to create a digital cookbook that would give back to the places that brought so many New Yorkers comfort. Calling on her network of chef, designer and editor friends—who gladly pushed up their sleeves and pitched in pro bono—Studeman created Serving New York in two months’ time. 100% of the proceeds go to ROAR (Relief Opportunities for All Restaurants) x Robin Hood’s NYC worker relief fund, and it has already raised over $88,000. As Studeman writes in her introduction: “Serving New York exists to support New York City’s finest restaurants and their hard-working teams through one of the most powerful, most unifying languages on Earth: recipes.” A sentiment that’s perfectly in tune with the times.
Studeman and a team of recipe tasters cooked their way through hundreds of dishes to create the list of 45 tried-and-tested recipes from New York favorites. Gramercy Tavern’s bacon cheddar biscuits, Momofuku’s kimchi stew and rice cakes, and Cookshop’s broccoli rabe and chickpea pasta are all on the menu.
Keeping the limits of quarantine in mind, Studeman made sure every dish could be made with true pantry staples. There are no recipes that call for hard-to-find ingredients or require fancy kitchen tools that the typical, at-home cook wouldn’t have on hand. Instead, there are celebrity chefs like Jean-Georges and Thomas Keller serving up simplified Michelin star–level recipes for everyday consumption.
Sweet Tooths can skip to the Pecan Sandies from Keller. The melt-in-your-mouth, buttery, nutty cookies are a signature at Bouchon Bakery and a snap to make with a mere four ingredients: flour, butter, pecans and powdered sugar. As Studeman says, “There’s so much pride people get from the pure act of creating a meal at home, no matter how fancy or not fancy it is. It’s healing and meditative.”
Great cookbooks show us how to make delicious dishes, but the very best share something more.
They tell the stories of how those dishes came to be, and the flavors of those stories enrich both the reading and eating. That’s what Serving New York is all about. Many recipes are penned with personal introductions from the chefs themselves, who casually dish about the connections behind them. For comfort and ease, there’s Korean-Style Rice and Eggs from Golden Diner’s Sam Yoo. It’s deliciously simple and rich with nostalgia. Yoo recalled making it for himself as a kid “whenever there was nothing at home” and his mom was out.
And how about some cocktails to go with the food? Hunky Dory’s Outlook Good cocktail will put you in good spirits, quite literally. The Crown Heights sustainable café was created by celebrated bartender and eco-activist Claire Sprouse, whose fun, flavorful cocktails concocted with a keen focus on low waste use no more than four fresh ingredients. The Outlook Good inventively calls for recycled herb scraps and stems, such as basil, mint or rosemary. It’s perfect with dry vermouth for a light refreshment or smoky mezcal for something boozy. As Sprouse says: “Any spirit is suitable for this drink!” Together, the recipes and cocktails satisfy a collective craving for ways to whip up a meal from a random assortment of pantry-staple ingredients with minimal effort—and a taste of New York flair.