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Food Matters: New York brothers cook up quirky cookbook

Addie Broyles
abroyles@statesman.com
Hyatt Regency Austin Downtown on the Lake has a fun new kids’ menu that features a you-shake-it salad. Kids get to put in whatever ingredients they want and then shake the salad to dress it. They found that kids ate substantially more of the salad when they had a hand in making it.

Brothers Max and Eli Sussman might work across the East River from each other in New York (Max is the chef du cuisine at Roberta’s in Brooklyn, and Eli is a line cook at a Jewish deli called Mile End in Manhattan) but the Michigan natives’ approach to cooking couldn’t be more in sync.

Together, they have written “This Is A Cookbook: Recipes for Real Life” (Olive Press, $23.99), a guide to cooking everyday food that is bursting with personality. “If you’re afraid of burning food, you’ll never learn,” they write in the introduction. “If you think you’re only a ‘fast food’ or ‘American food’ person, stop being so boring. And if you say you just can’t do it, well, you’re just flat out wrong.”

The dishes range from avgolemono, a chicken and rice soup they used to get from a diner in their hometown outside Detroit, to a grilled meatball sandwich drizzled with pesto. (“If you don’t have sauce on your face, you aren’t eating it right,” Eli writes.) Party foods, late night foods, cocktails, pizzas, salads; they serve up a little bit of everything, including plenty of little tips and tricks they’ve learned through the years cooking at summer camps, upscale restaurants and zoos (Eli’s first food job was at the Detroit Zoo food court) across the country. A perfect book for a college-age cook who is just starting to experiment in the kitchen or the bacon-making foodie who is still talking about that pancetta pizza he had at Brooklyn’s famed Roberta’s.

Chicken Schnitzel

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, about 6 ounces each

3 cups packed salt-and-vinegar potato chips

2 cups unseasoned dried bread crumbs

2 cups all-purpose flour

4 large eggs

Salt

Canola or grapeseed oil, for frying

1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided

Wrap a chicken breast half in plastic wrap and place it on a work surface. Using a rolling pin or a small, heavy frying pan, pound the chicken breast to an even thickness of about ¼ inch. Repeat process with the remaining breast halves.

Put the potato chips and bread crumbs in a food processor and pulse until finely ground and well mixed. Spread the crumb mixture on a large plate. Spread the flour on another large plate. In a wide, shallow bowl, beat the eggs with a pinch of salt.

Dredge a piece of chicken in the flour, then dip into the eggs, turning to coat, and then press each side in the crumb mixture to cover completely. Place on a baking sheet. Repeat to coat the remaining chicken pieces.

Set up 2 large frying pans and pour oil into each to a depth of ¼ inch. (Or you could just use one pan and work in batches.) Warm the oil over medium heat, and then place 2 breaded chicken breasts in each pan and cook until golden on the first side, about 4 minutes. Add ½ Tbsp. butter to each pan, let melt, and tilt the pan to distribute it evenly. Turn the chicken breasts and add more oil if the pan seems dry. Cook until golden brown on the second side and opaque throughout, about 4 minutes longer. Serve right away.

— From “This Is A Cookbook” by Max and Eli Sussman (Olive Press, $23.99)

Upcoming events

  • We won’t turn our clocks back for another few weeks, but starting this week, the Sustainable Food Center’s Farmers’ Market at the Triangleon Wednesdays is moving its hours to 3 to 7 p.m. to give shoppers a little more time to shop before it gets dark. The hours will shift back to 4 to 8 p.m. in March.

  • Jisele Tuuri, a local raw food specialist and belly dance instructor, is hosting an introduction to raw foods class at 7:45 p.m. Wednesday at the Northwest Recreation Center, 2913 Northland Drive. To sign up or find out more, go to healthyvibrantlifestyle.com.

  • Fredericksburg’s Oktoberfest celebration starts Friday and continues through Sunday in the town’s Market Square. Live music, arts and craft vendors, a domino tournament on Sunday and more than a dozen food and beer vendors. Admission costs $6 an adult ($1 for children ages 6 to 12). Multi-day passes available. Full schedule, tickets and information at oktoberfestinfbg.com.

  • Fonda San Miguel is hosting a book signing with cookbook author Marilyn Tausend, who co-authored “Cocina de la Familia” with Fonda co-founder Miguel Ravago, during brunch service from noon to 2 p.m. Sunday at the restaurant at 2330 W. North Loop. For more info about the event, call 459-4121 or visit FondaSanMiguel.com.

  • Aida Mollenkamp, whose name you might recognize from her Food Network and Cooking Channel shows, is coming to Austin this week to promote her first book, “Keys to the Kitchen” (Chronicle Books, $35). She’s hosting a mix-and-mingle event at Hotel Saint Ceclia, 112 Academy Drive, from 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday. Tickets ($75 at keystothekitchenaustin.eventbrite.com) include a copy of the book.

  • Austinite Melissa Joulwan, whom we last wrote about when she published her first book, “Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat,” late last year, is already working on her next book, but in the meantime, she’s started teaching cooking classes, including a Paleo 101 class at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 10 at Whole Foods Market’s Culinary Center, 525 N. Lamar Blvd. You can sign up for the class ($50) at wholecateringaustin.com or by calling 542-2209.
  • From 7 to 9 p.m. Oct. 10, Four Seasons sommelier (and former professional DJ) Mark Sayre will show a different set of skills as he hand-mixes tunes at a Sip ‘n’ Spin event on the back lawn of the hotel on Lady Bird Lake. Presale tickets cost $26 a person and are available through Tuesday online at trioaustin.ticketbud.com/sip-n-spin. Tickets at the door (if they don’t sell out online) will cost $35.

Kid-friendly foods

Here’s a fun idea from the Hyatt Regency Austin for getting kids to eat salads. The hotel, in collaboration with noted California chef Alice Waters and a team of young eaters, has recently launched new kids’ menus that include a number of build-your-own dishes, including tacos, sandwiches and salads. When kids (or their parents) order the Shaken Chopped Salad, the kids pick out whatever ingredients they’d like in their salad, put them in a cool container from a company called Aladdin and then shake the salad together to dress it. While researching the new menu, Hyatt staffers found that kids eat significantly more good-for-you-foods when they get to interact with it, such as shaking a salad instead of simply having the salad served to them. austin.hyatt.com