February 9, 2010

Bring the Double Take Love to Your World

Okay, I know I tend to write about booze here (I mean, the blog is called “Spiked Punch”), but I figure my lovely readers would also like to know how to make the world better by picking up on the Double Take philosophy. Not sure what that means? Well, then you should check out the book I wrote with pal (and mastermind chef) Jeremy Holt, entitled Double Take: Feeding Vegetarians and Omnivores Together, One Fabulous Recipe, Two Finished Dishes. The book (as you might expect, but hey, just in case it’s not so clear) is designed to teach folks to make meals for both vegetarians and meat-eaters–at the same time. Instead of serving separate dishes for each side at the table, it brings people together. Instead of causing you, the cook, to tear out your hair wondering how to make different dishes for separate culinary needs, it helps you put together one meal that meets all tastes and bridges that once-divided table. To accomplish this worthy and delicious end, it has six chapters with recipes that (in almost every case) deliver a meat and veggie version by the end of the last instruction, and tells how to make the recipe all meat or all veggie, too. Here are the chapters, arranged in entertaining and cook-friendly fashion:


Sundry Snacks

A Brunch Bunch

Soups, Salads, and Sandwiches

Comfort Entrees

Entertaining Entrees

Satisfying Sides


There is also a jumping introduction that provides helpful hints for stocking your kitchen (what cookware, cutlery, gadgets, and small appliances you might think about buying), and then goes through Meat Alternatives 101 (both classic meat substitutes and newer models) in case you need a refresher. If that isn’t enough to get your mouth watering and to intrigue your culinary mind, the Double Take (which is, by the way, available in paperback and hardback for your shopping pleasure) also has a host of handy and heroic sidebars, covering an assortment of helpful hints and techniques, from Jeremy’s sauce basics (on page 7), recipes for sauces hollandaise and béchamel (on page 168), bacon bests (on page 195), and stock reducing (on page 88) to A.J.’s hints for draining tofu (on page 44) and baking tofu (on page 48), and much more. So, don’t hesitate–head on into the Double Take to avoid any wrasslin’ over the grill (like in the below photo) and to ensure that you make memorable moments around a table that’s brimming with delicious dishes for everyone. Cause that’s what it’s all about.



October 23, 2009

Dark Spirits: Now Available for Your Drinking Pleasure

Well, some may know this already, and I’m not such a good “blow-my-own-horn” guy, so I’m going to keep this sorta short: my  new book Dark Spirits: 200 Classy Concoctions Starring Bourbon, Brandy, Scotch, Whiskey, Rum and More is out, and ready for you to take it home, drink with it, and cuddle with it (well, at least pet it a little). The basic overview of the books is that it’s a bunch of dark-spirit based recipes broken out into seven fun (one hopes, at least) thematic chapters: Dark Classics, Bartender’s Choice, Bubbly Refreshers, Dim the Lights–Chill the Cocktails, Dark Drinks That Go Bump in the Night, Powerful Punches, and Hot Stuff. All the recipes are surrounded by what I like to think of as “party talk,” so histories, stories, quotes, suggestions for specific occasions, facts, further readings, and genial cocktail chatter. Also, as with a few of my other books, it has stunning and wonderful and wondrous photos taken by award-winning genius photographer Melissa Punch. While all that’s good and well, to complete my little sales pitch (see, I’m bad at this), I’ve decided to bulletize a few salient points:


  • Has two drinks in it (Sweet Louise, Very Old Fashioned) by bartender-about-town-and-serious-vest-wearer Andrew Bohrer
  • Has a George Brett mention in at least one recipe and the world’s best Football Punch recipe (that’s for the Kansan sports fans)
  • Has 35 recipes ideal for those days and nights when you and your specific other want to get “romantic”
  • Has a host of obscure literary and comic book references (though the Dr. Strange lines were sadly cut during editing–Neilalien will not buy this book), including the most obscure of all, a quote from Fandral from the 1976 issue of Marvel Spotlight, Marvel Spotlight on Warriors Three in the Rob Roy recipe
  • Has the phrase “the drink just wants that belly scratched” on page 221
  • Has shout outs to these four musical hot numbers: Truck Stop Love, Zoom, Warlock, and Tom Waits
  • Has a mention of you at some point in the book.

Okay, maybe that last one’s pushing it, but hey, Dark Spirits just might have you in it. And if not, you can certainly pretend. It’s available now at Amazon, and if you don’t want to buy it there, check out this page for more options. And let me just thank you in advance for the support, and for keeping me well-stocked in booze. And, let me tempt you with one more item below, the fabulous pic for the Crimson Slippers (won’t you be sad if you don’t have a book with that picture in your collection? I think so).


PS: Oh, could you (if you’re a facebook-er, and haven’t yet), also please become a fan of me on my A.J. Rathbun facebook fan page? If not, the PR guy at my publisher is going to beat me with a tape recorder. And I can’t take the scars.

Rathbun on Film