Show 402, December 5, 2020: Tara Bench – Food Editor, Recipe Developer and Food Stylist with Live Life Deliciously

Tara BenchWe’re delighted to welcome back food editor and recipe creator Tara Bench discussing Holiday cooking. “Tara Bench (aka “Tara Teaspoon”) has spent more than twenty years in the food publishing industry creating recipes and articles, and food styling for various magazines, books, television, and advertising. Working as a food editor at Martha Stewart Living, and as the food and entertaining director of Ladies’ Home Journal, she knows how to write recipes for beginners as well as real foodies. Her philosophy is that anyone can cook and enjoy their time in the kitchen, and in her first cookbook, Live Life Deliciously – Recipes for Busy Weekdays & Leisurely Weekends, she proves it.”

“Whether you’re a casual cook or a die-hard, classically-trained chef, you’ll have complete success on each and every recipe. She sets you up with flavor descriptions and tips and tricks (including an entire section on kitchen equipment, her favorite tools, and why they are so important).”

“Each chapter is from the heart and inspired by Tara’s family heritage and experiences eating at the best restaurants and tastiest dives in New York City. Create wonderful memories through food you can share with the people who love and inspire you.”

Tara will share some of her Holiday favorite recipes that are enjoyed by her own Family. You’ll be tempted with Mandarin and Prosciutto Crostini, and Moroccan Kebabs with Chermoula Sauce.

We’re happily back in the kitchen with Tara Bench.

Mandarin and Prosciutto Crostini

Mandarin and Prosciutto Crostini by Tara Teaspoonby Tata Bench
Tara Teaspoon

This is my essential appetizer. Toasted Crostini topped with a little slice of salty Prosciutto and some tangy Mandarin and Shallot Chutney. I’ve been known to make a full meal of these little bites. Double the caramelized shallot and mandarin portion of this recipe and keep the extra in the fridge. It works beautifully on top of chicken or a roast ham sandwich—or even for your next batch of crostini bites.


  • 2 cups sliced shallots, sliced root to tip
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1⁄2 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1⁄2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds
  • 1 cup fresh mandarin or clementine segments, roughly chopped
  • 1 recipe Crostini (below), prepared
  • 14 slices prosciutto
  • Toasted hazelnuts, crushed Fresh thyme
  1. In a medium, nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, sauté the shallots and salt in olive oil, stirring often, until soft and translucent, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the vinegar, brown sugar, bay leaf, and coriander seeds and let simmer until vinegar is reduced and almost gone, 10 to 12 minutes more. Stir in the mandarin seg- ments. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  2. Top crostini with a half piece of prosciutto and a spoonful of the mandarin chutney. Sprinkle with hazelnuts and thyme leaves.


  • 1 baguette, sliced 1⁄4-inch thick
  • 1⁄4 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  1. Heat oven to 375oF. Brush slices of bread lightly with olive oil on both sides. Lay slices flat on rimmed baking sheets and sprinkle with some salt.
  2. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until lightly golden and crisp, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool.
  3. Store crostinis in a zip-top bag for up to 3 days.

Looks Delicious. Whenever I caramelize onions or shallots, I slice them from their root to the tip. Slicing them crosswise into rings or half-moons causes them to cook into long, stringy worms. The root-to-tip method allows the shallot or onion to hold its shape, looks better, and is easier to eat.

Show 263, March 3, 2018: Karen Kaplan, Food Journalist, Open Faced – Single-Slice Sandwiches from Around the World

Karen KaplanFood journalist and author Karen Kaplan has just launched her first solo cookbook, Open Faced: Single-Slice Sandwiches from Around the World, published by Gibbs Smith. In this concise yet comprehensive volume she shares her passion for open-faced sandwiches in authoritative text filled with history, lore, anecdotes and tips, and 65 no-fail international recipes, each with its own wine or spirit pairing suggestion.

There are tartines of France, bruschette and crostini of Italy, montaditos and tomato toasts of Spain, smorrebrod of Scandinavia, butterbrote of Germany, butterbrodi of Russia,molletes of Mexico as well as sandwiches and toasts of Britain and the U.S.  There are traditional recipes, reinterpretations of classics, and original creations based on the flavors, ingredients and/or specialties associated with the country at hand.

Each recipe reflects the taste and spirit of its place of origin, yet is perfectly translated for the way we cook and eat in America today.

This is an indispensable little cookbook for those who love single-slice sandwiches as much as Karen does, and for those who would like to learn more about this unique food trend-one that has a storied global gastronomic past, and an increasingly popular place in today’s culinary vernacular. Some of the recipes are rustic and some refined, some simple and some sophisticated, but all are easy to make and ideal for weekday cooking or weekend entertaining.

Karen Kaplan is a freelance writer, editor, translator and recipe developer. She was on staff at Bon Appétit Magazine for twenty years and concurrently was the restaurant critic for the LAWeekly for seven years and the host and producer of The Audible Feast on KCRW radio station for seven years. She was also a consultant for culinary websites and food-based reality television shows, a contributor to food and travel magazines and newspaper sections, and was a writer, editor, translator and recipe editor for many cookbooks.

She holds Le Grand Diplômed’EtudesCulinaires from La VarenneEcole de Cuisine, has a B.A. in Comparative Literature and taught at USC and UCLA. She lives in Studio City, California.

Author Karen Kaplan joins us.