The Nerds With Knives Wrote a Cookbook!
Longtime Serious Eats readers are likely familiar with the names Emily and Matt Clifton. The married duo have been contributing wonderful recipes (and beautiful photographs of said recipes) to the site since 2016. And even though they both have day jobs—Emily is a video editor and Matt works in IT—they also manage to find the time to run a wonderful blog of their own, Nerds With Knives.
And now, they can also add “cookbook authors” to their ever-growing list of professional titles.
On August 6, Emily and Matt’s book Cork and Knife: Build Complex Flavors with Bourbon, Wine, Beer and More was published, and all of us here at Serious Eats are immensely excited about it.
The book focuses on how different kinds of alcohol can enhance and add layers of flavors to any given dish, whether it’s the port they add to a rosemary- and thyme-spiked pan sauce for loin lamb chops, or the sake they use to offset the slight bitterness of Swiss chard. In keeping with their blog’s name, they also highlight the ways in which booze can alter the chemistry of what you’re cooking, as in their batter for fish, which relies on the volatility of vodka, the carbonation in beer, and the lack of gluten in rice flour in the batter to create an incredibly crispy crust.
In short, we can’t recommend the book enough; if you like Serious Eats, if you’ve got yourself a copy of The Food Lab, and you’ve got a dog-eared copy of BraveTart on your bookshelf, you’ll definitely want to pick up Cork and Knife. And to mark the occasion of their book birthday, we’ve rounded up some of the recipes they’ve contributed to the site.
Congratulations, Emily and Matt!
These savory pancakes are studded with bits of spicy kimchi and plump, fresh shrimp. A bit of rice flour gives them a nice chewiness, while using kimchi brine in place of water in the batter gives the pancakes a spicy-tart kick. Eat these as an appetizer, a snack, or a light dinner.
Marinated goat cheese is one of the most delicious—not to mention easy—additions to any cheese platter or picnic spread. The goat cheese is marinated in olive oil along with fennel seed, lemon zest, and bay leaves, but you can add any of your favorite fresh and dried savory spices to the mix. After spreading this goat cheese on crusty bread, you’ll want to make sure you’re never without a jar of the stuff in your fridge.
During the hotter months, when you don’t feel like blasting your oven and eating heavy meals, these pork chops are just the thing. They’re marinated with lemongrass, garlic, fish sauce, and sugar, then grilled and served with chilled noodles and plenty of fresh herbs and pickled vegetables.
Grilled bulgogi burgers combine the flavors of Korean grilled marinated beef with the convenience of a burger thrown on the grill. This recipe sticks with a relatively traditional beef burger patty, and glazes the meat with bulgogi sauce. The finished burger is stacked with Korean pickled daikon radish, cabbage, and kimchi mayonnaise.
This side dish—or vegetarian main course—features chunks of cauliflower in a creamy sauce spiced with ginger, cinnamon, anise, and studded with juicy raisins and almond slivers.
Have a haul of fresh zucchini and corn on your hands? These light and satisfying zucchini-and-corn fritters with an herb sour cream can help you get through your bounty. Adding cheese to the mixture of corn and zucchini gives the fritters a gooey interior and a crisp, frico-like exterior.
Bringing out a baked brie is a very impressive—and equally low effort—way to entertain a crowd. Here, the wheel of cheese is simply baked until warm and gooey, then topped with pistachios and honey.
If you’re trying to pull together a quick dinner, mussels are a great dish to put on the table. They’re ready in minutes, and soak up plenty of flavor from whatever seasonings are in your pan. These Thai-inspired ones call on a spicy red coconut broth and a shower of fresh herbs. Quick-cooking rice noodles bring the whole meal together in under 20 minutes.
You can throw pretty much anything into a frittata and come up with something delicious, making it an ideal dish for using up fresh produce. This one is packed with fresh corn and smoky bacon, along with creamy Gruyère cheese.
This post may contain links to Amazon or other partners; your purchases via these links can benefit Serious Eats. Read more about our affiliate linking policy.