Clear74° WeatherClear74° Weather

Emeril Lagasse to sign new cookbook '20-40-60: Fresh Food Fast' at Books-A-Million in Brandon

Like a lot of people immersed in cooking trends and restaurant news, Emeril Lagasse is heartbroken about the demise of Gourmet magazine.

The nation's oldest food magazine ceases publication this month, a casualty of falling advertising revenue. For 70 years Gourmet has chronicled, with recipes, the global food scene.

"I can't believe (publisher) Conde Nast is going to let that happen; let something like that go away," he said recently by phone from New York. "Make it every other month; put your brains together and figure something out."

You can always count on Lagasse, who turned 50 last month, to speak his mind.

On business in Las Vegas, where he has four restaurants: "It sucks, to be honest with you. I gotta say our restaurants are as solid as they can be, but Vegas is 30 to 35 percent off."

On what it takes to stay afloat in these rough waters: "You've got to figure out how to weave and wobble. . . . Things are not chipper at the theme parks, either." (Lagasse has two restaurants in Orlando.)

Lagasse the chef came before Lagasse the businessman, but now the two are intertwined. His 12th restaurant — a burger palace in Bethlehem, Pa. — opens soon. The original Emeril's in New Orleans turns 20 this year. The Emeril empire now has 1,600 employees.

And if you thought his slip from the prime 8 p.m. slot on the Food Network was certain death to his career, you don't know Lagasse. He has partnered with Martha Stewart on several projects and his Emeril Green show is on the Discovery channel, plus you can catch Emeril Live! on the Fine Living network. Taste of Emeril's, a live, audience participation show, opened Oct. 21 for a four-week run at Caesars Atlantic City.

Then there are the 15-plus cookbooks. His latest, 20-40-60: Fresh Food Fast (HarperStudio, 2009), is a nod to how we cook now. Mostly, we want dinner ready in a flash, but occasionally we'll go all out and spend an entire hour in the kitchen. The book includes recipes that can be prepared in those time frames. Lagasse will be in the Tampa Bay area this weekend: Friday at HSN and Sunday to sign books at Books-A-Million in Brandon. (Wolfgang Puck, Padma Lakshmi, Duff Goldman, Ingrid Hoffman and Todd English will also be on HSN's 24-hour kitchen gadget extravaganza.)

"Thirty-five years after I first started I am working harder than I ever worked," he says. "I'd like to be fishing or lying on the beach but I am working on some new TV projects. I've just been in New Orleans for two weeks working on menus, tweaking things."

He knows people don't leave much time in their lives to cook but he also suspects they are still very interested in food. 20-40-60 aims to provide recipes that people will carve out time to make.

"We don't need anymore processed crap," he says. "We can't lose the freshness."

There he goes again, speaking his mind. And, as always, it's in celebration of food.

Janet K. Keeler can be reached at jkeeler@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8586.

. IF YOU GO

Meet Emeril live

Emeril Lagasse will sign his cookbooks at 3 p.m. Sunday at Books-A-Million at Westfield Brandon, Interstate 75 and State Road 60. Line numbers will be distributed at the store beginning at

9 a.m. Saturday. Call the store for more information at (813) 661-5100.

>>moderate

Spicy Pork Wraps With Creamy Coleslaw

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 tablespoon chili powder

2 teaspoons dry mustard

2 teaspoons salt, divided use

3/4 teaspoon dried oregano

3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, divided use

2 pork tenderloins (about 1 pound each), tail ends tucked under and tied

2 tablespoons olive oil

6 (10-inch) flour tortillas

1 (14-ounce) bag coleslaw mix, or 14 ounces shredded mixed cabbage and carrots

1/3 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup minced green onions, white and green parts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the brown sugar, chili powder, dry mustard, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt, oregano and 1/2 teaspoon of the cayenne in a small bowl. Generously rub the mixture all over the pork tenderloins.

Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the tenderloins and sear, turning frequently, until evenly crusted on all sides (they will be dark in color because of the sugar), 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer the pork to a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 12 minutes, or until the internal temperature registers 145 degrees on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center.

Remove the tenderloins from the oven, transfer them to a cutting board and tent with foil. Let rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing. While the pork is resting, wrap the tortillas in aluminum foil and place them in the oven until warmed through, 6 to 8 minutes. Make the coleslaw by combining the coleslaw mix with the buttermilk, mayonnaise, green onions, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Toss well to combine, and set aside until ready to serve.

To assemble the pork wraps, slice the pork tenderloin in thin slices at an angle. Place 1/4 cup coleslaw on the lower half of each tortilla, leaving about 2 inches on either side, then divide the pork slices evenly among the tortillas. Fold in both sides of the tortillas and then roll the tortillas burrito-style. Slice in half and serve immediately.

Serves 4 to 6.

Source: 20-40-60: Fresh Food Fast by Emeril Lagasse (HarperStudio, 2009)

>> EASY: THANKSGIVING LEFTOVERS

Turkey and Wild Rice Salad

4 cups wild rice mix (see note)

2 cups diced roast turkey breast

1 cup assorted dried fruits (such as cranberry, cherry and apricot), coarsely chopped

1/2 cup coarsely chopped almonds, toasted

Juice and grated zest of 1 orange

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss well to combine. Let stand for 5 minutes and serve.

Note: For testing purposes, a blend of basmati and wild rice was used, but any cooked rice blend or mix of cooked rice will work. If the prepared rice has been refrigerated, however, microwave or steam it briefly to soften it slightly before combining with the other ingredients.

Makes about 8 (1-cup) servings.

Source: 20-40-60: Fresh Food Fast by Emeril Lagasse (HarperStudio, 2009)

Emeril Lagasse to sign new cookbook '20-40-60: Fresh Food Fast' at Books-A-Million in Brandon 11/03/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 3, 2009 3:30am]

© 2014 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...