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Fresh Picks

by Anne Burrell

12.29.09 9:31 PM ET

The chef and Food Network host tells us what she’s loving right now.

Anne Burrell

Anne Burrell takes the mystery out of the professional kitchen and translates restaurant-style recipes into approachable at-home meals on Food Network’s Secrets of a Restaurant Chef, which had its premiere in June 2008. Anne has always stood out in the restaurant business for her remarkable culinary talent, bold and creative dishes, and her trademark spiky blond hair. After training at New York’s Culinary Institute of America and Italy’s Culinary Institute for Foreigners, she gained hands-on experience at notable New York restaurants including Felidia, Savoy, Lumi, Italian Wine Merchants, and Centro Vinoteca. Anne is also well-known as Mario Batali’s energetic and reliable sous chef on Iron Chef America. As the co-host of Food Network’s new reality show Worst Cooks in America, Anne pairs up with Chef Beau MacMillan to train 12 of the country’s worst cooks with the hope of taking them from kitchen zeroes to kitchen heroes.

Recipe

Mediterranean flavors paired with eggplant and barley make these lamb shanks perfect for winter.

I love lamb shanks right now—cooked perfectly, they are just so hearty, flavorful and comforting. This recipe for Savory Lamb Shanks with Eggplant and Barley is a great preparation with beautiful Mediterranean flavors. I love using whole grains, so barley is a great choice here. The eggplant and lamb are a natural combination, and the lemon zest gives the dish a lovely brightness.

Restaurant

April Bloomfield’s new spot, The Breslin, is dark and pubby—old school New York.

I just recently went to a new New York City restaurant, The Breslin, in the Ace Hotel. From the owners and executive chef April Bloomfield of The Spotted Pig, this restaurant has really delicious food—it’s not somewhere you go when you are only a little bit hungry, that’s for sure. Although they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I went for dinner—and it was a hearty meal, not light by any stretch of the imagination. I enjoyed a spectacular braised shin of beef with a parsley pesto and fried parsley. It was a big braised meat with a thick sauce plated beautifully and tasting great. I love owner Ken Friedman’s design aesthetic. The Breslin is sort of old-school New York: dark and pubby, comfortable and antique feeling, just a lovely space.

Cookbook

A cooking bible with 1,200 recipes for whatever you’re in the mood for—from guacamole to grissini.

It’s important to have a good, all-purpose cookbook that you can use as your basic go-to resource for recipes. I like the big yellow Gourmet cookbook. It truly has a recipe—1,200 of them, in fact—for everything, no matter what you are in the mood for. Whether it’s brownies or guacamole, grissini or lobster, pasta or chicken, anything at all—this book’s got it!

Food Destination

Southeast Asia, with its sparkly flavors and its great culinary tours, is a must for food lovers.

While I have never been, I have been dying to travel to Vietnam and Southeast Asia. I have spent my career working in the Italian kitchen, and I absolutely love it, but I am just dying to go there. I want to experience the beautiful crisp, clear, sparkly flavors of Southeast Asian cuisine, the truly interesting flavor points they are known for. I’d definitely like to get there sometime in the near future. There are lots of great culinary tours out there where you can just travel and eat or even learn how to cook the native cuisine. A few that sound interesting are Artisan of Leisure and Global Taste Tours.

Plus: Check out Hungry Beast for more news on the latest restaurants, hot chefs, and tasty recipes.