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There's no cooking like Mom's!

If you enjoy the dishes of some of the best-known chefs around the country, wait until you get a taste of some of the specialties created by their moms. "Mom's Secret Recipe File," is a new cookbook of stories and recipes which were influenced by the mothers of 34 celebrity chefs whose foods we love to eat. Chef Chris Styler is the author and Tom Colicchio, the owner and chef at Craft in New York City, is a contributor, along with his mom, Beverly Colicchio. Together they discuss the book on "Today." Check out the recipes they demonstrate on the show:

Crepes
Servings:

Makes about 8 81/2" crepes

Ingredients

    • 1/2 cup flour
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 1/4 cup lukewarm water
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 3 tablespoons peanut oil

Preparation

Baking Directions:

1. Combine the flour, milk, water, eggs, butter, and salt in a blender and mix until smooth.  Cover the batter and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes. 2. Heat a crepe pan or small nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add just enough oil to barely coat the surface, about 1/2 tablespoon.  Stir the batter and pour about 2 tablespoons into the skillet. Cook until the top of the crepe is set and the bottom is golden.  Turn the crepe over and cook for a few seconds longer, then transfer it to a plate.  Repeat, adding oil as necessary and stacking the finished crepes separated by layers of parchment or wax paper.  Cover the crepes with a clean dishtowel to keep warm.

Beet Salad
Servings:

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • For the salad

    • 6 medium beets, stems and leaves removed
    • 4 anchovy fillets, chopped
    • 2 celery stalks, peeled and sliced
    • 6 bottled hot cherry peppers, chopped
    • 1 small jar (about 8 ounces) marinated artichokes, drained and sliced
    • 1 small red onion, sliced
    • 1/4 cup oil-cured pitted black olives, halved
    • Half a bunch of Italian parsley, chopped
  • For the dressing

    • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
    • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

Baking Directions:

1. Making the beets. Place the beets in a medium pot. Cover with water by 2 inches and generously salt the water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, lower to a simmer, and cook until there is no resistance when the beets are pierced with a sharp knife, about 20 to 25 minutes.2. Once the beets are cooked and just slightly cooled, use a clean dish towel to rub off the skins and slice off the remaining root or rough tops. Slice them in half and then cut 6 to 8 wedges from each half, depending on the size. Place the beets in a small stainless-steel bowl and add the anchovies, celery, cherry peppers, artichokes, onion, olives, and parsley. Toss together. If making ahead, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.3. Just before serving, whisk the dressing ingredients together in a bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well. Serve at room temperature.

Polenta Gratin with Mushroom Bolognese
Servings:

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • For the Bolognese Sauce

    • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
    • 1 onion, peeled and diced
    • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
    • 1 stalk celery, peeled and diced
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
    • 1/2 to 3/4 pound (8-12 ounces) mixed wild and cultivated mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, and diced
    • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
    • 1 tomato, seeded and diced
    • 1 cup brown chicken stock, or canned reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • For the polenta

    • 1 cup polenta (coarse yellow cornmeal)
    • Kosher salt
    • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Preparation

Baking Directions:

1. Preparing the Bolognese sauce. Heat the peanut oil in a large skillet over medium heat until it moves easily across the pan. Add the onion, carrot, celery, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, cook for 1 minute, and then add the mushrooms and thyme leaves.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are almost tender, about 3 minutes.  Add the tomato, cook for about 2 minutes more, and then add the stock 2 tablespoons at a time, bringing the pan to a simmer before each addition.  Simmer the Bolognese until it is concentrated but not yet dry, about 30 minutes.  Set aside to cool.2. Making the polenta. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat.  Add a pinch of salt and gradually whisk in the polenta.  Stirring constantly, bring the polenta to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low.  Cook the polenta, stirring occasionally, until it is no longer grainy, about 30 minutes.  Stir the olive oil and salt into the polenta and remove it from the heat.3. Assembling the gratin.  Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spoon half the polenta into a medium baking dish (an 11-inch oval dish works well) and cover with half of the sauce.  Spoon in the remaining polenta, spread it evenly, and then sprinkle with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.  Transfer the remaining sauce to a small saucepan and reserve.4. Bake the gratin until the top is golden, about 40 minutes. Just before serving, warm the reserved sauce over low heat.  Divide the gratin and sauce between 4 plates, top with sauce and serve.

Excerpted from "Mom's Secret Recipe File," by Chris Styler. Copyright © 2004 by Chris Styler. All Rights Reserved. Published by Hyperion. Available Wherever Books Are Sold. A portion of the proceeds from each book sold go to the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children. For more information, you can visit the Hyperion Web site at: www.hyperionbooks.com.

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