by David Burtka
106 killer recipes, 16 creative party themes, and 250 gorgeous photos--plus playlists and easy planning tips--make LIFE IS A PARTY the indispensable cookbook and guide for home cooks.
Chef, actor, and entertaining authority David Burtka knows that every day can be a party. Over a lifetime of throwing epic gatherings, the Cordon Bleu-trained Burtka has perfected the formula for creating easy and perfect get-togethers at home. Now, in the pages of his debut cookbook, he's sharing all of his secrets and an intimate look into the lives of one of Hollywood's favorite families. Everything you need to throw a memorable party, or to make a delicious weeknight meal, can be found right here.
Whether your event and budget are modest or you're going all-out, and whether the guest list is an intimate crew or it's a blowout bash, David's sixteen party themes-from cozy game nights at home to elegant New Year's fêtes-are built around doable, show-stopping menus that take the guesswork out of high-impact hosting. Complete with endless and fun ways to mix-and-match dishes, create stunning decor, prep ahead, and get guests involved, David helps you put all the elements in place to make every party a success without ever losing your cool.
At the heart of the book are David's amazing recipes, including delicious twists on comfort classics like Corn Cakes with Bacon Jam, Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas, and Neapolitan Ice Cream Sandwich Cake. And you don't need to wait for a party to try recipes like Ham, Egg, and Cheese Calzones; Mint Pesto Pasta; and Thyme and Gruyère Popovers. Never one to miss the opportunity to toast friends and family, David also shows you how to make delicious cocktails for a crowd: think Mojito Slushies, Charred Peach and Plum Sangria, and Cucumber-Lime Spritzers. So raise a glass and get cooking! Because there's no better time than now to make your life a party.
SERVES 8 TO 10
Prep Time: 15 minutes | Active Time: 35 minutes | Total Time: 4-1/2 to 5 hours (includes braising and resting time)
Feel free to make this in advance it tastes even better the next day.
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 (4-pound) flat-cut brisket
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 celery stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 large yellow onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 large carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup water
- 4 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 large bunch thyme, tied into a bundle with kitchen twine
- 2 cups dry red wine
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, with juices
- 2 dried bay leaves, broken in half
1. Preheat the oven to 250°F.
2. In a large Dutch oven, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat. Liberally season the brisket all over with salt and pepper. Brown the brisket in the hot oil until a nice crust forms on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a large platter or baking sheet.
3. Add the celery, onions, carrots, water, and a pinch each of salt and pepper to the Dutch oven and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and the thyme bundle and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is slightly tender, 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook until the wine has reduced by one-quarter, 4 to 5 minutes.
4. Squeeze and tear the tomatoes into small bits with your hands and add them to the pan, along with the juices from the can and the bay leaves. Bring to a boil over high heat, then nestle the brisket into the liquid (the liquid should come at least halfway up the brisket). Turn off the heat, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid, and transfer it to the oven. Bake the brisket until a fork easily slips into the meat and the meat is tender but not falling apart, 3-1/2 to 4 hours, flipping the meat halfway through.
5. Remove the pot from the oven and let the brisket rest in the pot for at least 15 minutes, then transfer it to a cutting board and slice it against the grain. Transfer the brisket slices to a large platter. Discard the thyme bundle and bay leaves from the sauce and vegetables. Season to taste, then pour the sauce and vegetables over the brisket and serve.