Cookbook Closeup: Marcus Samuelsson’s Off Duty

Trying Recipes from Marcus Samuelsson’s New Cookbook:

Marcus Samuelsson has a new cookbook on the shelves — Marcus Off Duty: The Recipes I Cook at Home, which is packed with 150 recipes coming from a range of cultural influences, made for different occasions, and all meant to be enjoyed with friends and family.

Here, check out my cookbook closeup, as I put several of his recipes to the test.

About the Book

First, a bit more about the book itself. Samuelsson presents recipes across different categories — Comforts of Home, Friends & Family, Special Days, Street Food, Playing with Fire, Cooking with Kids, Soups, Sides & Condiments, and Something Sweet.

The chapters and recipes come with personal notes, and each chapter even has a recommended cooking playlist to help keep things moving and shaking in the kitchen as you make your meal. The cookbook is filled with vibrant photography and is designed in a fun and informal way, as if your friend was personally handing over to you his valued recipes and tutorials.

Now, onward to the Man Talk Food test kitchen

Rib Eye On the Bone With Coffee-Chocolate Rub

(recipe page 193)

This is actually a grilled recipe, but we used a grill pan indoors, and we made the recipe for two rather than for four. Make the simple coffee chocolate rub, which looks fantastic smeared over the steaks. Get them going on the grill along with jalapenos, garlic and scallions.

The steak is served with a vinaigrette made from Dijon mustard, lemon juice, olive oil, and those grilled veggies.

Big steak flavor, and a fun change of pace recipe to try at home. Quick and easy to make, and a great excuse to buy some really great cuts of meat at the store. The vinaigrette does well playing against the coffee chocolate rub, although I wish that rub ended up a bit more prominent on the palate.

Coconut-Lime Curried Chicken

(recipe page 48)

Get some onion, garlic and ginger going in a skillet, and add red curry paste. Rub your chicken with more red curry, and lime zest. Start cooking the chicken, then add coconut milk and water, along with raisins, mint, parsley and lime juice. Let it simmer until cooked through.

Serve with a rice or a bread, or anything to soak up some of that curry.

Note, the recipe called for chicken breasts and we had smaller chicken tenderloin cuts. We also grabbed light coconut milk rather than regular, and should have let the sauce thicken up more than we did after perhaps adding a touch too much water. With those factors involved, our sauce came out runny, as you can see in the photos above. But still tasty. I guess I shouldn’t apply for Top Chef anytime soon.

More Standout Recipes

There’s a ton of good looking recipes in here, but a few more which stand out to me and will be on the make ASAP list include:

  • Durban Curry Buns
  • Aunt Josulyn’s Roti
  • Seared Scallops with Bacon & Egg
  • Sticky Bacon Sandwiches with Coconut Peanut Butter
  • Bacon Biscuits with Jalapeno Scrambled Eggs & Grilled Corn
  • Ethiopian Toastados
  • Pumpkin-Cinnamon Empanadas
  • Potato & Spinach Samosas with Spicy Buttermilk Dip

Bottom Line

I’d definitely suggest Marcus Off Duty as a welcome addition to your cookbook lineup. It’s different, and it could work just as well for relative kitchen novices or seasoned home chefs. Unique ideas, fun setup, and recipes offering a broad range of flavor and influence which both standout and seem achievable.

You can buy the book on Amazon here.

Author: Jake Emen

I’m Jake, and I’m your host on this journey. I'm the man doing the eating and the talking around here. I’m a writer based outside of Washington, D.C., and I'm also talking whiskey, local events, travel, and other assorted misadventures. Follow me on the Tweet Machine - @ManTalkFood, or send an email to jake [at] mantalkfood.com.

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