NEW YORK — An opportunity assembly at a cocktail party by two individuals reluctant to be at that ceremonial dinner has resulted in a cookbook excellent to your subsequent ceremonial dinner.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson, star of “Trendy Household,” and meals author Julie Tanous have teamed up for “Meals Between Pals,” which blends dishes impressed by her native South and his New Mexico influences.

“We simply began gathering recipes and concepts primarily based on our historical past and the folks that we care about,” stated Ferguson. “I feel the flavour profiles naturally go superbly collectively.”

It’s a breezy celebration of each cuisines in sections on brunch, fish, hen, beef, desserts, starters, drinks and vegetarian dishes. Each areas come by way of superbly of their inexperienced chili hen enchilada pot pie, which takes the spirit of the South and brings it into the Southwest.

This cowl picture reveals “Meals Between Pals” by Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Julie Tanous.
Clarkson Potter by way of AP

Tanous, who has written meals tales, developed recipes for magazines and labored in catering, stated a lot of the recipes are riffs off what each authors grew up consuming, the restaurant dishes they adore and the meals their husbands love. She traveled to New Mexico with Ferguson and would carry an additional suitcase to take dwelling issues like blue cornmeal and chilies.

There’s a lightness and a winking humor all through, as when Ferguson writes about how his household would probably razz him if he referred to as patties by the extra upscale identify croquette. The authors additionally peel again the components to writing introductions to recipes, and argue that crispy-skin salmon — approachable, adaptable, straightforward to work with and preferred by all — is the “Tom Hanks of protein.”

“We regarded for humorous, humorous methods to form of not take ourselves too critically,” stated Ferguson. “We’re first-time cookbook authors and we didn’t need to enter the room being like, ‘Nicely, we all know so much about all of this.’ We actually have been making an attempt to be very respectful of the place we sat as first-time authors.”

Whereas each writers have been nicely versed on gadgets frequent to the South and Southwest — like beans, corn and chilies — every launched completely different components to the opposite.

He educated her about Hatch chilies and sopaipillas (he calls them “naughty little bread pillows”), whereas she knowledgeable him about issues like sorghum syrup and spoonbread from her childhood in Alabama.

Every wrote essays on favourite components, love letters of kinds. Ferguson describes his lifelong adoration of chilies, regardless of affected by heartburn. And Tanous tackles sorghum, fondly remembering her dad spooning the syrup on a biscuit as he informed tales.

“I really like when meals can transport you and convey you again. And when meals is a placeholder for one thing particular in your historical past,” Ferguson stated.

The toughest part to write down turned out to be the meatless one. Neither writer is a vegetarian, and Tanous needed to cease herself from including bacon to corn chowder or hen inventory to sauces. One photograph needed to be redone when she observed bacon lurking within the pinto beans.

Each authors needed to quiet their interior doubting critics and push again in opposition to so-called imposter syndrome. There could also be 1,000,000 hen and dumpling recipes however the e book accommodates another, their particular tackle it.

“It’s about your interpretation of it and the story behind it and why it means one thing to you. Actually, that’s all it must be for individuals to have an interest,” stated Ferguson. “I feel when individuals prepare dinner from the guts and so they prepare dinner issues that imply one thing to them, that’s sufficient.”

The 2 met about seven years in the past at a good friend’s pop-up ceremonial dinner in Los Angeles. It was on a weeknight and Ferguson wasn’t within the temper; Tanous had a new child at dwelling and likewise was reluctant to go.

Getting ready to flee, Ferguson sat subsequent to the exit. “Proper earlier than the dinner began, Julie walks in and there have been no different chairs to take a seat in apart from the one throughout from me,” he recalled. She cracked a joke and likewise admitted she wasn’t within the temper.

“I felt like I at the least discovered somebody who was on my identical wavelength. And we ended up simply changing into quick associates that night time and ended up exchanging numbers,” stated Ferguson. “We began hanging out and cooking collectively shortly after that.” A weblog and now a e book are the outcomes.

The pandemic difficult the recipe growth course of and compelled extra ingredient substitutions. Tanous would possibly check one thing out, drive it to Ferguson’s home and hand over the dish within the driveway.

“There have been occasions we actually would have preferred to have been in the identical kitchen and we couldn’t, so numerous stuff needed to be executed remotely,” he stated.

To organize, Tanous dug out her previous notes from culinary college and shared them with Ferguson, who shared his personal expertise working at Sadie’s Cocina in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Some issues simply labored out: Her knife expertise are good after working at a butcher store, and he doesn’t like dealing with uncooked meat.

“It was very collaborative,” stated Tanous. Ferguson agreed, however maybe had one minor gripe he needed to share together with his good friend: “I really feel like I did extra dishes, Julie.”

Right here’s one recipe from “Meals Between Pals”:



Biscochito Cookie Bars from “Meals Between Pals”
Images copyright © 2021 by Eva Kolenko

“I didn’t even know this was a factor, however apparently in 1989 the biscochito grew to become the official cookie of the state of New Mexico. As somebody who’s obsessive about cookies, I’m disenchanted that I missed this landmark event. I used to be 14, and what else was I doing with my time? I ought to have recognized about this!

“Nicely, I’m thrilled to proper my fallacious by providing a contemporary spin on this New Mexican vacation cookie basic. I really like the refined licorice taste that the anise brings to those sweet-salty-buttery blondie/shortbread-like cookies. The basic model of this recipe requires lard. I do know, lard! Utilizing butter as an alternative makes for the chewiest cookie bars with crunchy golden edges. A ending pinch of flaky salt, and you’ve got the peerlessly balanced deal with. Even essentially the most conventional sweets deserve a makeover! “— Jesse Tyler Ferguson


  • 11 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, plus extra as wanted
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon anise seeds, plus
  • extra for topping
  • 1 teaspoon floor cinnamon
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup firmly packed gentle brown sugar
  • 1 massive egg, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons anise extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Flaky sea salt


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Grease a 9-inch sq. baking dish with somewhat butter, then line with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang (it will make it straightforward to carry the bars from the pan).

3. In a medium bowl, whisk collectively the flour, baking powder, salt, anise seeds, and cinnamon.

4. Within the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the 11 tablespoons butter and the sugars on medium pace till creamy and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape down the perimeters of the bowl, then add the egg, anise extract, and vanilla.

5. Beat till fluffy, scraping down the bowl a few times, one other 3 minutes. Steadily add the flour combination to the butter combination, beating on low pace till simply mixed. The dough might be crumbly.

6. Scrape the dough into the baking dish and use a rubber spatula to press it down in a fair layer. Sprinkle extra anise seeds and a few flaky sea salt evenly over the dough.

7. Bake till golden across the edges and a toothpick inserted within the heart comes out clear, about 25 minutes. Let cool within the pan for quarter-hour.

8. Use the parchment as a sling to carry the cake from the pan and place on a wire rack to chill fully, then slice into 16 bars.

Recipe reprinted from “Meals Between Pals” by Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Julie Tanous. Copyright © 2021 by Julie & Jesse Prepare dinner, LLC. Printed by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random Home, a division of Penguin Random Home LLC.

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