Wow. Just...wow. Take that trend of stuffing cookies and candies inside cute cupcakes, swap in some meat and give it a dinner spin, and you get things like Mac and Cheese Stuffed Burgers, Chicken Stuffed Waffles, and Jalapeño Popper Dogs. I predict an equal divide between those of you who are instantly turned off by the whole concept of this book and those of you who will clutch Dan Whalen's Stuffed to your chests and sprint to the kitchen while laughing maniacally.
• Who wrote it: Dan Whalen
• Who published it: Page Street Publishing Co.
• The Angle: Food stuffed inside food = crazy tasty fun times.
• Recipes for right now: Ginger Peanut Chicken Samosas, Cuban Sandwich Empanadas, Chicken Stuffed Waffles, Vietnamese Burritos, Carnitas Burrito Manicotti, Cheesesteak Pot Stickers, Pad Thai Stuffed Squid, Mac and Cheese Chili Rellenos, Cheddar Sriracha Stuffed Mushrooms, Stuffed Cookies
• Other highlights:
There are actually two things going on with this book, which seems appropriate for a book on stuffed foods. Not only are we getting comfort food mashups — fries stuffed inside burgers, shepherd's pie meatballs, and the like — but we're also getting cultural mashups. Dan Whalen has recipes stuffing Indian aloo gobi into Polish pierogis, Buffalo chicken stuffed into Chinese steamed buns, and an Italian bolognese version of tamales.
I definitely give Dan points for creativity here. Some of these combinations I want to try just because they sound so completely bizarre that I can't even imagine what they taste like. I also appreciate that Dan includes a "pig-out scale" for each recipe so that just in case the recipe title or accompanying photo weren't quite enough, we have a way of knowing the level of pigging out we're in for.
If you're having trouble envisioning a situation where you might want to make cheesesteak pot stickers or pad thai stuffed squid, I'd suggest throwing a party. A great many of these recipes are best suited for sharing with large groups, either because they are two-bite wonders or because their caloric load is better distributed throughout a crowd. If you love tailgating or throwing big parties for any handy reason, this is definitely a book you want to check out.
A tip of the hat to you, Mr. Whalen, for a cookbook that truly has "wow factor."
• Who would enjoy this book? Anyone who read the descriptions of these recipes and immediately thought, "YES!", tailgating aficionados, cooks with a good sense of humor and a love for cheese.
Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: Stuffed: The Ultimate Comfort Food Cookbook by Dan Whalen
• Visit the author's website: The Food In My Beard
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.
(Image credits: Emma Christensen)