Open Kitchen: Inspired Food for Casual Gatherings by Susan Spungen


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As a renowned food stylist, New York Times contributor, founding food editor of Martha Stewart Living, and frequent hostess, Susan Spungen is devoted to creating perfectly simple recipes for good food. In OPEN KITCHEN: Inspired Food for Casual Gatherings (Avery, March 2020, Hardcover), she arms readers with elegant, must-make meal ideas that are easy to share and enjoy with friends and family. Susan knows that just like anything else, cooking is a practice. In this magnificent cookbook, she shows readers how to achieve a certain sprezzatura—studied nonchalance—have more fun cooking, and get a beautiful meal on the table without too much last-minute fuss. 

An open kitchen, whether physical or spiritual, is a place to welcome company, to enjoy togetherness and the making of a meal. This cookbook is full of contemporary, stylish, and accessible dishes that will delight and impress with less effort. From simple starters such as Burrata with Pickled Cherries and centerpieces such as Kale and Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken, to desserts such as Chamomile Flan, the dishes are seasonal classics with a twist. Her meals are vegetable-forward and always appealing. Susan approaches cooking with an artist’s sensibility—layering on flavors, textures, and colors—for uncontrived, elegant food. 

Other dishes to look forward to include: 

  • Slow-Roasted Lamb Shoulder with Pomegranate Molasses 
  • Meyer Lemon Gnocchi with Spring Vegetables 
  • Vietnamese Watermelon and Tomato Salad 
  • Rosey Harissa Chicken 
  • Squash Blossom Frittata 
  • Roasted Radishes with Green Pesto and Crème Fraiche 
  • Fried Black Rice with Shrimp and Shiitakes 
  • Chocolate Malt Semifreddo 
  • Peach Caramel Galette 

Open Kitchen is an exciting collection of beautiful recipes that are easy enough for weekday meals, but impressive enough for entertaining. From Cassoulet Toast (yes, please!) and a Stress-less Cheese Soufflé, to Crispy Semolina Potatoes and an entire chapter of desserts that I’m planning on baking my way through. Susan Spungen’s magnificent book celebrates freshness and takes familiar flavors in unexpected—and delicious—directions. IT’S A MUST FOR ANYONE WHO LOVES TO COOK, BAKE . . . AND OF COURSE, EAT.” 

—DAVID LEBOVITZ, author of My Paris Kitchen and Drinking French 

Open Kitchen overflows with intuitive, crave-able cooking! Just like Susan Spungen herself, these recipes will lure you into the kitchen and have you chopping, roasting, and drizzling better than you ever knew you could. This is not just a book on how to make good food, it’s a blueprint for HOW TO COOK WITH JOY, CONFIDENCE, AND EASE—from prep to presentation!” 

—GAIL SIMMONS, food expert, TV host and author of Bringing It Home 

Filled with practical tips and Susan’s “get-ahead” cooking philosophy that ensures streamlined, stress-free preparation, this cookbook encourages readers to open their kitchens to new flavors, menus, and guests. Most of the food in OPEN KITCHEN is designed to be made at least partly, if not completely, ahead of time, and to be served family style on shareable platters and bowls. The recipes themselves are engineered specifically to make cooking for a party easier, whether it’s for four or fourteen. 

Perfect for occasions that call for simple but elevated comfort food, whether it’s a relaxed gathering or a weeknight dinner, Open Kitchen shows read- ers how to maximize results with minimal effort for deeply satisfying, a little bit surprising, and delicious meals. It is a cookbook you’ll reach for again and again. 

SUSAN SPUNGEN is a cook, food stylist, recipe developer, and author. She was the food editor at Martha Stewart Living from its founding in 1991 to 2003. She was the culinary consultant and food stylist on the feature films Julie & Julia, It’s Complicated, and Eat Pray Love. She is the author of Recipes: A Collection for the Modern Cook, What’s a Hostess to Do?, and Short Stack Editions’ Strawberries. She also co-authored Martha Stewart’s Hors d’Oeuvres Handbook, which was a bestseller. She lives in New York City and East Hampton, New York.