Meet Joey Skladany– CBS Interactive’s Chowhound editor-at-large, TV and radio personality, and THAT basic bitch. A lover of polyester crowns from Forever 21 (RIP) and bottomless mimosas at brunch (same, girl.)
Joey finds joy in life’s simple pleasures and invites fellow basic bitches to do the same in BASIC BITCHEN: 100+ Everyday Recipes, likeNacho Average Nachosand Gossip-Worthy Sunday Pancakes, for the Basic Bitch in Your Life. This hilarious compilation of basic bitch soul food is set to release later this summer, and it’s safe to say I have never been more excited to buy a cookbook!
Chock-full of devilishly delectable dishes and witticisms, BASIC BITCHEN recipes also include sidebars on the nutritional benefits of ingredients (turmeric = antioxidants = J.Lo glow!) From Basic Bitch Lifeblood, a.k.a. the Pumpkin Spice Latte, to Pfft to Portion Control Pork Dumplings,*see below for recipe* BASIC BITCHEN is anything but your basic cookbook. Skladany also serves up tips and tricks, like how to stock the basic pantry with staples and those “extra” extras (get that apron, child) that make a basic bitch’s life easier. And, yes, there will be kombucha (or kombitcha, if ya nasty,) so pour that glass of rosé, embrace your inner basic bitch, and read what Skladany had to share with BELLA!
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First and foremost, what came first… the comedic genius or the master chef?
The comedic genius, for sure. Extra emphasis on “genius.” (Just kidding.) I actually grew up an extremely picky eater, but have always been a self-deprecating, outspoken, and sarcastic guy, so it was my goal to merge the humor of my everyday life with my eventual love for food. A lot of people in the cookbook industry take themselves very seriously…and that’s fine! I truly think there is a place and audience for everyone when it comes to cooking and baking and varying degrees of skill levels. But I wanted to go into this project with a lighthearted, fun, and simple approach that really plays into basic bitch culture—something we can *all* relate to, no matter how sophisticated or high-brow we are or pretend to be.
I can’t wait for BASIC BITCHEN to be released, so I can start whipping up these fabulous recipes and laughing my butt off while I do it! What was your inspiration to create such a unique style of cookbook?
When I got into food editorial, I was initially disappointed with the number of cookbooks that were aspirational over inspirational. The kitchen is an amazing place to challenge yourself and learn new techniques, but many chefs present these in ways that are entirely too unrealistic and unattainable for the everyday person. Basic Bitchen really caters to the amateur cook or baker with basic (duh) and easy recipes that are supported by helpful tips, tricks, hacks, substitutions, and nutritional facts to guide you along the way. I love, love, love a complex, creative, and fancy dinner and I love, love, love traveling across the world to experience new cultures and cuisine, but I also love chicken nuggets with french fries just as much, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. This book celebrates these go-to comfort foods that have become mealtime staples, except now you get to build up the confidence to make them yourself.
You shared with us a taste of what’s to come – your dumpling recipe – and it looks delish! How would you describe these dumplings?
My husband in food-form? Seriously. I am obsessed. Dumplings are one of those foods that I can house by the hundred. They’re also really fun to make—with kids, even—and a perfect dish to whip up during this time in quarantine. Just pop them in the freezer if you don’t heat them all at once and you’ve got meals for days. Also, my favorite foods are ones that you can dip, and these pair well with a bevy of Asian sauces that you can either purchase from the store or whip up in no time.
Using some signature “Joey-isms” let everyone know why the need a copy of BASIC BITCHEN in their kitchen…
If you chop garlic like you’re wearing Sally’s press-on nails or have no idea what a fine-mesh sieve is, this is the book for you. It’s okay to not have the cooking skills of an Iron Chef. It’s okay to crave something as simple as a Nutella mug cake. It’s okay to be fearful of appliances and ingredients with exotic names. Ultimately, this book’s goal is to teach you the basics of cooking and baking techniques while making you laugh along the way. And if you mess up anything in the process, you get to at least laugh at how hilariously tragic my life is through a series of vignettes that introduce each recipe. You’re welcome.
Pfft to Portion Control Pork Dumplings
PREP TIME: 1 HOUR
COOK TIME: 50 MINUTES
TOTAL TIME: 1 HOUR 50 MINUTES
YIELD: 55 TO 60 DUMPLINGS
“Boys on Grindr looking for ‘friends’ are like me walking into a Chinese restaurant and looking for bok choy. Lies and deceit. When I want dumplings, I want them bad. And like fries and sushi, I sometimes think dumplings are one of those foods that can carve an endless pit in my stomach. If they’re cooked right and paired with a sweet-and-spicy sauce, I can keep going and going and the results are far from pretty. Have you ever seen a horse excitedly eat grain from a bucket? That horse is me, except with dumplings, so someone please put me out to pasture before my dreams of being on My 600 lb. Life (and becoming everyone else’s problem) turn into a reality.”
FOR THE PORK DUMPLINGS:
1-pound napa cabbage (about 1 /2 head), finely chopped
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1-pound ground pork
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger (from a 2-inch piece)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
2 teaspoons sugar
3 /4 cup finely chopped scallions (4 or 5 large scallions)
1 /4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 eggs, beaten
60 round dumpling wrappers
Vegetable oil, for frying
FOR THE DIPPING SAUCE:
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 /4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 scallion (white and pale green parts only), finely chopped
1 /4 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
GET TO WERK:
1.Make the pork dumplings: Place the cabbage in a bowl, sprinkle the salt evenly over it, and set aside for 15 minutes at room temperature. Wring out the excess water from the cabbage.
2. In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, pork, ginger, garlic, sugar, scallions, cilantro, soy sauce, sesame oil, and eggs. Season with salt and mix to combine.
3. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Fill a small bowl with water and set it nearby. On a clean work surface, lay out a few dumpling wrappers. Add a scant 1 tablespoon of the filling to each wrapper. Dip your finger in the water and dampen the edges of one wrapper. Starting from the right side, begin to pleat your dumpling. Pinch the corner to seal and then fold over a small flap, creating your first pleat; repeat as many or as few times as you’d like until you have sealed the dumpling. Use extra water if necessary, to make sure the dumpling is sealed. Place the finished dumplings in rows on the prepared baking sheets. Repeat with the remaining filling and wrappers.
4. In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add 8 to 10 dumplings to the pan at a time, making sure that they are not touching. Cook until the bottoms being to turn golden brown. Add a few tablespoons of water to the pan and cover with a lid. Reduce the heat to low and allow the dumplings to cook through, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a platter. Repeat with the remaining dumplings, adding another tablespoon of oil to the pan before each batch.
5. Make the dipping sauce: In a medium bowl, combine the rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, scallion, and sesame seeds. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Serve with the dumplings.
JUST THE TIPS: After seasoning your pork mixture, cook off a tablespoon in a sauté pan and give it a taste to make sure it is seasoned properly before forming all of your dumplings. Once your dumplings are formed, you can freeze them in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Frozen dumplings take about twice as long to cook as fresh dumplings (6 to 8 minutes).
Order BASIC BITCHEN on Amazon, here!
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