New York City native Joe Zaso has just released a new cookbook, and the timing couldn’t be better. It’s a safe bet that the combination of closed restaurants and takeout food burnout has stimulated many of us– particularly those of us living in big cities– to learn what a whisk is used for, to discover that the stove top could be used for more than just lighting cigarettes, and to realize that refrigerators are not just for displaying a montage of paper menus and sticky notes. For his new book, Zaso spotlights both his own recipes as well as contributions from over 20 of his friends, from experienced cooks like his “dear cookbook cohort” Beverly Orth-Geoghegan to full-time socialite Wendy Stuart, who freely admits that she used her oven for extra storage in her space-strapped Manhattan apartment.
Joe Zaso himself, however, is definitely NOT a novice when it comes to the culinary arts. He is an actor, model, filmmaker, producer, author, and horror movie aficionado. He’s also… a chef! Zaso is the creator of Café Himbo, which brings together cooking, comedy, and celebrity. Joe has a Café Himbo webseries and has written seven Café Himbo cookbooks. The newest one, just released this month, is named QUARANTINE CUISINE: Delicious Ways to Endure Isolation. Like Zaso’s previous publications, this all-inclusive cookbook features recipes from Zaso himself and a diverse supporting cast of his mover-and-shaker friends: Clay von Carlowitz, Armand Mastroianni, Astra Paredes, Beverly Orth-Geoghegan, Lynne Griffin and Sean Sullivan, Sasha Graham, Geratta-Geretta, Michael Musto, Elizabeth Blue, Hedda Lettuce and her chihuahua Lupe, Viv Maudlin, Catherine Mary Stewart, Elizabeth Shepherd, Ray Schwetz, Vernon Parrott, Keith Summers, Wendy Stuart and Jed Ryan, one of Zaso’s West Village friends known only as Ebony, and Zaso’s own mother Fran. As you may have figured out, there are a LOT of recipes in QUARANTINE CUISINE, many with such titillating names as “It’s Apples and Oranges Bread”, courtesy of Lynne Griffin, and Sasha Graham’s “Hope You Don’t Croque Before Dawn Madame”. Yes, the humor in this book runs as freely as the olive oil…
QUARANTINE CUISINE is divided into five chapters: “There’s Got to Be a Morning After” (breakfast and brunch), “Soylent Green Is Us!” (veggies, salads, and “suggestions”), “Voyage to the Bottom of the Plate” (snacks, sides, and light meals), “We May Never Nosh Like This Again” (meats, stews, and meals), and “When Baking Time Ran Out” (breads, sweets, and tarts). As you may have imagined, there are enough recipes to get the creative juices of even the most jaded of chefs flowing again– from breakfast (How about Zaso’s “Himbo Mini Breakfast Quiche” to start your work-at-home day?) to desserts such as “Viv Maudlin’s Devil Cake” and Clay von Carlowitz‘ “Chickpea Cookie Dough” to elevate those ‘ronavirus blues. The book features many vegetarian and/or vegan options (Michael Musto’s “Broccoli a la Quarantine” is one.), and carnivores of all species certainly will have a lot to choose from as well, such as Catherine Mary Stewart’s “Stuffed Pork Tenderloin”.
Zaso’s book is adorned with many fun anecdotes and many eye-popping, full-color photos– not just of the finalized dishes and the recipes’ contributors, but also of Mr. Zaso himself. This chef is, after all, also an actor and a model. Let’s just say that even though “Manhattan Beefcake” is not one of the recipes, there’s plenty of it in QUARANTINE CUSINE. (More about that later…)
Joe Zaso’s QUARANTINE CUISINE: Delicious Ways to Endure Isolation, is available in e-book format with a limited number of print-to-order books by request. All purchases of QUARANTINE CUISINE also come with an autographed sexy photo of Mr. Zaso:
Now THAT’S a great way to “end” a fine meal!
You can buy the new book at http://www.JoeZaso.net, where you can also watch episodes of Café Himbo, see Zaso’s movie trailers, buy his six other books, and see lots of amazing photos.
Read my 2011 interview with Joe Zaso here.