Tyler Florence's Real Kitchen

Tyler Florence's Real Kitchen


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In his first cookbook, Food Network star, Tyler Florence prepares you to cook for any occasion with recipes that range from dinner with friends to table for two and from one pot wonders to cocktail parties all featuring his signature bold, irresistible, real flavors.    

With a culinary sensibility refined in some of New York’s most high-profile restaurants, and a down-home practicality gained as the cooking guru of Food 911, Tyler cooks food that’s fresh, flavorful, and totally doable. In Tyler Florence’s Real Kitchen, he’ll show you how to cook simple meals that taste amazing, from comfort-food to classics to vibrantly new dishes.

Tyler’s first cookbook stays true to his cooking philosophy—use great, simple ingredients and let the natural flavors speak for themselves. He offers can’t-miss recipes for all the crowd-pleasing dishes that you crave—cold fried chicken, a perfect meatloaf, or drop-dead lasagna. Tyler’s bold, uncomplicated style even makes sophisticated food easy, with recipes like Pan-Roasted Sirloin with Arugula, Sweet Peppers, and Olive Salad or Steamed Mussels with Saffron and Tomato. He’ll show you how to get a great meal from the grocery bag to the table with the least fuss and the most flavor, or how to throw a barbecue with the best burgers (spiced up with horseradish and Havarti cheese) that your friends have ever had. From weekend brunch (including Soft Scrambled Eggs with Salmon and Avocado and an assortment of dim sum) to quick weeknight dinners for two (like Hong Kong Crab Cakes with Baby Bok Choy), and a selection of great party food and cocktails, this is a cookbook you’ll use again and again for every occasion.

With helpful notes on essential pantry staples and a list of the kitchen equipment you really need, Tyler Florence’s Real Kitchen is a fresh, creative exploration of just how fun (and delicious) your cooking can be.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780609609972
Publisher: Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale
Publication date: 03/25/2003
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 8.37(w) x 10.31(h) x 1.06(d)

About the Author

TYLER FLORENCE is a Food Network star, author of twelve books, product designer, and the chef-owner of Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco and El Paseo in Mill Valley, California. He also produces wines under his California Crush label. He lives in California with his family.

JOANN CIANCIULLI discovered her love of food growing up in the kitchen of her father’s Italian restaurant in Queens. She has worked as a producer on numerous Food Network productions and lives in New York City.

Read an Excerpt

table for two

I know how tough it is to cook something after a long day at work, but the alternatives-expensive dinners out, ordering in, frozen whatever, or worse-are not exactly appetizing. So before you order takeout sushi again, consider these quick-to-make classics.

Most are designed to be made in an hour or less using a minimum of pots and pans. And with their simple, clean flavors, you'll emerge from the kitchen looking like a champ every time.

Pan-Fried Tofu with Spinach, Pear, and Star Anise

1 hour

This visually stunning dish also packs a real flavor punch. Even people who don't normally like tofu feast on this dish, though you can substitute beef, if you must. If you can get your hands on an Asian pear, use it here. Green beans are also good in this instead of the spinach. Serve this with Perfect Steamed Jasmine Rice (page 240).

Serves 2

1 block extra-firm tofu, 15 ounces, halved horizontally
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger, peeled
1 garlic clove, minced
1 fresh red chile, cut in paper-thin circles
3 whole star anise
1/3 cup roasted peanuts
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
Juice of 1/2 lime
2 pounds baby spinach

1 pear or Asian pear, sliced into thin wedgesLay several layers of paper towels on a cutting board, then place the tofu squares on top, side by side. Cover the tofu with more paper towels and place a plate on top. Add a can or two to press down and drain out some of the water in the curd. This makes the tofu denser and meatier.

In a large skillet, heat the peanut and sesame oils just to the smoking point. Fry the tofu on both sides, flipping occasionally with the spatula, until golden, about 8 minutes total. Remove the tofu from the pan and drain it on a plate lined with paper towels.

Using the same pan, sauté the ginger, garlic, chile, star anise, and peanuts-your kitchen will smell amazing! In a small bowl, mix the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and lime juice together. Briefly toss the spinach in the pan, stirring just to wilt, no more than 30 seconds. Remove the spinach to a bowl, scraping the peanut mixture in there also. Put the pan back on the heat and heat the hoisin mixture. Combine the sauce with the spinach and divide between 2 bowls. Lay the pear slices and tofu on top.

Spaghetti with Peas and Pancetta

1 hour

The flavor of peas and bacon takes me back to my childhood; that's why I like this pasta dish so much. I feel like a little kid wolfing this down. It 's even good cold!

Serves 2

1/2 pound spaghetti
Extra-virgin olive oil
6 ounces pancetta or thick-cut bacon, diced
1 onion, minced
1 bay leaf
1 cup sweet peas, frozen or fresh (see Note, page 52)
1 ounce goat cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Juice of 1 lemon
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh basil, hand-torn

In a large stockpot, cook the spaghetti in plenty of boiling salted water for about 10 minutes; it should still be a little firm.

At the same time, heat a 2-count drizzle of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the pancetta, and stir it around. When the fat starts to render, after about 3 minutes, add the onion and bay leaf. Cook and stir until the onion caramelizes, about 10 minutes. Now add the peas and cook for 2 minutes just to heat them through.

Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the starchy water for the sauce. Fold the goat cheese into the hot pasta and give it a toss so it melts. Scrape the pancetta, onions, and peas into the pasta pot (toss the bay leaf). Add the Parmigiano, parsley, and lemon juice. Slowly pour in the reserved pasta water to dissolve the cheese and thin it out to a sauce consistency. Hit it with a healthy dose of olive oil and quite a few turns of freshly ground black pepper to give it bite. Return the noodles to the pot and gently toss to coat in the sauce. Split the pasta between 2 large bowls and shower it with the shredded basil.

Sage-Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Dried Plum Sauce

1 hour

Pork tenderloin is like the filet mignon of the pig, so I serve this with Red Onions Roasted with Balsamic and Honey (page 260) and round everything out with Garlic-Chive Mashed Potatoes (page 237). Charred red onions match perfectly with the sweetness of the dried plums (dried plum is code for prune).

Serves 2

Plum Sauce
1 bottle fruity red wine, such as Pinot Noir
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3/4 cup pitted prunes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pork Tenderloin
4 fresh sage leaves
1 pound pork tenderloin
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Extra-virgin olive oilStart with the plum sauce, because it takes longer than the pork. Combine the red wine, sugar, vinegar, and prunes in a pot. Cook over medium heat until the prunes simmer down and get really soft, about 20 minutes. While that is cooking, move on to the pork.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Arrange the sage sprigs in a row down the length of the pork tenderloin and tie with butcher's twine to hold them in place. Season the pork all over with salt and pepper. Put a cast-iron (or regular ovenproof) skillet over medium-high heat. Coat the bottom of the pan with a little olive oil and get it almost smoking. Add the pork to the pan and sear on all sides until nicely browned and caramelized. Transfer the whole thing to the oven, pan and all, and roast the pork for 10 to 12 minutes.

Puree the prune mixture in a food processor or with a handheld blender. The prunes will thicken the sauce; season with salt and pepper. Cut the string off the pork but leave the sage leaves in place. Slice the pork tenderloin on a slight bias into 1-inch-thick pieces. Drizzle the sauce over the pork.

Pan-Roasted Sirloin with Salad of Arugula, Sweet Peppers, and Olives

1 hour

Avoid using a salad spinner to wash and dry the arugula-the leaves bruise easily. Instead, dunk them in a sink of cool water and lift them into a colander. Pat dry with a kitchen towel. Simple salt and pepper will form a crust on the steaks when you sear them. I don't normally serve anything else with this warm steak salad except the rest of the bottle of Cabernet used in the vinaigrette recipe.

Serves 2

2 red bell peppers
Extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup mixed whole black and green olives, such as kalamata and Picholine
1 bunch baby arugula, trimmed
Juice of 1/2 lemon
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled

2 New York strip steaks, 8 to 10 ounces each, about 1 1/2 inches thick
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
4 fresh thyme sprigs
1/2 cup dry red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Start by preparing the peppers because they will take the longest. Preheat the broiler. Pull out their cores, then halve the peppers lengthwise, and remove the ribs and seeds. Toss the peppers with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place them on a cookie sheet, skin side up, and broil for 10 minutes until really charred and blistered. Put the peppers into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let steam for about 10 minutes to loosen the skins. In the meantime, move on to the steaks.

Switch the oven from broil to bake and set the temperature to 350°F. Season both sides of the steaks with sea salt and a generous amount of coarsely ground black pepper, about 1 tablespoon of pepper per steak. Place a cast-iron (or regular ovenproof) skillet over medium-high heat. Coat the bottom of the pan with a 2-count drizzle of olive oil and get it smoking hot. Add the steaks and sear for 4 minutes on each side. Throw in the thyme, then transfer the skillet to the hot oven and roast the steaks for 5 minutes for a nice medium-rare (120 to 125°F. internal temperature).

While that's going, pull the loosened skins off the peppers; cut the peppers into nice fat strips and toss them with the olives. Set aside because the steaks should be ready now. Remove the steaks to a cutting board and let them rest for a few minutes before slicing. (This keeps the juices in the meat, not running all over the counter.)

The last thing to make is a quick vinaigrette using the flavors left in the bottom of the skillet. Pour out some of the beef fat and return the pan to the stove. Add the red wine and boil over medium heat while scraping with a wooden spoon to pull the flavors up. Let the wine reduce to 1/4 cup; this will intensify the flavor. Add the sugar and a 1-count of olive oil to balance it out.

Putting it all together is a snap. Cut the steaks on an angle into slices. Gently toss the peppers and olives with the arugula. Drizzle the salad with a little more olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Toss lightly again and then divide between 2 plates. Arrange the steak slices on top of the salad and garnish with the crumbled blue cheese; then drizzle the pan vinaigrette over the steak salads and serve.

Creamed Chicken with Mushrooms, Spring Onions, and Leggy Red Wine

1 1/2 hours

I love this dish for the simple ingredients and hearty, rustic flavors. Braising the chicken in red wine actually tenderizes the meat, as well as imparting a beautiful purple hue. "Leggy" red wine means to me a heavy wine with depth and body. Depending on whether or not each of you can eat half a chicken, you will probably have leftovers. Soft, creamy polenta (page 244) is a great accompaniment.

Serves 2

1 chicken, about 3 pounds, cut into 8 pieces
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
1 pint white mushrooms, stemmed
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bottle full-bodied red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream

6 spring onions, white and green parts, trimmedSeason the chicken with a fair amount of salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken in the flour and tap off the excess. Place a heavy Dutch oven over medium heat. Coat the bottom with a 2-count of oil. Brown the chicken, skin side down, to crisp the skin. Throw a sprig of rosemary in to create a base flavor. Then turn the chicken over and brown the other side. If the pan looks crowded, do this in batches.

Remove the chicken to a side plate. Add the mushrooms and garlic to the chicken drippings left in the pot; stir until they begin to soften. Pour in the wine and let it cook down, uncovered, until reduced by half. Taste and add the sugar to balance out the tannins in the wine. Return the chicken to the pan, cover, and simmer for about 25 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the cream, and taste for salt and pepper. The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon; if not, cook a few minutes longer. Toss the green onions in for the last few minutes so they are wilted but don't lose their color. Big flavor!

Herb-and-Lemon-Roasted Chicken with Smashed Broccoli and Garlic

1 1/4 hours to make + 5 hours to marinate

Give yourself plenty of time to marinate the chicken; I usually do this the morning I plan to serve it. The smashed broccoli and garlic remind me of the soft, overcooked vegetables of my youth. It's mushy and satisfying. To me, chicken and broccoli is a classic combination that doesn't need rice or potatoes to go with-it's perfect the way it is.

Serves 2

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon, peeled in big strips
4 garlic cloves, smashed
4 fresh thyme sprigs
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon
1 lemon, sliced in paper-thin circles
2 bone-in chicken breasts, 8 ounces each, skin on
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup Chicken Stock (page 156)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon unsalted butter


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch of red pepper flakes
5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 bunch broccoli, about 1 pound, including stems, coarsely chopped
1 cup Chicken Stock (page 156)
1/4 cup plain yogurt

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepperStart by marinating the chicken because it will take the longest. To infuse the oil with flavor and create a base for the marinade, combine the olive oil with the lemon zest, garlic, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves in a small pot and place over very low heat. You don't want to fry the herbs, just steep them like you're making tea. When the oil begins to simmer, shut off the heat and let it stand for 10 minutes. Pour the fragrant oil, solid pieces and all, into a bowl and put it in the refrigerator to cool.

Combine the chopped chives, parsley, and tarragon in a small bowl. Stuff 2 lemon slices under the skin of each chicken breast, along with half of the mixed chopped herbs. Put the chicken in a resealable food storage bag and pour in the cool herb oil, turning to coat really well. Toss in the remaining half of the chopped herbs, seal the bag, and refrigerate at least 5 hours or as long as all day.

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator about 15 minutes before cooking so it won't be too cold when it goes into the pan; cold chicken takes longer to cook. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Put a cast-iron (or regular ovenproof) skillet over medium heat. Drizzle the bottom of the pan with a 2-count of olive oil and heat until almost smoking; this will keep the chicken from sticking. Season the chicken with a fair amount of salt and pepper and put it in the pan, skin side down. Cook for 5 minutes or until the skin begins to set and crisp. Flip the chicken and brown another 5 minutes. Flip it yet again, so the skin side is down, and transfer the entire pan to the oven. You want the chicken to render its fat and the skin to crisp up. Roast the chicken for 20 to 25 minutes or until cooked through. While that's in the oven, move on to the broccoli.

Heat the olive oil in a medium pot; add the red pepper flakes and garlic. Throw in the broccoli and toss to coat in the garlic and oil. Pour in the chicken stock, cover, and let the broccoli steam for 10 minutes. When it is quite soft, pulse the broccoli a few times in a food processor, or better yet, use a handheld blender if you have one. The broccoli should be partly smooth and partly chunky. Stir in the yogurt to give the broccoli some body and season with salt and pepper.

Transfer the chicken to a platter and keep it warm while preparing the pan sauce. Pour out all but 1 tablespoon of the rendered chicken fat and return the skillet to the stovetop. Add the chicken stock and lemon juice and cook over medium heat, scraping up the flavors with a wooden spoon. Cook the liquid down to a syrup, about 5 minutes. Stir in the butter to smooth out the sauce and turn off the heat.

Spoon the smashed broccoli onto 2 plates, lay the chicken on top, and drizzle with the pan sauce. This is comfort food!

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Tyler Florence's Real Kitchen 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
MaryLamb More than 1 year ago
This is an unusual cookbook in that it was fun to read but a little difficult to use. The recipes are NOT run-of-the mill and I don't have many of the items "on hand" that are essential to the dishes. However, once I bought recipe ingredients, I found the food delicious and a little off the beaten path, which was actually quite nice for some parties - providing your guests are somewhat adventurous. However, using the recipes requires planning ahead, so be sure to allow time. I can see how some of the recipes could easily become "signature dishes" for a good cook!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'll admit that I bought this because I have a slight crush on Mr. Florence...but this has become by far my favorite cookbook. It's down to earth, it's written for real people and the recipes deliver every time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I would be lying if I said I wasn't influenced by Tyler Florence's good looks and charm when I bought this cookbook. 'Real Kitchen' is just as charming and inviting as Tyler. This is a well-written, unpretentious cookbook. I have an extensive collection of cookbooks, especially from tv personalities, and Tyler's 'Real Kitchen' is a must-have. The Drop Dead Lasagna says it all ... whenever I make this for friends and family they all say its the best they've ever tasted. The Croissant French Toast with carmelized apples is phenomenal, as well. Get this one folks, you won't be disappointed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
You will lean so much from this book, cooking with fresh ingredients and easy techniques.
Guest More than 1 year ago
At first glance, many of the recipes looked too complicated and/or expensive to make. We have a 3-month-old son and so I don't exactly have time to spend hours slaving over the stove. However, once I really sat down and read the recipes, they aren't too hard for someone who knows the basics of cooking. Yes, some of the ingredients are a little pricier but the results are so worth it and with a well-stocked pantry and refrigerator, I found most of the recipes only take buying one or two things (such as the meat). So far, I have tried quite a few of the recipes and really enjoyed making the dishes. The most outstanding one I have made was the Sage-Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Dried Plum Sauce. I used a Biltmore Estate Merlot, which seemed to be perfect in the sauce, and the dish turned out absolutely great! The sauce is such a beautiful, deep-red color and the pork tenderloin was indeed tender...it's the kind of dish you would pay $20 to $30 a plate for at a restaurant. I would definitely recommend this cookbook to anyone who knows their way around the kitchen at least a little, and enjoys making simple, yet elegant dishes.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've tried Tyler's recipes from the tv shows and now have his book - the recipes are easy to follow and have tasted great! Try the beef bourguignon - it is outstanding and really was as easy to prepare as it is listed in the cookbook. I can't wait to try out more recipes!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful cookbook, with fresh recipes and simple cooking techniques. I just got this book and have already tried three recipes-the Hong Kong Crab Cakes with Baby Bok Choy are great! The photographs in the book are beautiful, and the recipes are well written with clear instructions. I am a serious home cook, and this book is already one of my favorites-and I have more than 100 cookbooks.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is full of wonderful and original recipes that anyone could make. Tyler is out and about traveling the country meeting his fans at book signings and he is so wonderful in person. He is very humble and personable. If you get the opportunity to meet him you will be impressed with how nice and real he is. Try the Drop Dead Lasagna...wonderful!!! Look for him on Food TV.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have a lot of cookbooks, and I appreciate those that I can really use. This book has wonderful recipes (I've already tried a couple, and I just got the book yesterday) that appeal to most every palate-and most don't require a trip to a specialty store!
carlym on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The meatloaf recipe in this book is particularly good, but there aren't really that many recipes. Florence is also almost unbearably pretentious here.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bought three of Tyler's books to take to a book signing. Two were for gifts and I was keeping one. This is the one I decided to keep, althought it was hard to pick one over the others.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tyler Florence has a gift for simplifying recipes and making them less "daunting". I bought this book as a gift and ended up getting another one for myself.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Tyler Florenc!!! His recipes are so easy and are SO GOOD!!! The book was AWESOME!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just got this book and was very excited to try the recipes since I am a fan of Tyler's. I made the coconut bread and was not impressed. One TABLESPOON of baking powder seems weird! And tastes even weirder. Checked his other pastry recipes, and they all call for this amount. Help! I may try again using 1 teaspoon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hey. Lol