Lifestyle

Eat Like a Model (And Still Be Satisfied)

FOR MODEL, TV personality, social-media juggernaut and cookbook author Chrissy Teigen, recipe inspiration arises in the unlikeliest places. Take the One-Pot Seafood Stew With Skillet Flatbread featured in her second cookbook, “Cravings: Hungry for More” (Sept. 18, Clarkson Potter). She got the idea for the dish on an UGG fashion shoot among the glaciers of Iceland. It was one of those all-too-luxurious photo sessions, ending with a “bearded hunk of a man-chef” cooking hand-foraged shellfish over volcanic rocks. But even that self-described “unrelatable” anecdote doesn’t detract from Ms. Teigen’s approachability. By the end of the recipe’s introduction, with its description of the broth as “a delicious tomato Jacuzzi,” you’re not alienated by Ms. Teigen’s aspirational life—you’re drawn into it.

Twenty years ago, eating like a model meant submitting to non-stop calorie restriction or signing up for a specialized diet (à la the raw-food cookbooks that ’80s supermodel Carol Alt wrote, and I, full disclosure, helped edit). But as fashion has become more casual—hello, athleisure—cookbooks from the genetically gifted have come down to Earth. Like the recent recipe collections from British former model Sophie Dahl (granddaughter of author Roald), Ms. Teigen’s books are filled with food you actually want to cook.

For Ms. Teigen, approachable doesn’t just mean shamelessly indulgent calorie bombs like Jalapeño Parmesan-Crusted Grilled Cheese or Crispy Coconut Chicken Tenders. Many of the recipes in her latest book are, by her own description, a bit less food-coma-inducing than those in her first, the best-selling “Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat” (though she still devotes an entire chapter to potatoes).

In both Ms. Teigen’s books, all the recipes share one quality: meme-ability. Dishes that generate likes on Instagram tend to be relatable riffs on or clever mashups of dishes people already love. Her Linguine with Scallops and Casino Breadcrumbs, for example, brings the bacon-powered appeal and name recognition of clams casino to a creamy bowlful of seared scallops and pasta. And Shake & Bake Chicken With Hot Honey combines an extra-crunchy DIY version of a supermarket standby with a homemade take on a hipster condiment that has conquered fancy-food-store shelves.

Writing the second “Cravings” while pregnant with her second child, Ms. Teigen came up with recipes a little less fussy than those in the first. You won’t be asked to make DIY Dorito dust for her intensely munchable Cool Ranch Taco Salad, and she offers store-bought Catalina dressing and packets of taco seasoning as shortcuts, to boot.

Along with her co-author, Adeena Sussman, Ms. Teigen never misses an opportunity to goose a dish with added flavor. Maple syrup heated up with butter and red-pepper flakes “becomes a spicy-sweet Thai condiment weapon” to serve over waffles. A truly brilliant microwave method for crisp-fried shallots and a savory shallot oil finds its way into everything from grilled eggplant to rice pilaf.

As irresistible as these recipes are, the beating heart of this book, like the first one, is the “Thai Mom” chapter of recipes from her mother, Vilailuck Teigen (who goes by the handle @pepperthai2 on her own Instagram feed). And as convincing as the junior Ms. Teigen is in cajoling Middle America to make spicy Thai fish cakes and “mindnumbingly awesome” Tom Yum Noodles, her most effusive praise is reserved for Pepper’s Garlicky Bacon Scramble, a decidedly non-photogenic but super-flavorful dish of her mother’s design that she ate so often during her pregnancy, she claims her daughter is “basically made of these greasy, garlicky eggs.” A glamorous model hawking the most humble (and satisfying) breakfast you can imagine? That high-low combo will always be in fashion.

Shake & Bake Chicken With Hot Honey

Total Time: 45 minutes Serves: 4-6

Marinate the chicken: In a small bowl, whisk together ½ cup olive oil, ¼ cup red wine vinegar, 2 cloves garlic, minced, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon dried basil, ½ teaspoon dried thyme, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper. Transfer to a large resealable plastic bag. Add 3½ pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces and toss to coat. Marinate in refrigerator at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours. // Make the hot honey: In a small saucepan, bring 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes and 1 cup honey to a low simmer over low heat and cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. // Make the breadcrumbs: In a large resealable bag, combine 1½ cups plain dried breadcrumbs or fine cornflake crumbs, ½ cup all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and a dash of cayenne pepper. // Working with one piece at a time, remove chicken from marinade, shake off any excess, place in bag of crumbs and shake, pressing on bag lightly to ensure that coating sticks to chicken. Lightly oil a large (10-by-15-inch) glass or metal baking dish. Arrange chicken, skin-side down, in dish. Bake 25 minutes, then flip chicken and bake until top is golden and crispy, 20-25 minutes more. Serve with hot honey.

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