The man with bam! is serving up a trio of new ventures: a family cookbook, a radio show on the Martha Stewart Living Radio Network and a casual restaurant slated to open this week in Bethlehem, Pa.

The man with bam! is serving up a trio of new ventures: a family cookbook, a radio show on the Martha Stewart Living Radio Network and a casual restaurant slated to open this week in Bethlehem, Pa.

Fall River, Mass., native and chef Emeril Lagasse returned to southern New England on Friday to promote his latest cookbook, “Emeril 20-40-60: Fresh Food Fast,” at a book signing at Dave’s Marketplace in East Greenwich, R.I.

“It’s about getting people at home excited about cooking; this one is for the home cook,” he said before the signing, which drew about 1,000 people who waited outside the store for hours to meet Lagasse.

The new cookbook is divided into three sections with 20-, 40- and 60-minute meals. Lagasse said its aim is to get busy families back to the table with easy and delicious meals arranged by cooking times.

“We’re all busy,” he said. “I didn’t want the family table to suffer. If you only have 20 minutes, cook the meals you have time for.”

In the 20-minute section, cooks will find recipes that can be assembled in minutes, including Emeril’s salad, a simplified version of the signature salad at Emeril’s Restaurant in New Orleans with jack cheese, baby greens, fresh herbs and sun-dried tomatoes as well as money-saving fare including rice and bean dish variations. There are also quick main dishes: fettuccine with peas and ham, sautéed chicken with Dijon herb sauce and boneless pork chops parmigiana.

“When we started the book 15 months ago, the economy was starting to go crazy. That put it all in perspective. You won’t see a lot of recipes for lobster,” he said.

One of the more economical dishes in the 40-minute section is a new variation on his mother Hilda’s recipe for creamy potato and hot dog soup with fresh herbs. In the book Lagasse kicks up the healthy factor a notch by using turkey hot dogs. Released Oct. 27 in time for the holidays, the new book also features recipes that can be made for company, including two time-tested favorites, steak au poive and chicken cordon bleu. “Whatever happened to steak au poive and chicken cordon bleu? You never see them anymore,” he said. “Well, they’re in my book.”

In the midst of a whirlwind book tour that had him stopping in New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island before wrapping up after Thanksgiving in Orlando, Fla., Lagasse said he doesn’t return to this area very often, but it still holds fond memories: his youth fishing along the coast, attending Johnson and Wales in Providence and his Portuguese and French heritage.

“It laid a solid foundation for where I am today,” he said.

One of the recipes in the book, Emeril’s New-style Caldo Verde with thinly sliced crisp-tender kale, is described as an homage to his childhood that would make his friend and “second mother” Ines Leite (owner of the Fall River-based St. John’s Club) proud.

“I grew up eating kale,” he said. “Now all of a sudden it’s a superfood.”

Lagasse is the chef/proprietor of 12 restaurants, and a casual burger restaurant is slated to open next weekend at a casino in Bethlehem, Pa.

The host of Emeril Green on Discovery’s Planet Green network with his previous shows, Emeril Live and Essence of Emeril still showing on the Food Nework ventured into the radio world of XM/Sirius last week with a show on the Martha Stewart Living Radio network. In 2008 Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia acquired the assets related to Lagasse’s television programming, cookbooks, Web site and his licensed kitchen and food products.

Though Lagasse said he and Stewart have very different styles, they share a common interest in food and writing cookbooks.

“She loves to write. I love to write. It’s a great relationship.”

Lagasse is the author of 14 cookbooks. In September 2008 he announced a 10-book project with HarperStudio. This book is the second in that series, which launched last spring with The New York Times bestseller “Emeril at the Grill.”

The Herald News

The following recipes are from “Emeril 20-40-60” by Emeril Lagasse, HarperStudio Publishers, New York, 2009, courtesy Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc.

EMERIL’S SALAD
(Prep time: 8 minutes; total: 8 minutes)
8 cups (about 4 ounces) loosely packed assorted baby salad greens
1⁄2 cup (about 3 ounces) grated pepper jack cheese
1⁄4 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1⁄4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1⁄4 cup (about 2 ounces) whole oil-packed sundried tomatoes, drained and julienned
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Simple Croutons (recipe follows) or store-bought croutons, for serving (optional)
4 tablespoons alfalfa sprouts or broccoli sprouts

To assemble the salad, place the greens, cheese, and chopped herbs in a large mixing bowl. Add the julienned sun dried tomatoes. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar and extra- virgin olive oil over the salad, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat well.
Divide the salad equally among four salad plates. Place 4 or 5 croutons on each plate, and top each salad with 1 tablespoon of the sprouts. Serve immediately.
4 servings

SIMPLE CROUTONS
(Prep time: 5 minutes; cook time: 30 minutes; total: 35 minutes)
1 French baguette (about 12 ounces), preferably day-old, cut into 1⁄2-inch dice
1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3⁄4 teaspoon Emeril’s Original Essence or Creole Seasoning
1⁄8 teaspoon salt
1⁄8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 300 F.
Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, and toss quickly to coat the croutons well. Transfer the croutons to a baking sheet and spread them out in a single layer. Bake, rotating the baking sheet front to back midway through, until crisp all the way through and golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
About 6 cups
 
PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
(Prep time: 5 minutes; cook time: 10 minutes; total: 15 minutes)
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
1⁄2 cup packed light brown sugar
1⁄2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Position two oven racks in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 F.
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth.
Divide the dough into 24 portions, about 1 heaping tablespoon each. Roll each portion between your hands to form a smooth ball. Place the balls of dough on ungreased cookie sheets, spacing them 1 inch apart. You should get about 12 cookies per sheet. Using a fork, press on the dough in two directions to form a crosshatch pattern.
Bake the cookies, rotating the sheets between oven racks and turning them back to front midway, until the cookies are puffed and lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and let the cookies cool on the sheets. Then remove them with a metal spatula.
Makes about 24 cookies

SKILLET CORN CAKE WITH STEWED CHERRIES
(Prep time: 15 minutes; cook time: 25 minutes; total: 40 minutes)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3⁄4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
2⁄3 cup milk
1⁄2 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1½ cups sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Two 10-ounce bags frozen pitted cherries
1⁄4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Place a 10-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 F.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in the cornmeal.
In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolk, milk, olive oil and lemon zest until frothy. Add 3⁄4 cup of the sugar, and whisk to combine. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix just until the batter is smooth.
Swirl the butter in the hot cast-iron skillet until it has melted, and then pour the batter into the skillet. Return the skillet to the oven and cook until the center is set, about 25 minutes.
While the cake is baking, set a 10-inch skillet over high heat, and add the cherries, lemon juice, and remaining 3⁄4 cup sugar. Cook until the cherries have released most of their juice, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside until ready to use.
Allow the cake to cool in the skillet for 5 minutes. Then slice it into wedges and serve with the stewed cherries spooned over the top.
8 servings

BETTER THAN MAMA’S CHILI-MAC
(Prep time: 10 minutes; cook time: 40 minutes; inactive time: 5 minutes; total: 55 minutes)
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 medium onions, cut into small dice (about 3 cups)
2 jalapeños, stemmed and minced (optional)
2 to 3 teaspoons salt, plus more for the pasta water
2 pounds extra-lean ground beef
5 tablespoons Mexican chili powder
1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano
2 tablespoons minced garlic
One 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes, broken with your hands, with juices
Two 15-ounce cans kidney beans, drained
1⁄2 cup water
1 pound elbow macaroni
1 pound medium sharp cheddar cheese
Sour cream, for serving (optional)

Heat the olive oil in a 6-quart soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, jalapeños (if desired), and 2 teaspoons of the salt. Cook until the onions are soft, 2 minutes. Add the ground beef, chili powder, oregano, and garlic, and cook, breaking up any clumps of meat with a spoon, for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices, beans and water. Stir, and bring the chili to a boil. Then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until thickened to chili consistency, about 20 minutes. Taste, and add 1 more teaspoon salt if needed.
While the chili is simmering, preheat the oven to 400 F.
Place a 9 by 13 ½-inch or other 3-quart baking dish on a baking sheet. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add the macaroni and cook until just tender, 6 minutes. Drain in a colander, rinse under cool running water, and set aside. Grate the cheddar cheese and set it aside.
Once the chili has finished cooking, fold in the cooked macaroni and one-third of the cheddar. Transfer the chili-mac mixture to the baking dish and top with the remaining cheese. Bake until the chili is heated through and the cheese has melted, about 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish each portion with a dollop of sour cream, if desired.
6 to 8 servings