WESTERLY — The day after speaking at the 22nd Annual Book and Author Luncheon at the Dunes Club in Narragansett, and weeks after appearing live on NBC’s “Daily Pop” in Los Angeles, chef Jeanie Kachergis Roland – wearing a red apron and his signature red clogs – stood in his kitchen putting the finishing touches on a platter of artfully arranged chicken liver pâté.
“This recipe is easy…super, super easy…you just want to make sure you’re using organic chicken,” Roland said, adding green capers, Vidalia onion-fig relish and thin, crispy crackers. “It’s one of our most popular dishes.”
The recipe for “Perfect Caper Pâté” is included, along with 188 others, in “The Perfect Caper Home Cooking”, Roland’s new and second cookbook. Her first “Butter, Love and Cream” was released. in 2018.
“I learned a lot from the first one,” she said. “It’s the book of my dreams. It’s a practical, well-edited, and nutty soup.”
The book was designed by her first cousin, Anne O. Kachergis, a book designer based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, she said.
Roland said she wrote the new cookbook to provide an “accessible book” for home cooks.
“I wanted to make it easy for people,” said Roland, a Waterbury, Connecticut native who fell in love with cooking as a youngster. “We put enough pressure on ourselves.”
Not to mention the pressure that society and social media put on us, she added, rolling her eyes.
“Does anyone really eat these Instagram photos?” she asked, laughing.
“Cooking should be comfortable and natural, an expression of your state of mind,” Roland writes in his introduction, “not something to dread and dread.
“I’m convinced that if we taught everyone how to roast a chicken, we could save the world,” says the chef, known for winning ‘Beat Bobby Flay’ and for giving a private cooking lesson to Taylor Swift and Lorde. “You have to set yourself up to be successful.”
When you cook a chicken, she says, you end up with riches. You can make chicken salad, chicken soup, broth for the freezer.
“If you’re too tired or too busy, you just throw the bones in a ziplock bag,” she said. “It’s gold.”
You always save the neck and, of course, the chicken livers — for the pâté.
Roland points out that she only buys her poultry from D’Artagnan, a New Jersey-based company that is committed to organic, free-range, natural production and sustainable farming practices.
His new 285-page cookbook – which features stunning color photography by Westerly’s Josh Behan – opens with a section called “The Perfect Pantry”, which includes subsections such as “In the Refrigerator”, ” In the Freezer”, “In the closet”, and “On and above the counter”.
Behan, widely known for his wedding photos and portraits, took all the food photos – with the help of his wife, Amanda – at Roland’s Westerly restaurant, Ella’s Food & Drink, one of two restaurants she owns with her husband and business partner, James Roland.
“We really enjoyed working with them,” said Behan, who got to sample some of the dishes. “She’s such a talented chef and the food is amazing.”
“It was also fun to see how the sausage was made,” he added with a laugh. “Their flatbread pizza is delicious.”
“The Perfect Caper Home Cooking” includes four pizza recipes: “Classic Double Cheese Margherita Pizza”, “Four Cheese Pizza with Kale and Onion”, “Prosciutto and Fresh Fig Pizza”, and “Fresh Fig Pizza”. sausage and caramelized onion”.
The cookbook also includes lots of helpful and practical advice accompanying each section, such as the one that says, “TIP: If you find you’re missing an ingredient…save a rush to the store asking Google what you can use as a substitute.”
“There are always replacements,” Jeanie said. “If you don’t have green onion, it’s not the end of the world. If you don’t have buttermilk, you add vinegar to the milk and… boom.”
“It’s the little things,” she added with a laugh and her current mantra, “Keep it simple.”
The cookbook also includes recipes for cocktails, juices and lots of practical tips and styling advice. Each chapter explores a different category, from “Snacks & Nibbles” to “All-in-One-Meals”.
There’s plenty of comfort food, and always with a Chef Jeanie twist. From savory dishes like roast chicken pot pie to sweets like chocolate swirl Snickerdoodle. There are also plenty of New England classics with a typical Roland twist, like New England Lobster Dip, Flounder & Clams with Salsa Verde and New England Bouillabaisse.
The recipe for “The Ultimate Babka” includes step-by-step instructions with photos showing Roland making, rolling, twisting and spicing the dough.
As a tribute to her Lithuanian grandmother, she included a recipe called “Grandma Kastanciya’s Baked Beans”.
She found the recipe recently while cleaning her family home, she writes, and discovered “a whole new adoration for this vegetable” when she prepared the recipe.
“Makes a fantastic solo dinner with salad and bread,” she wrote.
Other intriguing elements of the book are the oatmeal, cherry and bacon and cheddar scones, Gerry’s raisin nut pudding, the perfect mix of hot cocoa and “Barbara’s spicy cake with candied glaze”. .
“It’s penuche frosting on a mini cake,” she said with a smile, noting that the recipe comes from a friend’s mom.
“When you’re cooking, you want to be in a nice place,” the Culinary Institute of America graduate said. “With pastry, you want to be peaceful.”
“With savory, you can kind of let go,” she said, adding that she loves everything about the kitchen.
“I love the whole kit and caboodle,” she said.
The debut of “The Perfect Caper Home Cooking” coincides with a big anniversary for Roland – a seven-time James Beard Award nominee – and her husband. In the spring of 2012, the Rolands – after searching everywhere for a convenient location – opened Ella’s Food & Drink at the junction of Tower, Granite and Ward streets in Westerly.
“We opened Ella’s 10 years ago,” Jeanie said. “It’s been a decade.”
Over those 10 years, Ella’s – located in the same building that once housed Capizzano’s restaurant, an iconic fish & chip spot – has developed a stellar reputation and become a widely acclaimed destination restaurant for Jeanie’s classic coastal cuisine. with a touch of fantasy.
The couple also own The Perfect Caper, an award-winning restaurant in Punta Gorda, Florida. One of the reasons they chose their Westerly location was to be closer to Jeanie’s father, Alfred Kachergis, 94, a retired US Marine who lives in Charlestown.
Jeanie, who spent many childhood summers in Charlestown, landed her first paid kitchen job at the General Stanton Inn washing dishes when she was 14.
“It’s all about her,” said James, a tall, calm, serious man, as he emerged from the kitchen. “Really, it’s about Jeanie.”
One of the many things Jeanie loves about Ella’s, she said, is that many regulars have made the restaurant part of their family traditions. People come back for birthdays and anniversaries and for special occasions. She likes that family feeling, she says.
As she strolled through Ella’s with its dark, cozy bar and bright, airy main dining room with Echo Rock Farm flowers on the tables, Jeanie pointed out the paintings hanging on the restaurant’s walls, including some by the artist local Jan Chamberlain and others by her. uncle, the deceased George J. Kachergis, abstract painter.
It gives a “good family feeling” to have her uncle’s works on the walls, she said, noting that Anne Kachergis, her book designer, is the daughter of her late uncle, the painter.
“I also paint,” she said, showing some of her work, also abstract. “I guess I’m basically an artist, and I need to express myself in different ways.”
“The Perfect Caper Home Cooking” is available on chefjeanieroland.com.