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“A Cookbook a Week” Challenge (CAWC) – Thread #2 - Will you join me? [old]

Welcome to our 2nd CAWC thread!! I’m delighted and excited about the level of interest in this thread. In only 2 weeks we hit almost 300 posts and collectively reviewed 22 cookbooks!! Some were deemed to be keepers, some we need to delve deeper into and others were destined for a new home.

For folks new to this thread, welcome, we hope you’ll join in. Here’s how it works:

GOAL FOR THREAD: Get to know our cookbooks better. Keep the good ones, toss a few duds along the way.


• Pull a book off the shelf (each week in my case and I figured if I posted a thread and put my commitment out there, I would be more likely to stick to it). I think folks should just pull a book
whenever they have time. I didn’t expect anyone to stick to my schedule. On the contrary, I think this will work best if people commit to whatever schedule works for them.

• Any cookbook will do. Old, new, big, small….whatever book you want. In fact the greater the variety of books reviewed, the more we’ll learn. We can all review different books, it doesn’t matter.

• Have a look in the book and record your impressions/review. What do you like about the book, what don’t you like. Have you made anything? If so, what was it and did it work. If you’ve tabbed recipes to make later, what are they? Will you keep the book now you know it better?

• Post review here. ***Please start your post with title of your book in BLOCK CAPITAL LETTERS***

• If you make a dish at a later date, come back and post your review beneath your original post. Review the dish as you see fit. Some folks will have lots to say, others won’t. This isn’t at COTM so it doesn’t have to be detailed but if someone wanted to do that, great.

• If others have the book and/or have cooked from it they can add their reviews beneath the first post about that book.

• Before posting about a book do a search of the thread (“Ctl F” w a pc, “Command F” on a mac) to see if someone else has posted about it. If so, add your post beneath theirs. If not, hit “Reply to original post” and post to the OP.


I’ll start a new thread each time we hit approx 300 posts

That shouldn’t stop us from continuing to add to the previous threads if we have something to add to book reviews that were started there. I’ll provide a list of all the books reviewed in prior threads and links in each OP so we won’t lose track.

Threads will be numbered for ease of reference.

If you’re reviewing a book not previously covered, please create a new post and start with the book’s title in BLOCK CAPITAL LETTERS as it makes for easier searching.

Thanks once again for joining me and happy reviewing!


If you chose one of these books, please add to existing reviews here:


660 CURRIES (this book will be the Oct 2012 COTM),

Also, Mr. Bigglesworth shared a link to his thread where he undertook a similar challenge and shared book and recipe notes:


….and finally, for those of you who are thinking…this OP is too long, I totally agree!! Next time I’ll link to this thread for info on “HOW IT WORKS” and will just list books reviewed to date in the OP.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)

    ABOUT THE BOOK: This book was a recent (used book) purchase for me. I’ve always wanted to visit the cooking school so I thought having the recipes may be the next best thing. Before doing my usual “open shipping package, record book in EYB, place in pile in kitchen, move pile to spare room, put books on bookshelves” I thought I’d rescue this one from the cycle and use it as my next CAWC.

    The book is printed in black and red font (colours that are replicated in the cover) and while I don’t mind the red font, I don’t like the fact that all the ingredients are in italics. You may think I’m picky but it also bugs me when a recipe starts in the middle of a page and continues onto the following page(s) and that’s the case w this book. I really dislike having to pull the book out of my cookbook holder to flip back and forth. There are no photos in the book but a few Cooks Illustrated-style illustrations adorn its pages. As one might expect from a cooking school book, instructions are clearly written, many tips are included and there’s lots of info on re-purposing meals, prep, pantry ingredients, tools etc. All recipes have head notes and they’re written in a conversational style that appealed.

    ABOUT THE RECIPES: It interested me that as I worked my way through the book I found the recipes seemed to fall into 2 clear categories for me…I either immediately wanted to make a dish or, I knew I’d never make it. Dishes in the latter category were either too fussy or rich sounding or, some of the standards that you’d see almost identical recipes for in many cookbooks (think mushrooms or spinach turnovers w cream cheese pastry, pear blue cheese and walnut salad, Beef Bourguignon, glazed carrots) Recipes that appealed included:

    White Bean Crostini with Wilted Greens
    Charred Eggplant Dip w Pita Triangles
    Roasted Eggplant Soup with Tomatoes
    Potato-Garlic Soup with Croutons
    Country Soup of White Beans and Sausage
    …truth be told, all but a couple of the soups really appealed to me
    Crispy Chicken Breasts and Wild Mushrooms with Mashed Potatoes
    Stir-Fried Chicken and Ginger-Peanut Sauce w Mixed Grain Pilaf
    Braised Short Ribs w Horseradish Mashed Potatoes
    Curried Eggplant & Chickpeas

    And while admittedly I didn’t take a close look at the dessert section since if I make desserts we eat them so I try to avoid them…I did spot an intriguing sounding Cardamom Pound Cake that immediately caught my interest.

    I actually plan to make one of the soups tonight depending on what mr bc comes back from the market with. I’ll keep you posted.

    17 Replies
    1. re: Breadcrumbs

      Oh, please do report back on that Cardamom Pound Cake if you every try it. Great OP, by the way.


      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        Thanks very much DQ and I'll definitely report on that cake if I make it. It does sound sensational doesn't it?!!

      2. re: Breadcrumbs


        I’m holding the enticing aromas of this soup wholly responsible for the fact that despite slicing and cutting the bread, I totally forgot all about those blasted croutons!! Let me start by saying that, to my sincere dismay, mr bc does not share my love of soup. “I’d love to have soup for dinner” are words that I’ll never, ever hear coming from his lips. That said, mr bc LOVED this soup. He even had a second bowl! If I were naming this recipe, I’d have included leeks in the title since I think it was the leeks, not the garlic that shared the spotlight w the potatoes in this dish. The flavours reminded me of a delicious, perfectly dressed baked potato…but creamier & better! Prep is super-quick and easy and I was astounded that, as the author suggested, my stick blender (a Bamix) aptly pureed this soup…big chunks of potato and lumpy leek bits be damned!! As Dr. Seuss said (sort of) …I could eat this here or there, I could eat this everywhere!!! And so could everyone else it seems. This is one of the best soups I’ve made at home I think. Yum!

        1. re: Breadcrumbs

          This soup looks amazing - I want to make it NOW:) For those without the book and desire to make this soup, here is a link: http://books.google.ca/books?id=dy35F...

          1. re: herby

            Thanks so much herby...I wish I had some leftover!! Next time I'll double the recipe.

        2. re: Breadcrumbs

          BC, please post about Curried Eggplant and Chickpeas if you make it - sounds delicious and so are the soups.

          1. re: herby

            I felt the same way about the Eggplant dish and the soups herby!! If all goes well I'll be making the curried dish and the eggplant tomato soup this week! Stay tuned!!

          2. re: Breadcrumbs

            Ok, here comes another hit from this book. Sorry DQ, not the pound cake (though I can't stop thinking about it!!) Nonetheless, if anyone has this book, 'tis the perfect season for a dish like this and I'd highly recommend it.

            TANTE MARIE’S COOKING SCHOOL COOKBOOK – White Bean Crostini w Wilted Greens – p. 23

            Let me start by saying this was great… and I didn’t even see the step about pureeing the beans!! Provided I can get some more fresh borlotti beans (and that’s iffy at this point in the season) I really want to make this again w the pureed version as the method sounds delicious (cooked beans are combined w chicken stock, tomato paste, a little cayenne and rosemary then mashed). I simply tossed my cooked beans along w some evoo, S&P then served on grilled Crostini w the delicious wilted swiss chard atop. This was simple but really delicious and my bean-loving mr bc gave it a 10!! (he hates greens…especially kale and chard). The richness of the oil and the creaminess of the beans offset any bitterness in the chard and made for a lovely antipasti.

              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                Thanks DQ!! We used the leftover beans & greens for work lunches. I just tossed them together and drizzled a bit of balsamic atop. Perfect and I so appreciate not having to do anything complicated to feed us during the week.

            1. re: Breadcrumbs

              TANTE MARIE’S COOKING SCHOOL COOKBOOK - Country Bean Soup of White Beans and Sausage – P. 101

              Loved it! Recently I reported on a pasta dish I said I’d call “clean out the crisper pasta” well this dish has that one beat! This one I’d call “The great fall garden clean-up soup!!!” I’m telling you, if it’s growing in your garden, you can put it in this soup!! A huge pile of bruised and or partially bug-eaten tomatoes inspired this dish. I salvaged what I could and into the pot they went along w beans, onions, peppers (sweet and hot), garlic, celery carrots, herbs…you name it, its probably in this soup along w some sausages of course. This is one of those recipes where ratios definitely don’t matter. Just toss it in, cook it up and enjoy! This is one of those steamy hot meals you can’t wait to ladle into your bowl and enjoy on a crisp autumn evening.

              I have to say, I’m loving this book. I have no business cooking right now. I’m super-busy at work and arriving home late. I’m about to go on vacation but somehow I can’t resist these recipes and they’re turning out great to boot.

              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                Looks beautiful, BC - I want a bowl of this soup right now:)

                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                  Beautiful. Just more fuel to my determination to make this the Winter Of Soups.

                  1. re: smtucker

                    We should start a 'winter of soups' thread for sure in a few weeks when the weather cools a bit more. I LOVE soup and salad for dinner.

                  2. re: Breadcrumbs

                    I LOVE 'use what you have' veggie soups! This looks so vibrant and delicious BC. Nice job!

                    As I have a hard time following recipes to the letter, this is up my alley...

                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                      You're doing an amazing job of making me need this on my amazon wish list. The soup and crostini alone looked incredible.

                    2. re: Breadcrumbs

                      TANTE MARIE’S COOKING SCHOOL COOKBOOK - Curried Eggplant and Chickpeas – p. 275

                      I made this dish right before we went on vacation but didn’t have time to post about it. This was another hit! What I loved about this recipe was that it made use of seasonal ingredients and, it came together in a flash. It does call for a lot of garlic – 12 cloves (another plus at our house!!) and the garlic is sliced so I did that on the weekend so at least one part of the prep was done ahead. Since my tomatoes were from the garden and some had become a little mealy, I opted to add a couple of tbsps of tomato paste to boost the tomato flavour. We served this atop some steamed basmati rice and alongside some grilled Tandoori chicken however it would have been just as lovely and substantial enough in its own right to serve as a main dish, perhaps atop brown basmati rice. I’ll definitely make this again and would add that mr bc isn’t a big fan of eggplant as he finds it slimy but he really enjoyed this recipe….in fact, he said “this is great!!”.

                    3. Thank you so much for starting a second thread! I'm adding Wild Fare & Wise words, recipes and writings from the great outdoors. Love the delicious quotes throughout and the wild game bird recipes. Also lots of venison recipes. Theres a Blueberry backstrap recipe I will be trying in a few days. Its venison loin steaks grilled medium rare with a blueberry sauce. Will let you know the outcome.
                      "Hunger clutched at your belly and the cookin' was easy. You gutted a bluefish, stuck him on a stick, and let him baste himself with his own fat. His hide cracked as he cooked, but inside he was sweet as peaches."
                      -Robert Ruark, The Old Man's Boy Grows Older

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: uneed2eat

                        uneed2eat I just had to Google that book to see if it really was a cookbook!! Too funny!! I do hope you report back on the recipes that appeal (or not!)...and more prose of course!!

                      2. TEST OF HOME SPECIAL EDITIONS: 72 Tasty Recipes shared by real people

                        Tasteofhome.com, display until September 24, 2012, $7.99 (magazine format)

                        I found this one at the local public library. My attention was caught by the from scratch sauces as we had not made a tomato sauce we were fully satisfied with yet. Make your own pasta (page 10) does look easy as promised. I've only been studying this for a few minutes but I may buy my own copy of this magazine. It has an alfredo pizza, a pizza dough recipe, chicken cacciatore, chicken parmesan. We already make our own balsamic vinaigrette (that my husband created), but if you don't already it has that too. Several of the recipes are similar to things we already do but the tweaking is interesting to me and several things are new to me and easy. The pasta making does not require expensive machinery (as my husband joked would be part of the recipe) and it looks as simple as making homemade dumplings, something my paternal grandmother showed me at age 4.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: HappyHattiesburgr

                          I saw this one on the shelf at the bookstore HH, can't wait to hear about it. I have found some real gems from ToH over the years.

                        2. Thanks for all your work as thread-master Breadcrumbs! What a fine, fine exercise this is for expanding learning for all!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: gingershelley

                            Thanks so much gingershelley and thanks so much to you for your enthusiasm...it's infectious and sincerely appreciated!

                          2. I have decided that my next cookbook to crack open, is THE ESSENTIAL NEW YORK TIMES COOK BOOK CLASSIC RECIPES FOR A NEW CENTURY, by Amanda Hesser. I received this book at Christmas. I have to give Kudos to this author, tested 1400 recipes, even while pregnant with twins, she was still sitting down and chopping and dicing, to test and she wrote most of the book on the subway, talk about determination! She calls this book a monument to all the great food writers and it is indeed a monument.
                            The books layout is how I like a cookbook to be, print is large and plain, with a lot of content. I hope that I am up to the challenge, will report back later in the week.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: Ruthie789

                              I can't wait to hear what you think of this book. I think you won't regret spending time with it. Did you knowi t's a former COTM?


                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                Hi DQ, No I did not, it got much publicity in the food section of my local paper. I was at a bookstore and told my niece that it was supposed to be a good one and she put it under the Christmas tree for me. I am in the midst of making New England Pot Roast, a very simple recipe, with only a few ingredients. It smells good, my official taste testers, who ALWAYS, tell it like it is will let me know later on today.

                                1. re: Ruthie789

                                  New England Pot Roast, a simple recipe it was, another 1 pot meal, blade roast, horseradish, beef broth, cranberry sauce, cinnamon stick, and cloves, carrots and small white onions. Flavor combination was lovely. I also like that she gives suggestions after each recipe of what pairings go with the meal. Now as for the PEANUT GALLERY, they did not like the blade roast, found it too grisly...

                                  1. re: Ruthie789

                                    Too bad this dish wasn't a universal hit but it sounds wonderful. I really enjoyed this book during the COTM so I'm keen to hear what appeals to you as you work your way through it (or at least make a dent in it....such a HUGE book!!)

                                      1. re: Ruthie789

                                        I love that book, Ruthie. Even with heavy-ish (for me) participation when it was COTM, I barely scratched the surface. But most of the recipes I tried were winners. I need to get back into it. You'll surely find something that will have the PG cheering.

                            2. DINNER: A LOVE STORY, by Jenny Rosenstrach

                              Let me preface this by saying this book has five stars and 50 reviews on Amazon. It's indexed on EYB and has 5 stars (from 2 ratings) there.

                              Most-frustrating-cookbook-ever. I guess it's more of a cookbook/memoir, than a straight-up cookbook. This came in the mail yesterday and I've tried to give it a once over but it's flipping impossible, like wading through chest-deep water trying to gather leaves floating on the surface.

                              The author is a professional food writer and editor (for publications such as Bon Appetit and Real Simple) and has another cookbook, Time for Dinner, to her credit. Her husband is an editor. It's clear to me she just loves the sound of her own voice and no one had the good sense to edit her. She's apparently been keeping a detailed dairy of every meal she's ever made since she and her husband were dating. Good for her.

                              The book is divided into three sections: "how we taught ourselves to cook", "new parenthood" and "family dinner." And that's it in terms of organization. No chapters. No organization by season or major ingredient or meal of the day. It's apparently organized in the order she and her family ate these recipes. For example, I'm sure you're all thrilled to know that in March 1998 she cooked from her mother in law's Porcupine Meatballs and Breaded Vinegary Pork Chops recipes and her friend Emily's meatloaf recipe. Then she presents a letter from her current self to her betrothed self about wedding registries. Then cooks scallops for her husband's birthday. Then chicken pot pie. And whoa, now we're in April 1999 throwing a dinner party. Then suddenly we're plunged into several pages of prose that starts "Okay, back to the rules." I LOVE rules. That's what I bought this book for, but I'll be damned if I can a previous section laying out some rules.

                              There's a useless section early on that I've read FOUR times called "How to Use this Book" that simply describes what the book is, but gives no strategy for how to approach it. The overall format seems to be several pages of text (up to eight), then a recipe or two, then more text. Lots of nice photos, mostly of pages out of her dinner diaries, sprinkled throughout the book.

                              The problem is because the recipes are sprinkled randomly amid giant forebidding blocks of text it's a pain to flip through the recipes. And because the prose is occasionally interrupted with recipes, it's a crap read as a memoir. Most food memoirs follow the format where the prose is divided into chapters, then the recipes appear at the end of the chapter. I wish she'd followed this convention. I also wish each chapter had some kind of index of the recipes so you could find them.

                              Okay, that's the bad news. The good news is, the recipes actually seem pretty good. Nothing you haven't cooked before, but they all look pretty solid and family friendly. The text, if you can bring yourself to read it, is pretty interesting. She has a nice conversational tone. It's occasionally enlightening/helpful, but the nuggets seem pretty few and far between to me.

                              I can't decide whether to keep this book or hurl it across the room. All I can say thank God this book is indexed on EYB. I've actually cut and pasted the listing of recipes out of EYB and imported them into excel. I might actually go through and create my own recipe index and paste it in front of the book.

                              I honestly have no idea how to approach this book. I'd like to learn more about her strategies for getting meals out, but just the thought of wading through her personal stories is exhausting.

                              Apricot-mustard baked chicken
                              Breaded chicken cutlets (aka Grandma Jody's chicken)
                              Breaded vinegary pork chops
                              Buttermilk oven-fried chicken with rainbow salad
                              Butternut squash soup with apples
                              Chicken pot pie with sweet potatoes
                              Chicken soup with orzo
                              Chicken with bacon-y Brussels sprouts
                              Corn-bacon hash
                              Monogrammed mini pot pies
                              Peanut butter noodles
                              Spicy oven fries
                              Spicy shrimp with yogurt
                              Spinach tomato, and feta frittata
                              Starter curry: curried chicken with apples
                              Yogurt-marinated grilled chicken

                              Anyway, so there you go. Oh, and she has a blog: http://www.dinneralovestory.com/ Since this book is indexed on EYB and she has a blog, I might dump the book and just grab the recipes off the blog...


                              17 Replies
                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                Sounds like a novel with many themes that the author switches back and forth within, very disorienting. Hurling it across the room, LOL.

                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                  omg DQ, what a hoot!! I was right there with you....begging you to hurl that horrifying book across the room!! You should post that on Amazon...truly! I loved your post!!

                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                    TDQ, I hereby nominate that for Post of the Month! Heck, I might go further and call it Post of the Year. What a hoot! And as a great writer does, you both entertained and taught: I have a very clear picture of the cookbook and know I would fall into the hurling camp. I do so love when you get going in a post, I really do....

                                    1. re: GretchenS

                                      You are all so kind and supportive. Thank you so much. I have a hard time hurling a completely new cookbook, so I think I'm going to try to cook a recipe or two from it before I chuck it completely... Or maybe just check to see if the recipes I'm interested in are all available on the website...


                                    2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                      Seriously? DQ - what a trooper you are to even try to use the book. Thanks for the enlightening review. I heard this book was interesting, but from your posts here and all around CH, I trust you far more than the person who said that to me!

                                      Keep calm, thank God for EYB, and who the HELL was her editor?

                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                        DINNER: A LOVE STORY

                                        So I recently checked this book out of the library as part of a little campaign I've been on to find a family-friendly, weeknight meals book that actually works for my family.

                                        And, I wanted to report that I like this book a lot. It is indeed one of those books that's part memoir and part cookbook, so you do have to read through it, and then the recipes are scattered throughout. I enjoyed reading the book, and I got some useful perspective out of it as well. No hurling here.

                                        It's clear from the book that the author is one of those people who likes to find "keeper" recipes and then make them over and over. So different from me, I rarely make the same thing twice. As much as I like experimenting with new flavors and recipes though, this year I did set myself the kitchen goal of identifying some simple "keeper" recipes that can become weeknight family favorites. I've noticed that my son, who is on the thinner side and not always an enthusiastic eater, will eat a lot more food if it is a familiar meal that he knows he likes. So I would like to bring a bit more repetition to our table.

                                        One of the things I like about this book is that every recipe in the book is something that the author's family ate for dinner at least six times (because they liked it, not because they were testing recipes for the book), and some recipes they've probably made hundreds of times. In other words, these recipes have all survived the only test kitchen that counts -- the real life home kitchen. I think this increases the chance that the recipes will work for me.

                                        So far I have made three recipes from the book, and all have worked out very well. None of the recipes were perfect as written. All required some tweaking to make them to our taste, but the tweaks were easy and, once made, my family loved the food. Though they are not the most exciting and inspirational of recipes, they did have the benefits of (1) minimal effort to prepare (leading to a calmer evening) (2) everyone ate the meal and said it was good.

                                        The recipes I've tried are as follows:

                                        Lazy Bolognese -- as implied this is a basic tomato-based meat sauce that can be made in 45 minutes or less. Marcella Hazan's bolognese it is not, but for a quick meat sauce it is good. I add some extra garlic and a chopped anchovy to this sauce for more depth of flavor.

                                        Turkey Chili -- i think i had to amp up the spices a bit, but basically this is a good, simple pot of turkey chili that is very, very easy to make.

                                        Great Grandma Turano's Meatballs and Sauce -- This is the author's husband's great-grandmother's recipe, and it has typical brooklyn-italian flavors. The sauce recipe has no salt as written, also too much sugar for our taste. Seasoning adjusted, though, my family loved these. I liked the meatballs in part because they contain a LOT of parsley, which thankfully my kids eat, so it's a good way of sneaking in some extra vitamins.

                                        Each of the recipes above is on the author's blog. Also, they make a lot and freeze and defrost well.

                                        I am going to try a few more recipes before taking this book back to the library. If I like them as well, I will probably buy the book.

                                        1. re: Westminstress

                                          Great report! And encouraging, too!

                                          Funnily enough I actually noticed your reports on this book on EYB (yesterday, I think) and was sort of hoping you'd report back on the thread I started for Cooking from Family-focused cookbooks, the purpose of which is the same as you so eloquently put it, "to find a family-friendly, weeknight meals book that actually works for my family," though I didn't overtly describe it that way (as I thought it was implied). Perhaps I should have, though, because I think people thought I was asking for cookbook recommendations in that thread and, although I'm always open to cookbook recommendations (I'm highly suggestible along those lines as you all already know and as my groaning shelves can attest), it was really intended to be a "cooking from" thread just like all of the other "cooking from" threads (similar, I guess, to the "Cooking from Slow Cooker Cookbooks" thread, where people try various recipes from relevant books and report back). http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9032... If you have time in the future, I'd love it if you added to that thread so I don't miss any of your reports.

                                          Since I wrote my snippy snippet above on Dinner A Love Story almost a year and a half ago (! wow, Sept 2012) I have actually attempted to read through this book several times and, honestly, I just can't do it. I've started it (and put it back down) several times. Carried it in my purse for awhile, etc. Now, I'll admit that my standards for memoir are pretty high. I've done a fair amount of memoir writing (for paid publication) and, of course, reading too (sadly, have never been paid for merely reading. :) ) but this book from a memoir perspective is just not for me. Drives me flipping crazy. I want to take a red pen to it.

                                          From a COOKING perspective, I have tons of recipes tagged (and, thankfully, it's indexed on EYB http://www.eatyourbooks.com/library/1..., but as usual with me, I haven't had a chance to cook anything from it.

                                          I don't really have a problem with the recipes being sprinkled throughout the book as much as I have a problem with the fact that they are just sort of randomly presented in the order in which they were most relevant to her life, which may or may not line up with the path of your own life, or with your current stage of life. So, you're reading along about their honeymoon phase of marriage and then suddenly, boom, there's a dinner party recipe. If I were actually looking for a dinner party recipe later, it would be kind of hard to find.

                                          And some of the recipes they prepared when they were just newlyweds (breaded chicken cutlets, porcupine meatballs, meatloaf) were actually quite child-friendly. So, you'd be missing out on some particularly good (and relevant) "kid-friendly" recipes if you just skipped to the chapters where your stage of life ("with a child") matches the stage of life the author is writing about (newlywed).

                                          It's nothing that a good index wouldn't solve, I don't think, but this book just isn't indexed well, in my opinion. And, I suppose, of course, you could read through the entire book to find out what recipes are in there, but a lot of harried parents --even the ones who don't want to take a red pen to her writing-- simply don't have time for that.

                                          But, it does seem I should probably try to cook from this book and just use EYB as my index...

                                          Thanks again! I will definitely make an effort to cook from this book based on your feedback!


                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                            Most of the recipes from DALS are also on her blog, and there's better categorization, IMO. That said, I don't love her recipes. I like eating more interesting food, I think, and as long as it's not spicy if we're eating together I serve the same thing to my kids. I fix them separate meals pretty frequently - more due to timing than anything else.

                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                              She does say in the intro that the recipes from the "newlywed/learning to cook" section of the book were all ones that later made a successful transition to the family table. That's why the recipes are for things like chicken cutlets and not, say, mapo tofu (she says, wistfully, because her kids won't eat anything spicy).

                                              I'll add a report to the family cooking thread when I have a chance.

                                          2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                            Jenny's got a new one coming out in August: Dinner: The Playbook.

                                            Strategies, a 30 day meal plan, you name it. Sounds up my alley! Maybe I'll have better luck with this one.



                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                              TDQ, I was watching a talk show this morning and one episode was by a chef about spending an hour on Sunday to prep dinners for the week. Her philosophy is to make proteins as putting sides together is much simpler once the main is ready. She used two proteins - shrimp and ground turkey - and made five dishes: turkey burgers, turkey soup (fried ground turkey, carrots, celery, onion + chicken stock and kale to finish) which she frozen for the end of the week, Thai coconut shrimp curry (pulled half of the shrimp out and frozen for salad), and Thai noodle salad later in the week. I do not remember the fifth dish but it doesn't matter - just wanted to convey the principle of her approach to planning. I think we overthink planning and simple does it better.

                                              Just my two cents :)

                                              1. re: herby

                                                Is that Rachel Ray? Sounds very appealing the way you describe...


                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                  No, it was Christine Cushing, a Canadian Chef - I thought it was simple and practical :)

                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                    That's it and you are a wiz :) Why not give it a go? Select two proteins that appeal to everyone in the household and make each 2-3 ways; make sides as you go. And report back :)

                                                    I am reading the Habit book - keep your cue and your reward but change your routine and viola! you have a new habit :) Sounds simple but it is not and makes a lot of sense... applies to food too.

                                                2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                  I got an ARC of this one - more of a self-help book than a true cookbook (walks you through a 30 day challenge of 20 new meals in 30 days), which is probably not useful for advance mealplanners like yourself (and me) but the recipes are all together instead of sprinkled throughout (not seasonal, but divided into weekday stalwarts, quick sides, and more intensive recipes that are still relatively easy, but more interesting for adults/challenging for kids.) Recipes are appealing, and I don't think most of them appear on the blog. I'm making a few this week - might post a review on my blog - I'll let you know.

                                              2. COOKING FOR THE WEEK: LEISURELY WEEKEND COOKING FOR EASY WEEKNIGHT MEALS by Diane Morgan and Dan & Kathleen Taggert

                                                Where has this book been my whole life, or, at least, my whole life so far as a harried mom? Oddly, I've owned this book a long time. I have no idea why I've never cooked from it and why I didn't remember until just recently that I owned it.

                                                The authors provide 13 weeks worth of menus & related recipes (all the recipes serve four, plus the planned leftovers for the specific weekday recipes. The Sunday desserts are intended to "do another round of duty later in the week" ) where you cook a big batch of something (eg., 2 roast chickens) on Sunday --a protein, veggies, starch, and a dessert-- and reuse the leftovers for recipes on Mon, Weds and Thurs.

                                                The 13 proteins are:
                                                roast chicken with lemon, garlic and fresh rosemary,
                                                pepper-crusted tuna steaks,
                                                roast pork tenderloin,
                                                roast duck with balsamic glaze,
                                                meatless black bean chili with hominy,
                                                broiled flank steak with soy honey marinade,
                                                whole roast salmon,
                                                standing rib roast (prime rib),
                                                bourbon-glazed ham,
                                                grilled chicken with herbed mustard,
                                                grilled butterflied leg of lamb,
                                                poached halibut with chipotle sauce,
                                                roast breast of turkey

                                                Some sample menus:

                                                Week 7, Sunday : Whole roast salmon with lemon-garlic couscous, crunchy snow peas, chocolate-chip biscotti
                                                Monday: salmon hash
                                                Weds: couscous salad with cashews, currents and snow peas
                                                Thurs: Risotto with Salmon, Parsley and Green onions

                                                Week 5: Sunday Meatless Black Bean chili with hominy; corn bread; lettuce tomato and avocado salad; crunchy chocolate chip pecan cookies
                                                Mon: Chili burritos;
                                                Weds: turkey sandwiches with jalapeno mayo on cornbread
                                                Thurs: shrimp and corn bread salad

                                                I wish they'd included shopping lists, nutritional information and time estimates but it's clear that the cooking for the Sunday meal is intended to be "leisurely" and the weeknight meals will be relatively fast. All scratch cooking, nothing dumbed down. Obviously, this isn't the best book for a vegetarian, but aside from the Sunday meal, the other meals use the meat fairly sparingly.

                                                Actually, I do remember why I never cooked from this. At the time I bought this book I was cooking for two rather than three (all the recipes serve four) and it just seemed like we were going to be eating the same thing all week, I guess. Also, I was disappointed at the time that there wasn't a whole week's worth of menus, but now I appreciate the breathing room. This will give us room for a soup/stew night (it's winter, after all), a pizza night, and dinner out.

                                                I'm definitely going to try a couple of these menus and see how it goes. Too late for this week, though.


                                                10 Replies
                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                  This sounds like just the structure and support you were looking for DQ. I like the flexibility it gives you and tasty sounding meals too. Fingers crossed that this is a keeper. Reading your post reminded me of a Canadian tv show on Food Network that operated on a similar premise. I can't remember the name of the show off hand but I do remember the big test for the plan being what the host/chef called "fright night"....prep a dish for a sit-down meal on the busiest night of the week. If I can remember the name I'll report back as I suspect the recipes and menu plans would still be online and may be worth a look. Good luck w this book.

                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                    Thanks BC. Yes, I'd love to hear more about this "fright night" show when you have time...sounds perfect for October,no?


                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                      Hi DQ, I did a bit of digging on the www and found that show. It was called "Fixing Dinner" and hosted by Sandi Richard (a Canadian that seems to have had some US exposure on cooking shows/segments as well). There's info on the show and recipes/meal plans/shopping lists from most episodes of the 3 Seasons the show aired still available on the Food TV Canada website. I've pasted the link below in case you're interested. She always includes a back story on the family and shares why getting dinner on the table each night is a challenge (new mom, 3 kids in after-school activities that need driving around, single parent family etc).

                                                      Here's the link:


                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                        Welcome back! Thank you for the link. I shall definitely look into that!


                                                  2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                    Glad you found one to actually wrap some cooking around DQ - that book sounds well planned out, and helpful. If I had a family to cook for, I would probably get this one.

                                                    I am bad at eating the same thing over again, preferring to freeze it, or turn it into something else, so I like this author's approach; make it over to use it up. Smart!

                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                      OK, this is kind of hilarious, but I purchased all of the ingredients for my first menu out of this book (COOKING FOR THE WEEK), which is roast chicken week. On Sunday, they have you roast 2 chickens, bake some biscuits and steam some broccoli that you later use in various combinations in biscuit/chicken pot pie, some kind of pasta salad, and Chinese chicken salad. (I'm ignoring the dessert recipe. Don't have time for it. Don't need it.)

                                                      Anyway, ran out of time to do this yesterday as everyone at my house is sick and just needed a couple of days rest, but I am going to cook the chicken, broccoli and biscuits tonight...

                                                      I have to say, I've already swapped out those three recipes for 3 I prefer. It started because I looked at their roast chicken recipe and decided it was too fussy--I'll use Thomas Keller's tried and true unfussy recipe instead. And, if I'm going to turn my oven on, why not roast the broccoli --instead of steaming it--(and some cauliflower because I have it) at the same time? And if I've got the oven going, again, why not find a biscuit recipe that cooks at the same oven temp as what the roast chickens use?

                                                      So...there you go. We'll see how I do with the recipes for the rest of the week...


                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                        Pretty funny. But at least they helped you with planning (said sort of shrugging my shoulders). I hope everyone starts feeling better soon, and that the week's dinners are good.

                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                          Yes, they did help with the planning and I'm still planning on cooking the three recipes later in the week that use up the Sunday leftovers, so I still think I'm better off. But, this is exactly the kind of problem I encounter when I do meal planning in advance. Somehow, no matter how much time I think I've spent researching recipes, I'm often switching up at the last minute...

                                                          herby, I really need to peek at Everlasting Meal soon!



                                                        2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                          Great approach, TDQ! Very much in the spirit of An Everlasting Meal:)

                                                          1. re: herby

                                                            That's what I was thinking too, herby! That business about maximizing your oven is just what Tamar would say to do. Totally off topic for this thread, but one of my side projects through the fall and winter is going to be to cook my way through this book.

                                                      2. When I joined this group last week, I decided I'd combine it with two of my favorite Sunday activities: drinking beer and watching football. Last week's cookbook was a bust, as was the Chiefs game.

                                                        This week, the beer was Leinenkugel's new Lemon Berry Shandy. It is a bit of a warm day, so a nice light beer was perfect. I didn't get a chance to turn on the game until 4th quarter and was pleasantly surprised to find the Chiefs mounting a comeback against the New Orleans Saints.

                                                        I asked my daughter to run upstairs and grab a random cookbook for me. She returned with PRIME TIME EMERIL. Fantastic! Get it - New Orleans....Emeril....

                                                        I was prepared not to like this book, which my mom had passed on to me a few years ago. I'm not sure why she had it, because I can't imagine her ever cooking from it. I love Cajun/Creole food, but I'm not a big fan of Emeril. He's kind of overexposed and the whole 'Bam!' thing is a bit much.

                                                        The first glance reinforced the idea that this one was headed to the donation pile. Some of the recipes are pretty fussy and I can't imagine ever cooking them, even if they are delicious. 'Pan Seared Squab with a Dried Cherry Reduction' sounds wonderful, but it makes me tired just thinking about it. And I distrust recipes with long names, so 'Chilled Roast Beet and Fennel Soup with Apple-Mind Crema and Toasted Pistachios' and 'Tempura Stone Crab Claws with Lemon-Black Pepper Tartar Sauce' set off warning bells.

                                                        But the Chiefs went to overtime, so the book got a little extra attention and I am glad it did. Tucked in between the fancy recipes are the Creole and Southern staples - Mardi Gras Jambalaya, Red Beans and Rice, and Stewed Black Beans. And there are some interesting recipes like Tuna of Love, Kicked Up Fried Calamari with Creole Olive Salad, and Hilda's Stewed Chicken.

                                                        So Emeril stays...Bam! I may even try a recipe or two in the next few weeks. Butternut Squash, Sausage and Wild Rice Soup anyone?

                                                        Oh yeah...the Chiefs won in overtime!

                                                        7 Replies
                                                        1. re: bkieras

                                                          bkieras I was really looking forward to your post and thoroughly enjoyed reading it!! First of all, you've made me want to try that beer!! Secondly, I have that book and like you, I don't think I've cooked from it but you've really piqued my interest. I'm in for a bowl of that soup btw so when you make it, let me know what time I should be over!!!

                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                            Glad you enjoyed the post - I am enjoying this thread. I assume you'll be bringing some homemade bread for our soup night?

                                                            1. re: bkieras

                                                              eeegads!!! homemade bread is my kryptonite!!! ...how about crackers!! LOL!

                                                            2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                              <-- will bring the bread if you have the soup!

                                                              1. re: smtucker

                                                                Deal. Breadcrumbs will have to bring the wine.

                                                                1. re: bkieras

                                                                  'Like' to this thread on Emeril's book - agree with all sentiments. And mostly, I can leave the 'Bam!" on the shelf, but I should pull it down and see if it just should get chucked for something more important...

                                                                  Thanks for the push!

                                                            3. re: bkieras

                                                              About Emeril's overlong recipe descriptions, I didn't understand the why when I first bought his New New Orleans cookbook, but after I had made about ten things from it (and we liked them all) it got packed away for our move up here and I didn't get around to if for quite a while.

                                                              When I got back to it, I appreciated the longer descriptions because they immediately brought to mind why Mr. Shallots loved several of the meat dishes. As opposed to looking through all the pork dishes for the one with tamarind sauce.

                                                            4. The Book of New New England Cookery
                                                              formerly known as The L.L. Bean Book of New New England Cookery
                                                              Judith and Evan Jones

                                                              This book was given to me by my Uncle about a week before he died. After feeding him for 18 months, I guess he decided that I was worthy of owning some of his favorite books, especially if they were a duplicate. This man never threw anything out, and bought in multiples often.

                                                              So, this book has never actually been opened in a kitchen. It was an 'extra.' He assured me that this was a great book and anyone who cooks in New England should own it. I admit, it went onto the shelf and was not cleared out in the great CleanOut of 2010. How can you throw out a book that was given to you from someone's death bed?

                                                              And so I began reading at the beginning, and immediately laughed out loud. Chapter 1, Appetizers, begins with "To start with appetizers seems a proper way to begin a book about food, but the word-- in a climate that encouraged abundants meals-- isn't a part of the Yankee tradition. As Fannie Farmer knew when she published her first cookook, Bostonians and other North Country citizens were real eaters, and they like to pull up a chair and begin with any shilly-shallying.

                                                              Shilly-shallying isn't a saying I have heard since my Grandmother died. And my family has never shilly-shallyed before eating. When I added appetizers to our traditional Thanksgiving meal, you would have thought that the world as we knew it, had ended.

                                                              Tonight, I concentrated on the appetizers, soups, fish, vegetables and breads since these are the things I am mostly likely to make. Crackers! Cheese crackers, scallion crackers... I love crackers and the ingredients on these versions are so much more interesting than the King Arthur Cookbook which I have used in the past. The soups range from main course, to lighter vegetable fare. All those beans I had as a child are represented and the recipes have been updated to include less salt pork.

                                                              The fish recipes are more old fashioned, but include lots of fresh water fish from the interior lakes. When was the last time you saw a recipe for Finnan Haddie? These recipes were how I was taught to cook fish, but there are quite a few Portuguese recipes that sound delicious.

                                                              The bread section has a no-knead bread recipe from the 1850's! The recipes that interest me the most are the potato rolls and the various buttermilk breads. In the sweet bread section there is a Hot Cross Bun recipe that I will need to try in the Spring when the calendar says it is appropriate.

                                                              Overall, this is a book that takes a modern view of traditional recipes of New England. There are recipes from all of the immigrant populations through about 1960 [I would guess], and includes cooking methods from the Native tribes. Sadly, EYB does not have this book indexed, but at over 600 pages, many with three recipes, I can't commit to indexing it myself.

                                                              Breadcrumbs, thank you for encouraging us to investigate the books that we already own. I suspect that this book would have sat on the shelf for years. But, as soon as I get water again [long story], I think I will be making some cheddar cheese crackers.

                                                              28 Replies
                                                              1. re: smtucker

                                                                Wow, what a treasure. I've never heard of shilly-shallying! And how interesting about the no-knead bread recipe. I had no idea that Judith Jones had produced such a substantial book of her own.


                                                                1. re: smtucker

                                                                  When was the last time you saw finnan haddie?

                                                                  1. re: sr44

                                                                    I can get it at my local WFs but I have to ask a day or two in advance.

                                                                    1. re: sr44

                                                                      Smoked haddock is not hard to find around here [Boston.] When haddock is running and cheap in the market, I actually smoke my own. I love it, but my dining companion does not so it is a rare treat for me. I don't however, generally, do the baked dish that was common around here during my childhood.

                                                                      1. re: smtucker

                                                                        Do you have anything fancier than a stovetop smoker to smoke the haddock? That's achievable for me.

                                                                        1. re: sr44

                                                                          Nope, nothing fancier than a cast iron stove top model. I brine the fish and then let it air dry. I use wood shavings and have found that I love apple with haddock. I put the smoker over medium heat on my gas stove and wait for the "puffs" of smoke. Then I lower the fish in on a rack and turn down the temperature. My goal is to use the lowest temperature that produces smoke so that the fish can smoke for as long as possible.

                                                                          1. re: smtucker

                                                                            Does it smoke up your house? Do you think I could try it in apartment? On electric stove? I love smoked fish and smoked chicken - it would be great to be able to make it!

                                                                            1. re: herby

                                                                              Smoking fish doesn't smoke up the house. I would never consider smoking a chicken inside however. Just too much fat, mixed with smoke, for a much longer cooking time.

                                                                              1. re: smtucker

                                                                                What do you think about smoking chicken outside on the BBQ side burner? If I get a smokerm I could take it to my daughter's house next time I visit. I should consult "Cooking with Fire and Smoke" cookbook that I have

                                                                                1. re: herby

                                                                                  I just don't know. We don't have a side burner. When we smoke on the grill, we use a smoker box in the grill [which is charcoal.] Thanksgiving is the pinnacle for smoking poultry. We do a large turkey smoked over cherry wood. Started as a way to free up the oven, and now I can't eat turkey any other way.

                                                                                  1. re: smtucker

                                                                                    Smoked turkey over cherry for thanksgiving? wow, wish I had the guts to try that, sounds fabulous.

                                                                                    1. re: qianning

                                                                                      Always room around the table.....

                                                                                        1. re: smtucker

                                                                                          LOL! Thanks, as you know I'm close enough that it is a possibility. It sure does sound good, alas, think I'm on the hook to cook here.

                                                                                2. re: herby

                                                                                  I've had a Burton stovetop smoker for quite a while. (I think they're virtually identical to Cameron.) And I've got some apple chips from a recent pork shoulder extravaganza outside. Stand back!

                                                                                  Yes, there are smoky whiffs, but I find them appetizing, not overwhelming.

                                                                                3. re: smtucker

                                                                                  you're making me want a smoker. Really that easy? How long does this process take?

                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                    I brine the fish for an hour. The drying takes about an hour. Getting my first puff of smoke is about 10 minutes and then the fish is smoked in another 20. Since my indoor smoker is not large, I very often need a second round since I buy the whole fish and/or fillet.

                                                                                    1. re: smtucker

                                                                                      Which brand of smoker are you using? Would you recommend it or is there another kind that you wish you had? Functional and not too fancy is the key:)

                                                                                      1. re: herby

                                                                                        I have an Emeril 5-in-1 smoker which I bought for $23.00 at a Williams Sonoma Clearance table sale. I don't think that they are made anymore. [And the 5 stuff is silly. Once you smoke in this there is no way you can use it for anything else. Taste of smoke residue is too overwhelming.]

                                                                                        I understand that the Cameron stove top smokers are good, but can bend if not treated properly.

                                                                                4. re: sr44

                                                                                  I was just googling and found this no-smoker method of smoking Haddock! This seems worth a try, and he claims that it does not smoke up your house at all.


                                                                                  1. re: smtucker

                                                                                    Great video - I have to try smoking haddock this way!

                                                                                    1. re: smtucker

                                                                                      You obviously have us all pretty excited about the whole smoker thing. We have a large back porch - could I use one out there so that I didn't smoke up the house?

                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                        Both the Cameron smoker and the DIY one in the video use a stove burner to work. Do you have a burner out there?

                                                                                        (It really doesn't smell up the house.)

                                                                                        1. re: sr44

                                                                                          We have a gas grill, which I'm guessing would work.

                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                            I don't have a gas grill, but I think you put foil packets of soaked chips on the burner(s), and just remove them when you're done.

                                                                                            1. re: sr44

                                                                                              Thanks sr44, I'm going to look into this.

                                                                              2. re: smtucker

                                                                                I love this book! Got it as a gift when it was new and was happy that it wasn't a bunch of tired Yankee recipes but more of a melting pot of modern day New England cooking. Try the stuffed manicotti with Italian sausage, brocolli and white sauce- it's a keeper. Also the Chocolate Chip Oatmeal cookies were a staple at our house when I used to bake more and had a nut hater in the house.

                                                                              3. My challenge selection for this week will be THE SOUL OF A NEW CUISINE by Marcus Samuelsson. I bought it when it came up during the October COTM nomination process. This is the second time it was nominated and after the first time I checked it out of the library, along with every other Marcus Samuelsson book. I knew I liked the book before I bought it, but wasn't sure I would ever cook out of it. This thread gave me the perfect motivation to make sure I do cook out of it, at least for one week.

                                                                                The book arrived by mail last week. I ordered it along with 5 others so I was very worried it would be buried both on my bookshelf and in my subconscious even before I had a chance to page through it again. My son (age 14) saw it sitting on the shelf and asked if he could take it up to his room. Of course I said yes! He has never shown the slightest interest in cooking before this. He came back down a couple of hours later and asked me if I would make two dishes with him next week. Not for him, with him. This alone makes the book a keeper. I told him I had most of the ingredients on hand but would need to buy the rest and then we could get started. The two recipes he selected were Curried Trout with Coconut Chili Sauce on page 207 and Apple Squash Fritters on page 172. Last night we made the trout, which we served with sauteed green beans. I hope to get to the fritters tonight and, if they are successful, we will add them to our Thanksgiving menu this year.

                                                                                This is a gorgeous book. Not too big, but heavy. It is 344 pages, cover to cover. Marcus is a fascinating guy. His mother died in the tuberculosis epidemic that hit Ethiopia, and that is how/why he was adopted and raised in Sweden. His adoptive parents provided him with a privileged and very western life, so his memories of his early life in Africa are virtually nonexistent. But obviously he felt some pull back to his roots, because after he became a chef, a very successful chef, he started seeking out Ethiopian food and culture. First in New York, later in Ethiopia. Marcus' book focuses on the great beauty of Africa. His pictures show the towns, the rivers, the people, the animals, and of course, the food. He states "It' a place that assaults your sense: the colors are more vibrant, the music is more intense, the flavorings are startlingly spicy and aromatic; the heat prickles your skin." All of this comes through in his pictures and writing.

                                                                                The first few chapters cover basics like ingredients, equipment, and spice blend and rubs, condiments and sauces. Then the stand alone recipes begin. I would not characterize this as a true African cookbook. It is a cookbook that offers a few traditional African dishes such as Doro Wett p. 244 and Injera, p. 144, sprinkled between a whole lotta African inspired dishes (African fusion cooking). Both types appeal to me.

                                                                                Day One: Grocery shop and make the Curried Trout.

                                                                                CURRIED TROUT WITH COCONUT CHILI SAUCE, p. 207 THE SOUL OF A NEW CUISINE

                                                                                This is a simple recipe calling for whole trout, which I had the fishmonger clean and debone for me. The fish is seasoned with s and p and then a green curry paste (I used canned) is brushed over the skin and inside the fish. The fish is roasted at 375 for 8 minutes per side. While the fish is roasting, a sauce is made with shallots, garlic, serrano (omitted) the remainder of the curry paste, and tomatoes. After 10 minutes, 1 cup of coconut milk is added and the mixture cooks for another 10 minutes. The fish is removed from the oven, drizzled with lemon juice and then tented for 5 minutes. Sauce is served on the side. Verdict: Great, great flavor. Very spicy. Easy preparation. A 14 year old boy with no kitchen experience could easily do this on his own. Recipe provides opportunities for teaching a lot of basic techniques such as mincing, basting, reducing sauces, juicing lemons, pan roasting. Tweaks: Next time I would cut the sauce recipe in half and only juice one lemon (it called for two). I would also omit the serrano and substantially reduce the amount of green curry used. The recipe called for 1/4 c. next time I would use 1/8 c. at most. I might also consider diluting the paste so the heat is minimized but the flavor preserved. I think I would also use the lemon zest on the fish. One last thing, I would preheat the pan before adding the fish to get a crisper skin.

                                                                                Day Two:

                                                                                APPLE SQUASH FRITTERS, p. 172 THE SOUL OF A NEW CUISINE

                                                                                Tonight is the eve of Yom Kippur so this will play nicely as a variation of the tradition of serving apples dipped in honey to usher in a sweet new year. 2 apples and 2 lbs butternut squash, and 4 garlic cloves are roasted at 350 for 15 minutes. The roasted veggies/fruit are brought to room temp and mashed up. Add to this 2 t. garam masala, 1 t. salt ,1 T. cornstarch and 1/3 c. (I used gluten free). Roll into balls and dredge in more flour. Fry in peanut oil. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar or if it is Rosh Hashana, drizzle with honey. I'll report back with our results tomorrow.

                                                                                15 Replies
                                                                                1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                  I'm so impressed by those of you who are actually COOKING from your chosen books. DK--I'd had this book for 3-4 years and have never cooked from it. I've actually read quite a bit of it. Anyway, I'm thrilled your verdict on your first dish was mostly positive, despite all of the adjustments you'd made. Can't wait to hear about recipe #2!


                                                                                  1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                    Any book that encourages a 14 year old boy to mark recipes and then cook them has a permanent home, if you ask me.

                                                                                    The fritters sound wonderful and a perfect addition to your Yom Kippur table.

                                                                                    1. re: smtucker

                                                                                      OMG! I totally missed that part about her son asking if she'd cook these two recipes WITH HIM. I just saw the part " A 14 year old boy with no kitchen experience could easily do this on his own. " That is FANTASTIC!

                                                                                      What did your son think, DK?


                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                        He loved it. He loves Ethiopian food and my daughter hates it so we only go when she is at summer camp.

                                                                                        1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                          I'm so glad it worked out for him!


                                                                                    2. re: dkennedy

                                                                                      What a lovely experience for you and your son, dk!

                                                                                      The book sounds like a good one. I've resisted buying it so far as I so rarely get much use out of chef-authored cookbooks, but you make it sound approachable. Those fritters sound great; can't wait to hear about them.

                                                                                      1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                        What a wonderful report, DK; So special that your son was drawn to the book and wanted to cook from it with you; A lasting memory, and clearly a great teaching and bonding opportunity!

                                                                                        The book sounds great (thank you for your rich and clear impressions of it), and I will see if I can get it from the library.

                                                                                        Curious about the trout recipe; does it call for a pre-made green curry paste, or was that your choice to save time? I certainly concur on curry paste being strong - 1/8 cup of my usual brand (may ploy) would be PLENTY for this recipe - a little goes very, very far.

                                                                                        Learned the hard way when slightly drunk on a camping trip, when I was on dinner duty, 10 years ago, and had already had a couple glasses of wine - and the jaggermeister came out WAY too early around the campfire.I forgot I had added curry paste already, to my potato and shrimp curry (easy one pot meal - hey!) and put it in again.... when served, all the campers were running for cold beer, water, etc. and dancing around the campfire yelling J-E-G-E-R-M-E-E-I-S-T-E-R! DAMN THE COOK!". We laugh about it now, but I am very, very careful about measuring out that fiery paste!

                                                                                        1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                          Thanks GS. The recipe called for green curry paste, but it gave the option of using a recipe for it in the book or using a canned Thai paste. I opted for the can paste because I've used this in the past and had it on hand.

                                                                                        2. re: dkennedy

                                                                                          Love your report dk. The bit about your son is incredible, AND the meal sound very good. I have this book, but after a quick look through I haven't had a chance to pick it back up (so many books, so little time). I'm going to try to join you soon.

                                                                                            1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                              Such a great review, DK. It should go on his book jacket in the next printing!

                                                                                              I know it's slightly OT, but 'm in L.A. too -- any favorite spots for Ethiopian that I could try to win my kids over to? They are 7 and 11, not adventurous, but don't like the normal stuff either (don't like ranch, ketchup, DS only won over to french fries and hamburgers in the last year, etc, but love lamb and moroccan flavors). I know Fairfax/La Brea is the strip, but would appreciate any specific recos. TIA.

                                                                                              1. re: mebby

                                                                                                I don't have a favorite Ethiopian restaurant in L.A. We went to a fabulous Ethiopian in Berkeley last year, which spoiled me from ever enjoying it fully again in L.A. or anywhere else. My son is gluten free, so if we have the choice we go to Meals by Genet because they offer a gluten free Injera (at an extra cost). I think all the Ethiopian restaurants you find along Fairfax are pretty good for kids. It's so fun eating with your hands and so many of the ingredients are exotic. The only issue is the heat factor, which my son loves.

                                                                                              2. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                Day Three:

                                                                                                APPLE SQUASH FRITTERS, p. 172 THE SOUL OF A NEW CUISINE

                                                                                                I wasn't able to get to the fritters on day two so we ended up having them for dessert on Day Three, it accompanied Del Taco for dinner (I hang my head in shame) and a Lost marathon (we are in the middle of season two so no spoliers please).

                                                                                                As I set out above, 2 apples and 2 lbs butternut squash, and 4 garlic cloves are roasted at 350 for 15 minutes. They go back in for another 20 minutes after removing the garlic. The roasted veggies/fruit are brought to room temp and mashed up. (Note that I had to roast them for much longer to get them to the mash up stage, about 40 minutes in total) and I used a food processor to mash them. Add to this 2 t. garam masala, 1 t. salt ,1 T. cornstarch and 1/3 c. (I used gluten free). Roll into balls and dredge in more flour. Fry in peanut oil (I used Canola oil). We sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.


                                                                                                These were interesting, but I am not sure what else to say about them. Texture: on the soft side. I was expecting a crisper crust. Taste: Savory, I was expecting sweet. The garam masala really gave them a tropical flair, not at all dessert-like. Next time: I think they would make an excellent accompaniment to the spicy grilled fish I made two nights ago. I would plan on serving these on the main dinner plate rather than as a dessert. Their semi sweet edge would help cool the fire of the chiles. On their on, kind of blah.

                                                                                                My son's reaction: He loved them and he loved making them. We used TJs pre-cut butternut squash and he peeled, cut and tossed the apples. He roasted them himself and mixed in the various other ingredients. He rolled out the balls. I deep fried them on our wok burner. He made the cinnamon sugar topping. Wants some in his lunch box today. He also wants to keep cooking out of this book!

                                                                                                Next up: My son picked out the Zanzibari pizza recipe on p. 166. Marcus describes it as a chapati stuffed with eggs, meat and spices served hot off the grill. It is a street food so it is right up my alley, taste wise. It requires a bunch of stuff I don't have on hand so it will need to be tackled this weekend. Scotch Bonnets will need to be nixed for my household, but still need to make a green masala, potato lentil dumpling dough and spiced butter (all recipes set out on pages 27, 162, and 34 in the book).

                                                                                                1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                  I'm so impressed and encouraged by your son's enthusiasm for cooking from this book!


                                                                                              3. THE BOOK OF KALE, Sharon Hanna, Harbour Publishing Co. Ltd. (2012)

                                                                                                I bought this sight unseen based on a rave review from someone I trusted but I don’t remember who. This is a roughly 8x10 inch paperback with dark green text, easy to read, some quite nice photographs and some drawings. It has brief introductory sections on kale’s nutrition and worldwide history that I found interesting, a comprehensive (30 page) guide to growing your own with a lot of helpful tips, and then 80 recipes, all of which are marked gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan, as applicable. Many recipes have substitutes listed to make them one of the foregoing even if it doesn’t start out that way.

                                                                                                The book has a nice engaging tone, and although the author is clearly a kale fanatic I didn’t find it over-powering at all.

                                                                                                I marked quite a few recipes to make, and if I were not trying to cut back on carbs, I probably would have marked 8 or 10 more. Some of these are more earth-shattering then others, but even those which are sort of remakes of a standard spinach recipe (like Kalekopita) have some nice wrinkles.

                                                                                                Breakfast Okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake)
                                                                                                Kale, Bacon and Potato Frittata
                                                                                                Kale Gomasio (Japanese all-purpose seasoning) – if this is good, it will be in people’s Christmas baskets
                                                                                                Fermented Kale with Ginger and Miso
                                                                                                Lemony Kale Goat Cheese Dip
                                                                                                La Tarte with Kale, Olives and Gruyere
                                                                                                Kale Edamame Fritters
                                                                                                Kalekopita (with fresh mint and dill, this looks like a winner)
                                                                                                Kale Gomae (like that squeezed spinach sesame salad at Japanese restaurants)
                                                                                                Kale Caesar
                                                                                                Wilted Kale with Pickled Red Onions
                                                                                                Garlicky Kale and Asian Greens with Chicken
                                                                                                Soothing Miso with Kale
                                                                                                Cavolo Nero Tuscan Black Kale Soup
                                                                                                Kale and Goats Cheese with Bowties
                                                                                                Kale and Ricotta Lasagna
                                                                                                Moussaka with Kale and Lamb
                                                                                                Turkey Burgers [with Kale] and [Kale] Microgreens

                                                                                                Will let you know when I make some of these.

                                                                                                15 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: GretchenS

                                                                                                  Okonomiyaki is one of my favorite dishes. Haven't had it in years, it is hard to find in the States.

                                                                                                  1. re: GretchenS

                                                                                                    Wow! Those recipes sound like they could turn even an avowed kale hater, such as my husband!


                                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                      My husband would put this book next a virtual copy of "How I survived Waterboarding"

                                                                                                      1. re: Berheenia

                                                                                                        Too funny! I feel so sorry for people who dislike greens....

                                                                                                        1. re: GretchenS

                                                                                                          He likes spinach, chard and beet greens - just won't do the heavy duties like collard and kale.

                                                                                                          1. re: Berheenia

                                                                                                            Yeah, my husband is pretty anti-kale. I told him that I was going to try to incorporate more of it into our diets and he said "don't try too hard." It's a kale thing.

                                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                              Have you tried serving as a salad? I love it this way.

                                                                                                              1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                                It isn't me who is the problem. We need to convince the Mr. But I'll give a salad a try. Any especially wonderful ideas for one?

                                                                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                  LulusMom, this one is great, even if Mr doesn't like it, you and Lulu will be happy to gobble it all up! http://www.kimseverson.com/index.php/...

                                                                                                                  1. re: GretchenS

                                                                                                                    Thanks Gretchen! If it is on the table, he'll give it a try, and he may even like it.

                                                                                                                  2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                    What is great about Kale is that it stands up well even after adding the dressing. I like it with a simple olive oil and lemon dressing. As well if you can get black Kale it is very delicious.

                                                                                                      2. re: GretchenS

                                                                                                        Wow, Gretchen, that's a long list! I recently bought this book, really like it especially how the recipes are divided into sections (Breakfast, Starters & Light Meals, Salads, etc.) with the list of recipes at the beggining of each section. I marked five recipes to try:
                                                                                                        Karefree Kale & Spud Soup with Italian Sausage
                                                                                                        Tabouli with Quinoa & Kale
                                                                                                        Lightly Massaged Kale with Alligator Pear
                                                                                                        Pasta Puttanesca with Kale
                                                                                                        Have not made any yet but bought kale this week and will make something, not sure yet which recipe I'll choose. I even volunteered to index the book for EYB but only made a small progress so far.

                                                                                                        1. re: GretchenS

                                                                                                          Just want to echo the thanks, Gretchen, as so many of those sound amazing and much more varied than the standard kale fare...kale lover though I am. I will say however that this thread is quickly merging with the What Cookbooks Have You Bought Lately one in terms of enabling...for any one that goes I'm pretty sure 5 will join the party!

                                                                                                          1. re: GretchenS

                                                                                                            Uh-oh, now I want that book. I think I need it for health reasons.

                                                                                                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                              You ABOLUTELY need it for health reasons, ncm, that is why I bought it of course! ;)

                                                                                                          2. When Breadcrumbs made this proposal, I pulled a stack of cookcooks off the shelves, and a few new ones have now been added to that stack. But not until late last night did I get around to giving the first two a good nostalgic going-through.

                                                                                                            Sarah Leah Chase’s “Open-House Cookbook” (1987) and “Cold-Weather Cooking” (1990)

                                                                                                            I pulled these oldies (published by Workman, which turns out terrific cookbooks) off the shelves after OHC was mentioned on another thread and decided they both deserved a revisit. I always bring out CWC at holiday time anyway; I nearly wore out OHC, a long-time favorite, during the first few years I had it (back in the day, when my collection consisted of maybe 10-15 books). I bought OHC after seeing it in a bookstore and realizing I had been to the author’s food shop to buy picnic fare during an idyllic visit to Nantucket as a newlywed. I don’t remember exactly what we ate, just that it was delicious (but the beach picnic ill-fated: wind-whipped sand sent us scurrying for cover, protecting the grub our first priority).

                                                                                                            OHC: I loved the recipes I tried though I have to admit that as fresh as the book seemed (in 1988 or 89) when I bought it, it is a bit dated (sun-dried tomatoes, anyone?), in the same way the Silver Palate books are dated—in a good way to me because these books shaped me as a cook, made me pay attention to ingredients and take food preparation seriously.

                                                                                                            Some recipes I’ve made and loved:

                                                                                                            White Bean and Goat Cheese Salad (p. 133)—dated or not, I love, love, love this salad, still make it for groups, and for this alone, the book was worth whatever it cost. I instinctively cut the goat cheese amount in half the first time I made it and have never looked back.

                                                                                                            Chicken and Apricot Salad w/Double-Mustard Mayo (p. 165)—fabulous autumnal chicken salad.

                                                                                                            Nantucket Scallop Bisque (p.279)—only made this once, for a Christmas Eve dinner while visiting relatives, but it was divine, w/its touch of Pernod to perk things up.

                                                                                                            Curried Chicken Salad (p. 162)—seemed so hip back then—apples, golden raisins, curry powder.

                                                                                                            Asparagus w/Sesame Mayonnaise (p. 135)—one of my first forays into homemade mayo was this Asian flavored one. I still make this though I always serve the asparagus as crudite and the mayo as dip, not mixed as salad.

                                                                                                            Red cabbage and Roquefort (p. 131)—a match made in heaven. I love any cabbage with blue cheese—plain old green w/cheap blue cheese is good too.

                                                                                                            Shredded Brussels Sprouts w/Prosciutto and Parmesan (p. 288)—a decadent gratin, with lots of cream. I used to include this in every holiday spread. May resurrect this year.

                                                                                                            Green Beans w/Warm Mustard Vinaigrette (p. 107)—have always loved this combination though I skip the dill.

                                                                                                            Scallop Puffs (p. 15)—my SIL makes these every time we spend holidays with them.

                                                                                                            My Grandmother’s Oatmeal Cookies (p. 243)—my husband loves any oatmeal cookies; these are always a hit.

                                                                                                            Cranberry Harvest (p. 260) and Tri-berry (p.261) Muffins—favorites during my muffin phase (had to stop as I was growing my own).

                                                                                                            Marbled Apricot Bread (p. 265)—a delicious brunch or coffee cake. I do a version with cranberries that I like even better.

                                                                                                            I did try a couple of recipes I didn’t like (her versions of Cold Chinese Noodles and Indonesian Noodles), but these inspired me to develop a cold Asian-inspired noodle salad that I still make for pot-luck gatherings. I first tried Veal Marengo using a recipe from OHC, but I’ve since found a recipe I like much better.


                                                                                                            CWC: I pull this out every Thanksgiving and Christmas and may use it a few times during Nov- Dec-Jan, but since we don’t get that much cold weather here, it doesn’t call to me that often. Still, it has some favorite veggie preps:

                                                                                                            Mustard Creamed Onions (p. 80)—almost always on our holiday tables.

                                                                                                            Baby Carrots w/Brown Sugar and Mustard (p.81)—love this easy-peasy carrot prep.

                                                                                                            Broccoli w/Toasted Hazelnuts and Pancetta (p. 83)—loved this dressed-up broccoli dish though I only made it once.

                                                                                                            Cranberry-Orange Scones (p. 227)—remembering how good these were, I made them again early this morning as I had some frozen cranberries, which subbed beautifully for the fresh in the recipe.

                                                                                                            Never tried, but always wanted to:

                                                                                                            Pork w/Bourbon-soaked Prunes and Apricots (p.265).

                                                                                                            [Spaghetti w/] Meatballs (p. 278)—an interesting-sounding version, with ground beef, pork, ricotta, and minced prosciutto in the mix, and stuffed w/mozzarella cubes.

                                                                                                            [Roast Pheasant with] Champagne Cabbage and Noodles (p. 249)—intrigued not by the pheasants but by the cabbage and noodles.


                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                              Thanks for the great, thorough post, NCW -- some delicious-sounding recipes! The only thing that really feels dated to me is the curried chicken salad...and more ubiquitous than dated (although I'm totally with you on sundried tomatoes -- as a survivor of the 80s I can't even look at them now). The brussels sprouts sound particularly divine -- any chance you'd be willing to paraphrase?

                                                                                                              1. re: mebby

                                                                                                                At the risk of being stoned for passing along such an artery-clogger, here 's my paraphrase of the shredded brussels sprouts gratin:

                                                                                                                Melt 1/2 c. (I'm usually good with a generous 1/4 c) in lg. skillet over med. high heat. Add 4 oz. chopped prosciutto and 2 tsp. minced garlic and cook, stirring briskly, for 3-4 minutes. Add 2 lbs brussels sprouts (that have been trimmed and shredded). Stir i n 3 T flour and cook about 2 minutes. Add gradually 1 1/2 c heavy cream, 1 c. light cream, 1/4 c Marsala. (OK--I know this sounds crazy. I've found that using 1 c. milk in place of the light cream works just fine. It's still plenty rich. And you can still cut the amt of heavy cream to between 1 and 1 1/4 .c).

                                                                                                                Now, reduce the heat and simmer the sprouts until barely tender, 4-5 minutes. Add 1 tsp. grated nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in 1 c grated parnigiano; cook another minute or so. Remove from heat. (At this point, you can cool and refrigerate until you're ready to bake.)

                                                                                                                Transfer to gratin dish. Top with another 1/2 c. parmigiano. Bake until bubbly, slightly browned on top, 20-25 minutes.

                                                                                                              2. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                OK, we are even, now I want those cookbooks. :) But I think I will check them out of my library instead -- just checked and it has them.

                                                                                                              3. My first entry: I LOVE CRAB CAKES! 50 RECIPES FOR AN AMERICAN CLASSIC - Tom Douglas

                                                                                                                As one can imagine, every recipe in this book (aside from sauces) are for...crab cakes. In the Northwest, we're known for anything coming out of the water (dungeness crab, especially) and Tom Douglas is widely accepted as the king of the crab cake, so it's a good match.

                                                                                                                I'll start with what I don't really care for from the book, given that they will be drowned out by what I do like. The book is half the size of a typical cookbook (and I mean that in all dimensions) and, as a personal preference, I don't care for cookbooks that are only 7 inches tall and with pages that are only 6 inches wide. I've found the page stock to be less than ideal (my copy has numerous tears through use).

                                                                                                                The other thing I don't like about it is....when you talk crab cakes, you're going to have to pair it with some sort of sauce, right? So many of these recipes reference sauces that are located waaaaaaay in the back of the book. It's kind of a pain to have to flip through 2 different parts of the book in order to complete a dish. I get why it's done that way (some recipes utilise a common sauce), but I would still prefer it if the book itself wasn't so unwieldy (especially when paired with my first complaint).

                                                                                                                The last complaint I have is pictures. There aren't many of them and, due to the physical dimensions of the book, what pictures there are are not that large.

                                                                                                                Now, what I like about the book:

                                                                                                                First, I like that the very first "real" thing in the book is an entire section on HOW to make the perfect crab cake. It's a deceptively difficult procedure, given how few people even in restaurants I've come across that can make one. Everything from how to handle the meat to how to chill it to what great ingredients pair well with the meat is covered.

                                                                                                                Next, I really appreciate that it's geographically neutral. By that I mean here in Seattle, dungeness is king....but what if you live in Baltimore, where it's all about the blue crab? Or Miami, where the stone claw crab reigns supreme? Each of these crabs have distinctly different flavour profiles, textures, etc. Even though Tom Douglas is known as the inventor of Northwest cuisine, he gives a nod to all of these regions by supplying recipes that utilize all of these forms of crabmeat (assisted no doubt by the fact he grew up in Maryland). Whether you're after dungeness, peekytoe, blue, or king, there are recipes for you.

                                                                                                                The recipes are also not all Tom Douglas's, so you get to experience a wide array of philosophies when it comes to crab cakes. Yes, most of them are from him. But he also provides regional crab cake recipes provided by notable chefs including Jaques Pepin, Susan Spicer, Emeril Legasse, Thierry Rautereau, Chris Schlesinger, Mark Bittman, and many others. The end result is a book full of crab cakes that have global flair, including Thai, French, Vietnamese, etc. inspired crab cakes.

                                                                                                                As you delve deeper into the book, you find that the book becomes more a celebration of crab. There are "interpretations" of a crab cake (ex. a crab shao mai or a pakora), as well as turning what is essentially a crab cake into sandwich form. There are even interpretations of the crab cake to make it a breakfast-acceptable dish. The collection of sauces to pair with the crab cakes is also impressive, ranging from a basic red sauce created from Pepin to aioli's, aji amarillo sauces, salsas, and the like. You can easily mix and match the sauces in the back with the crab cakes in the main portion of the book, though I've found it's best to stay true to the recommendations in each recipe for the most part.

                                                                                                                As to what I've made? Most of them have been delicious. The very first recipe in the book is the Etta's classic crab cake (page 13), which is arguably the best crab cake on Earth. I've made the Pepin offering (p 30), which goes more for spice, the Rautereau offering (p 36), which exhibits the French disgust for filling a crab cake with too much bread, the Bittman crab cake (p 34), the offering from local Seattle staple Wild Ginger (p 76), various sandwiches, etc. I've even made some of the more "oddball" crab cake recipes and have been pleasantly surprised (A Frito chili pie crab cake?! - p 84). I've had blue crab shipped in from the East coast to make the Chesapeake Bay crab cakes (p 15), which were mind-blowingly good. "Steven's perfect dungeness crab cake" (p 20) is possibly the best baked crab cake I've ever had. The tempura crab cakes w/ shredded nori (p 45) was a pleasant surprise. Certain items like the "crabcake toast", the "Costco quickie" (p 24), and the crab cake huevos I found to be a bit lackluster. Emeril's beer batter crab fritters (p 42) received some rave reviews, but also some real disdain. Some of the sauces don't suit my taste, but that's a personal thing. The chilled crab cakes were also hit and miss for me, but I think that is also a personal taste issue.

                                                                                                                All in all, I would *highly* recommend this book if you are a fan of crab. The difficulty of making any one of these recipes is not that difficult (which saddens me, in a way), making it accessible for home cooks of any level, and it's obvious that every one of these recipes have been thoroughly tested prior to printing. A lot of big name chefs have put their names on individual recipes, and you can tell that they've taken care to ensure that what they're offering suits their names.

                                                                                                                1. HANDS-OFF COOKING: LOW SUPERVISION, HIGH FLAVOR MEALS FOR BUSY PEOPLE by Ann Martin Rolke

                                                                                                                  Thanks to TDQ who reminded me that I had this book, which I'd kind of forgotten in among the piles of other books. I bought this book soon after Lulu was born. The Washington Post's weekly food section had one of the recipes from it, I gave that a shot and liked it, and figured as a relatively inexpensive paperback it was worth buying. The basic idea is that she has stream-lined recipes to make them quick to throw together (although some sit on the stove or in the oven for over and hour), leaving you time to do other things. She gives a "hands-off" time - time spent after you've put it together when you have free hands/time. Obviously these recipes are not authentic - she skips steps like sauteing things first. And in some of the recipes this is very obvious. But I've had a couple of pretty good meals and one that we absolutely love from this book.

                                                                                                                  The absolutely love recipe is the ALOO CHOLAY (chickpea potato curry). The recipe that was in the WP that got me to buy the book was the SQUASH AND CORN ENCHILADAS - a solid enough vegetarian weeknight dish. The GINGERRIFIC CHICKEN SOUP is pleasing. ANTS CLIMBING A TREE was one of those that seemed to me too obviously inauthentic, or just plain dull. The COCONUT RICE PUDDING was interesting, but the proportions didn't really work on my stove.

                                                                                                                  There are still a few things that I'm interested in trying, now that I've refound the book:
                                                                                                                  Catalan Chicken
                                                                                                                  Enchilada Suiza
                                                                                                                  Chicken Paprikash
                                                                                                                  Vegetable Biryani

                                                                                                                  My main pleasure in refinding this book is being reminded of that Aloo Cholay recipe, which I think I may just make next week.

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                    Thanks for filling in some of the details on this book. The Squash and Corn Enchiladas caught my eye, too, as did the gingerrific chicken. Bummer about the ants climbing on a tree. I tagged it, but must not have spent much time studying it. I've got several of the same recipes tagged that you do.


                                                                                                                  2. I will join! I recently had to clear my cookbook shelf out of the kitchen to make way for my sons new play kitchen. I was able to keep a few most-used books in the kitchen, but the bookcase and many books went up to the third floor storage room. This will be a good opportunity to assess the books that went upstairs. in addition to reviewing them, I would like to actually cook from them , as there are quite a few that I have never used. And if I can't bring myself to try any recipes, I may just need to get rid of them somehow. Don't expect weekly updates though! I think doing a book a month makes more sense for me. Stay tuned for my first review coming soon!

                                                                                                                    1. Time for the weekly football, beer, cookbook update!

                                                                                                                      This week's beer was SunRyes Ale from Weston Brewing Company. Weston is a really cool historic town about an hour north of Kansas City. They have both a winery and a brewery, so how could you not like it? The beer was tasty - a rye beer in early fall hits the spot.

                                                                                                                      The game - abysmal. I can't even talk about it.

                                                                                                                      The cookbook - GOOD FOOD FAST by Anne Walsh with help from the editors of Food & Wine magazine. I have no idea who Anne Walsh is - Google was no help. As far I can tell, she's only written this one cookbook, which has a 1985 edition and a 1991 update. I have the 1985 version, which I think was handed down from my grandmother's collection.

                                                                                                                      Given the publish date of the book, I figured it was likely to end up in the donate pile. Shows what I know - I guess good food is good food even 25+ years later. I couldn't find anything in this book that I wouldn't make! There are so many pages flagged I don't know where I'll start, but I am sure that this book, which heretofore was unused by yours truly, will alternate with the COTM selection for a while.

                                                                                                                      The premise is tasty food with reasonable effort. I think the format is fantastic. The entire book is menu based. Each two page spread has a complete menu, with starters, a main dish, one or two sides, and a dessert. She does not provide recipes for every item - some are things you would pick up ready made at the store, like bread, cheese or fresh fruit. Every menu also comes with a beverage suggestion, including some really fun cocktails. A number of recipes use alcohol as a component, so teetotalers beware!

                                                                                                                      Walsh does a great job balancing convenience items, liked canned beans and frozen fruits and vegetables, with seasonal produce and good proteins. There are very few ingredients that I would not be able to find between the best of the local grocery stores and the meat market we have nearby. When the menu is seasonal, that is called out in the title or description. With each menu, she provides a 'game plan' - geez, the Chiefs could probably use her! They had no game plan today, unless it was dropping the ball. The game plan gives you preparation steps to minimize your effort and get dinner on the table quickly.

                                                                                                                      I can absolutely see myself using this cookbook an a weekday and having a great dinner. Many of the recipes serve 2-4 people, which I really like - just enough for dinner and leftovers for lunch. There is also a lot of variety - everything from homestyle comfort food to upscale dishes featuring lamb and veal to a decent variety of ethnic inspired meals. Plenty to keep your tastebuds from getting bored!

                                                                                                                      This cookbook has gone from gathering dust on a shelf to having a place of honor in the kitchen. Thanks Breadcrumbs for starting this project to get us all perusing our many cookbooks!

                                                                                                                      10 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: bkieras

                                                                                                                        1) I always love reading your Sunday afternoon write-ups. They're funny, and as a football fan I always understand the way how the game is going effects your posts. Sorry about the Chiefs this week. I'm a Skins fan. I understand the pain of love.

                                                                                                                        2) Can you tell us some of the stuff that especially appeals to you? You have me interested (although I'm guessing if you talk me into this one, it will take some looking to find a copy).

                                                                                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                          Ditto both LulusMom's points. Would love to know what some of the recipes are at both ends of the spectrum because actually there are quite a few copies available cheap at Amazon (from non-Amazon sellers).

                                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                            I looked it up on Amazon and you can have used copy for a penny and new for $2.41 from Amazon re-sellers.

                                                                                                                            1. re: herby

                                                                                                                              OK, now I *really* need to know what the good sounding recipes are!

                                                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                **Blushing a little.** Thanks all for the positive feedback on the posts. I am really having some fun with this project, even if the Chiefs are trying to ruin it for me!!

                                                                                                                                Below are a few of the menus I've flagged. I'm going to try a few of them in the coming weeks (a business trip tomorrow is the only reason I'm not at the grocery store right now!) I'm also really excited, because this book could be a life-saver when the in-laws visit in December.

                                                                                                                                Southern- Style Breakfast: We're having "Sippin' Whiskey" from this menu tonight - Whiskey with a little orange marmalade, orange slices, bitters, and mint. We are having "breakfast for dinner" but not her suggestions. Not tonight anyway. But the menu from the book sounds delish - Glazed Bacon with Walnuts, Grits with Red-Pepper Butter, and Shortening Bread, along with sliced kiwi and strawberries.

                                                                                                                                Special Occasion Dinner: Celery Hearts with St Andre Cheese, Sautéed Chicken Breasts with Madeira and Spiced Cherries, Bibb Lettuce with Golden Cream Dressing.

                                                                                                                                Light and Easy Supper: Lime Rickeys (cocktail), Lemon Roasted Breast of Chicken, Gingered Rice, and Bibb Lettuce Chiffonade. Serve with fresh peaches in heavy cream.

                                                                                                                                Southern-Style Chicken Dinner: Mississippi Chicken Strips, Green Bean Succotash, Hoppin' John with tomato salad and Hot Sourmash Whiskey Sundaes for dessert. (Yes, I flagged anything involving whiskey!!)

                                                                                                                                Old-Fashioned Sunday Dinner: Pork Chops with Apples and Bourbon, Broiled Sweet Potatoes, Sugared Onion Slices with Walnuts and a Watercress and Orange Salad.

                                                                                                                                Veal Scallops with a Special Touch: Veal Scallops with Port and Green Peppercorn Sauce, Broiled Baby Zucchini with Rosemary, Julienned Carrots with Lemon Zest. For dessert, Coffee Ice Cream with Maple-Rum Cream Sauce.

                                                                                                                                Dressing Up a Casual Classic: Veal Dumplings with Capellini and Fresh Tomato Sauce, Arugula and Romaine Salad, Italian Bread, and Fresh Strawberry and Ricotta Barquettes (a pastry.)

                                                                                                                                A Tex-Mex Meal: Margaritas, Tostados con Queso, Rice with Shrimp, Avocado Salad with Lime Dressing followed by fresh pineapple and kiwi slices

                                                                                                                                Festive Caribbean Dinner: Pork with Garlic, Green Chiles, and Lime, Black Beans with Fresh Cilantro and Tomatoes, and Saffron Rice.

                                                                                                                                Informal Japanese Menu: Shiitake Mushroom Broth, Skillet Grilled Pork with Dipping Sauce, Sautéed Shiitake Mushrooms, Vinagered Cucumbers with Sesame Seeds.

                                                                                                                                Okay, I have to stop myself before I just type out the entire contents. As I mentioned, few unusual ingredients and designed to be quick - she specifically says that many of the menus can be completed in less than an hour. If you have a sous chef - I am lucky that The Old Man is a willing peeler and chopper - some of them probably go pretty fast.

                                                                                                                                The ones I flagged are more suitable for fall, but there are plenty for spring and summer as well.

                                                                                                                                1. re: bkieras

                                                                                                                                  Thanks so much, bkieras, very helpful!!!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: bkieras

                                                                                                                                    Very helpful. Thanks so much bkieras.

                                                                                                                            2. re: bkieras

                                                                                                                              Sounds very appealing. Now I'm dying to know who Anne Walsh is!

                                                                                                                              I wish this book were indexed on EYB. I'll be interested in reading about how these recipes turn out for you!


                                                                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                We're all such kindred spirits. After I read bkieras post, I immediately went onto Amazon and then EYB to gather info. No info to be found, I put it in my bookmark file. Only to find both of you had the same strategy.

                                                                                                                              2. re: bkieras

                                                                                                                                Just love your weekend football, beer, and cookbook posts! Reminds me that it is Sunday.

                                                                                                                              3. THE STOCKED KITCHEN: ONE GROCERY LIST...ENDLESS RECIPES by Kallio and Krastins

                                                                                                                                ARGH! I backspaced and lost my post. I'm going to keep this short and sweet.

                                                                                                                                The premise: one "tear-out" grocery list http://www.thestockedkitchen.com/page... serves as the foundation for all 300 recipes in the book. No "specialty" ingredients. Most items on the list are "real food" except for canned beans and canned crab meat. Also, brownie mix, cake mix and pancake mix (I would use this book for weeknight cooking, which would almost never include dessert, so I"m going to pretend I didn't see all those mixes). Also, they do call for ginger in a tube (this is not a problem for me: it's a compromise I've been willing to make in the past.)

                                                                                                                                The recipes are organized into chapters by course and are indexed two ways: by key ingredient (so you can say, I have chicken, what can I make) and by dish.

                                                                                                                                Obviously, authenticity is sacrificed here and there is no haute cuisine. Hummus is made with cannellini beans. Moo shoo shrimp calls for Tabasco (or other hot sauce) and flour tortillas. Leek soup substitutes green onions...

                                                                                                                                A sample week:

                                                                                                                                Sun: soups and bread bowls OR flank steak roll-ups with mashed potatoes
                                                                                                                                Mon: chicken: rice or pasta bake
                                                                                                                                Tuea: salad with protein topper
                                                                                                                                Weds: pasta or rice
                                                                                                                                Thurs: "fast food" or leftovers, fast food meaning sloppy joes, pita pizzas, taco salad, grilled sandwiches, or breakfast fordinner
                                                                                                                                Fri: cocktails and appetizers
                                                                                                                                Sat: "free for all" --either leftovers, homemade pizza, or dinner out.

                                                                                                                                Somehow, this whole system makes me worry that everything will taste the same.

                                                                                                                                When I started at the beginning of the book (appetizers, then soups & stews) and start flipping through the recipes, I am immediately turned off. Can't really explain why. I guess I don't prepare a lot of appetizers and I've never been much of a soup person. Also, the suggested weekly menu bores me. But, if I open the book to the middle to the chicken or shrimp sections, I see moo shoo shrimp and chicken satay, both dishes I like in their authentic renditions. The question is, could I live with these pared down compromise-type recipes? It's kind of Bittman/minimalist-like, but it's an enclosed, self-contained "system" of cooking from a set pantry.

                                                                                                                                I suppose I could live with this book in the dead of winter when there's no fresh local produce and I'm snow or ice bound and can't do elaborate grocery shopping because it's dark, cold, and I'm short on time and have my toddler in tow.

                                                                                                                                I don't think I could live from this book. But I could see myself reaching for this book when I just need something quick and basic from the pantry. Or, better yet, when I'm too tired and harried, I could give it to my husband... For instance, here are three chicken recipes:

                                                                                                                                lemon chicken, apple chicken, and chicken with a sticky spicy glaze. Not spectacular, but good enough if I'm stuck for a weeknight meal idea:

                                                                                                                                http://www.thestockedkitchen.com/reci... or http://www.thestockedkitchen.com/reci... or

                                                                                                                                One thing that annoys me is that none of the recipes have cooking or prep times. I could eye ball them, but this is something I'm sure the audience for this book would have appreciated...

                                                                                                                                I think this is a better book than the "Frantic Woman's Guide to Feeding Family and Friends" but just a step above that in terms of recipes.


                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                  I definitely see your point about the possibility that everything could taste the same. And I'm concerned about tabasco in moo shoo shrimp.

                                                                                                                                2. SUNDAY SUPPERS AT LUCQUES by Suzanne Goin

                                                                                                                                  I know that this is one of those books most beloved by Chowhounds, but I have never cooked from it. I acquired it shortly before my son was born two years ago because I knew it was a great book and I ran into it at a good price. I didn't get a chance to cook from it before my son was born. I thought I might get to it once the new baby craziness wore off. Little did I know that it never wears off! I have literally never cracked open this book until now.

                                                                                                                                  This book is organized seasonally. Each season contains a number of menus consisting of appetizer, entree and dessert. Almost everything sounds incredibly delicious. However most recipes are time consuming, involve lots of pots and pans, and many are made of multiple component parts that themselves must be prepared separately. This is definitely not a book for weeknight cooking! It is more the dinner party/weekend project type of book.

                                                                                                                                  This book was COTM twice, first in May 2007 and second in December 2008/January 2009. Here is the link to those threads if you are interested: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/397079

                                                                                                                                  I love that the book is arranged seasonally. Since this is the way I cook and eat, I really appreciate only having to look through a portion of the book at once, as opposed to say looking through xn entire "poultry" chapter looking for fall poultry recipes.

                                                                                                                                  In this case I focused on the fall and winter sections of the book, looking for things that I might be able to attempt over the next month. While I will not be able to attack any of the full menus, various of the component parts sound doable and useful in their own right. Recipes I've marked to try include:

                                                                                                                                  Potato and tomato gratin
                                                                                                                                  Farro with kabocha squash and cavolo nero
                                                                                                                                  Roasted beet salad with fried chickpeas, Lyons olives, and Ricotta salata
                                                                                                                                  James's broccoli with burrata, pine nuts, and warm anchovy viniagrette
                                                                                                                                  Kabocha squash and fennel soup with creme fraiche and candied pumpkin seeds

                                                                                                                                  And later this winter I plan to try one main dish: the famous Braised beef short ribs with potato purée, Swiss chard, and horseradish cream.

                                                                                                                                  If anyone has comments on the above recipes or suggestions for things I should make from this book that are relatively simple to prepare, I am all ears. As I try recipes, I will post to the COTM threads and add links here.

                                                                                                                                  10 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                    I too would love a list of the simplest recipes out of this book, which I also own and have seldom cooked from.


                                                                                                                                    1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                      I’ve made that Kabocha Squash Soup every Thanksgiving since the book was first published. Great recipe. Don’t skip the pumpkin seeds; you can do them a couple of days ahead and they’re just perfect with the soup. (Another terrific recipe using Kabocha squash is the Winter Squash Risotto with Radicchio and Parmesan; no more difficult than any other risotto.) And I’ve made the Potato-Bacon Gratin; another winner and definitely one of the easier recipes in the book.

                                                                                                                                      Take a look at the Grilled Pork Burgers with Rob’s Famous Coleslaw. Both are out of this world and many have declared the burger “the best ever.”

                                                                                                                                      Not one of the simpler recipes, but one I’ve made for at least three different dinner parties, is Braised Chicken with Saffron Onions, Italian Couscous, and Dates. It has a lot of parts to it, but they can be done over a period of days and the result is worth every minute of time it takes.

                                                                                                                                      Yes, the ribs with horseradish cream are to die for, and so is the potato puree, which can be made ahead of time. And I have a note in the book saying the Braised Beef Brisket with Beluga Lentils, using the same horseradish cream, “may be best brisket ever.” And that’s from someone who’s eaten an awful lot of brisket over the years.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                        Thanks Joan! I'll definitely take these suggestions into account.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                          I feel like I need to run out and cook all of this right now! Thank you, JoanN!


                                                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                            Simple and Sunday Suppers doesn't go hand in hand but everything I have made out of this book has been phenomenal. Don't skip the steps or you will be very disappointed with the results. I recently gave a copy of this book to a friend recently for her wedding. I made up a recommendation list. If I can find it, I'll post it her. Meantime, +1 re the Kabocha Squash Soup. When I make it, I don't puree it and it is really nice that way for a rustic weekday lunch.

                                                                                                                                            ETA: Found it!

                                                                                                                                            This book has served me well over the years. It is a special occasion cookbook. Many of the recipes are involved, and the instructions highly detailed, but the results are consistently outstanding. The steps in the recipes can be modified if you want something more homey. I hope you enjoy cooking from it as much as I do!

                                                                                                                                            Here are a few of my favorite recipes:

                                                                                                                                            chestnut stuffing, p. 371 (my Thanksgiving go-to recipe)
                                                                                                                                            devil's chicken thighs with braised leeks and dijon mustard, p. 326 (fantastic)
                                                                                                                                            kabocha squash and fennel soup with creme fraiche and candied pumpkin seeds, p 323 (mind blowing)
                                                                                                                                            persimmon and pomegranate salad with arugula and hazelnuts, p. 315
                                                                                                                                            torchio with cauliflower, cavolo nero, currants, and pine nuts, p. 308 (special)
                                                                                                                                            chocolate sables, p. 236 (perfect results)
                                                                                                                                            heirloom tomato salad with burrata, torn croutons, and opal basil, p. 135 (one of two recipes I consistently use)
                                                                                                                                            endive salad with meyer lemon, fava beans, and olive cured olives, p. 37 (pretty)

                                                                                                                                            On my list to try:

                                                                                                                                            Dad's steakhouse salad, p. 153
                                                                                                                                            short ribs recipe, p. 301
                                                                                                                                            Mom's chocolate bundt cake, p. 112

                                                                                                                                            1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                              Now I really-really want it and I have been resisting for a long time! And I already feel very poor and indulgent because I bought quite a few cookbooks (and other books!) during the last few months:(

                                                                                                                                              1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                Sorry for tempting you but this is one you can feel really good about adding to your collection. It is a must have.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                  OK, you are right - "a must have" - just ordered from Amazon reseller used in "very good" condition for $16 including shipping - fingers crossed that the condition of the book is very good indeed.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                            Just popping back in to say that I've now made three recipes from this book and have enjoyed them all. The recipes I've made are the roasted beet salad and potato tomato gratin listed above, along with a farro dish (farro with butter and parsley). I have one more dish lined up for next week (chicken paillards w rosemary breadcrumbs and escarole) and the kabocha squash soup is going on my thanksgiving menu. The short ribs will probably wait until december or january. If not for this thread I don't know when I would have gotten around to trying something from this book! This one is most definitely a keeper and I'm very glad for the push to cook from it. This has been a valuable exercise and I'm looking forward to doing it again with another book next month.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                              I just made the kabocha squash soup (for a dinner party tomorrow night) and I am going to make the fava bean spread to go with it (using frozen favas). Glad you are enjoying the book WM.

                                                                                                                                          3. This week, I'll do another Northwest chef's book. This one is "PASSION & PALATE: RECIPES FOR A GENEROUS TABLE" by John Howie, printed by Shinshinchez publishing (retails $42, available at http://shinshinchez.com/product/john-... ).

                                                                                                                                            The Cliff's Notes backstory: Most people will concede that the best seafood in America is in Seattle - the logical byproduct of half of this country's seafood coming onto land from here. Seastar, John Howie's flagship restaurants, are widely acknowledged as best seafood restaurants in Seattle.

                                                                                                                                            This book is...artisanal. From the strong binding to the coated paper stock to the absolutely stunning images, this is easily one of the best-made books I've ever come across (and I have a ridiculous collection). Not only are the recipes absolutely astounding, but the book tells a really compelling story, to boot.

                                                                                                                                            What this book encompasses is quintessential Northwest cuisine. What is that? Well, it's mostly seafood, obviously, but spreads out into an array of sauces and desserts, as well as other proteins that are hearty without being heavy. It's accentuated with large doses of local ingredients found in abundance in the incredibly fertile Pacific Northwest (our world famous apples, cherries, blackberries, asparagus, etc.), and it's coming up with unconventional pairings that allow these ingredients to flourish. It draws heavily from our large Asian influence, as well as the lightness of West-coast fare.

                                                                                                                                            The RECIPES:

                                                                                                                                            Straight from his restaurants. None of that "Oh, I'll withhold this vital ingredient to make sure my restaurant food tastes better" or "we had space constraints, so I had to remove this sauce". What you get are his recipes that he uses in his 5 restaurants as they are intended. As someone who dines at one of these restaurants at least twice a month, I can verify what's in the book tastes exactly the same.

                                                                                                                                            If I had to describe his book in one word, it would be "precision". You won't see "a pinch of cinnamon" or "1 Roma tomato". He recognizes not everybody's hands are the same size, and not all tomatoes grow to the same mass. You're going to get MEASUREMENTS. It's going to be 3 tablespoons of Roma tomato or 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon. There's no "dice an onion". There's "make a 1/4" dice on an onion, and take this much of that dice". Why? Because a 1/2" dice changes the flavour profile from a 1/4" dice (and yes, they actually measure this at their restaurants). This book oozes PRECISION, and I love that. That's not to say it's unfriendly to the unsophisticated home cook - on the contrary, all of these recipes were tested by 300 home cooks and validated as being doable by chefs of many skill levels with varying amounts and qualities of equipment on hand. I doubt most of them cared if their dice was 1/4" or 1/2", but to those who want to know such things, he provides it.

                                                                                                                                            Another thing that I absolutely love about this book is the effort it goes to in order to teach you how to PLATE the dish. There's no "plate and serve". It's "position this piece here, get your squirt bottle with the thyme-tomato dressing and put a big dot here, followed by a smaller dot here and here, and then take a slice of this and put it on an angle next to a slice of that....." or "take a block of crushed ice and make 12 indentations, and place the oyster shells in in this manner, and then top with this and this and a small dot of this" or "take your crab salad in this size molding ring and release onto the plate, then take...". What you are creating is a restaurant quality dish in every aspect, right down to presentation, guided the whole way. The book covers appetizers, seafood, shellfish, sushi, sauces, desserts, meat proteins, etc.

                                                                                                                                            The other truly beautiful thing going on here are the wine pairings. John's partner and wine director, Walter Clore award winner Erik Liedholm, offers 2 wine pairings with each dish: One he calls a "life is too short" pairing (oftentimes rather pricey bottles), and one he calls "just because it's inexpensive doesn't mean it's cheap" suggestions. They're fantastic.

                                                                                                                                            As to the high points? Pretty much everything so far. But here are some real standouts:

                                                                                                                                            -Steamed Clams w/ Basil Pesto (p. 29
                                                                                                                                            )-Thai Coconut Curry Mussels (p. 30)
                                                                                                                                            -Fresh Shucked Oysters w/ Pomegranate-Citrus Relish (p. 34)
                                                                                                                                            -Seared Scallops w/ Beet Carpaccio and Black Truffle Vinaigrette (p. 40)
                                                                                                                                            -Thai Beef w/ Grapes (Oh. My. God. This dish is awesome) (p. 42)
                                                                                                                                            -Deviled Eggs w/ Ahi Tartare (my girlfriend, who HATES egg yolk, devours these) (p. 50)
                                                                                                                                            -Mahi Mahi Ceviche w/ Pineapple & Sweet Onion (pictured below WITH recipe courtesy John Howie, p. 54)
                                                                                                                                            -Scallop Ceviche w/ Mango-Kiwi Relish (p. 58)
                                                                                                                                            -Dungeness Crab Salad w/ Avocado & Grapefruit (p. 68)
                                                                                                                                            -Fruit Cocktail, Mojito Style (p. 81)
                                                                                                                                            -Cipollini Onions Au Gratin (p. 94)
                                                                                                                                            -Hot & Sour Thai Shrimp Soup (pictured below, p. 106)
                                                                                                                                            -Potato Chip Crusted Halibut (p. 136)
                                                                                                                                            -Halibut w/ Asparagus Provencal (p. 142)
                                                                                                                                            -Mahi Mahi w/ Pineapple-Pomegranate Relish (p. 147)
                                                                                                                                            -Seared Snapper w/ Cucumber-Macadamia Nut Relish (p. 149)
                                                                                                                                            -Ancho Chili Rubbed Salmon w/ Sweet Chili Hollandaise (p. 151)
                                                                                                                                            -Capellini w/ Mussels, Shrimp, and Saffron Cream (p. 163)
                                                                                                                                            -Dungeness Crab & Sweet Corn Risotto (p. 168)
                                                                                                                                            -Beef Tenderloin w/ Wasabi Teriyaki (p. 174)
                                                                                                                                            -Plank Roasted Kurobuta Pork Tenderloin w/ Spicy Peach Relish (p. 184)
                                                                                                                                            -Roasted Chicken w/ Herbed Chevre Cheese (p. 190)
                                                                                                                                            -Lemon Foam w/ fresh seasonal berries (p. 206) and Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies (p. 197)
                                                                                                                                            -Banana Spring Roll Sundae (p. 204)
                                                                                                                                            -Apple Tartes Tatin (p. 216)

                                                                                                                                            Buy this book. Seriously. It's absolutely incredible.

                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: Quintious

                                                                                                                                              Bad Quintious, you are a very, very bad influence. Now I have to buy it!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                Not only am I buying....I think I might have to move to the Pacific Northwest!

                                                                                                                                            2. ROBIN RESCUES DINNER: 52 Weeks of Quick-Fix Meals, 350 Recipes, and a Realistic Plan to Get Weeknight Dinners on the Table, Robin Miller

                                                                                                                                              So this came up as a recommended purchase on Amazon last based on my recent browsing history. I guess I've been searching for a lot of "cooking for the week" type books lately.

                                                                                                                                              Anyway, several years ago, I saw an episode of Robin's show, but it didn't make much of an impression on me. I'm not even sure what the name of her show was, ("Quick FIx" according to the book's blurb about the author in t) but it just didn't grab me. But, a good chunk of the book is viewable on google books and I was actually pretty intrigued by what I saw. http://books.google.com/books/about/R...

                                                                                                                                              Robin has a masters in nutrition and is the mom of two boys. Her message with this book is that the key to getting weekday meals on the table for your family is having a plan, but one that allows for some flexibility. So, instead of trying to give you seven or even 5 nights worth of meals, she gives you 52 weeks of 3 meals. With that trio of meals she gives you a "prep list" for things you can do in advance --such as chopping vegetables, cooking the rice, making dressings or pestos, etc.--if you wish, but that she doesn't want you to "spend half your Saturday chopping vegetables." Most of the dishes come with a quick suggested side dish or dessert, or instructions for "morphing" planned leftovers into another dish(such as the extra chicken from this dish can be used in the pasta or sandwich or quesadilla in the recipes--she gives page numbers). She also tells you which dishes would freeze well if you wanted to double the recipe and freeze half. Each recipe comes with both "prep time" and "cook time." Most (though not all) have total time of less than a half hour.

                                                                                                                                              She also has about a half dozen side bars such as: "20 Fast Meals from a Rotisserie Chicken", "17 Pantry Pastas" http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images..., "13 Pantry Grain (Beyond Pasta) Meals" and so on.

                                                                                                                                              The recipes are seasonal, week 1 being the beginning of January and week 52 being the last week of December.

                                                                                                                                              The recipes all call for "real food", very little processed garbage-type ingredients.

                                                                                                                                              Next week is week 41. I'm going to take a break from cooking next week and have reheat dinner from the freezer most nights, but the 3 recipes for week 42 are:

                                                                                                                                              Steak with tarragon brandy and parsley-parmesan risotto

                                                                                                                                              Asiago-risotto cakes with wild mushroom sauce (quick side dish: roasted carrots and fennel)

                                                                                                                                              Crispy polenta crusted chicken (quick side dish ranch pasta spirals)

                                                                                                                                              I wish she had a grocery shopping list for each week. I guess she figured the book offered so much flexibiilty that it would too hard to offer a one-size fits all grocery list. I think editable grocery lists on a DVD or on her website would have been awesome.

                                                                                                                                              I'm going to give this book a whirl, I think. While I need a plan, it's also clear to me that I need some flexibility. Some happy medium in there between too structured and too loosey-goosey.


                                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                I'm not even much of a meat eater but that steak sounds really good. Our problem would be that as long as my husband saw extra risotto there, he'd want it (or I'd feel the need to pack it as Lulu's lunch that week). I am eager to hear how it works out for you.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                  There are a number of pork and beef dishes you'd either need to skip or adapt if you were trying to avoid those meats. You can get a pretty good sense of the diversity of recipes by scanning the table of contents that you can view on google books. It seems pretty evenly distributed among chicken, seafood, pork and beef. Very occasional vegetarian, turkey or lamb dish.


                                                                                                                                                2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                  TDQ, there are some very good-looking recipes in that book, thanks for the Google Books link. The filo-crusted salmon in Week 8 is really calling my name!

                                                                                                                                                3. Here's one that flew under the radar in 2009: "THE PLEASURE IS ALL MINE - SELFISH FOOD FOR MODERN LIFE" from Suzanne Pirret.

                                                                                                                                                  The concept of this book is somewhat unique in that everything in it....is a map on how to create a gourmet meal *for one*. I tend to go to this book during times where I'm going to be alone for a week or if my eating schedule on a given day doesn't perfectly align with that of She Who Shares My Home.

                                                                                                                                                  Smaller book - one of those 8x6 numbers - which I don't really dig, but this particular book has kind of an odd charm to it. In a lot of ways, I think the stories in the book are more compelling than the actual recipes. Some reviewers on Amazon have taken immense offence to it because it uses very coarse language and a lot of sass (not to mention more than a little sex talk), but I rather enjoy that compared to the sanitized family-friendly montages that seem to infiltrate every cookbook known to man. Besides, the target audience for this book are modernist 20-something and 30-something single people with a taste for great food, not 34 year old soccer moms with 2.5 kids and an active role in the church bible camp. I guess part of what draws me to it is also that I could relate to her with some of the stories in there, with a knowing nod as I was reading as I remembered having similar encounters back when I was single.

                                                                                                                                                  The book has precisely 0 pictures (aside from pictures of the reasonably hot author on the front and back covers), which is a bummer that is partially made up for by the fact that....there's a reasonably hot author on the cover. It uses standard off-white novel paper, which I'm also not a big fan of. My one HUGE complaint about this book is that there are no ingredient lists before each recipe. They are stylized in a "I'll reveal the ingredients as I go through the process of making this dish", which requires you to read the whole thing in advance in order to have your prep work out of the way (in the book's defense, the concept of this is a minimal use of equipment and prepatory work). There's not much precision (there are a lot of talks of "glugs" of cognac or "handfuls" of rosemary, which I suppose is OK for the book's concept, but still, measurements are something that would have been nice to have). Not a lot of times in the book, either. Time is measured in what time it's expected of you to take to perform a task so that if you follow the flow of her recipe and what she's doing, it will all come together at the end. It largely works, but it's assuming the reader will be able to keep a tempo they might not be able to accomplish. Think of them less as "recipes" and more of the cooking equivalent to getting directions at a gas station (turn left here, go about a mile or so, make a right-ish type thing at the hay farm, but if you come to the old tractor barn, you've gone too far...)

                                                                                                                                                  The recipes are actually quite delicious. Ms. Pirret has apparently worked alongside some very well-decorated chefs, whom have been kind enough to supply her with some of their own recipes in this book, as well. Particular standouts include:

                                                                                                                                                  -Steak au Poivre w/ Frites (p. 8)
                                                                                                                                                  -Duck Confit (p. 17)
                                                                                                                                                  -Crispy Duck w/ Warm Fresh Plum Sauce (p. 33)
                                                                                                                                                  -Jasmin's Pad Thai (p. 39)
                                                                                                                                                  -Three-Cheese Ravioli w/ Shaved White Truffles (p. 60)
                                                                                                                                                  -Sea Urchin Risotto (p. 66)
                                                                                                                                                  -Clips de Cogollos con Mango (p. 80)
                                                                                                                                                  -Zucchini Fritters w/ Dill (p. 106)
                                                                                                                                                  -Basquian Lemon Shrimp (p. 113)
                                                                                                                                                  -Grilled Spatchcocked Spiced Quail (p. 128)
                                                                                                                                                  -Fresh Pineapple Tarte Tatin (p. 162)
                                                                                                                                                  -Duck Ragu w/ Papparadelle

                                                                                                                                                  There's nothing in here that's overly complicated, and I certainly wouldn't pay the $32.99 sticker price that's on my copy of the book, but for the 10 bucks it cost me to get from Amazon, it's a worthwhile addition to my collection, if for no other reason than it provides a lot of great for-one ideas that are delicious without being life-consuming. I'd stay away from it if you're prudish, though.

                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Quintious


                                                                                                                                                    Your review brings to mind Alone In The Kitchen With an Eggplant by Laurie Cowan. I bought this for my sister a while back, though I think I enjoyed reading through it far more than she did. It is written like a novel. The recipes are contained within the narrative paragraphs. All the recipes come from chefs and are things one eats when they are alone. Some are quite elaborate, others consist of eating chickpeas out of a can in front of your open fridge. I am one of those people who makes a ten to twenty step meal even if it is just for me, my sister is more the open can type.

                                                                                                                                                  2. THE BRISKET BOOK, A Love Story With Recipes by Stephanie Pierson

                                                                                                                                                    After several months of deliberating, I finally snagged a copy of The Brisket Book for $10.00 during a TGC sale. I figured at that price, even if I only got one great recipe out of it, it would be worth it. Well it was and I did. The name says it all, it is a book paying homage to brisket with very few recipes. Stephanie Pierson claims to have only included the best of the best. The book is 208 pages, cover to cover, but contains only 31 recipes. Much of the book is devoted to explaining the cut of meat, interviewing people, and mapping out how to smoke or barbecue a brisket. It also covers making corned beef. I bought it for the best of the best braising recipes, and on that front I was not entirely impressed.

                                                                                                                                                    Prior to buying this book I had two go-to brisket recipes which were pretty spectacular. Nothing in this book jumped out at me as being recipes that would cause me to bump either of these from my rotation. One of my recipes is mentioned in the book but it is not included. The other is not mentioned. I think my two recipes rival or even trump most of the recipes she chose to include. Not having tried the less traditional recipes (yet), I am not in a position to say for sure. Time will tell. Meanwhile, I have included my two below for anyone who wants to try them out.

                                                                                                                                                    Mentioned: http://saramoulton.com/2011/04/red-wi...
                                                                                                                                                    Not: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/fo...

                                                                                                                                                    At least 3 recipes (see p. 90, 97, and 135) include Lipton Onion Soup Mix as an ingredient. Now don't get me wrong, I am not saying there isn't a place for Lipton Onion Soup Mix in a book devoted to the history of brisket, but not 2 recipes in a book of 31. And not when they are representing the best of the best. To be fair, I should mention that these two recipes are included in the section of the book cataloging traditional recipes, but again, I did not need a brisket intensive cookbook to guide me to either of these recipes.

                                                                                                                                                    After my first read through, I earmarked only one recipe to try: the Brisket Noodle Soup with Korean Chile on page 137. I made this for dinner on Wednesday night and loved it. It is your typical Asian Noodle Soup. I would make this again in a heartbeat. The brisket is cut into 2" cubes and marinated in soy sauce, garlic, sugar and s and p, for 2 hours. Then the veggies are sauteed in a mixture of veggie oil and sesame oil. After they have become soft and translucent, the meat and marinade is added. Korean ground red chile, dried anchovies, scallions, and Kombu go in next. Yes, you do have to venture to an Asian market to make this dish but on the upside, your house now smells incredible. Now add 2 quarts of water. Everything cooks for a few hours, then just before serving fish sauce, soy sauce, and sugar are added to balance out the flavor palate. Thinly sliced zucchini and daikon are added just before serving. Oh, and noodles. I used frozen udon noodles. Result: A homey pot of Asian noodle soup closely resembling that which you get at your favorite noodle shop. Bonus: left overs for your freezer!
                                                                                                                                                    Thoughts for next time: Add spinach just before serving.

                                                                                                                                                    Since this one was such a success, can't wait to try some of the other recipes. Here are some that have caught my eye:

                                                                                                                                                    John Besh's Slow Cooked Brisket on p. 120 - this one is a smoker recipe - 6 hrs on the bbq/smoker at 250
                                                                                                                                                    Sephardic Brisket on p. 134 - calls for strong black tea, dried prunes and apricots, and pasila chiles
                                                                                                                                                    Brisket in Tahina Sauce on p. 135 - tahini - hmmmm.
                                                                                                                                                    Daniel Boulud's Cuban Creole Stew on p. 140

                                                                                                                                                    Biggest disappointment: Fatty Cue's Brisket recipe is missing. On p. 146 the recipe for Fatty Cue's Sweet Chili Jam is provided. But what good is this without the actual sandwich recipe!!!!!!?
                                                                                                                                                    Here it is, in case you want it:


                                                                                                                                                    35 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                      Great report, dkennedy, and for a book that has been tempting me for a while. Extra points for providing links to your two favorite recipes. They're going into Pepperplate the minute I stop typing.

                                                                                                                                                      Had to laugh at your comments about the Lipton Onion Soup recipes since I didn't know brisket could be made any other way until I was out of college. That, more than any other recipe, says "home" to me.

                                                                                                                                                      Have you tried the Braised Beef Brisket with Beluga Lentils from Sunday Suppers at Lucques? As I mentioned recently in another thread, my note on that page reads "maybe best brisket ever."

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                        I have not tried the Sunday Suppers brisket, thank you for steering me in it's direction. Joan, can you tell me what is Pepperplate?

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                          Pepperplate is a free online app that allows you, in some cases with just a click of a button, to copy a recipe from an online Web site into your own private collection of recipes. There are additional features that allow you to plan meals, print out shopping lists, and scale recipes. One aspect of Pepperplate that I like a great deal is that you can access it whenever, wherever, you have Internet, so, for instance, I save recipes that I’ll want in my Guatemalan rental apartment under a tag saying “Antigua” and when I get to Guatemala, all the recipes I want with me are there in one place.

                                                                                                                                                          Although only about 30 online sites are currently supported for one-click copying, many of them are famous ones such as Epicurious, Food Network, Food52, Smitten Kitchen. And because Peppeplate formats recipes for you, I find it much neater and faster, even if I have to import a recipe manually, to copy it into PP rather than paste it into a Word document and then start trying to format it the way I want it to look.

                                                                                                                                                          Anyway, it’s well worth taking a look. I’d give you a link, but my cookies are set so that I can’t bring up the gateway page, just my private page. But just go to pepperplate.com.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                            What a fantastic resource! Thank you so much JoanN.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                              wow, what an amazing sounding resource. For those days when you end up at the grocery store and they don't have your main ingredient and you're thinking "what the heck else can I make" you can just pull out your smart phone. Wow wow. Thank you so much for this.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                Surprised you've missed some of the discussions about PP, especially this ongoing one: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/805559

                                                                                                                                                                Another great thing about PP, and it's mentioned somewhere down that thread, is that two people who use PP can share recipes with each other. I can send you a link to one of my recipes directly from that recipe and all you need to do is click to import it into your database. Very convenient, particularly when people want to share recipes with a group, as on a Facebook group for instance.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                  I never even saw that post, probably wouldn't have clicked into it since I had no idea what pepperplate is. That'll teach me.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                    I got hooked on Pepperplate a few weeks back after a different thread than the one JoanN links recommended it. It is crazy easy to use and good for cooking from your iPad too. I cannot believe that it is FREE on top of everything else!

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: GretchenS

                                                                                                                                                                      Do you need pepperplate if you have EYB?


                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                        To be honest, I never got enough into EYB that I found it helpful, I'm sure that is me, not the app, since everyone here loves it so much, and I really need to try harder with EYB. But I have this gigantic 3-ring binder with all my tried-and-true recipes in it, a combination of recipes photocopied from my cookbooks with my handwritten notes on them, recipes off the internet ditto, family recipes, recipes which morphed so much from the original I eventually typed them into a Word document, and so on and it's really unwieldy, plus it is not searchable except by paging through it. With Pepperplate, I am gradually transferring all of these recipes into a 21st century format. Word docs are super easy to copy and paste in, all the recipes from supported sites can be imported with about 2 mouseclicks and then -- drum roll -- having imported them you can edit them to show changes you like to make -- ingredient subs or different cooking methods. So very many recipes from cookbooks exist somewhere on the internet and can be easily copied and pasted in. And the iPad/iPhone app is absolutely brilliant!!! I now have a little iPad "easel" on a safe part of my kitchen counter to cook from and you can set a timer within each recipe and flip to another to cook from that and set its own timer. Fantastic. And super easy to share recipes from -- there is a choice of email, Facebook or Twitter for sharing right within each recipe. A colleague (with the same binder strategy as mine) and I both got Pepperplate at the same time and have been having a great time sharing recipes this way instead of photocopying as we used to do. And last but not least, you can tag each recipe with as many keywords as you want and then sort them that way. So I have an "untried" category, for instance, that I just put LLM's warm mushroom loaf recipe into. And did I mention that it's FREE? I actually think that Pepperplate and EYB are highly complementary, now that I think about it, but I do think they perform different functions. And I have only just started to explore the shopping list function on Pepperplate but it seems to be as fabulously designed as the rest of it. Can you tell I love love love Pepperplate? :)

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: GretchenS

                                                                                                                                                                          So, are you having to manually type all of the recipes from your cookbooks that you can't find online anywhere into PP?


                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                            Truthfully, I haven't had to because someone on some blog has already done it for me so far. It is totally amazing to me that 99.9% of the time, with a bit of Googling, I can find a blogger or a reporter who has posted the recipe I want. I have had exactly one fail that I can remember, and I think it's most likely because the person who told me about the recipe gave me the wrong title. Now, I will admit that we are talking about fairly mainstream recipes, nothing too out there, but many COTMs, for example, I have been able to find pretty much any recipe that appealed by Googling. (I don't do the Asian ones though, so that is a big caveat.) So all I have had to actually type is family recipes. And don't tell anyone but that is a good thing to do during boring conference calls you should not be on in the first place. ;)

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                          As Gretchen says toward the end of her post, EYB and Pepperplate perform entirely different functions. EYB makes it easy to find recipes you want in the books you already own. Pepperplate makes it easy to save in one customizable place any recipe you find on the Web that you'd like to save.

                                                                                                                                                                          I'm not at all interested in copying to PP recipes I have already stored in the several-hundred-page Word document I've kept for years. But I no longer add to the Word document, either. What I will do is add to Pepperplate those recipes in the Word document that I prepare with some frequency. And since I write in my cookbooks, there's no need for me to photocopy those pages or to add to PP recipes that are in my cookbooks.

                                                                                                                                                                          Just two different ways of working out what works best for each of us. But in general, if you find yourself bookmarking or cutting-and-pasting recipes you find on the Web with any frequency, PP would well be worth a look.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                            Yes, I find myself cutting & pasting recipes a lot... Looks like I need to have a look at PP, thank you!


                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                              Just wanted to say thanks to Gretchen and Joan for the pepper plate info! I was using evernote + a separate shopping list app for this function. I liked Evernote but pp is better! Love the recipe formatting and having a single app that does it all. I only wish that it was easier to move meals from one day to another in the planner, as my bestlaid plans are always getting upended. Also wish I could email the shopping list to someone else. But those are minor quibbles.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                It's actually very easy to move your recipes from one day to another. Go to the planner tab (where you can see the whole week in a grid all at once). Just click on the recipe you want to move then drag it to where you want it to go.


                                                                                                                                                                                ETA: I never thought about emailing the shopping list to someone (what a smart cookie you are), but I can see I have the option to print to adobe. If you have that option, you could probably print to a pdf, then mail the pdf to someone. Or you could just cut and paste the text of the shopping list into an email and send it. Not a very elegant solution, but might work for your purposes...


                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks! I think the issue is that I'm always accessing the site through iPad or iPhone, which doesn't allow me to drag the entries for some reason. Good to know it will work on my computer at work though.

                                                                                                                                                                                  My old shopping list app had the email feature - it was great when sending my husband to the store. I think I'll just install pp on his phone, and he can access the list that way.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                      LLM - you have a smart phone?! Do you know how to work it? ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                      JoanN - thanks for the Pepperplate info. I missed the discussion about it too.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                        Just barely ... I spent the last year using the GPS system to try to find OakJoan.

                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                      I just signed onto PP and imported a few recipes that I have bookmarked but never look at again because it is so cumbersome - this is great and THANK YOU JoanN for introducing us to it. I completely missed the discussion you are referring down the thread and will look at it now.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                        I have to interject that I use an app that I absolutely LOVE called Paprika that does everything that Pepperplate does, PLUS you can add recipes from ANY website since there is a browser built in to the app that allows you to do quick cut and paste from any website. It also has a button you can put on your regular browser so that if you are on a supported site (of which there are about 100) you can just click the button at the top of your browser and the recipe you are looking at will be automatically imported. I downloaded Pepperplate yesterday to check it out and I'll be staying with Paprika because I like the distinguishing factors I mentioned. The downside, it isn't free. I think the app is $4.99, but it is some of the best money I have ever spent!!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: michaelak79

                                                                                                                                                                          I actually consider the fact that they charge a fee an upside. My immediate thought when I looked about Pepperplate (aside from, yeah, this is pretty slick! I imported a couple of food network recipes and it was so painless and smooth. Very neat!) is, no ads, no fees, how are they going to support themselves? I looked at the "about" page and they don't talk about a partnership with any financial backer or major partner. I worry about putting all of my precious recipes in there and having them go belly up! Am I paranoid or what?

                                                                                                                                                                          For those of you who do use pepperplate, when you're "in" a recipe, off to the right hand side their appears to be an option to "add" a related recipe. I can't really figure out how to do that. I'm thinking it would be a good place to link two recipes where something you prepare for the first recipe becomes planned leftovers for the second. Any one been able to do this?


                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                            You aren't paranoid. I don't want to rely on an unknown company's liquidity for something so important. That's why I have my own wiki, which I can backup myself. It's not as easy to 'share' recipes. But I've sent friends of stuff I've got on there.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                              TDQ, I have assumed that related could be, the masala you use in this lentil recipe, or perhaps you always serve your green bean dish with a corn dish. By relating them, it might make it easier to navigate?

                                                                                                                                                                              So I just looked at Paprika, and it appears to be a machine-based app, not web-based. Am I right? The nice thing about web-based is that I would be able to access my recipes from any computer. But the lack of obvious financial incentive for pepperplate is concerning.

                                                                                                                                                                              What to do. What to do?

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                                I just started using PP as well (iPad in the kitchen). I had the same concerns. I have a big file on my desktop for more tried and true recipes (pre ipad).....then a hard copy binder for my cherished ones and family heirloom recipes. Now, when I find a real gem to keep forever, I transfer it to hard copy. Surprisingly, there are not that many! Maybe I am too picky;) but I have many more " good but not keep forever" recipes than I thought!

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                                                                                  You know, that is a really smart way to go. Use PP for the electronic convenience but paper copies for your absolute favs as a back-up.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I want print outs of all of my tried and true anyway. (I don't take my laptop in the kitchen anymore after I watched a can of beans fall in slow-motion from a shelf in the cupboard onto my keyboard...) I'm too much of a frenzy in the kitchen to have electronics in there...


                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                    I have been adding my "print-out" recipes this morning, and plan to keep the pieces of paper just in case. I am marking PP on the pages to indicate that it has already been entered.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I am thrilled to have another place to keep my two grandmother's special recipes. The two of them NEVER cooked, so it didn't take too much time to enter their five [combined] family recipes.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                                  You are right. Paprika is machine-based. It does, however link between my desktop, iPad and phone. So there is some portability. I didn't catch on that pepperplate is available on the web. That is a really nice feature.

                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                  TDQ, to "add" a related recipe just start typing in that box and you will get a list that you can click on. For example, when I go into my Basic Tomato Sauce recipe and start typing "meatball" into the related recipe box, it shows me all my meatball recipes and I can click on whichever one(s) I want to link. Using it to link to a recipe for planeed leftovers is a great idea.

                                                                                                                                                                                  As to the free/no funding issue, I briefly worried about that but figured an app this slick will get bought by someone and eventually I will have to pay and that is OK. I have to pick and choose what to be paranoid about and this didn't make the cut. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: GretchenS

                                                                                                                                                                                    AH, okay that makes sense. I was trying to add a totally new recipe there, as opposed to "connecting" two recipes that I've already entered into my little db...

                                                                                                                                                                                    My paranoia is why I'm such a late adoptor of all technology... Ha!


                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                            Joan, I'm not sure if you were the first person to mention pepperplate in this thread, but whoever it was, I really want to thank that person and you. I've been been playing with it the past few days and while the one-click recipe importing software is pretty fantastic, it's the shopping list and meal planner tools that will be most helpful to me.


                                                                                                                                                                          3. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                            You talked me out of (potentially) buying it. Thing kept popping up on my Amazon page. Every time I'd threaten to get it to expand the brisket horizons, my girlfriend would be all like "but you already have your OWN brisket recipes that you've won all those awards with, what do you need a book of other stuff? Besides, if you get your hands on a brisket, it's not like anybody would let you do anything other than smoke it on the BGE and make it delicious".

                                                                                                                                                                            Figured maybe one day I'd Secret Squirrel the book. Ya saved me from having to have a "told you so" conversation with her.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Quintious

                                                                                                                                                                              Q, is your award winning brisket recipe online anywhere? If so, can you post a link? Thank so much!

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                                Sorry, don't share my competition recipes. Divulging my secrets makes it harder to win them going forward :)

                                                                                                                                                                          4. CLASSICAL TURKISH COOKING – by AYLA ALGAR

                                                                                                                                                                            Fresh! Wholesome! Delicious!

                                                                                                                                                                            Turkish cuisine seems to be about getting the best out of vegetables. Many of the recipes in this book call for eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes, so I grabbed it off the shelf in August and had some fun. This is a great book to have on hand during the farmer’s market high season. It also has a good number of vegetarian recipes.

                                                                                                                                                                            It begins with a 29-page essay about Turkish cuisine, and there are informative notes about various dishes and customs throughout the book. There are no photographs, but I have found the recipes well written and easy to follow. Most of the recipes do not require exotic ingredients. The ingredient lists tend to be long, but mostly call for a variety of vegetables and fresh herbs. Very few spices are used. With some cumin, allspice, cinnamon and paprika you should be pretty good to go.

                                                                                                                                                                            There are chapters devoted to soups, meze, fish and seafood, poultry, lamb, vegetables, pilaf, manti and other pasta dishes, breads, rolls and borek, desserts, sherbets, compotes and preserves, and coffee and beverages.

                                                                                                                                                                            A number of the recipes I tried were excellent, and really showed off my farmers market vegetables. My favorites were:

                                                                                                                                                                            Spicy Lamb Kofte Simmered With Eggplant, Tomatoes and Roasted Poblanos (p.114) – I subbed red peppers in place of the poblanos. The eggplant breaks down a bit and melds with the tomato to create a rich and delicious sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                            Green Beans (p.130) – The recipe title is dull, but this slow braise with lots of onion, tomato, and olive oil, plus a pinch of sugar makes the beans extra delicious. The were like the green beans at Greek restaurants, only enhanced by top-quality produce.

                                                                                                                                                                            Swiss Chard Dolmas with Yogurt Mint Sauce – These lamb and rice-filled chard rolls are a lot of work but really excellent. They are braised in a bit of chicken stock with a little butter. I’ve also made them successfully in the winter substituting canned tomato for fresh.

                                                                                                                                                                            I look forward to making all of these again.

                                                                                                                                                                            The Feta and Dill Filled Small Pide (p. 192) were also good, but I think I’ll try Georgian Hachapuri next time, since they are similar but can have the added deliciousness of an egg on top. This recipe calls for a complicated method of baking the pide one at a time on a tile in a 550 oven. Two at a time on a regular, unheated baking sheet worked fine for me. But I really pushed it and put in six on a single sheet, and then they baked up doughy.

                                                                                                                                                                            I liked the Zucchini Cakes with Green Onions, Cheese and Herbs (p.132) but I have recipe for zucchini fritters that I like better.

                                                                                                                                                                            Two recipes did not turn out well for me. The Pilaf with Eggplant and Pine Nuts tasted great, but came out wet and heavy. I did not like the Green Olive, Walnut and Pomegranate Salad (p. 149) at all.

                                                                                                                                                                            There are many more I look forward to trying, including Fried Eggplant with Fresh Tomato-Garlic Vinegar Sauce, Lemony Chicken and Okra, Celery Root and Potatoes in Olive Oil, Celery Root Dolmas in Lemon-Dill Sauce and Filo Triangles with Spicy Filling of Meat and Pine Nuts.

                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: CathleenH

                                                                                                                                                                              Very helpful review -- only problem is, now I really want this book! :)

                                                                                                                                                                            2. A TASTE OF SHAN by Page Bingham

                                                                                                                                                                              Ever buy a book just for one hard to find recipe? In this case the recipe was for Shan Tohu. And what happens to the book if that recipe flops? After producing a prodigious amount of yellow sludge following Ms. Bingham’s instructions, and knowing that it was written by an enthusiastic amateur, my faith in this book pretty much went to zero, ditto usage. But all the buzz about “Burma; Rivers of Flavor” got me to look at some of my other Burmese-centric books, including giving this one a dusting off. I’m so glad that I did.

                                                                                                                                                                              The tohu recipe may have been a disaster, but everything I’ve made from this book in the re- visit of the last week or so has been grand. These include the Shan Tomato Salad (see picture!), Stir Fried Prawns with Tamarind (quick, easy and delicious—worth the price of the book), Shan Rice Noodles, and the Shan Sour Rice. Now that I have confidence in the recipes again, I’ll probably be working my way through most of the book. And I think it is going to make a great side by side companion to the Duguid book, which includes many Shan recipes but could use a counter-point to help round out full Shan based meals.

                                                                                                                                                                              In truth my understanding of what makes food Shan, i.e. from the geography and people of the northeast of Burma, versus Burmese or Karin or Kachin, is pretty limited; but since I live with someone who does know the difference, it is handy to have a book like this dedicated to just one regional style of Burmese food. Which is to say that probably not everyone needs to own this book (although there is that tamarind shrimp recipe….), but for those who “have” to have everything worthwhile written about Burmese food and its many close relatives, I’ve come to decide this one makes the grade.

                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                                OK....I did rotate the picture, but the computer doesn't seem to know that....sorry.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. I've had this review in my buffer for awhile, thinking I'd add to it, but I really don't feel like adding to it.

                                                                                                                                                                                20-MINUTE MENUS: TIME-WISE RECIPES & STRATEGIC PLANS FOR FRESHLY COOKED MEALS EVERY DAY: By MARIAN BURROS

                                                                                                                                                                                This book was recommended to me by someone (thank you!) in the first CAWC thread, so, thank you to the person who suggested it. Apologies that I don’t recall off-hand who it was.

                                                                                                                                                                                The premise is simple: menus for a entire balanced meal (protein, starch and vegetable, often with one or two of these elements combined into one dish) that can be prepared in 20 minutes. Like every other author in the universe, she provides a listing of pantry ingredients, but unlike every other author, for each menu, she provides a shopping list and a list of items you’ll take from your pantry.

                                                                                                                                                                                For each menu she provides a recipe, a “game plan” (telling you which steps to do when, such as get the broiler started or water boiling for recipe #2 before starting recipe #1), etc., the “pantry list” and a shopping list.

                                                                                                                                                                                Not surprisingly, given the 20 minute constraint, the overwhelming majority of menus are for seafood, vegetarian or chicken. Some lamb and a few veal or beef. I wish there were separate chapters by protein. Also, since so many of the menus involve seafood I wish she’d addressed how to freeze and defrost seafood, unless she intends you to do a daily grocery shop, which would sort of eat into the efficiency of 20 minute meals in the first place.

                                                                                                                                                                                I have to say, my impression of these menu are that they are sort of...well, weird and not always well balance. She'll often draw spices combos for different cuisines for the protein and the starch, or she'll have you prepare a pasta and toast. I'll hang onto this book for awhile, in case I need it to fall back on, but it doesn't entice me that much.


                                                                                                                                                                                56 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                  You know TDQ reading your reviews and commentary on all these meal planning/time-constrained-cooking cookbooks one thing really strikes me, and this may just be personal preference, but the last thing I want to deal with when time constrained is unfamiliar cookbooks/authors/approaches. Under the gun I always go for tried and true authors and even better, things I can make without looking at a book. Someone with your depth of cooking experience must have a pretty deep repertoire; maybe make your own list and save it on eyb or the cloud somewhere? OK, I know I'm going to regret this free advice post the instant it goes up....but honestly some of these cookbooks sound pretty torturous.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                                    Ah, you should never regret giving sincere and well-intended advice. I do appreciate your perspective.

                                                                                                                                                                                    To be honest, I am not a very confident cook. And pre-baby, I'd have to say I seldom cooked the same recipe more than once. I used to spend a lot of time researching recipes and hunting down ingredients because I had the time and I thought it was fun. So, when I look back at all of the recipes I tried over recent years, I don't have a lot of tried and true recipes. I do have authors I like a lot, but those tended to be authors of more demanding recipes.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I really do think I need some more help and discipline with menu planning. I'm hoping one of these books will give me a structure as a starting point that I can then start to layer some of my favorite recipes from my authors onto. Right now, I find my planning takes forever and then still seems to result in either eating chicken all week long or a plan that's too complicated or rigid and I end up abandoning halfway through the week.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I actually have high hopes for the Robin Rescues Dinner book...


                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                      What do you mean by a meal plan being too rigid? I planned for every meal that I think I'll be eating at home. For evenings, we never go out spontaneously as we would need a baby sitter. So most of the time, the meals that get missed are weekend lunches. I make the same type of food for dinner and lunch so the entire meal plan can just be shifted to the next meal/day. (ie lunch eaten as dinner on the same day, then the original sunday dinner become monday dinner). Then you just need to plan one less meal for the next week!

                                                                                                                                                                                      After your initial thread, I've now got an online wiki where I enter the ingredient list (with amounts) of cookbook recipes that I would like to repeat, and are good and quick family meals. I'm hoping to speed up making the shopping list. I found even though I have an idea what recipes I wanted to cook, it takes time to fetch all the cookbooks out from the shelf. Sounds like PP can be used for the same sort of thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                      PS. I don't plan on cooking everything on repeat. I'm limiting trying out only 1 or 2 new recipes a week. So the wiki, I hope, helps with planning meals for other 90% of the week.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                                        I also plan for a full week ahead (which really only means 4 days since two nights we have babysitters and 1 night my husband usually tries to cook - or takes us out). I have some favorites that I keep in rotation (although I can't think of anything we have more than 4-5 times a year), and try a new recipe or two a week (two on less busy weeks). I decide what I want to cook, along with the sides, and then make out my grocery list. I find it fun - almost like putting together a puzzle - to think of what meals we'll enjoy and won't be too similar to the night before's, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Roast chicken - super easy if time consuming, with polenta and fennel salad: all easy to make and a nice meal. Turkey meatloaf with roasted vegetables. Pasta with olives, capers, canned tomatoes. Seared fish with a pre-made compound butter, salad, baguette. Just some of the things that end up on my lists that we love and that are easy.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm going to make sure all of those things are in my rotation, LLM.


                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                            Sorry TDQ, I didn't mean to come off as bossy or whatever. Just some suggestions that have worked for me. I have a list of fairly easy/quick things that I keep very handy so that not every night is a big deal cooking wise. They're all things we really love. That way one or two nights a week I enjoy getting to try something new and possibly a bit more time consuming. But I have to admit that at this moment in my life, the time consuming recipes are less appealing than they used to be since I find myself running around with a lot of other things and when I have free time, I often want to just plop down with a good book.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                              You didn't come across bossy at all! I really meant it when I said I'm going to make sure those things are in my rotation and stock up for them! I really do need a list of "go tos" because, under pressure (or when exhausted) I swear I just draw a complete blank!


                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                I'll try to go into my epicurious recipe box (sub-box called really easy meals) and get a few things that have worked for me over the years. I also keep that excel spreadsheet but don't have it organized by ease (yet!).

                                                                                                                                                                                                And thanks - I've been hearing from my (OK, I"ll say it - bossy) daughter about how bossy I am recently, and I may be just a touch sensitive about it ; )

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Aren't you the greatest. (all of you really)? Please do this only if you really have time. I'm such a mess right now I don't want you all scrambling on my behalf. But, I'll appreciate it if you do!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  My son walks around shaking his finger at the cat and saying in a very scoldy tone, "No kitty, No!" I am so worried that that's what I sound like to him!


                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think we have all heard our kids say something we say ourselves or use a tone of voice that stops us in our tracks! Unfortunately, for me anyways, it wasn't enough of an incentive for me to change my way.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                                          That's pretty great for your online wiki. Do you just use google docs?

                                                                                                                                                                                          As far as what I mean by meal plans being "too rigid", well, it's hard to describe, but all weeknights are not equal for me in terms of commitments and energy level. Tues and Weds are our "super busy" nights where I only have the barest minimum of time to prep for dinner because I have to get home from work and get everyone fed, so we can then all leave for some early evening activity. Also, we have some "every other week" commitments (some involving a regular dinner guest) that throw a wrench in, so, some weeks are busier than others.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't know, maybe I'm the only person that struggles with this sort of thing but, last week, for instance, I did my meal planning on Friday and had my groceries delivered on Saturday with the intention that I'd do all my prep (roasting & shredding chicken, roasting vegetables, chopping vegetables, making biscuits) on Sunday. That requires my husband to watch our son for a hunk of time on Sunday (no problem, usually), but my husband got sick (which is thankfully rare for him) and I couldn't get enough done on Sunday. I was able to roast the chickens and some vegetables, but I wasn't able to do anything else. So, I didn't cut up or shred the chicken, make the biscuits or prep the vegetables for two of the dishes later in the week.

                                                                                                                                                                                          No problem, I just figured I'd push my prep work to Monday night. Unfortunately, my child came down with a burning fever at about 5pm on Monday, so no extra prep got done. What I did was accelerated my Tuesday meal (which required no prep) to Mon.

                                                                                                                                                                                          But that meant that when Tuesday rolled around, my "quick" Tuesday dinner was used up. And none of the prep was done for either Tues or Weds if I wanted to attempt to push the Monday meal to either Tues or Weds and, at that point, the whole thing just broke down. We basically ate plain roasted chicken and roasted vegetables all week.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I still have the buttermilk (for the biscuits), heavy cream (for the pot pie) and vegetables (for the pot pie and chicken salad) in my fridge, completely unused. And I don't feel like using them this week because we are all "chickened out" from having to each chicken all week last week... So, now my fridge is crowded with things I imagine I'll probably throw out, which just makes me feel guilty. Of course, I could sit down and try to figure out what OTHER recipes might use heavy cream, buttermillk and those vegetables, but that just adds a layer of complication on top of the whole thing. And this past weekend was super busy because we had to make up all of the chores we couldn't get done last weekend because of everyone being sick.

                                                                                                                                                                                          And here's the thing, this lack of predictability increases in winter in MN, when it's cold and dark and icy out and when you suddenly discover that your "meal prep" time has been eaten up by a snowstorm that requires shoveling or salting the sidewalk etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm not trying to whine here, I'm just realizing I need a plan each week, but it's almost like I need a fall back plan, too. One thing I know I need for sure is a list of true pantry meals I can fall back on, like the pasta puttanesca LLM refers to above.

                                                                                                                                                                                          What do the rest of you do when this sort of disruption happens? What's your fall back plan?

                                                                                                                                                                                          What I like about the Robin Rescues Dinner book is that at least one recipe each week is one that she encourages you to double and freeze. So, I'm hoping if I stick with her plan for a few weeks, I'll have some frozen meals banked in the freezer for "emergencies."

                                                                                                                                                                                          Any advice here would be appreciated.


                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                            I completely feel your pain! Some weeks my meal planning works perfectly, I have enough energy to prep at night and no one gets sick, etc... But some weeks, everything goes off the rails and we end up staring a a fridge full of ingredients and a freezer full of still-frozen meat at 6 o'clock. I, like you, am still searching for that perfect method that will make the whole situation less stressful and prone to collapse.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I recently read on some blog that it might be helpful to have a sort of template for the week ahead of time. For example, Monday is Mexican, Tuesday is sandwiches, Wednesday is Pasta, Thursday is Pizza, and so on so that you always know what type of meal you are doing each night of the week while leaving the details rather more free-form. I see plusses and minuses here, but I'm thinking of trying it. I'll let you know if it seems to help.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: michaelak79

                                                                                                                                                                                              Thank you for making feel like I'm not completely off my rocker here. You know, it's funny what you say about a "template"... I was thinking I might go through the 52 weeks of Robin's book and see if I can see a pattern or a template to the way she's planning the weeks. I'll bet if I analyze it that way, I'll notice that she always does sandwiches or pasta on day three... Or something along those lines...

                                                                                                                                                                                              If you do decide on the weekly template, I would love to hear how that works for you!


                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                              I use google docs for my weekly meal plan. I tend to add meals to the plan through out the week.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Now I see what you mean by too rigid a plan. The meal plan is indeed easy to fail if it all relies on weekend cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                                              I don't actually batch cook evening meals like you planned in the weekend. When I batch cook, it's for doubling the sauce, or two trays of macaroni cheese. This is then use for another week. And tbh, most of the stuff I batch cook aren't very elaborate either. So they are easy to move to another night. (It's never some 3-hour affair).

                                                                                                                                                                                              The extra cooking I do in the weekend is for my lunch bentos, and my toddlers tea. My fall back for lunches is stir-fried rice using whatever meat and veg I was going to batch cook. I have a rice cooker, and I can do a fried rice in 5min (I know you aren't supposed to be using freshly cooked rice). I'm not a sandwich person so I'm sure you can shave more time if you just have sandwiches. And for my toddler, it's cheese slices, halved cherry tomatoes, bananas, bread and omelettes.

                                                                                                                                                                                              If I was to bake in the weekend and didn't get around to it. Well then we just don't have cake. For example, I still have some very blackened bananas which I'm supposed to make banana bread with. I think I'll slice them into yoghurts tonight.

                                                                                                                                                                                              For chicken, instead of roasts, I use skinless, boneless chicken thighs. By the way, I learned from Jamie 15min meals that if you bash the thighs with a rolling pin between greaseproof paper, it takes only 3-4 to cook on the stove top!

                                                                                                                                                                                              I don't think you can plan for illness. I remembered there was a week my husband got sick. He didn't have any food for an entire week. So I cooked for myself using what I have on the meal plan, and cooked some porridge for him. Obviously I have a lot of rotten veg by the end of the week. But what can you do?

                                                                                                                                                                                              As for snow, I'm lucky that we don't actually have snow storms here. I guess if you know the weather is going to be bad, then plan for risotto, pasta type of meals? Spaghetti puttanesca is a favourite around here too! Oh and we mainly eat steamed or fried veg, not roasted. Or salads. Roast veg just takes too long, and we only do it in the weekend. And they usually keep in the fridge, so you can roast them the next weekend. If it's carrot, I cut them and stir fry. Or shred in food processor and add to salads.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                                                You have a lot of great ideas in this one post, so I'm going to have to come back to it and read it more carefully when I have time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                But, I agree, that relying too much on doing all of my cooking on the weekend is bound to fail. I think I need to spread that effort through the week.


                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                For the veg, I have a list of simple things I can do with most of the veg we buy. It really helps with using them up. As you can pair the veg with other protein/carbs combo. I'm assuming you don't have problems with rotten meat as they can be frozen?

                                                                                                                                                                                                Simple things are like those in Fushia Dunlop's Every Grain of Rice. Basically a mix 3-4 ingredient together to stir fried veg type of thing. Or dressing on steamed veg.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Cream, sadly, I've thrown out quite a lot because they've gone sour :(

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I did end up throwing a small amount of the roasted chicken out. I kept thinking I was going to do something more with it and so never froze it. But, that waste was very small. The vegetables I'm just going to have to find something else to do with them. For some reason the cucumber I bought has gone totally bad, but everything else ought to be able to go into something.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think it's really just the dairy I don't know what to do with... Maybe I'll send it home with my houseguest tomorrow. HA!


                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Before I figured this out, I resorted to omlettes or canned soups. Yuk, boring. For me,as a "backup plan"- I always keep a variety of things for what I call "bistro night" (aka .......ooops!). I fall back on a combo of a soup/ salad /sandwich from pantry, freezer or fridge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Freezer: I always keep cooked shredded or sliced meats (freeze leftover shredded rotisserie chicken, sliced roast beef, pork loin, etc). Bread, phyllo dough, rolls, flatbreads, tortillas, veggie burger variety.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Pantry: canned stock, noodle variety (soba, rice) canned tomato, cracker variety, canned seafood (salmon/tuna/clams), canned beans, tortilla chips. I also keep flours like buckwheat and chickpea for crepes and dosa dinner pancakes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Fridge: small vegetables (cook faster), large container of mixed greens, cheese variety, sour cream, hard boiled eggs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I use my food processor for making meat pates for sandwiches, my vita mix (or blender) for making crepes and creamed soups. My griddle is at the ready for dosa, grilled sandwiches or to grill off small veggies fast for fillings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I can put together anything from this very fast: quick beef and veggie soup with egg salad sandwiches, chili with quesadilla's, crepes with a chopped salad, open faced pate-type sandwiches and salads, room temp soba noodle salad with blanched veg and cracker plate, grilled pork loin and apple main dish salad, chicken salad wraps, buckwheat crepes with meat plate and condiments, interesting nacho's! etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    We all enjoy "bistro night" and if you keep some of these things on hand- you won't have to resort for "breakfast for dinner" or canned soup (although there is nothing wrong with that- it sucks if it is your only default :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sticking with a soup/salad/sandwich combination helped me with inspiration on the fly. It seemed easier than dreaming up a main dish with sides from scratch in a hurry. Soup, salad, sandwich...THAT I can do!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Maybe this will give you some ideas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Great ideas, thank you. As usual , you are ALL coming up with great ideas. Soup and sandwich is definitely appealing this time of year for sure!


                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I will admit, that when the young one was young, and both of her parents were struggling to build careers and the dad was gone at dinner time three times a week, we sometimes had "picnic night." We would sit on the floor at the coffee table in the living room with no furniture except this low table with cloth napkins, glasses of milk, a big jar of fruit spread, a sleeve of saltines, and a jar of natural peanut butter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Of course, most nights I put beautiful meals on the table, but it just wasn't always possible. Funny thing, to this day, those are the dinners that my daughter remembers most fondly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sometimes when dad is away we do movie night - watch a movie and eat popcorn for dinner. Lots and lots of it. Heaven!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                                                            My kids both remember indoor picnic dinners as the best thing ever. Pack it into your picnic basket, you can make them eat anything.

                                                                                                                                                                                              3. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                what a gracious reply, thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                glad you've found a book that you think helps. being an inveterate and unrepentant list maker myself, maybe the planning part just makes intuitive sense to me, so these books (and i have enjoyed reading your reviews of them) just sound cumbersome to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                on the other hand the confidence thing, or lack there of, i totally get. it never fails to amaze me how easily and comfortably i can cook dinner for just us at home, but when i do exactly the same thing for company it is never as good. totally a confidence issue i'm sure.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                                                  A part of me INSISTS there must be a book out there that will help me solve this problem...but I may be looking for a magic bullet that doesn't exist. There may be no cookbook that helps with weekly meal planning that fits my lifestyle and cooking preferences. I may have to come to accept that only I can do that for myself. But I'm not quite ready to throw in the towel just yet!


                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hi TDQ, just curious, how many times do you actually cook each week and how many times would you like to cook each week? What do you do on nights when you don't cook?

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Between my husband and me, we are probably cooking 3-4 nights a week. Maybe three. On the other nights, we're ordering pizza or reheating leftovers. But on the nights we're cooking, it's all really, really boring.


                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                      So if you don't mind my making a suggestion ... Why don't you start by planning three meals a week? Just pick three things you'd like to cook that seem doable and not boring, and grocery shop for those recipes. Don't try to cook on Tuesday and Wednesday if they are crazy. Order pizza on Tuesday and eat leftovers on Wednesday. If you think something is worth repeating, you can put it in a file or on a list. If you like, you can make one of your three meals something that freezes well, like tomato or meat sauce, dal, soup or chili. Freeze half of it and you'll have something to eat on a busy night a few weeks later. When you have three nights down and going well you can add the fourth. Sorry if this is too much unsolicited advice!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Not too worry, it's definitely not unsolicited! At least one of my posts in this thread ends with "any advice appreciated." And it is! With all due respect, if I understand you, what you're suggesting (planning three meals a week) is more or less what I'm already doing and what isn't working for me. I feel harried and the food's uninspired.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm not sure why it's so simple for all of you and not for me. I must be missing something. By the time I get home from daycare with my child, it's 5pm, maybe 4:45pm on a good day. I have to have dinner on the table at 5:30pm in order for everyone to be fed and out the door on time for our Tues and Weds activities and God help me should I need to find time between 5 & 5:30 to do anything personal like pee or change out of my work clothes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Even on a non-crunch night, I need to have dinner on the table by about 5:45pm before melt-down time. So, that gives me an hour at most, a half hour at worst, to get dinner on the table, including the time to boil water for pasta or heat the oven (which takes a good 20 mins in our house in winter) for anything else. (My husband gets home from work at 5:30pm by the way, so on those non-crunch days, I do have 15 minutes in there where my husband can watch our child while I cook, etc., although, God help him should HE need to pee or something...)

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I suppose I could call the pizza man on Tuesday while I'm driving my child from daycare, though that doesn't seem very safe. And any leftovers we'd have from Sunday or Monday probably would get deployed as lunches on Mon, Tues and/or Weds and not be available as leftovers for Weds night. (This is where being able to have something to defrost would be very helpful, I agree!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I guess I don't really understand your suggestion and how it's different than the 3-4 meals a night that I'm putting out now. The reason I'm looking at these books is I'm trying to find one that offers some concrete meal solutions that fit within my very short time frame and that offers more variety than ground beef tacos/spaghetti/chili and roast chicken and all of the roast chicken variations because that's all I've been able to pull off right now and it's boring me to tears.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I could get up earlier in the morning, but I'm already getting up at 5am so I have time to exercise, then spend a little time with my child in the morning before I leave for work at 6:45am.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Maybe there's no solution that will work for me, but surely I can't be the first full-time working mom in history who likes good food to face this problem. Someone smart has to have solved this problem and written a book about it, right?


                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't think there's any trick you are missing. I don't think I can put a meal on the table by 5:45 when I get home at 5:00 (based on your non-crunch nights). Unless it's something pre-cooked sitting in fridge and just need to be reheated. I absolutely hate cooking in a rush. As you say, you do need to pee, and have a drink too when you get home!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I have dinner with my mr lilham after we put toddler to sleep. So we start cooking at about 7:00-7:30. It takes us anywhere from 10-30min to do a meal. But the difference is there is no pressure, and without a toddler.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I guess what I'm saying is that it's probably possible for you to do it, but you'd have to be able to cook under pressure. It's like doing Masterchef everyday!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                                                            HA! Funny, except Chez TDQ it's "Amateur Chef!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                            But, you do bring up an interesting point that maybe I'm just being unrealistic. I really want to have family meal time, but maybe it's not possible right now even on non-crunch nights. (On crunch nights we're all scarfing on the go, so I'm willing to let those "family mealtimes" go).

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Or, I have to do something like a) do a ton of prep on Sundays so all I have to do during the week is reheat; b) use my crock-pot more, c) get better at doing double batches of things to freeze and simply defrost during the week. But, I think that almost means I'm going to have to double-batch tons of recipes since I'm also using leftovers for lunches during the week...

                                                                                                                                                                                                            You don't think Jamie Oliver and his 15 minute meals can save me?


                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                              The reviews I've read let me to believe you can realistically finish the meal in 30min. I've tried one meal and I finished slightly under 30min. (I'm confident I can do it in 20-25min if I repeat it). But between 5:00 and 5:45, do you actually have un-interrupted time in the kitchen? Or do you have a little boy trying to create havoc while you want to cook? How about a bit of time for yourself to get out of your work clothes, have a drink? How about washing up afterwards? Only you can tell if it's realistic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Back to masterchef, I don't know how they can talk to the judges when they are at such a rush cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Between 5:30 and 5:45 I have uninterrupted time. Between 5 and 5:30 I can start the water boiling, oven heating, start a cold water bath to defrost seafood... Maybe change clothes and get a beverage if I bring my shadow along and make a game of it...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Having the judges talk to me while I was in a cooking frenzy would totally stress me out. Some of those contestants have amazing poise.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Rule in our house (first part broken constantly): a) no talking to mom while she is doing the intense part of cooking, and b) dad makes mom a drink or gets her a glass of wine the moment she starts cooking. Makes for a more relaxed time of it, and then we can have wonderful conversation at the dinner table.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sounds like Fight Club!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The first rule of dinner club is no talking about dinner club...


                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I think you have a heck of a lot on your plate (um, not the dinner one), and that you may be asking too much of yourself. It really is very hard when you have so many things to do and a little one who wants attention that you want to give him. That said, I will try to get you some of those epicurious recipes that I've found that are incredibly fast and easy and tasty. They often use pre-fab ingredients (the polenta pie uses that stuff in a plastic roll, you don't make the polenta by hand - normally wouldn't touch the stuff, but it is good in the pie) but hey, it is still a home-cooked meal and it is on the table fairly quickly. Can you remind me what your family doesn't like to eat?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thank you! I don't mind the polenta chubs! We are pretty flexible food-wise. I typically avoid lamb and veal. My husband doesn't love garbanzo beans or Indian food, so I generally avoid those. Otherwise, we're pretty flexible.


                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oh, I understand now! You have a crazy time crunch!!! I can see why you are frustrated. My husband and I don't eat with our toddler during the week. It's just not possible for us because my son needs to eat before my husband gets home from work. Could you buy yourself a bit more time by giving your son a little snack in the car on the way home from day care? Something else you could try is cook the night before, after your son is asleep, then all you need to do when you get home is reheat, maybe make a quick veg or salad so you have something fresh on the table.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                ETA: I'll see if I can remember any good, true 15 minute meals. Do you like eggs? Frittatas are fast, healthy and would make good leftovers for your son. Pair with bread and some cheese for a very quick meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We do like eggs, yes! I think frittatas are a good suggestion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  But, now you're the second person in this thread to say you don't eat dinner with your toddler. Maybe I need to rethink that expectation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And, yes, I need to make better use of good the night before and reheat! I had hoped to do a ton of cooking and prep on Sundays, but if I end up missing that window, I think weeknight prep is my next best bet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thank you!


                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I would prefer to eat a family meal with my toddler and we have tried. Many of my friends seem to have evening babies, and they happily go to sleep at 9pm. Mine would melt down if she's not in the bath by 6pm. And she's very grumpy if I don't shower her with attention after we arrive home from nursery. I reckon it is better if I spent the hour playing with her, instead of trying to rush and get a meal on the table, which she would be too grumpy to enjoy. By the way, she has a hot meal for lunch in nursery, and a tea of sandwich before she gets home. So she really only need a very light snack before bed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It all makes sense, what you're saying. I think a "tea" might need to be part of my solution!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      In addition to some better meal planning, and some evening prep.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You know, now that I think about it, I have been giving my son a pretty substantial snack (or as lilham calls it, I think, "tea") in the car on the way to our Tuesday activity, basically to tide him over until we can have dinner until after the activity so then we can all eat dinner together. I am sort of reluctant to do this for fear he'll choke, but on Tuesdays I do it out of necessity. (am I overprotective?)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In order to do this, I have to take the snack with me to work in the morning, leave it in our work fridge, and heat it in the microwave before I leave the office for daycare. I wonder I should think about doing that more on most days?


                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Tea is a complicated word here. What I refer to is high tea, the meal served to young children in the late afternoon/early evening, before the adults have their proper meal. She has that at nursery, around 4:00-4:30. Some people call the proper evening meal tea too. Dinner is the big meal of the day, so it's sometimes the lunch time one. As in sunday roast dinner, school dinners, or dinner ladies. I try not to use the word tea on this board because I know it confuses people!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sounds like the 5pm snack is worth a try! If you are worried about choking you could try a semiliquid snack like a smooth soup or smoothie to eat with a straw or one of those pouches. Personally if you don't mind some convenience foods I'd go with the pouch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I feel your pain TDQ.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "I'm not sure why it's so simple for all of you and not for me. I must be missing something.". I am in the "must be missing something" camp too. I really struggle to get dinner on the table. I also hate the idea of spending a lot of time menu planning. I am not a list-maker by nature and I have no desire to spend my precious free time on the weekend making a list of dinners we are going to have the next week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The good news, so far none of my children has starved to death and I sit down and eat dinner with my children every night. Most nights my husband makes it home on time too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The compromises... Dinner can be spaghetti and tomato sauce, frozen Mac and cheese from trader joes has saved me many times, as has frozen tj's dumplings and pizzas. I am slowly trying to stock the freezer with homemade foods to assuage guilt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My biggest guilty secret. The tv is my friend. You may be unwilling to make this compromise, but we have signing times DVDs and children's programming on TiVo. I don't think I would ever be able to make dinner if I didn't have that 22 minute time window when I could actually get something done in the kitchen. It still feels like a mad dash most days to get home and get dinner on the table before pandemonium breaks out at the end of the show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thank you for chiming in. It just seems some of us are better at this meal planning than others of us, not to mention our personal circumstances vary.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think I could live with the compromise of plopping my child in front of children's programming for 22 minutes, though he's so mommy starved at that time of the day I'm not sure he'd go for it. But it is worth a try.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I have recently discovered the frozen foods section of my local high-end grocery store where they make "comfort foods" in house and freeze them. Meatloaf, turkey dinner, lasagna, soups, mac and cheese, wild rice, roasted vegetables, sweet potatoes, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I honestly haven't looked at the calorie count on these, but I feel confident that it's all real food. I have no problem using these to fill in on meals where I personally come up empty, except that they take up to and hour an a half to heat in the oven, not to mention the 15-20 mins it takes to preheat the oven!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        So, I really have to plan ahead even on these freezer meals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A local grocery delivery service has unfrozen comfort-food-type entrees call "last minute gourmet' that are okay. Very convenient, but very very bland. I might need to find a way to doctor these up a little...


                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          DQ, if you can stand one more idea.... Your story has brought back a flood of memories that I had put into a part of my brain that I don't explore often. I remember leaving work [I was the boss-boss] with people following me down the elevator asking question while I said "have to pick up before 5:30." The kid was starved for Mom-attention and was starving. Though we could talk in the car, she wanted more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Once home, the kid was propped into her kitchen chair, and I would put a bowl of frozen pea, grapes, cherry tomatoes, orange segments or would microwave some broccoli spears, placed in her "special" bowl" for her to chew on while I made dinner. Two goals were achieved. She ate some vegetables, and I got a little breathing room to cook.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The upside turned out to be, she learned a lot about cooking just by being in the room. By the age of 4, she was washing the lettuce [though to this day won't eat it.] Age 5, she could shred the cheese. We managed to turn it into a time that we both enjoyed, even when I was stressed to the max.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Smtucker, thank you so much for this story and advice. It couldn't come at a better time. I'm half in tears upon arriving home to find my child dancing atop a somewhat fragile toy that my mother had given him as a gift; that he'd painted his hair and clothes green; that the caregiver had fed him this awful Hormel turkey pepperoni that I keep in the back of the fridge as a compromise for my husband (what would you guess the sodium content on that is?), instead of the grass fed ground bison and farmers market carrots I'd lovingly prepared this morning left in the fridge for him. And then he cried when she left and called her mommy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              When he was younger I put his highchair in the kitchen while I prepped meals. I kind of forgot about that when we moved him to a booster seat because the booster seat+dining chair are so unwieldy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              But, involving him in meal prep again is a really good idea for both together time and learning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You'll all be pleased to know that yet another book arrived in the mail today: Cook Once a Week, Eat Well Every Day by Theresa Albert. I think this will be the last book in this genre for me, except maybe for JO's 15 minute meals if it continues to get good reports from other chowhounds (and if we in the U.S. can ever get our hands on it!)


                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Another secret. We bought a wood bar chair, really tall one. This was HER chair. It didn't have any safety devices, but it allowed her to eat at the kitchen table, just like her parents. As she grew, we cut off the legs, inch by inch. When the cloth cover got dirty, she was allowed to pick a new fabric [only needed 1/4 yard] and she and her dad would recover. It was fun, though the pink polka dot year was a little rough on my eyes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That chair is now in a wood workshop.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh so cute! I'll bet it would work with a booster seat and,therefore, be safe!


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Mine wasn't a wiggler, and would do ANYTHING to be with the 'dults. My husband reminded me tonight that we did have a strap early on we designed from supplies bought at a camping store. Cut it off at some point. Most likely when it began to smell. [Mothering ain't for the weak!]

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "Mothering ain't for the weak!" Indeed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My husband does always remind me that one day we'll look back on these days and think they were some of the best days of our lives.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      In terms of meal prep involvement, You might think about a learning tower if your little tyke is big enough (18 months at least). We have one and it does make "helping" easier as it puts little hands at countertop height. It takes up a lot of space, so not so great if your kitchen is small. For me, only 2 kids can be "in the front" and help at the counter so there is always an odd man out crying and pushing in the back. My kids are not big on sitting still, but 2 of them can comfortably hang out in there and help in the kitchen (does slow me down considerably however in terms of real cooking and nixes any real knife work.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Great reminder! I was eyeing those kitchen helpers awhile back. RIght now we have a baby gate to keep baby out of kitchen, but that has to come down at age 2 (if not sooner), at which point it would be way better to have him "help" than be underfoot. He loves all grown-up activities and I'm sure helping in the kitchen will not be an exception. He loves his play kitchen toys. Guidecraft makes a folding kitchen helper. http://www.amazon.com/GuideCraft-G973...


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't know if it is possible, but we installed a chalkboard in the kitchen. My daughters could endlessly do the "look mom, look mom, look what I did......" thing. They learned to count and do A,B,C's while I prepared dinner. Win, win. They really don't want to be in front of the t.v. (but no judgement if that is what needs to happen).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I also never felt like I HAD to get them a "proper dinner" all the time. Sometimes, utilitarian meals -were a godsend. A few veggies they could dip in a cheese sauce or ranch...a few bites of good cubed meat... a "shake" with hidden nutrition ( you know what I mean) was a-okay.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My kids are grown now -and are really great, healthy cooks! One is a vegetarian! The one that wouldn't touch anything "green" for the longest time! They ask me for cooking advice and nutrition advice. They tell their friends that their mom is the greatest "Iron Chef" in the world. Don't sweat this TDQ. You are doing fine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A chalk/white/magnetic board is a great idea. They are super easy to do in this day and age: just peel and stick to any surface http://www.amazon.com/Wallies-Peel-St...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And you are the third or fourth person now to mention doing utilitarian or "picnic" meals. I didn't love the idea when the first person mentioned it, but, now, after letting it sink in a bit, I think a family picnic in the middle of the living room in the middle of winter would be a hit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    As always, thank you everyone for all of your wonderful ideas, success stories, and support.


                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. THE ESSENTIAL MEDITERRANEAN: How Regional Cooks Transform Essential Ingredients into the World's Favorite Cuisine, by Nancy Harmon Jenkins

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I've had this book for several years now, and haven't yet cooked from it. It's as much a book to read as to cook from, but I thought it was time to give the recipes a real perusal, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              There are no photos or illustrations, which I know deters some but doesn't bother me. The type is dark blue on quality cream paper and easy to read. It's indexed on Eat Your Books (you don't have to be a member to view the index): http://www.eatyourbooks.com/library/1...

                                                                                                                                                                                                              The chapters are arranged by ingredient:

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Olives and Olive Oil
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Pasta and Couscous
                                                                                                                                                                                                              The Oldest Legumes (chickpeas, lentils, and favas)
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Peppers and Tomatoes
                                                                                                                                                                                                              The Family Pig
                                                                                                                                                                                                              The Sea
                                                                                                                                                                                                              From the Pasture (cheese and yogurt)

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Each chapter begins with an essay about the ingredient, discussing its history in the Mediterranean and importance to the region's cuisines, and how it's produced, some including portraits of contemporary artisan producers. The book could easily live on your nightstand for the essays, which are interesting and lively reading. The essays are followed by a selection of European, Middle Eastern, and North African recipes featuring the ingredient, with head notes explaining the origins of the dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              The salt chapter includes recipes using foods traditionally preserved with salt (salt cod, anchovies, capers, bottarga). The wheat chapter focuses on bread, and includes both recipes for home-baked breads and recipes using bread (sandwiches, salads, soups, etc.). The pasta and couscous chapter has recipes for homemade pasta (including a chestnut-flour pasta), as well as ones saucing dried pasta. The wine chapter also covers vinegar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Taking a closer look at the recipes, I found a bunch that look very appealing. Many of the recipe
                                                                                                                                                                                                              names belie the complexity of the ingredients - for example, the green olive and walnut meze salad also includes roasted red pepper, scallions, pomegranate molasses, cumin, and feta among other things.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              There are a number of recipes that are also covered by other books, clippings, and online resources in my library (for things such as brandade de morue, chicken tagine with olives and preserved lemon, coq au vin, harissa, muhamarra, falafel, etc.), so I didn't focus on those.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'd also note that I don't eat red meat (i.e., mammals) but for those of you who do, there are
                                                                                                                                                                                                              great-looking braises, soups, stuffed vegetables, and more - lots of lamb and pork, not surprisingly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Here are some recipes that caught my eye:

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sicilian Salt-Cod and Orange Salad
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Aintab Meze Salad of Green Olives
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Tunisian Grated Carrot Salad with Feta and Black Olives
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Tunisian Orange-Olive Oil Tea Cake
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Chicken and Chickpea Fatteh (toasted pita topped with poached chicken and chickpeas and spiced yogurt)
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Red-Wine Risotto
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Oven-Roasted Fish Fillets in White Wine with Almonds
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Braised Duck Legs in a Sweet-Sour Sauce
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Leeks or Onions Braised in Wine
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Christmas Dried Fruits in a Spiced Red wine
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Greek Black-Eyed Pea Salad
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Chickpea-Flour "Pizza" (farinata)
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Tomato Granita
                                                                                                                                                                                                              North African Salad of Tomatoes and Peppers
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Provençale Mussel-Saffron Soup
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sardinian Clam Soup with Fregola Pasta
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Oven-Roasted Sea Bass or Snapper
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sardinian Seafood Stew
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Provençale Seafood Stew
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Tarte au Chevre
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Eastern Mediterranean Yogurt Cake with Almonds or Pistachios
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Torta di Ricotta

                                                                                                                                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Please cook from this book and report. That list sounds fantastic. In fact I'm going to see if my library has it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Found this (The Essential Mediterranean) at the library today. Haven't had a chance to look at it yet but I'm so excited. Thanks for the heads up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I also picked up the much-debated Purple Citrus. It is an absolutely beautiful book. I've only gotten through the mezze and starts sections and there is much that makes my mouth water, but not sure there is a lot that I would actually make. There are some fairly hard to find ingredients.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    LulusMom's enthusiasm led me to cook a couple of recipes from the Essential Mediterranean the other week, and I'm glad I did because the results were great!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    As I mentioned in my rundown, recipe names often belie the complex flavors therein, and that was the case here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Oven-Roasted Fish Fillets in White Wine with Almonds (Wine chapter)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This was just terrific. It has a few components, which could definitely be prepped ahead of time. That's a good thing, because I'd happily serve it to guests. In a baking dish goes a layer of parboiled potatoes mixed with tomato and thyme. Thick white fish fillets go on top, and a sauce is ladled over them that's made from slowly sauteed onion and garlic and slowly reduced white wine, seasoned with fennel seeds, bay leaves, orange zest, and capers. Then a topping of ground almonds and dry breadcrumbs. After it bakes, you've got fish with a crispy browned topping and delicious, complexly flavored sauce, with perfectly cooked, flavorful potatoes. You need nothing more alongside than a green salad or simply cooked green vegetable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Aintab Meze Salad of Green Olives and Walnuts (Olives and Olive Oil chapter

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This is a savory, tart, and salty amalgam meant to be served with flat bread alongside other meze like hummus and baba ganouj. Finely chopped green olives, walnuts, roasted red pepper, parsley, scallions, and red onion are dressed with olive oil, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, cumin, and Aleppo pepper, and left to marinate before feta is added. This is pretty intense, but quite nice eaten a little bit at a time with less-assertive flavors.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Boy, that fish sounds amazing. Fennel seeds, orange zest, capers, sauteed onions and garlic, bread crumbs, almonds, potatoes ... what is not to like?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This is going in my amazon inbox for my husband to find next time we need something ; ) We all decided it wasn't my fault that way, right? Thanks for taking the plunge for me Caitlin.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My version of restraint was putting it on my Christmas wish list.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        OK so I just bought this. This thread is killing me. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Fish sounds incredibly good, so, I just bought the book - used for $4.47 with shipping.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. With the holidays right around the corner, I wanted to raise awareness to a 2011 release that did *not* get anywhere near the attention it rightly deserved for some reason, and to give a nod to a superior holiday cookbook: “HOLIDAY DINNERS WITH BRADLEY OGDEN – 150 FESTIVE RECIPES TO BRING FAMILY & FRIENDS TOGETHER” by Bradley Ogden.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        For those unfamiliar with his name, Chef Ogden is one of the Founding Fathers of the farm-to-table movement. His whole thing is based around fresh, locally sourced ingredients put together to achieve classical elegance. He owns 14 restaurants in the San Francisco area, and until August of this year, had a self-titled restaurant in Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas – which was the first restaurant in Las Vegas to ever win a James Beard Award (Caesar’s elected to not renew the lease that expired a couple of months back, instead opting to replace his restaurant with a Gordon Ramsay gastropub. I’m not sure what’s more of a tired concept and sad cliché these days – gastropubs or Gordon Ramsay Las Vegas restaurants. I'm reasonably certain combining the 2 is one of the symbols of the impending implosion of society).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The book, which retails for $30 (I had the good fortune to meet Mr. Ogden for an art transaction this year, and had him sign a copy for me), can now, shockingly, be found from various book sellers on Amazon for about 5 dollars – including shipping.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The book is a traditional full-size. Strong binding and coated paper stock. Very well made. It has plenty of pictures, but to be honest, I think they really made a poor choice in photographers, because a lot of the photos simply don’t do what’s being made justice. It contains over 150 recipes within, over 90% of which are devoted to Thanksgiving and Christmas, the other 10% are for summer holidays and a nod to the West coast bounty during the summer months.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The recipes? Outstanding! These recipes are adaptations from Chef Ogden’s own home kitchen, so there are no wonky conversions as the chef attempts to take a recipe intended to make 30 servings and shrink it down to 4 as you find with most cookbooks. Everything in this book just “works”, because the original recipe was for the gathering size intended for the book. I’m not even close to making everything within it yet, but I’m yet to have a real “miss” of what I’ve chosen. I’ve included some items of particular note below, as well as some commentary on some particular standouts (one in particular on its own is worth the cost of the book). One of the only complaints I have about this book (aside from the photography) is that Chef Ogden….he doesn’t really dress up the names of his dishes very much. You look at them in a recipe list and you figure “eh, it’s pretty standard fare”. A lot of them don’t sound “special” – which is a real shame, because the simplicity of the dish names does a real disservice to the elegance of what you’re creating – dishes that can at times be MUCH more complex than their names imply (incidentally, my “one word” description of the book is just that: “elegance”. Everything ends up just so Bradshaw-esquian perfect, it’s really something to behold). Anyhow, notables:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Chilled Apple Soup w/ Lobster Salad (p. 22)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Green Bean and Persimmon Salad (p. 27)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Sage-Butter-Roasted Turkey (p. 40)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Red Curry Turkey Scaloppini (p. 49) (an amazingly surprising dish, and one I would recommend anyone who has this book to try)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Braised Short Ribs w/ Onions and Sugar Pumpkin (p. 53)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Buttered Brussels Sprouts and Chestnuts (p. 58) (I don’t even really like Brussels Sprouts, but these are fantastic)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Winter Panzanella (p. 70)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Cranberry Scones w/ Orange Glaze (p. 75)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Persimmon Walnut Upside-Down Cake (p. 87)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Three Layer Pumpkin Pie (p. 84) w/ Sour Cream Piecrust (p. 89) (I *Seriously* would have paid full price for this book just for this recipe. Holy Christ it’s amazing. BEST PUMPKIN PIE RECIPE. EVER. It’s like Mary Poppins - Practically Perfect in Every Possible Way. Seriously. Buy the book JUST for this recipe if you must)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Onion-Bourbon-Horseradish Mustard (p. 98)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Hot Chocolate w/ Champagne Sabayon (p. 115)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Winter Citrus Punch w/ Spiced Pomegranate Ice (p. 117)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Caviar Potato Puffs (p. 131)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Black Mustard Beef Tenderloin w/ Red Wine Sauce (p. 140)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Grilled Cornish Hens w/ Spiced Cherry Rub (p. 144)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Roasted Spiced Duck 1/ Kumquat & Pomegranate Glaze (p. 146)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Chive Onion Popovers w/ Toasted Cardamom (p. 166)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Persimmon Dressing (p. 187)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Meyer Lemon Slush Lemonade (p. 209)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Toasted Blood Orange Couscous (p. 226)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Other randoms: He assembles a number of recommended menus for each holiday at the back of each section – along with a preparation schedule that guides you on how to make such a feast happen, starting with some prep up to 3 weeks before the big day in order to break down the work load. He also has sections on proper settings and home décor, but there are no photos to accompany, so they tend to get lost in translation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        All in all, an absolutely fabulous book and, as mentioned above, worth the cost just for that three layer pumpkin pie.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Quintious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          green bean & persimmon, now that combination sounds both inventive and good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: shercooks

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Comparing the site to the book, the custard is missing 1t of the spice mixture, and the crust is halved from the book and is missing 1 teaspoon of sour cream. Otherwise, looks like it matches up (I didn't cross-reference the procedure).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Well worth making.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Quintious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm confused about what you mean by "the crust is halved." From the recipe in the Mercury News, it sounds as though the ingredients as printed will make enough dough for one bottom pie crust. Does the recipe in the book use double the amount of dough for the same single pie crust?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  No, it uses only a single crust. The crust recipe in the book is actually a standalone - not necessarily "just" for the pumpkin pie recipe, which is the likely cause of the discrepancy. However, in the book, in order to make 2 crusts, it calls for X sour cream + 2 teaspoons, which halved would be Y+1 teaspoons.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Quintious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thank you for this review. I agree with you completely about Bradley Ogden, his food is wonderful. I own his first book and it, too, has recipes that just work. So I was really excited when this one arrived last week. 3 recipes have already made it onto the start of my Thanksgiving menu, including that Sage-Butter-Roasted Turkey.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Quintious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sold! Just ordered, and for the bargain special of $12 : ) It says 8 left at this price.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Rubee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Can't wait to cook more from this, thanks for the rec Quinticious! My first recipe was the Banana Sour Cream Coffee Cake. Verdict? E took a bite and said "this is delicious", took another bite, and a third and repeated himself three times. It was so fluffy and light but very moist. Loved it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I should add that when I tweeted I bought the book, Chef Ogden immediately offered to help with any questions. How nice is that? Great chef + great holiday recipes = I'll be cooking a lot out of this in the next couple of months.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. PARISIAN HOME COOKING, Conversations, recipes, and tips from the cooks and food merchants of Paris, by Michael Roberts

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm under the impression that I'm not alone in having this book. I bought it soon after I started cooking, when it first came out (1999), and I had recently been to Paris and fallen under its spell. I loved (and still love) France and the food of France. So I bravely plunked down my money for a book that I was sure was over my head. Going through it just now, I realized that I had actually made 6 dishes, probably more than I thought I was capable of at the time, and most of those remained big hits until I started buying more and more books and sort of forgot about them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The book is not one for those who want lots of pictures of their food. The pictures in the books are in black and white, and are mostly of markets and the people working there, or friends of the author. You will find lots of the usual suspects here: gougeres, tapenade, belgian endive and walnut salad, brandade.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Things I've made:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                *eggplant and goat cheese caviar - absolutely loved this, and should make it again soon.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                *soft eggs with red wine and shallots - I'm not an egg lover, my husband is. The eggs came out a somewhat unappealing color due to the wine, but it was a good enough dish.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                *fennel and onion baked with vermouth - at the time I loved this; now I'd rather have my fennel either raw or roasted
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                * panfried lemon sole - this and the first dish above were the standouts by far. This was such a favorite that my husband (then boyfriend) would request it for special meals. It is simple but wonderful. Cooking this and having it be so wonderful gave me a lot of confidence
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                *tarragon chicken - perfectly good dish, not the best rendition I've had
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                * braised rabbit (chicken thighs) with mustard and calvados - tastes exactly how you'd imagine

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Going through the book I found some things I'm interested in trying:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                cream of radish leaf soup
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                cream of parsley soup
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                hearts of romaine with creamy chive vinaigrette
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                upside down tomato tart
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                warm mushroom loaf with tarragon sauce
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                curried clams with rice pilaf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                small casserole of scallops with tarragon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                casserole roasted chicken with garlic cream
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                turkey cutlets in batter with sage and lemon butter
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                pot-roated rabbit with tomatoes, fennel and tarragon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                roasted turnips with sage
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                pear and almond tart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Nothing earth-shaking in that list, but some good, solid and comforting sounding food as we head into the colder months. I think I'll keep this book a bit nearer at hand and try to make something from this list in the next few months (husband traveling a lot, so not as much chance to cook).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That warm mushroom loaf sounded really good to me. I goggled it and voila (you have to page down quite a bit; it's the second recipe): http://articles.latimes.com/1997-04-1...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: GretchenS

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Wow, fantastic - thanks. Now ... how do I add it to my new pepperplate account??

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      :) I copied and pasted. I'd be happy to send it to you from my Pepperplate account but the email that I think is in in your profile isn't one that Pepperplate recognizes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: GretchenS

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You're good! True about the email. OK, I'll cut and paste it - thanks for the info and the link.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Done! I am going to love this pepperplate business.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. COOK ONCE A WEEK, EAT WELL EVERY DAY Make-Ahead Meals that Transform your Suppertime Circus into Relaxing Family Time, Theresa Albert.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  So, as I mentioned previously, I think this is going to be the last book in the quick meals/"meal planning" genre for me for a while, unless I decide to take the plunge and buy Jamie Oliver's 15 Minute Meals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The premise of this book is simple. You spend 3 hours in the kitchen cooking/prepping/assembling a week's worth of dinners, then all you have to do later in the week is heat dinner up. She provides the menu for the week, a shopping list, and an assembly/prep/cooking plan for your 3-hours session. The thing I like about this book is that the meals seem pretty healthful--quinoa, kale, tofu, bok choy, avocado,etc. These don't sound like delicious, exotic, chowish meals,necessarily, but solid, healthful working-horse kinds of meals. When I read through the menus, I think these might work for us in another year maybe, but not quite yet. (I don't know, there just seem to be a lot of soups, which don't work super well for us right now.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It strikes me as an all or nothing thing. If you're going to do this, you have to roll with her whole program for the week because it would be difficult otherwise to untangle her prep plan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Here's a weekly menu I might try.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Salmon with spinach & feta in parchment plus polenta
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Chicken breasts with spicy rub with sesame broccoli and (store bought) whole grain bread
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Athenian lamb (I think I'd use beef or bison for this) and lima beans with baked mashed potatoes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Fireside supper -- this is like a picnic of leftovers basically: I'd probably sub this out and do pizza night
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Apple baked Schnitzel with frozen green beans

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Nothing spectacular, but a little better than ordinary and pretty healthful. I don't see myself turning to this book regularly because it doesn't offer any flexibility, but I can turning to it when I think I'm going to have a crazy week ahead and I have a snowbound Sunday or free evening... Most of the book seems fallish/wintery.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think what I'll get the most out of is the appendix in the back which I'm going to copy and keep somewhere handy (on the fridge or something): "Quickie Meals from what you've got"--so a few pantry meals, pantry snacks, pantry desserts (these look kinda yuck--won't be turning to these), and freezer meals. This is about a dozen emergency pantry dinners, all about 20 minutes and under. It's the ones we all know (pasta puttanesca, lentil soup, chickpea salad, "pad thai"), but that I can never remember when I'm tired.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I can't really recommend this book to the average hound. Just to someone who wants to prep some healthful family meals a week in advance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hey, has anyone seen Breadcrumbs, our fearless patron, lately? I hope she's hanging in there.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  25 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    TDQ - have you got Real Fast Food by Nigel Slater, or his 30-Minute Cook? I think they might help you with your quest. I also wonder whether you should start a thread asking for recipes for tried and tested quick meals, which you could then add to your collection.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I love both real fast food and 30 minute cook. I've also got Nigella Express. All of them are very good for weeknight 30-min from start to finish type dinners. Ofc I'm in love of the new Jamie 15-min meals already. I found the Jamie one even better than the rest because it removes the need to combine a protein with a carb and veg. It seems perfect for when I'm tired and needed to finish my meal planning so I can meet the online grocery order deadline.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh yes, forgot about Nigella Express. I might dust that one off for this thread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I have Nigella Express and have a few real favorites in there. The sausages (turkey for me) in tomato sauce are one of our favorites. I think Real Food Fast ended up being a bit too meaty for me, but others would probably love it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I prefer the 30min cook to real fast food. I think it's because it is more 'international'. (But it could be the meatiness too. We only eat white meat + vegetarian. And it seems you can get more turkey produce where you are).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            However there are quite a few gems in the real fast food. I remember the couscous/bulgar wheat section is really good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            PS. It could be also I'm used to ignoring meat sections in all my cookbooks. Mr lilham doesn't eat mushroom either, so even a vegetarian cookbook have sections I'd have to ignore.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Good to know about 30 min cook - I'll look for it. And yes, it does seem that the US has a lot more turkey substitutes for pork products (bacon, sausages) than other places. I was surprised to find this out, but it is definitely true.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think I'm going to have to dump my online grocery order service. I am continuously frustrated by their lack of clarity about whether a protein is going to show up fresh or frozen. I did my meal planning on Friday, put in my big grocery order on Sat, with the expectation that my groceries would be delivered Sunday afternoon so I could cook two dishes in advance for the week Sunday late afternoon while my husband watched our son and the football game. (One dish was going to be our lunches for Mon and Tues and the other dish was going to be our dinner for Sun and repurposed as leftovers on Tues night) and both proteins showed up rock solid frozen. The third protein showed up fresh, but the recipe I had in mind for that protein requires marinating overnight, so I was out of luck there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I've contacted them to complain and suggest that they do a better job labeling their proteins as either "fresh" or "frozen" but I have the feeling the problem might be their substitution policy. If the item you have ordered isn't available, they will substitute it with another similar item. So, my guess is, even if it's labeled fresh, it might come frozen anyway if there's a big demand for that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Do you ever have that problem with your grocery delivery lilham?


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              No, mine is very very good. There's no way they should deliver frozen food when fresh is ordered. The meat I get is basically the same as the ones I buy from my local supermarket. Maybe the difference is online grocery is very popular in the UK? All the big supermarkets here do it. So there is a lot of choice and competition.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I don't think grocery delivery is that common here. More and more grocers are starting to offer it, but it doesn't seem to be catching on. I might have to do a separate grocery run myself just for proteins and let the delivery people bring everything else, or something like that. Or maybe it's a problem they can correct now that I've alerted them to it.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I had it for a few weeks years ago and the same sort of thing was happening, so i dropped it. I had heard that things have gotten better, but your post tells a different story. This much frustration isn't worth it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Interesting. Well, I heard back from them and they claim that the chicken thighs I ordered actually do say frozen in the title--and I just checked again, they do. But, I swear that was not the case at the time I placed my order. I don't know if I truly overlooked it in my haste to get the order placed, or if they changed it after the fact. I know I was checking for fresh vs. frozen very carefully and swear it was their mistake, not mine, but there's no way to prove it now. I just checked the second protein and there is no mention of fresh or frozen. I'm pretty sure the last time I ordered that item it came fresh. Anyway, she said she'd forward my note to the team that does the labeling and see if they can't do a better job. Maybe I'll give it another go and see if it gets any better.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Wait a minute, I just went back and checked my receipt which lists all of the items I ordered. My receipt clearly shows the chicken thighs without the word "frozen" in the title. They must have edited that in after the fact. Kind of ticks me off, actually. I don't think I'm going to buy from them anymore.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Please don't - it will only frustrate you and encourage them to keep doing what they're doing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Not to worry, I sent them a nastygram. It's possible the description was changed between the time I placed my order (Friday night) and when I looked at it this morning, but I doubt it. I think they changed it before they replied to me so they could make it look like my mistake (in not paying attention during the ordering) rather than a problem with their product labeling. I was already on the fence about them due to some compromises I've had to make on ingredients, but this (the bad customer service/lying) is kind of the final nail in the coffin. I might use them occasionally, especially if I'm ordering something really heavy (pop, cat litter, etc) and it's dark and icy out, but we've got some awesome grocery stores in the Twin Cities with extended, even round the clock, hours. It might just be better to do my shopping in person.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Is this available in your area?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Could be worth something to have a real person do your shopping; selecting the quality that you want.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh! Sounds neat. I will look into it, thank you!


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You know, my quest has been a less about "fast" meals and more about finding a book weekly meal planning etc. though, weirdly, it always does lead back to quick meals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I have both of those books by Slater and have never really been able to get into them, partly because one way he seems to shave time off is by having lots of recipes serve only two. I'm cooking for two and a half and want my meals to serve as leftovers for lunch, so I really need my recipes to serve at least four. Also, my im