Tag Archives: salads

Friday 5 – What to do with spring vegetables

29 May

By Chris Garbutt

It’s been a while, but I thought it was time for another Friday 5. Vegetables are finally fresh again! So let’s look at five links on what to do with them:

1. Radishes. Radish, Boursin & Chive Tartines.

2. Spinach. Italian Sausage & Spinach Pasta.

3. Asparagus. Well, you can make Chicken, Feta and Asparagus Salad for yourself. Or maybe an Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Lemon Pasta. Of course, you can eat it on its own, but can you eat it with your fingers? Forget all that, just grill it already!

4. Scallions. Make pancakes! Yummy!

5. If you can find some really really fresh peas (I might be pushing this one in Toronto right now), try this one.

Oh, all right…

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a big fan of rhubarb. But it is a classic spring vegetable, so enjoy. Just don’t ask me over:

Rhubarb Soup

Orange-Rhubarb Compote

Rhubarb Cobbler – I think this would be amazing with any fruit, by the way. If you substitute, please ask me over.

Monday Review – How to Cook Everything & Bon Appetit’s Fast Easy Fresh

10 Nov

How to Cook Everything: 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Food, 2nd Edition by Mark Bittman & The Bon Appetit Cookbook: Fast Easy Fresh: 1,100 Quick Dishes for Everynight Cooking by Barbara Fairchild

By Stephanie Dickison

They arrived at my doorstep with a big enough thud that the cat and I both jumped.  A big box containing two looming cookbooks meant that I was going to have to rearrange the bookshelves -again.  These were the mightiest cookbooks I’d ever seen outside of my lovely food and cooking encyclopedias that I cherish so deeply.

The one good thing about their size and weight is that really, if you are just starting out or are looking for big, basic cookbooks to cover a little bit of everything, these have got it.  All of it.

And while I know a lot of you have your own go-to cookbook like The Joy of Cooking, I’m highly recommending these.

They are so vast in knowledge and so easy to use and follow that really, no kitchen should be without them.

Here are my thoughts on each one:

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A little while ago, I told you how much I loved Mark Bittman’s Recipe Cards.  Well, the book, How to Cook Everything, 2nd Edition, just knocked my socks off.  Really.  I mean, it’s got everything: illustrations that you can follow along with, like tying meat or preparing tomatoes.  Easy-to-make recipes that are neither tired or repetitive (unlike my roster of dishes).

And here’s the best testimonial of all – On Saturday night, I stopped by the grocery store to get meat.  I had been to 2 others, but hadn’t seen anything of excitement.  However, at my third stop, I came across a fairly good sized beef tenderloin roast for $5.86.  Now, I had only ever made 2 roasts before this, so it’s not something I usually get, but it was so inexpensive and beautiful that I couldn’t resist.  However, I had no idea how to cook it.

That is, until I got home and turned to page 735, where the Roast Tenderloin with Herbs recipe awaited me.  I marinated the meat for only an hour as my Mom had stopped by for a visit.  It turns out neither Mom, me or my fella have roast beef outside of weddings and funerals, so I felt a little pressure for it to turn out well.

The recipe was an easy mixture of oil, balsamic vinegar and herbs and the only thing I had to do was check the meat with a thermometer after 20 minutes.

Folks, while it is not the best roast I’ve ever had, it was absolutely wonderful.  And I truly couldn’t have possibly done it without this book.  Later this week I’m going to tackle 22 Picnic-Perfect Salads and How to Season Simply Cooked Seafood.

This is my new cooking bible and yes, you can borrow it anytime…

bonappetit

The title, The Bon Appetit Cookbook: Fast Easy Fresh: 1,100 Quick Dishes for Everynight Cooking says it all, doesn’t it?  It’s from Bon Appetit, so you know it’s trustworthy (and probably anything you make from this will be better than if you’d gone it alone) and it’s all about making quick and easy dinners, which let’s face it, at the end of the workday, can be one of the most challenging meals to make and make well.

I mean, I would never in a million years think to make Crabmeat, Corn and Cumin Salad in Endive Spears, but doesn’t that sound absolutely lovely?  And what about Oaxacan Chicken Mole?  That sounds much better than the usual roast chicken breasts that I make!

My favourite thing about this cookbook is the recipes never include more than a handful of ingredients and instructions, so I can actually make pretty fancy fare in a short amount of time, which is really what I strive for most every night I cook.  And now thanks to this cookbook, I can actually rev up my own standbys.  So instead of my usual steamed spinach, I’m going to make Pesto Creamed Spinach and instead of my usual orzo, I’m pumping it up to Carrot Orzo.  Sure, they are simple changes, but I find that these suggestions and ideas really get me out of my usual cooking rut and go-to items.  It helps keep things exciting in the kitchen and I remain excited about cooking and making dinner every night, which I’m sure you know can be a challenge at times!

I am so excited by all of the new possibilities that I’m off to get some ingredients for dinner tonight!

These are the best books and really, a must have for anyone who spends anytime at all at the stove.  And hey, they’ll make the very best presents this holiday season.  I mean, there are recipes in each of these to please everyone!

Monday Review: How To Cook Everything – 55 Recipe Cards

28 Jul

How To Cook Everything – 55 Recipe Cards

by Mark Bittman

By Stephanie Dickison

Usually, if you’ve been cooking for awhile, the books and cards about the basics go to the wayside as the piles of large coffee table books amass on niche topics like carpaccio, bone marrow and vegetable terrines.

But there is a reason why we also go back to the basics – because they are simple, comforting and oh-so-good.

Mark Bittman has compiled 55 recipe cards that come in a bright lemon box, complete with dividers. The cards are cleanly designed and easy to read, which makes them much more accessible than the ones that are in a small italic, serif font that are yellowing on my bookshelf.

The dividers are easy to see and read:

Salads, Side Dishes and Soups

Pasta, Grains and Beans

Fish and Seafood

Poultry and Meat

Desserts and Quick Breads

And the recipes within are really all you need to make good food all week long.

There’s the comfort of a simple Vinaigrette, Chicken Soup with Rice or Noodles and Classic American Potato Salad. There are also those dishes that are great ones to master like Simple Roast Chicken, Classic Meat Loaf and Pot Roast.

For a girl like me, who finds cooking a breeze, but baking perplexing, I am grateful for the uber simple (and fast!) dessert recipes like Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies, Quick Coffee Cake and Corn Bread.

There’s nothing wrong with branching out and trying new things, but I promise you – you’ll always come back to the oldies and goodies.

And now they are completely accessible and readable in a convenient yellow box.

I put mine right next to the stove, right where it belongs.

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