Home Made in the Oven, a cookbook review

I got excited when I first found out that Yvette Van Boven was releasing a new cookbook in the US.  I had the pleasure of meeting her about a year ago during her book tour for Home Made Christmas. She and her husband Oof are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.  I really believe that her endearing personality comes across in her cookbooks: in the little recipe sketch drawings, and in the little stories she writes. I often skip recipe introduction when I flip through a cookbook, but I won’t skip hers.   

The latest book (available Oct. 15th) by Van Boven is “Home Made In The Oven: Truly Easy, Comforting Recipes For Baking, Broiling, And Roasting.”  There’s over 80 recipes, I believe, all meant to be cooked in the oven. The book is simply broken down by:

  • Vegetables
  • Fish and Meat
  • Baking

Each of these sections have recipes that are categorized by month, but don’t assume there’s an equal amount of recipes for each month. There are five January recipes in the Vegetables chapter, and nothing for July or August.  To be fair, those are hot months in the Northern Hemisphere and therefore turning on the oven is the last thing anyone wants to do. The reality is there are only three July recipes and one August recipe in the whole book.

Each recipe comes with a sketch of how to make it, and a little photo in the top right hand corner.  And I do mean little.  Without grabbing a ruler, I estimate the photos are a little more than an inch by an inch and a half.  The sketches are cute, and the recipes are fairly simple and straightforward (that does not equate to boring).  

Here are the recipes that I’m most interested in making:

  • Sweet potato and spinach gratin
  • Leftover focaccia
  • Cupboard cannelloni
  • Smoky butternut squash and papaya salad
  • Oven asparagus with cashew cream
  • Stuffed autumn portobellos
  • Comforting meatballs (I’ve never seen a beef meatball with shrimp in it before)
  • Salmon, fennel and lemon with spinach miso-mayo
  • Apple almond crumble
  • Clementine yogurt cake
  • Almond apple cake
  • Baked apples with blueberries
  • Royal carrot cake muesli bars
  • Peach scone pie
  • Blackberry ricotta cake
  • Yogurt cake with lemon and ginger
  • Chocolate nut cake

 

For now though, I made the veggie filo pie (which is technically a May recipe even though it’s currently October – but it’s fine!  There’s nothing very seasonal in this dish). I’ve never bothered making a filo pie on my own before so recipe testing seemed as good a time as any.  It has leeks, garlic, spinach, chickpeas, egg, ricotta, nutmeg, smoked paprika, and crumbled feta. You make the filling, pile some filo dough strategically in a pan, and then bake.

It was so easy to make!  It’s not unhealthy either, since Van Boven’s point to this dish is to eat more vegetables.

It seems pretty easy to customize.  Since I have some leftover ingredients, I plan on making a second time this weekend.  But I’m tempted to change the spices. While I love nutmeg and smoked paprika, I felt like nutmeg was the dominant flavor.  I have an overwhelming urge to try curry powder or ras el hanout? I haven’t decided yet. (Your comments will be considered if you have other ideas.)

In general, the whole book is very approachable.  I can’t really think of a recipe in it that’s too intimidating.  If you’re picky about high quality glossy cookbook photos, then maybe this book isn’t for you, but I think everyone else will enjoy it through and through.

 

Disclaimer – I kindly received this book from Abrams for this review.  I’m not getting paid for this post. The views and opinions expressed are purely my own.  
Reference Links:

https://www.instagram.com/yvettevanboven/

https://yvettevanboven.eu/

https://www.abramsbooks.com/

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The Pasta Friday Cookbook, book review

Pasta is a food near and dear to my heart.  (I’m sure many people feel the same.)  During my last year of college, my dinner on most nights was a big plate of pasta and red sauce.   It’s cheap.  It’s pantry friendly.  It’s amazing that I didn’t get sick of it by the end of the year. 

I don’t eat like that anymore.  I don’t make pasta very often, not even once a month.  (It’s not like I’ve cut out simple carbs, as rice and noodles are in regular rotation in my kitchen.)  Pasta tends to be “emergency cooking” for me.  Something to make when I should make something but don’t have a ton of time.  So, it just isn’t part of my regular rotation of dishes.  But for a pasta dish that feels inspiring?  I can get behind that.

“The Pasta Friday Cookbook” by Allison Arevalo is collection of recipes from the weekly gathering of the same name that Arevalo created back in 2017.  The purpose of Pasta Friday is to share a simple meal of pasta and salad with a large group of friends and family once a week. Her cookbook is a reflection of her mission.  It has 52 pasta recipes and 16 salad recipes, divided up by season. It’s almost an instruction book for holding your own Pasta Friday, but while Arevalo feeds 30+ people, the published recipes serves 4 to 6 or 6 to 8.

I like how the book mixes traditional and non-traditional recipes.  Here are the recipes that I’m most interested in:

  • Pam’s Pasta with Sausage, Tomatoes, and Peaches
  • Farfalloni with Smoked Salmon and Creamy Corn Sauce
  • Trofie with Pesto Cream, Potatoes, and Green Beans
  • Cucumber Basil Salad with Anchovies and Croutons
  • Cacio e Pepe with Pici and Mushrooms
  • Mafaldine with Porcini and Eggs
  • Crispy Cauliflower with Kale and Rotini
  • Strozzapreti with Sunday Pork Neck Ragu
  • Papparedelle with Roasted Pork and Mushrooms
  • Lentils with Buffalo Mozzarella and Roasted Peppers
  • Gnocchetti with Chorizo and Fried Lemon
  • Asparagus and Cannellini Beans with Mint and Grana Padano

 

For this review, I went with Dad’s Famous Roasted Red Pepper Sauce.  Why? It has two of my favorite ingredients: roasted bell peppers and smoked paprika!  It also doesn’t hurt that this is a fairly easy recipe. The other ingredients are heavy cream, butter, roasted garlic, pepper, salt, and pasta.  You make the sauce. You boil the pasta. And then you finish the pasta in the sauce. Done.

Verdict?  I loved this.  I also love how Arevalo instructions you to add just enough cream to achieve a gold, orangey pink sauce.  It’s a perfect description, and the exact color I achieved.  The recipe instructs for a pound of cannolicchi pasta, but I went with penne. 

Every recipe in the book has pasta shape substitutions, and at least one of the substitutions will be one that is easy to find in any supermarket.  Every recipe also offers wine pairing suggestions, as well of what to serve the dish with.  In the case of the roasted red pepper sauce, the book says to serve with crispy/spicy prosciutto, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, a medium-bodied and spicy California cabernet franc, or an unoaked and crispy French Chardonnay.  This information is especially useful if you decide to entertain guests and/or host your own Pasta Friday.

I think I’m going to want this sauce all the time. (But I’m also thinking about lightening up of the recipe to make it a little more waistline friendly.)

Is this book worth its salt?  Yes! I’m sold on the roasted red pepper sauce alone.  What can I say? I’m a simple girl. I’m not sure I’m about to holding Pasta Fridays at my house every week, but I can get behind the message of building a community face to face.  Spending more time with my favorite people can never be a bad thing, and I like cooking for them so perhaps I’ll make pasta and salad for them next time we’re all together.

Reference Links:

https://www.pastafriday.com/

 

Disclaimer – I kindly received this book from Andrews McMeel Publishing for this review.  I’m not getting paid for this post. The views and opinions expressed are purely my own.  

A Place At The Table, a cookbook review

“A Place At The Table”, a new cookbook edited by Rick Kinsel and Gabrielle Langholtz, is a compilation of recipes from 40 beloved chefs across the US who are all immigrants.  The contributing chefs range from Dominique Crenn (France) to Marcus Samuelsson (Ethiopia/Sweden) to Michael Solomonov (Israel). The subtitle is “New American recipes from the nation’s top foreign-born chefs,” but I feel like it’s not descriptive enough.  Some of the recipes are fusion types, and some are recipes taken from cultural heritage. And then, there is a smattering of recipes that are just high end restaurant cooking.

There are no chapters.  The book is simply divided up by chefs.

The photos are beautiful, and it looks like every recipe has a photo.  However, there is a caveat… Not all photos exactly match the written recipe.  The most obvious culprit of this was the pegao norteño (a Chifa lamb dumpling dish by Carlos Delgado).  The photo is of the restaurant version, made obvious by the large flecks of gold leaf garnishing the dish.  

Overall, the recipes themselves sound enticing.  I think my only real critique is that not all the recipes are home friendly for me.  I know some homecooks like the occasional large project, but I don’t like fussy recipes with an ingredient list the size of the entire page (*cough*geoduck tartelette*cough*dominique crenn*cough*).  Nor do I want to look for ingredients that are hard to come by.  I live in a city, and I go to several supermarkets and ethnic markets pretty easily but if I have to go online to shop for an ingredient, I lose interest very quickly.  For example, I cannot make the smoked honey yogurt with whey snow and white grape syrup recipe because I have never seen smoked honey for sale in my area.

Luckily, there are still other recipes that appeal to me.  The ones I am most curious about are:

  • Shrimp and okra pancakes and charred scallion dipping sauce
  • Soy- and sugarcane-glazed grilled pork chops and tomato-peach salad
  • Winter melon soup
  • Banana bibingka (I almost made this… but didn’t only because I’ve had too many sweets lately)
  • Coffee-braised brisket
  • Banana layer cake with vanilla cream and candied walnuts
  • Hand-torn noodles with cumin lamb
  • Pancake stack cake

 

In the end, I opted to make Nite Yun’s coconut milk marinated pork.  It’s pretty straightforward – you marinate thin slices of pork loin in coconut milk, brown sugar, garlic, fish sauce, and black pepper.  However, it does need some pre-planning because the instructions tell you to marinate for 4-24 hours. Then, you cook up in a grill pan for a couple of minutes per side.

My attempt looked nothing like the photo.  I’m pretty sure the photo version cooked the pork on a real grill which I don’t have.  To be fair, I used a regular pan and not a grill pan, but I had trouble getting the pork to really brown because there was just too much moisture on the surface.  No pan was really going to fix that.  (Note, I did try to remove as much of the marinade as possible.)

The first photos I took looked a bit terrible (so I’m not posting them) but I originally served the pork with some of the leftover mushroom rice I made from my last post. Honestly?  I was a little underwhelmed. I sliced the pork as thinly as I could by hand, because the instructions indicated thinly sliced pork no further specifics. My recommendation now is to not go less than a quarter of an inch.  I might even suggest half an inch slices, just to reduce the likelihood of overcooking.  

Sizes of slices aside, I couldn’t taste the marinade in the meat that well even though I had the pork marinating in the fridge for about 16 hours.  4-24 hours seems completely unnecessary to me. But the marinade itself is fantastic. I didn’t have the heart to throw it out, so I boiled it for a few minutes to make it safe for consumption and kept it as a sauce.

The photo below that I will share is the second serving of the recipe, dressed with the leftover cooked marinade and served with plain cabbage.  (You can scroll the photo over to see the book photo.)  I loved this version! I’m thinking that next time I’ll cook the pork (probably in the oven to pinkness), then separately take the other ingredients and serve as a sauce.  

So, this book… hard to review because it’s a compilation.  I can’t really judge the book on one recipe but I’m not a “cook the book” type of person either.  I’m recommending this book to foodies who want to sample recipes from critically acclaimed chefs, cooks looking for creative inspiration, and people who want to learn more about the chefs featured (there’s a nice little bio page for each chef).  If you’re someone who identifies as a functional cook, check the book out from the library before deciding you want your own copy.  

Will I cook from this book again?  Definitely.  Will it be in the immediate future?  Probably not.  Take that as you will.

Disclaimer – I kindly received this book from Prestel for this review.  I’m not getting paid for this post. The views and opinions expressed are purely my own.  The book is released September 24, 2019. 

The Gaijin Cookbook, a review

“The Gaijin Cookbook” is a very different creature from its predecessor “Ivan Ramen,” both books by Ivan Orkin and Chris Ying.  When “Ivan Ramen” came out, it was self evident that the recipes were from the noodle restaurant of the same name, and artisan ramen is a complex process.  The Shio Ramen chapter itself is divided into making the eight components of the dish. “The Gaijin Cookbook” is practically the antagonist to the first book.  It’s about cooking Japanese food at home for a weeknight or for a party.

The layout of the book is a bit odd.  I’ve added quotes from the book about what each chapter is about.  And each chapter had some recipes that were grouped together, and sometimes recipes that only related to the chapter and not to each other.  So I’ve done my best to reflect that.

  1. The Recipes by Category
  2. Eat More Japanese – “… foundational recipes and flavors that taught [Ivan] to understand Japanese food”
    1. The Vanishing Japanese Diner
    2. Natto [Fermented Soybeans]
    3. Feeding Our Kids
  3. Open to Anything – “… fusion… recipes that have mingled… leading to new and delicious collaborations”
    1. (various recipes)
    2. Sandwiches
  4. Empathy – “nurturing through food”
    1. (various recipes, mostly rice and stews)
    2. Nabe
  5. Otaku [Geeking Out] – “more intensive recipes”
    1. (oden, dan dan noodles, gyoza)
    2. Frying
  6. Good Times – “dishes that are conducive to sharing while you sip on an adult beverage”
    1. (various recipes)
  7. New Year’s – “symbolic snacks that will ensure prosperity in the coming year”
    1. (various recipes)
    2. Jubako
  8. Pantry

 

If this were a novel, I’d be ok with this layout.  But as a cookbook, I find it a bit confusing if I’m looking for a recipe.  It almost feels random instead of intentional. If there’s a specific recipe you’re looking for, it’s the index you’ll need to depend on.

But the recipes themselves look good.  Here are some of the recipes I want to try:

  • Seasoned Ground Chicken (Tori Soboro) – I want to compare this version to the soboro I already make today
  • Mentaiko Spaghetti
  • Miso Mushroom Chili
  • Pork and Tofu Meatballs with Buttermilk Sauce
  • Smoked Fish Donburi
  • Okinawa-Style Soba with Pork Belly and Tatsuobushi
  • Salmon and Miso Hot Pot
  •  Sweet Dashi-Poached Prawns
  • Candied Sardines
  • Sesame Furikake
  • Katsuobushi Furikake

 

For my inaugural recipes, I made shimeji mushroom rice from the Empathy chapter, and the chicken meatballs (tsukune) from the Good Times chapter.  Both were straightforward to make, and ingredients were easy to come by where I live.

For me, the meatballs were decent but not necessarily a recipe I will remake as written.  It’s just a very ginger forward flavor even with the accompanying sauce. But I still like the general instructions, so I’m thinking about messing around with it, maybe using Chinese black bean paste as the flavoring agent.  It’s just a personal preference, not a critique on the recipe.

That’s when I decided to make the mushroom rice.  I wanted to see how a second recipe would work out, and I loved the results.  It’s a light flavor, and the cooking instructions are spot on. I used haiga rice (haiga is a semi-polished short grain rice where the bran is removed but not the germ, and cooks like white rice), and skipped the bonito flakes.  The recipe instructs you to soak the rice for at least 20 minutes, and up to 1 hour. I chose 30 minutes. For garnish, I just used scallions (no photo documentation, but I also used store-bought furikake as a garnish when I was eating leftovers).  Next time, I’ll use the katsuobushi and see how it changes the flavor. I can see myself making this regularly going forward as it stores in the fridge well and is great for meal prep.

Another thing that I enjoyed about this book was the photography.  The food photos are enticing. The portraits of Ivan scattered among the pages give insight to his personality.  And because I’m a romantic at heart, the photos of Ivan and Mari are endearing.

If you don’t have a cookbook on everyday Japanese cooking or don’t have one you like, give “The Gaijin Cookbook” a try.  I think it’s very home cooking friendly, and there’s a good diversity of recipes.  

Disclaimer – I kindly received this book from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for this review.  I’m not getting paid for this post. The views and opinions expressed are purely my own.  The book is released September 24, 2019.

Reference Links:

https://www.hmhbooks.com/shop/books/The-Gaijin-Cookbook/9781328954350

https://www.ivanramen.com/

 

Umami Bomb, a cookbook review

Umami…  One word with so many expectations!  Or rather, I tend to have high expectations when I see it thrown around.  The last time I reviewed a cookbook with the word ‘umami’ in it, I was underwhelmed by the recipe testing result.  Would “Umami Bomb” by Raquel Pelzel be equally underwhelming or will it pass expectations with flying colors?

The chapters are sorted by the main umami ingredient of the recipe.  The chapters are:

  • Parm and Other Aged Cheeses
  • Soy Sauce
  • Tomatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Caramelized Onions
  • Miso
  • Smoke
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Fish

What sets this book slightly apart from other umami focused cookbooks is that this one is (lacto-ovo and pescatarian) vegetarian.  For better user experience (ok, that’s the nerdiest thing I’ve said on this blog), recipes are marked if they are vegan, vegan-optional, and with a rating system based on the number of umami ingredients.  What makes this book possibly better than the other umami book I’ve reviewed in the past (based on appearance only) is how approachable these recipes are. Pelzel’s book isn’t asking for any specialty ingredients if you’re living in an urban area.  It’s not asking you to build a pantry of DIY pastes, seasoning, or sauces.  

And… there’s a wealth of recipes I want to try.  I just didn’t have time to make more than one in time for this review.

  • Killer Chocolate Cake (just because I want to put soy sauce in frosting)
  • Grilled Pan Con Tomate with Miso Butter
  • Tomato ‘Nduja
  • Sick Day Tomato Soup
  • Savory Mushroom Breakfast Porridge
  • Veg and Cornbread Bake
  • Falafel-Spiced Grilled Mushrooms with Miso-Tahini Dressing
  • Mushroom Gravy
  • Caramelized Onion Korean Pancake 
  • Miso Peanut Butter Cookies
  • Polenta with Smoked Cheddar and Kale
  • Eggplant “Meatballs”

In the end, I decided to make Toasted Sesame Granola with Coconut, Orange, and Warm Spices.  I’ve never tried using sesame oil in my granola before or fresh ginger. Or soy sauce for that matter.  I try not to meddle with recipes for review, but I had to leave out the orange for this. I forgot to pick it up at the store.  Another note, cinnamon is one of the ingredients, but Pelzel suggests smoked cinnamon if you can get your hands on it. And now that I’ve made this granola, I’m seriously considering sourcing some smoked cinnamon.  The flavors in this recipe are really bold, some of the other ingredients are sesame seeds, shredded unsweetened coconut, ground ginger and ground coriander. My taste buds couldn’t really taste the sesame flavors but the amount of saltiness from the soy was perfect.  For me, the main flavors were ginger and coriander so smoked cinnamon would have matched really nicely.

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Mmmmm granola

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Unadorned, the granola is almost overwhelming but I couldn’t stop eating it anyway.  (Isn’t that kind of the point of umami anyway?) But when I topped my plain yogurt with it, it was perfect in every way. Pelzel also suggests pairing it with chocolate ice cream so obviously I need to go pick up some chocolate ice cream, sooner rather than later.

Overall, I really appreciate how unique the granola recipe is.  It makes me excited to experiment with the other recipes.

The book doesn’t have photos for everything, but that’s ok.  The photos that are there are bright and appetizing.  I think the array of recipes nicely covers a little of everything from breakfast to dessert.  I also appreciate how approachable and functional the book appears to be.  It’s all very appealing.  I definitely recommend giving this book a try if you can.

Disclaimer – I kindly received this book from Workman Publishing for this review.  I’m not getting paid for this post. The views and opinions expressed are purely my own.  The book is released September 3, 2019.

Reference Links:

http://www.raquelpelzel.com/recipes/

https://www.workman.com/

 

Six Ingredients with Six Sisters’ Stuff, cookbook review

Cookbooks advertising minimal ingredient lists can really go either of two ways, right?  Either it’s minimal with little commercial products, or it’s heavy on the commercial products.  So, I didn’t know what to expect from “Six Ingredients with Six Sisters’ Stuff,” the latest book from sixsistersstuff.com.  I’m slightly acquainted with the recipe material they’ve posted on their website, but I’ve never done a deeper dive. Their website has a large collection of recipes but I guess I just never came across anything that really grabbed my attention.

The chapters in this book are pretty straight forward:

  • Main dishes
  • Side dishes
  • Desserts

… and that’s it.

First impressions of this book?  The recipes are about 50% commercial product involvement and, of that, I think it’d be pretty easy to replace the commercial product with something homemade if preferred.  Just a barometer of what to expect, there are 7 mentions of taco seasoning, 4 mentions of Italian seasoning (not to be confused with Italian dressing mix which is also used in the book), 3 mentions of canned cream of soup, and 6 mentions of bbq sauce.  (Yes, I tried to tally. No, I did not re-count and verify.) So, that’s not so bad. And it’s not as if I’m anti-commercial products. I just don’t keep this stuff around with the exception of bbq sauce.

A handful of the recipes use more commercial products.  For example, the 5-ingredient turkey meatloaf uses Stove Top Stuffing Mix, and Lipton Onion Soup mix.  But then, there’s a recipe for lemon and dill salmon that is simply salmon, salt and pepper, butter, lemons, garlic, and fresh dill.  

Here are some recipes that I may try in the future:

  • Avocado Chicken Bites
  • Savory Slow-Cooker Turkey Breast
  • Turkey Tenderloins and Asparagus
  • Grilled Mediterranean Pork Kabobs
  • Pesto Salmon
  • Mushroom and Garlic Quinoa Bake
  • Easy Homemade Rolls

For this review, though, I went with the Smoky Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork which uses a lot of liquid smoke.  (Like half of the bottle of fancy liquid smoke that I got from HomeGoods that one time.) This recipe uses paprika, garlic powder, dry mustard, liquid smoke, pork shoulder, and bbq sauce.  The bbq sauce isn’t used during the cooking process, as it’s more for serving, so I didn’t worry about not having the full amount of bbq sauce. Everything else, I had in my pantry, and pork shoulder was on sale at one of my local markets so score!

Now, I may not sound overly excited for the book (that’s not a long list of recipes above that I want to try), but this pulled pork recipe?  IT’S FANTASTIC!

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Pulled pork ☺

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I kind of feel like the whole book was worth the pulled pork recipe.  I’ve used smoked paprika in the past to try to get some smoke flavor, but I never thought to douse meat with liquid smoke before.  I’ve certainly used liquid smoke before, but I’ve always been conservative about the amount used.  

For a pork shoulder that wasn’t actually slowly smoked, it’s a brilliant indoor version.  My only gripe is that the recipe says to “use a generous amount of salt and ground black pepper, up to 4 teaspoons each.”  I used 2 teaspoons each, and it was plenty. (I was using about 3.5 lbs boneless pork shoulder.) I think any more salt or any more pepper would have made the pulled pork less enjoyable.  

I served it with Trader Joe’s Organic Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce because that’s what I had on hand, but I think I would have been perfectly happy with just the liquid in the slow cooker.

Zero regrets, people!  And now I have delicious pulled pork for dinner all week.

So, I recommend this book with some reservations.  Your cooking style is going to determine how much use you get out of this cookbook, but I think there are, for me, a couple of hidden gems.

 

Disclaimer – I kindly received this book from Shadow Mountain for this review.  I’m not getting paid for this post. The views and opinions expressed are purely my own.  The book is released September 3, 2019.

Reference Links:

https://sixsistersstuff.com

https://shadowmountain.com/product/six-ingredients-with-six-sisters-stuff/

 

Rustic Joyful Food, cookbook review

This week, I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing “Rustic Joyful Food, My Heart’s Table” by Danielle Kartes.  I can’t lie. I was really interested in the book for 1) the cover photo and 2) the title. The cover photo is of a ham and brie sandwich with green apple and mustard.  And it just so happens that one of my favorite sandwiches to pick up when I’m on the go is a turkey sandwich of similar construction. As for the title, it neatly compacts my feelings about good food and cooking.

Diving right in, the book is divided into these chapters:

  • Pantry Staples
  • Appetizers
  • Salads and Side Dishes
  • Soup’s On
  • The Main Dish
  • To Drink
  • Sweets
  • Simple and From Scratch

Many of the recipes from the Main Dish chapter that I originally thought about testing for this review didn’t happen this week because they felt more like cooler weather recipes.  There were also several recipes from the dessert chapter that I nixed for this review only because I’ve consumed a lot more sugar in the last few weeks than I normally do. (I made a layered birthday cake for a friend a couple of weeks ago.  I ate a lot during an overnight trip to NYC last week. Gotta live life a little after all.)

But just because I didn’t test them out, that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to mention them.  Here’s a list of recipes that I really want to make when autumn arrives:

  • Beef Barcelona Stew
  • Roasted Tomatillo Chile Verde
  • Sister’s Turkey Minestrone
  • Perfect Braised Chuck Roast
  • Spanish Style Braised Chicken
  • Almond Butter Brownies
  • Banana Bread Made with Greek Yogurt and Pepitas
  • Perfect Apricot and Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies
  • Buttermill Vanilla Pound Cake
  • Chocolate White Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Coconut Custard Macaroons
  • Frangipane Jam Tart
  • Plum Preserves

As for the recipe I did test… Surprise!  There were three:

  • Spicy Baked Hominy
  • Turkey and Chickpea Greek-Style Pitas with Dill Yogurt Sauce
  • Quick Balsamic and Tomato Jam

I had originally picked the baked hominy as the only recipe I was going to make but it was so simple that I thought it wasn’t fair of me.  Overall, I liked this, but I think I’ll cut back the salt next time. I’m not sure if it was the salt I used, the brand of canned hominy I used, or both, but it was just really salty to me.  (I don’t cook with a lot of salt day-to-day, to be honest.) I couldn’t get it to bake up crispy so I might play around with the oven temperature and baking time next time. Having said that, I found that it made for a pretty tasty sandwich filling.  I ate most it on bread with cheese, and I liked it that way.

So for a second recipe, I went with the Turkey and Chickpea Greek-Style Pitas with Dill Yogurt Sauce.  As you can tell by my photos, I was using bread that was too small. (Ok, I can’t lie. I used toaster sized naan instead of pita.  I’m slowly making my way through breads that I’ve stored in my freezer. I refuse to make or buy more bread until the current stock is used up.)  My patties didn’t look as nice as the photo and I realized later that I technically used too much chickpeas (my fault for reading the ingredient list too fast), and so my patties crumbled too easily.  Having said that, I’ll probably make it the exact same way next time as I hate having unused chickpeas around. It didn’t affect the flavor at all. With my leftover patties, I tried a plating of cabbage instead of bread.  Delicious either way! And it’s easy. You’re making patties with ground turkey, mashed chickpeas, egg, black pepper, garlic powder, salt, and onion powder. The dill sauce is easy too, just Greek yogurt, dill, milk, black pepper, garlic powder, salt, and onion powder.  

Not in the mood for a dill yogurt sauce?  Not a problem. When I was sitting down to write this review, I noticed a recipe for balsamic and tomato jam toward the back of the book.  I had all the ingredients (there’s only 3 main ingredients, not including salt and pepper), and the sudden motivation to cook at 9:00p on a work night.  It smelled a~mazing when it was done. Since it was an impulse cooking session, I wasn’t sure what to serve it with. In the end, I tried some on a turkey chickpea patty.  I have no regrets, and I think you should try it too.

My overall impression is that this book is a great collection of well crafted and functional recipes.  I highly recommend giving them a go.

One last item to address is that the introduction chapter has faith-based commentary in it.  If that’s not your thing, simply skip the intro.  

 

Disclaimer – I kindly received this book from Sourcebooks for this review.  I’m not getting paid for this post. The views and opinions expressed are purely my own.

Reference Links:

http://www.rusticjoyfulfood.com/

https://www.instagram.com/rusticjoyfulfood/

https://www.sourcebooks.com/