They had me at the title with this one! I fell deeply in love with O’Connor’s work in a course back in college, and went on to read the whole collection. A Good Meal is Hard to Find: Storied Recipes from the Deep South is rich and storied, too. If you love the tales behind dishes, you’re going to love it. The illustrations are charming! And that’s just the frosting. The dishes are amazing!
I’ll tell you all about the dishes we tried in a minute, but first I wanted to share with you the recipe for THE SUZY B’S SPINACH AND MUSHROOM FRITO PIE. We love Frito Pie and had never heard of a vegetarian version before. It is absolutely amazing. To my shock, I strongly prefer it to the original one. It’s like a cheesy mushroom and spinach dip had a baby with frito pie. Yeah. Go make it now. I hope you love it, too!
We’ve been reading like crazy over quarantine! After the review of this book, I’ll tell you about our book-club for two. Let me know what great reads you’ve found!
I found a resolution book for foodies! First and foremost, everything in The Defined Dish is delicious! This fabulous book filled with very tempting and nutritious fare also happens to be healthy and easy. Nothing tastes like you’re behaving. But this paired up with a little running helped me shed a dress size. Yay! Energy addicts will love it because it’s all feel-good food. Perfect! We LOVE this book and everything we’ve made in it!
It’s Whole30 endorsed, but the dishes aren’t all Whole30. You can make modifications if you’re strict, or not so strict. 😉
When my husband handed me a gift on our first Christmas together, I unwrapped it to find a cookbook, looked up and glared at him, and he ducked a little, laughing, “No! Open it up!” Tickets to Phantom of the Opera. Five years later, when our baby was tiny, and we decided I’d stay home with her, I was suddenly responsible for all things domestic with absolutely zero interest in cooking or cleaning anything. None. Then everyone in the playgroup started watching Rachael Ray’s 30 Minute Meals. She made everything look fun, doable, and yummy, and suddenly we were all cooking and doing a nice job of it. I’m so grateful that we all had her. I stumbled across this book and ordered it in a rush of nostalgia. I don’t watch daytime tv anymore so I had no idea what she’s been up to or what to expect. But now I can help you with that!
Rachael Ray 50 is filled with Rachael’s essays, a memoir of her life so far, and those are dotted with 125 recipes that mean something to her. Some of them are quick, but she’s not limiting herself to speed meals here. The pasta puttanesca was the only one that I remember from her early days. I flagged so many that I need to order more post-it notes! I’m really glad she made this one a hardcover, because it’s special.
The book is broken into three sections: Family, Friends, and Work.
I’m going to share her recipe for Baked Ricotta and Roasted Grapes with a Balsamic Drizzle. It’s like a savory cheesecake. It’s easy, delicious, and beautiful – perfect for all the upcoming holidays! Please note that there are two asterisked sub-recipes after the recipe that you’re going to want to deal with first, so that you’re just ready to go!
#MilkStreet @Milk Street #ChristopherKimball @ChristopherKimball #LittleBrown @LittleBrown
Do you watch Milk Street? Their book, Milk Street: Tuesday Nights, was in my top three cookbooks released last year, and now I see that it got a James Beard Award. Great pick! I try very hard not to say things like best, because my best may very well not be your best. So I will tell you why I love them, and you’ll get a better idea if it sounds like a fit for you. Flavor. They are really strong flavorists. There’s never an apologetic bite to be had. Minimalists. They really do a great job of getting where they’re going on the easiest road available. The recipes are global. For me, that’s great but also the only disappointment I have. As we travel the globe in their books, I’d like to see a little American food represented, too. We’ve got some great stuff!
They have a new book out, Milk Street: The New Rules, and it’s fantastic! Four days and 11 recipes in, and I think 3 of them are the best I’ve ever had. The lentils (I know! Lentils! Promise they’re an addictive bite!), the beef, orange, and olive stew, and the Turkish poached eggs with garlicky yogurt are the best. I said it again and although I think it sounds obnoxious, it’s sincere, and I’m leaving it there.
If you love Ree’s other books, you’ll love The Pioneer Woman Cooks: The New Frontier, too! It has a great mix of comfort food and healthy fare, frequently with thoughtful ideas of how to make subs to suit to your eating style. She’s got some recipes for everybody’s favorite personal appliances like the Instant Pots and slow-cookers, but also gives instructions on how to cook it if you’d rather stick with the oven. For the most part, she uses economical ingredients, but there’s a special surf and turf dinner with lobster tails and beef tenderloin. I love this one! But I’m most definitely already a big fan. 😊
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It was tough to decide which recipe to ask permission for. The Giant Cinnamon Roll is so good that it’s replacing the monkey bread I normally make on Christmas morning with Jacque Pepin’s quiche, bacon, and fruit salad, so I finally picked that one! And, you can make a lot of it ahead of time (Yeah, I marked it. Through step 8!) so it’s a great one for an easier morning! I love Scandinavian flavors at Christmas, so I may play with a little cardamom and orange in the icing then. Anyway, go make this and brighten your weekend! If you’re an espresso head like me, use espresso instead of coffee. Sooo good! A huge thanks to Ree Drummond for letting me share the recipe with you!
Wow! I have been playing in the most lovely posh baking book! Tartine has some amazing and gorgeous projects to tackle when you’re feeling like something extraordinary and going the extra distance, when taking on the learning curve sounds fun. There’s also some much easier fare with a special spin when you’d just like to keep it simple, and enjoy a really nice treat.
They give measurements in both cups and weights where applicable, so you can work with whichever you prefer. Although it’s a little extra effort, I strongly prefer weights because it comes out perfectly every time.
The croissants in this book are the best I’ve ever made. The croissant dough, once you master it, is the base of other recipes in the book, so I’ll be making it again next week to make their breakfast rolls. They look way too tempting to resist. Thank you to Chronicle for letting me share the croissant recipe with you, and after that, I’ll share my most decadent croissant sandwich. It may seem horrifying to slice that beautiful croissant in half, but I promise it’s worth it! I’ve added in drawings of the folds and cuts for visual shorthand.
My dog eats earbuds. I put between 5 and 15 miles on my sneakers every day, and love listening to audiobooks while I’m out there on the trail. I keep leaving those earbuds on my desk, and find them fully munched when I go to grab them, so I’m usually trapped in my own head. When my mind wanders, it’s usually food-related. One day, my fantasy tv show popped into my head. The host would travel the world, and visit people’s gardens, and then follow them into the kitchen to see what they do with their produce. No 3 different dish segment. Nope. Just a slow paced visit with a lot of vegetables, chatting, and coffee. Or tea if that’s your thing. Sounds flippin’ wonderful, doesn’t it? I found that in book form! Well, at least the Mediterranean. She’ll have to work on the rest of the world later.
Do you watch Milk Street? Christopher Kimball had Reem Kassis on as a guest to discuss her book, The Palestinian Table. She was talking about a 9-spice blend that she loves and uses in everything. I tend to really enjoy food with a strong spice focus, and Christopher Kimball gushed about the book, so I had to get my hands on a copy. I’m so glad that I did! Every dish we’ve tried has been lovely, and the dishes are pretty relaxing to prepare. Her flavors are wonderful, and it’s mostly at the nice and healthy end of the spectrum. We haven’t tried any desserts yet, but if you have a sweet tooth, she’ll tempt you for sure.
I’ll tell you all about the other dishes we tried, but first I’d like to share with you her recipe for Beef Patties in Grape Leaves. It’s a fabulous comfort food bake that will fill your home with glorious fragrance. And that fabulous 9-spice blend is part of the recipe, so you can taste that, too! Thanks to Phaidon for letting me share it with you!