Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

In case you need dinner inspiration, here are a few recipes I made this past week and a few I may try next week. By the way, if you’re looking for my usual list of ebooks on sale, I’m publishing it on Saturday mornings in a separate post, On the Bookshelf.

Food Books & Cookbooks on Sale

Here’s a nice selection of books about food and cookbooks on sale this week. Caveat: ebook sales like these sometimes only last a day or a week, so act quickly.

On sale today only: The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook: A Fresh Guide to Eating Well With 700 Foolproof Recipes by America’s Test Kitchen ($3.99)

“A wide-ranging collection of boldly flavorful vegetarian recipes covering hearty vegetable mains, rice and grains, beans and soy as well as soups, appetizers, snacks, and salads. More than 300 recipes are fast (start to finish in 45 minutes or less), 500 are gluten-free, and 250 are vegan.”

High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America by Jessica B. Harris ($1.99, 80% off)

I’ve had this one on my list for quite a while. Winner of the IACP Award for Culinary History: “an utterly engaging history of African American cuisine, taking the reader on a harrowing journey from Africa across the Atlantic to America, and tracking the trials that the people and the food have undergone along the way…how each came to form an important part of African American culture, history, and identity.”

Rustic Italian Food by Marc Vetri ($1.99)

This cookbook gets great reviews and doesn’t look like one of those over-the-top restaurant chef cookbooks.  “From acclaimed Philadelphia chef Marc Vetri comes a celebration of handcrafted, regional Italian cooking that advocates a hands-on, back-to-the-basics approach to cooking.”

The Broad Fork: Recipes for the Wide World of Vegetables and Fruits by Hugh Acheson ($1.99)

From James Beard Award winner, “a seasonal cookbook…designed to make the most of your farmers’ market bounty, your CSA box, or your grocery produce aisle…Here are 50 ingredients—from kohlrabi to carrots, beets to Brussels sprouts—demystified or reintroduced to us through 200 recipes: three quick hits to get us excited and one more elaborate dish.”

Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen by Laurie Colwin ($2.99, 67% off)

I read this long ago but bought it again because I gave my copy away in one of my moves. “In this delightful celebration of food, family, and friends, one of America’s most cherished kitchen companions shares her lifelong passion for cooking and entertaining. Interweaving essential tips and recipes with hilarious stories of meals both delectable and disastrous, Home Cooking is a masterwork of culinary memoir and an inspiration to novice cooks, expert chefs, and food lovers everywhere.”

The Taste of Conquest: The Rise and Fall of the Three Great Cities of Spice by Michael Krondl ($1.99)

“In this engaging, enlightening, and anecdote-filled history, Krondl…tells the story of three legendary cities–Venice, Lisbon, and Amsterdam–and how their single-minded pursuit of spice helped to make (and remake) the Western diet and set in motion the first great wave of globalization.”

cookbooks on sales, recommended recipes and menu plans

In the Kitchen

That’s the last time I’ll trust a recipe from Smithsonian magazine. The guy who wrote the article writes for Saveur too so I can’t imagine he’d be so off on ingredients but when I made the dough on Sunday for Armenian/Turkish spiced ground lamb pizza, it was more like a batter, not a pizza dough. I checked other flatbread recipes and none of them used that little flour, so I added another 3/4 cup of flour and it finally started looking like a dough I could work with.

I also didn’t like the idea of putting raw ingredients (ground lamb, onion, red and green bell peppers, and garlic) on top of the dough and letting it all cook in the oven, so I sautéed them ahead of time with the spices. And, his recipe didn’t call for much in the way of spices. I got some ideas from two other recipes (here and here). I added Turkish seasoning from Penzey’s (includes paprika, cumin and sumac), coriander, oregano, and cinnamon to the lamb mixture, and topped the pizzas with feta cheese.

In the end, the pizzas came out great and we had enough leftovers for another night. I’m glad I trusted my gut. For our side, I roasted some broccoli with sea salt and za’atar seasoning.

Earlier this week I made Salmon with Shallot-Blood Orange Sauce. It’s an adaptation of an Ellie Krieger recipe. I usually make it with grapefruit but since blood oranges are in season, I made the switch. Served it alongside asparagus sautéed with leeks and Uncle Ben’s 90-second jasmine rice.

cookbooks on sales, recommended recipes and menu plans

On the Menu

Tonight I’m making a cod dish based on this Spanish one-pot cod recipe—check out that photo, yum. Instead of serving it with bread, I’m going to sprinkle the top with some croutons I made a while back and stowed in the freezer. I sauté kale with onions, red bell pepper, jalapeño, garlic and ham on the side.

We’re going over our friends’ house for Super Bowl so I’m relieved of dinner duty that night, but if my avocados ripen in time—they’re in a bag with a banana right now—I’ll bring over some guacamole.

Continuing in the green theme, it’s time to try making roasted Peruvian chicken with a green sauce. When I lived in Arlington VA, Crisp & Juicy was right across the street—along with Pastries by Randolph, Arrowine, a little French café and other nice shops. I can still taste that chicken in my mind, so good. My friend Bill sent me his recipe which is based on one from Serious Eats, and I will also consult this one and this one too. I expect to have leftovers.

But you always need a quick Plan B, in this case, Korean pork chops.

After making chicken with green olives and preserved lemon last week, I now have an opened jar of preserved lemons to deal with. This Cauliflower with Chickpeas, Smoked Paprika and Preserved Lemon recipe caught my eye.

I’ll report back next week on what I ended up doing and what turned out well.

Creative Commons licensed images: spice market by ssonida via Pixabay, cod by August Linnmann via Wikimedia Commons.

Amazon book links are affiliate links which allow me to earn a small commission on any sales that result from clicking. Thank you.

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