Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

It’s citrus season. Get your Meyer lemons—I got a dozen yesterday—and blood oranges while they’re still around. Sweet potatoes should be plentiful in your market—they’re on sale here in the state which produces more sweet potatoes than any other.

And what goes with sweet potatoes? Collards! If you see a sign for frost-kissed collards, grab them. Frost converts starch into sugars. Please, collards don’t have to be cooked to death in water. You can easily sauté them. If you want a really yummy recipe, try my Creamed Collards Deluxe. You could substitute any type of greens for the collards. Or, keep it simple: sauté collards with onions, a little pork (ham, bacon, pancetta) and garlic. Add some broth when necessary.

If you’re looking for dinner inspiration, here are a few recipes I made this past week and a few I may try next week. By the way, I’m publishing my list of fiction and non-fiction ebooks on sale on Saturday mornings in a separate post, On the Bookshelf, but since we’re in my virtual kitchen, here are some great deals on cookbooks.

Cookbooks on Sale

Caveat: Ebook sales like these sometimes only last a day or a week, so act quickly.

The Pizza Bible: The World’s Favorite Pizza Styles, from Neapolitan, Deep-Dish, Wood-Fired, Sicilian, Calzones and Focaccia to New York, New Haven, Detroit, and More by Tony Gemignani ($1.99)

I plan to spend many weekends with this book: “a complete master class in making delicious, perfect, pizzeria-style pizza at home, with more than seventy-five recipes covering every style you know and love, as well as those you’ve yet to fall in love with.”

Classic German Baking: The Very Best Recipes for Traditional Favorites, from Pfeffernüsse to Streuselkuchen by Luisa Weiss ($1.99)

I fell in love with German cookies when I was a pastry cook at Pastries by Randolph in Arlington VA. We only made them at Christmas—what flavors.

“The very best recipes for Germany’s cookies, cakes, tortes, and breads, passed down through generations, have never before been collected and perfected for contemporary American home bakers. Enter Luisa Weiss, the Berlin-based creator of the adored Wednesday Chef blog and self-taught ambassador of the German baking canon.”

The Chef and the Slow Cooker by Hugh Acheson ($3.99, 75% off)

Most slow cooker recipes disappoint me because they have you dump in ingredients and nothing gets the proper sizzle. I’m assuming southern restauranteur and Top Chef judge Acheson won’t make that same mistake.

“Hugh Acheson brings a chef’s mind to the slow cooker, with 100 recipes showing readers how an appliance generally relegated to convenience cooking can open up many culinary doors.”

James Beard’s Theory and Practice of Good Cooking by James Beard ($2.99, 70% off)

James Beard is the Dean of American cookery. “He hosted a nationally televised cooking show in 1946—almost 20 years before Julia Child…[he] wrote almost two dozen cookbooks, along with a syndicated newspaper column and countless magazine articles, and taught thousands of students to cook through classes held on the road and in his New York City townhouse.”

“‘In my twenty-five years of teaching I have tried to make people realize that cooking is primarily fun and that the more they know about what they are doing, the more fun it is.’ So begins James Beard’s expansive book of culinary terms, methods, tools, and techniques. No one knew food better than Beard, and in these pages his timeless wisdom is on full display. Perfect for both seasoned chefs and those just starting out in the kitchen, [this] will be one of the most comprehensive and important cookbooks in your library.”

Tartine by Elizabeth Prueitt ($4.99)

I can vouch for Tartine, the famous bakery in San Francisco. I can almost smell the butter from my memory of sitting in Mission Park savoring bags full of pastry.

“Every once in a while, a cookbook comes along that instantly says “classic.” This is one of them…Here their bakers’ art is transformed into easy-to-follow recipes for the home kitchen. The only thing hard about this cookbook is deciding which recipe to try first.”

The Pho Cookbook: Easy to Adventurous Recipes for Vietnam’s Favorite Soup and Noodles by Andrea Nguyen ($1.99)

“With this comprehensive cookbook, Vietnam’s most beloved, aromatic comfort food—the broth and noodle soup known as pho—is now within your reach…Here Andrea dives deep into pho’s lively past, visiting its birthplace and then teaching you how to successfully make it at home. Options range from quick weeknight cheats to impressive weekend feasts with broth and condiments from scratch, as well as other pho rice noodle favorites.”

The Call of the Farm: An Unexpected Year of Getting Dirty, Home Cooking, and Finding Myself by Rochelle Bilow ($0.99, 88% off)

Not exactly a cookbook, although it has recipes…

“Rochelle Bilow, a classically trained cook and aspiring food writer, was nursing a broken heart and frustrated with her yet-to-take-off career when she set out to write a short profile of a small, sustainable CSA farm in central New York…after just one day of moving hay bales, feeding pigs, and tapping maple sap, she was hooked…Add in a sweet but enigmatic young farmer whose soulful gaze meets her own, and The Call of the Farm is set in motion. This enticing memoir charts the unexpected year that unfolds as Rochelle immerses herself in life at the farm.”

Looking for more deals? Check out last week’s list to see if any of those are still on sale.

Recipes on my menu and cookbooks on sale

In My Kitchen

As planned, I made Spanish Cod with Chickpeas and Andouille on Friday night. I’ve made variations of a dish like this before but never quite this way. First, I had to translate the British measurements into American (not that I paid attention to the amounts but I wanted a baseline), and put the ingredients in order. Isn’t that the first rule of recipe writing? Sigh.

I used 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika instead of 1/2 teaspoon—the extra spice scented and colored the sauce to a beautiful deep orange-red. I omitted the sugar and added half a red bell pepper and a bay leaf to the recipe too. At the table, I sprinkled the top with homemade anadama croutons. On the side, I served kale sautéed with onions, peppers, ham and garlic with some chicken broth.

I had the night off on Super Bowl Sunday so I was next up for dinner duty on Tuesday when I made Peruvian Chicken. I based my recipe on three sources:

Looking at the recipe, I followed the Serious Eats version for the chicken marinade/rub, added the lemon treatment from Epicurious, and made the green sauce from Once Upon A Chef. I used bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs instead of a whole bird and roasted them instead of grilling. Oh man, was this ever good!

The recipe makes a lot of green sauce so I added some of it to the egg mixture for my leftover veggie frittata on Wednesday morning. The sauce gave the frittata a light creamy texture and a light shade of green.

I made a huge skillet of one of my favorite dishes to go alongside the leftover chicken last night: sweet potatoes (cubed), black beans, spinach, corn, red bell and poblano pepper, onion, garlic, cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, chipotle en adobo, chicken broth and cilantro. I might heat some of that up for breakfast with some fried eggs on top.

recipes on my menu and cookbooks on sale

On My Menu

We’ve got to get our fish fix this week so tonight we’ll have cod in a Meyer lemon sauce with butter, capers and Italian parsley. I’ll get a green veg and probably do a quick rice (I’m coming for you, Uncle Ben).

If you’re wondering what to do with your Meyer lemons, here’s a list of 100 ideas from the LA Times. Me? If I’m in the mood for something sweet, this lemon pudding cake is calling my name—plus I already have blueberries to sprinkle on top. Or, these Meyer lemon bars—check out that color!

I have a half of an eye round roast in the freezer that I’m going to pull out for dinner on Sunday. This is a very lean cut that’s best for roasting. I normally don’t cook big hunks of meat but I’ve had a hankering for roast beef sandwiches after having a tiny one with leftover Super Bowl deli meat. And it’s good to stretch my kitchen comfort zone. I’ll consult this Michael Symon recipe and this one from Fine Cooking before I fire up the oven.

The oven could be a problem. It’s old and sometimes turns itself off when I’m roasting vegetables at high heat, so this could be a gamble. But if I run into issues, I can always plop the beef into the slow cooker and turn it into Mississippi Roast somehow. I’ll have those ingredients on hand just in case.

Next week, I expect we’ll have leftover roast beef one night but I still have an open jar of preserved lemons to use. This chicken tagine recipe will take care of them. It’s different enough from the last Moroccan-y chicken recipe I made that it won’t seem like a repeat.

I’ve got my marching orders! I’ll report back next week on what I ended up making.

Creative Commons licensed images by Llez on Wikimedia Commons (sweet potatoes) and Noelle Myers on Pixabay (Meyer lemon).

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

One thought on “In My Kitchen: 2.9.18

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