Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

Recipes on my menu and e-cookbook deals this week

While they’re in season, I’m getting local strawberries everywhere—in our CSA share, from Produce Box and Bella Bean Organics, and even from the supermarket. I made a delicious strawberry crostata last weekend following a New York Times recipe for the pastry and another recipe for the filling. Crostatas are easy because they don’t require much fuss: roll out the forgiving pastry, plop on the berries, fold up the pastry, do an egg wash, sprinkle sugar and into the oven it goes.

Sunday we had leftover Tuscan-style stuffed pork loin and Mediterranean-style butter beans. I tossed sautéed asparagus and spring onions with the citrus pesto I made for Easter.

I made a lemon dill butter for flounder one night with sautéed kale and roasted butternut squash and purple sweet potatoes—that was a colorful sight. I sprinkled sea salt, cayenne, smoked paprika and cinnamon over the squash and sweet potatoes before putting them in the oven.

One of the best dishes I’ve made lately is this chicken and apricot masala recipe from Nigella Lawson. I followed some of the suggestions made in the comments: cut back on the liquid; used ground cardamom, cloves and cinnamon instead of whole spices; increased the amount of spices, garlic and ginger; browned the chicken first; cooked the tomato paste for a few minutes before adding the tomatoes; and added a little cream at the end. I just had the leftovers for lunch—sooo good.

I ordered some watercress because I haven’t had it in ages. It’s so tasty. I sautéed it just enough to limp a bit and served it with salmon (pan-roasted with black garlic and thyme). Our other veg was asparagus sautéed with bacon, tomatoes, spring onions, and orange bell pepper. We’re enjoying lots of local asparagus and spring onions this month.

recipes on my menu and e-cookbooks on sale this weekOn My Menu

Tonight, the star of the show will be ramps. I managed to put in my Produce Box order in time to get some this week. I’m making a mushroom and ramp tart. I’ll do something with collards—probably sauté with ham, onions and poblano pepper. And we’ll have leftover roasted butternut squash and sweet potatoes too.

I haven’t planned beyond that. I’ll pick up our CSA share on Tuesday—that will probably include salad fixings and veggies. I’m getting some local chicken thighs, chard and baby bok choy on Wednesday from Bella Bean Organics along with some Black Russian bagels—pumpernickel, I think.

I’ll report back next week on what I end up making.


Recipes on my menu and e-cookbook deals this week

eCookbooks and Food eBooks on Sale

Act quickly if any of these interest you, ebook deals last a day, a week, or sometimes longer. Click on the title to get to the Amazon deal. Blurbs are from Amazon unless otherwise credited.

Mastering the Art of French Eating: From Paris Bistros to Farmhouse Kitchens, Lessons in Food and Love by Ann Mah ($1.99)

When journalist Ann Mah’s diplomat husband is given a three-year assignment in Paris, Ann is overjoyed. A lifelong foodie and Francophile, she immediately begins plotting gastronomic adventures à deux. Then her husband is called away to Iraq on a year-long post—alone. Suddenly, Ann’s vision of a romantic sojourn in the City of Light is turned upside down. So, not unlike another diplomatic wife, Julia Child, Ann must find a life for herself in a new city. Journeying through Paris and the surrounding regions of France, Ann combats her loneliness by seeking out the perfect pain au chocolat and learning the way the andouillette sausage is really made. She explores the history and taste of everything from boeuf Bourguignon to soupe au pistou to the crispiest of buckwheat crepes. And somewhere between Paris and the south of France, she uncovers a few of life’s truths.

By the Smoke and the Smell: My Search for the Rare and Sublime on the Spirits Trail by Thad Vogler ($1.99)

In By the Smoke & the Smell, spirits expert Thad Vogler takes readers around the world, celebrating the vivid characters who produce hand-made spirits like rum, scotch, cognac, and mezcal. From the mountains of Mexico and the forbidden distilleries of Havana, to the wilds of Scotland and the pastoral corners of France and beyond, this adventure will change how you think about your drink.

Giada’s Feel Good Food: My Healthy Recipes and Secrets by Giada De Laurentiis ($2.99)

Here are 120 recipes for breakfasts, juices, lunches, snacks, dinners, and desserts—each with nutritional breakdowns—that can be combined into 30 days of delicious feel-good meals. Special sections delve into Giada’s everyday life, including her beauty and exercise routines, how she satisfies sugar fixes, what’s always in her bag, and her ordering tips for eating in restaurants.

Roberta’s Cookbook by Carlo Mirarchi, Brandon Hoy and Chris Parachini ($2.99)

When Roberta’s opened in 2008 in a concrete bunker in Bushwick, it was a pizzeria where you could stop in for dinner and stumble out hours later, happy. It’s still a down-the-rabbit-hole kind of place but has also become a destination for groundbreaking food, a wholly original dining experience, and a rooftop garden that marked the beginning of the urban farming movement in New York City. The forces behind Roberta’s—chef Carlo Mirarchi and co-owners Brandon Hoy and Chris Parachini—share recipes, photographs, and stories meant to capture the experience of Roberta’s for those who haven’t been, and to immortalize it for those who’ve been there since the beginning.

Made In Spain: Recipes and Stories from My Country and Beyond by Miriam González Durántez ($0.99)

With over 120 delicious recipes, which stick to the key principle of Spanish cooking—respect the ingredient—Miriam González Durántez brings a taste of Spain to the family kitchen. As an immigrant to the UK and from a family of food lovers, Miriam was determined to share her love of her native cuisine with her sons. The recipes in this book are adapted from the cookery blog she started with them, and provide a uniquely personal glimpse into a modern family kitchen, which will inspire home cooks everywhere to adopt a more Spanish approach to cooking and eating.

Stir Crazy: 100 Deliciously Healthy Stir-Fry Recipes by Ching-He Huang ($0.99)

Learning what separates a good stir-fry from a great one is not always so easy to master. Indeed, it is all about timing, knowing when to add what and how to get the best out of each ingredient. With tips on everything from controlling the heat to using the right oil, bestselling author Ching-He Huang has gathered together a collection of delicious dishes, simple enough for every day and with nutrition, taste and affordability in mind. Many are gluten and dairy free, as well as suitable for vegans and vegetarians, and include both Asian and Western ingredients readily available in any supermarket.

Fress: Bold, Fresh Flavours from a Jewish Kitchen by Emma Spitzer ($0.99)

Fress (Yiddish): ‘to eat copiously and without restraint.’ Emma Spitzer’s style of cooking is unfussy and uncomplicated, extracting the maximum flavor from the humblest of ingredients without spending hours in the kitchen. For Fress, her melting pot of inspiration embraces Poland and Russia, Jewish recipes learned from her mother, travels in Israel, Egypt, Jordan and North Africa, as well as Algerian recipes shared by her mother-in-law. Big on flavor and spice, Fress is full of happy, sociable food to feed the soul.

Little Beach Street Bakery: A Novel by Jenny Colgan ($1.99)

Jenny Colgan’s moving, funny, and unforgettable novel tells the story of a heartbroken young woman who turns a new page in her life . . . by becoming a baker in the town of Cornwall. A quiet seaside resort. An abandoned shop. A small flat. This is what awaits Polly Waterford when she arrives at the Cornish coast, fleeing a ruined relationship. To keep her mind off her troubles, Polly throws herself into her favorite hobby: making bread. But her relaxing weekend diversion quickly develops into a passion…Soon, Polly is working her magic with nuts and seeds, chocolate and sugar, and the local honey—courtesy of a handsome beekeeper.

Looking for more e-cookbook and ebook deals? Check out previous lists, some are still on sale.

Creative Commons licensed image by Cedar Summit Farm (ramps) on Flickr.

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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