Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

recipes on my menu and e-cookbooks on sale this week

Even on a chilly winter day, iced coffee is my preferred morning beverage. Since this spring has been feeling more like summer lately, my iced coffees are even more refreshing. I like just a hint of sweetness in them so I add a bit of coffee syrup. I used to order coffee syrup from up north but I decided to start making my own so I could avoid the dreaded high-fructose corn syrup.

Last weekend I made gingerbread coffee syrup with these ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat it all up, strain and store in the fridge.

Early last week, I pulled some fish from the freezer and made mahi mahi with jalapeño-shallot-tomato-dill sauce. Sounds odd but it was mighty tasty. For the veg, I sautéed chard and kohlrabi greens with onion and garlic and topped them with parmesan panko breadcrumbs. And, I nuked two sweet potatoes.

The next night, I made roast cod with tomatoes and olives. More greens, this time beet and radish greens sautéed with carrots, onion and ham—we eat a lot of greens in this house. Not that we needed pasta on the side but in my clearing-out-the-freezer mania, I decided to make a parsley-garlic sauce for an old package of porcini-stuffed ravioli. Seriously, that could have been a meal in itself but I happily enjoyed the leftovers for breakfast.

We both love lamb in any form so I always pick up ground lamb when it goes on sale. One night I made lamb burgers and served them on flatbread with feta cheese and quick pickled red onions and cucumbers. Our side was chard and kohlrabi greens sautéed with onions, dried apricots, garlic and Turkish seasoning. What a meal—my favorite of the week.

Friday night we had chipotle chicken sausage quesadillas (with corn tortillas, can’t abide any others) with onions, red bell pepper, poblano pepper and cheddar cheese. I discovered my new favorite way to prepare asparagus—baked over lemon slices in parchment. The stalks were bright green in flavor and color.

I also made a strawberry salsa with avocado, jalapeño, cilantro, sweet onion and lime juice to serve on the side just because I’ve been buying local strawberries like crazy lately and needed new ways to use them—besides having strawberries with yogurt and granola in the morning. The salsa worked really well with the asparagus—and with tortilla chips for Saturday happy hour.

On Saturday I made carrot top pesto from all the lacy green carrot tops we’ve been getting with our CSA carrots. I found the recipe here but it’s from Roots: The Definitive Compendium with More Than 225 Recipes. This time I made it with pumpkin seeds (pepitas). What will I do with carrot top pesto? Last time, I used most of it in vegetable sautés. I could put it in frittatas or egg salad, or toss it with pasta.

I also made strawberry oatmeal bars on Saturday. So healthy, right?! They do taste healthy. I cut back the sugar called for in the recipe because my berries were so sweet. I probably could have done without it completely.

Last night I made this salmon and greens curry recipe with collards—too many collards, they overwhelmed everything else. The dish was fine but it wasn’t great. It didn’t occur to me at the time that collards wouldn’t reduce like spinach. The next time I decide to substitute collards for another type of greens in a curry recipe, I have to remember to decrease by half (at least) the amount I use—not use a whole bunch—or use spinach instead.

Oh, and I joined a gym. Finally. You can’t eat like this and not have a belly. Or can you? Stay tuned…

recipes on my menu and e-cookbooks on sale this week

On My Menu

We’ll have the leftover collard and salmon curry tomorrow night. I just pulled some ground turkey from the freezer and will make my old standard later in the week—ground turkey and sweet potato skillet. It’s one of those dump and cook recipes starting in a large skillet with…

  • ground turkey
  • onions, red bell and poblano peppers
  • garlic
  • sweet potato cubes, cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, chili powder, chipotle en adobo, chicken broth
  • black beans, corn, spinach
  • cheddar cheese
  • cilantro

It’s colorful and healthy. I still have asparagus in the fridge so I may give it the parchment treatment again.

Here are some of my other ideas for sides.

  • I ordered local sugar snap peas from The Produce Box. I’ll barely heat them in a pan with butter and salt. Can’t wait.
  • We’ve been digging the quick pickled cukes so I will probably make more and also pickle watermelon radishes and carrots. I love having pickled veggies when it’s so hot outside. I just bought this book on Asian pickles (only $1.99) so I can pretend I’m in Vietnam eating that amazingly delicious fresh food.

Local blueberries are here. Doesn’t this blueberry cheesecake breakfast bake look amazing?

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

recipes on my menu and e-cookbooks on sale 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.

Daughter of Heaven: A Memoir with Earthly Recipes by Leslie Li ($2.99)

Leslie Li grew up in suburban north Bronx—a world apart from mainland China, where her grandfather, Li Zongren, had been the country’s first democratically elected vice-president. She gets a lesson in her cultural heritage when her widowed grandmother comes to live with them. Through her grandmother’s tantalizingly exotic cooking, Leslie bridges the divide in an America where she is a minority—as well as the growing gap at home between her rigid, traditional Chinese father and her progressive American-born mother. An intimate and moving memoir… Daughter of Heaven is a loving ode to family and food, an exquisite blend of memory, history, and the senses.

Vibrant India: Fresh Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Brooklyn by Chitra Agrawal ($1.99)

Lifelong vegetarian and chef Chitra Agrawal takes you on an epicurean journey to her mother’s hometown of Bangalore and back to Brooklyn, where she adapts her family’s South Indian recipes for home cooks. This particular style of Indian home cooking, often called the “yoga diet,” is light and fresh, yet satisfying and rich in bold and complex flavors. Grains, legumes, fresh produce, coconut, and yogurt—along with herbs, citrus, chiles, and spices—form the cornerstone of this delectable cuisine, rooted in vegetarian customs and honed over centuries for optimum taste and nutrition.

Recipes from the Herbalist’s Kitchen: Delicious, Nourishing Food for Lifelong Health and Well-Being by Brittany Wood Nickerson ($1.80)

2018 IACP Cookbook Awards Finalist. In Recipes from the Herbalist’s Kitchen [Nickerson] reveals how the kitchen can be a place of true awakening for the senses and spirit, as well as deep nourishment for the body. With in-depth profiles of favorite culinary herbs such as dill, sage, basil, and mint, Nickerson offers fascinating insights into the healing properties of each herb and then shares 110 original recipes for scrumptious snacks, entrées, drinks, and desserts that are specially designed to meet the body’s needs for comfort, nourishment, energy, and support through seasonal changes.

Tacos, Tortas, and Tamales: Flavors from the Griddles, Pots, and Streetside Kitchens of Mexico by Roberto Santibañez ($2.99)

Few people are familiar with the incredible variety available on the streets of Mexico, from fish tacos of Baja to slow-cooked pork tacos of the Yucatán to cream-spiked strips of poblano peppers tucked into tortillas from the markets of Mexico City. In Tacos, Tortas, and Tamales, chef Roberto Santibañez shows you how to recreate these thrilling flavors in your home kitchen… Santibañez also explores the equally exciting Mexican sandwiches called tortas and hearty tamales, which are so much easier to make than you might think. There are plenty of salsas and condiments to enliven every bite. He also shares recipes for fresh juices called aguas, alcoholic treats like margaritas, and a handful of everyday desserts.

Paletas: Authentic Recipes for Mexican Ice Pops, Shaved Ice & Aguas Frescas by Fany Gerson ($1.99)

Paletas is an engaging and delicious guide to Mexico’s traditional—and some not-so-traditional—frozen treats. Collected and developed by celebrated pastry chef Fany Gerson, this sweet little cookbook showcases her favorite recipes for paletas, those flavor-packed ice pops made from an enormous variety of fruits, nuts, flowers, and even spices; plus shaved ice (raspados) and aguas frescas—the delightful Mexican drinks featuring whole fruit and exotic ingredients like tamarind and hibiscus flowers… Paletas is an inviting, refreshing guide guaranteed to help you beat the heat.

The Vegetable Gardener’s Container Bible: How to Grow a Bounty of Food in Pots, Tubs, and Other Containers by Edward C. Smith ($1.20)

Harvest tomatoes on a patio, produce a pumpkin in a planter, and grow broccoli on a balcony. Best-selling author Ed Smith shows you everything you need to know to successfully create and care for an edible container garden, from choosing the right plants and selecting appropriate containers through controlling pests without chemicals and harvesting fresh vegetables. You’ll discover that container gardening is an easy and fun way to enjoy summer’s bounty in even the smallest of growing spaces.

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


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Creative Commons licensed image by Joanna Kosinska (blueberries) via Unsplash.

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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