Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

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

I’m noshing on rye scones with smoked gruyere and caramelized onions fresh from the oven as I write this. Scones get a bad rap because the ones you find in Starbucks and other bakery cases can sometimes be dry. But thanks to sour cream, cheese, butter and lots of caramelized red onion, these are divine.

Last Sunday I made a simple lemon chicken dish for dinner. Instead of chicken breast like the recipe directed, I used thighs, cutting each in half, and added capers.

On the side we had cannellini beans with onion, tomato and carrot top pesto. I started by sautéing sliced onion, added sliced grape tomatoes to the pan and let them cook a bit, then a can of drained cannellini beans and some of my homemade carrot top pesto. I love finding ways to use the entire carrot instead of consigning the tops to the compost pile. In this batch of pesto, I used pumpkin seeds (pepitas) as the nut ingredient. We also had local snap peas sautéed in a mix of butter and oil. So good.

Dinner salad season is officially here. Last night, Jim grilled some marinated ahi (tasted like an Asian-style marinade) and made a big dinner salad, using some of the marinade as the foundation for the dressing. Sorry, I have no idea where he got the recipe but if you search for “ahi dinner salad” you’ll probably find something similar on the first page of the results.

Earlier in the week, I made a big chipotle chicken dinner salad. I used a mix of local Bibb, romaine and green leaf lettuces, spinach, carrot, sweet onion, broccoli, cucumber, radish, grape tomatoes and pea shoots. I took the recipe’s suggestion for strawberries, corn and avocado, left off the bacon, and added steamed chilled asparagus. I steamed the asparagus in parchment with lemon, my new favorite asparagus prep. I didn’t make the cilantro vinaigrette because I ran out of time. We used the dressings we had, which for me, was my favorite chipotle ranch—perfect for this mix of flavors.

The highlight of the week: soft shell crabs—simply dredged in flour and sautéed in lots of butter. Every Thursday, I’m now going to the State Farmers Market in Raleigh to pick up two different types of fish or shellfish at Locals Seafood as part of my CSF share—that’s community supported fishery.

On the side we had kale sautéed with bacon, tomatoes and onions, and a summer squash, broccoli stem and red bell pepper sauté with carrot top pesto.

The next night, we had the other half of our CSF: Maple Soy Glazed Mackerel. The recipe made way too much glaze, tasty, but too much. Instead of brushing it on the fish three or four times like the recipe suggested, I only did it once before putting the mackerel in the oven. The glaze is so boldly flavored, like the fish, that one application was sufficient.

Instead of making the avocado side suggested by the mackerel recipe, I made a cucumber mint avocado salad—what one commenter called “mojito guacamole,” the name fits. I added sweet onion to the recipe for additional crunch and flavor. I’ll make this one many times more, it’s a perfect summer side.

I also made this quick and easy spicy roasted bok choy again, but this time I added chopped garlic scapes instead of regular garlic.

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

On My Menu

Tonight, thanks to another raid of our chest freezer, we’re having slow cooker barbecue short ribs. Since I only about two pounds of short ribs, I created a recipe based on this one and this one. I meant to do something with these ribs in the winter but they were lost in the freezer. At least the slow cooker won’t heat up the kitchen.

If I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll make a roasted beet and quinoa salad with orange-ginger vinaigrette that’s been on my to-do list for a while. This is another adapted recipe from this one and this one. We’ll have leftover greens on the side.

I haven’t made my old stand-by, chipotle salmon, for a while so it’s time. And I’ll have CSF fish for other meals. Yes, it’s a fish week, love it! Our sides will be produce from the CSA and farmers market: perhaps kale, chard, broccoli, bok choy and/or sweet potatoes.

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.

Julia’s Cats: Julia Child’s Life in the Company of Cats by Patricia Barey and Therese Burson ($2.99)

Soon after the Childs arrived in Paris in 1948, a French cat appeared on their doorstep, and Julia recalled, “Our domestic circle was completed.” Minette captured Julia’s heart, igniting a lifelong passion for cats equaled only by her love of food and her husband, Paul. All the cherished feline companions who shared Julia’s life—in Paris, Provence, and finally California—reminded her of that magical time in Paris when her life changed forever. From Julia’s and Paul’s letters and original interviews with those who knew her best, Barey and Burson have gathered fresh stories and images that offer a delightfully intimate view of a beloved icon.

Ottolenghi: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi ($2.99)

Yotam Ottolenghi’s four eponymous restaurants—each a patisserie, deli, restaurant, and bakery rolled into one—are among London’s most popular culinary destinations. Now available for the first time in an American edition and updated with US measurements throughout, this debut cookbook… features 140 recipes culled from the popular Ottolenghi restaurants and inspired by the diverse culinary traditions of the Mediterranean. The recipes reflect the authors’ upbringings in Jerusalem yet also incorporate culinary traditions from California, Italy, and North Africa, among others. Featuring abundant produce and numerous fish and meat dishes, as well as Ottolenghi’s famed cakes and breads, Ottolenghi invites you into a world of inventive flavors and fresh, vibrant cooking.

The Cottage Kitchen: Cozy Cooking in the English Countryside by Marte Marie Forsberg ($1.99)

Share in a gorgeous, thoughtful life in the charming English countryside with The Cottage Kitchen, a cookbook of recipes and stories by Norwegian-born photographer and tastemaker Marie Forsberg.

A Real Southern Cook: In Her Savannah Kitchen by Dora Charles ($2.99) 

In her first cookbook, a revered former cook at Savannah’s most renowned restaurant divulges her locally famous Savannah recipes—many of them never written down before—and those of her family and friends… These are the intensely satisfying dishes at the heart of Dora’s beloved Savannah… Each dish has a “secret ingredient” for a burst of flavor… With moving dignity, Dora describes her motherless upbringing in Savannah, the hard life of her family, whose memories stretched back to slave times, learning to cook at age six, and the years she worked at the restaurant. “Talking About” boxes impart Dora’s cooking wisdom, and evocative photos of Savannah and the Low Country set the scene.

Farm Fresh Southern Cooking: Straight from the Garden to Your Dinner Table by Tammy Algood ($2.99)

You’ll always find the truest taste of home at the local farms, roadside stands, and produce markets in your community. These are the places that offer up the native flavors of the South and all its seasons. They are your portal to the fields, the waters, and the vines where your food is cultivated… Tammy Algood’s Farm Fresh Southern Cooking celebrates this experience with delicious recipes that will enhance the natural flavors of your latest market haul and stories of the South’s most dedicated growers and culinary producers.

Slow Cook Modern: 200 Recipes for the Way We Eat Today by Liana Krissoff ($2.99)

Beloved for her fresh, modern canning recipes, Liana Krissoff is back with modern slow cooker recipes that are sophisticated, full of flavor and spice, and thoughtfully designed for those who wish to use their slow cookers on weekdays, when they can leave the Crock-Pot on all day. In Slow Cook Modern, Krissoff shares more than 150 recipes, including quick, fresh side dishes created for the adventurous home cook. All the slow cooker recipes are true 8-hour dishes, so you can actually prepare each dish in the morning and finish it quickly when you get home… Filled with recipes using real, fresh ingredients, Slow Cook Modern allows busy people with eclectic tastes to come home to a nourishing meal every night of the week.

Mark Bittman’s Quick and Easy Recipes from the New York Times by Mark Bittman ($2.99)

In sections that cover everything from appetizers, soups, and sauces to meats, vegetables, side dishes, and desserts, Mark Bittman’s Quick and Easy Recipes from The New York Times showcases the elegant and flexible cooking style for which Bittman is famous, as well as his deep appreciation for fresh ingredients prepared with minimal fuss. Readers will find tantalizing recipes from all over, each requiring little more than basic techniques and a handful of ingredients… the dishes here are perfect for simple weeknight family meals or stress-free entertaining. Certain to appeal to anyone—from novices to experienced cooks—who wants to whip up a sophisticated and delicious meal easily, this is a collection to savor, and one destined to become a kitchen classic.

Huckleberry: Stories, Secrets, and Recipes from Our Kitchen by Zoe Nathan ($3.00)

Everything in generosity is the motto of Zoe Nathan, the big-hearted baker behind Santa Monica’s favorite neighborhood bakery and breakfast spot, Huckleberry Bakery & Café. This irresistible cookbook collects more than 115 recipes and more than 150 color photographs, including how-to sequences for mastering basics such as flaky dough and lining a cake pan. Huckleberry’s recipes span from sweet (rustic cakes, muffins, and scones) to savory (hot cereals, biscuits, and quiche). True to the healthful spirit of Los Angeles, these recipes feature whole-grain flours, sesame and flax seeds, fresh fruits and vegetables, natural sugars, and gluten-free and vegan options—and they always lead with deliciousness. For bakers and all-day brunchers, Huckleberry will become the cookbook to reach for whenever the craving for big flavor strikes.

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 Markus Spiske (chard) 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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