I don’t know if it is the same at your house. I am good at mixing the amount of meat, fish, seafood, poultry and pasta that we eat in a week. But I rely mainly on a set of recipes that I rotate over a few weeks. The rotation was longer before we had a child because we were eating out a few times a week. But now that I cook dinner every night, we can taste the redundancy.
By looking at my cookbook collection (I have more cookbooks stashed upstairs), I have plenty of sources of inspiration for easy to cook recipes. I use my cookbooks mainly for when I host a dinner party or during weekends. My excuse is that it is too late at 7 PM to try a new recipe.
My desire to expand our menu option comes from my little boy. Except for eating a Minigo for dessert, he craves for more variety at dinner time. So, I determined to break that bad habit. Starting tomorrow (tonight’s meal is already planned), I will try at least one new recipe every week. To make sure that I will fail, I already bookmarked 4 recipes that I never tried before.
Any tips for me? How do you vary what you cook for dinner every night?
Last Friday, food blogger Beatrice Peltre of La Tartine Gourmande was at “The Martha Stewart Show”. Bea prepared two savory tartines from her first cookbook. Everything looks tasty!
Tartines, which are open sandwiches, make great lunch. I love these two recipes because there are filled with colorful food. Plan ahead of time if you wish to serve them to your friends. Rest assured that the techniques are easy to follow and the ingredients are easy to find. She made:
If you plan to serve both tartines for a stylish lunch with your girl friends this summer, start by roasting the cherry tomatoes. While the cherries are in your oven, prepare the basil oil, blanch the green vegetables and make the ricotta spread. Toast your favorite bread; select a loaf with a nice crust. You will find on Martha Stewart’s recipe the recipes with videos where Beatrice shared more tips on how to make her tasty tartines.
Beatrice talked about her experiences at the Martha Stewart Show on her blog. If you are looking for more deliciously healthy recipes, do not forget to grab your copy of her cookbook the next time you shop at a bookstore.
At last, you can get a finger-sized hors d’oeuvres cookbook that will not require you to stay up all night or cook all day. Why do I say that? It is not obvious when you look at the stunning food presentation but the recipes proposed by Peter Callahan have shortcuts. For example, his peace of pizza contains only 4 ingredients, which includes store-bought pizza dough and marinara sauce.
Who knew that spaghetti and meatballs could become so stylish? You can save time when hosting a dinner party by preparing one type of hors d’oeuvres. You can stretch it to two hors d’oeuvre types, if they are simple to make. Select one bite as your show-stopper element, plus prepare a batch of simply tasty canapes.
It is really simple to serve personal vodka with caviar blinis. Individual alcohol bottles add panache to a common drink. As a bonus, you do not have to clean the glasses after the party. I love this idea!
This stylish entertaining cookbook can also help you organize your next kids party. All kids will be in awe when they see the cute doggy canapes or the tiny fudge pops.
These two books caught my eye last week at Indigo. I guess that I am sad that summer is coming to an end. But there are still a few nice days left and Halloween to produce the playtime projects of Meg McElwee, where she explores indoor and outdoor activities. She will show you how to sew your own dolls, a cape, a satchel, and a tent. Growing Up Sew Liberated showcases 18 projects in total. Other sections are Homemaking and Cooking, Bedtime and basic Clothing.
Anne Bell demonstrates how you can cook tasty meals outdoor, whether you are at the park or stay at a campground. The Camping Cookbook contains 95 recipes that can be made with one-ring burner, or a Dutch oven on a tripod.
Finally, their S’mores Kit is only available at their stores. It would made a wonderful last-minute gift if you get invited to a picnic or a weekend at the cottage.
I love spending time in the cookbook section of the bookstore, ogling creative food styling and searching for dinner inspiration – but it takes some serious salivating to get me to actually purchase a cookbook to take home. I’ve often judged a cookbook by it’s photography, only to discover same-old recipes that fall flat on the plate and the palate.
Something tells me that won’t be the case with On A Stick!, the first book by Matt Armendariz of Matt Bites, a fave foodie blog of both Kim and I.
For some reason, food just seems to taste better when it’s on a stick (cake pops, anyone?). Matt’s book goes beyond popsicles and kebabs, skewering culinary classics like spaghetti and meatballs, mac and cheese, and fish and chips. Don’t worry, sweet tooths: the book isn’t without its share of desserts. Smores, chocolate-dipped waffles, caramel popcorn balls and plenty of others make an appearance.
And, since food on a stick is just asking to be dipped and dunked in a sauce, the book includes recipes for a few of those too, as well as an overview of skewer suggestions. I, for one, can’t wait create to create an entire skewer-based meal: no cutlery required!
+ For Americans: On A Stick! from $10.93 USD at Amazon.com [affiliate link]
+ For Canadians: On A Stick! from $13.68 CAD at Amazon.ca [affiliate link]
+ All photos by Matt Armendariz
With gorgeous photography and clever text, cookbooks are the new coffee table books. The only downside? Actually putting them to use in the kitchen, lest they fall prey to a sauce splatter here or a grease spot there.
That’s why I loved this “Good Things” tip spotted in the February 2011 issue of Martha Stewart Living: just slip your favorite cookbook inside a large, zippered plastic envelope – available at specialized office supply stores and packaging stores – to protect pages from kitchen messes.
+ Clear Zippered Envelope at the Container Store, from $2.99 USD
+ Filexec Zipper Envelope from Amazon.com, $13.99 USD (set of 6)
+ Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes cookbook from Amazon.com, $14.04 USD
Robin Burnside wrote a cookbook that promotes a lifestyle from the farm to your table. One aspect of The Homesteader’s Kitchen that I enjoy is her desire to teach people how to make your salad dressings and sauces from scratch. Making your own sauce or dressing is healthier, tastier, and it often only takes a few extra minutes to make your own. You will also learn how to make your own yogurt, crème fraîche, corn tortillas, ghee and ponzu sauce.
You also get recipes for beverages, breakfast, breads, soups, vegetarian entrees, fish, poultry and meat entrees, plus desserts. The Chicken Dijon with fresh dill is a quick and easy recipe to prepare on a weekday. On average, a dozen recipes are presented per category.
The tone of the book is comforting. For example, when she talked about pie making, Robin suggested to start with an open-faced pie. She mentioned where we should be careful when making our piecrust. Her writing style might inspire novice cooks to cook and bake more often for their family.
Robin Burnside was co-owner, chef and baker of Carmel Café in Carmel and Café Amphora at Nepenthe in Big Sur.
We all want to preserve the goodness and fabulous taste of the summer fruits and vegetables. If you are like me and need help to spruce your skills, I suggest that you take a look at The Art of Preserving written by Rick Field and Rebecca Courchesne for Williams-Sonoma.
What I like about The Art of Preserving is that you get one recipe that integrates each jam, jelly, preserve, conserve, marmalade, sweet butter, curd, pickled fruit and vegetable, salsa, relish, chutney, condiment and sauce featured on this cookbook. They are plenty of beautiful photos but you should know that not every recipe has a photo. A ball park estimate would be that close to 70% of the 130 recipes have styled photos.
Most importantly, I feel inclined to serve these recipes to my family and friends. The advices are sound and they make it look easy to follow. I can’t wait to serve my own French crepes with Meyer lemon and ginger marmalade or to cook the chicken-lime soup with pickled jalapeños.
My friend Harry Wakefield of MoCo Loco featured the brand new Moleskine’s wine journal and the recipe journal on his blog. Until the moment I began to examine how practical the page templates were built, I thought I could resist. But the guys at Moleskine did a too good job that I could not resist and ordered both journals on Amazon.
I watched earlier the session where Jamie Oliver announced his wish as the recipient of the 2010 TED prize. This convinced even more than I need a book to write down my recipes. I own a book right now that I rarely used because it is too basic. And although I love my computer, it remains that nothing beats the ease of use of a recipe journal when it comes to cooking. I will welcome it in my kitchen.
You can download and test the page layouts before you buy the journal, if you like. There is a template for food and another one for cocktail recipe. The recipe journal is made of 6 themed sections to be filled, 6 blank sections, food calendars, food facts, measures and conversions, blank pages for additional notes and 202 adhesive labels to put your stamp on your recipes.
Wine Journal by Moleskine
I suspect the Wine journal will become a must-give hostess gift. It covers all aspects, including wine and food pairing and the best occasions to serve the wine. I bought it for my husband since he is in charge of the wine most of the time.
You could use any of the journals as a scrapbook. Therefore, do not be afraid to draw and glue content. Besides recipes and wine, the new Moleskine collection covers books, music, films and wellness.
If you bought the first cookbook of Shelley Adams, you are here for a treat. Her second cookbook is even better. What I like about it is that it is made for home cooking and entertaining.
It follows my cooking philosophy. Complicated food techniques or passing all day in the kitchen is not necessary to impress your friends and family. You simply need tasty recipes. This is what Whitewater Cooks at Home is all about.
Shelley gathered recipes for friends, family, local celebrities and favorites from Fresh Tracks Café. The cookbook is divided in 5 sections: starters, salads, soups and sides, dinners and desserts. Each recipe is well documented with easy to follow step by step instructions. Each step starts with a verb written in bold.
You will not have any problems to reproduce the beautiful way she plated her dishes. The recipes rely on easy to find, often inexpensive, ingredients. This cookbook fits within our time. The culinary world is experiencing a resurgence of using every day ingredients over luxurious ingredients.
It is early to tell but Whitewater Cooks at Home has what it takes to become one of my favorite cookbooks of 2010. One thing for sure, I will use their recipes a lot for potlucks.
Jaden sent me her cookbook a while ago. I always meant to talk about her beautiful family-friendly Asian cookbook but I was waiting to make a few recipes. One thing happened after another and I still have to try one recipe. But I will. The Steamy Kitchen cookbook sits on my kitchen bookcase, next to my favorite cookbooks.
Since I looked in details at what was inside The Steamy Kitchen cookbook, I feel confident to recommend it. Jaden’s writing is approachable. She is fun to read. You get more recipes in her cookbook, you get tips on drink (beer, wine and sake) pairing with Asian cooking. Jaden goes over the tools and the ingredients that you need to make her recipes. Plus, each recipe is illustrated with at least one beautiful picture.
This holiday, show your support to the food bloggers you like by buying their cookbooks as gifts for your friends and family members who like to cook.