by Sybil PrattJanuary 2012
New ideas for home cooks
If one of your 2012 resolutions is to make more home-cooked meals, you’re in with the in crowd. Here are two new cookbooks that will take you from Monday to Sunday, with easy weekday dinners and super weekend winners.
Good Bite Weeknight Meals brings together 140 recipes by 16 food bloggers who are regulars on the popular Good Bite website. Every clearly explained recipe adheres to Good Bite’s mantra, “delicious made easy,” and each one was developed by a busy person beset with the same time/energy deficits we all share. These are simply and quickly prepared dishes (with a few slow-cooker favorites, too) that consistently serve up the answer to that nagging what-to-make-for-dinner question—doable for beginners, but also appealing to the more experienced. This Monday, try the Mexican Polenta Casserole; Tuesday, Turkey Burgers with Caramelized Onion and Sweet Pepper; Wednesday, restaurant-quality Salmon Wellington Puff Pastry Squares or Green Bean and Mushroom Risotto for the veggie-only eaters . . . and on it goes. Skip the takeout, save some money, spend more time with family and friends.
But on Saturday and Sunday, when, magically, there seem to be more hours in the day, you might want to turn to The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Weekends. Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift, co-creators of public radio’s longtime, much-loved food show “The Splendid Table,” consider weekends a time to entertain more serious cooking and a time to entertain with a dash of elegance. Instead of the work-week rush to get dinner on the table, weekends offer the luxury of enjoying the process of cooking something splendid. One hundred recipes, seasoned with backstories, quips and history, celebrate this special part of the week. There are menus for a Mexican Comida, a festive Indian dinner, an Italian Renaissance dinner (don’t miss the delicate, unusually spiced lasagna) and more, plus ideas for turning leftovers into weeknight encores, “cook to cook” tips and interesting wine pairings.
TOP PICK IN COOKBOOKS
More than a blog, Food52.com, started by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, has become a community of home cooks who have fun in the kitchen, produce great meals for their families and share their creativity with anyone interested. There’s a contest for the best recipe in a particular category every week; Amanda and Merrill test the entries and select the finalists, then the readers pick the best one. The Food52 Cookbook is their first collection of winners, and it’s a dazzler. Amanda and Merrill supply the lively, informative header notes, and the helpful tips and tweaks come from the Food52 community. I couldn’t find a dish I didn’t want to make, from a Savory Bread Pudding and a Leg of Lamb with Garlic Sauce (a fabulous riff on the traditional) to Sweet Potatoes Anna with Prunes and truly divine macaroons filled with Meyer Lemon Curd. It’s easier than ever to be a happy home cook.