What We're Cooking Now

What We're Cooking Now - My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz

Monday, September 2, 2013

Oh Curtis Stone...how I love you....

What's For Dinner is Stone's 5th cookbook and is divided into chapters with titles like "Motivating Mondays", "Time Saving Tuesdays" and "One Pot Wednesdays".  Stone is clearly targeting the busy home cook.

The book is beautiful and diverse. The photographs are stunning, and the recipes read like a trip around the world: Korean Steak Tacos, Cauliflower and Spinach Dal, Southwestern Chili and on and on. Vegetarian mains, meat, fish, seafood even classic desserts like New York Cherry Cheesecake-this book has something for everyone, without pandering to the lowest common denominator.

Recipes are by and large one page affairs, with gorgeous photos attached. We love his "Rounding Out the Meal" tips on how to take the recipe and augment it into a full meal. His "Kitchen Notes" give additional information on certain key ingredients that may be new to the reader, or technical explanations of a step in the recipe...very helpful.

We whole heartedly recommend this book--and predict it will yield a number repeat recipes for your own family.

Chapter 1: Motivating Mondays

Turkey Meatballs with Marinara Sauce (p12)
These meatballs ended up being VERY tender--and very tasty. I did think there was a bit too much thyme in them, to my taste thyme is not so very Italian of an ingredient and the amount called for in the recipe really did pack a punch. I've now made them a 2nd time and added oregano instead (1 tsp) and enjoyed the result more. Delish!

Grilled Fish Tacos with Pico de Gallo (p16)

Now I'm the first to sign up for ANY fish taco--but usually the deep fried kind. This recipe is so good, that you really don't even miss the fried. And that's saying a lot. The fresh salsa, while not life altering, is good, although I'm perplexed why Stone would use lemon instead of lime. The grilled limes were a very interesting touch--and I highly recommend including that part of the recipe.

Grilled Shrimp and Rice Noodle Salad (p23)
Oh. My. Gud this is good. We've made it twice this week. SO simple, SO fast, and so light that you actually feel virtuous while eating it. My husband and I love spicy heat, so we added Sriachi to our salad, but that's just personal preference. Make this tonight.

Chapter 2: Time-Saving Tuesdays

Korean Steak Tacos (p41)
We love flank steak--it's inexpensive, beefy, and serves a crowd. We have served it many ways, in many marinades. This one is one of the best. The brown sugar in the marinade does this wicked caramalization on the BBQ which ads a tasty crust to the meat. This recipe would have been fantastic, but it falls down with the 'slaw' component of the dish. Cabbage, green onions and cilantro...good...but helerrrr...flavour? We needed some acid (a hit of lime), some salt, maybe a chilli or two...then we would have had a great recipe. Close, but not close enough.

Shrimp Rolls with Herb Aioli (p67)
A little disappointed with this recipe in that we don't actually make the mayo. I really think this dish would be so much better if you made mayo from scratch...but I suppose that wouldn't go well with the "Time-Saving Tuesdays" message of this chapter. I would skip this recipe--so many more interesting ones to try in this book.

Chapter 4:  Thrifty Thursdays

Winter Vegetable and Italian Sausage Soup (p121)
Easy prep, nothing too out of the ordinary, but a very good, hearty and warming soup for a chilly fall/winter afternoon.

Chapter 5: Five-Ingredient Fridays

Homemade Pizza Dough (p152)
Search no longer. This is the ultimate, easiest and quickest pizza dough recipe I've ever tried. I've even taught classes on pizza making, and I wish I'd had this recipe. It is my go to. I've even doubled the recipe and frozen the excess with stellar results.

 Thai Red Curry with Butternut Squash and Chickpeas (p164)
I had high hopes for this one, but in the end, it was a bit lack luster. Super easy with only 7 ingredients...but won't be making this again.

Chapter 6: Dinner Party Saturdays

Grilled Rib-Eye Steaks and Green Beans with Roasted Tomato vinaigrette, and Chili-Gorgonzola Butter (p172)
A whole lot of flavours going on here...but a great result. My daughter made this for dinner one Saturday night and it was a show stopper. We really loved the tomato vinaigrette--and we ended up using it over the left over green beans the next day for a great light lunch. There were three main component parts to this meal-and Curtis still managed to get the whole recipe (ingredients and method) on one page. I love that! no flipping and flapping between pages!

Oven-Roasted Salmon with Cauliflower and Mushrooms (p189)
We have made this a number of times--once en famille, and twice now for company. I am not a fan of salmon. I never order it, I never cook it. But this dish has changed my mind. It is spectacular. I think part of the reason I love it so much is the crispy skin that is achieved by cooking the salmon skin side down in the skillet and then transferring the works into the oven to finish cooking. Amazing, restaurant quality dish.

Chapter 7: Family Supper Sundays

Whole Roasted Chicken with Tomato-Basil Butter (p206)
yum. make it. make it now.

Chapter 8: Something Sweet

New York Cherry Cheesecake (p260)
A very good, solid cheesecake. My hubby loved it!

1 comment:

  1. Just wanted to say that the cookbook book club is a brilliant and incredibly inspiring idea - thank you!