After what felt like an epic fail with Canyon Ranch, I decided to do what I do best – buy cookbooks. Under the guise of shopping for a birthday party present, I used this opportunity to retool and refresh by going back to basics – Bon Appetit. I’m really excited to kick this one off. Why? I love food.
Coconut Oatmeal with Cacao Nibs and Dates
Spiced Pumpkin Steel-Cut Oats with Pecans
Two-Egg Omelet with Walnut Pesto
Acorn Squash Puree with Chili Oil
Miso Flank Steak with Shittake-Mustard Green Escabeche
Pan Roasted Salmon with Grapefruit-Cabbage Slaw
Refried Black Beans
Oven Roasted Chicken with Radicchio and Walnut-Parsley Pesto
Vegetable Pot Au Feu
Smoky Spiced Chickpeas
Roasted Cauliflower with Thyme and Olives
Bulgur with Parsley and Chives
Moroccan Lamb Shanks with Pomegranate
Um, my eating this week? I’ve had a great food week with 0nly a couple of stumbles. I absolutely love the pumpkin oatmeal and the kids really, REALLY loved the lamb shanks. C said “Mommy, I LOVE this. May I have some more?” May I?!!! H had 4 helpings (small ones, but she kept going) of the lamb. Big big big hit. Kids also surprisingly liked the spiced chickpeas and were impressed with the parsnips in the Vegetable Pot Au Feu. According to H: “It’s good to try new things.” C: “It’s hot. But I like it.” Pan roasted salmon was great with the grapefruit-cabbage slaw, the black beans have earned their own post this week. I had to look up what escabeche meant – but vocabulary is supposed to be fun. (Right, mom?)
I cheated on my normal policy of not making something different for the kids this week. I never make separate meals for the kids. I cook what I feel like eating, they are supposed to try a least a few tastes and are not obligated to like everything. However, I generally include a vegetable side that I know the kids will eat. The night I planned to make the miso steak and acorn squash, C came up to me, holding a mac and cheese box, and sweetly smiled. “Mom, this is my favorite thing. Can we please have mac and cheese for dinner?” Considering I probably haven’t made mac and cheese since the first week of January, I thought the poor kid needed a break. C was so excited he wanted to help – see picture below. I still made them try the steak and squash, but he was pretty excited to enjoy some mac and cheese. Other bad stuff – the roasted radicchio was a bust. I made it the night of the Minnesota caucus and ran short of time, so I saved my plate and ate it when I got home. Tough and stringy – not great. Super bitter, even with the balsamic vinegar to take the edge off. The bulgur was average as was the acorn squash – but to defend the squash, I cut the chili oil in half as I didn’t think the kids would be into it. I was right, but personally I would have enjoyed a little more heat.
My grocery bill. The food is amazing, but I almost choked when I checked out with my produce-heavy cart. Some of it was pantry type stuff that now I’ll have, but I still needed to take a trip to the Asian grocery (a field trip I really enjoyed) and the bulk foods bin at the local co-op (also fun, but it took 45 minutes on the way home from work). Three different stores to get ingredients just isn’t practical for me on a regular basis. There are also some editing problems in a few of the recipes – not indicating oven temperature, timing off, etc….which I normally wouldn’t put into the “ugly” column, except this is Bon Appetit. They are in the recipe writing business. Every month. I think it’s ok to hold them to a higher standard.
The Food Lovers Cleanse – Sara Dickerman
4.5 out of 5
I can’t really give this book a perfect score, but I have to say that I LOVE it. Beyond the food – which is delicious and instagram ready – it’s the organization of the book that I’m really excited about. It’s arranged by season, with 2 weeks of breakfast, lunch, dinner menus ready to go. Shopping lists are also included in the back. It’s a nice mix between reasonable weeknight dinners (a priority for me) and some weekend braises that make Saturday night stay-in special. Lunches aren’t recipes but rather use a “lunch-o-matic” system of matching greens, proteins, grains, crunchy vegetables, dressing, and texture so the leftovers can move out of the fridge and transform into something new. It’s a formula that I’m going to apply to my lunches in general from here on out. Even if you don’t do the full on “cleanse” the food is awesome enough to eat on a regular basis. This book isn’t going on my “healthy cooking” shelf – it’s going on my “look here first” shelf.