Friday, July 7, 2017

New Favorite Cookbook

I've made several meals from Melissa Clark's Dinner: Changing the Game and they have been delicious! The flavor profiles are boundary-pushing for me and it's been fun to buy new spices and new products. What I've made so far:

Chicken & grapes with sherry vinegar. So easy and absolutely delicious.  I asked the butcher to butterfly the chicken for me - made even easier.

Sticky tamarind chicken with crisp lettuce. I Prime'd tamarind paste but I'm looking forward to going to the big international grocery store and looking around.

Cuban flank steak. Zippy marinade was easy to make and reminded me that I should use the Vitamix more often.

Peachy pork chops with charred onions. Loved this. Going to experiment with grilling instead of broiling due to our lack of good ventilation - smoke detector that always goes off.

Shrimp pad thai with sugar snap peas and basil. Too much tamarind drowned out the roasted peanut oil flavor. I resolved to prepare more shrimp in general (so easy -- if peeled and deveined) and tasty.

Fried halloumi with spicy brussels sprouts. Halloumi is a hard cheese with a high melting point and it's available at even my suburban grocery store which has a pretty paltry selection of uncommon ingredients (let's take a moment to say I MISS YOU, CENTRAL MARKET. I MISS YOU EVERY DAY). The brussels sprouts are roasted until caramelized and tossed with cumin, the halloumi is cubed and browned in oil. Toss together. I love this dish.

image via

Dishes I'm eager to try soon: harissa* chicken with leeks, potatoes, and yogurt; roasted sumac* chicken with plums; roasted hake** with crispy mushrooms; fried eggs with chiles, tamarind sauce, and crispy shallots; asparagus carbonara.

*already Prime'd
**probably will use cod or halibut

Each recipe has an introduction with a backstory/inspiration/substitutions but the recipes themselves have nowhere near the level of instruction or exactitude of an America's Test Kitchen book. For instance, ATK always specifies how far the oven rack should be from the broiler. This book, no. As a non-improvisational cook, Dinner: Changing the Game forces me to wing it a bit. There's also a tofu chapter that I should try but probably won't (but now I'm looking over Pomegranate Roasted Tofu with Eggplant and Toasted Cumin and, well, that sounds amazing) and some things that I definitely won't (Warm Squid Salad ... even seeing those three words strung together makes me queasy).

I checked this book out from the library before buying it from Novel Neighbor -- this has been a helpful way to get my peruse-fix without accumulating so many cookbooks. This one, though, this one is expanding my cooking skills and my palate.

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