Cookbook Book Club is my
once a month most months “cooking from the same cookbook” meal with Jan and Jenn, and this month we cooked from Food 52‘s latest book, A New Way to Dinner. This is the latest book from Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs (the team behind the fabulous site) described as:
an indispensable playbook for stress-free weekly meal-planning.
I actually really love the concept of this book – it’s all about make-ahead “foundational” dishes which are the backbone of your meals for the rest of the week. In reality, or me, it’s a bit more aspirational than what I’m likely to do in real life (especially these days when my actual meals are so haphazard as I nail down some final versions of recipes for the book). But I really like this book as a resource – it is full of lots of tips and tricks and timesaving advice and it does make you stop and consider the meals you’re “pre-gaming” on a Sunday – how will they re-heat as leftovers? Will I be able to use these in a different iteration? Is this a smart thing to make a big batch of?
It does make you think differently, more smartly about what to cook and how to make it go further. The food is quite sophisticated, if you’re looking for a family cookbook you might want to browse through it to see if it’s the sort of thing your kids would eat (chocolate and rosemary puddings…?). For my household, it’s a wonderful cookbook to help plan meals and eat better through the week, not just on the weekend when I have time to cook and I intend to cook a lot more from it when I have the time. What I really need right now is a cookbook for people writing cookbooks, haha!
For the starter, Jenn brought us this Brussels Sprouts Salad with Anchovy Dressing.
I don’t eat anchovies but am ok with them in a dressing like this, but in fact, this was not very fishy at all. We all felt the dressing could have been a little punchier (more garlic maybe?) but it was a bright start to dinner on a chilly evening. This reminded me that I need to make Brussels Sprouts salads more often.
For the main, I chose a dish that I was able to make the night before – Red Wine Beef Stew with Parsnips and Carrots served with a Parsnip and Potato Mash.
This was excellent – so flavourful and even more so because it got a rest overnight helping boost the flavours even more. It’s not a fancy dish but it works so well. We all had seconds! It made fantastic, tasty leftovers too!
For dessert, Jan made Soft Chocolate Almond Cherry Cookies – a perfect way to round out the evening!
So we couldn’t stop eating these cookies. They are soft and sweet and tart and the sugar on the outside gives them a lovely crunch. I may have had
more than one two three… These were also great with my coffee the next morning!
All-in-all a really cohesive meal – we generally seem to produce balanced meals even though we don’t consult with each other beforehand. In fact, this was pretty much my idea of a perfect meal – bright salad, excellent meat and potatoes and a just-sweet-enough dessert.
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Interested in our Cookbook Book Club? So far we’ve enjoyed:
Dinner with Marcella,
Dinner with Nigella,
Dinner with Ottolenghi,
Dinner with Maria Speck,
Dinner with Naomi Duguid,
Lunch with Jamie Oliver,
A dessert party with Butter Baked Goods,
Dinner with Jacques Pépin,
Dinner with Smitten Kitchen,
Recipes from Rachel Khoo,
Brunch with Donna Hay,
Dinner with Mark Bittman,
A Gatherings-inspired baby shower brunch,
Dinner with Simple Bites,
Lunch from Food 52’s Genius Recipes,
Dinner from The Broad Fork,
A holiday “Food Gift Love” party,
Lunch with Mairlyn Smith,
Dinner with Seven Spoons
Lunch in David Lebovitz’ My Paris Kitchen.
Lunch with Ina Garten
Dinner with Ruth Reichl