Thursday, February 12, 2015

Book Notes: Dinner, the Playbook

I am a huge fan of cookbooks.

And cooking magazines.

And cooking blogs.

But this book is something else.  I love "Dinner: the Playbook", by Jenny Rosenstrach.

I didn't buy this book at first. I heard about it and - like most books I hear about and am interested in - I borrowed it from the library.

But after a few weeks of using the library's copy, I knew that I wanted my own. (If only to keep from staining the library's copy.  It's just . . . paying library fines is not an unlikely scenario for me, iykwim.)

So, I bought a copy, and I've been using it ever since.

I love this book.  I'm good at menu planning and I actually like cooking, but this book makes both of those jobs easier not only provides interesting main dishes, but by suggesting veggie-heavy side dishes to go with.

Eventually, I realized that this book was the work of a blogger that I've subscribed to for a long time, but that (sorry!) I hadn't really paid much attention to (it's easy to do that in an RSS reader).

But after I checked this book out of the library, I used it in my weekly menu planning. And I loved two things about it:

1) The little chef-ly details. Each recipe has those nice little details - you know, the ones that don't take much time or fuss, but make all the difference between the final dish tasting good, and tasting great.  (E.g., letting a clove of garlic sizzle in the olive oil for a few minutes and then fishing it out before frying your omelet - mmm, easy garlic-infused oil.)

2) The side dish suggestions. My go-to side dish is seasonal fruit. Healthy? yes. Yummy? yes. Boring? . . . sometimes.

But "Dinner: the Playbook" has a list of easy, (mostly) veggie side dishes.  And each main dish recipe suggests which one (or ones) you should serve with it.  This makes things so much easier.  I can menu-plan based on the main dishes I want to make, and I don't have to go searching for something healthy and produce-based that will go with them.  It's right there.

Here's one of the meals I made out of this cookbook recently:
It's a baked potato bar (the potatoes are covered in cheddar cheese), and her topping suggestions were great: caramelized onions, steamed broccoli, ham, yogurt, and salsa. It was delicious, and each of us could customize our own potato. Everyone liked it, and we all got plenty of veg.

There are more creative meals in here, for sure, this is just one I managed to get a picture of.   :)  Anyway, I'd recommend this cookbook to anyone looking for something a bit out of the ordinary way, but not so far out of the way that the kids won't eat up!  :)

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

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