Saturday, July 28, 2012

Weekend Cooking - How to Eat Weekends!

I spotted "The Splendid Table's: How to Eat Weekends" on the 'new books shelf' at the library, and knew immediately is was just the thing for Weekend Cooking!

This post was written as part of Weekend Cooking over at BethFishReads.com.  Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to head over to Beth Fish Reads, grab the button, and link up anytime over the weekend.  (The button is on your right...)

I am so glad that I picked up this book! It is so fun... I don't know quite how to describe it, but it is almost like a really good magazine full of little articles and sidebars and fun facts - and recipes too, of course. But, having said that, it is much more than a magazine because it is a sumptuous hardcover book with photos that Anthony Bourdain would call hard-core, Triple X food porn!

For example, there is a centerfold(!) type photo that spans two pages and shows the feast they call "A Home Style Vietnamese Sunday Lunch." There are a cucumber and melon salad; little dishes of this and that scattered around; and a platter of Vietnamese Green Mango Salad with Grilled Pork in the Center.

Another example feature is "An Italian Renaissance Supper." I reeeeaally want to make this! As with other cuisines featured in this lush book, the authors dive in and tell us how to outfit an Italian Pantry and Kitchen, and how to build a library of Italian cookbooks.

One of the recipes is for "Renaissance Lasagne!" There are sub-recipes (is that a word?) for Hand-Rolled Egg Pasta and Baroque Ragu. There is a sidebar about wine. And, there is a history lesson called, "The Islam Connection," about how that culture contributed to this recipe and how all this information came down to us through a diary kept of what was served "in the court of the Este dukes in Ferrara." AND, there is a separate "Building a Library" sidebar that goes with the history lesson.

The very first menu featured in the book is called, "A Mexican Comida." And, the very first recipe is, "Tomatillo Salsa with Fresh Cheese from El Cardenal." This is the recipe I made today.

1 medium garlic clove
4 sprigs fresh cilantro
1/2 lb. fresh tomatillos
1 tablespoon onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 to 2 fresh serrano chiles
salt
8 ounces Queso Fresco (fresh Mexican cheese), feta, farmer, or firm goat cheese, cut into 1/2-inch x 2-inch sticks

1. In a blender or food processor, pulse the garlic, cilantro, tomatillos, onion, sugar and chiles to a very fine mince, until well combined but not entirely liquid. The salsa should have a slightly thickened texture to stand up to the cheese. Add salt to taste.

2. Pour the salsa into a serving bowl. Tuck some of the cheese sticks into it and have the rest on a plate. Set out in the middle of the table and have everyone dip away.




I am sharing photos of the ingredients, but not the "after" photo because, while the salsa was excellent, the Queso Fresco (I got authentic cheese) was crumbly and did not hold together well enough to look pretty. I really plan to make this again and to use chips.

That minor criticism aside, this is such a fun book! I enjoyed reading it and looking at the pictures.

39 comments:

  1. that Italian Renaissance Supper has my attention...yum.

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    1. Mine too! Seems like a mini-adventure :)

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  2. I'd love the Mexican feast. I wish I could find fresh tomatillo's around here. Sounds like a great book!

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    1. I was surprised our Kroger had them...lots of them, and 99 cents a pound too. Keep looking - they may show up! Thanks for stopping by :)

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  3. Sounds like a really fun book! I mostly only cook on the weekends, when I have more time to invest, so this sounds like a perfect fit for me. Thanks for sharing--

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    1. Thanks, Beth. With the kids, I have to cook pretty much constantly - LOL! But, the weekend is definitely time to break away from spaghetti and meatballs and do something adventurous!

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  4. What a great find! I love cooking on the weekends too and this sounds like a fun party book too.

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    1. It is! I think all the Weekend Cookers would really get a kick out of it!

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  5. That looks like a great cookbook and so appropriate here. And the Tomatillo Salsa sound heavenly to me - a great lover of Mexican food.

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    1. Hi Alex...see if you can find it...it is entertaining to read, and interesting recipes too!

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  6. Sounds so good, even if the final result wasn't too pretty! Some of the foods that taste best don't look lovely. Not sure why that is, but so true!

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  7. Don't you love The Splendid Table? I used to listen to that show all the time. I've gotten away from the habit . . . I really should subscribe to the podcast. I heard there was a new cookbook, so I'm really happy to see you review it today. Now I must track it down.

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    1. The Splendid Table is great! I never thought about podcasts...good idea!

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  8. I must admit, I *always* read the little notes in the sidebars. Sounds like this book has an awesome layout.

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    1. Me too :) I love little bits and pieces like that...

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  9. Obviously, I need to seek this book out! Thank you for the review.

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  10. Looks really fun! I have never cooked or even eaten a tomatillo!

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    1. Try one the next time you see them at the store!

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  11. i hadn't seen this one before, it sounds lilke a really fun cookbook!

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    1. It is! I think most people would really like it!

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  12. Themed food is such a fun idea. I might have to think about doing some themed Food on Fridays - rather than being ingredient based.

    Hope you are having a nice week. My Weekend Cooking contribution was a salmon pizza.

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    1. You could experiment with a theme one Friday and see what kind of reaction you get...

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  13. this book soun like it has a little bit of everything. ONe to keep on the coffee table not only in the kitchen

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    1. Definitely...the photos are pretty and there are bits and pieces of fun info in addition to the recipes :)

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  14. Oh, I want it, I Want it, I WANT IT! I'm loving the centerfold idea...and of course I love this recipe. Sounds delicious - and great pix! =)

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    1. Thanks - working on my food photography skills. You HAVE to find this book! library? Its just so cool and interesting...

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  15. Sounds like a great book. Though right now I'm missing being served dinner every nigh on vacation!

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    1. Do you remember those old TV commercials about ppl coming back from cruises and saying how sad they are not to be royalty anymore-LOL!

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  16. The cookbook sounds spectacular. I love when they include lots of food history, but also the idea that they make suggestions for other cookbooks. Thanks - I hadn't heard about this one yet.

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  17. I love the way you have described this book, and I would love to see about the Renaissance feast!

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  18. Love your phrase "food porn" - like "house porn", difficult to resist! - and your photos are terrific.

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  19. What a wonderful subtitle .... " .... and opinions!"

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  20. This cookbook sounds fantastic! I love cooking magazines almost more than I love cookbooks, so really.. I will love this one.

    That salsa sounds delicious. We get tomatillos in our co-op box later in the summer. I'll keep this recipe in mind.

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  21. Sounds like a great cookbook to own. Perhaps I should ...

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  22. Nice recipe!
    The addition of sugar is a surprise to me, but it looks like it works quite nicely in that.
    I'd probably add lime juice too,but that's just because I really like limes.

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  23. Yummy! You always find the best cookbooks!!! Another must try added to my cooking list

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