Time for the first selection!
I’m making it relatively easy on myself, since my life is already in a major transition. Love Your Leftovers is a book I actually really like. It’s by Nick Evans, who runs the popular blog Macheesmo. I like his writing and I can usually rely on his recipes to be tasty and simple.
The idea behind the book is to cook a base ingredient – e.g. salmon, flank steak, beans, roasted chicken – and then build different meals around them through the course of the week. In part I picked this book because I have things in the freezer and pantry that need to be eaten and can fit into this template nicely (e.g. a huge salmon, a pork tenderloin, TONS of beans). Every week I’ll pick a different basic and try out his recipes.
A note about the concept: I love it in theory. But, I don’t really understand how one salmon is going to last multiple meals for a family. I can make this work when cooking for just me or one other person, but even a roast chicken, I find, doesn’t go that far when feeding a crowd. I do like, however, that it demonstrates how versatile different base ingredients can be, and that’s a skill you can definitely build on.
I have already tried the following recipes:
- Snap pea and pork stir fry (tasty; I likely, however, made lots of substitutions as I tend to do with stir fries)
- Tomato poached cod – v. tasty.
- I believe I made the all-purpose rub for flank steak
There are a lot of recipes I would like to try out of this book. But, I need to keep it manageable, especially cooking for one. So here is the pared down list:
- Black Beans:
- Black bean burgers
- Crunchy black bean tacos
- Smoky black bean salad
- Flank steak:
- Steakhouse salad
- Steak and chili quesadilla
- Vietnamese noodle salad
- Spicy lentil salad
- Ten minute lentil wraps
- Curried lentils and carrots
- Stuffed portobello mushrooms
- 30 minute lentil stew
- Salmon with caper lentils (I think I’ll combine this with the Herb roasted salmon below)
- Carnitas tacos
- Ginger pineapple fried rice
- Rice stuffed red peppers
- Chicken and rice soup
- Arroz mixto
- Herb roasted salmon
- Salmon cakes
- Salmon tacos
- Beef broth:
- Forty minute Pho (but I’m going to use chicken broth…because it’s what I have!)
None of the recipes in the potato or grilled tofu sections appealed to me. He also has recipes for dishes I already know how to make, such as gnocchi, risotto and polenta (all of which I learned from bonafide Italians, so I’m not going to rely on this book for that). The granola recipe I’m passing on, since I have a really good one, and I’m not really interested in putting granola in anything except yogurt! There are also more basic recipes, like Toad-in-a-hole and salmon scrambled eggs, for which I don’t need recipes, so I’ll skip them. But the book is a good reminder that eggs and salmon pair well together 🙂 Finally, there are gratin type dishes that I don’t normally make because I’m not a fan of smothering things with cheese.
Initial thoughts: A great basic book, a fun book to read, but I might be beyond it. It might serve as inspiration, but also could end up donated. We’ll see…