Larry has convinced me that I should do occasional posts on some of my favorite cookbooks. By last count, I own just over 300 cookbooks. I’m slowly working on the daunting task of paring down my collection, but it’s not easy. Every time I put a cookbook in the reject pile, it feels like I’m cutting off a finger. My less-painful solution has been to stage the rejects in the office closet so I have time to reconsider and look through the book one more time before I find it a new home.
Much of my self-inflicted cookbook distress comes from a lack of space. I just don’t have room for that many cookbooks. I still continue to buy cookbooks but my criteria for what makes it home is very high. Candidates usually get a workout via the library first. Authors I love automatically get special treatment. And for every cookbook that comes in, another one has to go to the reject pile (ouch).
I’ve been reading Heidi Swanson’s blog 101 Cookbooks for a long time. I have a huge number of recipes from her site tagged and I’ve checked out Super Natural Cooking at the library. But when I started to look through Super Natural Every Day, I knew this was a cookbook that would make it onto my shelf. The recipes are beautifully photographed and well-tested. Flavors are vibrant and dishes don’t use weird, unattainable ingredients or take a lot of time to put together – yet they still taste unique and sometimes exotic. I haven’t had the book that long, but there are already recipes that I’ve made over and over and have become household staples. There are a number of recipes posted on blogs, including several as part of Serious Eats Cook the Book series and on Heidi’s site. Here are some of my favorites:
- Oatcakes: Denser than a muffin but still tender, and full of good things. I keep making them and giving them to people, who come back to me and tell me how delicious they are. I like to swap out the flax seeds for part ground flax and part chia seeds.
- Oven-Roasted Cherry Tomatoes: This could hardly be called a recipe, since it’s just cherry tomatoes tossed with olive oil, salt and a bit of sugar and roasted until they’re sweet and caramelized. But the seemingly insignificant addition of a bit of natural cane sugar and a liberal amount of olive oil takes these over the top. I’ve been keeping a jar of them in the refrigerator – I like them in a wrap. Larry likes them on sandwiches and mixed with some smashed avocado.
- Black Pepper Tempeh: All tempeh doubters need to try this recipe. Tempeh is weird and tastes cruddy if it’s not used properly. This is packed full of slow-roasted garlic and shallots and has heat from crushed red pepper flakes and black pepper. I love the addition of chopped up cauliflower. Larry requests this dish regularly, and I’ve started making sure I have everything on hand in case I want to make it.
- White Beans & Cabbage: A great way to use up the piles of cabbage we got from our CSA this year. I can only make so much kimchi, and neither Larry or I are big fans of cabbage.
- Three-Paprika Roasted Chickpeas: I made a batch of these and then ate them all myself. They’re addicting, especially with the addition of smoked paprika.
- Kale Salad with Toasted Coconut: Pictured below. This is the latest recipe I tried. The kale gets crispy and works really well with the coconut – even Larry, typically a coconut hater, loved this. We had it plain one night as a side dish. The next day I ate some mixed in with farro for lunch, and Larry used some as a topping on creamy macaroni and cheese.
And I can’t wait to try:
- Open-Face Egg Salad Sandwich: Simplicity is the best way to go with egg salad if you ask me. This version looks delicious.
- Avocados and Mustard Seeds: This is an avocado-centric household. We’ll try avocados pretty much any way, and this version intrigues me.
- Baked Stuffed Tomatoes: I want to make this version with quinoa.
- Miso-Curry Delicata Squash: The only thing keeping me from making tis is that delicata squash isn’t in season. It’s by far my favorite squash and no other will do. I can’t wait.
- Kale Salad with Toasted Coconut (Super Natural Every Day, p. 204)