01 August 2015

Weekend Cooking: The Kitchen Journal, Summer Cooking

Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page.

The Kitchen Journal @ Beth Fish Reads.comIf you follow me on Twitter then you know I'm getting rid of the vast majority of my ridiculously large cookbook collection. I've filled up the back of car with bags and bags of books, but I swear it seems as if I hadn't made a dent. I guess that's what comes out of having well over a thousand (Mr. BFR says more like 1,500) cookbooks. Sigh.

Anyway, there are several reasons I'm culling my collection. Two of the big ones are (1) I need the bookshelf and floor space and (2) I started collecting books before we had the Internet. In the dark ages, books were the primary way to learn about food in other countries, to discover new ingredients, and to find recipes. Now, of course, I can go online.

I still use magazines, though, and they are the source of three winning recipes from this week. I've pinned them all to my Tried and Liked board, so you can find them there, or you can go right to the source by clicking the links. Here I'll share the photos from the magazines and tell you what changes I made (cause I really can't cook without making changes).

We really loved this Honey-Turmeric Pork from Bon Appetit magazine. For this dish you marinate pork in a yogurt sauce before cooking it. The recipe also includes directions for a raw beet and carrot salad. Here's how I made this main dish: Instead of using boneless pork shoulder that's pounded flat, I used thick-cut boneless pork chops, which I cut in half horizontally and did not pound. The marinade calls for regular yogurt, but all I had in the house was Greek, so that's what I used. The directions say to cook the pork in batches in a skillet, but we grilled it outside instead. It was really tasty. Instead of the salad, I roasted carrots, beets, onions, garlic, and some fresh herbs. We will definitely be eating this again.

It's hot outside and that means tomato season! I live for these wonderful weeks of summer when the farmers market baskets are brimming over with beautiful, colorful tomatoes. This Ripe Summer Tomato Gratin with Basil comes from Cooking Light and is the perfect side dish for any grilled dinner. The tomatoes are mixed with fresh herbs and garlic, and seasoned bread crumbs are scattered on top. So easy to put together. The only change I made here was to start with dried bread crumbs, so I skipped the step that tells you to crumble up bread and then toast it in the oven. I just mixed the crumbs with the herbs, oil, and Parmesan cheese instead. This was really good and looked so pretty because I used a variety of tomatoes. We served this with grilled eggplant for a vegetarian meal with a Mediterranean twist, but these tomatoes would be delicious alongside steak or even a burger.

The third winner was a Sicilian Orzo Salad from the Food Network's magazine. This pasta salad was so good, we could barely stop eating it. And it was just as delicious the next day for lunch. This one is full of salty goodness with kalamata olives, sardines, and ricotta salata cheese. The dressing is a very light vinaigrette. I'm sure the recipe is fairly perfect as is, but, well, I made a couple of changes. First, the directions called for only 12 ounces of pasta, but I went ahead and used the whole pound. Next, I added a Hungarian wax pepper to the salad because we like the heat and I had one to use up. The recipe calls for either tuna or sardines and we opted for the sardines, although the tuna would be awesome too. The recipe says to top each serving with the cheese and some pine nuts, but I stirred them both into the entire dish. We'll eat this one again all year round.

We also had a shrimp and fennel salad that was only so-so and a zucchini and goat cheese quiche that had issues with the egg to milk ratio (as in the stupid thing took forever and ever to solidify).

Hope you try one of these dishes and let me know what you think.


Bookworm Inkorporated 8/1/15, 6:29 AM  

All three of those look delicious! I am especially interested in that pork, as we eat a lot of pork around here and I am always looking for new ways to prepare it. Thanks!

Tina 8/1/15, 7:02 AM  

You can't go wrong with Bon Appetit and Coking Light, I have made that tomato gratin from CL, at least that's where I think I found that recipe, and it's wonderful. Perfect for summer meals. I like how you modify recipes, I do that all the time. Change out the cooing fashion by using the grill is the most frequent method. Keeps the kitchen cooler.

My cookbooks have diminished too. The shelves were ridiculous, they have found good homes 😀

Tina 8/1/15, 7:02 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
bermudaonion 8/1/15, 8:46 AM  

Tomato season is almost over here but we did manage to snag some from Biltmore Estate yesterday. That tomato dish looks delicious and we love anything with orzo!

rhapsodyinbooks 8/1/15, 9:14 AM  

When I remember, I try sprinkling turmeric on stuff, because it is supposed to be good for you, and it usually adds to the taste in a good way as well.

(Diane) bookchickdi 8/1/15, 9:22 AM  

That is a lot of cookbooks! I am pinning the Sicilian Orzo Salad, it sounds and looks so amazing.

Katherine P 8/1/15, 9:48 AM  

I thought I had a lot of cookbooks! That's impressive. I do use the internet a pretty good bit for recipes but I do like my cookbooks. I'm especially intrigued by the Honey Tumeric Pork. That sounds yummy and I've had good luck with yogurt marinade.

Claudia 8/1/15, 11:54 AM  

I'm ready for that Sicilian Orzo salad. Any kind of salad actually,as it's not cooking weather. Good luck on all that culling.

Nan 8/1/15, 12:17 PM  

Over a THOUSAND cookbooks! I can't believe it. Wow. Even with the internet, I love using my (many fewer!) cookbooks. Thanks for the link to your Pinterest page. That's a very good use of P. I think. I've joined and quit a few times because I couldn't really think why I needed it, but this is a great idea.

Jenn Valmonte 8/1/15, 12:25 PM  

This is my first time to join your link up party, glad to have found a blog that is about books and food, two of the things I really, really love.

Gilion at Rose City Reader 8/1/15, 12:41 PM  

It's been forever since I've had time to blog on the weekend and take part in what has long been one of my FAVORITE blog events. I'm happy to be back.

All three recipes look terrific. And since my parents get her today for a week, we will have time to try them.

Sue Jackson 8/2/15, 9:19 AM  

These all sound so delicious!! I'll have to skip the first and third because of the dairy, but I am bookmarking that Tomato Gratin - can;t wait to get our fresh tomatoes at the farm on Tuesday!

Yum - thanks for the inspiration!


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