19 October 2019

Weekend Cooking: The Saltwater Table by Whitney Otawka

review of The Saltwater Table by Whitney OtawkaHappy Saturday. I hope your weekend is starting off well. As I write this post, I'm in a hotel room about 600 miles from my home kitchen and 20 miles from my temporary kitchen.

I had the opportunity to travel with my husband to Maine, where he's working for a week or so. Our trip, however, has been disrupted by Mother Nature. A mega wind storm this week took out our electricity, so we're holed up in a hotel, awaiting news on the power and tree removal crews.

Anyway, besides the power issue, I've been challenged with cooking in a strange kitchen. Vacation houses are equipped with the bare minimum tools and, of course, a bare pantry. Nonetheless, I managed to make some pretty awesome dinners, even if I couldn't find a cheese grater.

I had several recipes marked to try from Whitney Otawka's The Saltwater Table (Abrams, Oct. 22), which I received as part of the Abrams Dinner Party. The two I made were delicious, even though I had to adjust to the equipment on hand.

First let me tell you a little bit about this cookbook. By the title and subtitle (Recipes from the Coastal South), I was expecting a seafood cookbook. Yes, there are plenty of oyster and shrimp dishes, but The Saltwater Table is also full of side dishes, meat mains, vegetable recipes, and desserts, all with an eye to sharing with friends and family.

review of The Saltwater Table by Whitney OtawkaOtawka offers menu and party ideas (a spring vegetable feast, a Low Country boil), and plenty of great tips: working with herbs and flowers, how to build an outdoor cooking fire, and what to do with hot peppers, for example. The beautiful matte paper and full-page photos draw you in, and Otawka's personal stories give you context.

Some of the recipes I want to make are Pan-Roasted Flounder, Grapefruit Tart, Heirloom Tomato Bloody Mary, Shrimp Rolls, Lamb Meatballs, Seafood Chowder (see the scan), and Asparagus and Green Hill Frittata.

The first recipe I tried was Winter Root Vegetable Soup with Ham Hock and Turnip Green Pistou. My soup ended up being "inspired by" the original because I couldn't find a ham hock in the grocery store up here and the house doesn't have a blender or food processor. I cooked ham plus the leeks, turnips, carrots, rutabaga, and garlic in boxed chicken broth, seasoned it up as directed, and topped it with jarred basil pesto. No matter that I didn't quite pull off the original, the soup was delicious and I can't wait to make it Otawka's way.

Review of The Saltwater Table by Whitney OtawkaThe other recipe I made from The Saltwater Table was also fabulous. Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Horseradish and Sea Salt. OMG, this is our new favorite way to make potatoes. I had to do a little adapting here (no cast-iron skillet, so I did that step in the oven and then broiler), but the results didn't suffer. I served these with simple pan-seared chicken breasts and broccoli (see my photo).

One of the most important things I learned about Whitney Otawka's The Saltwater Table is how adaptable her recipes are. I didn't need a fancy kitchen or special pots and pans to make delicious dishes using the recipes in this book. I think many of us can appreciate that. I also love the variety of recipes Otawka included; you don't have to live on the coast to use this cookbook. Even land-locked me found plenty of recipes to dream about making -- once the lights come back on.

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.

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bermudaonion 10/19/19, 6:33 AM  

It's nice to see the recipes are so adaptable. I think my family would LOVE those potatoes.

gluten Free A_Z Blog 10/19/19, 7:07 AM  

It sounds like you found a cookbook with a variety of recipes that you enjoy! Glad they worked out well despite you inconveniences in a strange kitchen and then no electricity. We had that same storm last week in Phia but we didn't get hit as hard. I understand it got stronger as it moved up the coast. Thanks for the review!

Mae Travels 10/19/19, 7:39 AM  

you are really intrepid to test an unfamiliar cookbook in an unfamiliar and badly-equipped kitchen! It is amazing that the results were good without even simple things like a cheese grater or frying pan! I'm posting two links, one about Julia Child (total food link) one about an 19th century novel of which only the second half of the post is about the things they ate.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Tina 10/19/19, 8:04 AM  

What an adventure! I hope you do t have to stay in the hotel too long.
It is indeed challenging to cook in a rental as they don’t always have the kitchen equipment desired. The smashed potatoes are calling to me. So glad you highlighted those! Loving the sound of Bloody Mary & lamb meatballs for starters. Looks like a great book.

rhapsodyinbooks 10/19/19, 8:41 AM  

So sorry to hear about the problems with power, inter alia! It sounds like it was not only the cookbook that was adaptable! I like the idea of horseradish with potatoes.

Jackie McGuinness 10/19/19, 9:11 AM  

I am so going to try those potatoes!!

Some of my now go-to recipes were because of cooking in a strange limited kitchen.
I've often thought I should do a cookbook for vacation kitchens!

Claudia 10/19/19, 10:33 AM  

That sounds like a deliciously inspiring cookbook. As well as an adventure in a strange kitchen!

Deb in Hawaii 10/19/19, 11:05 AM  

I am loving the looks of this cookbook--so many delicious looking recipes to try. The soup and those potatoes are both calling my name. ;-)

Abigail Pearson 10/19/19, 1:15 PM  

Wow this sounds great! I'm going to have to find this cookbook.

GypsyPlate 10/19/19, 3:09 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
GypsyPlate 10/19/19, 3:14 PM  

Looks like my kind of book! I will stick with the theme and share my Shrimp and Grits (very southern and very coastal)!

(Diane) bookchickdi 10/27/19, 4:59 PM  

I have my eye on that seafood chowder.

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