Tag Archives: Cookbooks

Roasted Shrimp with Tomatoes, Capers and Feta


I have a small collection of cookbooks, and truth be told, they serve more as kitchen decoration than anything else. I decided it’s because cooking from a cookbook is a gamble: you really have to trust the cookbook editor and publisher in order to guarantee a great recipe. I made some mediocre apple muffins a couple weeks ago from a cookbook, and I guarantee that if I had searched for the exact recipe online I would’ve found one with tons of notes in the comments and helpful tips on how to make those muffins stellar.

I do, however, have a cookbook that I know is incredible (I used to work for the publisher heeeeeey) and all about roasting: literally called All About Roasting. My hesitation in using it is that roasting, to me, seems super involved and time consuming. But I read through it slowly one blissful warm Saturday morning with a hot cup of coffee and found this incredible shrimp recipe. Turns out roasting doesn’t always mean 4 hours in the oven.

On the menu:
Roasted shrimp with tomatoes, capers and feta
Serves 2

1/2 pound jumbo shrimp
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp vodka
Salt
One 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes, or 1 3/4 cups of peeled, seeded, and diced fresh tomatoes
2 Tbsp capers, drained
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a large bowl, toss the shrimp with 2 Tbsp of olive oil, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, vodka, and a pinch of salt. Toss and coat and let marinade for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Spread the tomatoes in a shallow baking dish (I used a 8″ x 10″ Pyrex dish), drizzle with remaining Tbsp of olive oil, and sprinkle with capers. Arrange the shrimp on top of the tomatoes and pour extra marinade over the top.

Bake for 8 minutes, or until the shrimp are mostly pink. Using tongs, flip shrimp and cover with feta cheese. Bake for another 8 – 10 minutes or until shrimp are cooked through completely. Feta will be slightly melted.

Note: I served this over buttered orzo and it made a lovely weeknight meal with minimal effort. #Win.

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I Like Presents

So at this point in my culinary career, most of my friends know that I love food. This in turn leads to food-related gifts. Right after I started cooking a few years ago my fabulous friend Saskia gave me a dog-themed apron and a football-shaped spatula for my birthday. It should be noted that this caused her to sky-rocket to the top of my list of favorite friends.

My world traveler friends recently brought me back some stellar finds. First up, from Memphis:

The Presley Family Cookbook! Featuring mouth watering recipes such as “cottage cheese and peaches” (in case you’re about to tear your hair out in curiosity, it’s… cottage cheese… mixed with peaches) and “neck bones with dressing.” Thanks, Meagan!

Next up, from Korea:


Green tea Kit Kat! Almost vanilla in flavor with just a hint of mellow green tea flavor. Far superior to the other popular Korean flavor of Kit Kat, Jasmine.

This is a… “rude” shaped egg fryer. I can not wait to move into my new apartment and have friends over for the most inappropriate brunch of their lives.

Thanks for the gifts, kiddies! You guys know me so well.

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We Are Family

Did you ever have a totally rotten day where everyone seemed to be against you, and your brain stopped functioning like a normal human’s, and also you found your 4th gray hair? And then you got home to your humid apartment with a stank cat and almost cried the minute you walked in the door? And then you noticed a package on the table from your amazing, very-soon-to-be sister-in-law with 2 of the most beloved cookbooks of your hometown?

No? Well. I’m sorry for you then.

Thanks for making my terrible day soooo so much better, Steph! I cried anyway, but out of happiness.

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I Love ‘em All

Pancakes, that is. I. Love. Pancakes. Is it a simple batter? Can it be flipped using a spatula and a griddle? Is it flat and round? I will eat it, sir.

To celebrate the early acquisition of a highly coveted new cookbook, I picked a pancake recipe and hopped to. Amanda Hesser’s upcoming The Essential New York Times Cookbook is everything you could ever want from food in the New York Times. She has pulled recipes from literally every decade of the Times’ recipe section’s existence, tried the recipes out, and offered up her suggestions for making them delicious in the present day. I freaking love this cookbook. And I ESPECIALLY love the hilarious but still tempting recipes from the 1970s and 80s, most of which involve pickling and weird methods of serving eggs. This is the stuff, people. This. Is. The. Stuff.

On the menu:
Fresh corn griddle cakes with parmesan and chives
Serves 4-6
Adapted from Amanda Hesser’s version of Jack Bishop’s “If Corn’s Off the Cob, Use Your Imagination” from The Essential New York Times Cookbook, published by W. W. Norton, available in October 2010

4 medium ears corn, shucked
1 egg
1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 Tbsp chives, snipped
1/2 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 Tbsp unsalted butter

Working over a large bowl, grate the corn on the large holes of a box grater until the cobs are clean; discard the cobs. Add the egg, flour, cheese, chives, salt, and pepper to the corn. Stir until the batter is smooth. Taste and add more salt and/or pepper as needed.

Melt the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Scoop up 1/4 cup of the thick batter and scrape it into the skillet, smoothing the mound to a flat pancake for cooking. Cook each pancake for 6 minutes on each side for best results (you want each cake crispy on the outside and cooked all the way through, unlike a traditional pancake that is more delicate).

Et voila! Crispy corn cakes that you can serve with virtually any meal. They would be lovely in a bread basket on the table at dinner with roast chicken and mashed potatoes, or warmed in the toaster with a pat of butter and maybe a little mango salsa over top. I was also thinking these would be phenomenal in place of an English muffin in Eggs Benedict. But then again… I am literally always thinking of Eggs Benedict.

Please don’t judge me.

Bon weekend!

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Book It

I was fortunate enough to attend a panel discussion with some very influential people in the food writing world, including writers from The Kitchn, Tasting Table, and the New York Times. During the course of the discussion, there was much debate about the future of food writing and cookbooks. In ten years will printed books be obsolete? I am a total paper nerd and have to admit that I love the smell of an old library book, the weight of the Sunday New York Times under my arm, and the food-splattered pages of my oldest cookbooks. If you’re a traditionalist like me, you’ll wholeheartedly agree. Maybe you just let out a resounding “HEAR HEAR!” at your desk.

Maybe not.

In any case, below are my recommendations for cookbooks that you should not be without. You can Google “souffle recipes” but it just ain’t the same.

Applehood and Motherpie by Junior League of Rochester; an upstate staple, and an endless resource for amazing homemade dishes from appetizers and soups to entrees and desserts.

The Essential New York Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser; includes 1,000 plus recipes from the lauded newspaper's unrivaled history of culinary journalism. Available October 2010

Martha Stewart's Cookies by Martha Stewart Living Magazine; every cookie I have ever tried from this book has been incredible. So reliable.

Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child; because well... duh.

Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer; this is a kitchen standard and has a recipe for everything you have ever wondered how to make.

Someday I’ll add to this list “Food E. says EAT IT by Lauren E.” but for now… well… there you go.

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Some people eat to live… we are not those people

My family has many traditions, most of them based on food. I’m pretty sure that when asked “What would you grab from the house in the event of a fire?” my parents would answer the same: the dog and the Adirondack Country Cookbook. I could be blindfolded with my nose plugged and still recognize the taste of the pancakes and the cinnamon swirl raisin bread. Since this cookbook is no longer around (or if it is, PLEASE LET ME KNOW! Seriously… we’ve been searching) I pdf’ed the infamous raisin bread recipe, sent it to one of my favorite childhood neighbors, and saved it on my hard drive in case our decrepit old family copy of the cookbook bites the dust.

It’s all about preserving the recipes, people. I mean… the memories. It’s all about preserving the MEMORIES.

On the menu:
Spiral Cinnamon Raisin Bread

If you are Carol Knapp… or you know Carol Knapp… let me know. This bread deserves many kudos. Thanks, Carol!

This bread can be served as is, but I like mine toasted with butter. But you probably already knew that I liked mine with a little more butter, now didn’t you?

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