It is my pleasure to introduce to you my first guest reviewer, Donna Connolly who blogs at https://retirementreflections.com. Donna has a very interesting blog that touches on all things retirement. Donna also hosts three very interesting inlinkz parties, https://retirementreflections.com/2022/12/01/whats-been-on-your-calendar/
https://retirementreflections.com/2023/02/01/whats-on-your-plate-greek-baked-vegetables-briam/. and https://retirementreflections.com/whats-on-your-bookshelf/
Stop over at Donna’s blog and take a look. I know you won’t be disappointed.
Tuesday Nights Mediterranean’s Sardinian Herb Soup with Fregola and White Beans
Here I go living under a rock again. Until recently, I had never heard of Chris Kimball’s Milk Street, the related cookbooks, or cooking show. Thank you to Bernadette for introducing me to Milk Street Tuesday Nights Mediterranean.
As this is currently a popular cookbook, I experienced a wait to obtain a copy from my local library. While I waited, I signed up with the Milk Street Tuesday Nights Mediterranean Website. Advantages included having immediate access to four free recipes from this cookbook and receiving tips and backstories. The disadvantage was the steady stream of emails that I then received (seriously, the Milk Street Company sent me several emails per day until I finally withdrew my free subscription).
Milk Street Tuesday Nights, https://www.177milkstreet.com
For my first experience with this cookbook, I made the Sardinian Herb Soup with Fregola and White Beans. (S’erbuzzu).
Again, perhaps because of my ‘living under a rock’ thing, this recipe called for three ingredients with which I was unfamiliar — fregola, pancetta and ricotta salsa cheese. Luckily, my local grocery store staff were able to point me to the fregola (similar to Israeli couscous) and the pancetta (which a good friend calls “fancy bacon”). The recipe indicated that grated pecorino Romano could be substituted for the ricotta salata (which I did), but you could also sub with a mild feta.
I loved all of the fresh and fragrant ingredients!
Once I picked up the ingredients needed, I invited my friend, Deb, to be a third judge (she might have mumbled “guinea pig”). The recipe states that it takes 45 minutes from start to finish. With my husband and I working side-by-side, it took us 45 minutes together. He chopped while I added ingredients that I then browned, stirred, cooked and simmered.
The final result was tasty, healthy and wonderfully fragrant. Deb and I both loved it. I was especially taken away by the intense freshness. Deb enjoyed the aromas as well as the texture added by the fregola. Richard liked this dish but ultimately stated that he just can’t get overly excited about soup. Luckily there were two others giving a rating!
From this cookbook, I went on to make the Greek Baked Vegetables, which were also mouth-wateringly fresh and delicious. (Not being a soup, that dish received an enthusiastic two-thumbs up from Richard). You can find my write-up for that recipe here.
The burning question for our Book Club review is, “Does the strength of this cookbook justify taking up precious space on your kitchen shelf (and cash out of your wallet)?” I greatly enjoyed Tuesday Night Mediterranean and can see myself making more recipes from this book. Still, I recommend getting this cookbook from your local library first and then deciding how much you are likely to use it. If you can handle the emails, you could consider a free trial subscription (there is also a 12-week trial subscription for 1 USD). As my cookbook shelf is overflowing, I’ll stick with borrowing from our library until I am confident how much I will use the wider range of recipes. I will definitely make both the Sardinian Herb Soup and the Greek Baked Vegetables again (and again)!
Milk Street Tuesday Night Mediterranean
125 Simple Weeknight Recipes from the World’s Healthiest Cuisines
Hardcover 304 pages – including large colour photos of each dish
Also available on Kindle
My rating: 4/5 Stars (4.75 Amazon, 4.11 Goodreads)
Donna lived in Beijing, China for fourteen years. Leaving international life behind, she and her husband retired to Vancouver Island, Canada, in June 2015. To document this transition, she initiated Retirement Reflections.
Donna currently cohosts the following monthly linkups: What’s Been On Your Calendar? What’s On Your Plate? and What’s On Your Bookshelf? You can connect with Donna in the comment section below, or via the following social media sites. She would love to hear from you. Thank you Donna for your great review and participation in our Kitchen Confidential Cookbook.
16 responses to “COOKBOOK CONFIDENTIAL COOKBOOK CLUB – Donna Connolly reviews Sardinian Herb Soup and White Beans”
A great recipe from the book, Donna. You are lucky to have your hubby chopping and dicing for you. I don’t like others in my tiny kitchen but I’m a very fast chopper and dicer! I did see they had a few free recipes on their site so that would be a good start for anyone who wants to try a few first. I love your dinnerware!
Hi, Darlene – Thank you for your kind words. In our previous home (in Beijing) we literally had a Barbie-sized kitchen. I swear that we had to take turns getting a glass of water! 😀 Now that I have more space, Richard’s kitchen services have definitely been employed. I loathe chopping vegetables so this has been a wonderful bonus! BTW – The dinnerware featured is Martha Stewart Everyday, $25 (Canadian) for a like-new set at our local thrift store. I love using different dinnerwares to suit the occasion or mood! 😀
Hi Bernadette, this is a fun post and the soup sounds good. I haven’t made any of the soups yet, but I do plan too. I thought this was an excellent cookbook and I’ve bought the ebook. I rarely purchase paperback books due to space constraints.
Hi, Roberta – Thank you for reading and commenting. This was a terrific, incredibly fresh tasting soup. I highly recommend it!
Hi Donna, thanks again for this great review. I can’t wait to make this soup. I am thinking it might be a good kick off to the Lenton fasting season.
Thank YOU, Bernadette – I have greatly appreciarted your initiative, leadership and hard word in makinng Cookbook Confidential happen. I look forward to our further adventures.
I really enjoyed reading this! Donna, your description of making this dish made me feel like I was right there in the kitchen with you. I love the pic of your husband doing sous chef duties; that is a familiar scene at my house, too. Thanks for sharing your experience with the cookbook. I’m heading over to your blog to see what else you’ve been cooking! 🙂
Hi, Terrie – Thank you for checking out my blog. I just saw your kind comments there. I am off to visit your site now. See you there!
What a fun post!!! Thank you!! I’ll be looking for that cookbook!!
Hi, Sue – Thank you for dropping by. I agree that this cookbooks is definitely worth taking a look at. It offers some new takes on traditional recipes…and the photography is gorgeous!
It is a good one Sue.
That soup is one I want to make!
Awesome. If you make any wonderful Jo tweaks to it, please let me know! <3
This looks delicious! My wife and I went to Sardinia for the first time last summer and loved the food, but they focused us on fish and a clam pasta to die for, so this is a terrific looking alternative to that! Great photos as well!
Hi, John – Thanks so much for dropping by. I’ve been to Italy a couple of times (even walking the 400 km from Lucca to Rome), but I have not yet been to Sardinia. It is high on my list. If I do get there, I will definitely ask for their Clam Pasta. Thank you for the recommendation.
Christopher Kimball used to be on America’s Test Kitchen. I recently bought their cookbook. It was every recipe from every season (something like twenty seasons) and they charged $20 (I think). I always found CK to be pretentious, but I do watch Milk Street on occasion. The food looks good. Unlike your husband, I get very excited over soup. I can get pancetta where I live, but not the fregola or the ricotta salata. (And often not tarragon.) But I’d love to try this one. I think I will, with the necessary substitutions. Thanks for sharing.