It is my pleasure to share with you today Dorothy Grover-Read’s review of Milk Street Tuesday Nights Mediterranean. Dorothy is one of the most generous food bloggers I have met. She is open-handed with her recipes and her cooking advice. A lot of Dorothy’s recipes are plant-based because she has a genuine interest in cooking healthy and tasty foods. Dorothy’s blog can be found at The New Vintage Kitchen, https://vintagekitchen.org/about/.
Cookbook Confidential: Whole Wheat Pasta with Walnut Sauce and Swiss Chard
Dorothy Grover-Read The New Vintage Kitchen
My friend Bernadette from New Classic Recipe (https://newclassicrecipe.com) came up with the idea to have an on-line cookbook club with some of her blog buddies. What a fun, and great way to choose a recipe or two from the books, cook them, and review the books.
“Milk Street Tuesday Nights Mediterranean,” from Christopher Kimball
The first book she selected (we are all suggesting different cookbooks) was “Milk Street Tuesday Nights Mediterranean,” by Christopher Kimball. The book is about simplicity, getting a meal on the table on a weeknight quickly, and deliciously. The recipes I chose lived up to those goals.
Organized by speed
The book iMy friend Bernadette from New Classic Recipe (https://newclassicrecipe.com) came up with the idea to have an on-line cookbook club with some of her blog buddies. What a fun, and great way to choose a recipe or two from the books, cook them, and review the books.
First up, a pasta
I chose two recipes from the book, and, despite being totally contrary to the way I usually use a cookbook (inspiration), and the way I usually execute a cookbook’s recipe (by the feel of it and what I like), I stayed almost totally true to what was written. My only deviation in the recipe was to substitute plant milk for whole milk, and I was confident it would not adversely affect the recipe because it was only being used as a softener of the breadcrumbs to make the panade. Besides, I didn’t have any milk in the house and didn’t feel like going to the store for ¼ cup of full-fat dairy. I also wanted to add more garlic but didn’t. Do you also always want to tweak here or there? Can’t leave anything alone!
Winter comfort food
I started with the Whole Wheat Pasta with Walnut Sauce and Swiss Chard, a perfect dish for the winter in the north, which we’re told is based on a pasta dish from Liguria in Northern Italy. Additionally, my granddaughter was staying over and since her mother is allergic to tree nuts, this would be something she’d never have a home. Once I said the word spaghetti, she was all in!
In the time it takes for the pasta to cook
We can almost always find local Swiss chard, and the rest of the ingredients were all from the pantry. You could easily substitute spinach or another hearty green here if you can’t find the chard. In the time it took the water to boil and the pasta to cook, everything else was ready and waiting. I like that in a weeknight pasta dish.
A hit with all
The dish was delightful, and everyone loved it; a double thumbs up from the kid! Extremely rich and creamy, even though there was no cream in it! The walnuts were indeed the star, and the nuttiness of the whole wheat pasta complimented them. There was only one tablespoon of lemon juice in the sauce, and if I make this again, I would bump this up; with so much pasta, the lemon didn’t even seem to have a presence or cut the richness, and the recipe made a lot! While it says it will feed 4 to 6, we got eight good servings out of this.
Now, for a bean dish
The second dish I made was Spicy White Beans with Tahini, Lemon, and Parsley, based on a Turkish dish called “Piyaz.” You can put this together in 15 minutes, and it is full of flavor and spice. The recipe calls for a basic lemon and tahini dressing tossed with white beans that have been warmed with cumin and coriander seeds and garlic that have bloomed in olive oil. The recipe called for 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, but no zest. I made the dish as written and tasted it. It was really good. Then I couldn’t resist, I added the zest of that lemon, and it was even better.
Beautiful full-page photos
One of the best aspects of the cookbook is the beautiful photography. Every recipe is presented shot with a full-page glossy photo. This is always a plus for me! Takes a lot of guesswork out of the process, and gets the mouth watering as well!
Budget and time friendly
Is this book going to “change the way America Cooks?” not really, but the bottom line is that whether you are a fan of Kimball or not, the book has some good basics, and simple introduction to flavors from other countries; if you want to spread your wings, have a little fun on a Tuesday night, and try something new in terms of spices, but don’t have a lot of extra time, you’ll find some good ideas here that won’t break the bank. The ingredients are easily sourced for the most part, and suggestions are made for possible substitutions. For instance, a recipe called for ground sumac, and let you know you could substitute a little lemon juice if it couldn’t be found.
Does this cookbook deserve a place on my shelf? Yes, I would buy this, drool over the photographs, get some inspiration, and make it my way.
My bio from the website:
I’m a writer, cook, gardener, photographer, poet, quilter, and accomplished daydreamer. I’m also a wife, mother, grandmother, and sister. cousin, aunt, and friend, in no particular order on any given day.
I’ve been a writer all my life, newspaper reporter and columnist, radio news writer, magazine contributor, and poet and short-story writer as the spirit moves. Now, I turn my attention to my cookbook, the blog, and a cooking column “Memorable Meals,” which runs in our county newspaper. Besides my family, I love dogs, cats, good coffee, and my never-dwindling pile of books I intend to read.
Our family ran a small Vermont Inn for 18 years, with our focus on local, organic ingredients. After many years of daily serving up our local delicacies, cooking classes, and catering, we are now only open for special events, and the odd cooking class as the spirit moves me. We also host musicians and artists, having helped produce a musical festival and other musical events for nearly 20 years. Many incredible artists have found a place at our table. Wonderful experiences, we will treasure always.
My family and friends are my practice subjects. With a family that includes nut, peanut, tree fruit, and vegetable allergies, gluten intolerance, dairy intolerance, vegetarians, vegans, heart conscious, and a couple of picky eaters, there have to be a few quick tricks in the book to keep everyone fed and happy! Personally, I do not eat red meat or most dairy (usually) for health reasons, making the occasional exception at Thanksgiving and Christmas or our anniversary if the duck is locally raised. I eat fish and seafood, so I try to come up with alternatives and substitutions when available. I serve local organic eggs and cheeses to my family who can tolerate dairy (My husband recently had a heart attack, and I need to watch my own cholesterol so I am careful but have been known to let a little piece of really good cheese accidentally fall on my plate!).
I believe strongly that eating in a way that is good for our planet is also good for our bodies!
I cook by the seasons and draw on inspiration from the strong and talented women in my family who came before me, as well as the youth in the family who look at the world with fresh eyes. Food links us all, whether sharing a meal, cooking it together, or writing about it for others to enjoy.
I love taking an old recipe and giving it a modern spin, especially if I can make it a little healthier and use foods that are kinder to the Earth and to our bodies. I believe strongly in the sustainable, delicious eating of whole foods, and the wonderful flavors we have at our fingertips!
And finally, I love conversing with all the talented cooks and chefs out there who dot the globe! It’s a wonderful, world full of culinary pen pals, and I cherish them all!
Thank you Dot for your gift of time and expertise and for joining me in this project. It is always a pleasure to find Dorothy’s post (https://vintagekitchen.org/about/), in my inbox. I think you should check out her blog. I know you will become a fan.