Monday, January 12, 2009

Cookbook Casting Call: First Book and First Menu

As promised yesterday, here is the first post of the Cookbook Casting Call series and the first menu planned from the book.

First the cookbook.

Back in 2006 I was asked by Cathy at A Blithe Palate to take part in a Cookbook Spotlight for Mitchell Davis' fine book, Kitchen Sense: More than 600 Recipes to Make You a Great Home Cook.

Cookbook Open Casting Call: Kitchen Sense Mitchel Davis

Since then I've made a few more recipes from this book, including memorizing the recipe for Deep Dark Chocolate Frosting.

All the recipes I've made have turned out quite wonderful and I don't have any complaints with the exception that a beginning cook may find the lack of any pictures or diagrams disconcerting. Otherwise, it is a pretty solid general cookbook.

Now for the menu.

Items from Kitchen Sense are marked by an *. Also, I have the same thing for breakfast every day: 1 cup plain yogurt with a 1/2 a cup of fresh fruit and a 1/2 of cup of honey granola. The only day I don't have this for breakfast is Saturday when I either have one brown sugar Pop Tart or treat myself to pancakes at a diner in town. So, there is no breakfast on the menu.

Menu for 1/11 - 1/17: Week One Cookbook Casting Call and Winter Pantry Plan

Sunday 1/11:
Dinner: Split Pea Soup* and homemade bread

Monday 1/12:
Lunch: Split Pea Soup with one slice of homemade bread
Dinner: Omelet made with left over salmon loaf and a small spinach salad

Tuesday 1/13:
Lunch: Spinach Chicken Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette*
Dinner: Seafood Pasta with two slices of homemade garlic bread

Wednesday 1/14:
Lunch: In NYC at Lincoln Center for meetings, lunch at La Boite en Bois
Dinner: Spaghetti Frittata* with leftover Spinach Chicken Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette
Dessert: Wartime Wednesday Surprise

Thursday 1/15:
Lunch: Leftover Seafood Pasta and garlic bread
Dinner: Turnip Potato Galatte* and salad

Friday 1/16:
Lunch: Leftover Spaghetti Frittata
Dinner: Chicken Italian Sausages and leftover Turnip Potato Galatte

Saturday 1/17: Out of town for both lunch and dinner

I think that menu should put Kitchen Sense to a good final test and the menu also adheres to the Pantry Plan as I have all the ingredients for these dishes already on hand.

I made the split pea soup yesterday while I was baking online with Sara and I used some of the country ham I brought back from Tennessee at Thanksgiving. It is the best split pea soup I've ever had. I used two types of peas, yellow and green

Dry Split Pea Mix for Split Pea Soup

and used some left over chopped onion and half a bag of baby carrots that were about to go bad. I left out the celery and kale called for the recipe as written because I didn't have either on hand.

I also used up a box of my favorite commercial chicken stock I had in the fridge that I had just opened last week for just 2 Tbsp. Again, this wasn't in the original recipe but I didn't want the chicken stock to be wasted. Otherwise, I followed the recipe and it made enough that I was able to freeze about one quart for later this winter!

Split Pea Soup From Kitchen Sense
(You're right Stephanie. Soup doesn't photograph well)

Split Pea Soup
adapted from Kitchen Sense by Mitchell Davis

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow or white onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups sliced baby carrots (or 2 medium carrots chopped)
1 ham bone
2 cups cubed ham (optional)
1 bay leaf
2 tsp thyme (1 Tbsp if using fresh)
2 tsp Kosher salt
2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/2 lb yellow split peas
1/2 lb green split peas
4 cups chicken stock
2 1/2 cups water

In a large stock pot, heat the oil over medium high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and saute until soft. Add in garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add in carrots, ham bone and ham, bay leaf, thyme, kosher salt and ground pepper and stir. Add in peas, chicken stock, and water and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Continue to cook on low heat until peas break down when stirred vigorously, about another hour.

Serve with crusty bread and small salad.

Makes 2 quarts of soup