Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Food Americana: The Roundup

It's time for the roundup of Cook the Books' Club June-July edition for which we read Food Americana by David Page. 
As I've done in the past, I will present our club members' contributions as a menu organized in courses. For each dish, I will give you the official information (author, blog name and post title) and a quote from it, a taste: follow the link and read the author's take of the book and how the reading inspired the cooking. 

Cook the Books Club's Food Americana-Inspired Menu 

Smoked Salmon Breakfast Bagel 
Connecticut-Style Lobster Rolls
Za'atar Bagels 

Mexican Taquitos    

Three-Chile Mole
Everything But The Bagel & Nova Salmon Cottage Cheese Bowl
Ethiopian Red Lentil Stew

No Churn Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Avocado Sherbet

Make yourself comfortable and enjoy the menu.

"The food descriptions were remarkable, the history interesting and the personalities of the people who brought and introduced the foods to America were charming.  The only problem with this book was that I came back from each walk starving and ate up all the calories I had just burned LOL... My recipe was taken from the chapter where we met Russ and Daughters who introduced bagels and lox to New York City.  I had everything on hand that I needed for this sandwich that I enjoyed for lunch after my morning walk."

"Page details and I already knew there were two distinct kinds of lobster rolls: Maine-style vs. Connecticut-style. After testing both, I realized... I vastly prefer Connecticut lobster rolls!... Maine-style lobster rolls are served cold, tossed in a mixture of mayonnaise, tarragon, celery, and scallions. Served on a buttered, toasted bun, this is the kind of lobster roll you'll likely find most easily. Connecticut-style lobster rolls hold the mayonnaise and bring on the butter. Yep. I'm sold already. Then they are served warm with more butter."

Camilla of Culinary Cam baked Za'atar Bagels 

"For this post, I was inspired by Page's discussion of Russ & Daughters in New York. They are 'Not just any bagel. Russ & Daughters makes their own, two-hundred-dozen a day, triple that on holidays, each bagel hand-rolled, boiled, and baked in the traditional way, on burlap-covered wooden planks in a rotating deck oven with six deep shelves...' Once I got the hang of bagels, I make them about every other week. I've made them with poppy seeds, with salt, with dried cranberries, and more. But the bagel I'm sharing today is my Za'atar-Dusted Bagel."

Cathy of Delaware Girl Eats baked an Mexican Taquitos (El Indio's Specialty)

"I’m awfully fond of Mexican cuisine and seek out the real deal when I’m in a part of the country where it’s truly authentic, in other words not along the East Coast. This is how I ended up at the El Indio Restaurant in San Diego which has been in business for over 80 years... they do indeed offer masterful Mexican food. So when I read Food Americana and saw in the chapter 'Mexican Food in the US' that this restaurant was highlighted, I read avidly about the history of the place and its long-time owner/operators who produce 'authentic Mexican food."

Camilla of Culinary Cam prepared Tree-Chile Mole 

"Mole just means sauce - a sauce made with chiles. And Cesario Ruiz of My Mom's Mole likened it to curry. 'It's a like a Mexican curry. You know, every cook has a different way of making it and each curry tastes different', Ruiz said. 'And you can taste the time, love, and passion in each one.' 'This is a big process', he says. 'You have to fry each ingredient one by one. In the end, you blend.' (Food AmericanaThis definitely takes time and I have tried to streamline the process by grouping them as they are prepared. Then they all come together in the end."

Claudia of Honey from Rock prepared A Good BBQ

"I decided to go with BBQ as my inspired dish from the book, or from life anyway.  Bob was asked to do the grilling honors on Father's Day and I made the barbecue sauce.  This sauce has a double purpose, getting grass-fed steaks tender and tasty.  We had opened a ripe (we thought) pineapple, which as it turned out was on the tart side.  Perfect I thought for helping to tenderize the meat. Pineapple has an enzyme in it called bromelain, found in the flesh of the pineapple and in the juice as well. Bromelain is a fast-working meat tenderizer that is great for tough cuts of steak. But you don't want to leave it too long, as the meat could end up on the mushy side.  Good thing the coals didn't take any longer to get ready!"

As a creator and producer of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, Page knows how to keep it interesting and I'd recommend this book to any foodie looking for a good read. Although my new job has me working from home which lessens my commute, it also means that I need to come up with quick and easy, healthy home lunches. A new favorite way to get lots of protein is making cottage cheese bowls. Cottage cheese has had a big comeback this year and has become the cauliflower of the healthy eating world. I decided to take inspiration from the chapter on bagels and make a bowl with Nova salmon and everything but the bagel-spiced cottage cheese, along with some other toppings that might be found on a bagel and some Everything But the Bagel Chips. 

Simona of briciole (your host) prepared Ethiopian Red Lentil Stew

"[T]he reading got me thinking about how living in the U.S. has brought me into contact with cuisines from around the world, of which the Ethiopian one is a favorite. So I decided to make a favorite dish among those that are served at Ethiopian restaurants when you order the vegetarian combo, which consists of an injera (the traditional flat bread made with teff flour) spread on a large plate and topped with small mounds of various dishes, one of which is Misir Wot (or Misir Wat), a spicy red lentil stew."

decided to take inspiration from the ice cream section.  I have a feeling that the ice cream chapter would have a strong opinion about no churn ice cream and its air content (but they were in to super weird flavors).  However, no churn is what I have since I’m not willing to buy an ice cream machine at this time. I’ve made several different no churn ice creams, but I've never made the classic: vanilla! As always, no churn ice cream is silky smooth with a great punch of flavor from the vanilla bean."

Debra of Eliot's Eats prepared Avocado Sherbet

"I really enjoyed learning about the history [of ice cream]. Apparently the ice cream cone 'became a sensation at the World’s Fair of 1904 and kicked off a boom in ice cream consumption nationwide' (196)... Maybe the most surprising history and testimony to ice cream’s restorative powers, came during WWII:  “'t was considered so important for America’s troops to get ice cream during World War Two that an ice cream manufacturing plant was set up on a barge in the South Pacific. Military doctors prescribed ice cream to help soldiers recover from combat fatigue' (196)... I decided to try a weird recipe that my sister found in a retro cookbook mom had when we were growing up:  Avocado Sherbet."

A great Thank you! to everyone who joined in this edition of Cook the Books.

I believe all the submissions I have received are presented in the roundup. If you find anything missing or in need of amendment anywhere in the roundup, please do let me know.

And now, I’ll pass the baton to Deb of Kahakai Kitchen who is hosting the August-September edition in which we are reading the novel Love & Saffron by Kim Fay.

Arrivederci a presto!

Simona, of briciole


Camilla Mann said...

Thanks so much for hosting. What an inspiring book! I can't wait to read the recipes that the others made.

Lori said...

I also enjoyed this book. I'm off to check out the recipes that everyone made.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I read the book, and I enjoyed it, but I wasn't interested in preparing anything from the book.

Amy said...

THanks for hosting! It was a fun pick!

Simona Carini said...

You're welcome, Cam. I am so glad you enjoyed the book and I saw that it definitely inspired you :)

Glad you enjoyed the reading, Lori :)

Glad you enjoyed the book, Deb :)

You're welcome, Amy. I am glad you liked the book :)

Unknown said...

Great and varied round-up! Thanks for posting!
Debra Eliot's Eats

Delaware Girl Eats said...

I thought this was an enjoyable read and a great choice for the group. Thanks for pointing us to this book! cathy b

Simona Carini said...

You're welcome, Debra :)

I'm glad you enjoyed the reading, Cathy, and you're welcome :)