Thursday, April 4, 2024

Relish: The Roundup

It's time for the roundup of Cook the Books' Club February-March edition for which we read Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley. 
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 Relish-Inspired Menu 

Chai Latte 

Sweet Potato Sushi    

"Mom's Pesto" Cream Tortellini

Skillet-cooked Asparagus with Eggs

"The Best" Chocolate Chip Cookies I
Oatmeal Crispies
Assortment of Cookies
"The Best" Chocolate Chip Cookies II

Make yourself comfortable and enjoy the menu.

This is one of the more enjoyable memoirs I've read. As a cartoonist, Knisley writes about her childhood in graphic novel format, which lends itself to this foodie memoir. At the ends of chapters, she adds graphic recipes which are informative and visually appealing... In the book, the author includes a recipe for the 'spice tea' her mother used to make. I made my own tweaks to the recipe, omitting the black tea in favor of espresso and adding brown sugar right away instead of adding honey later. The result is a sweet, spicy syrup that’s perfect for a morning latte."

"Vegetable Sushi containing Sweet Potato Fries, Avocado, and Cucumber makes a wonderful appetizer, snack, or light meal. The star of this sushi is the sweet potato fry that you roll up with cucumber and avocado. Knisley gives you step-by-step instructions for this sushi in comic-book fashion... I used equal parts of flour and water... These fries were delicious and I was a little worried that I would not have enough for the sushi as we kept snacking on them beforehand. I don't think that I have read a comic book since I was 9 or 10 years old... I had fun reading a comic again, especially since it contained recipes."

"I love Knisley's illustrations--they really capture the essence of the food and the colors are so appealing... I have been craving pesto so I decided to make her 'Mom's Pesto' recipe in the book. Knisley gives a host of ideas for using the pesto but I decided to make it into a slightly creamy sauce for cheese tortellini... I used the recipe sketch in the book as a guide even though pesto is pretty common and easy to make... To me, getting the balance of salt and olive oil right and using the freshest basil possible is what makes for good pesto."

"One of the mentions I was inspired to try was her mom's Stacked Enchiladas (P. 141) with homemade mole, fresh queso fresco, green salsa and black beans. Which I did. We enjoyed it, quite delicious! Here comes the 'however' they were not as advertised in my online search, easier than the traditional sort. Too much fussing about for me. So, a few nights later I thought, since there were more tortillas and black beans, I'd try an Enchilada Casserole, for an easier prep., and liked it even better, for that. To go with it, we had Mexican Rice, a very good thing to do with left-over rice, as an alternative to Fried Rice, my usual go to. That turned out perfect."

Simona of briciole (your host) prepared Skillet-Cooked Asparagus with Eggs

"I was inspired by her mother's garden bounty to prepare asparagus, whose season has recently started here... In recent years, I've cooked asparagus many times, always in the oven, usually topped with sesame seeds. I somehow forgot my desire to eat asparagus with eggs until a recipe for asparagus cooked in a skillet in a recent Saveur newsletter made me want not only to try the method but also to finally put an egg on top."

"Ah! It's Valentine's Day, and what says love better than cookies? I've just finished my reread of Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley, and it's time to try Lucy's The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies... Could these be the world's best chocolate chip cookies?"  
Simona's answer: each reader is invited to answer for themselves :)  

"Some of these family favorites became part of my own cooking routines. Others turned out to be so laborious as not to be embarked on and remained preserved in the library alone.  Among the keepers however were mom’s oatmeal chocolate chip crispy cookies which are always a hit with family and friends... I gravitated immediately to the chapter entitled 'Cookies are all about comfort – sometimes something simple can comfort the most', and to her recipe for 'the best chocolate chip cookies'.  With all due respect, I beg to differ that her cookies are the best. That honor goes to my mom."

Marg of The Intrepid Reader baked an assortment of Cookies

"The thing that pleased me most as I was reading was how much it made me smile... Now, I was somewhat determined to not cook something sweet to share with this review, but ... that's what ended up happening. I had asked my husband what he wanted to bake one weekend recently, and he said cookies. I had a new cookie recipe to try! So it was meant to be."

"One can’t help but smile a bit after reading every single page... I was drawn (pun intended) to a few of her recipes. We’re always on the lookout for a new “best” chocolate chip cookie recipe so I tried that first... The salt sprinkle is the SECRET WEAPON!!!! You know those chocolate chip cookies that have the crispy edges but are soft and tender (and delicious). These are those cookies. Truly best cookies ever and I have posted that claim before. I think this time it stands."

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 Mastering the Art of French Murder by Colleen Cambridge.

Arrivederci a presto!

Simona, of briciole


Debra Eliotseats said...

I love how you present the "menu." Thanks for hosting. Those really are the BEST cookies!

Delaware Girl Eats said...

so many cookies this time. thanks to Simona

Simona Carini said...

Thank you, Debra. The cookies were definitely a big hit :)

You're welcome, Cathy :)