“Food for Thought” Cookbook book club – Martha Stewart Everyday Food: Great Food Fast cookbook

“Food for Thought” Cookbook book club – Martha Stewart Everyday Food:  Great Food Fast cookbook

For our third meeting of the “Food for Thought” cookbook book club, we focused on Martha Stewart’s “Everyday Food Great Food Fast” cookbook and the “Everyday Food” Magazine’s recipes.

I’ve watched Martha Stewart’s cooking shows, seen her as a guest on the Today Show and commonly read her magazines.  Personally, I’ve always thought that many of her recipes are not for the average cook.  Many seem very complicated, require uncommon ingredients, involve methods that are long and arduous, and generally have an uppity style.  But I haven’t found that to be the case with her “Everyday Food” magazine or recipes.   It features quick and easy recipes targeted at supermarket shoppers and the every day cook.  Unfortunately, the magazine stopped its print versions in December 2012, but you still can enjoy the recipes in the printed cookbooks and online.

Sharon hosted this month’s gathering.  Our evening began with a glass of strawberry rhubarb sangria that Val made.

Strawberry rhubarb sangria

Strawberry rhubarb sangria

It was the perfect drink for June with the local strawberries just coming into season.  This sangria was made with Prosecco sparkling wine so it had a bubbly and fruity taste.  Val described the process of assembling the drink and quantified it as “easy” to make.  Often dubbed “the pie plant,” it was interesting to see rhubarb used for another purpose.  It made a festive start to our dinner that kicked off the summer season.

To accompany our cocktail, Pat made artichoke-parmesan crostini as our appetizer.

Artichoke-parmesan crostini

Artichoke-parmesan crostini

This appetizer had great flavor and looked beautiful arranged on the platter.  Pat quantified the recipe as “easy” to make.  It made a good portion – plenty for a party.  It is safe to serve in the summer heat since it doesn’t include any mayo or sour cream and would be perfect for vegetarians.

Sharon started grilling the main dinner entrée:  grilled Tuscan chicken with rosemary and lemon.

Grilled Tuscan chicken with rosemary and lemon

Grilled Tuscan chicken with rosemary and lemon

The chicken was juicy from basting it with lemon juice while it’s grilling.  It also had tons of flavors from the mix of lemon juice, olive oil, rosemary and garlic! Sharon quantified the recipe as “easy” to make and commented that she would make it again.

Accompanying the chicken were three side dishes and biscuits.  Susan made a corn and zucchini orzo salad.

Corn and zucchini orzo salad

Corn and zucchini orzo salad

It had a very light and delicious flavor.  She commented that the recipe was “easy” to make and that it made a very large amount – a good dish for a party.  This will be a great recipe to make as the native corn comes into season in a few weeks.

Val made asparagus and green beans with chili-orange oil.

Asparagus and green beans with chili-orange oil

Asparagus and green beans with chili-orange oil

The vegetables were crispy with a lively flavor from the olive oil that was infused with orange zest and red pepper flakes.  She quantified the recipe as easy to make, but noted to be careful when making the infused oil not to burn it.

For our final side dish, Terri made French fingerling potato salad. Parsley, thyme, shallots and red onion give the Dijon mustard vinaigrette a good boost of flavors.  Not just as picnic fare, this potato salad is versatile as a “go-with-anything” summer side.

French fingerling potato salad

French fingerling potato salad

Terri quantified the recipe as easy to make.  She also noted that it was important to allow the potatoes to sit in the vinaigrette before serving so the flavors have time to work together.

To cap off our main meal, Terri also made sweet potato biscuits.

Sweet potato biscuits

Sweet potato biscuits

They were light and flaky and had a beautiful golden orange color.   She noted that the recipe was easy and that she had microwaved and mashed the potatoes instead of making the puree as noted within the recipe.  While we served them as a side to our meal, I also think they would be perfect for breakfast alongside eggs and bacon or sausage.

As all the elements blended on the plate, it made for a wonderful meal.  We commented how amazing it is that each of these dishes came together to create such a flavorful dinner.

All the elements blended on the plate to make a wonderful meal

All the elements blended on the plate to make a wonderful meal

For dessert, I made a key lime tart.  I’m not a big dessert baker, but in the spirit of cookbook club’s goals to broader our cooking experiences, I thought I would give it a try.

Key lime tart

Key lime tart

The tart was very simple to make.  I was amazed at how little juice comes from a lime and how many limes you need to juice in order to get the amount called for in the recipe.  The pie was light and flavorful.  It made me think of summer and the Florida Keys – which is where the key limes grow.  The tart had a graham cracker crush which is common to this type of pie.

For our “take-home treat,” I made raspberry scones.

The recipe specifically said it was “fast” and I would agree.  However, the raspberries are very delicate berries and I found them difficult to fold into the dough.  This made it a somewhat messy process.

Raspberry scones

Raspberry scones

I packaged our “take-home treats” in cute gift bags with a flavored tea and coffee – perfect for the next morning or afternoon snack.

Our “take-home treats” in cute gift bags with a flavored tea and coffee

Our “take-home treats” in cute gift bags with a flavored tea and coffee

In total, nine dishes were made from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food recipe collection.  Each dish was very yummy and made for a wonderful summer-themed meal.  We had another amazing meal and fun gathering.

Nine dishes were made from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food recipe collection

Nine dishes were made from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food recipe collection

Our next meeting is scheduled for mid September.  Susan is hosting.  We’ve selected the Betty Crocker cookbook as our focus – a timeless collections of recipes.  It will be a fun “retro-style” themed dinner featuring recipes that will bring forward past memories.

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