There is so much I like about Everyday Food: Great Food Fast it's hard to know where to start. For one thing, it's the kind of book I wish I had written, filled with delicious recipes that don't take forever to make. And it's just what's needed by all my friends who don't know where the kitchen is in their own homes. The recipes are culled from the popular Everyday Food magazine, published by Martha Stewart Living. They not only teach how to cook, but how to use ingredients and how to shop and eat seasonally. Eating seasonally is one of the keys to eating well, not to mention economically.
Most of the recipes are healthy ones. With detailed information about how long each recipe will take to prepare and cook, this book should help dispel the myth that getting dinner on the table is a long and arduous business. Each recipe is accompanied by a photograph so you can get a sense of what the finished dish will be like. Even an accomplished cook will find little tidbits here to learn from. I liked the suggestion of making a quick sauce from olive oil, parley and garlic and how to make Creamy Corn Soup using just corn, butter and a pinch of salt and all the hearty yet vegetarian recipes like Baked Ravioli and Warm Quinoa, Spinach and Shiitake Salad.
I do have a few quibbles. Call me a purist, but I don't approve of overcooking risotto (please don't cook it for 30 minutes!) or adding to half and half to Spaghetti Carbonara. Also, a number of the soups have heavy cream in them that really don't need it (such as the Potato-Leek, and Creamy Parsnip). I like that there is nutritional information for the recipes but I don't understand why it was put in the back of the book, instead of with the recipes themselves. But these are all minor complaints. Most importantly the recipes are straightforward, appealing, easy to make and generally pretty good for you.
Creamy Fettuccine with Asparagus
Serves 4 Prep time 15 minutes Total time 30 minutes
1/4 cup pine nuts
Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
3/4 pound fettuccine
(or thick strand pasta)
2 bunches asparagus, trimmed, halved lengthwise, and cut crosswise into thirds
4 ounces creamy goat cheese, broken into pieces
2 tablespoons grainy mustard
2 tablespoons snipped fresh dill leaves
1. In a small skilled over medium heat, toast the pine nuts, stirring often until golden, 2 to 3 minutes.
2. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the fettuccine until al dente, according to the package instructions, adding the asparagus during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water;drain
3. Return pasta, asparagus, and reserved pasta water to the pot. Toss with the goat cheese, mustard, dill and toasted pine nuts. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Reprinted from EVERYDAY FOOD by Martha Stewart Living. Copyright © 2007 Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc.