It's very easy to make cooking whole, healthful ingredients seem hard, time consuming or expensive. What's hard though, is making it look easy—easy, affordable, absolutely doable every night of the week. Few people do that better than Caroline Wright, author of the new book Twenty-Dollar, Twenty-Minute Meals.
Caroline is the kind of thoughtful friend who just sends things in the mail—surprises—like a hand-knit baby blanket (when you're expecting your first babe), or a hand-written note on a notecard with a pair of Wellies on the front (because she pays attention to what moves you). So I wasn't entirely surprised when I got a slim, black and white bound book in the mail called Twenty-Dollar, Twenty Minute-Meals that she had written, photographed and published herself as a gift to her friends. Amazing. Who does that?
While that savvy, slim book sat on my nightstand as a reminder of all the things I believe in (creating, giving, chasing dreams), Caroline turned around and got that very book published by Workman Publishing and it's hitting the book stores this week. So now this very thoughtful collection of recipes is available to you, too.
When I saw the finished book, this time remade with a bright red cover and the same kind of creative recipes inside, my first thought was, yes! Omelets with Asparagus and Goat Cheese, Roasted Haloumi with Scallions, Cherry Tomatoes and Couscous, and Polenta with Mushrooms and Tellegio? Yes, please. This is the kind of simple, satisfying food cooks, like she and I, make at home at night, make for our friends, and want to get the next generation cooking, too. Because this is food to build a life on.
And this food is thoughtful. Kind of like Caroline. It minds your time and your dishes (one step, one-dirty-dish-only kind of meals), and rewards your effort with bright, surprising, delightful meals.
Take this dish, for example, that I cooked in honor of her Twenty-Dollar, Twenty-Minute Meal book launch party: Zuchini Ribbon Salad with Potatoes, Ricotta Salata, Dill, Peas + Radishes (recipe below). It has almost every one of my favorite foods in it, and puts them together in their easiest form. The potatoes are steamed, the radishes sliced, the zucchini shaved on a simple vegetable peeler. And the peas? No shelling required. Just pert, frozen peas brought to room temperature and tossed in raw. Easy. Peasy. And so, so good.
This is the kind of dish you'd happily make for one (and hoard the leftovers for your weekday work lunch), create to feed a young family (my toddler loved this!), or turn into an easy, spring-inspired dinner party fare. That's kind of the feel of all her food—it fits our modern lives, no matter who we are.
As for me, it's time to pack up that snap ware with the leftovers and head to work. I'll be looking forward to lunch even more than usual today.
Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Potatoes, Ricotta Salata, Dill, Peas + Radishes
Excerpted from Twenty-Dollar, Twenty-Minute Meals
Fill a large saucepan with water to a depth of 2 inches, add salt, and bring it to a simmer over low heat.
Arrange 8 small new potatoes (about 12 ounces total), halved, in a steamer basket and set the basket in the pan. Cover and steam the potatoes until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the potatoes and 1 cup frozen peas to a colander and run under cold water until the potatoes are cool and the peas hae thawed.
While the potatoes cook, use a vegetable peeler to shave 4 zucchini and/or yellow summer squash into a medium bowl in long, thin strips.
Add the potatoes and peas; 4 ounces ricotta salata, sliced; 1 cup sliced radishes; 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill; 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil; and 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper, toss, and serve.
Copyright 2013 by Caroline Wright
Used by permission of Workman Publishing Co., Inc. New York
All Rights Reserved
For more easy, delicious recipes like this one, check out these bloggers today as they celebrate Caroline's book!
- Food 52
- Sassy Radish
- Matt Bites
- Seven Spoons
- Devour Blog (CookingChannel.com)
- Gastronomer's Guide
- The Wright Recipes