I’ve spent the last few weeks cooking my way through Dining In and have not regretted it. At one point, while eating Chicories with Anchovy Bread Crumbs and Egg Yolks, Dave asked Vivianne if she remembers “when we just ate normal food.” But then, although he did not care for the bitter salad, he admitted the Anchovy Bread Crumbs were delicious. Maybe not life changing for him, but life changing for me.
Based on the number of recipes I have made from this book, I’m obviously an addict. I also eat a few bunches of greens (kale, mustard, etc) every week and am down five pounds… So fine.
And apparently, I’m not the only one. When I ordered the book, it cost $17 for the hardcover. I ordered a gift for a friend at that price (it’s on back order, but will hopefully be heading her way soon). Now, it looks like they increased the price to $27. They are struggling to keep it in stock (I had to wait for my copy as well).
The author, Alison Roman, insists that the ingredients are easy to find – but she lives in New York. I have found that even Lunds/Byerlys doesn’t quite cut it – but I am yet to come up short when I shop at Whole Foods, so I switched stores (and honestly feel like I’m saving money and getting fresher produce and meat – all good news). Most of these recipes would work in rural America, but a few would take some tweaking and/or planning (e.g. I’m not sure you’ll find endives, dry chorizo, or ground lamb hanging out on the shelves in Roseau – but I may be wrong).
I also never truly understood the importance of breadcrumbs in my life until now. I knew I was hooked when I was grabbing the Spicy Herby Breadcrumbs to top my pizza instead of pepper flakes. These little bits of crunchy, oily flavor are finding their way on top of eggs, salads, and many mushy dishes that need some extra texture.
I don’t know much about Alison, but my guess is she doesn’t eat with children. The cuts on her veggies and salads require two hands to eat, not the one hand Dave and I find ourselves with often during dinner time. In fact, her salad chapter is called “knife and fork salads.” We change the cuts and focus on function more than beauty.
Although these meals tend to look fancier than I normally cook – they truly are “highly cookable.” Meaning that even on days where Vivianne is hanging on my leg and Leroy is giving me 10 minutes at a time without crying, I can whip these out. I’m not sure I’d buy the cookbook at the inflated price, but if you find it for under $20 – I highly recommend.
I’m bad at remembering the pre-meal picture, but here are a few, followed by a quick review of the recipes I’ve tried to-date.
Pics (clockwise) – 1) Paprika Rubbed Chicken (Cornish Head) with Raw and Roasted Carrot and Fennel (and Dave’s goofy fork); 2) Eggs and Kale friend in Chicken Fat, World’s Luckiest Biscuits; 3) Cocoa Banana Bread; 4) Choco Chunk Shortbread
Alison on Twitter:
- Cocoa Banana Bread: News flash: it’s cake. And it tastes and looks amazing.
- Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread, or Why Would I make Another Chocolate Chip Cookie Ever Again: Yes, that’s the official name of the recipe. Again, delicious and beautiful. Apparently the internet is going cray cray over these shortbread cookies – I don’t blame them.
- The World’s Luckiest Biscuits: I often fail at biscuits. First batch was a bit doughy, but the closest to good I’ve ever been. So I tried it again, and batch #2 was improved. I trust this recipe more than others, so I’ll keep working on my biscuit game.
- Paprika-rubbed sheet-pan chicken with lemon: I did these with some Cornish Hens we had in the freezer, which made this a weekday meal instead of a weekend meal. We loved it.
- Chicken Soup with Toasted Garlic, Mushrooms, and Celery (using the Golden Chicken Broth with Turmeric and Garlic): Great alternative to the regular old chicken soup. One of the larger efforts I made (because of the homemade broth), but worth it.
- Hanger Steak with Dandelion, Arugula, and Grana Padano: Really, a steak salad. Simple and good.
- Anchovy-Butter Chicken with Chicken Fat Croutons: I ate these croutons hot and cold. I would shovel them into my mouth if it was an option. The chicken was also perfect and this recipe was so dang easy and mainly made with pantry items. This was a winner all around.
- Slow Salmon with Citrus and Herb Salad: It was fine.
- Crispy chicken legs with rosemary, tiny potatoes, and sour cream: Eh, the chicken felt greasy (lots of olive oil used on this one to cook, and then it’s crisped in a pan after). I’ll probably try this one again to see if I made an error along the way.
- Crispy Chickpeas and Lamb with Greens and Garlicky Yogurt: Mine didn’t crisp up, which made this one lack texture. She mentions this problem in the recipe, so I’ll probably try one more time to see if I can get it right.
- Baked Eggs with Crushed Chickpeas, Chorizo, and Bread Crumbs: Dave, who is the king of savory breakfast, LOVED this one. It was real tasty.
- Eggs and Kale Fried in Chicken Fat: I’ve made a lot of fried eggs in my day, none turned out this perfect.
- Raw and Roasted Carrots and Fennel with Feta and Pistachios: This salad is served cold. You can make it five hours ahead of time – which I’ll be doing when we have friends over to grill at the new house.
- Chicories with Anchovy Bread Crumbs and Egg Yolk: I think the egg yolks made me nervous so I didn’t use the recommended amount. And without that, the salad was too bitter. So probably my fault, but this one was too big city for us. (It’s the only thing Dave threw in the garbage without eating). The breadcrumbs on their own – delicious.
- Raw and Roasted Kale with Pistachios and Creamy Pecorino: Perfect simple salad. The roasted kale gives it a little something extra.