Saturday, May 29, 2010
Emeril's 20-40-60 Fresh Food Fast
Although I've watched Emeril on TV countless times, I had never tried one of his recipes or owned any of his books, until recently. I found a copy of Emeril 20-40-60 Fresh Food Fast in my mailbox, a direct result of my inability to respond to my featured selection at The Good Cooks Book Club. Never one to turn a cookbook away, I opened it up and was pleasantly surprised. Several of the recipes caught my attention and I was quickly enamored with it.
Emeril's 20-40-60 Fresh Food Fast is a very approachable book based on 20, 40, and 60 minute recipes with soups; starters; salads and dressings; sandwiches; pasta; rice and beans; vegetables; seafood; poultry; meat; and desserts in each chapter. Each recipe uses easy to find ingredients and offers fresh and simple flavors. A new recipe came to my attention each and every time I picked up the book and I found myself wanting to cook from it more and more for it's ease of use.
Emeril's Stir-Fried Chicken with Cashews was the first recipe I made. This chicken stir fry with red bell pepper and hoisin sauce was made even better by the addition of roasted cashews. Better yet, it was on the table in around 20 minutes, perfect for a busy night.
To go along with the Stir-Fried Chicken with Cashews, I made Emeril's Aromatic Jasmine Rice with one of my favorite new ingredients: coconut milk. Jasmine rice, ginger, lime zest, coconut milk, chicken broth and cilantro combine to make one tasty and extremely aromatic rice that will have you coming back for more. We enjoyed the rice and are busy thinking of other ways to use it.
Last week I had a couple bad days and only comfort food would do. I turned to Emeril's Creamy White Beans with Sausage. This dish was fantastic and featured one of my favorite ingredients: beans! I'm pretty sure I've shared my love for beans with you several times before today, but just in case....I adore beans. They definitely fall into the category of being one of my top five food cravings. In this recipe canned cannellini beans, garlic, spinach and smoked sausage are cooked with diced tomatoes to make a truly creamy, soul-satisfying dish that is sure to please. I went on carb overload, using a slice of toasted country bread slathered in garlic to sop up the beans. Carbs make everything better! The next time I make this, (and there will be a next time near in the future)I will leave out the smoked sausage. I do like smoked sausage in general, but would prefer the smooth creaminess of the beans without the interference that the sausage provides.
Speaking of cravings, I had also been craving a delicious and wonderfully messy steak and cheese sandwich. Emeril's Steak and Cheese Sandwich fit the bill very nicely. Onions were cooked until caramelized with thinly sliced sirloin steak, local KY Worcestershire sauce and crumbled blue cheese then placed on a buttered and toasted baguette. This was a delightfully messy sandwich with tons of flavor from both the blue cheese and the Worcestershire sauce. The steak was especially tender and cooked to perfection. A definite repeat for any future steak and cheese cravings.
Emeril's Cucumber Ribbon Salad looked so beautifully presented in the book that I had to give it a try. I was a little intimidated to try my hand at cucumber ribbons, but it was actually very easy with a vegetable peeler. The cucumber ribbons were mixed with olive oil, lemon juice, shallot, mint, and dill. Twirling the cucumber ribbon around on a fork like spaghetti was really fun and the salad was a total hit.
I am submitting both the Steak and Cheese Sandwich and the Cucumber Ribbon Salad to Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper Sundays roundup. Every Sunday Deb features a tasty roundup of soup, salad, and sammies over at her site.
Overall, I am really enjoying Emeril's 20-40-60 Fresh Food Fast. It has many great family-friendly recipes and also some wonderful and unique recipes for vegetables and side dishes. This is definitely a book I will enjoy pulling out and cooking from in the future.