Cooking from Books - Molly Baz

Hello hello! Today we're talking food again- specifically about cookbooks. I mentioned in my monthly goals that I've been going through a bit of a cooking slump and in order to get over that, I've been borrowing cookbooks from the library. Trying different cuisines and recipes from chefs always helps to inspire me, and I feel like I'm back in the cooking game!

I'll be sharing a full day of eats from different cookbooks that I'm trying out, and today we're going to start out with Molly Baz's Cook This Book. I've been following Molly for a while and love her low-key approach to cooking. I knew this would be a fun cookbook and was definitely right! One of my favorite parts of this book is how interactive it is- there are QR codes sprinkled throughout which bring up videos to demonstrate some cooking techniques. I learned a lot from these and got to practice new skills and play with new flavors. 

Here are some of the recipes I tried out along with my thoughts-



Breakfast

Jammy Eggs with Yogurt and Brown Buttered Nuts (pg 125)

As I was looking through the book, this recipe immediately caught my eye. I love jammy eggs (when the yolk is just set but still very, very soft) and everything else sounded like it would mesh very well. The recipe is based on a Turkish dish, so I was really excited to try it out!

The method was pretty simple but used a bit of time management. There were three main components- the eggs, the yogurt sauce, and the nuts. Nothing was too difficult to cook, and it was ready pretty quickly and easily. 

The end product tasted a bit too heavy to me but had really great flavor and texture. I served it with a side of naan, but I think this could have used some arugula or something to lighten up the taste and have a contrast from all of the fat in the dish (or maybe even used less butter).

My Rating - 3.5/5. Interesting and fun new way for me to prepare eggs, but would modify it a bit if I made again.



 Lunch

Tomato Toast with Cheddar and Smoky Mayo (pg 247)

Everyone has one of those dishes that they always order if it's on a menu, and for me that's tomato toast. I know it's a weird thing to always order, but it always tastes amazing, is a more uncommon item, and reminds me of Spain (where it's on every menu as pan on tomate). So- this recipe was a no-brainer.

There are a few really unique things about this recipe- you start with mayo that is mixed with paprika, garlic, and lemon. Smear that on a toasted, crusty, oily piece of bread, then top with thickly shaved cheddar. Finally, add on the tomato and some chives. It's an absolutely perfect dish that I've made multiple times and I know it's going to be a new favorite dish! One of those things that's so simple but also completely satisfying. If you try one recipe from this post, make this one.

My Rating - 5/5, duh!


Caesar-ish Potato Salad with Radishes and Dill (pg 220)

Dan and I both love potato salad, and I'm always looking for new and interesting ways to make it. This recipe wasn't too different or unique, but I liked the addition of radish and dill. The caesar-ish dressing didn't really make an impact (when Dan saw the tin of sardines out he asked why I was putting them in and asked me to leave them out...that was after I already made it and he tried it so he obviously didn't taste them in the dressing). 

One thing I did notice in this and other recipes is Molly uses a lot of salt. I always try to follow the recipe exactly and actually measure out the seasonings to make sure I'm making it like the chef wants us to, and for almost every recipe it's come out too salty for my taste. She always mentions to salt to taste at the end, but after using her measurements I haven't needed any additional! This is all personal preference though, but if you follow any recipes in the book maybe just salt to taste the entire time instead of following measurements from the start.

My Rating - 3.5/5. Good, basic potato salad with a crunchy twist.


Dinner

Marinated Lentils with Spiced Walnuts (pg 165)

I did cheat on this recipe a bit- I couldn't find dried lentils at the store so I bought steamed ones. With that substitution this ended up being a super quick supper that was ready in just about 10 minutes! I absolutely loved this dish, way more than I expected to. 

The dressing had so many different flavors and textures from the vinegar and oil, the walnut and raisins. Topping it off with the feta gave a hint of creaminess, and the basil just finished it off with an herby note. It made my entire mouth sing! I also ate this on top of some romaine, making sort of a lettuce wrap, and I think I preferred that even more! I made this quite a few times and each time was better than the last.

My Rating - 5/5. Super quick and simple (especially with pre-made lentils) and really satisfying.



Quick Reviews on other recipes I tried in the book-

Roasted Eggplant with Pickled Raisin and Basil Dressing (pg 212) - 4/5. Fun and delicious recipe to use up eggplants that I saw at the farmers market and a great side dish!

Roasted Salmon with Marinated Olives and Potato Chips (pg 115) - 5/5. Loved this method of low and slow cooking and sauce was delicious.

Perfect Poached Eggs with Spiced Chickpeas and Smothered Pita Chips (pg 135) - 3/5. Nothing too special but I learned a new poaching technique! Also great as leftovers.

Ants on a Log Cel Sal (pg 189) - 4/5. Soooo good and great mix of textures. Does not taste great the next day though!


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