Friday, September 15, 2017

F*ch, That's Delicious #AbramsDinnerParty

No, that's not my opinion of a recipe, that's the title of another book from the Abrams Dinner Party. They're sending me a whole bunch of new cookbooks at no cost to me. Wheeee!

First of all, Action Bronson, the author F*ck, That's Delicious, seems to be someone famous. Apparently, I'm not quite hip enough to know who he is, but that's fine. I don't know much about most of the authors of books that I read.

Yes, I said read.

While this has recipes, it's not really a cookbook in the traditional sense. The subtitle on this one is "An Annotated Guide to Eating Well." Okay then. 

In this book eating well does not have anything to do with wellness, or with drinking kale smoothies, or with eating quinoa casseroles. Instead, it's about what the author likes.

The blurb on the Contents page probably explains it best: "My list of one hundred amazing things - the moments that got to me, the meals I ate, the places, the people, the artifacts, and the accessories." Each of the 100 things are food related. Some are recipes, some are about restaurants or places he's had meals, and some are other reminiscences. There are some odd bits and pieces, too, like his thoughts on toothpicks or on reading while on the toilet.

This is a book that's kind of hard to classify. The recipes that are included look interesting (although I'll admit that I haven't tried any of them yet) and the reading matter is certainly quirky. The language can be colorful (as you might have guessed from the title) and there's good information and even a little science thrown in. There's slangy language and there's some that's more straightforward. There's a little of everything.

The one thing it isn't, is boring. If you don't like one thing you're reading, move on to the next page, where there's probably something completely different. and possibly delicious.

This post is sponsored by ABRAMS Books, as part of the ABRAMS Dinner Party.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Chicken with Red Rice from Slow Cook Modern #AbramsDinnerParty

The Abrams Dinner Party isn't really a party ... it's a group of bloggers who are receiving free cookbooks from Abrams for the next couple months. Since I'm a cookbook fiend, I'm giddy happy about participating in this.

I just got Slow Cook Modern by Liana Krissof, and dived right in.

The hook with this book is that it tells you want to toss into the cooker in the morning before work and then there's usually another step after work, usually adding ingredients that cook quickly or need to be warmed.

I've made one recipe so far. It was called chicken with red rice. The rice was red from tomatoes, not the naturally red rice. It wasn't a particularly pretty dish, but it was comfort food for sure. I mean, chicken, rice, tomatoes and spices ... yeah, that's good. There was a cilantro-lime topping that was included as a garnish, but I didn't make that. My cilantro plants were ... very dead ... so that wasn't going to happen.

That was probably the most simple recipe in the book, but I had leftover rice and I had chicken thighs, so it was a perfect fit. Basically, it was skinless chicken thighs, cumin, oregano, paprika, crushed tomatoes and salt going into the slow cooker for the first part of the process. When the chicken was done, it was tasted to adjust seasoning, and the the rice was added so it could warm up for serving.

It wasn't the prettiest dish on the block. That green garnish would have made a huge difference in the presentation. Or even some slices or chunks of avocado. But it was dinner time, I was hungry, and I wasn't about to run to the store for cilantro. I devoured it. YUM! This was a keeper. But my presentation was ... ugly.

Also, the lighting wasn't great. But ... yeah ... not pretty.

See! Even food bloggers eat ugly food sometimes. Gah. That's really ugly.

However, I got smarter with the leftovers. I still didn't have fresh cilantro, but I pulled out a bottle of cilantro-jalapeno-lime sauce that I happen to love. I artfully garnished ... uh ... not-so-artfully poured some sauce on top of my reheated leftovers, and it looked a lot prettier.

You want this. You really really want this.

The flavors also enhanced the chicken and rice, so I completely endorse the original garnish. A couple of sprigs of fresh cilantro would have made this photo even better ... but remember that dead cilantro? Yeah, still dead. And I haven't been to the grocery store today.

So, now that I'm not hungry any more, let's talk about the book a bit, mkay?

The recipes in the book don't shy away from using ingredients you'll probably have to shop for. Most of the vegetables are fresh, so you'll be shopping for those, right? At that point, you can pick up the fresh herbs or other things you don't have. However, most of the ingredients are common enough that a well-stocked grocery store should have most of them - no need for scouring obscure websites for odd things that you've never heard of. So ... it's not pantry cooking, but it's also not project cooking where you have to plan weeks in advance. It's good for weeknight dinners.

There's also not a lot of processed food in this book, except for the occasional frozen vegetable or canned tomato products, like the crushed tomatoes in the recipe I made. The chicken stock (or other stock) occasionally called for in recipes could be your own homemade stock, or you could buy it, whichever is better for you. But otherwise you can assume you'll be shopping for individual. mostly-fresh ingredients rather than canned soups or packaged mixes.

While slow-cooked food tends to be sort of monochrome as everything cooks together, this book pays attention to eye-appeal, suggesting side dishes or garnishes that will add some color and punch to the plate.

Some of those side dishes aren't cooked in a slow cooker - like cornbread or pesto or quick pickles - but it gives you a good idea what sides or garnishes to use with the dishes. I mean, if you happen to pick up some corn muffins at the store or you open a jar of mixed pickles instead of making every bit from scratch, that's fine, too.

The recipes in this book aren't your basic soups and stews. Sure, there's chili and chicken soup. But there's also Herb Butter Braised Turkey Breast, Jungle Curry Stew, Lamb Harira, and home made Quark. Lots of recipes that are pretty darned creative. Tarragon and Creme Fraiche Chicken might be next on my list.

Or maybe the Caldo de Pollo, because sometimes chicken soup isn't just chicken soup.

This post is sponsored by ABRAMS Books, as part of the ABRAMS Dinner Party.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Slow Cooker Favorites Chicken

Just got this little cookbook to review ... did I mention that it's kind of small? It's a little larger than a standard paperback novel, and kind of thin, too, but it's got "150+" recipes, according to the cover. I didn't count them, but I believe it.

Slow Cooker Favorites Chicken is kind of an eclectic collection. Which means something for everyone, and also something for everyone to hate.

What I thought was particularly interesting was that many of the recipes seemed to avoid wheat products, calling for rice flour where I normally would have used all purpose flour, and calling for gluten free noodles or buns.

But nowhere on the cover or introduction did it say anything about having gluten free recipes. Which I thought was odd, considering that gluten free is a pretty popular niche. I mean, why not promote that?

Perhaps it's because a number of the recipes rely on canned soups, spice mixes and other packaged products which could contain gluten. And some recipes did include flour. And there were sandwich recipes that didn't suggest gluten free. So, although some recipes were designed to use alternatives to gluten, many others did not.


Salt was another ingredient that seemed to come and go. Some recipes used soy sauce, bacon, and canned soup mixes. Some included salt itself. Some were totally salt free.

Hmmmm again.

Some recipes were completely from scratch, while others used shortcuts.Some were super-simple, and some had a giant list of ingredients. Some seemed to be avoiding fat, while others included cream cheese.

Double- and triple-hmmmmmmmmmmm

It's almost like the book was compiled from a bunch of different sources. Which it was. There was no author listed, but the copyright page notes that recipes are compiled and adapted from a number of other Adams Media cookbooks.

Aha ... that explains everything.

And there's nothing wrong with that. They own the rights to the content, and they found a way to compile a new collection that might appeal to a whole new audience. It makes sense.

So I'm right back to my original thought. There are a LOT of recipes for cooking chicken in a slow cooker in this book. You'd have to have a serious slow cooker chicken fetish to ever make all of the recipes in this book. Or half. Or a quarter. So it probably doesn't matter that there are going to be some recipes that don't appeal, since it's likely you'll find others that are juuuuust right.

If you're looking for slow cooker recipes and you love chicken, this could be a good book to browse through, either to make the recipes or to be inspired to adapt them yourself.

If you're looking for a book that has one "voice" with one author's perspective, this isn't it. And there are no photos or illustrations in this book, so you'll have to use your imagination as you browse.

I received this book from the publisher for the purpose of a review.