Rya and I were at it again this weekend, testing out Lick Your Plate, the brand new book from sisters Julie Albert and Lisa Gnat. This is their third cookbook.
The book features recipes for all meals of the day and the skill level required is that of any home cook. Uncomplicated, healthy, delicious food. We both like that the book includes dishes from around the world and is not tied to one particular cuisine. In the introduction they promise hearty yet healthy meals comprised of readily available ingredients, and we both felt this rang true. We picked recipes solely based on what sounded delicious and what would pair well together and analyzed the ingredients afterwards. I happened to have almost all the items in my pantry and fridge except for the salmon and a couple veggies that I buy weekly anyways. There was no extra expense outside my normal grocery list.
We chose to make 2 recipes which could easily be whipped up on a weeknight.
Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Brussel Sprouts with Romesco Sauce
Neither of us had tried Romesco sauce so this was intriguing. I liked how they took a very run of the mill side dish like roasted veggies and gave it that extra kick. That's really what any home cook hopes for in a cookbook, something to get them out of their usual routine. Anyone can roast veggies but planting the idea of fresh Romesco sauce is what makes it special.
We made a few simple alterations to the recipe. I had a bag of mini potatoes so we used those instead of fingerling and didn't have to adjust the cook time or temperature of the oven. The Romesco sauce called for almonds, which I am allergic to, so we left them out. The sauce was maybe a little thinner than intended but the taste was still wonderful.
While the veggies were roasting we prepped the ingredients for the second recipe, Spice-Rubbed Salmon with Zucchini Avocado Salsa.
We mixed up the salsa using fresh avocado and zucchini along with some seasonings. It was nice to use raw zucchini, something we both love but agreed is not used often enough. This recipe was again very simple and we didn't have to eliminate anything due to my allergies (no dairy, nuts, peanuts, or legumes) or Rya's dietary restrictions (no sugar or caffeine). The only substitutions we made were to use sea salt in place of kosher salt and a green finger pepper instead of jalapeno.
After rubbing the salmon with cumin, paprika, and other seasonings, we covered it and let sit in the fridge for approximately 30 minutes. Then we spooned the freshly blended jalapeno-lime sauce over the fillets and baked for 14 minutes. We were able to time it perfectly with the roasted veggies so that it all came out of the oven at the same time.
The salmon was cooked to perfection; brown on the edges and fall-apart tender inside. We literally stood over my counter and shoveled it into our mouths. It was unbelievable! And the portions truly were hearty. There were some roasted vegetables left over which made a great midnight snack.
Finally I have to comment on the photography and layout of the book. The photographs are color-blocked and bright, presenting the food like pop art. It's definitely unconventional and not something I've seen recently, but it works. In a sea of "artisanal-looking" cookbooks this one stands out as approachable and fun. Rya remarked several times how there were so many recipes she just had to make because they looked so delicious. We appreciated the detail that was put into the layout as well. The bottom corner of each page is color coded for the chapter so locating the recipe is easy. Badges indicate if it can be made in under 30 minutes, how to make it lunch-friendly, short cuts to take, and other useful information.
Pick up your copy online at indigo.ca