Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Year in Lucy's Kitchen

Before I even begin talking about Lucy Waverman's A Year in Lucy's Kitchen, I really have to set the stage. I have mentioned LCBO's Food & Drink Magazine as my all time favorite of all my favorite magazines. Well...Lucy Waverman happens to be their Food Editor as well as food columnist for The Globe & Mail. Trust me, in F&D, all the recipes look stunning and have you drooling (I've made more than a few over the years), and although there are no photos in the Globe & Mail (at least I didn't see any in my on-line hunt), they all had me licking my lips.

So when I was approached by Random House about receiving an evaluation copy and writing a review about the book....naturally I said YES!!! and stalked my postman for days waiting for it to arrive. The book's subtitle "Seasonal Recipes and Memorable Meals" says it all. It's organized by month...although, seriously...in my world anything after October until March...blur together. So it shouldn't come as a great surprise that I've already made two of January's recipes...
The Sicilian Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower was the first dish I tried...in fact, I made some the very day the book arrived! It was heavenly and even though the dish says it serves 4...well, let's just say that it tasted so good, we forgot about salad and ate it all! It's one dish that I'll be making often this winter....month after month, in fact.
Next up was the Scottish Roasted Salmon, apparently because salmon is native to Scotland, which still supplies much of the world's salmon. I personally think there's a little bit of just about every part of the world in this recipe...a little Mediterranean in the fresh rosemary, garlic, fennel seeds, lemon zest...a little France in the Dijon mustard and a splash of soy sauce from Asia. And as to flavor...well it's simply OUT of this world, entirely. I was going to make her Stovies, a potato, onion and pea dish that sounds like a perfect comfort food side dish, but I couldn't find any peas, so I went with an old standard of mine...Smashed Roasted New Potatoes.

The book is arranged by month and is filled with gorgeous, savory dishes made with seasonal foods. And each month spotlights an ingredient or a method of cooking and menus that fit. November, for example focuses on slow cooking with recipes like spiced braised lamb shanks (I'll pick some up at the market this Saturday), "the ultimate brisket" made with coarsely crushed fennel and coriander seeds and peppercorns and a dash of soy sauce...sounds very exotic and tasty. November's menus: New Indian with a lentil curry, chicken curry, sag paneer, raita, onion salad and for dessert, Indian rice pudding with ground cinnamon, cardamom and shelled pistachios. And if you're still craving warm climates after that, then the Eastern Mediterranean menu of cashew hummus, emerald vegetable couscous, halibut with spiced Moroccan sauce and apple strudel will keep you smiling.

I could go on, but trust me, month by month, this book lives up to all my expectations and then some. Oh...I did take a peak at December which is all about the holidays...from make ahead holiday treats to menus and recipes like "The Harried Shopper" and who isn't at that time of year...with a simple spinach, apple and avocado salad, Thai chicken & tomato stew and some easy chocolate slices. Then there's the "Deconstructed Hannukkah", the "Non-Traditional Christmas" and, of course, the Economic Gastronomic New Year's Eve" bash.

Are you tempted, yet?

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