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Cookbook Review: Cooking in Color

Do you have any people in your life that are so awesome, you keep thinking to yourself, “I should hate this person, because they’re so much more awesome than me,” but you still love them because of their awesomeness?

Meet my friends Jeremy and Adrian, aka The Food Gays.

They are, by any definition of the word, awesome. But they are also generous and kind.

Two years ago, when I was putting the finishing touches on my cookbook, they helped me out a ton, loaning me equipment, and letting me bounce ideas and recipes off of them. They also revealed to me, in secret, that they had just signed a cookbook contract of their own.

Fast forward to today, and their cookbook, Cooking in Colour, is now available in bookstores!

I was very excited to attend their book launch party and finally get my hands on a copy.

So, let me first start by saying this: I think I expected the recipes to be more complex than they actually turned out to be. This is not a criticism. I think good food should be easy and accessible to everyone. I believe that good, fresh ingredients, simply prepared, shine.

If you are a follower of their Instagram (and you should be, it’s freaking gorgeous), you’ll see meticulously styled photos, so I think for some reason the complexity of their photos lead me to believe that their recipes would be complex. But they aren’t.

Obviously, some are more complicated than others. But many of the recipes here are simple, 10 ingredients or less.

What I love about this book, besides the stunning food photography that they’ve become known for, is the creativity of the recipes. As I was thumbing through, I kept thinking “Holy shit! I would have never thought to have put those ingredients together!” And yet, it works.

Apple, Cinnamon and Beet Crumble?? Roasted Raspberry and Beet Sorbet? Sage, Lime and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream?? Fantastic.

The book is divided into fun, non-traditional sections: brunch, cocktails, company, desserts, hand-helds, and a whole chapter on veggies.

In preparation for this post, I made three recipes: Mushroom and Kale Savoury Oatmeal, Blistered Tomato Soup (recipe here), and the Zucchini Meatballs (which in the book they serve as a sandwich, but I decided to serve over pasta).

Blistered tomato soup cooking in color

All three recipes were great. Savoury oatmeal! Great idea. Quick, hearty and yummy, topped with a perfectly-poached egg (it took me two tries to get mine right, though). The only issue I ran into was with the zucchini “meatballs” which stuck to my foil while baking int he oven (the book says “nonstick foil” but I clearly missed that). I actually finished them in the cast iron on top of the stove to get them crispy all over. The blistered tomato soup was my favourite. Simple, yes, but tomato soup is one of my faves, and this one was so flavourful.

There’s a mix of decadent and healthy recipes throughout, and most of the recipes feature vegetables as the star. If you’re vegetarian, there’s lots here for you. I sometimes resist buying traditional cookbooks if they have too many meat recipes, but I don’t feel like this book falls into that category.

Another reason you may want to pick this book up is because it gives a bit of insight into the food styling and photographing process that Jeremy and Adrian have become so well known for. Each page features a shot of the recipe, along with notes about how it was styled, and the camera settings used. Cool, hey?

Okay, so yes, they are my friends, but I really love this book. I can’t wait to try the sage-lime ice cream, and the french toast waffles. I have tons of bookmarks for recipes I look forward to testing.This book is, in a word, vibrant. I feel like Cooking in Color is going to be something I go back to for years to come.

You can order Cooking in Color here: 

Canadian Readers:

Indigohttps://bit.ly/2kkUwAu    Amazonhttps://bit.ly/2xauitK

American Readers:

Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/2KpPqBA    Amazon: https://amzn.to/2KnN3vV

Salmon and Cheddar Quiche

A long, long time ago, before I started the blog, I was an avid lover and collector of cookbooks. To be fair, I still am, but of course now, I do cook more by laptop than cookbook.

I made the happy discovery one day of Barbara-jo’s Books to Cooks. Barbara-jo’s is the last of its kind in our city, sadly. The independent specialty bookstore has gone the way of the dodo. Her small shop on W 2nd is filled to the rafters with cookbooks and books about food. I highly encourage you to go down there and spend an hour browsing. Afterwards, hit up Vancouver’s best cheese shop, Les Amis Du Fromage (next door), or Patisserie Lebeau (on the other side) for some coffee and waffles. It makes for a perfect foodie afternoon.

Barbara-jo has been many things, but all of them are related to food–she has owned a restaurant, and she has also helped to write quite a few cookbooks. She published The Tin Fish Gourmet in 1998, and I won a copy of it in a contest hosted by Don Genova.

I loved the idea of The Tin Fish Gourmet. After all, there’s never a time when I don’t have at the very least, a can of salmon and a can of tuna in my pantry. I usually have some smoked oysters or mussels as well, and anchovies in the fridge.

This cookbook is all about simple, unfussy recipes that are quick and easy to make, but also delicious. This book has saved my bacon at times, as I’ll pull it out if I have unexpected company, or need to bring an appetizer to a last-minute party or pot luck.

The updated (2014) version of The Tin Fish Gourmet contains new recipes, although they are all in a similar style to the first edition. Most recipes contain 6 ingredients or less, and are simple to prepare. Like the first edition, the book is organized by main ingredients: anchovy, crab, salmon, caviar, etc.

A great improvement, in my opinion, of the second edition, is the really beautiful photography. The original edition contained images of charming vintage tin fish labels. Cute, but not helpful when you’re making a dish. This new and revised version has lots of gorgeously-shot food porn.

I’ve made a few things from The Tin Fish Gourmet, but the recipe I’m sharing with you from the book was a big hit at my house with the 11-year-old food critic.

I always keep frozen pie shells in the freezer. Michael likes quiche, and it’s an easy, fast, and nutritious dinner. I made this Salmon and Cheddar Quiche for him last week, and his comment was “it’s like a tuna melt in a pie. With Salmon.” He kept commenting how much he loved it (as he was eating the leftovers for breakfast the next day).

This is not the method I normally use to make a quiche–but sometimes not normal is good, and this is one of those times.

Salmon and Cheddar Quiche

(from Tin Fish Gourmet: Great Seafood from Cupboard to Table)

Ingredients: 

  • 1 9″ pastry shell (your own homemade or store bought)
  • 1 tin salmon, drained and flaked
  • 1 cup grated Canadian Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions (I substituted lightly sautéed leeks instead)
  • 5 fresh, chopped basil leaves (or 1/4 tsp dried)
  • 2 tbsp chopped pimento (optional–I left this out)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup light cream (for lower-fat version, substitute condensed milk)
  • freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Method: 

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the pastry shell (in its pie plate) on a cookie sheet, and bake for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove pastry shell from the oven, and reduce heat to 350 degrees.
  3. Spread the salmon over the bottom of the pastry shell. Cover it with a layer of grated cheddar cheese, then your leeks or onions, the basil and pimento.
  4. In a bowl, beat the eggs well with the salt and pepper and the milk or cream. Carefully pour the egg mixture over the salmon mixture in the pie shell (this is where you really need to have your pie shell on a cookie sheet!). Sprinkle with parmesan.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes, remove from oven, allow to cool slightly and enjoy.

 

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