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I Dream of Dinner

May 5, 2022

There’s a style of cookbook popular right now that makes claims of simplicity, but the ingredients are too expensive and/or the cooking techniques are too advanced (I'm looking at you, Alison Roman).

This is not that type of cookbook. Most of the recipes can be made in 30 minutes or less, they make four servings, and they use lots of pantry items: grains, canned beans, nuts, etc. Most only require a handful of ingredients, but somehow they create something magical. For instance, a meal composed only of canned butter beans, lettuce, lemon, yogurt, and panko breadcrumbs was one of my favorite recipes in the book.

Here are some other examples:

  • Cauliflower Mash with Smoked Trout, an amped-up colcannon 
  • Godmother’s Egg Salad with red onion, oregano, peperoncini, and salami
  • Harissa Eggs with Pita and Dates
  • Kinda Refried Beans: These were a revelation.  They were only slightly harder than heating up a can of refried beans, but so much better thanks to mashing by hand and adding toasted pepitas.  The Oven Quesadillas are also incredibly simple, but I guarantee they’re a step up from the way you’ve been making them.
  • Sour Cream & Onion Fish with a sour cream/onion powder sauce and panko breadcrumbs
  • Marbella Chicken Salad with green olives, dried fruit, nuts, capers, and red wine vinegar

Overall, these recipes are things you’re probably used to making but with a twist that makes them seem new and fresh. Tip: you’re going to need some lemons.

beth winter


Beth works in the Collection Development department.  She loves short stories, memoirs, documentary films, and cookbooks.  Her favorite things about working at the library are knowing in advance about all the new releases and the easy access to her library holds.

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