Everyday Food: Family-Friendly Recipes from the New Cookbook

I’m a big fan of Everyday Food — the magazine and the original cookbook. So I was excited to see their new cookbook: Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast.

Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast cookbook

$15 at BN.com

I decided to have my own “Julie & Julia” moment, cooking dinner from the new cookbook five days this week. I’m looking for 1) quick cooking meals 2) with not too many ingredients 3) that are delicious 4) and spice up the weekly repertoire.

Last night was day one. It was a double-header. First up, for the kids, was homemade fish sticks inspired by Panko-Crusted Fish Sticks with Herb Dipping Sauce,” p. 233. I say “inspired by” because we subbed plain breadcrumbs we had on hand for the panko (Japanese bread crumbs), and skipped the herb dipping sauce for ketchup.

This recipe was a breeze to prepare. A variation on the cornflake chicken recipe, really. Tilapia fillets, cut into strips, dipped in beaten egg, and dragged through breadcrumbs seasoned with salt & pepper. Bake at 475 for 12-15 and you got it. Easy as pie. The taste test results: Jasper chowed through it. Magnolia was skeptical, but then she wasn’t feeling well, so I’m not counting her reaction. I had a couple and they were great, a million times better than anything store bought. Next time maybe we’ll try the Old Bay seasoning, panko and dipping sauce, too.

A good addition to the kid’s dinner rotation.

Next up, Steamed Cod with Ginger and Scallion, p. 246 for the adults (I’m not quite at Gastrokid level yet).  Needed: cod fillets (1 per person- 1 1/2 lbs for 4), Japanese Rice Wine Vinegar (available in the Asian section of supermarkets and keeps forever), soy sauce, grated ginger (I’d say to taste, but it’s so good, and good for you, go for it), salt & pepper to season the fish, scallions, sliced in 3 inch pieces and then thinly sliced, whites discarded.

The recipe calls for 3 TBSP of Rice Wine Vinegar and 2 TBSP of soy sauce, plus 2 TBSP of ginger to serve four. I started by cutting the recipe in half for two but decided I wanted more sauce- probably NEEDED more sauce (the saucier the better, for us)- to steam the fish, so I did the whole thing. Again, ginger to taste. Put these 3 ingredients in a pan that has a tight fitting lid, and turn on heat. Season the cod on both sides with salt and pepper to taste, and put it into the pan. Bring sauce to boil, cover, reduce heat and let simmer for 6-8 minutes. Then throw the scallions on top, cover again, and simmer another 2 minutes or until fish is opaque.

Yum. (photo: EverydayFood.com)

The verdict: I would absolutely make this again; it turned out better than I had expected! I thought the flavors were sublime; the cod was cooked perfectly and sauce provided a tasty accompaniment. The prep was simple and quick, and the dish was easy to prepare.

I served the fish with white rice, tossed with the zest and juice of one lime, and a carrot side-dish I found in the cookbook, “Shaved Carrot Salad with Scallions and Sesame Seeds.” The rice was a great match for the fish, and I loved the salad, but Melisa gave it a lower mark because it was a cold salad.

All in all a night of success!

Next up: a favorite standby that fell out of regular rotation years ago: Pasta Puttanesca. It may be ready for a comeback. More tomorrow!

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