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This review is from: The Frugal Foodie Cookbook: Waste-Not Recipes for the Wise Cook (Paperback)
The Frugal Foodie Cookbook: Waste-Not Recipes for the Wise Cook is an unassuming little cookbook with a misleading name but some excellent recipes. I think this book sometimes veers more toward the quick and inexpensive rather than true "frugal foodie" territory, but the recipes I tried were nonetheless really delicious! While some of the recipes seem a bit out of place on the basis of "frugal" (pork chops and beef tenderloin instead of cheaper and more time-consuming cuts of meat) or "foodie" (imitation Egg McMuffins), those I did try were well worth the effort.
The fruit crisp in the "Brunches" section was so tasty that I made it twice, once with a mix of blueberries, blackberries, plums, nectarines, and pluots, and another time with a variety of stone fruits. Although I thought I'd tried pretty much every variation on crisp, crumble, and cobbler, this one used a different technique: the "crumble" part is made with egg as the only fat and then melted butter is drizzled over the top. This is nice in that it skips an annoying step (cutting in the butter) and also yields a tasty and crisp topping. My only issue with this recipe was that it calls for about twice as much butter as is really needed. When made with half the butter, though, this crisp recipe is definitely a keeper.
The second recipe I tried was the lemon-and-asparagus pasta. This is again one of those dishes that I've made many variations of, but Frugal Foodie presented a new and tasty version. Lots of butter coats the intensely lemon-y pasta, and cooking the asparagus in a bit of vegetable stock results in tender and flavorful veggies. We added dots of goat cheese on top for a little tang, but either way this is a very yummy pasta dish that I'll be adding to my summer repertoire.
Finally, I tackled the apricot preserves. I've always been really intimidated by canning, but when I saw three pounds of apricots on sale for ninety-nine cents at the grocery store, I knew this was the time to be daring! I messed up the recipe, accidentally leaving out the last-minute addition of lemon juice until the jars were already in their hot-water bath, so the jam had to be refrigerated or frozen to be safe to eat. However, even with the error, the preserves were still absolutely delicious! I definitely look forward to doing more preserving in the future...and next time, hopefully I'll get it right so I can have shelves lined with beautiful jars!
Plusses of this cookbook include some truly delicious and creative recipes, as well as more typical recipes that are likely pretty reliable and tasty if my recipe testing is any indication. There are also various tips sprinkled throughout the book that might be helpful to those just starting to try and cut down on their food budget. A negative is that the selection of truly unique recipes is padded with quite a few basic recipes like oatmeal and eggs. These may be helpful for a college student or beginner cook but are probably not really necessary for someone more seasoned in the kitchen. The book also lacks any photos and is sprinkled with distracting quotations that don't add much to the reading experience. Overall, I think this book is geared more toward busy moms or students than foodies who want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen getting the most out of inexpensive ingredients, but it likely serves that group well and definitely includes some culinary gems.
Photos of the recipes I tried are here: [...]
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Initial post: Feb 12, 2010 10:20:55 AM PST
K. Aley says:
Leaving out the lemon juice in your preserves does nothing regarding how they keep. As long as they are sealed, they should be fine. The lemon juice simply preserves the color of your apricots. No need to freeze, keep and enjoy!
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