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Ten Dollar Dinners: 140 Recipes & Tips to Elevate Simple, Fresh Meals Any Night of the Week Paperback – August 14, 2012
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Featured Recipe from Ten Dollar Dinners: Salmon Cakes
Serves 4; Preparation time: 25 minutes; Cooking time: 35 minutes
- 1 large russet potato
- 2 bacon strips
- 1/2 small yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- Zest of 1/2 lemon
- 14-ounce can wild salmon
- 1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
1. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add the potato and cook until a paring knife easily slips into the center of the potato, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and, once the potato is cool enough to handle, peel it and place it in a bowl. Use a fork to break up and fluff the potato. Set aside.
2. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat and cook the bacon on both sides until browned and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate (save the fat in a small bowl), cool, and then crumble. Place the bacon in a medium bowl and set aside.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the reserved bacon fat in a small skillet over low heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the onion cool, then add to the bacon along with the egg, mayonnaise, mustard, sugar, and lemon zest, stirring to combine. Add the salmon and then the potato, mixing gently after each addition. Then form into 12 small patties.
4. In a small, shallow baking dish, mix the bread crumbs, Parmesan, and pepper. Press both sides of the salmon patties firmly into the bread-crumb mixture to evenly coat both sides.
5. Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the salmon cakes in 2 batches until they’re golden on both sides, 6 to 8 minutes total, adding more oil when necessary. Serve warm.
Amazon Asks Melissa d'Arabian
What's your elevator pitch for Ten Dollar Dinners?
It's about so much more than cooking with inexpensive ingredients! It's a full philosophy of spending with purpose and managing our resources wisely while nourishing our bodies.
Which new cookbooks or chef memoirs are you most excited about?
What’s the best place you’ve eaten recently?
I had an incredibly special dinner at Uchi in Houston... truly one of the best dinners I've ever had.
What's been your most memorable author moment?
Opening the envelope that had the very first copy of my cookbook in it. I opened it with my husband, very delicately, as if it were fragile.
What other talent would you most like to have (not including flight or invisibility)?
I'd love to be a genius at organization. (To do that, I think you have to be able to really think in 3-D, and I'm very linear.)
What are you obsessed with now?
Doing splits. I'm almost there!
What's your most treasured possession?
My grandma's confirmation bracelet. She gave it to me as my "something old" at my wedding, and I wear it all the time--unless I'm filming Ten Dollar Dinners. She passed away last month, so it's extra special now.
What's on your nightstand?
They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky: The Story of Three Lost Boys from Sudan by Benjamin Ajak, Benson Deng, and Alephonsian Deng.
What's next for you?
After book tour, I'm settling into the new school year with my four daughters--and then get straight back to work on Book # 2!
“Melissa’s real life experience as a wife and mom make her the perfect person to help all of us get dinner to the table.”
“Melissa really gets it. She is a mom who knows firsthand that cooking on a budget can be delicious, inspiring, and healthy. She brings it all here with flair and the comforting presence of a good friend.”
“Who knew that something as tasty and fun as steak with caramelized onions could be so cheap and easy to make? Melissa’s Ten Dollar Dinners broadens the horizon of dinnertime possibilities and deliciousness. This is a great resource for new, affordable cooking ideas.”
“I am a father and husband before I am a chef, so when it comes to mealtime I want to use simple recipes that utilize the freshest foods possible. That’s what Ten Dollar Dinners is all about. I also like to cook with my family, which means that Melissa’s recipes are perfect for us to create together.”
“Here’s a mom, raising and feeding four cute daughters, while giving a nod to her French husband’s palate, as well as conquering the corporate world. Plus her pie crust rivals a pastry chef’s! I knew Melissa was a winner from the start. Her recipes save you money and her tips make sense—saving you time so you can go out and enjoy life as she has.”
“Melissa proves that delicious food doesn’t have to cost big bucks. I love her blend of California freshness, French flair, and frugality.”
—ROSEMARY ELLIS [editor-in-chief of Good Housekeeping]
Top Customer Reviews
If you're a fan of the show, you'll recognize some of the recipes: Spinach Salad with Blue Cheese, French Cut Steak with Carmelized Onions, Crispy Potato Cakes. I've tried every one of those and loved them. Of course, you may want to tweak some of the recipes to suit your taste but I've found I can use most just as written. I might add a bit more seasoning here or there but that is pretty typical...a cook tends to add a personal touch to a recipe.
I loved the section where author Melissa d'Arabian wrote about her life. She is someone who is so charismatic and enthusiastic on television that I was interested in learning more about her. She wrote so vividly about living in France for four years, meeting her husband, moving back to the United States, becoming parents to four girls, and learning to survive on one income.
Learning to live on a strict budget was quite a challenge but something she notes she was "hardwired to do." And her readers are the lucky beneficiaries of her efforts. Not incidentally, she beat out the competition to become The Next Food Network Star - and with a Potato- Bacon Torte that cost only fifty cents a serving!
Each recipe in Ten Dollar Dinners is listed on a scale from "downright cheap" to "pricey" (although the definition of pricey used here is still very inexpensive). Depending on budgets, readers can opt for only the cheapest recipes for a meal or mix and match various choices if there are extra funds.
Melissa also has many suggestions to cut costs on a regular basis: eat beans once a week as part of a main dish, use loss leaders, create a quick weekly menu plan in only five minutes, etc. We are huge fans of soup in our family so that section was particularly appealing. Somehow we also seem to have excess carrots around so the Orange Carrot Soup is one recipe I'm going to test immediately (today), especially since it takes very little time. The only soup recipe that doesn't look particularly attractive in the photo is the Creamy Any Veggie Soup but maybe it makes up for a lack of visual appeal with great taste.
If you have gourmet tastes, you'll be pleasantly surprised to find some unique flavor combinations (Preserved Lemon and Olive Chicken Tangine) along with such basics as simple biscuits. When it comes to desserts, choices such as Classic Apple Tart or Strawberry Pavlovas with Apricot Sauce add a luxurious - but still budget-friendly- finish to meals. Vegetarians aren't left out either, with a chapter on using vegetables as main and side dishes.
Another bonus? Most of these recipes can be prepared in a snap. Even the ones that depend on slow cooking can be prepared for cooking in a matter of minutes and then just left to simmer while you go about the rest of your day. I'm so excited to make my old favorites from the show and try out the new recipes as well!
I was expecting to like this cookbook, and I do. Melissa has a way with easy simplicity yielding a result that is more than the sum of its parts. Whenever I make her recipes I always find them even better than expected given that they are made from relatively few and cheap ingredients, and are so easy and quick to prepare. She has a way of pairing simple flavors, like ginger and orange, that go a long way in terms of bang for one's effort and buck. Her recipes do not offend the refined palate despite seeming almost pedestrian at first glance. I often say her recipes are a three way win: Cheap, easy, and taste great!
The cookbook itself is also a pleasant surprise. The pages are thick and glossy, with a typeface that is easy to see even without my reading glasses. The book is laid out in a simple and straightforward fashion, and is packed with beautiful color photos of the food, plus some of both Melissa and her family, whom she often talks about on her show. Now we finally have faces to match with those stories. It's almost hard to believe that we've never had a glimpse of them until now.
Scattered throughout the book are tips and tricks to keeping one's costs down. Some of these seem new to me but she has mentioned most of them on her show. I appreciate the tips, although some of them are just mildly interesting and fall short of helpful, at least for me. I am not a fan of dried beans and sometimes Melissa is like a broken record with recommending them. When I can go to my local discount store and find beans for 65 cents a can, I don't think I need to go through all the extra effort of using the dried beans, despite how much cheaper they may be.
I can see that Melissa made an effort to include a variety of types of recipes in this book. I almost think the book tries too hard to achieve that balance, because I feel like there should have been more main course meat recipes in it. Not that I don't appreciate all the salads, pastas and side dishes, though.
In all, for a first effort with help writing the book, this is an excellent start. After years of buying Rachael Ray cookbooks with no photos and cheap paper, this is like a breath of fresh air. Melissa continues to impress me. She comes off as understated and easy to approach, but she also manages not to dumb down her recipes too much. Considering the budgetary constraints she is under with the Ten Dollar theme, that is no small feat. I have a feeling that should she continue to have success and there should be a second cookbook, it will be even better than this one. Way to go, Melissa!
Melissa gives you so much more than recipes in this book. She shows how any cook can save money and still serve fantastic food. You will get numerous tips and hints to help anyone who cooks: a family, a family of just two, and even a single person household. Everyone wants better homemade dishes and less take out or frozen meals.
After cooking her recipes from her shows and I excited about the new dishes and even a section on breakfast meals.
Now I never have to buy a frozen meal from the grocery store. For me and my husband it's fresh food, D'Arbian style.
This book is worth the price!