Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Book Review 7 "Cold-Weather Cooking"

Winter arrived in Key West, believe it or not, last week one day. We actually set a record low one night of 45 degrees. The lizards were slow, the iguanas were stuck in trees and one of my succulent plants is about ready to bite the dust because of it. So with our little cold snap that occurred, I hit the bookshelf for the perfect book “Cold-Weather Cooking” by Sarah Leah Chase.

A few months ago when I decided to start reading and cooking from my collection of cooking and wine books and reviewing them for you, one of the first ones I reviewed were her books on Pedaling Through Provence and Pedaling Through Burgundy. "Cold-Weather Cooking" is one of her earlier books that I acquired back in the early 90’s and have enjoyed since. Sarah is an excellent writer and “Cold Weather Cooking” provides us with interesting recipes and stories that celebrate the foods that keep us warm! This book came together from Sarah’s stay during winters on Nantucket while she owned her food shop “Que Sera Sarah”. Her business boomed during the summer while all the tourists were enjoying her soups and salads, but the question put to her by many tourists was “what do you do during the winter on this island?” That is when “Cold-Weather Cooking” was born. I just want to list the names of the chapters in Sarah’s book as I think they are very creative!

So Long Summer
Recipes to straddle the seasons, combining foods for summer’s
grand finale with autumn’s chilly beginnings.
Finger Foods For Frosty Weather
Warming little morsels for a chilly evening’s cocktail party.
Thinking Thanksgiving Part 1 – Savories
Thinking Thanksgiving Part 2 – Sweets
Soups For The Solstice
Hearty Soups to fortify body and soul against deep freezes and
other inclement ills.
December Dazzle
Great culinary extravagances that are integral to the holiday
Holiday Cheer
Winter’s warm libations accompanied by favorite cookies and
Cold Weather Comforts
Breakfast fare to provide the incentive to face the world on
the chilliest mornings.
Stormy Weather and Magic Mountains
Simmering stews, crackling roasts, and mounds of carbohydrates
that can be guiltlessly indulged after an invigorating day outdoors.
The Brumal Fire of the Viands
Hearthside grilling to dispel epicurean doldrums and set the soul
on fire again.
Piscean Platters (My favorite as I also am a Pisces’)
Fish dishes from a cook with a taste for astrology.
The Tease of Spring
Recipes that signal the first signs of spring, yet allow for the chill
of fickle March winds.
Easter Feasts
Our last eclectic and ethnic extravaganza.

Sarah starts out each chapter with a story regarding the dishes in that chapter. Also within the chapters she highlights in a box a dinner she would prepare for let’s say “A Harvest Night To Remember” or “January Enthrall”. Sarah also includes “helpful hint” boxes throughout like “Chestnuts Not Roasting On An Open Fire” where she finally makes friends with her microwave on preparing fresh chestnuts!

"Cold-Weather Cooking" is a delightful easy cookbook of which I have some of my favorite recipes. She has a recipe for “Grilled Tuna with Florida Avocado Butter” that has pleased many a dinner guest in my house. And in the spring when we can get our hands on the first harvest of asparagus, I have prepared her “My Very Favorite Asparagus Vinaigrette” and “Oven-Roasted Asparagus with Minced Mushrooms” with much success. But since I am on a salad kick this week, I thought I would try her “Warm Mushroom and Arugula Salad” and share it with you.

Sarah Chase’s “Warm Mushroom and Arugula Salad”

7 tablespoons fruity olive oil
8 oz shitake mushrooms, stems discarded, caps thinly sliced
8 oz domestic white mushrooms, prepared the same way
(I used baby portabella mushrooms instead)
2 cloves of garlic minced (I used 4 as we LOVE garlic in our house)
2 anchovy fillets, minced
¼ cup pitted Nicoise olives, finely minced
2 tablespoons of capers
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
2 bunches of arugula, trimmed, rinsed and patted dry
Salt and Pepper to taste
4 oz crumbled Gorgonzola Cheese (I used Maytag Blue)

1. Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic, anchovies, olives, capers, lemon juice and vinegar. Simmer a few minutes to blend the flavors.
2. Toss arugula with remaining olive oil in a large salad bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the warm mushroom mixture to the bowl and toss until thoroughly blended. Mix in the cheese and plate. Serve at once.

This is such a great salad for a cold evening as the warm mushrooms slightly wilt the salad and the cheese just sets it off! Oh Yum!
I served this with a nice light red wine and crunchy bread. A meal in itself!
Later this week, I will highlight another one of Sarah’s recipes from her "Cold Weather Cooking" book that is extremely simple and very soul satisfying on these “cold winter” evenings.


Peter M said...

A hearty winter salad, Deb. Also, good choice in using portabellas...although I like shitakes, they are too meat for a salad.

Bellini Valli said...

A very delicious salad Deb. These cookbooks sound like they are worth a read over a great glass of wine.I know you have seen plenty a cold winter in the northern States.

Betty C. said...

This looks delicious -- thanks for the suggestion! I'll try to link to it in a postscript. Of course wouldn't you know it -- the daughter who doesn't like Roquefort also doesn't like mushrooms! But a salad is easier to get around.

We are the world's biggest arugula fans, so this salad looks like a winner!

jen said...

Mushrooms are (another) one of my favourites, so I'll have to give this a whirl.

The book sounds fab - just looking at the cover makes me feel a warm and cosy :-)

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

This sounds great Deb! Isn't it funny living Florida and still having winter!? I would never have believed it had I not moved here. I love it and am thankful for the few weeks out of the year when I can indulge in warm blankets, stews and a nice dram of single malt scotch!

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I just crave arugula. Yes, your salad on my piadine would be wonderful. As far as using the piadine dough as pizza, yes you could, but I prefer a yeast dough. You could bake the piadine in the oven with a topping.

Shayne said...

you are setting record lows in Key West and we are setting record highs in Detroit. Hum and they say that there is no global warming and this is natural. can we say denial.

winedeb said...

Hi Peter, yes I like the flavor the portabellas have!

Hey Valli, yes, I was living up north when I purchased this book and it definately was COLD!

Hi Betty, I have become an arugula fan lately myself! Love the flavor!

Hey Jen, it is a great read on those cold evenings!

Actually Jen, I like a small cold snap here for the same reasons. I am just glad it does not stick around!

Thanks for the tips on the paidine Maryann. I must give it a try with the salad topping!

Hi Shayne, I think global warming is very visible. 70's in the midwest during the middle of January is just not right!

Nora B. said...

Love the names of the dishes in this book. You're right, it's so creative. And who wouodn't want to cook those dishes just for the sake of the name.

And your salad looks very appetising. I would make it even if it's summer in Sydney. Rocket is my favorite salad (and I only recent learnt that it's a herb).

Aimée said...

Sounds like the perfect cookbook for we Canadians! It's snowing...again. Thanks for the great review.

sher said...

Wonderful photo--and that appears to be a darn good cookbook.

Dr. Debs said...

I used to cook out of this book all the time--your review was spot on. I think I lost in when I moved from upstate New York to California but the review reminded me to get on Amazon and order another copy--and another of her cookbooks, too. Love these cookbook reviews, Deb!

The Boo said...

I am a Chase devotee!!! try the cranberry-vanilla muffins from her book. I, in fact, dedicated a post to my love of all things Chase on the Food Blog I write with my sister, A Mouse Bouche. You might find this amusing:

cheers, happy cooking