Sunday, April 14, 2013

Fantastical Feature: 20-Dollar 20-Minute Meals*: *For Four People

Disclaimer: I received an e-galley copy of this cookbook from NetGalley and Workman Publishing Company for my honest opinion.

[image via Amazon]

Twenty-Dollar, Twenty-Minute Meals has it all: A bold and irresistible promise—make fresh, delicious meals for four for $20 or less, and that take twenty minutes or less to prepare. A dynamic young author with serious fans. And the singular point of view that pulls it all together, from the narrative recipe style to the author’s unerring sense of the ingredient-forward way people want to cook and eat today. 

Twenty-Dollar, Twenty- Minute Meals is for millennials on a budget and young moms and dads who want to make the kind of food they eat in restaurants or read about on blogs—for anyone who likes to cook and entertain but doesn’t always have a lot of time (or money). It’s quick and easy with a modern twist: Steak with Herb Sauce and Buttered Radishes. Seared Salmon with Orange Rosemary Lentils. Merguez Burger with Cucumber Dressing. Sage Pork Chops with Grilled Peaches and Onion. Orzo Risotto with Pancetta and Radicchio. And, of course, there’s dessert.

It’s the Wright way to cook: 20 minutes + $20 = a fabulous meal for 4.

My Thoughts:
I was incredibly excited about this cookbook when I saw it on Netgalley. What's not to love about a $20 meal that takes 20 minutes to make?? And it's for 4 people - my family is made up of 4 people.

This cookbook is really colorful and the pictures are just stunning. Some pages are full length pictures of the food, others are more in a graphic novel type form where you see just the food and dish. 

However, I'm not a huge fan of directions and ingredients muddled together. I like them to be separate because it's easier for me to make a grocery list if the ingredients list is right there. They do highlight the ingredients in the directions, but it's not the same.

I honestly had to scour to find recipes that I was sure my whole family would eat and items that I would be able to find. Unfortunately, we do not have as diverse a grocery store as I would like. We all love salads, but all of the salads in the cookbook contained things that not everyone (including myself) would find appealing. There's a lot of seafood as well. In a way, I'd say a hipster would really enjoy just seemed for "city-like" - the author did say she lived in New York City. It's very apparent in the selection of foods present.

I did find recipes that I could try though and what we did try, we enjoyed.

What I Tried:
[page numbers are subject to change]

Smashed Cherries & Pistachio Sundae
from p. 183
I really loved this combination of fruit and nut together. It was a really quick dessert to make :)

Spaghetti with Ramps & Bread Crumbs
from p. 59
Not really sure what ramps are, but a substitution was suggested: scallions. We don't have those here either, so I just used green onions. I paired it with roasted asparagus and baked chicken.

Sweetened Whipped Cream with Smashed Strawberries and Crushed Shortbread
from p. 166
This was easily my favorite recipe that we tried. My strawberries didn't smash so well, but it was still a welcome dessert in my belly. I got to use some of my Trefoils that had somehow survived in my pantry.

Roasted Sausage Meatballs with Fennel & Tomatoes
from p. 120
This one was my second favorite recipe - the tomatoes were perfect with the meatballs and I loved the fennel too. I paired it with toasted partisan bread and a spinach salad.

Bourbon-Espresso Affogato Sundae
from p. 183
Not sure what Affogato means - I should probably google, but this was another tasty dessert. I fourth-ed the bourbon in the recipe and it was still a tad too much for my liking and also pouring the hot espresso over the ice cream made for a race to eat it before it got soupy. Again though, the flavors did compliment each other and it was delish.

20-Dollar 20-Minute Meals gets a 3-utensil rating from me.
The set up of the recipes and the choice of ingredients in the recipes made it a bit difficult for the every day kitchen-goer. Many of the recipes didn't appeal to me or my family.

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