Monday, September 14, 2009

Cookbook #56, Giada's Kitchen

I caved. This cookbook called out to me, and while I tried to resist, I ended up picking it up and then giving in to its seductive call. Why wouldn't I need a new cookbook? I brought it home with me.

I have pretty mixed feelings on Giada. Sometimes I am just really want to turn the channel and yet, I can't seem to stop watching because her food is that enticing. First I'll admit to the ultimate shallowness of all: I judge a book by its cover. The Tiffany blue binding and lettering is the entire reason I couldn't resist picking this book up at the store to browse through. But really, aren't cookbooks sometimes just about the cover and the photos? I probably own just as many cookbooks for the food photography as I do for the recipes themselves. This cookbook fills both requirements.

It's beautiful. You open up the cover and the inside is the same beautiful Tiffany blue. Then you start flipping through the pages and there are photographs of vividly bright heirloom tomatoes and chocolate panna cotta with fresh whipping cream. Of course the recipes, with their unique flavor pairings, deserve acknowledgement of their own...crispy phyllo wrapped smoked mozzarella, panini with chocolate and brie and butternut squash and vanilla risotto.

For this post, I have not one, but two of her recipes here: Orzo Stuffed Peppers and Canteloupe, Red Onion and Walnut Salad.

The Orzo Stuffed Peppers were a twist on the traditional stuffed peppers--meatless and with orzo instead of rice. I'm not going to lie to you here. While this was quite tasty, I'm 50% asian, and 0% Italian. Rice is my carb of choice--I like rice stuffed peppers better. But for the pasta fans out there, Giada's recipe is worth a try and can be found here.

What was especially splendid about this recipe though, was the abundance of produce. Not only is there the fabulousness of tomatoes (Giada called for a can of stewed tomatoes, I had fresh. I cut up two tomatoes and cooked for a couple of minutes with two cloves of garlic)....

but there's also fresh grated zucchini. And for good measure, I threw in some sauteed spinach even though the recipe didn't call for it, because I somehow find myself putting spinach in everything.

A bit of cheese inside and on top and it was definitely yum--I'd recommend it for any pasta fan. I did however, forget to take the after photo, when it came from the oven oozing cheese. That alone would make it worth a try.

Recipe number two was one of my favorite eats of the week: Canteloupe, Red Onion and Walnut Salad. Phenomenal. I love fruit in my salad, and the pairing of the sweet canteloupe with the tangy, sweet/salty dressing and sharp onion flavor was culinary perfection. This was one of the recipes I've probably adapted the least...except of course for a substitution of spinach for arugula. The whole spinach obession is kind of circular...I buy so much spinach because I love it, I put it in everything because I buy so much.

Canteloupe, Red Onion and Walnut Salad
from Giada's Kitchen

¼cup orange juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 ½ tablespoons raspberry vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cantaloupe (about 3 lbs.), cut into 1-inch cubes
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 cups arugula
1 cup chopped walnuts
To make the vinaigrette: Combine fruit juices and vinegar in a small bowl. Slowly add olive oil, whisking until the mixture is smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To make the salad: Combine cantaloupe, onion, arugula and ½ cup of walnuts in large salad bowl. Pour dressing over salad and toss well. Garnish with remaining walnuts.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.


Leslie said...

sure wish we were close enough to eat together....everything looks so tasty

Liz said...

I am a fan of Giada so I love that you made these recipes. The salad looks so delicious. I may just pop over to the store after the boy's nap.

Maggie's garden said...

The salad looks fabulous! Just the recipe I might try on Friday night. Thanks for sharing it!

Tanya Patrice said...

I'm especially loving the salad too - and I'm with you on the abundance of spinach in my house :-)