My very first book in this challenge was by Tieghan Gerard and it fueled my desire to keep going; so, it is only normal that I would purchase her latest cookbook Half Baked Harvest Every Day as soon as it was released!
If you’re new here, I started the L2C Challenge in 2021 as a way to get me in to the habit of cooking different meals and, if I’m being totally honest, as a way to justify my cookbook obsession. You see, I’ve always loved cookbooks. Each time I get one, I go through it from cover to cover and mark up all of the recipes that I want to try but that I likely will never make. So with this challenge, I pick one cookbook per month and make at least one recipe from that book per week. At the end of the month, I give my honest review of the recipes I tried and of the cookbook in general.
In case you’re interested, here are the cookbooks I’ve tried thus far…
I feel like I don’t need to praise this book the way I do others – you know by now that, in my eyes, Half Baked Harvest can do no wrong. Her latest book did not disappoint! We were out of town for the Easter holiday, so I didn’t get to try as many recipes as I would have hoped but the ones I did were all delicious (I’ll be making minor adjustments to them in the future but that’s due to personal preference, nothing wrong with the recipes as they are)… So here’s what we ate this month:
Salmon Cobb Salad (p. 84)
I’ve been wanting to cook more with fish and figured a salad that had both salmon and bacon might be a good place to start! This salad was hearty and the dressing was absolutely delicious. The directions said to cook the bacon and the salmon on the same tray, which I didn’t even know was allowed… Both cooked perfectly – bacon was crisp and salmon wasn’t dry – in under 20 minutes.
My only alteration is with the cayenne pepper. I don’t like spicy food but I figured a 1/4 teaspoon would give it a nice kick without making my mouth burn. I was wrong; I’ll either omit the pepper altogether next time or just add a dash.
Mongolian Beef (p. 210)
This recipe has the potential to be delicious! I had made a beef recipe from the previous HBH book, so I know that anything beef from her is usually tasty and mouth watering.
The reason I say “potential” is because the recipe calls for 1 Tbsp. of crushed red pepper flakes – I basically had a clear nasal cavity and a burning mouth after eating this dish. Even Paolo, who loves spice, said it was very hot. Not sure if the quantity is a typo or if it’s intended to be that spicy but, either way, this is definitely good enough to make again without the pepper.
Sheet Pan Meatball Pitas (p. 218)
As far as actual meals go, this one is my favorite so far! I got two thumbs up from everyone – including the kids!
I never realized how easy it was to make pickled onions – I’ve made it twice since making this recipe. Paolo even said it needs to be a staple in our fridge.
The meatballs were delicious when fresh out of the oven and just as good reheated the next day.
Salty Chocolate Pretzel Rye Cookies (p. 254)
Ok, so cookies are probably not part of my “Learn 2 Cook” challenge but I HAD to try these – and so glad that I did!
I would forgo lunch or dinner and just eat these if I could! We shared with friends and family and they got rave reviews all around.
I froze a batch and would take 2-3 out at a time for snacks – they thawed perfectly and tasted just as fresh. Such a great twist on the traditional chocolate chip cookies.
I’m always mindful, especially when it comes to food, that different people have different tastes. So I wouldn’t emphatically say you must get a cookbook unless I truly meant it because you may not like what I like and I would hate to disappoint. But this book (and anything HBH) will not disappoint – the recipes are incredibly easy to follow (even for a novice cook like myself) and there is something in there for everyone.
I know there are those who do not accept that a salad can be a meal but, for us, it totally can!
I’ve actually had the Salad Samurai book by Terry Hope Romero for a couple of years but have never gotten around to making any of the recipes. I figure with summer around the corner, a hearty salad is always a good option (especially when you want to leave room for ice cream!), so I’m going to get a head start to the season and try out some different salads in May!