I'm not big on new year's resolutions. I tend to break them just a few hours in : ) This year, though, I feel I need to at least try to make better use of my time, in hopes that it will help me to feel like I am actually becoming somewhat productive. I've also got to resolve to eat better. I'm not very nice to myself in that regard. Hopefully all of the great cookbooks I brought home from Christmas will come in handy in this regard.
I'm a rampant cookbook collector. I know I always talk about fiction here, with the exception of my post about the Top Chef cookbook (can't wait until the show returns now that the holidays are over) and my massive John Folse book, but I actually have a ton more, in addition to subscriptions to Saveur, Bon Apetit, and Gourmet. What can I say, I like food and I like to cook food.
My latest food love (see we're getting to a real post here) is Sam Zien, aka Sam the Cooking Guy. I found his show one afternoon when I was lunching earlier than normal. He's on Discovery Health and the Fit channel (Just Cook This!), not networks I normally watch, and he was fantastic. He's kind of goofy and reminds me a bit of Alton Brown. The episode I saw had him visiting the local produce section of his market, trying new ingredients. When he went home he made this fabulous (yep, I made it two days later) Warm Cabbage Salad (it will be part of my pork, cabbage, and black-eyed-pea New Year's dinner today).
Excited that I had found a new food guru, I looked him up online and found out that he has a cookbook, new out this year. I added it to the Christmas list and scrolled through his massive online collection of available recipes. Check him out.
Truth be told, you have to watch him or get his book to get the full effect of this guy. He's funny. Really funny. Instructions include sarcastic and silly anecdotes about where some of the more colorful recipe titles come from, advice on kitchen necessities, and time saving tips that everyone can always use.
After buying the book for me, my mom took one look at it and commented that she needed a copy for herself. The recipes are super easy and feature "normal" ingredients, things you can readily find back home where the grocery selections are severely lacking. So, I bought her a copy for her upcoming b-day! Yep, I like this guy that much! I also made his Motor-Home Meatballs and Sausage Rolls last night as part of my New Year's Eve munching selection.
Sam's book is packed with tasty simple recipes for the home cook, not the home chef. It's not rocket science to replicate Sam's dishes and you won't spend hours agonizing over whether you're doing it right. Trust me, this is exactly what my mom looks for in a cookbook and she was impressed with the guy. On her list to try is the Banana Bread French Toast (we're big on banana bread in our house!).
One suggestion if you make the Sausage Rolls and live in an area where you can get international products, pick up a bottle of HP Sauce (UK's the brown sauce) for the steak sauce part of the dip. It's perfect! Also, same recipe, since strangely enough, puff pastry seems to be a no-no where I live (what's up with that, there are puff pastry cups and phyllo dough but no puff pastry sheets), I plan on using plain old crescent roll dough for this recipe next time I make it.