Great Cookbooks for Families
Reviewed by Katy Killilea
The Six O’Clock Scramble was written by Aviva Goldfarb–a practical cook-writer-mom–specifically to deal with the questions, “How can I feed my family one simple, healthy meal that they will all enjoy? And “How can I do it quickly while the kids are clamoring for attention?”
This seemingly impossible task becomes possible with Aviva’s frank guidance. I love this woman. Not only is her book filled with simple recipes that use fresh foods (and some strategically employed packaged ones), but you can also download grocery shopping lists from her website.Â You still get to participate–you do the actual cooking–but the thinking is all done for you. Her recipes are organized by season, with thirteen weeks dedicated to each one, so you could put yourself on automatic pilot for a full year of dinner with this book. Thank you, Aviva. Aren’t we lucky there are people figuring this stuff out for us?
The food may not be earth-shatteringly novel, but the book’s primary selling point is its practicality. Even if you don’t get into the whole week-by-week shopping and cooking plan, there is no denying the book comes in handy. You literally can make these recipes in less than half an hour, from setting down your car keys and washing your hands to reminding your kid to put her napkin on her lap.
Ideas for side dishes, lunch boxes, baby food, starting an herb garden, a “Thanksgiving Dinner Survival Guide,” and more are included as well. It’s a book filled with good ideas and solid recipes for a realistic life of relative ease. (Easier at six o’clock anyway.)
INDIAN SPINACH CURRY (saag paneer)
From The Six O’Clock Scramble
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic, about 6 cloves
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen chopped spinach
1 cup water
1 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1 package (12 ounce) extra firm silken tofu, drained and cut into Â½-inch cubes
Heat the oil and butter in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger, and sautÃ© them for 5 to 7 minutes until the onion begins to brown. Add the salt, curry powder, and garam masala and stir for 1 minute.
While the onion is browning, put the spinach in a microwave* safe dish and partially thaw it for several minutes on the highest setting. Add the spinach and its liquid plus one cup of water to the pan with the onions and break up the spinach with a spatula as it continues to thaw. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer it with the lid off the pan, stirring occasionally, until almost all the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the yogurt and then gently stir in the tofu. Cover the pan and heat it through for about 3 minutes.
Serve over rice with more yogurt, if desired.
*Note on this instruction from Katy: I do not have a microwave, so I let the spinach thaw in the fridge during the day. This method worked fine.
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