Chat Leftovers: College Kid Cookbooks, Heart-Smart Apps
Bethesda Mom: Do you or any of the clicksters have a recommendation for a good super basic cookbook for college students -- i.e. people cooking on a budget and without fancy equipment? My son will be in his first apartment next year after two years of dorm living (at your old alma mater, Penn), and I don't want him living exclusively on cheesesteaks and deli from Koch's. I have not done a good job in teaching him up to this point and I want to make August "Cooking Boot Camp" for him and his younger brother. (I plan to have younger brother cook dinner at least one night a week next school year).
Hey Mom, the first title that springs to mind is "Now You're Cooking" by Elaine Corn. I much prefer the optimistic tone of Corn's cover copy ("Everything a Beginner Needs to Know to Start Cooking Today") than confidence-deflating titles such as "Cooking for Dummies " or "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Cooking." A kick in the stomach, if you ask me.
Corn's book is for beginners of all ages, who are ready to learn the basics, from making a proper cup of coffee to roasting a chicken. Her tone is both friendly and firm, like a good teacher, and at no point does she make you feel like a dingbat. She omits the use of fancy or unusual ingredients, too, which as we know from other books, can be distracting.
If your kid is a geek with a penchant for miscelleanea, I highlyrecommendd "What's a Cook to Do?" by award-winning writer James Peterson. In this hand-held paperback, you get nearly 500 kitchen tips (many of them with accompanying photos), from basic (how to steam, ten instant sauces) to more complicated (how to make baba au rhum, how to make a prime rib roast). I love flipping through this book just to get ideas and to brush up on old tricks.
I've not had a look at "Look, Dude, I Can Cook: Four Years of College Cooking Made Easy" by Amy Madden, which was released last summer, but based on the excerpt available on the Web, I'm gathering it's written in young adult vernacular (lots of "Dude" references). I'm also curious if anyone has come across "The Healthy College Cookbook" by Alexandra Nimetz, Jason Stanley and Emeline Starr, who studied and cooked together at Williams College.
Chantilly, Va.: I'm bringing appetizers to a Memorial Day cookout. I need some suggestions for a heart healthy appetizer that tastes great. I want to surprise a friend who had a heart attack about a year ago with something made for him in mind.
There's something about a cookout -- or maybe it's just an informal gathering of friends =- that lends itself to dip. Off the top of my head, I'm thinking zuke-a-mole, which is a puree of roasted zucchini and onions that's packed with flavor.
Walnuts are loaded with heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, which actually help lower "bad" LDL cholesterol and help lift "good" HDL cholesterol. Ever have the pleasure of muhammara? It's a a red pepper and walnut spread with Syrian origins. Recipes vary from country to country throughout the Middle East, but generally speaking, you'll taste a touch of pomegranate molasses, the heat of chile pepper, the texture of bread crumbs and the pungency of cumin.
Here's a take on this addictive spread from Dana Jacobi, in her new "The Essential Best Foods Cookbook":
1 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled and coarsely chopping (If using jarred, drain well)
1 slice whole wheat bread, crust removed, toasted and cut into 1-inch cubes (a hunk of hearty bread will do equally well)
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses or pomegranate juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (alternatively, ground red Aleppo pepper)
Salt to taste
In a food processor, combine all ingredients (except salt) and pulse until mixture is a rough paste but well combined. Season to taste with salt.
Makes about 3/4 cup.
Nutritional info: Per serving (about 2 tablespoons): 101 calories, 9 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 2 grams protein, 4 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber.
Find more Q&As in this week's What's Cooking transcript.
Got an extra helping of cookbook advice for our young co-ed? Or another heart-smart app to add to the buffet? Add your tidbits to the comments area below.
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