I am so thrilled to write this post. Remember Nick? You guys know Nick. I’ve introduced you before. Nick Evans is the creative mastermind behind the food blog Macheesmo. Turns out that while he’s been busy posting fantastic recipes online, he’s also been hard at work behind the scenes writing his first cookbook, Cornerstone Cooking! And let me tell you…it rocks.
The concept of Cornerstone Cooking is extremely useful and really different from any cookbook I’ve seen. The focus of the book is to help you use those leftovers taking up space in your refrigerator that normally end up in the trash. Old bread? Extra beans? Too much chicken? Cornerstone Cooking shows you how to turn it into a fantastic meal with unintimidating, simple recipes for the home cook. The book is broken down into 8 chapters, 8 cornerstone dishes. Chicken, black beans, flank steak, potatoes, marinara sauce, lentils, bread and ice cream. Nick gives you a recipe for the cornerstone dish and then follows that with several secondary recipes using that same cornerstone dish. Pretty cool, right? Totally.
Nick graciously sent me a copy to review and upon reading it, I found myself laughing with Nick’s witty writing and marking almost every recipe. The chances are probably really high that you’ve got at least one of those eight hanging out in your kitchen now. For me it was lentils. Since going gluten free, I normally make a big pot of lentils on Sundays for the week and I’m always looking for something new to do with them. I emailed Nick immediately thanking him for an entire chapter on lentils. Jackpot! This recipe caught my eye because it’s “spicy.” Bring on the heat!
This salad was so simple to make that I actually thought I was doing something wrong. I wanted to be sure to make it exactly from the book so I could give an honest review, and I found myself reading these one-lined directions three and four times over thinking “That’s it? Really?” Really. That’s it. Chop, mix, done. I really enjoyed the radishes in the dish. I forgot how much I like them. The salad has just the right amount of spice. It’s flavorful and widely healthy. I actually think it got even better as it sat overnight. I absolutely love this salad. I mixed in some cilantro as Nick suggests. I highly recommend you do the same. It added some great freshness.
I really can’t wait to make more recipes from the book. Crunchy Black Bean Tacos, Nick Nuggets and Vietnamese Noodle Salad with Flank Steak are screaming my name. There are over 50 recipes that are either naturally gluten free or can be made gluten free easily with a few substitutions. I counted myself and was really happy to see that. Nick also marks his wife Betsy’s favorite recipes, dishes under 30 minutes and vegetarian dishes. For frequent Macheesmo readers, a great thing about the book is that it feels like the blog, just printed and bound! Comforting, welcoming, intelligent and delicious. A lot of my cookbooks are in the cabinet above the refrigerator. You know that cabinet. The one full of everything you never use because no one can reach it. But not this book. Cornerstone Cooking is staying within arms reach. For real. Congrats Nick!
Spicy Lentil Salad
4 cups cooked lentils (Nick suggests green lentils)
1 pound fingerling or new potatoes, boiled
1/2 red onion, diced
1 cucumber, seeded, peeled and diced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
8 radishes, sliced thin
1-2 jalapeños, seeded and minced
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
Posted on April 17, 2012