How many cookbooks live in your house? Let’s count ‘em. Disregarding my file folders of clipped recipes and following this year’s annual purge, I counted 86. After separating the wheat from the chaff, I fingered 8 for the deserted island and 11 that I’d sorely miss. The rest? Toodle loo.
Thanks to Google, we can now link onto every imaginable recipe. Still, approximately 20 million cookbooks were sold in 2018. There was even a site, now defunct, called Cookbooks Anonymous penned by a blogger trying to justify his collecting habit by cooking from every cookbook he owned in just one year.
This week’s CooktheBookFridays recipe choices are from cookbooks that are keepers: a strongly flavorful, nutritious GREEN-as-SPRING-SOUP from Everyday Dorie, The Way I Cook, by Dorie Greenspan; surprisingly simple PRESERVED LEMON-PISTACHIO ISRAELI COUSCOUS, My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz; and, a PARISIAN APPLE TARTLET, Baking, From My Home to Yours by Dorie. The tartlets were nabbed off the baking sheet! Watch those fingers, the sugar is hot. I’m thinking you already have most of these necessary ingredients on hand. Why not pull up next week’s menu plan and make it better.
PRESERVED LEMON-PISTACHIO ISRAELI COUSCOUS from David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen
Here are the recipes and tips (don’t miss them).
Serving Size: 4 – 6, makes about 5 cups
1-2 preserved lemons (depending on size) or Juice from 1/2 fresh lemon
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley and chopped mint (more to sprinkle on top)
2 tablespoons salted or unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup dried fruit, diced, (your choice-cherries & apricots or mangoes & figs, both combos which I used, or cranberries, prunes, raisins or dates
1/2 cup shelled, unsalted pistachios, very coarsely chopped, almost whole (you can easily substitute toasted hazelnuts or almonds or even pine nuts.)
3/4 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups Israeli couscous or another small round pasta like Orzo
freshly ground black pepper
- Trim the stem end from the preserved lemon and cut it into quarters.
Scoop out the pulp. If there is excess juice, press it through a strainer into a medium-sized bowl to extract the juices. Discard the pulp. Save the juice for other use.
- Finely dice the preserved lemon rind and add it to a medium-sized bowl along with the chopped parsley/mint, dried fruit and pistachios along with butter, salt and cinnamon.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.
Add the couscous and cook according to the package instructions and until moisture is absorbed.
- Drain off any water left. Add it to the bowl of fruits, nuts, parsley and spices, mixing until the butter is melted and ingredients are blended.
- Season with black pepper, salt, if necessary and serve warm, room temperature or cold.
1. The couscous can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
2. Preserved lemons stored in salt and their own lemon juice are a staple in Indian, North African, and Moroccan cuisine. They’re used in everything from stews to salads to rice and much more. They are easily stored, maintaining their flavor, in the refrigerator. You can buy a jar in speciality stores or easily make your own: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/preserved-lemons-recipe-2012376
Mark Bittman’s “Quick” Preserved Lemons
1 tablespoon kosher salt
4 lemons, unwaxed (or scrubbed of wax)
2 tablespoons sugar
- Dice lemons, including peel, removing as many seeds as possible.
- Put the lemons and their juice in a bowl and sprinkle with the salt and sugar. Toss well and transfer to a jar.
- Let the mixture sit for at least 3 hours at room temperature, shaking the jar periodically. This can be served at that point or refrigerated for up to a week.
PARISIAN APPLE TARTLET from Baking, from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
Single Serving Recipe for One
1 1/8″ thick, 4″- 5” circle using cold Puff Pastry*
1/2 firm, sweet apple, such as Golden Delicious or Fuji, peeled and cored
Light brown sugar1 tsp cold (preferably unsalted) butter, cut into 3 pieces
1 tsp cinnamon
- Center a rack in the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat and put the pastry circle on the sheet.Cut the apple half into 4 chunks and center the chunks on the pastry circle.
- Sprinkle the apple with 1- 2 teaspoons light brown sugar and the teaspoon of cinnamon. Dot with the bits of butter.
- Bake the tartlet for about 25 minutes (the time will vary depending on how your apple bakes) until the pastry is deeply browned and puffed up around the apple and the apple can be easily pierced with the tip of a knife but still firm in appearance.
- Transfer the baking sheet to a rack and let the tartlet cool – it’s great just a little warm and equally good at room temperature.
- The tartlet should be served soon after it is baked and is best on the day it is made. If you have leftovers, cover tightly and stick in the fridge. To warm, use the oven or microwave
- To serve, wrap the tartlet in a piece of waxy paper and eat it in a casual fashion as a breakfast pastry or snack. Or, you can put it on a plate with proper cutlery and serve it as an elegant finish to a meal.
- For variety or a flavor change, use a pear, plum, apricot, peach or even a mango for this tart.
- There are two brands of puff pastry in the USA, Pepperidge Farm, available in most supermarkets, and harder-to-find Dufour. Although Dufour is pricier, it’s well worth the search. Dufour makes an all-butter puff pastry, while PF (and Trader Joe’s during the holidays) uses shortening. Unfortunately I had to use Pepperidge Farm for this tart.
GREEN-as-SPRING-SOUP from Everyday Dorie, The Way I Cook,” by Dorie Greenspan
Since the publisher has asked us not to print recipes from Everyday Dorie, The Way I Cook, if you want more information about this recipe, e-mail me.
COOKtheBOOKFRIDAYS is an international group of food bloggers cooking virtually through Everyday Dorie, The Way I Cook. If you’re interested in knowing more about this group, go here.