New cookbook from Milk Street a winner for weeknights
Over about 40 years, Christopher Kimball has steered many cookbooks as, first, the founder of Cook's Illustrated, Cook's Country and America's Test Kitchen and now his follow-up publishing effort Milk Street. Milk Street is similar to, yet very different from Kimball's earlier efforts.
What's the same? Well-tested recipes shared in cookbooks, bimonthly publications and PBS cooking shows.
What's different? Milk Street is less about perfecting recipes (although Milk Street recipes have all been perfected) and more about its international origins, authenticity and unique flavors.
Kimball's Milk Street magazine takes its readers across the world for stories about people and foods, as well as sharing unique recipes. This is not, to use a food metaphor, a cookie-cutter enterprise.
Three years ago, Kimball published "Milk Street: Tuesday Nights," a cookbook where every dish was created to come together in under an hour. Every recipe came with a picture, a huge asset to those who want to see more than recipes and only a few pictures.
The "Tuesday Night" concept: bring weekend flavor (when many usually have time to cook) to the demands of weeknight meals' shorter preparation time.
About his newest cookbook, "Milk Street: Tuesday Nights Mediterranean," Kimball writes: " ... the food is direct, simple and honest." No lie.
A big plus for the meat averse; lots of recipes use no meat. Not necessarily vegan-friendly because many meat-free recipes contain cheese, although you could substitute alternative nondairy cheese.
The downside: Kimball frequently uses unique spices that may not be in your pantry, such as ground sumac or Aleppo pepper. Kimball does offer possible substitutions for those, though.
Kimball's newest effort is broken into chapters: Fast-On the Table -- in 45 minutes or less; Faster -- Ready in 30 to 35 minutes; Fastest -- 30 minutes or less; Salad Suppers; Hearty Vegetarian; Supper Soups; and finally, Flat and Folded.
Among the book's 125 recipes, you'll find Harissa-Spiced Pasta and Chicken with Green Beans; Rigatoni with Artichokes, Basil and Pecorino; Sweet Peppers and Pork with Sage and Honey; Rice Salad with Tomatoes, Capers and Olive Oil Tuna; Barley "Risotto" with Mushrooms, Kale and Gorgonzola; Andalusian Tomato and Bread Soup; and Pan-Fried Beef-Filled Pita.
There's also a convenient section listing the recipes by categories, such as chicken, beef or eggs.
This is a book about dinner, so there are zero recipes for desserts. You won't find any nutritional analysis, either. It's all about the main course.
The photography is beautifully executed, making for mouthwatering viewing.
A recipe to take out for a test drive is on Page 2.
• Don Mauer welcomes questions, comments and recipe makeover requests. Write to him at email@example.com.
Spicy White Beans with tahini, Lemon and Parsley
¼ cup tahini
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 medium shallot, halved and thinly sliced
1 Fresno or jalapeño chile, stemmed and sliced into thin rings
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
2 medium garlic cloves, finely grated
1½ teaspoons coriander seeds, lightly crushed
1½ teaspoons cumin seeds, lightly crushed
½ to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Two 15½-ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
In a large bowl, stir together the tahini, lemon juice, shallot, chile, ½ cup water and ½ teaspoon each salt and black pepper; set aside.
In a 12-inch skillet over medium, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Add the coriander, cumin and pepper flakes, then cook, stirring, until the garlic is lightly browned and the spices are fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the beans and cook, stirring occasionally and gently, just until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes.
Immediately add the bean mixture to the dressing, then toss gently. Taste and season with salt and black pepper, then transfer to a serving bowl. Top with the parsley, drizzle with additional oil and serve immediately or cool to room temperature, then top with the parsley and drizzle with additional oil.
Recipe note: Don't stir vigorously after adding the beans. Cannellini are delicate; gentle stirring prevents them from breaking up. Don't serve the beans chilled; refrigeration causes the dressing to stiffen. If you have leftovers, let stand at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
Excerpted from "MILK STREET: TUESDAY NIGHTS MEDITERRANEAN." Copyright © 2021 by CPK Media, LLC. Photographs by Connie Miller. Used with permission of Voracious, an imprint of Little, Brown and Company. New York, NY. All rights reserved.