Williams-Sonoma “Essentials of Healthful Cooking” (2003)

I bought this book because of the title and its impressive photos (I’m a sucker for good food photography!)  And who doesn’t like looking through Williams-Sonoma stuff?  Like Martha Stewart, everything about their products is so enchanting and sophisticated.  Good thing I went to culinary school, where I learned things like how to fashion a double-boiler from a stainless steel bowl and saucepan; when I graduated, these high-end overpriced cooking specialty stores lost their hold on me.  (My favorite cooking store is now a restaurant supply store called Surfas — still can be pricey but not so needlessly fancy.)

Once again, the recipes in this book can be a bit time-consuming.  A couple of my friends (who are married to each other and cook together unlike my husband and I ) swear by the Williams-Sonoma quick cooking book (unsure of the title).  I guess if it doesn’t say that it’s quick, then I shouldn’t expect it to be.  These same friends  also love the Williams-Sonoma Thanksgiving book, which has delicious recipes — believe me because I’ve been blessed enough to partake in this couple’s Thanksgiving dishes!  Although I do recall that it took them a long time to peel chestnuts for one of the stuffing recipes.

The only recipe I had made out of this book was “Lemon Orzo with Parsley”.  In fact, this recipe introduced me to orzo and I love the fact that it mimics rice but is actually mini pasta that cooks very quickly.  I just wish that orzo was whole wheat — does whole wheat orzo exist? 

Since most of the recipes in this book took more energy than I had at the time, I wanted to make something relatively easy.  It had been a while since I’ve cooked non-canned beans, so I wanted to give it a try.   “Red Bean Puree with Pita” is not actually made with red beans; it’s red because you put tomato sauce in it — although it’s not really red in the end anyway.

The dip wasn’t as tasty as I would’ve liked.  I’m used to homemade hummus which has lemon juice, tahini, and garlic.  I think I missed the flavor of these ingredients in this bean dip.  From this experience, I learned that soaking and cooking your own beans is not difficult at all and is way cheaper and probably healthier (since bpa is often used in lining food cans even though I still buy canned food).  Although this dish wasn’t so great, I at least was re-introduced to the concept of using dried beans.

Recipes in this book that leave me with a craving include “Thai Beef Salad” and “Vietnamese-Style Summer Rolls”.  Maybe I should’ve bought a quick cooking Asian cookbook instead?  But you know what they say — you can only have two out of the following three:  fast, cheap, good.  So it’s either fast and cheap (but not good)  or fast and good (but not cheap) or in my case, it’s often cheap and good (but not certainly not fast).

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Published in: on February 4, 2010 at 5:03 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. we think cheap, good, and fast can be done!

    • I believe you, it’s just difficult for me after a long day of work or even on weekends when I’m trying to catch up on household chores.

  2. Love the idea of this site – hope you keep posting!!

    • Thanks! I’ve been super busy lately, but I do hope to post again this weekend.


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