“Family Meals” by Maria Helm Sinskey (2008)

This is the only other Williams-Sonoma cookbook I own so far.  I recently bought it because I had a gift card for Williams-Sonoma that I had been holding onto for a  long time.  I couldn’t find anything that I felt was worth spending the money on(except for their exclusive new Cuisinart food processor which costs more money than I can spend right now — what kills me is that I recently got a speeding ticket and for the price of that ticket, I could’ve bought that food processor and more!)  So I used the gift card to buy another cookbook, in hopes that I’ll actually use it more than once.  This book appealed to me because of it’s simplicity; the recipes seemed to be less complicated than those in their other cookbooks.   There’s an earthiness to it that’s reminiscent of growing up on a family farm and being nourished by delicious yet simple comfort food. 

 I’m becoming a fan of beans/lentils and rice because this combination is so nutritious and economical.  The recipe “Chickpea Curry” probably only cost me about $4 to make and it serves 6 – 8.  It contains chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans), onions, garlic, tomatoes, potatoes, spices, lime juice and cilantro.  I was disappointed at first because the dish wasn’t very flavorful after cooking, especially since I put so much prep time into it (more on this later).  The author mentions that it tastes better the day after — she’s right; it’s a lot better the day after.  My almost 2-year old even liked it. 

It was the beans that took so much prep time.  I knew this somewhat, so I cooked them a few nights before I made this dish.  I needed 5 cups of cooked beans for this recipe, so I thought it would be cheaper to use dried beans.  Hey, I’d cooked dried pinto beans before, so how hard could this be?  Well, I learned later that it’s a little more time-consuming with garbanzos, which are bigger.  Yes, you can walk away while they’re cooking, but you do have to come back to them once in a while.  (And in my case I also had to spend some time stirring the cooked beans in an ice bath to safely cool them down for storage in the fridge.)  The time wouldn’t have been an issue, had it not been a weeknight after work and if it had been earlier than 9:00 when I started cooking them.  I had to lose some sleep over these beans, waiting for them to cook.  They were finally tender by 10:50 p.m.  Upon tasting the beans, my husband and I decided that they were well worth the time.  The beans had been cooking with some garlic cloves and a little bit of kosher salt and their taste was superior to that of canned beans.  I’ll need to start cooking the beans earlier next time.  I’m trying to get better with meal planning/prep.  Right now I’m cooking pasta in preparation for tomorrow night’s casserole (Betty Crocker’s “Party Tuna Bake” which I first made a few months ago).  It’s 9:51 pm, but at least pasta cooks fast — unlike garbanzo beans.

Published in: on March 8, 2010 at 10:36 pm  Comments (5)