Be glad in the Lord and rejoice! Psalm 32:11

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Book Review - In The Small Kitchen by Cara Eisenpress and Phoebe Lapine

I love reading cookbooks and finding new recipes to try out. The one I picked up this weekend came out last Spring, but it is such a good cookbook that I had to share it with you!

About the Book:

It's hard to forget your first apartment—its cramped closets, one too many roommates, and oh-so-tiny kitchen—or the first entry-level job, vibrant but hectic social life, and newfound independence that come with it. For Cara Eisenpress and Phoebe Lapine, that first small kitchen was a blessing in disguise, a haven from adulthood's worries and thrills.

In the Small Kitchen, inspired by their popular website Big Girls, Small Kitchen, is their debut cookbook, filled with more than 100 delicious recipes for cooking and entertaining within the constraints of a twentysomething life. Whether you're packing Pesto Chicken Salad Sandwiches for a cubicle picnic, staying in with a cup of Workweek Tomato Soup and Cara's Classic Gooey Grilled Cheese, whipping up Three Onion Dip and Pimm's Cup for a cocktail party, or making Shrimp Risotto with Sweet Peas and Leeks to impress a special dinner date, Cara and Phoebe will show you how to stretch your imagination and your pocketbook to get the most out of your small kitchen without sacrificing the flavor or fun of savoring a good meal.

In the Small Kitchen will get a new generation into the habit of cooking and make your kitchen a place everyone wants to be.

This is the perfect cookbook to give to those young adults graduating from college, setting out on their own, getting married, or those who just want to learn how to cook and entertain for themselves.  Cara and Phoebe offer not only recipes for some delicious sounding food, but they also give tips on how to set up buffets, entertain on a dime, and other important things that young people need to know! And they do it through charming and funny stories of their own experiences in the kitchen!

It occured to me as I was reading this book that I was a "quarter-lifer" when I was a young married woman having kids, and now My kids are "quarter-lifers," and this cookbook will eventually find it's way into one of their kitchens - after Momma gets done trying out a recipe or two!

Here is one of the girls' recipes that caught my eye!

Black Bean Cakes with Mango-Lime Crema
Makes about 20 cakes
These cakes are very versatile. They can be pan-fried or baked, depending on the texture you prefer. If you don’t want to take the time to make the crema, you can easily serve these with a dollop of Plain Jane sour cream.


For the cakes:
2 15oz cans black beans
2 garlic cloves
½ lime, juiced
1 tbsp sour cream
¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp cayenne
1 tsp salt

For the crema:
3/4 cup sour cream
½ mango, finely diced
1 tbsp shallot, chopped
1 tbsp lime juice
¼ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp salt

In a food processor, blend the garlic, 1 can of beans, lime juice, and sour cream until moderately smooth. Transfer to a mixing bowl and fold in the remaining ingredients. Mix until properly combined.
With clean hands, form the bean mixture into 1 inch balls and set aside on a plate. Chill the balls for twenty minutes or so.

For the crema, combine a third of the mango, and all remaining ingredients in a food processor. Transfer to a bowl an fold in the rest of the mango.

NOTE: everything up to this point can be prepared the night before.
Heat a skillet over a medium-high flame, adding a healthy layer of olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Once the bean cakes have cooled, remove from the refrigerator. Pan-fry the bean cakes, making sure to press each down into a round patty as you add them to the pan. Cook until dark brown and
crispy on both sides. Reserve on a paper towel until cool enough to handle.

Alternatively, you can bake the cakes on a cookie sheet in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until they have crisped up (the outside will resemble falafel).

Arrange cakes on a platter, and serve room temperature with a dollop of mango-lime crema on top and some torn cilantro leaves for garnish.

These look so yummy!

About The Authors:

Cara Eisenpress and Phoebe Lapine met in seventh grade at the Fieldston School in the Bronx, where they bonded over oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. They have been cooking together ever since. In 2008, they founded the website Big Girls, Small Kitchen.  Check out their website at www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review. I was not compensated for my opinion.

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