As you all know, I love cookbooks. Basically all cookbooks. But it’s not every day that my good friends and colleagues publish a book, so this one has me extra excited!
The dynamic author-duo of Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek have done it again. You may remember my review of their last joint effort, Passover Made Easy, and how much I loved it. Well, they have absolutely outdone themselves in their latest effort, Starters & Sides Made Easy. Ready to read what I thought? (Scroll down past my review for your chance to win your own copy!)
At first glance:
As with their previous book, Starters & Sides Made Easy is chock full of creative and inventive ideas, beautifully photographed dishes, and eye catching design, not to mention, helpful tips and engaging and entertaining writing. Seriously, this book has a way of drawing you in…and making you drool!
Some Features I Liked:
One of the first things I noticed about this book was the excellent organization. Some people might think of starters and sides as it’s own category, but when you have an entire book devoted to them, categorizing can get tricky. This book is cleverly arranged into a category for vegetables, one for grains, another for meat and chicken, yet another for fish, one for dairy, and lastly, a sweet sides category. As you can see, the book really covers the whole range!
Next, as in their previous book, Starters and Sides has a wealth of kitchen knowledge (those authors know their stuff – as editors for both the world’s best weekly kosher magazine, Whisk, and CookKosher.Com, the world’s largest kosher recipe sharing site, they really have a ton of info to share!). Before they start on the actual recipes, the authors share a “building blocks” section, where they teach you things like how to roast vegetables, how to add flavor to your mashed potatoes and how to make perfect rice. They also include a comprehensive spice guide, and plating suggestions before every chapter!
Another thing I love about this book is the variety and innovation of ideas. Always thought coleslaw was a mayonnaise loaded salad made with cabbage? Think again. In this book, coleslaw gets fried into mouthwateringly delicious looking balls!
You probably noticed by now that I mention the photography in all of my cookbook reviews. Well, this book has breathtakingly beautiful pictures of wonderfully and smartly styled food.
Lastly, a number of the chicken and meat recipes can easily be turned into mains, which is a nice bonus for the book!
Some Recipes I Can’t Wait to Try:
I don’t even know where to start here! I want to make basically everything in this book…from Shwarma Egg rolls to coleslaw balls and sticky red potatoes!
The recipe I am most excited to try is their Crispy Beef. That dish is a favorite of mine at Asian restaurants, so I am really excited to try it at home!
Another recipe I am dying to make is the Barbecue Noodles. Partly because they look so absolutely delicious, and partly because I was actually there helping out one day at the photo shoot, and I got to taste these straight from the source. And I can absolutely vouch for their awesomeness.
Another recipe on my “I’ll make it as soon as I have a good excuse” list is the Falafel Cigars. Think hybrid between an egg roll, a falafel sandwich and a meat filled cigar, and you have a pretty good idea of why I am so enthralled by this recipe!
I could go on all day, but I’ll leave you to buy the book and pick your favorites yourself!
Who This Cookbook is For:
If you love to cook, and are constantly looking for delicious and creative new things to cook, you’re going to love this book.
Specifically, the book contains a ton of ideas for holidays, parties, and other special occasions, so if you find yourself cooking for one of the above, and you’re stuck on the menu, this book will be a complete lifesaver!
Who This Cookbook Isn’t For:
The only people that I can think of who wouldn’t enjoy this book are those on special diets (for example, if you don’t eat gluten, lots of these recipes will be off limits to you.)
Also, if you are looking for a book full of simple and every day recipes…this book has them, but a lot of the recipes are for special occasions.
What I Didn’t Like About This Cookbook:
As I just mentioned, the book is chock full of ideas for special occasions, but has fewer ideas for everyday suppers. Not to say that it doesn’t have recipes that are bound to make it onto your every day supper rotation, like sesame orzo, zucchini and scallion fries, or barbecue noodles, among others, but there are fewer of that type of recipe.
My only other issue with the book is that many of the recipes require frying, making them both less healthy and not as quick to prepare.
Overall, this cookbook is an excellent addition to your collection! It has delicious recipes, innovative ideas, inspired flavors, beautiful pictures and is guaranteed to make you drool! I really can’t say enough about this book…now go out and buy yourself a copy!
And now, for a sample recipe…this cauliflower dish is healthy and delicious and takes just a couple of minutes to throw together…how’s that for a winning recipe!
Golden Cauliflower with Plum Tomatoes
Adapted from Starters and Sides Made Easy by Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek for OvertimeCook.Com
1 (24 ounce) bag frozen cauliflower florets (if you prefer to use fresh, go for it!)
2 plum tomatoes, seeds removed and diced
1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed or finely minced
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1/4 teapoon tumeric
pinch crushed red pepper flakes (I used cayenne pepper)
1 teaspoon salt
pinch of black pepper
juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1 – 1/2 Tablespoons)
Preheat oven to 450. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Combine all ingredients except for lemon juice and toss to coat evenly. Spread in a single layer on prepared baking sheet and bake at 450 for 25 minutes. Sprinkle with the lemon juice and serve warm.
For your chance to win a copy of Starters and Sides Made Easy:
Please note: Each entry requires its own comment! Multiple entries in one comment will only be counted once! You can do any or all of the following:
Entry #1 – Leave a comment on this post telling me what is your go to starter or side dish recipe.
Entry #2 – Follow @OvertimeCook on twitter and leave a comment on this post telling me that you did.
Entry # 3- Like Tales of an Overtime Cook on Facebook and leave a comment on this post telling me that you did.
Entry # 4 – Follow @OvertimeCook on Pinterest and leave a comment on this post telling me that you did.
Entry # 5 – Subscribe to OvertimeCook via email (link is on the right sidebar of the blog). and leave a comment on this post telling me that you did.
Entry #6 – Follow Overtime Cook on Instagram and leave a comment on this post telling me that you did.
Note: if you already like/follow etc, that’s fine. Just leave a comment letting me know that!
Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM on Thursday, October 1oth. A valid email address or twitter profile must be provided.
Prize can be shipped within the US and Canada.
Giveaway is sponsored by the publisher.
Disclaimer: I was sent a review copy of this book, and I know the authors well – and have the greatest respect for their food prowess. All opinions are my own. There are affiliate links within this post, which means that if you click the links here to buy the book you will help sponsor your favorite food blog!
Thanks everyone for stopping by! Come back soon, I have a delicious treat to share with you! -Miriam