Renowned New York chef and host of the Travel Channel’s Epicurious Michael Lomonaco paired up with food writer Andrew Friedman, to create Nightly Specials – 125 Recipes for Spontaneous, Creative Cooking at Home. As the title suggests, the goal of this cookbook is to take the daily rut out of cooking from home and make it more spontaneous and creative. The authors believe that, like having a nightly special in a restaurant, the same can be done with cooking at home. Changing up one’s food and cooking repertoire at home is a good way to cook with seasonal fruits and vegetables, find new ways to use leftovers, and to serve up new dishes with spur-of-the-moment finds at your local market or grocery store.
Lomonaco and Friedman offer up one hundred twenty-five recipes for readers to try. As with most cookbooks, the chapters are organized as to the type of food, but with intriguing titles: A New Leaf (Salads); Daily Breads (Snacks, Sandwiches and Pizzas); Super Bowls (Soups, Chowders and Stews); True Grits (Pasta and Grains); The Shell Game (Shellfish, Large and Small); On the Line (Finfish from Sea to Stream); Winging It (Poultry); Prime Ribs and Final Cuts (Meat and Game); You Want Fries With That? (Potato and Vegetable Side Dishes); and last but not least, Just Desserts (Simple Sweets and Grand Finales).
Interspersed throughout are colorful full-page and half-page photographs to give readers an idea of what the “final product” looks like. Most of the recipes have a handful of ingredients but do not seem overly lengthy or complicated – meaning that with a bit of planning, intermediate cooks will find these recipes innovative but fairly easy to prepare. This is an attractive hardcover book that is as appealing to the eye as it is well-organized and easy to peruse.
I recently made the Cuban-Style Black Bean Soup, which was delicious and received a “thumbs up” from some of my pickier family members. I was excited to see that there was a recipe using quinoa, which is actually a plant but tastes like more of a grain, when cooked. Quinoa is delicious but it is not widely known, so I was excited to see it in Nightly Specials. I am looking forward to trying the recipe for Quinoa “Risotto” with Toasted Hazelnuts and Dried Currants.
There are many tempting recipes in this cookbook that will appeal to a variety of readers who like to cook – or perhaps even to those that do not love to cook but are determined to put a meal on the table and are hoping to be more creative in the process. With a bit of planning and effort, Nightly Specials will serve as a great resource for those looking to add spontaneity and a twist to their general, every day menus at home.