I was just listening to the end of Marcus Samuelsson’s Yes, Chef, when he mentioned that Sam Kass introduced him to the Obamas, and that’s how Marcus got to cook dinner for them, when this book, Eat a Little Better: Great Flavor, Good Health, Better World, came across my desk. I was very excited to thumb through it and see what a president gets to eat, and I wasn’t disappointed at all. Beautiful book. I was surprised by the simplicity of the dishes. Kass’ style is simple preparations of nourishing food, with easy, perfect techniques that develop a lot of flavor. It’s good for you, feel good food, and it’s yummy. It’s all family pleasers. The kids have enjoyed the dishes as much as my husband and I.
Who’s this book for? I’d recommend it to anyone that wants nice healthy, nourishing food without cutting anything out. The recipes are on the easy end of the spectrum, and my kids love them, so I think it’s a good fit for anything from someone’s first apartment to the experienced cook.
[It comes out next week! I was trying to hold out on my review in hopes that I’d get permission to share one recipe with you to try. I haven’t heard back yet, so I’ll just put this little placeholder here in case they do…..]
My thoughts and pics on some of the dishes I’ve tried…
1) Fried Brown Rice with Turnip, Avocado, and Sprouts – p 233. Everyone loved this fried rice, and it’s easy enough that my kids could make some for lunch. Total keeper. This was the spring version. He has summer, fall, and winter versions as well.
2) Roasted Kale with Tomatoes and Garlic – p 58. We love kale chips, but the tomatoes and garlic really make them pop. This was gone before I even had dinner on the table.
3) Lucky Pasta – p 189. Spinach and basil pesto-y goodness with chicken.
4) Barbecued Chicken – p 177. Fabulous and easy barbecued chicken.
5) Beer-Braised Pork Shoulder – p 201. This is what I call a mother recipe. You make one big flavorful roast when you have oven time, and eat it as a roast the first night, then use the leftovers in a few recipes he has just for this pork recipe for the next few nights. The roast is delicious. If you’re a baker, you’ll laugh, because the fragrance is so familiar. The caraway, onion, and garlic in the braising liquid smell just like everything bagels. My kids walked in and thought I’d made bagels for dinner.
6-7) Apple and Leek Sauteed Sweet Potatoes – p 129. Okay, Sam’s pic is way cuter than mine because he used red apples and left the peel on them. I’ll probably do that next time. I used a peeled granny smith like the recipe called for, and it was delicious, and easy, but not half as photogenic. 🙂
8) White Bean, Pork, and Greens Soup – p 204 (with leftover braised pork). Yummy, uber nourishing, and ready in 15 minutes.
9) Rigatoni with Pork Ragu – p 202 (with leftover braised pork). Really easy and good!
Some others I have flagged to try: Charred Cabbage with Spicy Aioli – p 61 * Balsamic Roasted Eggplant – p 69 * Chile-Roasted Corn with Scallions and Lime – p 70 * Charred Broccoli with Lime, Fish Sauce, Basil, and Peanuts – p 77 * Grilled Cauliflower Steaks with Grapefruit, Watercress, and Pecans – p 80 * Herbaganoush – p 99 * Mustard Green Salad with Pecans and Honey-Lemon Dressing – p 112 * Spinach, Currants, Pine Nuts and Balsamic Sauteed Sweet Potatoes – p 126 * Shallow-Fried Catfish with Collards, Poblano Salsa, and Red Beans and Rice – p 143 * Grilled Clams with Shishito Peppers and Lemon – p 152 * Slow-Roasted Salmon with Barbecue Sauce and Swiss Chard – p 155 * Grilled Ribeye with 4 Sauces – p 217 * Quinoa for all the seasons – p 238 * Farro for all the seasons – p 243, and the same for wild rice, bulgur, and couscous.
*I received a copy to explore and share my thoughts.
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