I’ve really got to start cooking from cookbooks again. It’s literally been years since I’ve made something from a cookbook. And it’s not because I don’t have any – trust me. I’ve got more cookbooks than I have room for in my small Brooklyn home. They’re all just sitting there on the shelf, like figurines on display, looking pretty!
I usually only take my cookbooks out on Shabbos, when I browse through them like an old photo album. I drool over the good recipes, sigh over the bad ones, and then return them to the bookshelf. Once in a while I promise myself to try a recipe, but I usually forget or don’t get around to it.
Recently, my Shabbos guest was looking though my cookbook collection and she asked me what my favorite recipes were from some of my cookbooks. It made me realize that cookbooks are not just for browsing – some of them have really good recipes that I should actually be cooking. She told me some of her favorites dishes from the cookbooks we had in common (like Smitten Kitchen, Jerusalem, Plenty, The Kosher Palette, Kosher by Design and others) and I promised myself I would give them a try.
It really hit home this week because for the first time in a while, I was stumped. I had planned on an apple and honey dessert for the blog, but sadly, it flopped (yes, that happens to me!) and I couldn’t think of anything else that I wanted to post. Until, I was speaking to my friend and she mentioned a recipe for angel hair pasta that she was making for dinner. She said it had mushrooms and leeks – and when I heard leeks, I was all over it. My mind started racing, thinking about all the ways I could turn it into a Simanim salad – filled with lots symbolic foods that we eat on Rosh Hashanah.
I went straight for some of my favorite Rosh Hashanah foods – beets and pomegranates – keeping things mess-free with golden beets. The pomegranates add great crunch, and the honey rounds it all out with a hint of sweetness.
So thanks to Dina (and whoever came up with the original recipe), for getting my creative juices flowing again.I can’t wait to dust off my cookbooks and open my eyes (and palate) to a new range of recipes! Shall we call it a New Year’s Resolution?
What are some of your favorite cookbook recipes? Share them in the comments below!
Angel Hair Pasta Salad
1 medium golden beet
1 box angel hair pasta
1 pkg baby bella mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 large leeks, white and pale green parts only, cleaned and sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds, for garnish
fresh parsley, for garnish
scant 1/2 cup extra light olive oil
1/4 cup chopped parsley
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 heaping tbsp honey
1 tsp lemon juice
Scrub the beet clean and wrap in foil. Bake at 400 degrees until fork-tender, about 45 minutes. While the beet is cooking, prepare the dressing by adding all the ingredients to a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add the angel hair pasta. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and drain. Place the pasta in a large mixing bowl and toss with the dressing. Peel and dice the beet into small cubes and stir into the pasta.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet and add leeks and mushrooms. Saute until soft and caramelized and add to the pasta.
Place the pasta in a serving bowl and garnish with pomegranate seeds and parsley sprigs.
NOTE: this salad may be served warm, cold or at room temperature.
VARIATION: For a healthier option, use spaghetti squash in place of the angel hair pasta and reduce the amount of oil in the dressing.