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Buy a delicious ingredient in bulk, save money, and cook delicious meals. It’s not as easy as it sounds—if you want to make creative dishes and use all the food you buy. With the expertise of Fine Cooking you can do both. This cookbook is not about cooking to stock your freezer, spending hours on the weekend cooking for the week, eating the same leftovers all week, or developing a new way to think about shopping for food. Food Lover’s Guide to Big Buy Cooking is about cooking great-tasting food for ...
Buy a delicious ingredient in bulk, save money, and cook delicious meals. It’s not as easy as it sounds—if you want to make creative dishes and use all the food you buy. With the expertise of Fine Cooking you can do both. This cookbook is not about cooking to stock your freezer, spending hours on the weekend cooking for the week, eating the same leftovers all week, or developing a new way to think about shopping for food. Food Lover’s Guide to Big Buy Cooking is about cooking great-tasting food for every night of the week and features 75 inventive recipes from 25 bulk food items readily available in warehouse clubs and supermarkets. While Food Lover’s Guide to Big Buy Cooking focuses on how to cook exciting, reliable recipes and make the most of the featured ingredient, the added benefit is keeping costs down thanks to purchasing in bulk and then using it all. Accompanied by step-by-step instructions, helpful hints and tips, and full-color photographs, these original recipes will take your cooking to new levels.
KALAMATA OLIVES Black Olive & Rosemary Vinaigrette p. 8 Swordfish with Black Olive & Mint Tapenade p. 11 Spicy Penne Tossed with Chicken, Broccoli & Chopped Olives p. 12
BREAD Warm Maple & Cinnamon Bread Pudding p. 15 Grilled Bread Salad with Basil & Cherry Tomatoes p. 18 Asparagus, Ham & Mushroom Strata p. 20
CANNED TOMATOES Quick Marinara with Toasted Garlic & Rosemary p. 23 Braised Beef Braciola Stuffed with Basil & Mozzarella p. 24 Smoky Tomato Soup p. 27
CAPERS Smoked Salmon & Caper Spread p. 29 Lemon Chicken Breasts with Capers p. 30 Seared Steaks with Caper-Tarragon Butter p. 33
ROASTED RED PEPPERS Spiced Couscous with Fennel & Roasted Red Peppers p. 35 Garlicky Chicken Thighs in Red Pepper Sauce p. 36 Chilled Red Pepper Soup with Sautéed Shrimp p. 39
PINE NUTS Sautéed Spinach with Golden Raisins, Pine Nuts & Fresh Breadcrumbs p. 41 Mint & Pine Nut Pesto with Gemelli & Asparagus p. 42 Rosemary & Pine Nut Cookies p. 44
DRIED MUSHROOMS Creamy Fontina Polenta with Mushroom Ragù p. 47 Seared Pork Medallions in Marsala-Mushroom Sauce p. 48 Wild mushroom & Arugula Risotto p. 51
SUN-DRIED TOMATOES Sun-Dried Tomato & Feta Vinaigrette p. 53 Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Green Olives p. 54 Rigatoni with Sun-Dried Tomato & Fennel Sauce p. 56
With an unmistakably rich color and briny taste, Kalamatas are a cut above canned black olives. They're usually pricey, but buying them in bulk gives you the opportunity to indulge without sticker shock.
BLACK OLIVE & ROSEMARY VINAIGRETTE
Olives add depth of flavor and a rich, dark color to this vinaigrette. Pair the dressing with the components of a Greek salad-tomatoes, cucumbers, feta, and Romaine-or with a hearty spinach salad of goat cheese, roasted root vegetables, and baby spinach.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1 small clove garlic, minced and mashed to a paste 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary Freshly ground black pepper
Put the olives, lemon juice, mustard, and garlic in a food processor or blender and purée. With the machine running, add the oil in a thin steady stream so the mixture becomes uniform and thick, and then add the rosemary and 1 teaspoon pepper. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water to thin the vinaigrette to a pourable consistency if needed. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
PITTING OLIVES prep this
There are all sorts of fancy gadgets you can buy to pit olives. And while many of them work just fine, the most efficient tools for the task just might be your own two hands. Set the heel of one of your hands (the pad right near the thumb) over an olive and press down with just a bit of weight. The flesh of the olive will splinter and you will easily be able to pick out the pit.
SWORDFISH WITH BLACK OLIVE & MINT TAPENADE
Make a double batch of this versatile black olive paste and use the extra as a dressing for pasta, sandwiches, or sautés, or as a garnish for grilled or roasted chicken. It's paired with fish here, so anchovies (an ingredient in traditional tapenade) are omitted, but feel free to add them if you like.
FOR THE TAPENADE
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped 2 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 8 basil leaves, torn into small pieces 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh mint 1 medium clove garlic, minced and mashed to a paste Large pinch crushed red pepper flakes
FOR THE SWORDFISH
Four 1-inch-thick swordfish fillets (6 to 7 ounces each) Coarsely cracked black pepper Kosher salt 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pint ripe grape or cherry tomatoes, halved 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil Kosher salt
MAKE THE TAPENADE
Put the olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and oil in a food processor and pulse until the mixture forms a coarse paste. Pulse in the basil, mint, garlic, and red pepper flakes until combined and transfer to a medium bowl.
MAKE THE SWORDFISH
Heat a gas grill to medium high, or prepare a medium-hot charcoal fire. Clean and oil the grates to prevent sticking. Sprinkle the fish with 1 teaspoon pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt and drizzle with oil. Grill the fish until it has good grill marks, about 4 minutes. Using both tongs and a spatula, carefully turn the fish. Continue cooking until the other side has good grill marks and the fish is just cooked through, about 8 minutes.
Toss the tomatoes with the mint, oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Transfer the fish to a platter, spread generously with the tapenade, and top with a spoonful of the tomatoes (and their juices). Serve immediately.
MAKE IT LAST
Canned or jarred olives will keep indefinitely in your pantry. Once opened, refrigerate a jar of brined olives (in their brine) in the refrigerator for up to one month. If you buy olives from your deli, try to use them within one week.
SPICY PENNE TOSSED WITH CHICKEN, BROCCOLI & CHOPPED OLIVES
Kalamata olives enhance any dish with their salty, rich flavor. Here, they add a twist to a basic chicken and broccoli pasta. For a vegetarian option, omit the chicken and add red and green peppers, garbanzo beans, or any other legume or vegetable of your choice when the pasta and pasta water is added to the skillet.
Serves 4 to 6
Kosher salt 1/2 cup olive oil 4 cloves garlic, smashed 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 1/2 pound (about 1 large) boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into thin strips 2/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped 1 pound penne 1/2 pound broccoli florets, cut into 11/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups) 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1 cup freshly grated Pecorino-Romano
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, heat the oil and garlic in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, stirring gently so the cloves don't break up, until they become light brown in places and very fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the rosemary and red pepper flakes and cook until they start to sizzle, about 15 seconds. Add the chicken, sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring often, until the chicken loses its raw color, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the olives.
Add the penne to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until just barely al dente, 1 to 2 minutes less than the package instructions. Add the broccoli and cook until it turns bright green and the pasta is tender, about 1 minute. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water, and then drain the pasta and broccoli. Discard the garlic from the olive mixture. Add the pasta and the pasta water to the skillet and cook uncovered over medium-high heat, stirring, until the pasta absorbs most of the liquid, about 2 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and half of the Pecorino. Serve sprinkled with the remaining Pecorino.
Most big buy stores carry fresh-bakes artisan breads, often in two-parks. Make some great sandwiches and then venture into new bread territory with these imaginative recipes.
WARM MAPLE & CINNAMON BREAD PUDDING
Take the flavors of a coffee cake, apply them to a bread pudding, and you get this warming custard, reminiscent of French toast and perfect for brunch or dessert. For the best results, let the custard soak into the bread for at least 4 hours before baking.
Serves 8 to 10
Unsalted butter for the pan 3 cups whole milk 8 large eggs, beaten 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract Kosher salt 1 cup walnuts (about 4 ounces), toasted (see Toasting Nuts, p. 41) 1/2 cup light brown sugar 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 pound rustic white bread (like ciabatta), cut into 3/4-inch-thick slices 3/4 cup pure maple syrup Confectioners' sugar for sprinkling (optional)
To assemble the bread pudding, butter a 9x13-inch baking dish. In a medium bowl, whisk the milk with the eggs, vanilla, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. In a mini chopper or food processor, pulse the walnuts with the brown sugar and cinnamon. Arrange half the bread slices in an even layer on the bottom of the dish; cut slices into small pieces to fill in the holes. Cover with half of the egg mixture, a third of the nuts, and a third of the maple syrup. Make another layer with the remaining bread and cover with the rest of the egg mixture, another third of the nuts, and a third of the maple syrup. Sprinkle with the rest of the nut mixture and maple syrup. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing down so the bread is completely submerged in the egg mixture, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 2 days before baking.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350?F. Let the bread pudding sit at room temperature while the oven heats. Bake until the custard starts to set, about 30 minutes. Loosely cover the pudding with foil to prevent browning, and cook for another 10 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes and serve sprinkled with the confectioners' sugar, if desired.
To make individual bread puddings, butter eight 10-ounce ramekins and fill each halfway with a layer of bread and cover with 1/8 cup of the egg mixture. Sprinkle with the nuts and 1 teaspoon maple syrup. Repeat with a second layer of bread and egg mixture, nuts, and syrup; the ramekins should be about three-quarters full. Cover each ramekin with plastic wrap, pressing down so that the bread is submerged in the egg mixture, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. When ready to bake, put the ramekins on a large rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in the center of a 350?F oven. Start checking for doneness after 30 minutes.
MAKE IT LAST
It's perfectly fine to use stale bread for the bread recipes in this book, but, of course, you don't want to use it if it's moldy. Whole grain and wheat breads are more susceptible to mold than white breads, so slice and freeze them to hold for cooking. Most rustic white breads will keep fine at room temperature for four or five days in a cool, dry cupboard. If you decide to turn the bread into breadcrumbs, store those in a zip-top bag or airtight container in the freezer.
GRILLED BREAD SALAD WITH BASIL & CHERRY TOMATOES
A trip to the grill gives the makings of a classic Italian bread salad-a good crusty loaf of bread, ripe summer tomatoes, and basil-a little smokiness and crisp texture. Because this salad can sit out at room temperature for an hour or two, it's the perfect side for a picnic or barbecue. If you can't find bocconcini-small fresh mozzarella balls-substitute a large fresh mozzarella cut into 1-inch pieces.
1 medium loaf (about 1/2 pound) rustic white bread (like ciabatta), cut lengthwise into 1-inch-thick slices 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil Kosher salt 1 clove garlic, halved lengthwise 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved 1 bunch scallions (about 8), trimmed and thinly sliced (both white and green parts) 12 large basil leaves, torn into small pieces 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar 8 ounces fresh bocconcini, halved
Prepare a medium-high fire on a gas or charcoal grill. Clean and oil the grates to prevent sticking. Using a pastry brush, dab both sides of the bread slices with 2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Grill the bread until it browns and gets good grill marks, about 2 minutes.
Grill the other side until browned, about 2 minutes, and transfer to a large cutting board to cool. Rub the cut sides of the garlic over the bread and discard the garlic. Put the cherry tomatoes and scallions in a large serving bowl with the basil. Cut the bread into 1-inch pieces and add to the bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk the remaining oil with the red-wine vinegar, pour over the bread mixture, and toss well. Let the salad sit for up to 2 hours before serving. Just before serving, fold in the bocconcini and season with salt to taste.
The peasant cuisines of the Mediterranean were based on making meals out of the leftovers at hand. Bread was often in ample supply and formed the base for many dishes. Follow the lead of southern Italian cooks and make breadcrumbs from stale loaves to sprinkle on pastas and soups. They add a crisp texture and a pleasant nutty flavor. Leftover bread also goes great in soups like Spanish gazpacho (see our take on this chilled soup, Chilled Red Pepper Soup with Sautéed Shrimp, on p. 39), Tuscan Pappa al Pomodoro (a spicy tomato and bread soup), or as a crouton topper for French onion soup.
ASPARAGUS, HAM & MUSHROOM STRATA
A strata is like an Italian quiche, but instead of an involved pastry crust, leftover bread forms the egg custard base. As with a bread pudding, assemble this dish ahead of time and bake it just before serving. It's up to you whether or not to trim the bread crust. When entertaining, trim it for a neat and pretty dish or leave it intact for a heartier texture.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, more for the pan 1 pound asparagus, ends snapped off, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 3 1/2 ounces oyster mushrooms (or shiitake or white mushrooms), stemmed and thinly sliced 6 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced, white and green parts separated (1/2 cup green, 2 tablespoons white) 9 large eggs, beaten 2 3/4 cups milk (preferably whole) 1 large loaf (about 1 pound) rustic white bread (like ciabatta), cut into 1-inch cubes 8 ounces thinly sliced deli ham, cut into 1-inch strips 3 cups grated extra sharp Cheddar (about 8 ounces)
Melt the butter in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high heat. Add the asparagus, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the spears start to brown and soften, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and scallion whites and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms soften and cook through, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for a couple of minutes.
Butter a 9x13-inch baking dish. Whisk the eggs with the milk and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Spread half the bread in a single layer on the bottom of the baking dish. Top with half the egg mixture and then cover with half the ham, cheese, and asparagus mixture, and sprinkle with half the scallion greens. Repeat with the remaining custard, ham, cheese, asparagus mixture, and scallions. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing down so the bread is completely submerged in the egg mixture, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 2 days before baking.
Put a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350?F. Let the strata sit at room temperature while the oven heats. Bake until the custard sets and the top browns, about 30 minutes. Loosely cover with foil and bake for another 20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, cut into square pieces, and serve.
Excerpted from BIG BUY COOKING Copyright © 2010 by The Taunton Press, Inc.. Excerpted by permission.
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Posted May 23, 2010
In today's economy, it is imperative that you find ways to save money any way possible. Buying food in bulk portions is cheaper then purchasing small individual servings. It enables the purchaser a means to stock up their food pantry. Some may fear that buying large amounts will be hard to manage; the solution to this dilemma comes in the form of the book Big Buy Cooking: The Food Lover's Guide to Buying in Bulk and Using it All Up.
Big Buy Cooking: The Food Lover's Guide to Buying in Bulk and Using it All Up consists of 75 recipes. Each one offers a fresh new outlet to explore the way to use large quantities of food items. The recipes this book contains will turn anyone into a cooking genius.
This book appeals to me because it allowed me to gain the knowledge of how to purchase big cost saving quantities and then know how to turn them into mouth watering meals before they go to waste. Being single, it can be intimidating to purchase more than what you are accustomed to buying. This book gives you the confidence you need to purchase those large quantities knowing what the end result will offer.
Some of my favorite recipes that I tried included: Peach and blueberry galette, pan-friend southwestern has, and a tropical mango sorbet. Each one of these was simple to prepare and delivered unbelievable results.
For anyone who is looking to save on their monthly food bill there is no better book to add to your recipe collection. This book will pay for itself in gaining the knowledge needed to handle large food quantities. The initial investment will become a priceless collection to your cooking library.
Posted March 6, 2010