I do love a glossy cookbook filled with lovely recipes and photos of them. They are nice to page through, though I find I don’t go back to them. The books I go to the most are simple books chock full of recipes with nary a photo. Maybe some illustrations. Maybe. Right now I’m reading one of those books. It’s called Feast for a Farthing by Molly Finn. I have it on loan from the library–I do think she would approve of that, though it would be a good book to own! It was in a bibliography from another fine book by Peter G. Rose, Foods of the Hudson, also no illustrations. It’s not that I’m against photos, (quite the contrary obviously, if you follow me on Instagram) but it’s not the main reason I like a book.
I like unfussy cookbooks, and that includes the recipes. Perhaps I’m alone in this love for text-heavy detail-free recipe books? I just read this article (h/t to Dianne Jacobs for passing it along), which talks about how the new trend in cookbooks is the story behind them. I do like those books as well, indeed, as a cookbook hoarder, I love them all. But the ones I use daily for reference are those simple ones with nothing but quick text describing a meal. I love that. I might add it’s how I best like to share a recipe, too. Like the following one for a bubbly rice casserole, or bake as they are often referred to. A quick and hearty meal using the extras in the fridge and pantry. My favorite thing!
Here it is in a nutshell: do you have a quart of a creamy butternut squash soup to use up? Sauté some diced onion and garlic in a dutch oven, add a healthy cup of uncooked white rice to toast up, then add a quart of creamy soup, a spoonful of wild greens salsa verde for flavor, some salt and pepper, and about a half cup of parmesan cheese shreds. Once it is bubbly, cover it, and put it in the oven at 350 for about 15 minutes. When the time is up, pull the pot from the oven and stir it up. Add some more cheese in, if you are so inclined, and cover it. Let it sit for five to ten minutes. There: dinner. Approach it like risotto, but it is so much quicker and easier. Serve with a side of sautéed greens.
[Pro tip: if there are any leftovers, sauté in a pan either in small pancake shapes, or one large cake. To cook the other side, invert and use a plate to flip it over.]