Book Club Tuesday: Eating Out Loud

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Here in Nova Scotia, we’ve cycled back into regular weekdays that flow into the weekends. School marking the days and with the return to school, I’m falling back into the pattern of meal planning, prepping, and cooking. On any given night I don’t want to spend too much time making a meal and even less time cleaning it up. When my friend and I were discussing Eden Grinshpan‘s Eating Out Loud, my friend raved “Isn’t it so great??? And so accessible…actually weeknight friendly.” I really appreciate a cookbook that I can flip open and cook from and, I think it is because Grinshpan’s style reflects her own busy home life. Her recipes are a culmination of all the places she’s lived from Toronto to Tel Aviv and she draws upon her Israeli heritage. Grinshpan’s a Cordon Bleu-trained chef, television personality as well as a restauranteur — food is an adventure for her. 

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Baba Ghanoush w/ Za’atar, Pomegranate, + Mint, p. 42/3

In the introduction she states: ” Ultimately, I learned how to take a small collection of simple and traditional ingredients, mix and match them in new, fresh ways, and create dishes perfect for dunking, picking, dipping, dribbling, schmearing, and getting it all up with your hands. When I changed the way I cooked, I suddenly started having much more fun in the kitchen. I didn’t dread the question “What’s for dinner?”(14) And it is this question that I think she answers by offering the home cook delicious recipes — her take on Middle Eastern food. The recipes are organized into 8 chapters: The Essentials, Eggs All Day, Baked at Brunch, Salads and Fresh Bites, Handheld Meals, Making Veg the Star, Meat and Fish, So Delish, Big Bowls of Grains, and Gimme Some Sugah

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Harissa-Roasted Tomato + Chickpea Soup w/ Lime Yogurt, p. 187

As a die-hard tomato soup fan, I think my favourite recipe so far is the Harissa-Roasted Tomato + Chickpea Soup w/ Lime Yogurt. The first step to making this soup is to get the tomatoes, onions, and garlic on a sheet pan to roast. As they roast along, the scents of harissa, cumin, smoked paprika, and turmeric fill the kitchen. After roasting, the vegetables get blended smooth then added to a pot with chickpeas, minced ginger, spices, and stock. The resulting soup is so rich and flavourful! And the Lime Yogurt garnish is the perfect tart and citrusy accompaniment to the sweet, smoky tomato flavour. Being a family of vegetarians, I really appreciate the addition of chickpeas which gives the soup heartiness. Needless to say, the soup is a hit with my family and one that I’ll keep on rotation as the months grow cooler.

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Nan-e Barbari (Persian Flatbread), p. 146/7

I found myself drawn to her recipe for Nan-e Barbari (Persian Flatbread), which I spent time one Saturday making. While the recipe turned out really well, I’m finding that I much prefer baking and bread recipes that provide the ingredients with weighted amounts rather than by volume (I have a feeling that this detail is decided upon by the publisher). After mixing the ingredients together, the dough was much wetter than I’d like so I added more flour. It’s with these kinds of by-volume baking/bread recipes that a home cook needs to rely on their instincts. I served the baked Nan-e Barbari with Grinshpan’s recipe for Classic Hummus — my daughter enjoyed it so much that she requested both to be sent in her school lunch!

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Classic Hummus, p. 40

Chocolate Chip cookies are never a hard sell in my house, so when I baked a batch of Salted Halvah Chocolate Chip Cookies from Eating Out Loud, I knew they’d go quickly! Grinshpan has taken a basic chocolate chip cookie and made it even more perfect (who would think that was even possible??) by adding tahini paste to the dough and crumbled halvah to the top. For those new to halvah, as Grinshpan explains it’s “a dense, flaky tahini confection” — it’s one of my favourite things to add to my morning oatmeal along with fresh fruit. But adding it on top of a cookie? Next level! As the halvah bakes in the oven it takes on a marshmallow-y texture — paired with the chocolate it’s rocky road but better. 

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Salted Halvah Chocolate Chip Cookies, p.245

Then there are recipes such as the Vinegar and Honey-Roasted Beets w/ Labneh where Grinshpan encourages the home cook to use an ingredient root to tip. In this case the beets are slow roasted with red wine vinegar, honey, orange zest, and coriander seeds, while the beet stems are made into a gremolata to top the roasted beets and labneh (a fresh green sauce made with parsley). This dish offers a multitude of flavours and textures — it is also the perfect dish to dunk or schmear on flatbread or pita. The recipe notes also tell the home cook to roast extra beets as they can be used in other recipes. Prepping ingredients ahead of time is such a dinner saver for those moments when you’re not sure what to make.

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Vinegar and Honey-Roasted Beets w/ Labneh, p. 110

Eating Out Loud is a true reflection of Grinshpan’s personality and culinary experiences, and unlike other chef-penned books, Grinshpan offers the home cook recipes that are both flavourful and approachable. I agree with what my friend said — this cookbook is actually weeknight friendly. With recipes, like the Harissa-Roasted Tomato + Chickpea Soup, this book has recipes I’ll make again and again. 

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Raw Carrot Salad w/ Dates, Walnuts, + Aleppo, p. 113

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Penguin Canada for providing me with a free, review copy of this book. I did not receive monetary compensation for my post, and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.



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