Book Club Tuesday: More Mandy’s

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about joy — the kind of joy found in cooking delicious food or time spent with a wonderful cookbook. Although I have yet to visit a Mandy’s Gourmet Salads (and it’s important to note that since my review (click here) of their first cookbook — Mandy’s Gourmet Salads — back in the summer of 2020, they’ve added locations in Toronto), it hasn’t been a problem because their books impart the experience of visiting their restaurant from the comfort of your own kitchen. With their first book, I really enjoyed their salad combinations and those killer dressings and, with their latest cookbook, More Mandy’s, Mandy Wolfe, Rebecca Wolfe, and Meredith Erickson have expanded the experience to include tasty and comforting seasonal dishes as well as focusing on the theme of international flavours.

What I said in my first review is still true: “… the salads hit the trifecta of flavour, colour, and texture — always in perfect ratio.” They continue on with offering delicious salad combination, however, since the first book was published in the summer with corresponding seasonal recipes, More Mandy’s delves into hearty, bright dishes to carry us through those cooler months. My favourite part of their new book is the monster chapter on soups (almost 20!!) because, in my mind, there’s nothing more satisfying than making your own soup. And, while continuing to offer chapters on Salads, Dressings, and Sweets, they’ve included a chapter on Morning Fuel with recipes from granolas and breakfast drinks to bigger breakfasts like loaded, gourmet toasts and egg dishes.

As the temperatures have started to dip here in Halifax and, autumn is in full swing, I’ve been shifting my meal focus to dishes that are heartier. One afternoon last week I made a huge pot of their Veggie, Fennel, and Barley Soup — full of barley, beans, and veggies, it was offered a welcoming aroma when my husband and daughter got home from work and school. I served everyone big bowls — it’s the kind of meal that feels so deliciously comforting. I appreaciated that I could scale the recipes to make more so that we could enjoy leftovers for lunch the next day.

Miso Salad, p.106 (w/ Miso Ginger Dressing, p.151)

I love that while More Mandy’s focuses on seasonal recipes, they’ve still included salads (which are not just for summer, right?!). The Miso Salad is such a fantastic salad — full of flavour and crunchy texture, the combination of romaine and mesclun greens is mixed up with avocado, edamame, bell pepper, shredded carrot, diced Granny Smith apples, chopped peanuts, then topped with their signature Miso Ginger Dressing (my mouth waters just thinking of this dressing). Such a fresh and bright salad, it’s a great way to enjoy a Mandy’s experience from your own home!

Chia Seed Parfait, p.33 (w/ Maple Cinnamon Granola, p.22)

It’s not often that recipes call for truly Canadian ingredients, but with the recipe for Imperial Cheese Egg Scramble they’re using an iconic Canadian cheese. If you were to ask my mother-in-law about her favourite kind of cheese, she would wholeheartedly declare it to be Imperial Cheese. Found in the same grocery store fridge case as sour cream and cottage cheese, this spreadable sharp cheddar is packaged in a red container with a black lid. Here, the authors provide very specific instructions on how to scramble the eggs (leaving the yolks intact until almost the very end), and when the eggs have almost finished cooking, crumbled cheese is stirred into the scramble until it melts. The resulting cheesy egg scramble is bursting with a mouthwatering umaminess.  I enjoyed mine with buttered toast and avocado while my daughter forewent the toast to enjoy the eggs and avocado on their own. As a side note, I think this cheesy egg scramble would make an excellent sandwich too!

Recently, it was my friend’s birthday, and every year for her special day, she requests granola — which is great because she lives thousands of kilometers away and granola is such an easy treat to send in the mail. So, for this year’s birthday granola I chose to make her a batch of the Maple Cinnamon Granola from More Mandy’s. A nut-free granola, the “nuttiness” comes from sesame seeds, puffed quinoa, pumpkin seeds, and sunflowers seeds. The combination of maple syrup and brown sugar, along with the puffed quinoa and seeds, reminded me of Sesame Snaps (another wonderful, iconic Canadian treat!). The granola was so delicious, I made another batch for us to enjoy — which we did the next morning when I made the Mandy’s recipe for Chia Seed Parfait. Both my daughter and I love how chia seed pudding can be “dressed up” any way we like with a combination of fruits, granola, nut butters, etc. These parfaits make an excellent afterschool snack!

Maple Cinnamon Granola, p.22

More Mandy’s is just that — more of all the delicious recipes from Mandy Wolfe, Rebecca Wolfe, and Meredith Erickson. This cookbook is a joy to cook from and I appreciate how they segue what I loved about the first cookbook into an autumn/winter state of mind (hearty and comforting, while keeping it bright and fresh). Just as with their first cookbook, this book is beautifully photographed by Alison Slattery (Two Food Photographers) with graphic designs from Sarah Lazar (Cow Goes Moo design studio). More Mandy’s has beautiful illustrations by Neethi too!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Appetite by Random House 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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Veggie, Fennel, and Barley Soup, p.172

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