|The Newlywed Kitchen by Lorna Yee and photographed by Ali Basye - Photo by Wasabi Prime|
Martha Stewart is gnashing her teeth in envy for not making something as freakin' sweet and personable as The Newlywed Kitchen. But I'm sure she swims in a Scrooge McDuck-like chamber full of money to assuage whatever feelings of "dang, yo, why didn't my minions get on top of this first?!" Maybe she doesn't say that, but I can only imagine what happens in her grosgrain-beribboned Fortress of Solitude. Interestingly enough, I don't own any Martha Stewart cookbooks because for the most part, her recipes are just that, a list of things to make, and with the in-tar-webs, you can get a basic recipe for a roast chicken anywhere. Most cookbooks in general will have easy-to-follow recipes and have beautiful production values in the presentation of the food, but for the most part, there's really no connection of the food with the people who are eating it. I like The Newlywed Kitchen because you see the people who helped compile this collection of recipes, you read their stories, and you have a sense of why Lorna Yee and Ali Basye wrote this book -- it's a sweet love letter for those who have been fortunate to find that special someone, and it's also for anyone who just understands the magical quality of food to encourage togetherness, and how making a meal builds memories.
There's a nice, friendly sense of humor about The Newlywed Kitchen -- it's like that friend you have that just encourages you through something you're not sure about, letting you make mistakes and just reminding you along the way that, "hey, it's just food, it doesn't have to be perfect, and I'm sure it'll be tasty, so it's all good." I have to remind myself how lucky we all are to be living in an area that is so in-tune with preparing meals at home, and how there are many more who are terrified of the kitchen, so having this book be that little bit of encouragement to get cooking is a very good thing. The book includes recipes for all meals (breakfast, lunch/brunch, dinner), a variety of occasions (cooking for in-laws, yikes!), and of course desserts.
|Springtime birthday with strawberries and rhubarb - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
Even though Mr. Wasabi and I aren't technically marriage-ified, and ten years together does not a newlywed make, I still zoned-in on the strawberry rhubarb pie recipe on page 208 for Brock's birthday. It's his favorite, plus strawberries and rhubarb are in season. Double whammy! I followed the recipe, save for the swap-out of leaf lard with shortening for the crust. I know leaf lard is the bomb-diggity, it makes pie crusts venture into another dimension of flaky texture that defies the known universe, but I just didn't have a chance to track it down prior to making the dough. That being said, the crust still came out beautifully, so have no shame over swap-outs because life happens and that house isn't going to clean itself. I liked the inclusion of sour cream, as it kept the dough moist, and I'm sure some other Alton Brown food science went on, but by golly, it was just flaky, crispy goodness.
I'm not great with pie-making, but trying to improve upon this skill for no other reason than a Mt. Everest-scaling-like reason of, because it's there. I'm keen on finding crust recipes -- my mother uses vinegar for hers, much like some use neutral spirits like vodka to keep the dough moist, and ensuring flaky crust nirvana. That crispness is the tricky thing, especially with fruit pies, as the fruit will of course release quite a bit of moisture and often results in a soggy, baked mess -- that's usually my end game with pies and why I've thrown out many a ruined, doughy mess in tearful frustration. I goofed on making the rhubarb/strawberry filling by overcooking it a bit, making it more moist than chunky, but the crust saved my bacon as it were, by staying flaky and keeping the filling nicely contained. For my pie-n00b-ness, I find that crusts are my saving grace, as they often hide most sins and keep everything looking ship-shape. The Newlywed Kitchen's recipe was great, as it gave a lot of leeway for dessert klutzes like myself, and it resulted in a delicious birthday dessert. Sadly, I don't have a photo of a slice of the pie with vanilla ice cream, because while we still have a few slices left, they never survive long enough on the plate for me to snap a quick photo. Even with crust ingredient swap-outs and overcooking the filling, it's plenty delicious, and like a paparazzi-stalked starlet, unable to be photographed, as it's just that awesome.
Wedding season is upon us, so if you're looking for an appropriate gift for a soon-to-wed couple, or just want a lovely cookbook for yourself and your sweetheart, grab up a copy of The Newlywed Cookbook. You don't have to be like Beyonce and put a ring on it, just to enjoy a home cooked meal with loved ones.
|Love is a strawberry and rhubarb pie - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
Much Wasabi Thanks to Lorna Yee and the team at Sasquatch Books for a copy of the cookbook; looking forward to cooking my way through it and most likely making another pie that will probably be just as underphotographed due to its om-nom-nom-ness.