Wednesday, September 4, 2013

'Good Food' to feed your whole family

The season of fall cookbooks has arrived, and I have enjoyed thumbing through the ones that have appeared in my mail at work and dreaming of new dinner ideas and delicious desserts.

One of my favorites so far is Jamie Deen’s "Good Food.”

Deen, one of Food Network’s stars and son of Paula Deen, is married with two young boys and themed his book around meals he cooks at home for them.

I enjoyed the conversational writing style of his book and chapter introductions and thoroughly enjoyed reading the intros to each recipe. It’s the kind of cookbook I enjoy most: one that comes with dialogue about the recipes.

Deen and his wife, Brooke, are very conscious of serving their children healthy meals and share many of their family favorites in his first solo cookbook.

Deen offered his sons a variety of foods from an early age and offers this advice to parents: "Introduce your kids to as many different textures and flavors as you can dream up, because there are few things worse than living stuck in a chicken nugget rut.”

The Deens eat as much locally grown produce as possible, including vegetables from their own garden, and those choices are reflected in the book’s 125 recipes.

Some of my favorite recipes in this book include fresh produce. I look forward to an occasion to make crisp broccoli salad with bacon vinaigrette — a variation of a salad I make often. His dressing does not include mayonnaise but is made with bacon, shallots, Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar and brown sugar.

And Jack’s favorite pasta salad with loads of veggies is also on my list. That dressing sounds delicious. Deen said they have this salad once a week at his house, and it gets altered to reflect family tastes.

The handsome photographs in this book make me want to try even more dishes, including Brooke’s easy egg-drop soup and three-cheese stuffed shells with spinach and zesty turkey tomato sauce.

The back cover of this book features a new book title, "Rooster’s Cafe,” by Deen’s son Jack. Inside the back pages are more recipes — some of the 6-year-old’s favorites including applesauce muffins, almond crunch mix and watermelon kiwi pops.

The recipe I chose to make in "Good Food” was certainly not a glamorous one, but it was really good! I made night before steel-cut oatmeal. I love the baked apple and nut oatmeal I make quite often, but I have not had good results with slow cooker oatmeal. But Deen’s stovetop recipe is delicious as a simple oatmeal you can serve in a bowl and top with fruit and nuts.

The overnight oatmeal takes about 10 minutes of preparation at bedtime. Once the oats are toasted, water is added to the pot and the mixture simmers, just turn off the stove and go to bed. The next morning, after a few simple steps, the oatmeal is ready to eat. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator and heated with milk or cream as needed.

The first morning, I ate the oatmeal topped with a chopped peach, toasted almonds and pecans, brown sugar and cinnamon. I couldn’t believe how good it was! I added the fresh peaches while the oatmeal was hot, and they cooked a little bit. On Monday morning, I substituted apple for the peach with the other toppings the same. It was delicious as well. Blueberries are another good addition! I will be making this recipe often as the weather gets colder.

"Good Food” was published by Kyle Books and is available for purchase online.

Book tour
Jamie Deen will be at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh at noon Oct. 1 and Southern Season at 6 p.m.

Night Before Steel-Cut Oatmeal
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups steel-cut oats
  • 7 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt*
  • 1 cup whole milk*
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the oats and toast them, while stirring, until they smell nice and nutty, about 3 minutes. Stir in 6 cups water and your salt and bring the oats to a boil. Once they’ve reached a boil, turn off the heat, give a final stir, cover with a lid and call it a night.

The next morning at breakfast time, remove the lid, stir in the milk and remaining cup of water and slowly bring the oats back up to a simmer, stirring well. Serve the oatmeal hot with whatever toppings you like. Cool down and wrap up any remaining oats in a covered container and place in your refrigerator. Reheat the oats in a saucepan or microwave (adding in a little milk if you’d like) for breakfast through the week.

"Good Food"

*Notes: I used 1/4 teaspoon table salt and skim milk.

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