wedding gift



The best gift, wedding or not: The Newlywed Cookbook

4/25/12

Photo by Sara Remington

My heart surged at the first glimpse of the The Newlywed Cookbook (Chronicle Books, 2012).   I mean really, look at those cookies above. I knew immediately this book, with its impressive photography and clean design embellished with swirls and swooshes, would find a home in the kitchens of many.

Yes, the book is written by a friend of mine, so I feel a certain affinity for it, but friend or not, Sarah Copeland has created a cookbook masterpiece.

While the title tends to target those fresh from the altar, this book is really for anyone who likes to cook with and for others.

“Cooking together and for each other is a loving act, one of the most enduring ways to nurture each other…” says Copeland in her introduction. So many of her sentiments apply not just to couples, but families and those who like to cook for friends too.

The pages of this large, coffee-table–like book are filled with glorious photos of beautifully plated foods; fresh, tantalizing produce; and even a helpful how-to for her Thousand-Layer Chocolate Chip Cookies, shown above too.

Photo by Sara Remington

The first few chapters thoroughly cover kitchen essentials, from pantry ingredients to cooks’ tools. Copeland, who blogs about food, gardening, and good living at edibleliving.com, also includes a useful chapter on seasonal ingredients and how to grow your own. She writes with green living in mind.

One of the last chapters, Gatherings: Feasts for Friends and Family, puts together menus using recipes in the book and is one of Copeland’s many thoughtful additions to the 135+ recipes that make this book a worthwhile purchase.

From breakfast and brunch to easy lunches and dinners, Copeland, a recipe developer and Food Network veteran, covers the gamut: Oatmeal-yogurt Pancakces with Blackberry Crush, Summer Corn Soup, Southern Shrimp & Grits, and Shaved Zucchini with Ricotta and Walnuts to name a few.

The dessert section is full of delectable sweets including  a Bittersweet Chocolate Tart with Smoke Sea Salt and an Olive Oil Cake with Tangerine Marmalade.

Although the recipes go far beyond what one may imagine to be the newlywed basics of yesteryear (like the cream chicken on toast and hamburger macaroni casserole that were part of my mother’s repertoire, oy!), none  are particularly challenging, and most can be easily accomplished within a reasonable amount of time.

With June weddings right around the corner, need I say this book makes the perfect wedding gift? Perhaps pair it with a sauce pan or baking tool from the couple’s registry.

That said, although ideal for newlyweds, this cookbook is also a sweet love story, the charming writing tugged at my heartstrings and brought a tear or two to my eye—but I’m also a big sap.

Newlywed or not, sap or not, this book about good living and eating is one to own.

The Newlywed Cookbook is available for purchase from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Photo by Sara Remington

This egg sandwich recipe sang out to me because it wasn’t until about my fifth year of marriage that I learned the proper way to cook an egg so the yolk is deliciously runny like the photo above. Six minutes is the golden number, just as Copeland directs for cooking time.

When you’re looking for a light meal, egg sandwiches are ideal. Like Copeland says, “the best thing about being grown-ups is that you get to make your own rules…there’s no one there to insist that meat and potatoes is the most wholesome meal.” “Some nights,” she says, “you just need a little meal.”

Open-Face Soft Boiled Egg Sandwiches (from The Newlywed Cookbook, Chronicle, 2012)

4 farm-fresh or organic eggs

2 tbsp best-quality extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

2 thick slice nutty whole-wheat/wholemeal bread

Herb Mayo (see recipe below)

1/2 bunch arugula, torn

Sea Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Sweet or smoked paprika

Place the eggs in a large bowl of warm water. Bring a small pot of water to a simmer over medium heat. Gently lower the eggs into the water, using a spoon. Set the timer for 6 minutes and keep eggs at a low simmer.

Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Ad the olive oil and the bread, toasting until golden on both sides, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to small plates.

When the timer goes off, immediately remove the eggs from the pan and rinse under cool water. Carefully remove the shell from all the eggs.

Spread the toasted bread with mayonnaise, then top with arugula. Split the eggs in half with a sharp knife and place the halves on top of the arugula. Season with salt and pepper and add a pinch of smoked paprika for color and heat. Drizzle the whole thing with your finest extra-virgin olive oil and serve immediately.

Herb Mayo (from the Newlywed Cookbook, Chronicle, 2012)

1 packed cup fresh parsley, dill, mint, basil or chive leaves, coarsely chopped

1/3 cup Greek yogurt

3 tbsp olive-oil or regular mayonnaise

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

2 to 3 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

Blend the herbs, yogurt, mayo and olive oil in a mini food processor or blender until smooth and flecked with green. Pulse in the lemon juice, adding just enough to give the right balance for you. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Store in the fridge for up to 4 days.