Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cookbook Review: Teen Cuisine by Matthew Locricchio

Chef Matthew Locricchio wants your teens to get cooking in the kitchen. And with his new cookbook, Teen Cuisine, they just might.

The 50 recipes, many of which are photographed by fellow cookbook author James Peterson, are divided into traditional categories including Brilliant Breakfasts, Celebrity Soups, and Shooting Star Entrees. Teens will no doubt goggle up the chapter devoted exclusively to pizza from coast to coast. There they’ll learn how to make their own pizza dough and how to transform it into New York, California, and Chicago-Style pizzas. After all, no one should be limited when it comes to pizza.

The recipes are great; however, I’m not sure exactly what makes them “teen” recipes. To me, most of them are just classic, American comfort food dishes that kids and adults of all ages enjoy such as pancakes, tomato soup, pulled pork sandwiches, crisp oven fries, chicken pot pie, spaghetti and meatballs, and chocolate chip cookies.

There are several recipes that would appeal to the more serious teen cook including a hearty Sante Fe Tofu Scrambler, a refreshing Greek tzatziki (a yogurt and cucumber sauce), a tangy glazed pork tenderloin, and a deliciously cheesy fondue.

Though it's not a cookbook geared toward dieting, Locricchio does encourage teens to use the best local, organic food they can afford and to avoid “mystery ingredients” with unpronounceable chemicals typically found in highly processed, packaged foods. That's sound advice.

I also like that Locricchio doesn’t talk down to teens or attempt to “be cool.” The recipes are written in the same format of “On your mark, “Get set,” “Cook!” though that’s about as cutesy as it gets. There are a few call-out boxes with “chef’s tips,” and at the end of the book, there are helpful sections on essential kitchen ingredients, tools, and equipment.

This quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wa) and black salad with fresh lime dressing has it all: it's colorful, sassy, tasty, and healthy. Serve it as a side dish or a vegetarian main meal. Either way, teens and parents alike will love it.

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad with Fresh Lime Dressing

Guess what? There's a GIVE-AWAY! 
3 lucky Food Blogga readers will receive a copy of Teen Cuisine.

Here's how to win: In the comment section below, simply share a story, a comment, a tip, a question, etc. about cooking with your kids. Don't have kids? Then just tell us why you'd like to receive the book.

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad with Fresh Lime Dressing
Serves 4 to 6
Printable recipe.

1 cup rinsed quinoa
2 cups water

1 lime
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup sour cream

2 medium Valencia or navel oranges
1 medium ripe tomato
5 to 6 sprigs cilantro
5 to 6 sprigs parsley
1 cup cooked black beans, or canned
1 small cucumber
1 bunch fresh mint
1/2 cup chopped, roasted, salted cashews

On your mark...
Place quinoa and water in a 1 1/2 quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until all the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Let the quinoa cool to room temperature. Set the cooked quinoa aside.

To make the dressing, squeeze the juice from the lime into a clean glass jar with a lid. Add the olive oil, salt, pepper, and sour cream. Close the lid, shake well, and refrigerate until you are ready to serve.

Get set... 
Wash and peel the oranges. Remove as much of the white outer skin as you can. Cut into 1/4-inch slices. Set the slices aside.

Wash the tomato; cut out the stem circle at the top and discard. Dice into small chunks and place in a large bowl.

Wash the cilantro and parsley, shake to remove excess water, and dry by rolling in paper towels coarsely chop.

Add the quinoa, black beans, cilantro, and chopped parsley to the bowl with the tomatoes.

Shake the dressing again and pour it over the ingredients in the bowl. Toss well to combine and set aside.

Wash, peel, and slice the cucumber into thin slices.

Mound the tomato-quinoa combination in the center of the serving platter.

Arrange the orange slices and cucumbers around the edge of the platter.

Wash the fresh mint, shake to remove excess water, and dry by rolling in paper towels coarsely chop; remove leaves from steams and discard stems. Garnish with mint leaves and cashews. Serve immediately.