“Modern Comfort Cooking: Feel-Good Favorites Made Fresh and New” by Lauren Grier, Page Street Publishing Co., $21.99, 192 pages, paperback
Blogger Lauren Grier hopes readers of her cookbook — whether novices or experienced cooks — will be motivated to get in the kitchen to prepare "the kind of food that gives … comfort."
It was my search for a comforting brunch dish to feed a crowd that led me to open "Modern Comfort Cooking: Feel-Good Favorites Made Fresh and New." It offers 75 creative recipes which update favorite comfort dishes from Hot Fried Chicken & Egg Sandwich to Easy Pickled Onions.
Grier, creator of the blog Climbing Grier Mountain, writes that until she lost her financial job in 2008, her "culinary knowledge amounted to a hill of beans — and these beans hadn’t even been properly soaked, seasoned or simmered. I could hardly follow package directions, my friends. I had no love for cooking …" but something clicked while she watched a cooking show. Her decision to tackle pan-searing swordfish steaks resulted in a smoke-filled kitchen and a desire to sharpen her cooking styles.
Grier's recipes are based on her childhood experiences, her travels and "everyday life" in Denver with her husband. They are divided into six chapters: Modern-Day Brunch; East Meets West; Ultimate Mash-Ups such as Thai Chicken Stir-Fry Skillet Nachos and something she calls Jambalaya Spaghetti Pie; Vintage Classics Re-Mixed; Modern Drive-Thru; and Retro Desserts Re-Dished, such as Bananas Foster Galette.
At the back of the book, she explains how to make clarified butter, spiral-shaped vegetables, spiralized noodles and quick pickles. Many, but not all, of the recipes are illustrated with attractive full-color photographs.
This is a fun cookbook for the adventurous cook.
Cheramie Sonnier is a food writer and columnist. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow her on Twitter, @CheramieSonnier.