This encyclopedic cookbook is the comprehensive guide for parents who believe that preparing and enjoying good, healthy food should be an important part of family life. Speaking to all the needs of families with children of all ages, Kathy Gunst and the editors of the award-winning Parenting magazine offer more than 325 recipes for every meal of the day as well as for special occasions.
The heart of the book for busy working families is the Monday-through-Friday chapters of quick breakfasts, quick lunches, and quick dinners (with nearly seventy-five recipes), followed by chapters on leisurely weekend breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. Other chapters cover desserts, snacks, drinks, microwaving, and cooking basics.
But there is much more here than a collection of outstanding recipes from a working mother of two young children. Gunst offers special ideas and strategies on how to have the pleasure and avoid the pitfalls of eating out with the kids; what to do about your picky eater; entertaining, or how to throw a dinner party without losing your mind; cooking with kids; the importance of family meals; and new ways to shop for groceries. She also gives dozens of tips, menus, and theme ideas for birthday parties, holidays, and other special occasions.
|Publisher:||Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.|
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About the Author
Kathy Gunst, a contributing editor of Parenting magazine, wrote The Parenting Cookbook for today's busy parents who, like her, want to do more than serve fast food or frozen food. She is the author of Roasting, Leftovers, The Great New England Food Guide, and Condiments. She has written widely on food, travel, and parenting issues for such publications as the New York Times, Yankee Magazine, Country Journal, Food&Wine,and Bon Appetit. Her reports on food are heard on Monitor Radio. She lives with her husband and two daughters on the New England coast.
Read an Excerpt
The Parenting Cookbook
By Kathy Gunst
Henry Holt and CompanyCopyright © 1996 Kathy Gunst and Parenting magazine
All rights reserved.
The Parenting Pantry
* * *
The information and tips in this chapter will enable you to choose the best foods to keep around the house. It details a wide variety of ingredients that keep well and can be used to put together last-minute meals for those days when you just can't make it to the store. The first section, "The Well-Stocked Pantry," introduces a collection of interesting staples, condiments, spices, and flavorings that can make a huge difference in the flavor of your cooking. Next, you'll find tips for using your freezer most efficiently. And when you find that you are out of an ingredient, "Smart Substitutions" (here) will show you how to successfully substitute one ingredient for another.
The Well-Stocked Pantry
Some Thoughts About ... Frozen Assets: How to Use Your Freezer
Some Thoughts About ... Smart Substitutions
* Grocery Shopping: Taking a New Approach
How to Make the Most of Grocery Shopping
Buy Something New Every Week and Watch Your Family's Eating Patterns Change for the Better
How to Use the Nutritional Data in This Book
The Well-Stocked Pantry
If you find yourself making the same dishes night after night, maybe it's time to explore some new ingredients. Keeping the following items on hand will transform an ordinary pantry into one full of exciting and healthful possibilities. Most of these ingredients will keep for several months or more. And on those hectic days when you can't make it to the market, these foods will be on hand to help you put together delicious, impromptu meals.
Consider this guide as a master list; try to pick up something new to add to your pantry shelves each time you go shopping.
Balsamic and other vinegars: A dark, richly flavored vinegar imported from Italy, balsamic is made by fermenting grape juice in wooden casks. It has a tangy flavor that is just right for salad dressings, marinades, barbecue sauces, poultry and fish dishes — even fruit salads. Balsamic vinegar can vary widely in price and quality; better products usually say "aged in wood" and "made in Italy" on the label.
I also keep a jar of cider vinegar around for making quick pickles in the summer and a few jars of red or white wine vinegar for vinaigrette dressings and sauces. Always look for a vinegar with at least 5 to 5 ½ percent acidity. All vinegars should be stored in a cool, dark spot.
Beans: Dried beans (white, black, kidney, etc.) are great to have on hand for soups, stews, and side dishes. They do, however, take quite a while to cook, so cooked canned beans (look for low-sodium varieties) are invaluable for last-minute preparations.
Broths(chicken, beef, or vegetable): A low-sodium, low-fat broth or stock is one of the most valuable things you can stock in your pantry. Canned broth makes nearly instant soup, sauces, and stews.
Capers: These mysterious little green seasonings are actual flower buds of the caper plant; they have been pickled in vinegar or brine. Many kids like their pungent flavor in salads, sauces, and stews. For a quick tartar sauce, add a few teaspoons of capers and a dash of lemon juice to a cup of mayonnaise. Store in the refrigerator.
Cheese: There are always a few varieties of cheese in my refrigerator for sandwiches, sauces, pasta dishes, fondue, quiches, and more. I like to keep a few hard cheeses — Cheddar, Swiss, and Parmesan — around for grating into sauces, pasta dishes, and casseroles. I also like to have a soft goat cheese, Brie, cream cheese, and a mild cheese like Muenster for the kid's sandwiches. For more information on cheese, see "Skimming the Fat: A User's Guide to Cheese" on here.
Chinese chili paste: Look for this bright red, fiery condiment in the specialty or Asian food section of your store. You may need to go to a gourmet or Asian market. There are several varieties available, but they all contain crushed hot chili peppers in a thick red paste. The chili paste is often combined with crushed garlic and/or Chinese black bean paste. This is a quick, easy way to add the heat of chili peppers to sauces, stews, stir-fries, and more.
Chinese fermented black beans: Small soybeans are fermented and preserved with salt and ginger. Before they are used, fermented beans should be rinsed under cold running water to remove the saltiness and then chopped. They can be added to sauces, marinades, and stir-fries. Available in specialty food markets and Asian food stores, they can be kept in a cool, dark spot for several months.
Chocolate: Bars of dark, semisweet, and milk chocolate can be invaluable for putting together last-minute desserts. The chocolate can be melted into sauces, or grated or chopped and served over fresh fruit salads, ice cream, sorbet, or cakes.
Chutney: Use this thick, sweet-and-spicy fruit sauce to enliven everything from grilled chicken to curries. Try a cream cheese and chutney sandwich on thinly sliced bread, or make a dip by mixing chutney, softened cream cheese, and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Refrigerate after opening.
Clam broth: Look for a good-quality clam broth for making instant sauces for fish dishes, or use as the base for a quick fish soup or stew.
Crème fraîche: This thickened cultured French cream has a tart, sour flavor that is delicious added to everything from mashed potatoes to cakes. It has a high butterfat content and is similar to a rich sour cream. It can be used to thicken and add a rich, creamy flavor to sauces and is also delicious served over fresh berries or slices of ripe nectarines and peaches. Crème fraîche is now available in many supermarkets, as well as specialty food shops.
Dried fruit: Figs, apricots, prunes, and other fruits add a sweet taste and chewy texture to stuffings, sauces, and salads.
Dried mushrooms: Dried porcini, shiitake, and morel mushrooms can be pricey, but their rich, earthy flavor and meaty texture go a long way. Reconstitute by soaking in hot water for 25 minutes, then add to soups, stews, sauces, pizzas, salads, and sandwiches. Be sure to save the soaking liquid (which becomes a rich mushroom broth) to flavor sauces and soups.
Flavored mustard: Mustard is made with a wide range of seasonings, from tarragon to peppercorns. Add to salad dressings, sauces, and favorite sandwiches, or slather on chicken before baking. Refrigerate after opening.
Ginger: If you've never tasted fresh ginger, you're in for a real treat. It's a beige, knobby-looking root that is full of the powerfully fresh flavor of ginger. Store ginger, unpeeled, in the refrigerator for several weeks. When it begins to feel mushy and the skin shrivels up, it's time to get rid of it. To use fresh ginger, simply peel off the outer skin and either chop the fresh root or grate it.
Herbs and spices: Contrary to popular belief, dried herbs and spices don't keep forever. Buy a variety of dried herbs and spices every 6 months or so to guarantee freshness. Never store spices and herbs over the stove or in direct sunlight. Experiment with different herbs and spices and watch how interesting the same old dishes can taste. Keep the basics around — basil, thyme, sage, oregano, rosemary, and dill — but also try ginger, marjoram, mustard and coriander seeds, dried chile peppers, curry powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, allspice, and more.
Hoisin sauce: A thick, mahogany-colored sauce made from mashed and fermented soybeans, garlic, chilies, spices, and flour, hoisin has a slightly sweet, almost smoky flavor that is excellent in stir-fries and barbecue sauces. Or mix it with a touch of soy sauce and sesame oil and use as a dip for chicken, pork, or fish. You can also spread hoisin directly on foods before grilling or broiling for a sweet, flavorful glaze.
Honey: There are hundreds of varieties of honey available in health and gourmet food shops. Try to keep a few types on hand. A light, flowery honey is ideal for baking, for stirring into tea and hot drinks, and for soothing sore throats. A more expensive herb-flavored honey adds a distinctive flavor to special dishes in which the flavor of the honey really matters.
Hot pepper sauce: You can find hot pepper sauces in virtually every color and texture imaginable. What they all have in common is their ability to add a spicy punch to a wide variety of foods. Even kids who don't like "spicy" dishes will appreciate a dash to flavor a soup, stew, or casserole. A little goes a long way. A dash brings out the natural flavors in other foods and is a great way to season food without adding a lot of sodium.
Hungarian paprika: Despite popular misconceptions, this common red spice does more than add color to a dish. It can contribute a subtle sweetness that helps bring out the natural flavors in foods. Always store paprika in the refrigerator.
Nuts: Keep a variety of nuts — walnuts, almonds, pine nuts, pistachios, pecans — in the freezer. Chopped raw nuts add flavor and texture to stir-fries, sauces, pesto, and salad dressings. Sautéed in a touch of butter, they're a delicious topping for chicken breasts, fish fillets, even soups and stews. Nuts keep best when tightly wrapped and stored in the freezer. You can simply use what you need and keep the rest frozen for several months at a time.
Oils: Vegetable oils are excellent to have on hand for sautéing and cooking with high heat. They add no discernible flavor and can be used with a wide variety of foods. However, I prefer olive oil for almost all my cooking. I keep a mild, pure olive oil around for basic sautéing and for soups and sauces, and a good-quality extra virgin olive oil for cold sauces, pesto, and salad dressings. Olive and canola oil, which are monounsaturated, are more healthful than saturated animal fats like butter.
Olive paste: Black olive paste, also called tapenade, is made by pureeing black olives with olive oil, spices, and sometimes anchovies. It has a rich, strong flavor that can transform pasta sauces, salad dressings, sandwiches, and casseroles. Add just a touch, though, as too much can be overpowering. Make a tangy dip by mixing 1 cup of low-fat sour cream with 3 tablespoons of olive paste and a dash of lemon juice.
Pasta: Dried pasta is the ultimate pantry food: it keeps forever and can be put together with any number of foods at the last minute to make a wonderful meal. The more shapes and sizes you have on hand, the more possibilities you have for a quick meal.
Peanut butter: This may seem obvious, but peanut butter can be used not only in classic PB&J sandwiches but also to make sauces (for Chinese cold noodles, Thai curries, and more), cakes, pies, or even soup. Keep jars of smooth and chunky on hand.
Pie crusts: There are now many good brands of frozen pie crust sold in supermarket freezers. These crusts can be invaluable for putting together a quick quiche or sweet or savory pie. Use one pie crust for the bottom, add a fruit or other filling, and invert another frozen pie crust on top for a quick, simple covered pie. Be sure to make several slashes in the crust with a small, sharp knife to release steam while the pie bakes. Also keep a package of phyllo dough in the freezer for making spinach pie and desserts.
Pimientos: Spanish for peppers, pimientos are sweet red peppers that have been roasted, seeded, and preserved in water or oil. They are a great topping for pizzas and sandwiches. Make a colorful pasta sauce by pureeing a small jar of drained pimientos with 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil, a clove of garlic, 1/3 cup pine nuts, and 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese.
Potatoes, onions, and garlic: No kitchen should ever be without these three "staple" foods. All keep well unrefrigerated. When potatoes begin to sprout (and grow "eyes") and become soft, they should be discarded. Garlic and onions get mushy and soft after several weeks.
Rice: Rice is one of the most versatile foods imaginable. I always keep several varieties around for making into side dishes, stuffings, risottos, puddings, salads, and more. There are more varieties of rice available than you could imagine; for an overview of the most common varieties, see "A Primer on Rice" on here.
Rice wine: Made from fermented rice, this colorless Chinese wine adds good flavor to marinades and sauces and can be added to stir-fried foods to make an "instant" sauce.
Salsa: There are now dozens of varieties of salsa sold on supermarket shelves — hot, medium, and mild. Keep a few jars around for making a quick sauce or dip or for snacking on with chips and raw vegetables. Or make your own salsa (see recipe) and can a few extra jars.
Sesame oil: Traditionally used in Asian dishes, this golden brown oil gets its distinctive flavor from toasted sesame seeds. Try a few drops in stir-fries, salad dressings, soups, stews, and noodle dishes.
Shredded coconut: A bit of this dried tropical fruit adds a crunchy texture and sweet flavor to milkshakes, desserts, curries, stews, and sauces. Make a fruit salad with thinly sliced oranges, strawberries, apples, and a sprinkle of shredded coconut. Always look for an unsweetened variety. Store coconut in the freezer after opening.
Soy sauce or tamari: These fermented soybean seasonings are generally interchangeable, although tamari tends to be thicker and contains no wheat. Both add a rich, salty flavor to marinades, barbecue sauces, salad dressings, and stir-fries, and both are available in low-sodium versions. Try marinating chicken pieces in a few tablespoons of soy sauce or tamari with a touch of sesame oil and lime juice, then broil until golden brown and crisp.
Sun-dried cranberries: These small, maroon berries have been dried to concentrate their flavor. They add an intensely tart, sweet flavor to sauces, muffins, cakes, and other dishes. They are especially nice to use around the holidays when fresh cranberries are abundant; the combination of the fresh cranberry mixed with its more intense dried cousin is memorable. And obviously they can be substituted for fresh cranberries in the spring and summer when cranberries are out of season.
Sun-dried tomatoes: When fresh tomatoes are in short supply, sun-dried tomatoes are a real bonus. They have a slightly sweet, concentrated flavor and come either marinated in olive oil or dried. The dried variety lasts longer and can be reconstituted by soaking in hot water for about 10 minutes or by boiling for 2 minutes. Drain the tomatoes and dry well on paper towels before using. Add them to pasta sauces, salads, and stews. For an instant pizza, place chopped sun-dried tomatoes on half of an English muffin, top with black olives and grated cheese, and broil for a few minutes.
Tahini (sesame paste): This thick paste is made by grinding roasted hulled sesame seeds. Tahini adds a nutty flavor to salad dressings, sauces, and dips. It is the base of cold Chinese noodles and many Middle Eastern dishes, such as hummus.
Tortillas: Keep a few packages of corn and wheat tortillas in the freezer for putting together last-minute meals. Good varieties that are not loaded with preservatives are now available at most grocery stores or specialty food shops, either fresh or frozen.
Tuna: Choose a less fatty, healthier water-packed tuna and keep several cans around at all times. Use for salads and sandwiches, or add to antipasto platters, sauces, and casseroles.
Wine, dry sherry, rum, Cinzano: Several recipes in this book call for wine, a splash of rum, or a cup of dry sherry to marinate foods in. I am not advocating that you get in the habit of serving your children liquor. None of the recipes call for a large quantity of alcohol — from ¼ to ½ cup. However, according to Sharon Tyler Herbst in her authoritative book, The Food Lover's Tiptionary, "Though it has long been thought that alcohol evaporates when heated, a USDA study has disproved that theory. In fact, from 5 to 85 percent alcohol may remain in a cooked dish, depending on various factors including how the food was heated, the cooking time, and the source of alcohol." Keep in mind that all the recipes in this book that contain alcohol are cooked for quite some time.
Worcestershire sauce: For a deliciously smoky flavor, add this thin, pungent sauce to marinades, soups, stews, poultry, and meat. A dash intensifies cheese sauces and makes a wonderful seasoning for steamed vegetables.
Excerpted from The Parenting Cookbook by Kathy Gunst. Copyright © 1996 Kathy Gunst and Parenting magazine. Excerpted by permission of Henry Holt and Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter One: The Parenting Pantry,
Chapter Two: Quick Weekday Breakfasts,
Chapter Three: Weekend Breakfasts,
Chapter Four: Quick Weekday Lunches,
Chapter Five: Weekend Lunches,
Chapter Six: Quick Weekday Dinners,
Chapter Seven: Weekend Dinners,
Chapter Eight: Desserts,
Chapter Nine: Snacks,
Chapter Ten: Drinks,
Chapter Eleven: Microwave Recipes,
Chapter Twelve: Birthday Parties,
Chapter Thirteen: Menus,
Chapter Fourteen: Cooking Basics,
Some Thoughts About ...,
Frozen Assets: How to Use Your Freezer,
Cheese and Health,
Skimming the Fat: A User's Guide to Cheese,
Quiche: The Revival of a Classic,
A Primer on Rice,
Popeye's Favorite: Spinach,
Making Homemade Frozen Fruit Pops,
Making Your Own Ice Cream,
The Snack Pack: What to Bring When You're on the Road,
General Rules to Keep in Mind When Throwing a Kid's Birthday Party,
Giving the Gift of Food,
Wrapping It Up,
Quick Refrigerator Pickles,
Other Cookbooks by Kathy Gunst,