Most of us feel we don’t have time to shop and cook. At the end of a busy day why bother? Culinary instructor and chef Amanda Cushman believes cooking can be an easy and creative experience. To that end she wrote SIMPLE REAL FOOD, a contemporary collection of multi-cultural recipes that are delicious, yet simple to prepare using fresh ingredients.
“The recipes in my book provide the basics, you can change the recipe and make it yours. If you don’t like cilantro use parsley, if you don’t like salmon use halibut,” Cushman says.“Relax and enjoy the process of making tasty and healthy meals that take very little time and can be as creative as you want it to be.”
SIMPLE REAL FOOD provides home cooks with make-ahead tips as well as alternatives suggestions for each recipe, many accompanied by beautiful food photographs. Cushman’s recipes cover, appetizers, soups, salads, main courses, sides and desserts as well as a chapter with vegetarian dishes.
The recipes in the book reflect Cushman’s years of culinary exploration around the world and brings these flavors and tastes to home kitchens. Recipes include:
Hoisin Ginger Chicken with Mango Mayonnaise
Thai Shrimp Salad with Asian Dressing
Warm Beet Salad with Chèvre and Candied Walnuts
Seafood Chowder with Cilantro
Tuscan Meatloaf Braised in White Wine
Sesame Coated Salmon with Indonesian Soy Sauce
Pork with Honey-Balsamic Glaze
Tempeh Sauté with Miso Dressing
Chocolate Amaretto Cake
Ginger Cake with Tropical Fruit Salad
Cushman also gives home cooks a guide to setting up their kitchen and the essential ingredients to keep stocked that make cooking quick and easy. She believes that simple food that is delicious and easily accessible is worth the effort.
“I hope readers come away with the desire to get in the kitchen and cook, to try new ingredients, and to realize that cooking can be easy, creative, and fun.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Amanda Cushman is a sought-after culinary educator who has cooked professionally for over thirty years. She teaches a wide range of cooking classes in North Carolina as well as private, in-home classes. Her corporate team building classes have featured clients such as; Hugo Boss, Experian, Exxon Mobile, Google, Yahoo, Fitness Magazine, DirecTV and Toyota.
Her career in food began in Manhattan where she worked with some of the top NYC caterers: Glorious Food, Panhandlers and Martha Stewart Catering. She became the lead chef for Panhandlers Catering where she cooked for parties of twenty to three hundred people Chef Cushman then began testing and writing recipes for Ladies Home Journal and Food and Wine magazine. This led to her contributing to Cooking Light, Self, Fine Cooking and Vegetarian Times. She was also a private chef for the C.E.O. of American Express and the Editor of GQ magazine.
She has developed hundreds of recipes for cookbooks as well as food magazines and web sites. Some of her accounts have been Foodfit.com, Minutemeals.com and the Time/Life Fitness Series. She and her husband live in Durham, North Carolina.
Recipe(s) may be reprinted with the following credit:
Recipe from SIMPLE REAL FOOD: Delicious Clean Food Prepared Simply
By Amanda Cushman
Stuffed Acorn Squash with Parsley Walnut Pesto
2 acorn squash, halved, seeded
3 cups Italian parsley, washed, stems removed
1/2 cup walnut pieces
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 Tb. grated parmesan, garnish
Heat the oven to 375.
Place the acorn squash, cut side down on a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes until tender. Allow to cool. Reduce the oven to 350. Scoop out most of the pulp, leaving a 1/4 inch with the shell intact. Cut the halves into half again there will be 8 wedges.
Transfer the pulp to a food processor. Add the parsley, walnuts, garlic, cheese, and olive oil. Process until smooth. Add salt and pepper and taste for seasoning. If the mixture is too thick, add water to adjust the consistency.
Scoop the pesto into the squash shells and bake for 10 to 15 minutes until the filling is hot. Serve warm garnished with grated parmesan.
Braised Provencal Chicken with White Beans
8 chicken thighs with skin and bone
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tb. olive oil
1 Tb. thyme, chopped
1 Tb. rosemary, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 cup dry white wine
½ cup chicken stock
6 ripe plum tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted, chopped
1 16 oz. can white beans, rinsed and drained
3 Tb roughly chopped basil, garnish
1. Combine the chicken in a medium bowl with the oil, salt, pepper and herbs and set aside at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
2. Heat a large high sided skillet over medium heat. Season the chicken again with salt and pepper and brown on all sides turning often, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove to a plate.
3. Pour off most of the drippings from the pan and add the garlic and shallots and sauce for about 2 minutes. Add the wine and increase the heat to high, deglaze the pan and reduce the wine to about half. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes and chicken and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan and cook simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Stir in the olives and white beans and heat through.
4. Transfer the chicken to a large serving dish and spoon the sauce over, garnish with basil and serve.