Twenty-Dollar, Twenty-Minute Meals

It's very easy to make cooking whole, healthful ingredients seem hard, time consuming or expensive. What's hard though, is making it look easy—easy, affordable, absolutely doable every night of the week. Few people do that better than Caroline Wright, author of the new book Twenty-Dollar, Twenty-Minute Meals

Caroline is the kind of thoughtful friend who just sends things in the mailsurpriseslike a hand-knit baby blanket (when you're expecting your first babe), or a hand-written note on a notecard with a pair of Wellies on the front (because she pays attention to what moves you). So I wasn't entirely surprised when I got a slim, black and white bound book in the mail called Twenty-Dollar, Twenty Minute-Meals that she had written, photographed and published herself as a gift to her friends. Amazing. Who does that? 

While that savvy, slim book sat on my nightstand as a reminder of all the things I believe in (creating, giving, chasing dreams), Caroline turned around and got that very book published by Workman Publishing and it's hitting the book stores this week. So now this very thoughtful collection of recipes is available to you, too. 

When I saw the finished book, this time remade with a bright red cover and the same kind of creative recipes inside, my first thought was, yes! Omelets with Asparagus and Goat Cheese, Roasted Haloumi with Scallions, Cherry Tomatoes and Couscous, and Polenta with Mushrooms and Tellegio? Yes, please. This is the kind of simple, satisfying food cooks, like she and I, make at home at night, make for our friends, and want to get the next generation cooking, too. Because this is food to build a life on. 

This food has gumption. Kind of like Caroline. (that's what it takes to write and publish your own cookbook in your spare time, and get it noticed by a serious publisher).

And this food is thoughtful. Kind of like Caroline. It minds your time and your dishes (one step, one-dirty-dish-only kind of meals), and rewards your effort with bright, surprising, delightful meals.

Take this dish, for example, that I cooked in honor of her Twenty-Dollar, Twenty-Minute Meal book launch party: Zuchini Ribbon Salad with Potatoes, Ricotta Salata, Dill, Peas + Radishes (recipe below). It has almost every one of my favorite foods in itand puts them together in their easiest form. The potatoes are steamed, the radishes sliced, the zucchini shaved on a simple vegetable peeler. And the peas? No shelling required. Just pert, frozen peas brought to room temperature and tossed in raw. Easy. Peasy. And so, so good.

This is the kind of dish you'd happily make for one (and hoard the leftovers for your weekday work lunch), create to feed a young family (my toddler loved this!), or turn into an easy, spring-inspired dinner party fare. That's kind of the feel of all her foodit fits our modern lives, no matter who we are.

As for me, it's time to pack up that snap ware with the leftovers and head to work. I'll be looking forward to lunch even more than usual today. 

Zucchini Ribbon Salad
 with Potatoes, Ricotta Salata, Dill, Peas + Radishes
Excerpted from Twenty-Dollar, Twenty-Minute Meals
Fill a large saucepan with water to a depth of 2 inches, add salt, and bring it to a simmer over low heat.
Arrange 8 small new potatoes (about 12 ounces total), halved, in a steamer basket and set the basket
in the pan. Cover and steam the potatoes until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the potatoes and 1 cup frozen peas to a colander and run under cold water until the potatoes are cool and the peas hae thawed.
While the potatoes cook, use a vegetable peeler to shave 4 zucchini and/or yellow summer squash into a medium bowl in long, thin strips.
Add the potatoes and peas; 4 ounces ricotta salata, sliced; 1 cup sliced radishes; 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill; 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil; and 
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper, toss, and serve.
 Copyright 2013 by Caroline Wright
Used by permission of Workman Publishing Co., Inc. New York
All Rights Reserved    


For more easy, delicious recipes like this one, check out these bloggers today as they celebrate Caroline's book! 


Sara said...

This recipe looks so delicious - definitely need to try it out! Love the flavors going on here, and especially the colors! Definitely a perfect spring recipe. :)

Unknown said...

What a wonderful idea as a gift for friends. If all recipes are as fresh and vibrant as this one, it must be a lovely book.

Anonymous said...

This looks so delicious. I’m always looking for different ways to serve vegetables. I’ll be trying this recipe here

Malindabunner said...

This recipe you share here looks so delicious - definitely need to try it out!

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Sarah Copeland is a food and lifestyle expert, and the author of Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite, and The Newlywed Cookbook. She is the Food Director at Real Simple magazine, and has appeared in numerous national publications including Saveur, Health, Fitness, Shape, Martha Stewart Living and Food & Wine magazines. As a passionate gardener, Sarah's Edible Living philosophy aims to inspire good living through growing, cooking and enjoying delicious, irresistible whole foods. She thrives on homegrown veggies, stinky cheese and chocolate cake. Sarah lives in New York with her husband and their young daughter.