Sometimes reviewing a cookbook by making one or two recipes isn’t enough. Sometimes the recipes all scream your name all at once, beckoning you to make every single one, and making it nearly impossible to select just a few to sample. That’s what happened as I read Anne Burrell’s new cookbook, Own Your Kitchen: Recipes to Inspire & Empower. Anne’s recipes all looked so delicious, I initially found it nearly impossible to pick a few to sample in order to review the book!
Eventually, I was able to narrow my choices down, not to a select few, but to a full meal’s worth of recipes. A cook-all-weekend, invite-the-friends-over, big Sunday dinner-style meal that was completely and totally worth every second I spent preparing it!
We started with Anne’s caponata, a dish similar to ratatouille, but this Italian version includes fennel, toasted pine nuts, golden raisins and green Sicilian olives. Served alongside an assortment of cured meats and a little burrata, this was the perfect beginning to our meal! The kale Caesar salad was a great updated take on a classic, and the lemony-perfect Caesar dressing was so yummy I may never buy store-bought again.
For dinner, we enjoyed Anne’s balsamic-braised beef brisket, served with her mashed rutabagas and braised broccoli alongside. We devoured the tender, umami-centric brisket, savoring every bite of the meat and mushrooms, salty from the addition of bacon and acidic from the thick, balsamic liquid that remained after braising. The light, fluffy mashed rutabagas were the perfect accompaniment to soak up some of that yummy braising liquid.
I made two desserts because, truthfully, I can never make up my mind when it comes to sweets! The sticky toffee pudding was a caramelly, boozy, delicious treat. But my favorite was Anne’s chocolate chunk oatmeal cookies, with just a little bit of sea salt sprinkled over the tops after baking. That simple addition of salt completely changed this classic treat, and I don’t think I could ever make them any other way again!
As if dinner wasn’t enough, I made sure I had a little healthy treat for breakfast the next morning…Anne’s farro granola. This unique twist on a breakfast standard, made with nutty farro and served with a little almond milk, was the perfect way to start a healthy morning and recover from the decadent festivities the night before.