Cookbook Review, Food

Best of Giada at Home

As I mentioned previously, I have cooked through every recipe (except for those that included seafood components, because I do not like seafood) in Giada at Home. Giada at Home was an interesting mix of classic Italian recipes and Giada’s modern takes on recipes. I learned through this cookbook that if you always have ingredients for a meal on hand you are much more likely to cook at home. I also learned the ingredients she tends towards. I found that cooking through this cookbook was nice because once I figured out where to buy the obscure ingredients early on, I was all set. She does not suddenly through you a new ingredient that you then would have to struggle to find. For example, I had never eaten fennel before this cookbook, and Giada uses it much more frequently than I do, I learned to love it and appreciate it rather than be intimidated. This cookbook gave me confidence that I can cook anything.

For me there were a number of gems that I continue to make to this day, that I will list and include pictures for the ones I have. These following are in no particular order:

  • Whole-Wheat Pita Chips with Mascarpone-Chive Dip- I loved this recipe, I was shocked at how easy it is to make homemade pita chips and this dip tastes like the topping for a loaded baked potato. I loved this, as did my husband.
  • Pea-Pesto Crostini- I liked this quite a bit, the pea makes the pesto bright and the cheese gives it a delicious flavor. I have made this for my husband’s company picnic because he loves it so much, anytime I have to bring a dish he suggests I bring this.
  • Roasted Eggplant and White Bean Crostini- I loved this because to me it tastes like hummus kicked up a notch, to take a line from Emeril. I love the creamy way this tastes and enjoyed this.
  • Chicken Milanese with Tomato and Fennel Sauce- I loved this dish, the crispy chicken against the creamy sauce was wonderful.
  • Roasted Citrus-Herb Game Hens with Croutons- I made this with a chicken rather than a game hen. This dish I had all the ingredients on hand and cooked for friends who came over out of the blue. They loved this dish and still talk about it, I made it with mashed potatoes on the side at my friend’s husband’s request. This also is the only gravy I have been able to make that has turned out okay, which is really saying something.
  • Grilled Tuscan Steak with Fried Egg and Goat Cheese- This dish looks impressive, and is not hard to pull together. As my husband says, steak topped with egg and cheese (what is not to love?).

Steak with Egg - 1

  • Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Basil-Curry Mayonnaise- I was intimidated to try this dish because I knew the cut of meat was expensive and I worried I would ruin it. I have to say the meat was the best part of the dish and I loved it with the sauce but it almost didn’t need the sauce for the meat, it was a good dish on it’s own.
  • Bucatini All’Amatriciana with Spicy Smoked Mozzarella Meatballs- This dish has become my go-to meatball recipe. I love the cheese in the middle, it almost always oozes out, but I do not even care. I have shared this recipe with many family members because it is just so good. This also reminds me of the first time my mom came to visit me in Florida. I wanted to make a big meal to welcome her and I cooked this not knowing how it would turn out, but we all loved it and devoured it leaving very few leftovers. In the picture you can just feel the excitement and atmosphere, this makes a meal delicious and special.

Spaghetti and Meatballs - 1Spaghetti and Meatballs - 1 (1)

  • Cheesy Baked Farro- I did not know what farro was before making this. I have to say this dish is very dense, but I love it. It has a cheesy creamy taste and the bites with tomato are delicious and make you just want to eat more.

Baked Farro - 1

  • Grilled Vegetable, Herb and Goat Cheese Sandwiches-I made this on a huge baguette and it just looked so impressive. I loved the creaminess of the goat cheese against the rich flavor of the roasted vegetable and loved every bite of this.

roasted-veggie-sandwich-1.jpg

  • Poached Pears in Honey, Ginger and Cinnamon Syrup- I had never made poached pears before, but this was a game changer. I remember cooking this during the FIFA World Cup in 2014. My husband and I devoured them and savored each bite. Not only does it takes delicious but your whole house fills with a wonderful smell.
  • Espresso Chip Meringues- I had never made meringues and I was shocked that they turned out. They turned out and were delicious, I brought them to work and they were gone by the end of the day. I love how light and fluffy meringues are, we ate them a lot growing up but I had never made them myself before.
  • Chocolate Honey Almond Tart- I love this and have made it a few times, I made it to bring to my church choir end of year party and many people loved it. It is quite rich, and a little goes a long way but it feels so decadent and it is easy to make its shocking how delicious it is with so few ingredients.  We brought two of them and came back with less than one.

Chocolate Tart - 1 (1)Chocolate Tart - 1 (2)

Giada taught me that taste does not require fancy ingredients or complicated techniques, but flavor and delicious food can be simple and delicious. Any suggestions for cookbooks I should explore next? I will be the willing guinea pig.

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