2015 Cookbook Challenge: ‘A’ is for August and Argentina

Two of the books I selected for this month’s challenge were no-brainers. It feels natural and right to cook from an Alice Waters cookbook when we are in the peak of the produce harvest season. I think that doing a Whole 30, or at least incorporating recipes from it, could benefit a few of my patients, so I want to test it out. I considered a number of books for slot #3, dismissing several that felt more appropriate for the fall, then settled on a book on Argentine grilling (ah, Buenos Aires, how I miss you so!)

Alice Waters exemplifies quality ingredients, cooked simply and well (she’s also one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people). I have a few of her books on my shelf, but I chose volume one of The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons, and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution. This is one of those books that is light, but not insubstantial, on recipes and heavy on pretty-but-informative-prose. In other words, one of my favorite types of cookbooks. No photos, which bothers some, but not me (although I do enjoy cookbooks with gorgeous food photography as well, a la Heidi Swanson). I think we are going to adapt the recipe for Pork Shoulder Braised with Dried Chiles for the slow cooker, and there are a number of veggie recipes I want to try.
As I mentioned, my interest in The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom is partly from the professional/nutritionist side, but there are also a lot of tasty looking recipes in this book. I actually made a few this weekend in one of my more inspired bouts of batch cooking for the week ahead: Meatballs, tomato sauce, and roasted spaghetti squash (to go with the aforementioned meatballs and sauce). I also made a batch of mayonnaise, which looked beautiful but tasted awful (rancid olive oil!) and promptly got thrown away. I will remake it when I get fresh oil and post about it.
I spent two weeks in Buenos Aires in 2009, and have wanted to return ever since (unfortunately, or maybe not so unfortunately, I have since visited Paris, and that’s been proving to be the bigger draw for return trips). While we had a hard time finding fresh salads there, we enjoyed an abundance of quality grilled meat and vegetables. While many of the recipes in Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way are, er, a little ambitious (I don’t think roasting a whole baby lamb, let alone one medium cow [about 1400 pounds] over a fire pit is practical in my small backyard), there are countless simple-and-delicious looking recipes using vegetables, beef, lamb, chicken, fish…and now I’m drooling on my keyboard.