I have a bit of a cookbook problem.
I buy them. I love them. I give them a special place in my kitchen.
But, when it comes time to cook from them, I balk. I think, “No no, I don’t feel like Italian tonight.” Or, “That recipe has too many ingredients.” Or, I very much get distracted by just how much the internet has to offer.
When I travel, my go-to souvenir is always a cookbook. It’s the perfect way to take away something that touches the cultural heart of where I’ve been, without being kitschy. Last week, I went to Vancouver for five days of hiking and indulging in some delicious West Coast cuisine (more on that when I finally get my Adventures section up and running).
It’s still Canada, but I think the West Coast has a distinct culinary style. It’s got a bit of a lighter touch.
In Vancouver, they know their food. We stayed with C.’s lovely great aunt and uncle. They prepared us a few tasty meals and I got acquainted with the Whitewater Cooks books by Shelley Adams.
Later in the trip, when I was ready for my souvenir, I picked up a copy of Whitewater Cooks with Passion.
It’s a beautiful book, rich with bright photos and tons of tantalizing recipes.
In order to buy my cookbook, I came up with a scheme. If I’m to allow myself to have new cookbooks, I need to make some of the recipes and feature them here. So, that’s what I’m doing. I’m calling it my Cookbook Catch-up.
The first Cookbook Catch-up recipe immediately jumped out at me – a sweet chili and mango salad with tons of my favourite fresh veggies. The original Whitewater recipe called for mint, but I had cilantro to spare and went with that instead. I made a few adjustments, but was overall very happy with the result.
This salad was served up with some marinated flank steak and coconut rice. I’ve included both recipes below. It was actually my first time preparing steak, if you can believe that. It cooked a bit longer than I intended, but I was happy with the flavour. According to C., the coconut rice was bangin’ (he doesn’t actually talk like that, so please hear it in a joking voice).
This meal made me very happy.
Mango salad with sweet chili vinaigrette
1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp lime juice
4 tbsp sweet chili sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 fresh mango, peeled and finely sliced
1 whole english cucumber, finely sliced
1 red pepper, again, finely sliced
1/4 red onion, finely sliced
2 cups of chopped snow peas
1/3 cup of fresh cilantro
Combine vinaigrette ingredients in a separate bowl and pour over vegetables. Top with cilantro and toss until combined.
Ginger soy flank steak
1 tbsp peeled, minced fresh ginger
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 scallions, sliced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup of vegetable oil
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp minced garlic
650 grams of flank steak
- Place flank steak at the bottom of a glass baking dish (or in a large freezer bag).
- Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl and pour over steak. Cover and let sit in the fridge for four to six hours.
- If using a barbecue, barbecue as usual. If cooking in a pan, let the pan get hot before adding steak and pouring over remaining marinade. Cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side until desired colour is reached.
1/2 cup of light coconut milk
1/2 cups of water
1 cup of basmati rice
Salt to taste
Add coconut milk, water, rice and salt to a pot. Turn to high heat until boiling. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking until liquid is absorbed and rice is light and fluffy.