The Lazy Gourmet: Magnificent Meals Made Easyby Robin Donovan & Juliana Gallin isn’t strictly a book for parents. But between you and me and the lamppost, it’s exactly what you need when it’s 6:00 and you haven’t started—or even thought about—dinner yet, when you’re brain-dead and bone-tired and wish that someone would come over and whip up something elegant yet simple. Something satisfying and unusual. Something flat-out delicious. This book delivers all that. Well, without the someone-coming-over part, but the recipes are so easy you almost won’t mind cooking.
According to the press release, Donovan and Gallin used “an army of volunteer testers—people with picky palates and little or no kitchen expertise” to make sure the recipes worked, and worked well. Sound familiar?
The recipes include ingenious cheats like Basil Leaf and Goat Cheese Wraps (for which your guests unwittingly do all the work), White Bean Spread with Parmesan and Mint, Raw Asparagus and Mache Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette, Herbed Tuna Salad Sandwiches with Apples and Almonds, Gemelli with Roasted Cauliflower, Tomatoes, and Crispy Breadcrumbs, Spiced Chard with Quinoa and Currants, and (bestill my heart!) Plum and Current Mostarda, which I will most definitely be trying just as soon as I can. Oh, and Sweet Peach Crostini, and Miniature Flourless Chocolate Cakes.
I’m embarrassed to admit I only had time to try out one recipe—one ridiculously simple recipe—but it was a home run. Their Lemon Salsa combines the fruit’s tart, zingy flesh with chopped raisins, a little bit of onion, and some minced herb. It comes together in about ten minutes, and it tastes about a thousand times better (and more interesting) than the (very) basic ingredients would suggest. I served it atop grilled chicken seasoned with just salt and pepper, with rice and asparagus on the side. Stephen and I devoured it, first with the chicken, and eventually stirred into the rice and spooned onto the asparagus, too. There’s a teeny bit left, and I think I may have to challenge Stephen to an arm-wrestling match to see who gets to eat it.
You can guess what Harry made of it. More than one ingredient, in the same mouthful? The horror!
Adapted from The Lazy Gourmet: Magnificent Meals Made Easy
2 medium lemons
1/4 cup minced raisins
2 tablespoons minced onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons minced mint, cilantro, basil, or parsley
- Cut the ends off one lemon, exposing the fruit. Stand it up on one end and slide your knife down and around, removing and discarding the peel and pith. Repeat with the other lemon.
- Chop the lemon flesh into small pieces. Remove and discard the seeds and any large pieces of membrane. Transfer the lemon and any accumulated juices to a small bowl—you should wind up with about 1/2 cup of chopped lemon. Stir in the remaining ingredients and serve.
MAKE BABY FOOD: You might be surprised how well this goes over with your little one. Although he wouldn’t touch this with a ten-foot pole at age 4 1/2, Harry adored lemons when he was tiny. Some babies do find them too acidic, so you’ll have to try it and see. Mincing the raisins eliminates any potential choking hazard.