Friday, February 20, 2009

BOOK: Rachael Ray's Big Orange Book

Rachael Ray's Big Orange Book

Soup's On Recipe/Reading Challenge

Have you ever had a slight miscommunication result in a plethora of asparagus? That's what happened at our house last weekend. Neither of us realized that the other was picking up the asparagus to have with our scallops on Saturday night. We also ended up with way too much broccoli, but our youngest is a cooked broccoli fiend, so that wasn't such as big an issue. Only the adults appear to like asparagus so far and while we like how we eat it, (baked with a splash of soya and olive oil) this new abundance inspired me to haul out the recipe books.

I've been wanting to try something from the newest Racheal Ray cookbook since I received it. I watched her show last summer in the mornings and enjoyed her breezy way with food, and the fact that she combines interesting flavors but still keeps it simple. I've had several recipes sticky posted for a while, waiting to try. The titles in her book are imaginatively named like Mahimahi Mucho-Gusto Fish Burritos or The Must Have Minestrone or Devilish Sesame with Green Beans and Scallion Rice, plus lots of her Sammies (sandwiches) or Stoup (soup/stew.)

We tried two different asparagus recipes: Jaw-Droppingly Delicious Asparagus Penne and Spring Summer Ziti. Both were very good and didn't require too many special groceries to make. The Asparagus-Penne in particular will be very easy to make in the future, and I'd probably trade the blend in the sauce for plain milk to make it lighter and easier - we don't often have blend on hand, but we would have everything else. Plus, since the kids wouldn't eat it, although I thought it had potential, I wisely took some plain cooked penne out before I mixed the sauce - garlic, flour, blend, vegetable stock, blend, dijon, lemon zest, and tarragon - with the penne and asparagus. It only took as long to make as it took the penne to boil and the frozen fish to cook in the oven. All in all, it will go into the rotation for the adults. It's a keeper!

The second recipe, Spring Summer Ziti, will be not made as often, as it was a bit fancier and had to be baked in the oven for 12 minutes, but it was quite yummy, and my husband thought it tasted 'filling, and even sort of healthy with the asparagus and the peas." I used the rest of the penne we bought as we don't' keep ziti as a matter of course, but I might get a bag to have on had as ziti seems to be a Rachael Ray staple. This recipe tossed the penne and vegetables in a ricotta cheese mixture and then baked it between layers of a sauteed tomato sauce. Again, pretty easy and yummy. We haven't eaten a lot of ricotta and isn't something we keep on hand, so this would have to be a planned meal and not a last minute idea, but we would make it again.

With categories like 30- Minute Meals, Entree Burgers, and Vegetarian Meals I've bookmarked several more recipes to try. I can't see trying as much from Meals for One or Kosher Meals but I still like looking in the book and imagining that my family might ever eat some of these ingredients.

Things I like: lots of pictures, very Italian recipes, a focus on low-fat and healthier recipes, new foods I'd like to try; a big collection of recipes for stuffed eggs; a recipe for fatoush that I've wanted since I had it at a Lebanese restaurant last fall; still to try - salmon burgers, pizza burgers

Things I don't like: not being from an Italian background, many of the ingredients are a little foreign to me or we just don't keep on hand - anchovies, fresh parsley, fennel, ziti, fresh ginger, tuna steaks. I realize these aren't strange foods but not what we usually eat. Nearly every recipe has one ingredient that I wouldn't have on hand. And contrary to what Rachael Ray says, basil pesto is not "kid-yum" at least at my house.
RR likes to mix up a classic recipe while once I get a version I like, I stop. So I'm not interested in another Mac and Cheese recipe because I have the one I like. But other people, like my mother for example, like to try new versions of old recipes.

So, once I get my kids to eat food that is mixed together, that is, with more than one ingredient in the recipe, like tomato soup, plain pasta, shake and bake chicken then I'll have a field day with this book. This is my first Rachael Ray cookbook.


  1. I love asparagus. These recipes sound so yummy. I love Italian food, but I'm not Italian either and don't have many of those items on hand.

  2. Love broccoli but I don't really care too much for asparagus. I haven't made any recipes by her before but I do like her show!

  3. I LOVE Rachael Ray and have just about all of her cookbooks. If you are a little puzzled by some of the ingredients, grab one of her early cookbooks, even from the library, if they have it. I have The Big Orange Book and found it to be a little more sophisticated than her earlier books. She does a much better job in her earlier books of explaining ingredients and cooking techniques for those of us who don't know everything! And the recipes are just as good, if not better.

  4. As a food-interested reader and collector of cookbooks I enjoyed your review of Rachael Ray's book.

    (I am in Copenhagen, Denmark so) I have not seen that many of her shows, although they've been aired here, but have caught one here and there if I was home at the time they were aired, and she seems like an inspiring lady. I am not sure that her cook books has been translated to Danish though, and while I read English literature very easily, cook books has to be translated because we use the metric and the celcius systems and I have never figured out all that goobledegook with ounces and fahrenheit and all that ;o)

  5. booklogged - and they arent' even strange ingredients, just not flavors that we have traditionally eaten

    tink - I only started eating asparagus in the last year or two, it's a new food for my husband and me.

    lexi - that's good to know, and there is even a section called 'worth the extra time.' I'd probably get another book by her, especially if you say they are more accessible

    louise - that's what is great about living in Canada, we are metric and all our cans and ingredients are in metric, but our cookbooks and utensils are in Imperial. We know both and neither at the same time. Our stoves for example, have both Farenheit and Celsius posted on the oven.

  6. LOL! about the basil pesto. I made my kids try it years ago when they were young and it definitely wasn't kid yum to them either. They weren't even picky eaters and we'd raised them to try new foods.

  7. I'm offering this book on my site as a giveaway item for June. It ought to be great for whoever wins it.

    Love the blog and all the posts. Have a great day.


Thanks for commenting, so nice of you to visit.

(I'll try without the letters for a while - so please dont be a spammer! Let's try no anonymous users)