Minimal work, maximum satisfaction

Keeping it Simple by Yasmin Fahr.
Keeping it Simple by Yasmin Fahr.

Yasmin Fahr is not one to take herself too seriously. She keeps a hula hoop near the stove to entertain herself while waiting for the timer to go off. She finds it “fun and freeing” to eat spaghetti with her hands now and then.

Don’t think these light-hearted self-confessions mean you shouldn’t take her recipes seriously.

Her aim in writing "Keeping It Simple: Easy Weeknight One-Pot Recipes" (Hardie Grant, $24.99) is not only to encourage us to cook more at home but also to chill out in the process. My husband put her premise to the test one evening by tackling her Roasted Halibut with Lemon, Tomatoes and Herbs (substituting grouper for halibut). While it baked, he mixed together the simple sauce of chopped parsley, capers, lemon zest and olive oil. The meal was as beautiful and delicious as one in a high-end restaurant. Clean-up was as easy as promised.

The first-time author was not trained as a chef, but she’s interviewed plenty of them writing about food and travel for a variety of magazines and websites. She has a master’s degree in food studies from New York University and wrote a column for the website Serious Eats under the editorial guidance of food science guru J. Kenji López-Alt. These lessons underly her highly appealing recipes, as well as the tips and kitchen hacks scattered throughout — for using Parmesan rinds to flavor soup, spatchcocking a chicken, swapping one green for another.

She uses the “one-pot” term loosely, to cover not only dishes like Quickie Coconut Mussels and Adult Instant Ramen, but also those that can be baked on single sheet pan (Baked Feta with Greens and Lemon-Tahini Dressing) or assembled in one bowl (Cumin-Spiced Steak Salad). The photos are lush and inviting, but Fahr insists that this attractive and modestly priced softcover is “meant to be spilled and splattered on.”

I’m certain my copy will fulfill this purpose well.

Susan Puckett is a cookbook author and former food editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow her at susanpuckett.com.

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