It’s not likely I would have ever thought to add apple slices to a saute of green beans, bacon and thyme had I not randomly flipped to a recipe calling for that combination in Meike Peters’ new cookbook, “365: A Year of Everyday Cooking and Baking” (Prestel, $40).
But since I had all the ingredients on hand and nothing else in mind to serve with the pork chops I’d planned to cook that night, I decided to give it a go. With just the right touch of white balsamic vinegar and honey to pull those disparate flavors together, that quirky little side dish instantly elevated an otherwise forgettable last-minute dinner into one I’d be proud to serve to company.
A German-born food and travel writer with homes in Berlin and Malta, Peters has built a loyal following for European-inspired recipes with unexpected twists with her blog, Eat in My Kitchen. Her first book by the same name won a James Beard Foundation award in 2017.
As the triple-digit title implies, “365” offers a recipe for each day of every month, designed to inject excitement into home-cooked meals that correspond with the season and rhythms of everyday life. A week may begin, for example, with a meatloaf inspired by the traditional one made by her German mother, modernized with a fragrant infusion of coriander, cumin, dates, and orange zest. Tuesday may call for something quicker, like halibut fillets baked in parchment packages with grapefruit sections and tarragon. A slow Saturday could be the perfect time for a baking project, be it a batch of peanut butter cookies glorified with chunks of bittersweet chocolate, or a more ambitious Pomegranate Pavlova Tart with Pistachios and Rosewater sure to turn heads at a holiday buffet table.
Peters makes persuasive cases for sneaking crispy fried sage leaves into spaghetti tossed with ricotta, slipping persimmon slices into a grilled ham and cheese sandwich, and even adding prunes to a burger. Her Limoncello Panna Cotta, she writes, will “make you squeal with joy.” I’m inclined to believe her, but this is one I’ll want to verify for myself. This Sunday, if not sooner.
Susan Puckett is a cookbook author and former food editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow her at susanpuckett.com.
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