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A Cruiser's Book Review: Everydaycook by Alton Brown

Matt's Marvelous Morsels on Monday
A Cruiser's Book Review: Everydaycook by Alton Brown
Lucy in bed with her true love: Tomorrow, french fries.
While Amazon-ing our savings away we ordered a copy of Alton Brown’s newest cookbook offering. I’ve been an Alton fan for many years but I’ve never broken down and bought any of his cook books. For one thing, with foodnetwork.com, why would you ever need a cook book? Oh, yeah...because you might be in the middle of the ocean with shoddy internet (or interwebs, as AB would say). 
Little Brown Biscuits (so quick and easy!) and Scrambled Eggs V3.0
Alton taught me to cook simply because Good Eats was so watchable. If you are unfamiliar, imagine Bill Nye the Science Guy but on Food Network making yummy recipes. I even saw his stage show, Eat Your Science, in Palm Beach a few years back. And I even stayed after the akward rap number was over. 
If your infrared thermometer is an engine room only affair, you've obviously never watched Good Eats!
So why am I writing a review about this book for cruisers? Well, Mr. Brown is about as cruiser friendly as you can get. A lot of my culinary habits, learned from Good Eats, have carried over onto the galley very well. Here’s a few examples that come to mind:

  1. The only uni-tasker allowed in the kitchen is the fire extinguisher.
  2. Whole spices last nearly forever while ground spices loose flavor quickly.
  3. Kosher salt will instantly transform your cooking from home chef to as good as any restaurant.
  4. Measure well: a digital kitchen scale and digital thermometer are must-have galley items on Independence!
  5. “The French call that flavor” - the power of deglazing! Take the battery out of the smoke detector first...
The ONLY proper way to measure "the dry"
The book opens with four short sections on Equipment, Pantry Items, Bar Items and Alton’s special techniques. A cold water pasta method to save energy (propane) and water? How to use a pressure cooker? Now you’re talking like a weirdo boater Alton! I love it!

Everydaycook re-evaluates some of Alton’s recipes from over the years and introduces some great new ones. The first night we got the book, I made “Open Sesame Noodles”…cold water cooked pasta with a spicy sesame/peanut sauce. A-maz-ing! Next time we’ll have it with the Thai Iced Tea (from scratch, page 98). 
Chilaquiles! with fresh Roasted Chile Salsa
One very un-cruiserly thing about Mr. Brown’s cooking must be noted: he uses some not-so-everyday ingredients and equipment. I would love to buy a whipped cream siphon to try his “Nitrous Pancakes” and his “Cream Whipper Chocolate Mousse”, but I’m not convinced that it would earn it’s keep in my tiny kitchen. I did Amazon up some fancy new spices to try: Grains of Paradise (Alton describes it as black peppers “mysterious, sexy and slightly naughty sister”) and sumac (Alton’s “secret weapon”). Like all celebrity chefs, Alton uses his share of rare ingredients. If your spice cabinet is a salt and pepper only affair, this might not be the book for you, but if you have a stocked cabinet you can easily make nearly every recipe in this book with some simple substitutions. 

On a less culinary note, the book features beautiful photography of each recipe and Mr. Brown’s quick-wit comes through on each page. Add in some winning boat recipes and life changing techniques (cold brew coffee? yes please!) and you have a winning book in my opinion. So, in conclusion, my small kitchen bookshelf now has three (yes, THREE!) cook books: The Boat Galley, Julia Child’s The Art of French Cooking and Everydaycook.

Here’s a random list of the recipes we’ve tried in the first week of book ownership. I have owned some books for years and not made this many recipes, so this is the highest recommendation I can give it. And I’m by no means done, we’re still working our way through the book. Oh, and they have all been awesome. Just buy the book already!
Open Sesame Noodles: delicious, quick, and easy!
Open Sesame Noodles --we’ve made this twice already!
Cold Brew Coffee 
Black Beans/Brown Rice
Heavenly Orbs of Belgian Goodness --Roasted Brussel Sprouts)
Chilaquilas! with...
Roasted Chile Salsa 
Midnight Mud Cake — made on stovetop instead of in a microwave (which we don’t own)
Grilled Cheese Grilled Sandwich -- yeah, grill the cheese, grill the bread and grill the sandwich. Whhhhhaaattt!?!?
Scrambled Eggs V3.0 -- had to make substitutions...should I keep harissa onboard 🤔
Little Brown Biscuits -- really quick and easy, cooked fast in the Omnia!
Butterscotch Puddin' -- Rum instead of Scotch...it's on a boat after all.
Tomorrow, French Fries -- needs no introduction
Weeknight Spaghetti -- amazing even if it was "Bobby Flay-ed" 


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6 comments

  1. Sesame noodles are one of my fave dishes. Great passage food as they can be eaten cold.

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    Replies
    1. OK, apparently I'm the only person opposed to cold noodles. Matt and everyone else loves them!

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  2. This all sounds and looks incredibly delicious! Roasted Brussels sprouts are the only way to eat them. I grew up with my mom boiling them (it is a vegetable that EVERY Belgian kid hates!), but when Mark used a recipe of his mom involving roasted sprouts, I have come to love them.

    We use (and have used successfully all those years on Irie) "How to Cook Everything" by Mark Bitman and loved his approach, recipes and variations as well.

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    Replies
    1. We'll have to check that book out!
      I love Brussels sprouts! So good!

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  3. Lucy, I was just wondering . . . can I come live with you? Not only do you have the cutest dog ever, but your husband cooks!

    Cheers,
    Stephanie

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    Replies
    1. Sure, we have a cabin waiting, especially if you are willing to serve Hastings dinner. Last night we were sailing across a crab pot infested bay and dinner was delayed. It caused a huge meltdown.

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