Sunday, August 4, 2013

Book Review: The American Lighthouse Cookbook

A couple of summers ago, my husband’s parents came for a visit and we took a weekend road trip through the Outer Banks, stopping at the interesting lighthouses along the way. At one of the lighthouse gift shops I was delighted to find The American Lighthouse Cookbook  by Beck Sue Epstein and Ed Jackson. The cookbook is arranged by geographic region (Northeast Atlantic, Mid-Atlantic, Pacific Northwest, etc) and accompanying the recipes are over 40 detailed entries on different lighthouses and their history as well as beautiful sketch drawings.

I’ve been cooking exclusively from this cookbook for the past week and the recipes have been very good – well written, easy to follow, and great tasting. So far my favorite recipes have been:

  • Grilled Pizza with Basil, Tomatoes, and Mozzarella
    • This was the first time we made pizza on the grill and it came out fantastic. I did find that we needed to cook the pizza for longer than the recipe specified, but well worth the wait. I also added grilled vegetables to the pizza – yellow squash and zucchini – to really take advantage of our garden bounty.
  • Chicken Under a Brick
    • I’ve read many variations on this recipe, but this was my first attempt at preparing the dish. It was really really good and a breeze to prepare.
  • Green Beans with Toasted Pecans
    • This simple side dish is really classy and takes an ordinary dinner to the next level.
  • Fried Potatoes with Cheddar and Scallions
    • The perfect breakfast side dish.
  • Scrambled Eggs 
    • I cook every day, and I enjoy adventurous recipes. That said, mastering the basics is important and I’m a bit ashamed to admit I had never been able to turn out perfect scrambled eggs (always find they stick to the pan a bit) until I followed this recipe. The secret is cooking them on low the entire time.

Not surprisingly, The American Lighthouse Cookbook  is heavy on fish and seafood recipes so if you enjoy a taste of the sea you’ll really be pleased with the cookbook. And as mentioned already, there’s a lot of interesting lighthouse history explained so you get the bonus of history with your recipes or recipes with your history, whichever way you prefer to look at it. While the book is certainly not vegetarian there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan recipes included.

Overall recommendation (especially for seafood lovers): buy.

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