Tips & Recommendations
What began as a casual conversation during a hike on a beautiful, sunny day about the need for a cookbook with easy, healthy, delicious recipes for families to cook together has become a beautiful book we are very proud of.
For families, eating right has become a huge challenge. We’ve become convinced we no longer have time to cook, and food marketers spend billions persuading us that packaged, processed food is convenient, satisfying, and the key to happiness. Not true! Luckily, home cooking is making a comeback, and we hope The Family Cooks will inspire you to take control of what you and your family eat by making it yourself.
The Family Cooks contains over 100 fast, tasty recipes with real ingredients for people who think they are too busy to cook. We tested all the recipes with parents and kids to make sure they were family-friendly. We give you ways to play with the recipes, like fun garnishes your kids will love (try the yogurt “spider web” garnish on pea soup) and extra ingredient suggestions to alter dishes (add a few spices and lentil soup becomes curried lentil soup).
For those who find cooking intimidating, we made sure the recipes were easy to prepare. We explain cooking terms, break down basic prep techniques, and decode food labeling practices to help you avoid falling prey to marketing tricks, like believing “natural” on a package means it’s healthy for your family.
We include lots of tips on how to get your kids involved in the cooking, and offer recipes they can make on their own. Cooking together with your kids is one of the most powerful ways to ensure your family’s health, build self esteem, develop your child’s palate, and set your kids on a lifetime path of confident cooking and healthy eating.
Thanks for your support and happy cooking!
Summer starts this weekend, and what better way to celebrate than with a BBQ? Instead of the traditional steaks and hamburgers, try grilling seafood and vegetables. Here are some tips for grilling fresh fish on the BBQ:
1. Have patience. Wait until the coals have burned down, or use a lower flame on the the gas grill.
2. Use a good clean grate that has been oiled.
3. Flip the fish only once, (save the fancy flipping for pancakes).
4. Cook the fish just about 7 minutes per inch of thickness.
5. Take its temperature, use your thermometer, the fish is done at 140º (120º if you want to cook a fish like tuna rare), or poke a pointy knife into the thickest part of the fish, then touch the knife, if it is warm the fish is done.
6. But here is the tricky part, remember the fish continues to be hot/cook a bit after you take it off the grill, so take it off just before it is completely done, and let it sit and relax a few minutes before you serve it.
Don’t fret that Father’s Day is only a couple of days away and neither you nor the kids have bought anything. The very best gift anyone can give isn’t something bought at the mall or gift-wrapped. The very best gift of all is right under your very roof.
Make Dad dinner.
Figure out the menu, buy the groceries, organic when possible, and cook from scratch. Engage the kids in the kitchen and let them be an integral part of preparing this special meal.
Set the table with love by adding a budding branch found outside or pick a family heirloom found in the cabinet, something that can be the centerpiece of the table and the conversation. Or perhaps find a fun and different location for dinner — a picnic in the backyard or on the living room floor. Hey maybe even dust off that dining room you rarely use!
Then sit down, as a family, with phones and TV screens turned off. And talk. Tell stories about your parents, grandparents and far-off uncles. Talk about what you all love best about Dad.
Remember, great meals make great memories. Because on top of all the benefits of family dinner, it spreads love too!
Take a trip to an Indian grocery store for spices. You will be amazed at the colors, scents and shapes of spices you have never seen before… or you have seen, but never whole. The spices are much cheaper, fresher, and often in bulk bins so you can avoid all the annoying packaging.
Have the shop keeper recommend their favorite brands. Stock up on chutney, curry mixes, spices and great stainless steel tins to store them in. Then go home and replace all your old spices with new fresh ones. Yes, that turmeric in the back of your cupboard has the shelf life of about a year, after that it becomes tasteless, or worse, bitter. Throw it away my friend.
By the way, Indian markets are the best place to find the tiered “tiffin” lunch boxes.
Should you buy shrimp fresh or frozen? If you can get local fresh shrimp, you are very lucky. Buy them. However, most shrimp you see in the market have been frozen and defrosted. There is nothing wrong with that, but why let the fishmonger defrost them (who knows how long ago that was) when you can do it yourself?
If you want to cook shrimp that is still frozen, bring a big pot of water to a boil. Salt it; you can also add a few bay leaves and some lemon slices. Throw the still-frozen shrimp into the pot. Just as soon as the water starts to boil again, take the pot off the heat, and when the shrimp are pink and curled — this should take 2 to 3 minutes more — they will be done.