Cookbook review

A wake-up call for your dinner menus


Main Dish

Moroccan Chicken Cinnamon Rolls

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (1 1/2 pounds total)

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup no-salt-added chicken broth

Flour, for the work surface

1 sheet (about 8.6 ounces) frozen puff pastry (such as Pepperidge Farm brand), defrosted according to the package directions

1 large egg

2 tablespoons sliced skin-on almonds

Heat the oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 5 minutes per side or until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate.

Pour off any excess fat from the pan, then add the onion. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the onion is softened and translucent. Add the cinnamon, cumin, ginger, turmeric, pepper, coriander and salt, stirring to distribute evenly. Add the broth and stir, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

Return the chicken to the pan. Cover and cook for 35 minutes, turning it over once, until the meat is tender and starts to separate from the bone. Use tongs to transfer the chicken to a large bowl. When it is just cool enough to handle, shred the meat and discard the skin and bones.

If the braising liquid in the pan does not seem reduced and thickened, increase the heat to medium-high; cook for up to 18 minutes or until it has thickened.

Add the shredded chicken and toss to coat. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil; grease with nonstick cooking oil spray.

Lightly flour a work surface. Roll out the puff pastry to a 9-by-12-inch rectangle, with a long side parallel to the edge of the counter. Spread the chicken mixture in a thin, even layer on top of the pastry, leaving a 1/2-inch margin at the edges. Starting at the long side closest to you, roll up the pastry fairly tightly to create a log that is about 2 inches thick.

If you have trouble pinching/pressing closed the long edge of the pastry, use a pastry brush or your finger to apply a thin swath of water to seal it. Use a sharp serrated knife to make 11 cuts approximately an inch apart (creating 12 slices).

Lay the slices on the baking sheet, spacing them an inch apart. Whisk the egg with 1 tablespoon water in a small cup; lightly brush the mixture over the top of each slice, then sprinkle almonds on top of each one. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until the pastry is puffed and lightly golden. Serve warm. Makes 12 rolls (about 3 servings).

Source: Adapted from “Breakfast for Dinner” by Lindsay Landis and Taylor Hackbarth (Quirk Books).

Per serving: 600 calories, 14 g protein, 44 g carbohydrates, 42 g fat (10 g saturated fat), 95 mg cholesterol, 480 mg sodium, 4 g dietary fiber, 3 g sugar.

Main Dish

Grapefruit Risotto With Seared Scallops

Notes of citrus and thyme make this date-night worthy. Either white or pink grapefruit may be used, but the latter ups the presentation factor.

For the risotto:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus an optional tablespoon for finishing the risotto

1/3 cup minced shallot

1 cup raw Arborio rice

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 cup fresh grapefruit juice (from 1 or 2 large grapefruits)

1 teaspoon thyme leaves, minced


Freshly ground pepper

1/2 grapefruit, cut into supremes (see NOTE)

For the scallops

4 large dry-packed scallops

Pinch salt

Freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

For the risotto: Heat 4 cups of water over medium heat until it is just below a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low to keep it warm.

Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Stir in the shallot and cook for about 2 minutes, until translucent. Stir in the rice until evenly coated; cook for about 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add the wine and stir until it is completely absorbed.

Add the grapefruit juice and cook until it is fully absorbed, stirring as needed. Add 1/2 cup of the warm water at a time, stirring to incorporate. You don’t have to stir constantly, but it is helpful to stir as the rice begins to plump up and until the liquid is almost absorbed after each addition. The process will take 20 to 25 minutes. You may need only 3 cups of the water. The rice should be creamy and tender.

Stir in the thyme and the remaining tablespoon of butter, if desired. Season lightly with salt and pepper to taste, then gently fold in the grapefruit segments. Remove from heat.

For the scallops: Use paper towels to pat them dry, then season lightly with salt and pepper on both sides.

Heat the butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until the foam subsides. Add the scallops and sear for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes per side or until golden brown. Divide the risotto between two shallow bowls. Arrange 2 scallops on top of each portion. Serve right away. Makes 2 servings.

Note: To cut the grapefruit into supremes, slice off the bottom and the top. Stand the fruit on a cutting board with one of the cut sides down. Use a serrated knife to cut the peel and the pith away from the fruit, top to bottom, exposing the flesh. Then, holding the fruit in your hand, cut the grapefruit segments away from the membrane. (The idea is to leave behind all of the membrane and white pith.)

Source: Adapted from “Breakfast for Dinner” by Lindsay Landis and Taylor Hackbarth (Quirk Books).

Per serving: 670 calories, 24 g protein, 98 g carbohydrates, 18 g fat (11 g saturated fat), 75 mg cholesterol, 450 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 5 g sugar.

Main Dish

Italian-Style Stuffed French Toast

This twist on the classic breakfast/brunch staple is made with savory garlic bread toast and a spinach-ricotta filling. It’s a big, hearty, family-style meal in one package.

For the filling:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

6 ounces (about 4 cups loosely packed) baby spinach

1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese

1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (from 1 small lemon)

1 tablespoon chopped basil leaves (may substitute 1 teaspoon dried basil)

1 tablespoon chopped oregano leaves (may substitute 1 teaspoon dried oregano)


Freshly ground pepper

For the French toast:

1-pound loaf of soft whole-wheat French bread, cut into eight 1 1/2-inch-thick slices

3 large eggs

1/2 cup low-fat milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

About 2 cups store-bought or homemade marinara sauce, for serving

For the filling: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, stirring, until fragrant. Add the spinach and cook for a few minutes, just until it has wilted. Let cool, then coarsely chop and transfer to a medium bowl.

Add the ricotta and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses, lemon zest, basil and oregano, stirring until well incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the French toast: Use a small serrated knife to cut a horizontal pocket in the side of each slice of bread. Carefully fill with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the spinach-ricotta mixture, then gently press to close.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and garlic powder in a shallow baking dish.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.

Working with one stuffed slice of bread at a time, quickly dip it into the egg mixture, turning it over to coat both sides. Transfer to the hot oil. Repeat with more slices, taking care not to crowd the skillet. Cook for 3 minutes per side or until golden brown. Repeat with the remaining slices, adding the remaining oil as needed.

Divide among individual plates. Spoon some of the warm marinara sauce over each portion. Serve hot. Makes 8 slices

Source: Adapted from “Breakfast for Dinner” by Lindsay Landis and Taylor Hackbarth (Quirk Books).

Per slice (without sauce): 250 calories, 11 g protein, 24 g carbohydrates, 13 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 85 mg cholesterol, 400 mg sodium, 3 g dietary fiber, 1 g sugar.


Chocolate Brownie Waffles With Blackberry Sauce

These fragrant waffles come together quickly. They’re not overly sweet, and they’re fun to serve. Tangy blackberry sauce and a dollop of whipped cream or mascarpone cheese add the perfect finishing touch. You’ll need a small Belgian waffle iron.

For the sauce:

2 cups (10 ounces) fresh or frozen blackberries, plus berries for optional garnish

2 tablespoons sugar

Juice from 1 lemon

For the waffles:

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes

3 ounces bittersweet chocolate (60 to 77 percent cacao), coarsely chopped

3/4 cup sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup whole milk

1 cup flour

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Whipped cream or mascarpone cheese, for garnish

For the sauce: Combine the blackberries, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan; if using fresh blackberries, add 2 tablespoons of water. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently and using the back of a large spoon to crush the berries.

Once the mixture begins to bubble gently, cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved and the berries begin to break down, making sure the mixture does not come to a full boil. Transfer to a food processor or blender; if using the latter, remove the center of the blender lid and cover the opening with a towel to prevent any splash-ups. Puree until smooth. Wipe out the saucepan.

Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve back into the same saucepan, using a flexible spatula to push/scrape it through and discarding the solids. Keep warm.

(At this point, the sauce also can be cooled, covered and refrigerated for a day.)

For the waffles: Grease the interior of a small Belgian waffle iron with nonstick cooking oil spray. Heat according to manufacturer’s directions.

Combine the butter and chocolate in a saucepan or in a double boiler over low heat. Once the mixture is melted and smooth, remove it from the heat and stir in the sugar until well incorporated. Stir in the eggs and vanilla extract, then the milk. Stir in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt, mixing just until incorporated.

Pour about 1/2 cup of batter onto the iron for each waffle (the amount will depend on the size of your iron) and cook for about 2 minutes or until the waffle iron’s indicator light shows it is done.

Serve right away, drizzled with the room-temperature or warmed blackberry sauce. Garnish with blackberries, if desired, and whipped cream or mascarpone. Makes 6 to 8 small waffles

Source: Adapted from “Breakfast for Dinner” by Lindsay Landis and Taylor Hackbarth (Quirk Books).

Per waffle (based on 8): 350 calories, 5 g protein, 46 g carbohydrates, 18 g fat (11 g saturated fat), 85 mg cholesterol, 290 mg sodium, 4 g dietary fiber, 29 g sugar.

Washington Post Service

Of all the niche-subject cookbooks that have crossed our desks recently — on kinky cookies, miracle berries and seaweeds, and we are not making those up — the breakfast-for-dinner category seems most promising. Who hasn’t tucked into a stack of hotcakes or a silky omelet after dark?

A savvy book editor and a pair of millennial food lovers joined forces to create Breakfast for Dinner: Recipes for Frittata Florentine, Huevos Rancheros, Sunny-Side-Up Burgers, and More! (Quirk Books, $19.95).

Co-authors Lindsay Landis and Taylor Hackbarth collaborate on the 6-year-old blog, which chronicles the married couple’s cooking exploits in their Nashville loft.

They represent a new breed of food writers who develop unintimidating recipes and produce killer food photography to boot. Landis is smart enough to use the light from a wall of windows and keep the visual setups simple. Hackbarth eats, preps and does the dishes. This is a part-time gig for both: The one that pays the bill is their graphics and Web design business.

For Breakfast, their goal was to riff on favorites with flavors they like, which translates often among the cookbook’s 57 recipes to a shift from sweet to savory. Their French toast is stuffed with innards normally associated with manicotti. Some creations made the cut because they call for breakfast-friendly ingredients, such as the grapefruit that gives creamy risotto an unexpected yet welcome acidity. Appetizers, drinks and desserts get their due.

The recipes may not all be novel, but the overall collection merits return trips. And the notion of breakfast for dinner will never get old.

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