Welcome to Family Bites' book week. I'll be sharing a week's worth of my favourite recent reads, giving you the chance to win a copy or two, as well.
Lucinda Scala Quinn's name may not be overly familiar but her recipes certainly are. As the Executive Editorial Director of Food and Entertaining for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, she's been bringing her creative ideas and food prowess to our homes for over a decade.
As a long time reader of Living magazine (I have eight years worth of issues stored in magazine holders beside my desk) I was familiar with Lucinda's name, but it was two years ago when a copy of her first book, Mad Hungry, landed on my doorstep that I became a die-hard fan. With a tagline that reads 'feeding men and boys' I suspected the book would we be well-used in my kitchen but I never imagined it was destined to become one of my all-time favourites.
Her latest publication is no different. Mad Hungry Cravings, provides smart strategies for great tasting meals, and questions why anyone would outsource feeding their families when it takes less time, money and effort to cook favourite comfort foods from scratch at home. Passionate about gathering around the table with her own family, Lucinda devised a way to make the foods her kids were craving in an attempt to keep them eating at home in lieu of overpriced restaurants and tired takeout.
Last month, in an "I-can't-believe-this-is-happening" moment I had the opportunity to meet with and interview Lucinda, which you can read more about here. We talked about food (naturally), her Canadian roots (she's from Windsor, Ontario) and how parenting pre-teen/teenage boys is really being in the "thick of it" when it comes to feeding your children (mostly because they are venturing off on their own, with money, being tempted by the foods that are available for purchase on the streets and in the stores).
Some of my favourite things about this book include:
- The Larder - a section dedicated to stocking your pantry with the things you need in order to cook the foods you crave.
- The Anecdotes - there are plenty of inspiring glimpses into Lucinda's life and how she cooks for and creatively feeds her family.
- The Recipes - I've dog-eared plenty of pages and among my favourites are the milk and cookie smoothie, bahn mi, lumberjack breakfast sandwich, and chicken club (photo above and recipe below).
Thanks to the generous folks at Thomas Allen, I have a copy of Mad Hungry Cravings to give away to one lucky Family Bites reader. To enter, leave a comment letting me know which food you crave the most. Contest ends Friday May 10th!
Chicken Club Sandwich
(slightly adapted from Mad Hungry Cravings)
Feeds 2 hungry boys or 1 ravenous adult
- 4 slices bacon
- 1 - 6oz. skinless chicken breast half, butterflied
- 3/4 teaspoon koser salt
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/4 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 3 slices whole-wheat bread, lightly toasted
- 2 tablespoons mayonniase
- 1/2 avocado, thinly sliced
- 2 - 3/4" thick slices beefsteak tomato
- A few iceburg/romaine lettuce leaves, torn
- 2 small dill pickles
1. Cook the bacon in a 10" skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to drain. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the fat in the pan.
2. Season the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 3/8 teaspoon pepper and the Italian seasoning. Heat the reserved fat in the pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, flipping once, until golden brown in places and cooked through, 3-4 minutes total. Transfer to a cutting board and thinly slice on the bias.
3. Lay the slices of toast side by side on a work surface and spread the mayonnaise over them. Divide the chicken between 2 slices, followed by the avocado, bacon, and tomato. Season with the remaining salt and pepper. Top with the lettuce, place on bread stack on top of the other, and close the sandwich with the remaining slice of toast.
4. Spear each pickle with a 6-8" wooden skewer and secure to opposite corners of the sandwich from top to bottom with the skewers. Cut the sandwich in half on the diagonal and serve.