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Cookbook Review: Cook This Book by Molly Baz

The O’MY Team loves to cook, to try new recipes and to gather friends and family around the table for good food and conversation.  Naturally, we get excited when our favorite chefs and bloggers publish new cookbooks.  Up first, Heather, the O’MY Marketing Manager, is going to share her latest favorite that’s inspiring her spring dinners.

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I selected Cook This Book: Techniques That Teach and Recipes To Repeat, by Molly Baz.

I first discovered Molly Baz on the Bon Appetit YouTube channel and fell in love with her recipes. I kid you not, every recipe I have made of hers has been stellar! So obviously I grabbed a copy of her cookbook as soon as it came out, a signed copy nonetheless.

The recipe that I decided to make is her famous, Cae Sal (Caesar Salad). I was particularly drawn to this one because as someone with a dairy allergy I have actually never had a Caesar salad, I know- gasp!  Also, it’s the recipe that she talks the most about so I was intrigued. Let’s see if it lives up to all the hype!

Cookbook Content Highlights

A few things to note that I really appreciate about her cookbook, she breaks up the ingredients into categories that you would use when creating a grocery list, very practical. Also, she notes the serving size, which sounds like basic recipe creation 101, but you’d be surprised how many recipes I find, especially online, that don’t have that info. And lastly she does something which I’ve never seen in a cookbook, she has QR codes. The QR codes can be scanned and link to video tutorials, which have Molly walking you through how to perform a particular task in that recipe. It’s pretty awesome! In the Cae Sal recipe the QR codes take you to videos on how to separate egg yolks from the white and how to make the mayonnaise by hand so that it emulsifies properly.

Ingredients and Making it Dairy-free

Caesar salad ingredients are fairly basic and can be found easily at any grocery store. I ended up getting everything for this salad at Trader Joe’s, they also have a dairy-free parmesan which I enjoy. The recipe calls for grated parmesan for the dressing and more on top for serving, but grated can be harder to find so I used shredded and just topped my salad at the end. The rest of the recipe is naturally dairy-free.

Building the Salad

Molly outlines the steps in an easy-to-understand fashion; it really didn’t take long for everything to come together. Two things to mention. First, she has you finely chop the anchovies, and then using the side of a chef’s knife, mash them into a paste. I found that mine remained more in small pieces instead of a paste, but it didn’t seem to impact the flavor or texture once everything was combined. Second, we made the salads as our main meal so we used closer to 6 romaine hearts instead of 4.

The Verdict

The salad was delightful. At first the dressing seemed pretty salty when I tasted it by itself, (which is why Molly specifically says, “taste the dressing on a piece of romaine before you season it any further.”) But once tossed in the fresh crunchy romaine leaves it was sheer perfection. It was the perfect balance, a little salty, peppery, garlicky and lemony. The fresh breadcrumbs were a nice touch too, they were crisp, but softened up just the right amount after being tossed in the dressing. I will definitely be making this again. Do I feel as strongly about it as Molly does? Probably not, it’s practically her brand after all, but it certainly was a delicious introduction into the world of Caesar salads and one that would be great for a small dinner party.

As always Molly doesn’t disappoint! Molly doesn’t go out of her way to create allergy-friendly recipes necessarily, but all of the recipes I’ve modified to date have still turned out great and were easy to substitute out ingredients as needed.

Happy Spring cooking everyone!

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