The Brokeass Gourmet Cookboook by Gabi Moskowitz
Release date: 2012 / 224 pages
Synopsis (from Amazon.com): BrokeAss Gourmet is the premier food and lifestyle blog for folks who want to live the high life on the cheap. The blog features recipes that are always under $20, along with great advice on inexpensive but delicious beers, wines, and cocktails, plus other topics relating to the BrokeAss Gourmet lifestyle. Now this first ever The BrokeAss Gourmet Cookbook offers more than 200 delicious and easy recipes for a variety of meals, from soups and starters to main dishes and desserts. And once the pantry is stocked, all the other ingredients can be bought for $20 or under.
Review: Need a graduation gift? Look no further than The Brokeass Gourmet Cookbook! Gabi Moskowitz has created the perfect cookbook for the newly independent and/or kitchen novice. Each recipe has an itemized list of how much each ingredient will cost (the first time you buy it — so, if a recipe calls for a pinch of nutmeg, she lists the cost of the $1.50 1 oz. jar, not the .03 pinch). In addition, Chapter One includes three steps to get newbys in the kitchen started with cooking: 1) a clean kitchen (six necessary cleaning implements as well as what a clean kitchen really means), 2) what to shop for (essential kitchen tools and devices), and 3) how to stock your pantry (including prices). Perfect for every grad! (Quick disclaimer — perhaps I should clarify “college grad” since Moskowitz enjoys a cocktail, so a number of recipes call for alcohol and the introduction explains how to make the perfect drink).
I knew I would love Gabi Moskowitz’s cookbook as soon as I read, “Whenever I tell people I write about food for a living, they typically ask me one of two questions: a) ‘What’s your favorite thing to cook?’ (Answer: it varies depending on the day, but typically anything involving peanut sauce is in the running), or b) ‘If you had to eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?’ To that, I always say ‘A vegetarian burrito with black beans, rice, guacamole, sour cream, salsa, onions, and citantro.'” Me too!! Unlike myself, Moskowitz is not a vegetarian and includes a chapter titled “Ocean, Lake, River, Stream” as well as one called “Bet the Farm.” But each of the six chapters are filled with meatless delights — from sauces to sides, soups and bread, pasta and desserts.
Each recipe includes a short vignette: stories about the dish, ways to avoid common pitfalls, what might go well with the ingredients. And she ends the book with menu ideas for various get-togethers, from a romantic meal for two to Superbowl (or Project Runway) Sunday to comfort food night. She includes nine wines for $10 or less and 5 non-brokeass splurges that are worth spending a bit of cash on — like what type of olive oil and butter and the best brand of fire-roasted tomatoes — as well as tips for saving money at farmer markets.
We have a summer filled with visitors and we happen to live up a very windy road on top of what feels like (to a Midwesterner) a remote mountain (we’re at 7850 ft.), so “popping into town” for dinner is not as appealing as it was when we lived in the city. Hence, I eagerly agreed to read and review Moskowitz’s cookbook — I had dog-eared nine recipes to try on guests in the first quick flip-through! I immediately tried her Cranberry-Zinfandel Brownie Bites and enjoyed them! The directions were clear, simple, and easy-to-follow and the brownies are scrumptious. Another unusual dish that caught my eye was the Brown Butter Pumpkin Mac and Cheese (total cost: $9.50) — sounds wonderful!
I’m afraid I will be keeping this one for myself, but although I am neither a true novice or completely “brokeass,” I recommend this cookbook and can tell it will soon be dog-eared and smudged with all sorts of delicious fingerprints.