Dinner at Home: 140 Recipes to Enjoy With Family and Friends
by JeanMarie Brownson
Food Photographs © The Chicago Tribune
JeanMarie Brownson has written the “Dinner at Home” column for the Chicago Tribune since 2007. Her relationship with the Tribune dates back much further, to 1980, when she was test kitchen director (1980-1996* see note below).
A while ago, she surveyed the “Dinner at Home” collection of recipes she developed over the years, plucking 140 of them to create a wonderful array for her book Dinner at Home: 140 Recipes to Enjoy With Family and Friends. (Okay, I took a bit of license there: I’m sure it wasn’t nearly as easy as I just stated). The book was just awarded the 2016 International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) award in the category Children, Youth and Family.
This is a lady who is passionate about family, food and friends. Go to the Amazon page and click on “Look Inside”. If you read the book’s introduction, you will meet the competent, warm, smart and dedicated JeanMarie Brownson.
The book offers twenty menu suggestions from ‘No Meat No Worries’ to ‘We Love Lamb’ and ‘Manhattan Cocktail Party’ to ‘Saturday Night Beer Tasting.’ Most menus have at least five components including a beverage.
The book also spans the seasons. The recipes are friendly and have various levels of complexity. (No doubt necessary to appeal to newspaper readers with different culinary interests and skills). They’re creative and interesting, too. Chapters cover all courses plus party/holiday recipes as well as snacks and condiments. There is even a chapter dubbed Breakfast for Dinner (think Asparagus, New Potato and Fresh Mozzarella Frittata). Each recipe has nutritional values posted and suggestions and/or tips abound.
Note: In 1996 Ms. Brownson began working on and co-authoring Rick and Deann Bayless’ Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen. She is currently partnered with Rick Bayless in Frontera Food, the country’s leading gourmet Mexican food company. She is also a fellow member of the Chicago Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier.
Take a look at this Salt-and-Pepper Shrimp recipe and see how easy it is to make.
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/2 teaspoon each: sugar, freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large or 2 small shallots, peeled, finely chopped (or 4 green onions)
- 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 to 3 jalapeño peppers, stemmed, halved lengthwise, seeded, thinly sliced
- 1 pound colossal-size shrimp, 13 to 15 pieces, peeled, tail intact, deveined
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 cup vegetable oil or expeller-pressed canola oil
- Mix salt, sugar and pepper in a small bowl. Mix shallots, garlic and jalapeños in another small bowl. Pat shrimp very dry with towel. Toss lightly in a bowl with the cornstarch.
- Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed wok or small saucepan over medium-high heat until hot. (Dip the edge of a shrimp in the oil; it should bubble vigorously.) Add a quarter of the shrimp; continuously move them around in the oil with metal tongs or a wire strainer, until they turn pink, about 40 seconds. Remove to a plate to drain; repeat with remaining shrimp.
- Very carefully pour the oil off into a heatproof container. Return 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil to the wok (or large nonstick skillet). Heat over medium-high.
- Add the salt mixture; stir-fry 10 seconds. Add the shallot mixture; stir-fry 10 seconds. Add all the shrimp, stir-fry just until shrimp are tender, about 1 minute. Immediately remove from the wok to serving platter. Serve hot.
- Nutritional information per serving: 221 calories, 11 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 172 mg cholesterol, 6 g carbohydrates, 24 g protein, 752 mg sodium, 1 g fiber