I love the concept behind Cornerstone Cooking by Nick Evans from the popular food blog Macheesmo! Nick built this cookbook around the idea that leftovers can save us time and money and taste delicious too. He created 8 cornerstone dishes, which are recipes that can be a meal on day one but then the leftovers can be used for other dishes throughout the week. For each of the 8 cornerstone dishes, Nick provides a chapter full of recipes for the leftovers. Really and truly genius!
Since my review copy of the cookbook arrived in the mail, I've been trying Nick's recipes. I started with his cornerstone recipe for Spicy Black Beans. Then throughout the week I used the leftovers and enjoyed Huevos Rancheros Cups, Black Bean Burgers, Spicy Black Bean Soup, and Chorizo Enchilada Casserole. Each recipe was straightforward, well written and developed, and quite delicious!
Having tried the recipes and read through all of Nick's humorous commentary, I have nothing but good things to say about Cornerstone Cooking and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes good food and wants to make the most of their time in the kitchen. Other recipes from the book I can't wait to try: Marinara Sauce, Open-Faced Italian Sandwiches, Lentil Cookies, and Nick's Nuggets.
In addition to giving away two copies of Cornerstone Cooking to readers here, Nick also gave me the green light to share a recipe from the book. Though it was hard to pick, I chose this Vietnamese Noodle Salad. I chose it, in part because it sounded delicious and also because I thought it would be a bit of a challenge for me.
I don't cook meat at home very often - I'm not a vegetarian, but I rarely eat meat because the good local, grass fed variety that I insist upon is so expensive and hard to find. But, I was up for a challenge and this recipe calls for Flank Steak which, believe it or not, I have never cooked before! I followed Nick's cornerstone recipe for Flank Steak, with a spice rub, and it was a great success. The salad, with fresh herbs and veggies, is flavorful, spicy, and makes a perfect light summer dinner, lunch, or appetizer. I'm a huge fan!
Vietnamese Noodle Salad
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
1 pound grilled flank steak, sliced thin
8 ounces vermicelli rice noodles
1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded, and sliced
1 cup shredded carrots
⅓ cup fresh basil, minced
⅓ cup fresh cilantro, minced
⅓ cup fresh mint, minced
1 - 2 serrano peppers, minced (optional)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, plus some for rice noodles
1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
½ lime, juice only
dash of fish sauce (optional)
1) Cook rice noodles according to the package, which should involve boiling them for just a few minutes in water. Drain noodles, rinse them with cold water to stop the cooking, and toss them with a good drizzle of sesame oil to keep them from sticking.
2) Slice steak very thinly against the grain and set aside
3) Mince herbs. Peel cucumber and remove seeds with spoon. Slice cucumber into short sticks. If you're using the serrano peppers, dice them as well. I would remove the seeds, but you could leave them in for extra heat.
4) Mix dressing ingredients in a small bowl until well combined.
5) Add noodles to a large bowl. Drizzle ¼ of the dressing over the noodles.
6) Top noodles with cucumbers, carrots, herbs, and peppers. Drizzle another quarter of the dressing.
7) Add sliced steak to the top of the salad. Pour over rest of dressing or serve it on the side so people can add it themselves.
Note: This salad is great at room temperature or chilled. Feel free to make it in advance, and it will keep fine for a few days in the fridge.
Giveaway Prize (2 Winners!):
Each winner will receive a copy of Cornerstone Cooking: Learn to Love Your Leftovers by Nick Evans.
To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post and tell me:
Do you enjoy leftovers, or do you start fresh in the kitchen every day?
Contest ends May 15th at 5:00 MST. Winners will be chosen via random.org and will have 3 days to respond before a new winner is chosen. Good luck!