Review of Molly on the Range
Fresh Look - Cookbook Review Molly Yeh's Book
Welcome to the first post in this series! I was trying to sleep last night and my mind just kept going to the burt rooftop of my mouth. I legit killed my taste buds and my palette last night, and I was totally ok with it. Why? Because those taste buds left knew that what I was eating was a new recipe in my arsenal. Surprise, surprise, if you have been following my instagram at @mssdesign as of late, you probably have seen quite a few recipes from one of my favorite Squarespace Food Bloggers… Molly Yeh!
When I ordered Molly's Cookbook "Molly on the Range", I initially thought, well- I probably won’t use it much, but I love supporting bloggers I followed back when they had very few followers. Like I remember her first posts. Her photography of the farm and crop was what drew me in initially. Since then she has become a powerhouse in the world of food blogging, and now cookbook writing!
What to expect for this series: When it comes to cookbooks, I read as many cookbooks as I do regular novels. I should probably add them to my Goodreads lists then I would be able to double my yearly challenge. Since I do go to bed reading them and coming up with menus, I should probably count them lol. For this series, I will be reading, and trying out a few of my favorite recipes in each cookbook. I can’t try every recipe in every book, but I will try to do three to five in each, as well as photograph my results. Then I will let you know how it goes!
Recipes I tried in list form first:
- Scallion Pancake Challah (which I have loved and even adapted!)
- Shakshuka with Israeli CousCous
- All the Alliums Fried Rice
- Samosa Knishes:
Overall, this is a fabulous cookbook. I love the unique perspective plus the rustic meals turned on their head with a bit of fun and a new and modern perspective. If I wasn’t a vegetarian, I would be trying triple the amount of recipes here - from the mac and cheese with bacon to more. There are still some on my to-do list including tons of baked goods!
This is where I give the book the only not-amazing reviews. There is definitely a sense of knowing what the final result of a recipe “might” be as well as needing some basic cooking knowledge in your back pocket to get through a few of these recipes. Places where I had to use my gut instinct.
Samosa Knishes: amount of pastry dough - 14 oz, isn’t really something you can easily know what is that amount unless you seriously can predict your final weight of your homemade dough. I weighed out my butter and flour PRE cutting it, and got close, but not over so that the water in my pie dough wouldn’t send it too much over 14oz. In the end, it actually wasn’t enough for the amount of filling I made, but was close. For this one, I would make MORE than 14oz, (I used my 1cup recipe that I use for galettes often. In the future I would double this, I’d rather MORE than less.
Samosa Knishes: cooking time for potatoes in this recipe. Ok, so 15 mins in boiling water, did they need an ice bath after? How firm should they be after? I guessed and probably was ok- but I thought throughout the recipe I wasn’t sure where that was going. I knew I still had 20-30 mins of baking time ahead of me, so not fully done was going to be ok.
Challah: Rolling up the Scallion Challah with the fillings. This took me a triple read on the instructions. I had never made a challah with anything in it, so the concept of where/how she was adding the scallions etc. was interesting. I actually found a blogger who had showed in visuals how to do this online that gave me the visual knowledge.
Shakshuka: how long I needed to cook the eggs, as well as I felt what was missing was at what temp (since in part of the recipe it talks about turning the heat up if skipping the couscous). I learned the hard way that it took long enough, that I wanted a 1. cover on the dish and 2. to turn it down, not up since tomato sauce with sugar burns.
Uniqueness of Recipes
Five stars on this one. Just enough of a twist that it makes new foods approachable as well as interesting. Never made a hot dish before? These will get you started in a non-boring not-old-fashioned manner. Want to try Samoas but don’t want to fry or learn a new dough. Try these.
These recipes are perfect for that weeknight indulgence meal or that potluck dinner with friends on a Sunday evening. You don’t necessarily want to stand around the stove, but the idea of cozy filling, delicious and yet just enough different than your usual menu, can really make a simple concept quite fabulous. The recipes are not for new cooks, but I think Molly’s audience is enough of a seasoned cook that her quick recipe writing, is just fine.
Although I gave the ease of recipes a 3/5 I still rate Molly’s book a 4.5/5, because I believe her audience is coming from a place where these questions will be understood. I can’t remember the interview, but I remember Ruth Reichl talking about how different recipe writing is today in our modern world because the basics of cooking have to be taught with each attempt for a publication like Gourmet (RIP Gourmet). I have recently purchased a few non-novice cookbooks, and I actually really LIKE the approach to saying “make a rue” instead of start with the ridiculous explanation for what rue actually is. Just as novels shouldn’t explain a harder more underutilized word, a cookbook for the non-novice or non-beginner shouldn’t HAVE to go into detail about every little thing. I just went into some of these recipes for the first time, my first Shashuska, my first Samoa or potato baked savory pastry, which put me at a slight disadvantage.