I may have mentioned before that I have mixed feelings about doing product or cookbook reviews on the blog. While it may be fun to receive something for free and talk about it, I never want this space to become so commercialized that nearly every post mentions some product, cookbook, etc. Some blogs are all about hawking any and every free item they can get their hands on, but that is not my thing. My personal policy is that I only accept items for review and giveaway only if I would be genuinely interested in the product myself even if it weren’t being offered gratis.
This recipe comes from the cookbook Big Bowl of Love by Christina Ferrare. I had seen some buzz about this cookbook through other blogs who have reviewed it, and it sounded like a good one that would be right up my alley. When I received an email inquiring about a review, I was very happy to oblige. The moment I received my copy, I parked myself on the couch and flipped through the book from cover to cover. Of course the first thing to draw my attention were the beautiful, mouth-watering photos throughout the pages. This didn’t surprise me at all because the photos were taken by the talented Todd Porter and Diane Cu of White on Rice Couple. The contents of the book are in keeping with the title – lots of delicious, homey recipes that would be great for serving to family and friends. The book is well rounded and doesn’t focus on any particular course or cuisine, with categories ranging from appetizers through dessert. It includes everything from classic dishes like deviled eggs, macaroni and cheese, and brownies to more inventive things like caramelized carrot soup with green apples, grilled marinated swordfish steak with mango salsa, and meatballs with spaghetti squash.
Normally when deciding whether or not to purchase a cookbook, my choice ultimately comes down to whether or not I would make the majority of the recipes inside. In this case, the answer is a resounding yes. As with the last cookbook review I did, I decided to figure out the percentage of recipes I would consider making. This time it came out to 73%- a pretty solid number, if you ask me. When choosing a recipe to give the book a test run, my mind of course tended toward typical Annie favorites like mac and cheese, etc. Instead, I decided to try something new and different (at least for me), and make these chicken croquettes stuffed with feta cheese atop a simple Greek salad. These are essentially a ball of chicken and mashed potatoes stuffed with feta cheese. The balls are then breaded and lightly fried. Although they sound a bit involved they were actually pretty easy, and a definite plus is that the croquettes can be shaped in advance and refrigerated until you are ready to coat and fry them. Andrew had a blast helping me coat them in the flour and breadcrumbs, and then ate a shocking amount of vegetables from the cutting board while I prepped the salad. This recipe would obviously be best suited for times when you have leftover chicken and mashed potatoes, but I like it enough to gladly prep those ingredients just for use in this dish.
So, would you like to win a copy of Big Bowl of Love? Well, here’s your chance! To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post telling me what you look for in a cookbook. Great photos? Easy recipes? Detailed instructions? Lots of desserts? I want to hear it!
The Rules: One entry per person, U.S. residents only. Commenting will close on Thursday, May 26 at 10:00 pm, EST. Entries that do not follow the entry requirements will not be considered. One winner will be chosen at random and announced next week. Good luck!
Full disclosure: I received a free copy of Big Bowl of Love in exchange for hosting this review and giveaway. Though this review was sponsored, all of the opinions expressed above are mine alone.