Even with a name like Craig Claiborne attached, this is not the sort of cookbook I usually pick up. Favorites from the New York Times? Volume three? Actually, the biggest mark it has against it is that it is a mass-market paperback. I generally don't like to get cookbooks in mass-market paperback form because they're just difficult to work with. They won't stay open by themselves, you can't leave them open on the counter. It won't hold itself open on the desk for you to type out the recipe. So why I actually got the whole three volume set I'm not sure, but I did and I can't argue that there's some quality stuff in here. It is made up of columns he did for the New York Times so this isn't just a cookbook, it is food writing as well as the recipes. Generally it is a short column, followed by several recipes.
At this point I've only tried a few of the recipes, but wow! The shrimp baked with feta cheese was excellent, and while I don't normally keep capers around I might make an exception for that. But the recipe I'm going to give you that I highly recommend is a lentil vinaigrette salad. It's not difficult to make, can be served room temperature or cold, is good for picnics and sit down dinners, however you want to serve it. Because it's now June I'm going to be getting into the refrigerated salad making industry simply because cold salads are great for summer and this is one of them that I'm going to be keeping around on a regular basis. You can make a nice light meal with this salad and some bread and butter.
Salad de Lentilles Vinaigrette
1 onion stuck with 2 cloves
2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 t. dried
1 whole clove garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
1 bay leaf
salt and freshly ground pepper
6 cups water
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
5 T. finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 T. red wine vinegar or more to taste
6 T. peanut, vegetable or corn oil
1. Empty the lentils into a saucepan and add the onion, thyme, whole clove of garlic, bay leaf, salt and pepper to taste and water. Bring to the boil and simmer about 20 minutes or until lentils are tender without being mushy. Drain well into a mixing bowl and let stand at room temperature. There should be about 7 cups.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and toss well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Craig Claiborne's Favorites from the New York Times Vol. 3
Craig Claiborne's Favorites from the New York Times (Hardcover)