4/12/12

guest post: cookbook author Nick Evans! plus GIVEAWAY

As much as I love doing guest posts about cookbook authors, bakers, chefs, etc.. I love it even more when some of my friends are the actual guest post. Recently thrilled to have my friend Jill from scarymommy do a guest post on her first book, and now I get another good friend Nick Evans of the famed "confidence in the kitchen" website Macheesmo.com, and also a newly famed cookbook author of the cookbook "Cornerstone Cooking"! A cookbook based on how you can bring new life into leftovers; using a theory on one cornerstone dish and recreating new recipes with its leftovers. Along with the cookbook he also developed cornerstone cooking website, with cooking forums, helpful tips, kitchen gadget reviews/info, and even discussions about new & old cookbooks (a really good idea).

Congrats to you Nick. I was wondering when your first book would appear.
Nick was kind enough to answer a few questions AND donate a couple cookbooks for a giveaway. (see details at bottom of this post).
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions from me and a couple of your fans.

cornerstonecoverCLICK ME!

I gotta be honest, I'm not a really good cook when it comes to using my leftovers. And I'm not very savvy at making sure I plan out easy meals that will last into leftovers. I'm sure many of you are in the same boat? Well, that is the whole premise of Nick's book Cornerstone Cooking. Planning better use of your meals BEFORE and after they're made; teaching you how to plan better meals and using them to your advantage. And we need to add in there: saving a lot of money too!

My favorite recipe from Cornerstone Cooking ? The crunchy black bean tacos: everything gets cooked in one pot! Even browning up the corn taco shells!

tacostall

BIO:
Nick has been writing about cooking for almost four years now. He has posted over 700 recipes on his blog, Macheesmo.com He lives in Colorado with his wife, Betsy, and their two pets, Tipsy and Porter.

Questions:

The use of leftovers in a cookbook. Excellent idea. I wish other food writers would do more of these types of meals. What made you come up with this? Did you get a lot of requests from your fans?

While I do get a lot of emails about how to use up extras and leftovers, the book was formed more out of frustration. I wanted a book that I could reference for ideas based on the leftovers that I regularly found in my fridge. That book didn’t exist so I wrote it. I figured I couldn’t be the only one who constantly had stuff like leftover bread, roasted chicken, and black beans in my fridge. Rather than start from scratch every night, why not use some of that stuff to make new meals?

I don’t think a lot of food writers have tackled the subject because, while it is practical and actually useful, it is somehow seen as not sexy.

I know you get asked a lot of questions, from your fans, regarding food tips and tricks. Share with us some of the most common questions and their answers?

Beyond the occasional marriage proposal (joking – kind of) I get asked a lot about freezing meals. Most meals will freeze okay as long as you wrap them well and store them in an airtight environment. Things I never freeze though are eggs, cream-based things, or anything that I fried.



I know you test your recipes. Were there any recipes that you tested a little bit more than others?

Oh yea… I make everything on my site (and in my book) at least once. I’m pretty good at testing these days and usually I can nail down a recipe in one or two takes.
The recipe I’ve probably made and tested the most from Cornerstone Cooking is the Nick Nuggets recipe. I think the recipe in the book is about as good as homemade nuggets can get.

Your website macheesmo.com: macheesmo meaning confidence; is literally all about helping one become more confident in the kitchen. Was there a reason to go this route? Did you feel the need to personally become more confident in the kitchen?

Yea. I mean, the name is obviously a play on machismo meaning confidence almost to the point of arrogance and cheese which I love.
The site started because I wanted to develop more confidence in my own cooking. I wanted to be able to feed my friends and family without stressing that something was going to go wrong.
I always found some written recipes to be difficult to follow so I made an effort to take step-by-step photos of each meal so the cooking process is easy to follow and hopefully will give you the confidence to try it out.
I think one of the biggest reasons why people don’t cook more is they are afraid it will go badly. So I try to help people realize that they can do it. I also make sure to post failures as well as successes just to show that nobody gets it right all the time.

Do you have a favorite recipe on macheesmo.com?

Many, but right now I love my shredded chicken hard tacos.

They are very similar to the crunchy black bean tacos in Cornerstone Cooking. I use the method to make tacos very regularly and switch up the filling based on what is in my fridge.

Have you ever taught cooking?

Never officially. I frequently have groups of friends over though for theme-specific parties so people can learn basics. I’ve had a fry party, homemade pasta party, and even an eggs benedict party so people can learn how to do those things and also eat good food. I usually charge for such things in beer.

What was the first dish you ever cooked?

The first thing that I actually cooked on my own was a killer egg sandwich I came up with in high school that was basically two eggs and a metric ton of cheese between buttered toast. I perfected it. I ate it a few times a week and friends would even come over before school sometimes to have one. It was that good.



If you could invite three people to share a meal with you, who would they be and what would you cook?

I would cook homemade pizzas because it’s the thing I’m best at I think and I can do it with almost no thought so I could focus on the conversation.

Who? I would want fun, successful people so I could pick their brains. Off the top of my head: Anthony Bourdain, Brian Williams, and Michelle Obama. If Michelle isn’t available, Lady Gaga.

Any foods you just do not like?

Honestly, there isn’t much I don’t like. I’ve never tried it, but I don’t think I would like durian fruit. I literally can’t think of anything that I’ve tried and just wouldn’t try again.

Favorite pig out foods?

Anything Tex-Mex or ice cream. Give it to me.

There has to be some days when you just do not feel like cooking. What’s your favorite quick & easy go-to meal?

Oh of course. I get burned out in the kitchen for sure. The two things that I make a lot when I’m tired is a big salad with lots of veggies, homemade dressing, and some cheese and bread. I also make a lot of nachos which are easy.

If I’m really out of it, I have a pretty well-stocked freezer so I can usually make a meal out of stuff in the freezer also.

I gotta admit I’m just not a huge lentil fan. But after reading your chapter on “cornerstone lentils” and all the variety of dishes you can create with them—I was shocked in fact that you made lentil cookies!
I can’t even think if a chef has ever made lentils in the mini samosas or the spicy lentil wraps look so good. Who knew? What made you choose lentil as a chapter?


I wanted to do a lentil chapter because it’s a food that I don’t think people understand. They are one of the most versatile foods and are very underrated in America.



Which chapter in your cookbook Cornerstone Cooking was the most fun creating?

Actually, the lentil chapter. It was really fun to brainstorm ideas for that chapter and test the recipes. The cookies took some tweaking, but they are great and it was really fun to work on them. To be fair, I’m not the first person to make cookies out of lentils though. Alton Brown has done it also.

I know when I create recipes I like to have ‘taste-testers’; it’s hard for me to just rely on my husband. Did you have any ‘taste-testers’?

Oh yea. There was a period when I was testing recipes for the book that I swear I almost invited people in off the street to try things.
My wife is my first taste-tester and tried almost everything in the book, but I would also host dinner parties occasionally and have friends try out recipes. I’m also not above bringing recipes to a happy hour bar and having people try them out.

I noticed you have some sort of faux rival (cooking rival that is) with DAN from "Food In My Beard" are rivals. How did this come about?

Haha. It’s an old rivalry. We started our blogs at roughly the same time and started exchanging emails like, “I’m watching you, dude. Don’t mess with me.”

We’ve since become good friends and chat regularly. He also makes some of the most inventive stuff on the internet.

I see you graduated Yale with a degree in philosophy? And now you’re a cookbook author. Is there a connection I’m missing here? LOL

A vague one. One thing that philosophy taught me is how to take a complex thing and break it down into parts. That skill is pretty useful when it comes to explaining recipes.

A second cookbook in the works?

Always! My lips are sealed for now though.

And Nick has just recently created "Cornerstone Forums" where people can go and chat about the recipes in the book and just about anything else you need help with in the kitchen. (personally I love the 'no knead bread' discussion.

CLICK ME!

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment telling us what food/leftovers you'd like to see in Nick's second book?
Be creative.
One entry per person.
Please have a valid email address.
Drawing done Friday April 20, 2012

And the winner of the Funky Chunks Soap Basket giveaway is: lucky #21! "Flavors by Four" who said "pina colada would be my scent".
Please email me your mailing address and let's get that gift basket out to you!

72 comments:

  1. I'd like to see ways to use leftover rice. For some reason, I just can NOT seem to cut the amount of rice I cook in half. The few times I've tried, we haven't had enough, lol

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  2. Great Article, I plan on making those Tacos this evening!

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  3. Nick, when will your cookbook be published for the Kindle?

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    1. Heya, I'm working on a few ebook versions... it's been tough to get the formatting in a way that I like it because of photos/charts/etc. Hopefully in a few weeks it will be available.

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  4. My boyfriend and I started hosting Blind Beer Tasting parties at our place once a month, and for the first party I made way too much dips & spreads. Any ideas on how to breathe new life into "old" dips would be great!
    Lindsey, volumebyalcohol AT gmail DOT com

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  5. leftover pancake batter--I always make too much!!

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  6. Tofu! Or a chapter with tempeh. I'd like to see some savory dishes made with fruits too!

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  7. I always end up with too many veggies hanging around. I have made these into quiche and soups. And still I have left over veggies. What to do?

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  8. I want spicy food!!!!!! And I love love love your overnight steel cut recipe. I am a fitness instructor and i told everyone in my class about it.

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  9. I'd like ideas on how to transform beans and lentils leftovers into a nice dish...

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    1. Jenny, in the book there are full chapters on both beans and lentils. :)

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  10. I would love to see ideas on how to use up leftover lettuce. Other than salad, what do you do with it?

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  11. Awesome giveaway! I would love to see the next book tackle making take-out food at home!

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  12. I think it would be super helpful to do a segment on leftovers from a slow cooker! There is always so much stuff made, and after a while it either goes to waste, or I have to freeze it because I'm sick of eating the same thing over and over.

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  13. Hmmm...how about open bottles of wine? I second rice, tempeh, veggies and spicy too! :)

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  14. I've been reading Macheesmo for a while now and love Nick's recipes. I cook with fresh herbs once in a while but I always manage to have several bunches of basil, tarragon, parsley, etc stuck in the back of the fridge, unused and forgotten. Suggestions for herby things would be awesome and versatile--just to have all those ideas in one place would be a help.

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  15. I always have left-over noodles . . . and have to BRIBE the kids to eat them (reheated, of course!) the next day. Any ideas? Thanks!!!

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  16. I love the idea of leftovers...I wonder if my boys would eat less so I could have some. :) Maybe if I had the book maybe I could plan some....

    I would love to see leftover rice recipes, or other grains.

    Thanks for the opportunity to win.

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  17. It is rare that we have leftovers, but I would love some leftover lasagna!

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  18. (bill DOT strom AT gmail) Great interview with a fun-to-read (and just plain fun) guy.

    Would love to know what to do with leftover milk! I've switched to buying half-gallons to avoid spoiling it as often, but sometimes I can just tell it's only a day or so away from going sour. I'd love to use it up then and there!

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  19. Anna Sachdeva4/13/12, 5:07 PM

    I always seem to have leftover sauces, like adobo sauce, pesto, or tomato sauce. I usually tend to freeze the leftovers, but it would be nice to use it right away rather than freeze and forget about it. anna8g at yahoo dot com

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  20. I've already purchased the book and am loving it. I did a roast chicken and then made the chicken tortilla soup with it...and then last night I baked a whole 5 lb bag of potatoes. I plan on using the leftovers for potato skins and the gnocci recipe in the book.
    Great job, Nick! I've never dove into a cookbook so quickly!
    I think a great cornerstone item would be garbonzo beans. I love falafel and hummus but I'm sure there are many other ways to use them that I haven't thought of!

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  21. Wow..does everything look amazing, especially the pizza. I would love to see something on leftover grains. I love to make blends of things, but they tend to get dry sitting in the fridge for the day or two. Oh..and I love the idea of a metric ton of cheese!!

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  22. Great sounding cookbook! It would great to see a section on rice or leftover bread, or even veg / fruit about to go old. Also a dairy section might be interesting as well, ie having too much milk.

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  23. what a great idea for a book. i would like some ideas about how to use whole grains more - barely, quiona - ingredients like that.

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  24. I am also someone who gets stuck with leftover quinoa and rice. I'm fairly good at using it up... but I would love some more inspiration to move away from the same old, same old. Thanks!

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  25. Leftover buttermilk! I've seen the usuals such as pancakes and biscuits, but I would like something a little more creative!

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  26. what food/leftovers you'd like to see in Nick's second book? = what to do with a dessert smorgasboard that takes over your freezer or cupboards, 3 old rice krispy bars, 2 cookies, 1 piece of pie, 3 cake pops, etc. You can tell I'm a dessert blogger :)

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  27. I ALWAYS have leftovers and my picky family will not touch them! I do not like to waste food , but I have to admit that I sometimes do:( I would like to see a recipe with leftover Mac n cheese:)

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  28. Leftover tortilla chips or crackers would be interesting. It can rarely get through a bag or box before they start to stale.

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  29. very cool! love lentil cookies :) for a second book... hmm, maybe radishes or turnips? not that i have any of those leftover, b/c i never buy them. ha. but if i found a way to enjoy them i would!

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  30. I would love to win this...PLEASE!

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  31. What I'd love to see is leftover rice noodles, or rice. Aside from rice cakes, or arancini, what would you come up with?

    I've used them to thicken soups, make pates, etc. I'm interested in what Nick would come up with!

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  32. Herbs. I hate when you buy expensive herbs for a recipe and have half leftover :)

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  33. How to use up leftover biscuits and/or scones would be great. I always try to make just a few, but we end up with too many, and then they go to the freezer.

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  34. I would love to know what to do with a single leftover string cheese.

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  35. I would like to know what to do with leftover fried foods.

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  36. I love guest posts because you get to know so many amazing bloggers and authors. Thanks for introducing us to them :)

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  37. Left over pizza. If there is a way to be creative with it besides just reheating it.

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  38. anything with rice or beans. or with a half serving of baked chicken.
    10750coupons at gmail dot com

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  39. Leftover cooked cabbage. I just checked my refrigerator and it's the only thing gone bad. We had it twice with the original meal, but then the meat and potatoes were gone. It was first cooked with either lamb shoulder chops or corned beef. I just looked at the Table of Contents on Amazon and I would love to win this book. lfmelcher@gmail.com

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  40. i would like to see Nick make some stuff out of leftover pizza

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  41. mmm....leftover salad...

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  42. I would love an entire Macheesmo cookbook on pasta!!

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    Replies
    1. wintersunday! you won the giveaway.
      i can't access your profile though; says its blocked.
      please email me

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  43. The thing I throw away the most is produce. It just goes bad before I can eat it all. Would love to see some ideas on using up leftover veggies.

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  44. Those tacos looks SO super yummy. Hope I can get the book :) Thanks for the chance!

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  45. I always have left over mashed potatoes.

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  46. Leftover cold cereals, leftover cabbage, leftover bread (beyond french toast / bread pudding)

    email = misslilamae at gmail :)

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  47. Anything with canned goods! I am single, so I tend to cut a lot of recipes in half (as I get sick of eating the same leftovers after so long)----leaving me with half a can of something!

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  48. This may sound silly, but I actually end up with a lot of herbs in my fridge that I then don't know what to do with...didn't need all of them for the recipe, and I don't know much about herb-ing up other foods, so they just sit and rot :-(

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  49. I would love to see leftover ideas for buttermilk!! I can only find buttermilk in big size containers and I only use it for pancakes/waffles. I always throw out the rest!

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  50. Oh, gosh I don't know. How about steak. I usually just make sandwhiches out of it. Love your blog BTW. First time to it. Having a hard time not pinning every darn page!

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  51. Cooked and sauced pasta leftovers....like pesto or alfredo....they can be dry or not as appetizing the second time around. Any appealing use for those kinds of leftovers?

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  52. Connie Bolick Lee4/17/12, 12:10 PM

    A leftover porkchop or a piece of chicken.
    lclee59@centurylink.net

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  53. What a fun interview! I am keeping my fingers crossed I win a copy! Thanks!

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  54. I'd really like advice on the vegetables that we get inundated with at certain times of year. how to deal with all those tomatoes, all that basil or zucchini. How to make this strategy work with a CSA basket. laura.g.toscano[at]gmail.com

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    1. laura -
      you won the giveaway!
      we had to pick a 2nd winner as one of the winners never claimed the prize. so congrats.
      i'll am sending you an email now
      check you spam folder too!

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  55. More left over potato recipes! I always seem to have a big bowl of them!

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  56. great stuff! Congrats Nick!

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  57. Using crackers creatively? Or maybe what to do with canned goods that are in the back of the pantry to be soon forgotten?

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  58. I have some stale muesli and old oatmeal that needs to get used. I could use some ideas for them. Thanks for the opportunity to win one of Nick's books. I read his blog all the time.

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  59. A fun read! Lentil cookies....hmmm....doesn't sound good but now I'm wondering....

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  60. Vegetables and fruits that don't keep well. I throw away partial cucumbers all the time!

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  61. I'd love to have Nick's book. I'm a big fan.
    I often buy too much Chinese food as a treat for myself if I'm home alone on Friday nights. So recipes to use up rice or the veggies would be great.

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  62. After holidays, I often find myself with some well-done roast beef or brisket from my mother-in-law. I have made hash and taquitos, but hate throwing meat away. I'd be happy for some suggestions!

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  63. There are quite a few things I'd like to see ideas for using up - but not necessarily left overs. I always end up with 1/2 a lemon, 2/3 of a bunch of celery, 1c. of stock.... the bits! Also, someone mentioned rice and I agree with that! Something beyond fried rice and rice pudding.

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  64. I agree with rice and quinoa.

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  65. there's got to be something to do w/ left over salad.. either w/ or w/o dressing already on it.. ive seen soups that call for lettuces and such but im sure there are more fun things to do with it. what an awesome concept for a cookbook!

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  66. Green beans! Or chili. We always have tons.

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  67. Cannellini or chickpeas. I buy dried, so I usually have a small bit left over from recipes I need them for.

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