(Serious) New Cook: Recipes, Tips & Techniques, written by Leah Su Quiroga and Cammie Kim Lin, features an exciting collection of classic and new flavors created with beginner cooks in mind. A few highlights include Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Fried Herbs, Radish and Miso-Butter Crostini, Biscuit-Topped Chicken Pot Pie, Hand-Pressed Rice Balls, and Meyer Lemon Pudding Cake Cups. I will also be sharing their recipe for Egg Drop Soup following the review.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Rizzoli in exchange for my honest review. All comments and opinions are my own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Leah Su Quiroga and Cammie Kim Lin
Leah Su Quiroga graduated from Cornell University and attended the Culinary Institute of America. She worked for over 10 years at Chez Panisse in Berkeley from intern to head chef and now runs a small farm in Sebastopol, California.
Cammie Kim Lin started in commercial kitchens and is now an award-winning educator. She is currently based in Brooklyn, New York with her family and is a professor at New York University teaching courses in first-year writing, critical serving learning, and food writing.
(Serious) New Cook
Sisters Leah and Cammie begin (Serious) New Cook with a short introduction and tips for getting the most out of the book.
Every single page is designed to promote success of the dishes within and continue to build skills in the kitchen. Before jumping into the recipes, they even put together a detailed guide with descriptions and photos of notable ingredients, techniques, and equipment.
The final pages cover special menu ideas for A Birthday Party, Mother’s Day Brunch, Father’s Day Dinner, Korean Dinner, Fancy Dinner, Sushi Party, Packable Lunches, and Study Break Snacks.
Chapters are divided into three main parts (A Great Start, Mains, and Sweets and Treats) with smaller categories within each section. The contents have a list of included recipes with page number for easy reference.
The photography is provided by Molly DeCoudreaux. Every recipe is paired with at least a half to full-page vibrant photo of the finished dish. There are also plenty of step-by-step photos to demonstrate specific techniques.
Measurements are listed in US Customary. Titles are written in English. Each recipe has a headnote and sidebar with background information, yield (usually around 4 people), detailed ingredient notes, variations, optional prep, helpful tips, and a label if the dish is gluten free or vegan.
Egg Drop Soup
We have all been getting over weeks of colds, so I was especially excited to see the recipe for Egg Drop Soup. This comforting favorite was just what we needed. It is so easy too!
Overall, everything comes together in about 15 minutes. Start by placing chicken stock and ginger over medium high heat. Once boiling, thicken the soup slightly with cornstarch.
Immediately before serving, slowly add the seasoned and beaten eggs in a stream while stirring gently.
When the instructions say stir the eggs into the soup gently, they mean gently. The first time I made this, I was hungry and rushing. I may have been a little overzealous with the stirring. The results were a very cloudy, yet very delicious soup with minimal strands of egg.
Homemade chicken stock is recommended for this recipe to add even more flavor. For a gluten-free version, use a gluten-free soy sauce or Tamari.
Adjust seasonings to taste. The amount of soy sauce may vary slightly based on the type and salt content. I added 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce and it was perfect.
I also made the Savory Puff Daddy Minis, Creamy Goes-with-Everything Dip and Dressing, Bulgogi Meatballs, and (Double) Dalgona Coffee Milkshakes.
The Savory Puff Daddy Minis were such an easy addition to brunch! Simply toss all the ingredients in the blender to form the smooth batter, divide among individual ramekins, and bake until puffed and golden. The kids loved watching them rise in the oven.
I made the Creamy Goes-with-Everything Dip and Dressing on Christmas Eve to go with our cheese board. The flavors were fantastic with only a handful of staples. Sour cream (or Greek yogurt) is blended with mayonnaise, chives, garlic, onion, and lemon juice.
After seeing the photo on the cover, I was immediately drawn to the Bulgogi Meatballs. This was another quick and delicious recipe. Ground beef is combined with a sweet and savory marinade and panko, then formed into meatballs and cooked until browned. Pair with a thickened dipping sauce and optionally lettuce leaves for wrapping.
The (Double) Dalgona Coffee Milkshakes were quite the fun variation of Dalgona Coffee. This refreshing drink brings together a vanilla milkshake with a whipped coffee topping. For even more flavor, you can make homemade Dalgona candy and arrange over the top of the drink.
(Serious) New Cook is a great pick for those looking for a variety of easy, yet flavor-packed recipes perfect for both beginner and more experienced cooks (especially older teens who have aged out of kids’ cookbooks). The instructions are incredibly well-written to help take your skills to the next level. Recipes range from quick and simple in under 10 minutes to slightly more intricate meals and desserts.
Most of the ingredients are readily available in larger American grocery stores. A few items that may require further searching include arepa flour, kimchi, mung beans, prosciutto, Cara Cara oranges, tomatillos, sushi grade fish, daikon, Meyer lemons, and sweet glutinous rice flour. Substitutions are provided when available.
Egg Drop Soup Recipe
Excerpt from (Serious) New Cook
Egg Drop Soup
- 4 cups chicken stock preferably homemade
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger finely grated
- 1/2-1 tablespoon soy sauce depending on how dark and salty yours is
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- Black pepper
- 2-3 scallions sliced (or substitute a small bunch of chives, chopped)
Heat the broth:
- Bring the stock and ginger to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat.
Thicken the broth:
- In a small cup or bowl, thoroughly stir together the soy sauce and cornstarch.
- Whisk the cornstarch slurry into the boiling broth. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the broth is slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes.
Whisk the eggs:
- In a medium bowl, lightly whisk the eggs, sesame oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. You want to break up the eggs, but it's nice to keep a tiny bit of separation between the whites and the yolks.
- Transfer to a liquid measuring cup.
Add the eggs and serve:
- Remove the saucepan from the heat.
- Pour the eggs into the hot broth in a slow stream, stirring gently but constantly to scatter the eggs as they cook.
- Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding a pinch of salt and crack of pepper, if needed.
- Ladle the soup into bowls, top with sliced scallions, and serve.