In our house it's completely acceptable (and encouraged) to read cookbooks for leisure. Reading them is as exciting as a first date and is as intimate as a fantasy. There's nothing like flipping through a cook's book of recipes, diving into culinary stories and experiencing, learning and drooling from the pages of the original #foodporn. But this isn't the hashtag we'd use to describe our current read; instead we opt for #cookbookgoals when reading The Love and Lemons Cookbook.
Created by husband and wife duo, Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews, this colourful and Saveur's Best Cooking Food Blog features simple and healthy recipes using seasonal and local ingredients. Philip and I first met Jeanine over a year ago at a book signing event and still hold close all the wonderful advice she shared with us from Pinterest to cookbook deals and key partnerships we needed to establish.
Today, we're still in awe of her, her husband and The Love and Lemons Cookbook and while it's been sitting on our shelf for over a year, we're thrilled to cook through a few recipes; the perfect way to send off summer with flavour, colour and a squeeze of lemon.
Raspberry Lemon Dutch Baby | Love and Lemons Cookbook Review
What was it like cooking the recipe? We've made previous recipes from The Love and Lemons Cookbook and they are all simple, easy to understand and easy to execute recipes. This dutch pancake was just as quick to whip up as any weekend breakfast; mix up the batter, put it in a pan and bake!
What did the dish taste like? Incredible. The pancake was light, the raspberries were sweet and the lemon added an extra oomph, brightening all components. Cheat note: we topped our pancakes with a drizzle of maple syrup.
Did the finished dish look like the pictures? Whether cooking through the cookbook or not, our photos look very similar to Jeanine and Jack's photography. We both have the same aesthetic; clean styling, bright backgrounds and a love of colourful food. We made our dutch pancakes in small cast iron skillets, making serving it individually a beautiful treat.
Would we make it again? This dutch pancake is an excellent dairy-free alternative to a traditional pancake. For me, one of the reasons I'm not a fan of brunch (besides it actually being breakfast/lunch dishes) is the over indulgence of dairy filled options, butter, whipped cream and milk. These pancakes we're light and airy and would make an awesome batter for traditional pancakes too.
Spring Leek & Lemon Pasta | Love and Lemons Cookbook Review
What was it like cooking the recipe? As with most of their recipes, this was a simple two stepper; make the pesto, then make the pasta. It did though require a bit more attention than a traditional pasta due to the cooking of the radishes, searing them cut side down then flipping them. But other than that this was a recipe that can definitely be made on a busy weekday night.
What did the dish taste like? Bright, flavourful and a little hint of spring in every bite. We've never cooked with radishes before, only eating them raw, but they were succulent and juicy adding that scallop-like sensation to every bite.
Did the finished dish look like the pictures? Jeanine's photo of this dish was bright and saturated with colour. We found that our radishes lost a bit of colour in the cooking process but the pesto was deep and textured as the photo. Over all, our dish looked very similar to the final photo in the Love and Lemons Cookbook.
Would we make it again? This is the perfect dish for a beautiful spring dinner or a summer picnic and is sure to impress as a simple side dish or the main attraction.
Chickpea Salad Sandwich | Love and Lemons Cookbook Review
What was it like cooking the recipe? What I love about this cookbook is that you can cook straight out of it without memorizing steps or going back and forth 5 times to reread steps. Between the two of us, Philip put all the ingredients in a blender and chopped the remaining cabbage and radishes with me assembling.
What did the dish taste like? At first bite I said this tasted like a nostalgic tuna or chicken salad sandwich. The sandwich was meaty and somehow juicy, it was bright from the cabbage and spicy from the radishes. The sandwich was flavourful and punchy and is an amazing substitute for vegetarians, vegans or meatless Monday. We did grill our bread before assembling to add an added layer of crunch, but toasted or non-toasted us just as acceptable.
Did the finished dish look like the pictures? Yes. This is a beautiful sandwich that requires no styling background and it's a dish where the vibrancy of the ingredients work together to compliment one another. The colours and textures makes this one of the most beautiful sandwiches I've ever styled, seen and even tasted.
Would we make it again? We're eating it right now.
What we love most about The Love and Lemons Cookbook can be summed up in 5 things:
1. Collaboration: the fact they Jeanine and Jack are a husband and wife duo as well provides a comfort and a familiarity, as though we share the same passion. Cooking through this book was like being on a double date with another couple who is so purely perfect for you. The chemistry and the simple act of getting it makes this cookbook not just another on shelf but the ultimate #cookbook goals.
2. Seasonal Ingredients: all of the recipes in this cookbook are built around 1 hero ingredient, but not just any ingredient: healthy, local and season ingredients that are colourful, creative and a true celebration of produce. A true A to Z from apples to zucchini and everything in between, the book is divided by ingredient making shipping and meal prepping easier to digest and simple to tackle.
3. Staples: at the front of the book she shares 5 go to meals that showcase hero ingredients; eggs, tortillas, kitchen sink salads, pasta and soups. What we love is that this is how we cook at home too. Most of our favourite and smelliest weekday dinners are showcased through the same templates whether it's a shakshouka, a quesadilla, salad in a jar, a smile pesto pasta or a corn soup, having pillars while cooking allows you to try and test new flavours making cooking comfortable and attainable.
4. Photography: simple, clean, concise, colourful and mesmerizing are the words I'd use to describe the photography in this book. Never have we seen a cookbook celebrate fruit and vegetables the way Jeanine and Jack do. While we share the same visual aesthetic it's always wonderful to see stunning food photography and an ability to make viewers hungry at any glance.
5. Lemons (duh): Jeanine's story of a dog with a lemon in its mouth in Italy is the behind the scenes storytelling we love about reading cookbooks as a genre. Learning simple facts, stories of how their cooking and passion came to be and in their case a love story around food, is part of the magic of reading a cookbook. Plus, a squeeze of lemon in everything really does work in most cases.