This family cookbook includes over a hundred recipes for every day eating, designed to mix and match to suit your style.
Some cookbooks focus on a specific type of food or cooking technique while others are handy resource guides or teaching tools. Still others are pure entertainment and bring you into someone's world through food and storytelling.
Very few manage to combine those elements, but Just Married and Cooking by writer Brooke Parkhurst and chef James Briscione does just that.
Written during their first year of marriage (along with the arrival of sweet newborn baby Parker) this book is self-described as the "foodie soundtrack of their life."
They include recipes and stories to commemorate events (such as a luscious New Baby Banana Pudding for Brooke's first days as a new mom) as well as simple, healthy, seasonal recipes for both every day and entertaining.
Brooke and James give us a fun peek into their fabulous food-centric lives throughout. For example, while pregnant, Brooke craved grilled cheese so ferociously that the couple embarked on an experiment to craft The Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich (three variations included here).
Fun loving, party throwing people, you'll wish you were invited to one of their backyard BBQs or to spend happy hour with them in their apartment!
While the title implies this book is tailored to newlyweds, it's actually a practical guide for anyone who's ever been confronted with the classic "what's for dinner dilemma." For some this moment hits post honeymoon, when the registry gifts are put away and you suddenly realize you'll be cooking dinner night after night after night for a long time.
For others panic strikes when throwing your first party or hosting your first holiday together as a couple. For many (including myself) this moment comes after the baby's arrival...you may be tired and not eating out as often or just want to cook and eat together as a family.
Just Married and Cooking is also great for the budding or aspiring home cook looking to up their game, with excellent technique tips, pantry and gear checklists, time saving secrets, a glossary of frequently used chef terms, and party planning advice.
Just who are Brooke and James? Both from the South and currently living in NYC; Brooke is a fun loving writer, foodie and cosmopolitan girl with a healthy touch who loves entertaining friends. James is a football-loving professional chef, alum of Daniel Boulud, and two-time winner of the Food Network's competition Chopped. He teaches professional culinary students as well and offers plenty of cooking technique tips and tricks used by working chefs.
Their approach to food is a delicious mix of part French, part healthy, a little Southern, lots of fun and definitely seasonal.
They also bridge the gap between carnivorous man-pleasing food (with sections dedicated to bar food knock offs, chili and tacos) and dishes with a lighter touch such as Roasted Carrots with Lime and Coriander.
The Seafood Succotash recipe we feature here is a great example of their cooking style. It takes advantage of healthy seafood, fresh seasonal corn, tomatoes and dill. (Feel free to use less butter if you like with equally delicious results!)
Just Married and Cooking is divided into two sections: Life As We Know It, which includes over a hundred recipes for every day eating, designed to mix and match to suit your style. It organizes ideas by meal time but also his and hers friendly sections dedicated to The Lighter Side, Big Eats for the Big Game, etc.
The second section, New Traditions, contains nine full menus and plans for "No Pressure-Parties" including staples like Valentine's Day and Thanksgiving but also a fabulous "Girls Night In" for you and your new mom friends and a super fun southern influenced "Derby Day Party."
Check out Just Married and Cooking for both weeknight and party ideas—or just for inspiration to get into the kitchen and start cooking and entertaining as a couple!
Julie Hartigan left a career as an engineer/tech consultant to pursue her long-standing dream of attending culinary school. A fun loving person and natural born teacher, she loves her new career and sharing what she's learned with others. Julie currently develops recipes, writes, and blogs about cooking, health, and entertaining for Weight Watchers, Bed Bath Beyond, and others. She teaches healthy cooking classes for adults and children, has been a personal chef, and has also worked at Saveur magazine and Food Network. Part gym rat, part party girl, her approach to cooking and life is finding the sweet spot: "Where Healthy Meets Happy".
Julie lives in Hoboken, NJ with her two little girls, two chubby guinea pigs, and an extremely patient husband.