The best recipes are made with a whole lot of love, and you can tell Ayesha Curry puts her heart into everything she makes. In her first cookbook, The Seasoned Life: Food, Family, Faith, and the Joy of Eating Well (released just this week), the 27-year-old self-taught cook of Jamaican-Chinese-Polish-African American heritage shares family favourites from her childhood in Toronto and North Carolina, along with new dishes inspired by restaurants in California where she and hubby NBA MVP Stephen Curry now live with their two young children. “Everything warm, everything delightful, and everything that is loved in my life somehow involves (and revolves around) food,” Ayesha writes. “I light up every time I get the blend of favours in a recipe just right, or when I achieve a perfect sear on a steak, or smell a batch of cookies baking. I always enjoy watching the faces of family and friends as they take that first bite.” I took a bite out of her book and mes amis, it was delicious!
Now that it’s officially Fall I want to bake all the things, but there’s at least a dozen other cozy-sounding recipes I’d love to make straight away, like Mama Alexander’s Brown Sugar Chicken, Spiced Butternut Squash Mash, Carolina Chowder, and so many more. The book covers breakfasts, lunches, dinners, drinks, snacks and sweets, plus “pretty extras” like the Avocado Hair Mask and the Coconut Oil Chest Rub.
Mornings with littles can be hectic so Ayesha says most breakfasts at her house are usually quick, simple and nutritious. (Think Apple-Cinnamon Oatmeal, Island Cornmeal Porridge and Greek Yogurt Parfaits). I made one of her recipes for those other mornings — mornings when you can laze about and make something special (or in this case, make the night before and linger over in the morning). Spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon and dotted with chunks of fresh apple, the Breakfast Bread Puddings (above) smelled like Fall, and tasted like it too. The custard is made with milk, egg and the smallest amount of melted butter so they’re lovely and light, then drizzled with a decadent maple/orange glaze that you can’t see here. These would be such a great after-school snack and best enjoyed with a fork, as they do tend to fall apart a bit.
And the Apricot-Glazed Salmon with Summer Squash and Zucchini was easy, healthy and quick, the veggies tossed in a little olive oil with salt and pepper and the salmon slathered with a delicious salty-sweet sauce made with soy sauce, garlic and apricot jam. I’ll be making it again and again!
Ayesha’s Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies look so much better than these (hers are sprinkled with a little flaky sea salt and much flatter and bigger around) and I think I had them in the oven a little too long but even still, they were quite good. I made them one afternoon this week so they were ready when my kids and their friends walked in the door after school and felt like Mother of the Year. Next up: Pumpkin Squares, White Chocolate Bread Pudding (YUM!), and Key Lime Pie with Cinnamon Toast Crunch Crust (“Regular limes work fine #NotBougie” LOL).
I think it’s a great book to have coming into Fall and Winter for all of its comfort food, and yet there’s lighter soups and salads to satisfy those longings too. The Ridiculously Easy Carrot Salad looks so good (and so easy!) and I would happily dig into a bowl of Mom’s Leftover Chicken Soup (even if I have to make the leftovers myself).
And great news for Toronto fans! Ayesha will be signing her book at 7 pm on October 17 at Indigo Bay & Bloor and she’s hosting a three-course dinner at Luma the following night (more info here) featuring recipes from The Seasoned Life. (How fun is that?)
(You know I wouldn’t forget you guys!!)
To enter to win a copy of The Seasoned Life, tell me one of the recipes mentioned in this post that you’d like to try. This entry is mandatory.
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Enter to #win The Seasoned Life by Ayesha Curry from @trysmallthings CAN 10/15 http://wp.me/p4xBed-36D #theseasonedlife #cookbook
The giveaway is open to Canadian residents (excluding Quebec) 18+ and ends at 11:59 p.m. EST on October 15, 2016. The potential winner must respond to prize notification within 48 hours, including the correct answer to a skill-testing question, otherwise another winner will be selected.
For more of Ayesha’s recipes, check out her blog and watch for her upcoming show on the Food Network, Ayesha’s Homemade.
Update October 16: Congratulations Kat C!
Hachette Book Group Canada sent me a copy of The Seasoned Life in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.