Good Drinking

Cook the Book!

WW2_Cvr_Final5_72dpiRGB(fr)It’s only a matter of weeks now until Who Wants Seconds? Sustainable Suppers for Vegans, Omnivores & Everyone in Between arrives, and author Jennie Cook’s schedule is getting busy. To add to the fun, Jennie is leading a series of home-based Cook the Book evenings in Los Angeles, the Bay Area, Portland, and Seattle. Gather your people for a fun evening with Jennie doing what she does best: Cooking with friends. She brings the recipes, the traveling kitchen, and the spice box, and she works out the grocery shopping with the host. Guests can BYOB. Everyone will learn to cook a few great dishes, enjoy a fun evening with friends, and leave with a signed copy of Who Wants Seconds?

Click here — Cook the Book — to learn more.

Class times are available in LA starting in mid-October, and she’ll be making a couple of trips to the Bay Area and the Pacific Northwest as part of her book tour. Just ask us ( or Jennie ( about her availability.

Green Beans

Green Beans with Chile Pecans & Sesame Drizzle

Jennie recommends this veggie dish as a healthy addition to a potluck, but with very little prep and cooking time required, this recipe can spice up any occasion at the drop of a hat.

Green Beans

Serves 3 to 5
Prep time: Nonexistent
Cooking time: 4 to 10 minutes, plus Chile Pecans

1 pound green beans, trimmed
½ cup Sesame Dressing
1 cup Chile Pecans
Sesame seeds for garnish

Blanch green beans in simmering salted water until crisp-tender, 6 to 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can steam green beans for 4 to 8 minutes. Test beans for doneness halfway through cooking time. When they’re tender, shock beans to stop the cooking process by plunging them in cold water. Dry them and platter them or store in the refrigerator to use later.

When you’re ready to eat, arrange cooked green beans on a pretty serving platter. Top with Sesame Dressing and Chile Pecans. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

Sesame Dressing

This is super easy to mix—try using an old condiment jar. It’ll separate as it sits, so shake it up to blend before serving.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Makes about 2 ½ cups

¾ cup all-purpose oil
¾ cup rice or apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup sesame oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons minced ginger
1 teaspoon hot sauce

Combine all the ingredients in a 16-ounce jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake to blend. Allow to mellow on the kitchen counter before use.

Chile Pecans

Cooking time: 10 minutes
Makes 2 cups

2 cups pecan halves (walnuts also work)
¼ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cayenne
¼ cup water
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°. In a mixing bowl, stir together nuts, brown sugar, cayenne, water, and salt, coating the nuts thoroughly. Spread nuts on a greased baking sheet with a lip, in a single layer. Roast until the sugar starts to bubble and nuts brown slightly, 8 to 10 minutes. Be sure to check at the halfway point and stir them if the edges are browning. Allow to cool and loosen with a spatula. Store in an airtight container. Do not refrigerate.

Let us know if you try it!

Traditional Spanish Gazpacho

130430-037 copyHave some extra tomatoes in your garden that you’d rather have on your table? Look no further than Jennie’s traditional Spanish gazpacho, a summer classic perfect for a California August. This recipe is excerpted from a chapter of Who Wants Seconds? on Spanish cooking, which Jennie fell in love with during her travels to Spain a few years ago, and to which she attributes much culinary inspiration. Jennie shares, “The secret, I learned in Catalonia, is adding a chunk of stale bread and a drizzle of strong, green extra-virgin olive oil.” Still, she’s not averse to a little experimentation with the measurements in the kitchen, as every chef should add their own flair to a dish. This gazpacho is so essential in Spain, Jennie adds, that “the locals keep this soup in their refrigerators like we keep iced tea.”

Prep Time: About 20 minutes, plus several hours of chilling time
Serves 6

2 pounds (about 1 quart) ripe tomatoes, quartered
1 small cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
1 chunk stale white bread, about the size of an egg, softened with water
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon wine vinegar (either kind)
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Place tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, bread, salt, pepper, cumin, and vinegar in a blender with a tight-fitting lid and purée. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and blend thoroughly. Strain through a fine sieve. Discard solids and taste, adjusting salt and pepper to taste. Chill several hours before serving, preferably overnight. Serve very cold.

Funny Cake on KCRW’s Good Food

Funny cake

The division between cake lovers and pie stalwarts is a longstanding and often contentious one; but Jennie’s beloved Funny Cake is something we can all agree to love. It’s a deliciously gooey cake batter and chocolate filling baked inside of a pie shell!

The recipe, from Who Wants Seconds?, was recently featured on local Southern California radio station KCRW’s Good Food blog, as part of their Pie-a-day series leading up to a 5th annual pie contest extravaganza on September 7.

Check out their preview of the traditional Pennsylvania Dutch treat, complete with the full recipe, and if you give it a try, let us know what you think!



Essential Lentil Soup

pLENTILful Soup

Lentil Soup is one of the easiest and heartiest vegan meals around, and in our opinion one of the most delicious. Here are a few tips and teasers from the recipe in Who Wants Seconds!

Start with fresh ingredients to make the soup taste rich with vegetable flavor.

onion carrot

This wonderful Le Creuset pot is our favorite for stewing and simmering.

lentil soup mirepoix

Mixing types of lentils gives the soup a depth of taste and texture that can’t be beat.


Freshly crushed spices will release more flavor into the soup. You’ll never miss the meat!

lentil mortar pestle

When the lentils are done simmering they will have opened up and softened beautifully.

lentil soup pot

This soup will be thick on the plate, a meal that you can really dig into and enjoy time and time again.

lentil soup


Happy eating!

Pickled Cabbage

Cabbage, Anyone?

Over the course of the next few months, we’ll be sharing some of Jennie’s gems to give you a small taste of what’s to come in her cookbook Who Wants Seconds. This dish is one of the best in Chapter One, featuring recipes from her childhood.

Cabbage may not be the most glamorous of vegetables, yet Jennie’s pickled cabbage salad will make you fall head-over-heels for this quietly delightful vegetable. Growing up her family would eat slaw and salads for dinner in the summertime, and this is one of her favorite recipes. 

Cabbage is versatile and sturdy; it keeps a good long time in the crisper and holds well after preparation. It’s also crazy affordable all the time, not to mention hearty and plentiful. If you like a marinated (some might say soggy) salad, let the cabbage slaw sit a day in the refrigerator to blend all those delicious flavors.

Pickled Cabbage

Prep time: 20-30 minutes

Makes about 2 quarts

1/2 head of white or red cabbage (about 1 pound)

3 stalks celery, thinly sliced

2 colored bell peppers, chopped

1/2 red onion, grated

1/2 bunch fresh parsley, minced

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup hot water

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon mustard seed

1 tablespoon celery seed

Combine vegetables in a large bowl and set aside.

Combine dressing ingredients in a small saucepan. Place over medium heat and cook just enough to melt the sugar. Pour over vegetables, give it all a good stir, and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before refrigerating.

Feel free to give this recipe a try and let us know what you think!


Corn Fritters & Mango Salsa at an Oscar Party

A few weeks ago, I tested Aunt Anna’s Corn Fritters and the Mango Salsa just in time to bring to a friend’s Oscar party. I made the salsa the night before, thinking the flavors would marinate nicely overnight.

Here it is all ready to go (and no, this post is not sponsored by Gladware):

image-3 The next day, I arrived at the party a bit early to whip up the corn fritters. I’m normally a fairly confident cook, but I was nervous about following the instructions perfectly and taking meticulous notes to report back. I’d never made fritters of any kind before, but the batter looked just like pancake batter, except with corn in it. They cooked the same way too, and got nice and fluffy and brown, literally bursting with corn. I tasted one fritter and let the rest stay warm in the oven until everyone arrived.


I put the mango salsa out on the table next to some cute HOLLYWOOD-sign cupcakes my friend made.


And they were a hit! I doubled the recipe so everyone would get a few, and all were gone before Kristin Chenoweth could tell us what was in that Oscar Mystery Box.


Good Drinking

Who Wants Seconds?
The Site

Welcome to the inaugural post for Who Wants Seconds? – The Site. We’ve set this up to share in the journey of making a cookbook—in this case, a very special cookbook. It’s called Who Wants Seconds? Sociable Suppers for Vegans, Omnivores & Everyone in Between, and it will be written and illustrated by Jennie Cook, a Los Angeles caterer, visual journaler, permaculturist, master food preserver, and activist for healthy eating and sustainable food practices.

Here at Prospect Park Books, we’ve been fans of Jennie’s for many years. We’ve enjoyed dozens of fantastic dinner parties in her kitchen. We’ve marveled at her generosity of spirit and true gift for hospitality. We’ve been inspired by her example of sustainability and by her leadership in the quest to get healthier food in LA’s public schools and food-desert neighborhoods. But mostly we’ve just loved her food. And now we have the great good honor of creating a book to showcase her very best recipes, along with her exuberant, intensely colorful artwork, a sample of which you can see below (it’s the opening page for Chapter One: Born to Party, and yes, there’s drinking in that chapter).

Join us over the coming months as the generous folks from the Echo Park Time Bank (which Jennie has been an active member of for years) and Jennie’s amazing sister Rachel test the recipes in their homes, and as David Kiang photographs the dishes, and as Jennie stamps and paints the pages, and as Amy Inouye art directs the whole shebang, and as Jennifer Bastien and I edit the manuscript. We’ll be posting some recipes, and photos, and stories, and we’ll invite you to test recipes, too.

Who Wants Seconds? will be in stores October 2013. We truly believe this is the Moosewood Cookbook and Silver Palate Cookbook for the modern era, and we can’t wait for you to see it.

Good Drinking