GOURMET ON A HOT PLATE
Genre: Cookbook / Cooking Tips / Tiny Kitchen
Publisher: Alter Ego Press
Date of Publication: November 6, 2018
Publisher: Alter Ego Press
Date of Publication: November 6, 2018
Number of Pages: 132
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Gourmet on a Hot Plate is a collection of recipes and kitchen tips compiled after living for some time in a 600-square-foot cottage, with a tiny kitchen, no stove, no dishwasher, and barely any counter space. Given these limitations, Judy Alter developed a new approach to food, one that let her get in touch with the food itself. She does not have an Insta-Pot, an air-fryer, or a microwave. Her recipes call for using either a magnetic induction hot plate or a toaster oven. In the introduction, she explains her choices for making the best use of her tiny space.
The collection begins with appetizers because that’s where Alter began her new cooking adventure. Gradually she branched out
to main dishes,
light suppers, soups and salads, and vegetable side dishes. Most
recipes serve two or three. There’s a suggested list of cooking
tools along with lists of what to keep on hand in your tiny pantry,
your refrigerator, and your freezer, and a small section on
condiments and cooking hints.
These pages will guide you to making your own spaghetti sauce—or brightening up a jar of prepared sauce—to making last-minute casseroles and simmer-all-day soups. Want Stroganoff but can’t afford the expensive beef? Alter shows you how to make it with hamburger. Love tuna? She’s got recipes for you. Sections on pasta, eggs, and appetizer trays offer practical and helpful choices for casual entertaining.
Above all, this is a practical guide for cooking with joy when you find yourself in a tiny space.
PRAISE FOR GOURMET ON A HOT PLATE:Love cooking? Love the minimalist lifestyle? Your tiny kitchen
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Interview with Judy Alter
Why did you
choose to write cookbooks?
I have enjoyed cooking all my life. When I was ten or twelve, I was my mom’s sous chef when my parents entertained, as they often did. As a wife and mother, I cooked for crowds, from our family of six to sometimes twenty for Sunday supper. Food has always been an integral part of my life, and food writing seems a natural. In my next life I may come back as a chef.
What was the hardest part of writing Gourmet on a Hot Plate?
Adapting the recipes to my limited kitchen and testing them. I had a lot of failures, but I’m still experimenting.
What did you enjoy most about writing Gourmet on a Hot Plate?
Serving my successful experiments to guests.
Why did you decide to self-publish?
Frankly, I’m impatient
…and now getting too old to play the agent/publisher game. I began to self-publish mysteries when the small publisher I was with closed, and I didn’t want to leave a three-year gap or more between books. It’s a blessed decision for me—I work at my own pace without a publisher pressuring me to produce both manuscripts and sales.
Were there any chefs who authored books
that were influential in your work?
I don’t know that you can say influential, but I particularly enjoy reading Ruth Reichl. And right now I’m delving into James Beard, impressed by what a proponent he was of traditional American cooking. I get a lot of my basic ideas from Sam Sifton’s New York Times cooking column.
What projects are you working on at the present?
I’m working through edits on a nonfiction book tentatively titled The Second Battle of the Alamo. It involved the Daughters of the Republic of Texas and the battle to save the historic mission buildings. Men once fought over it with rifles; women fought with words in the early twentieth century. Fascinating stuff.
I also have about 20,000 words on a culinary mystery. I’d love to know how it
’s going to come out, but the Alamo and the cookbook have taken up my time for now. I also blog almost daily and do a weekly food blog.
What do your plans for future projects include?
At my age, I’m playing it by ear. The culinary mystery is a definite but beyond
that I’m not sure. I’m fortunate that I can take up whatever project strikes my fancy, and I don’t need to support myself by my writing. I write for my pleasure and, I hope, the pleasure of others. I toy with the idea of a memoir—not sure I’ll ever do it.
What does your perfect writing spot look like? Is that what your ACTUAL writing spot looks like?
My actual writing spot is
pretty darn near perfect. It’s a long desk in a corner of my cottage, with a huge window to the garden on my right and French doors to the patio straight ahead of me. On nice days, it’s like writing in the great outdoors.
Is there any person
(s) you credit for being your inspiration for reading and/or writing?
He denies it but the TCU faculty member who shepherded me through my Ph.D. has been an enormous influence and help. Almost fifty years later, he remains a good friend and reads almost everything I write in draft form.
What is your favorite quote?
Lamott, “When someone disappears from your life, it means their part in your story is over.” I’ve had people I care about drop out, and it hurts. But I’m just as liable to find a new favorite quote tomorrow.
What is something you want to accomplish before you die?
I don’t know. I have a wonderful family, a good career (I no longer yearn for fame and riches), a comfortable home (I also no longer want that huge house of my dreams and love my 600-square-foot cottage), and a dog I adore who also adores me. What more could I ask for? I am blessed.
Without formal culinary training, Judy Alter has cooked her way through life, feeding family and friends at everything from casual dinners
al fresco to elaborate meals for twenty. An award-winning author and publisher, she jokes she’ll come back in another life as a chef.
finds herself cooking in a four-by-six kitchen where zoning laws forbid built-ins but allow anything that plugs in. So she cooks with a hot plate, toaster oven, and a large refrigerator/freezer. Given these limitations, she has developed a new approach to food, one that she says lets her get in touch with the food itself. By choice, she does not have an Insta-Pot, an air-fryer, a microwave. Her menu choices are dictated by her cooking facilities—and she loves it.
She shares her tiny kitchen tips and recipes, developed over the past couple of years, in Gourmet on a Hot Plate. Alter is the author of three previous cookbooks: Cooking My Way through Life with Kids and Books, Texas is Chili Country, and Extraordinary Texas
Chefs , a contributor to Bake, Love, Write and We’d Rather Be Writing. and Her recipe for Doris’ Casserole has been included in so many books it’s almost an American classic by now.
Be part of her ongoing cooking adventure at the Gourmet on a Hot Plate blog, where she encourages discussion and welcomes recipes, comments, and questions.
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