cover image Dinner Just for Two

Dinner Just for Two

Christina Lane. Countryman, $35 (336p) ISBN 978-1-68268-009-4

In the inviting introduction to this uneven cookbook, Dessert for Two blogger Lane pays homage to her grandmother, who owned a burger joint in Dallas, and claims cooking in small batches eliminates leftovers, which she equates with food waste. Lane does consider what to do with what leftovers one might have and devotes an entire chapter to making large batches of such items as mashed potatoes that can be turned into other dishes (for instance, cheesy potato soup and patties with Indian spices). Lane’s voice is chipper, but organization can be baffling: a chapter on “skillet meals” includes lettuce cups filled with chicken and pickled carrots, “skillet” justified because the chicken is sautéed in a pan. Another chapter on meals in a bowl includes falafel and pita photographed on a plate. The fare is fine, if occasionally pedestrian: for example, frozen Tater Tots top a ground turkey casserole. More sophisticated choices include cauliflower soup with saffron and barley with mushrooms and brie. With the concept of the book shaky, what remains is a collection of familiar recipes more notable for serving size than content. (Apr.)