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January 01, 2022

What’s Cooking @ HEPL?

By: Heidi Herald

Welcome to the very first What’s Cooking @ HEPL blog! I am Heidi Herald, a Public Services Librarian at Hamilton East Public Library (not a social media influencer), so taking on this blog series involves a steep learning curve for me! I will be reviewing one of the library’s cookbooks each month.

We are kicking off this series with Christopher Kimball’s cookbook Milk Street Cookish: Throw It Together. Most of the recipes in this cookbook use only 5-6 ingredients, and many can be made using only one pot or pan. The cookbook incorporates cooking styles and ingredients from around the world. I really enjoyed the dishes I made from this cookbook. They were quick, easy, and very flavorful.

Christopher Kimball, the creator of Milk Street and author of Cookish, agreed to speak with me about his cookbook.

Enjoy our exclusive interview with Christopher Kimball as he discusses using big flavors intelligently so you don’t need a lot of ingredients. Learn from Kimball what three ingredients he would keep in his kitchen for flavoring.

I hope you will try recipes from Cookish or one of Christopher Kimball’s many other Milk Street cookbooks that we have in our library collections. Join me in the kitchen using the link below to cook Spaghetti with Spiced Beef and Tomato Sauce from Cookish.

Spaghetti with Spiced Beef and Tomato Sauce


  • 1 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 1/2 lb. 80 percent lean ground beef
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. spaghetti


In a 12-inch skillet, cook the oil and garlic, stirring, until it begins to brown. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until slightly darker in color, then stir in the cinnamon and allspice. Add 1½ cups water, the beef, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Simmer, stirring and breaking the meat into bits, until thickened; season with salt and pepper. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain and return to the pot. Add the sauce and toss to combine. Serve drizzled with oil.

Optional garnish: Chopped fresh oregano OR chopped fresh mint OR crumbled feta cheese OR chopped pitted olives OR chopped tomato OR a combination

Servings: 4-6. Prep. & Cooking Time: 45 minutes.


Kimchi and Bacon-Fried Rice

I love fried rice and the bacon and kimchi gave it a unique flavor.


Couscous “Risotto” with Asparagus.

I also cooked the Couscous “Risotto” with Asparagus. This was delicious! The first time I made the recipe I used asparagus, and then I substituted peas for the asparagus per the suggestion in the cookbook when I made it a second time. Personally, I liked the asparagus better. It was delicious with plenty of parmesan cheese!


Spicy Cumin-Beef Noodles

I loved the Spicy Cumin-Beef Noodles. It was flavorful and very spicy! I could not find the pappardelle pasta so just substituted what I had at home.



Explore our HEPL YouTube What’s Cooking @ HEPL playlist for access to the entire cooking series at your own pace.

Follow HEPL on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn the first week of each month as we share a new featured cookbook and recipe on What’s Cooking @ HEPL?  Be sure to tag us and use #HEPLFoodies to share what’s cooking in YOUR kitchen!

Credit goes to Danielle Acton, HEPL’s Adult Engagement Coordinator, for producing the videos and for her help and advice.

Happy Eating!