In the Kitchen with Hardcover Cook

It’s (almost) official: summer is here. Next weekend, anyway. And we don’t know about you, but we can’t wait to toss some shrimp on the grill, raise a glass, and get to it.

However you choose to celebrate this summer, treat yourself and your loved ones to something special with exclusive recipes, kitchen hacks, and more, straight from the experts and makers behind Cratejoy’s top food and drink subscriptions.

Today’s recipe is actually three recipes: an entire date-night menu, perfect for summertime, from Monique Llamas, the founder of cookbook subscription box Hardcover Cook! We can’t wait to dive into these delicious recipes this weekend.

Check out the recipe, and learn more about Hardcover Cook, below!


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Behind the Box: Hardcover Cook

Like many people (yours included), Monique Llamas realized that while she had accumulated a lot of cookbooks, she hadn’t, well, cooked much from them. Enter Hardcover Cook. “I started Hardcover Cook in 2017 as a personal project to document the explorations of my ever-growing cookbook collection,” she says. What Monique discovered along the way? That she wasn’t alone––there were tons of home cooks out there who felt passionate about cooking and cookbooks, but who (for whatever reason) didn’t end up using the cookbooks they owned.

As someone who had been working in the natural and specialty food industries for many years, it felt natural to Monique to expand Hardcover Book into a subscription box. “The idea of the Hardcover Cook box is built around cookbook and ingredient pairings—a collection of specialty ingredients that will enhance your experience with a particular book and make it easier to pick up and explore recipes at a moment's notice,” Monique explains. “Launching during COVID had the added bonus that people were spending more time than ever in the kitchen and looking for new ways to make mealtime more exciting.”

There’s never been a better time to dig out the old cookbooks––or try new ones from Hardcover Cook!


A Full-Course Summer Menu Just for Date Night

This time of year, my partner Kenny and I like to spend as much time outdoors as possible, which means we do a whole lot of grilling. To make it stress-free for date night, we’ll make a low-effort, high-reward menu so we can spend time enjoying each other’s company.

On the menu:

  • Harissa-Coated Shrimp

  • Grilled Artichokes with Preserved Lemon Yogurt Dip

  • Charred Snap Peas

  • Crusty Bread

  • Wine

Take a closer look at this tasty menu below!

Harissa-Coated Shrimp

Ingredients:

  • 1 dozen large peeled and deveined shrimp with tail on

  • Avocado or other high-heat oil

  • Salt and pepper

  • ¼ cup harissa paste

  • Lemon wedge

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your grill or grill pan for at least 15 minutes before cooking.

  2. Toss the shrimp in a tablespoon of the oil (more, if needed to coat the shrimp).

  3. Sprinkle the shrimp with a light sprinkling of salt and pepper.

  4. Skewer the shrimp onto water-soaked wooden skewers or metal skewers. Skewer through each shrimp in two places to keep it from falling off the skewer (near the top and just above the tail is best).

  5. These grill up quickly. Start with about 2 minutes on the first side, then flip. Brush the cooked side of the skewered shrimp with the harissa paste.

  6. Flip again after 2 minutes, and brush the other side.

  7. You’ll cook each side for 1 minute after brushing on the harissa paste.

  8. Serve immediately with a slice of lemon.

Grilled Artichokes with Harissa and Garlic Yogurt Dip

Ingredients:

  • 2 globe artichokes

  • Avocado oil or other high-heat oil

  • ½ cup Greek yogurt

  • 1 garlic clove

  • Salt

  • 1 tbsp. harissa paste

Instructions:

  1. Prepare your artichokes by taking a slice off the bottom of the stalk, then a slice across the top of the artichoke to cut through the leaf tops. You should be able to see the thinner leaves from the inside of the artichoke in the middle.

  2. Pre-steam your artichoke. My favorite method is to steam upside down over 1 cup of water on high for 7 minutes in your Instant Pot. Or you can steam on the stovetop for about 45 minutes. Make sure to check the water periodically to ensure it doesn’t evaporate.

  3. Meanwhile, grate a clove of garlic on a Microplane grater and mix it into the Greek yogurt. Add a tablespoon of harissa paste (or more to taste) and a pinch of salt. Set aside.

  4. Check for doneness by pulling on one of the outer leaves. If it pulls off with only a little resistance, it is ready.

  5. Remove from the pot and let the artichoke cool just enough to handle, then cut in half. Take a spoon and scoop out the hairy choke in the middle.

  6. Brush the inside of each half with olive oil, then place it inner-side down on your grill for about 5-8 minutes. Keep cooking until you see beautiful grill marks and the leaves are just starting to char.

  7. Serve with the yogurt and harissa mixture and enjoy!

Charred Snap Peas

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. sugar snap peas

  • Avocado oil or another high-heat oil

  • Salt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your grill or grill pan for 10-15 minutes.

  2. Prepare the peas by cutting off the stem end and peeling off the string that runs along one side.

  3. Toss the peas in about a tablespoon of oil and a light sprinkling of your favorite salt.

  4. Place the oiled peas in a grill basket, if cooking on an outdoor grill, or directly on a grill pan. Cook for 4 minutes, then toss to let the other side cook. Continue cooking until the peas begin to char.

  5. Serve immediately. The grill really brings out the sweetness of these peas and adds a beautiful charred flavor.

Serve this spread of dishes with a baguette for sopping up any of the shrimp juices, plus a bottle of crisp rosé wine.