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Texas chef shows gourmet food can be fast and affordable in new book

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fava, mint and ricotta crostino, caroline wright, 20 minute 20 dollar meals
Fava, mint and ricotta crostino from Twenty-Dollar, Twenty-Minute Meals. Photo by Caroline Wright
Caroline Wright, Twenty Dollar, Twenty Minute Meals
Chef and food writer Caroline Wright recently published her first book: Twenty-Dollar, Twenty-Minute Meals. Photo by Susan Stripling
20 Dollar 20 Minute Meals, Caroline Wright, Lakewood, Cooking, Meals
The book was derived from Wright's weekly column of the same name on Food52.com. Photo courtesy of Workman Publishing
grilled turkey sausage pizza, caroline wright, 20 minute 20 dollar meals,
Grilled turkey sausage pizza. Photo by Caroline Wright
Grilled escarole with peaches, caroline wright, 20 minute 20 dollar meals
Grilled escarole with peaches. Photo by Caroline Wright
baked butter beans, Caroline Wright, Twenty-Dollar, Twenty-Minute Meals
Baked butter beans. Photo by Caroline Wright
fava, mint and ricotta crostino, caroline wright, 20 minute 20 dollar meals
Caroline Wright, Twenty Dollar, Twenty Minute Meals
20 Dollar 20 Minute Meals, Caroline Wright, Lakewood, Cooking, Meals
grilled turkey sausage pizza, caroline wright, 20 minute 20 dollar meals,
Grilled escarole with peaches, caroline wright, 20 minute 20 dollar meals
baked butter beans, Caroline Wright, Twenty-Dollar, Twenty-Minute Meals

Caroline Wright wants you to take every excuse you’ve ever had for not preparing quality meals for your family and throw them in the trash. While you’re at it, get rid of all that processed goop you call food that may be lurking in your freezer and pantry.

Wright has a weekly column on Food52.com, and now she has published a book of the same title: Twenty-Dollar, Twenty-Minute Meals (Workman Publishing, $12.95). Her goal: Show people how to make good meals on the fly — and prove that eating well can also be affordable.

 “I hope the book conveys an attitude toward cooking and eating that is empowering for the busy cook,” says author Caroline Wright.

Wright, who moved to Texas from New York in 2012, is a graduate of the prestigious Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne in Paris. She was a food editor at Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food; currently she is a food writer, editor, recipe developer and tester, food stylist, and photographer who works for Real Simple, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Women’s Day and Oxmoor House, among others.

But none of that experience led directly to her first cookbook. In actuality, it was the experimental column that inspired her to collect her recipes and publish them in a book.

“I used to feed the food from the column to my friends,” she says. “I was living in New York then, and all my friends were out-of-work actors. Through their encouragement, I taught those recipes at a shop in Brooklyn, and from there my editor at Workman discovered my work.”

Wright’s book is filled with tempting photos of her creations, and each page reflect her passion for spreading the word that anyone can make a delicious meal.

“The idea behind the book is very personal to me; the recipes focus on fresh produce and meat cooked simply and quickly, which is how I cook most often in my kitchen at home,” says Wright, who teaches occasionally at the Central Market cooking school.

From grilled escarole with peaches, prosciutto, mozzarella and basil oil to California-style salmon burgers to ice cream with olive oil, sea salt and lemon zest, the recipes don’t sound elementary, but they are extremely approachable. Essentially this is a cookbook you can appreciate — and use — regardless of your budget or culinary aptitude.

“The title of the book is its promise: the meals inside are cooked in 20 minutes in well under $20,” Wright says. “More than the title, though, I hope the book conveys an attitude toward cooking and eating that is empowering for the busy cook, that it makes putting real food on the table after a long day seem possible, regardless of your budget.”

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