Sunday, February 20, 2011

Cooking with Cookbooks

I love looking at cookbooks, especially ones with lots of pictures. Some of my favorite date nights are going to Barnes and Nobel with Aaron and while he looks at magazines, I look at cookbooks. They inspire me and make we want to get into the kitchen and whip up something delicious. I own several cookbooks and the problem is that they really do not get used often. I might use a couple for some inspiration or for a cooking technique that I can apply to the particular meat that I am going to use.  I also have subscriptions to Every Day Food and Cooking Light, so usually I am trying recipes from those since they arrive in my mailbox every month. Of course I use recipes for baking, but on a day to day basis I am pretty good at just making things up as I go along and unfortunately my cookbooks do not get opened.

Well a few weeks I decided to pick out a couple of books from my collection and choose some recipes to make. The first one was The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger. Ellie is a Registered Dietitian and has a show on the Food Network. I have had this book for a few years and really the only recipe I have made more than once is her fried rice with edamame. In fact I made it for dinner! This is so healthy with brown rice, peppers, garlic, corn, and ginger, plus the protein from the edamame, tofu, and eggs in it. Yum, yum!

This week, I tried a few other recipes from this book with great success- "pork medallions with cherry sauce," "baked shrimp with tomatoes and feta", and "chicken pot pie with phyllo crust." Everything was delicious and healthy; it made me wonder why I haven't opened it up sooner. I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to change up their cooking routine with some healthy and flavorful recipes.
The other book that I have been cooking from is not one that I currently own, but probably will be owning soon! I found at the library,  Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan after she was showing up everywhere-  from blogs (Gluten Free Girl and the Chef, David Lebovitz), to my favorite podcast, The Splendid Table, and even The New York Times. This is a beautiful, heavy book, full of everyday French food recipes, not to mention excellent photography. Dori writes the book as if she is talking to you. The directions are easy to follow and many of the recipes do not include exotic ingredients (good for the girl who lives in North Dakota!). So far I have tried her vegetable recipes for "asparagus and bits of bacon" and "lemon-steamed spinach" (I had no idea steamed spinach could be so tasty!). I tried the recipe for "almond flounder meuniere," in which I used talaipia instead (picture above), and it was of course delicious. Who could not love fish crusted with almonds and cooked in butter? For Valentine's Day I decided to be a bit more ambitious and I made "short ribs in red wine and port." This was a more involved recipe that actually took two days to make! Not my usual style, but it was definitely worth trying for a special meal. So far this book gets a thumbs up. I already have several other recipes marked to try, so it will be becoming part of my permanent collection of cookbooks. She also has a baking cookbook I might have to try next. . . !

So, get out some of your cookbooks, go to your local bookstore, or even better, the local library, and start cooking from cookbooks and share your favorites! Enjoy!

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