Cookbooks I Love- Part 1

Friday, August 7, 2009

Hello everyone, to get my blog started, I thought I would list some cookbooks that I love. Some I own and others I plan on buying someday. These cookbooks are in no particular order.
*Disclaimer*: I am a Food Network fanatic so if you're not a FN fan, this is probably not the blog for you.

  1. How to Boil Water by Food Network Kitchens. Explains the basics: boiling water, making hard-boiled eggs, sauce, etc. Great pictures. Has helpful hints that I liked.

  2. The Classic 1000 Chinese Recipes edited by Wendy Hobson. Organized by category (e.g. appetizers, eggs, rice, tofu, marinades and condiments). No pictures- just straightforward recipes.

    Sample recipe: Sweet and Sour Pork:
    Serves 4.
    1 lb. lean pork, cubed
    1 Tbsp. rice wine or dry sherry
    1 Tbsp. peanut oil
    1 tsp. curry powder
    1 egg, beaten
    4 oz. cornstarch
    oil for deep-frying
    1 clove garlic, crushed
    3 oz. or 1/3 cup sugar
    2 oz. tomato ketchup
    1 tsp. wine vinegar
    1 tsp. sesame oil

    Mix the pork with the wine or sherry, oil, curry powder, egg, and a little salt. Mix in the cornstarch until the pork is covered with the batter. Heat the oil until smoking then add the pork cubes a few at a time. Fry for about 3 minutes then drain and set aside.

    Reheat the oil and fry the cubes again for about 2 minutes. Remove and drain. Heat the garlic, sugar, tomato ketchup and wine vinegar, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil then add the pork cubes and stir well. Stir in the sesame oil and serve.

  3. Cafe Nervosa: The Connoisseur's Cookbook by Frasier and Niles Crane. If you're a fan of the TV show "Frasier", you will love this book. There are some quotes from the show which I think make the book seem more 'authentic'. There are some recipes named after the characters (e.g. Daphne Moon-Style Muffins, Bulldog's Big BLT Croissants) and more traditional named recipes (e.g. Chocolate-Hazelnut Biscotti). You don't have to be a fan of the show to enjoy this delightful assortment of recipes but it helps a little. Helps if you like or love coffee though as Cafe Nervosa is the (fictitious) cafe spot that the Drs. Crane frequently visited in Seattle.

  4. The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life by Ellie Krieger. I like her healthy approach to food without being preachy or political. It has gorgeous photos, nutritional information per serving, and tells you what vitamins and minerals are in the recipes. My husband, "Lauderdale", who is a regular meat-and-potatoes guy had no idea that the steak tacos with cucumber-avocado salsa were healthy!

  5. You've Got It Made: Deliciously easy meals to make now & bake later by Diane Phillips. I had the recent pleasure of attending a cooking class featuring Ms. Phillips. I love her idea of make now and bake later. This has helped me avoid spending way too much money on takeout! If you are a slow cook, like me, you might want to start super early on some of the recipes. I absolutely love the Chicken Florentine Casserole.

  6. Fast and Fabulous Chicken Breasts by Phillis M. Carey. Ms. Carey is one of my favorites! I have been to many of her cooking classes. It may sound a little silly but this chicken book has changed my life! Like many people, I know chicken breasts are healthier than dark chicken meat but I seldom found a good recipe where the chicken wasn't dried out or stringy (or worse- *shudder*). Her mantra is to pound chicken before cooking and it will always be juicy, delicious, and will cook evenly every time.
    Rinse and pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towels. Have 2 decent sheets of plastic wrap separated. Place 1 chicken breast on one of the plastic wrap sheets. Take the other plastic wrap and cover the chicken. Make sure that the chicken is secure between both sheets-nothing hanging out or exposed. Take a smooth-edged meat pounder (this is the one I have) and start at the "fat" end of the chicken and lightly pound to an even 1/2 inch thickness.
    Back to the recipes, they are easy, delicious, and (usually) quick to prepare. I love the fact that her recipes are like formulas and easily interchangeable- ex. almonds vs. pecans.

  7. Semi-Homemade series by Sandra Lee. I know there are some people who don't like Sandra but I absolutely love her philosophy of 70% ready-made products and 30% fresh. I actually really got into cooking more thanks to her entire series. When I was single, my idea of cooking was opening up a Lean Cuisine and nuking it in the microwave. If I was feeling fancy, I would get one of those meal in a box and throw it in the oven. My best friend or bestie, "Pink Tulips", and I were watching her "Semi-Homemade" show on FN. I can't remember what foods were featured but I felt a light bulb turn on. Went out and got one or two of her Semi-Homemade books and my culinary journey began. One of my fave Sandra recipes is the Cajun Turkey Burgers with Cayenne Curly Fries.

  8. I'm Just Here for More Food: Food x Mixing + Heat = Baking by Alton Brown. I'm an AB fan for sure. I appreciate him explaining the science behind cooking and baking while making it fun and quirky. For some reason, many people shy away from baking. Not sure why- I often prefer baking than other types of cooking. AB has plenty of tips and recommendations including gadgets. I'm a total gadget gal-look for a future post on my favorite gadgets.

  9. Down Home with the Neelys by Gina and Patrick Neely. After I got cable TV for the first time last year, I discovered the Neelys. The Neelys are all about barbeque. I don't have room to grill otherwise I'd be eating BBQ most of the time! Besides BBQ, this great and personal cookbook has some Southern dishes that I can make-Gina's Collard Greens and Nana's Southern Gumbo.

  10. Emeril's Delmonico by Emeril Lagasse. I LOVE Emeril! I fondly remember watching "Emeril Live!" with my mom and positively drooling over his dishes. I love Cajun and Creole food with a passion. This cookbook has simple to complex recipes and they will delight and challenge you.

    I will save save some other favorite cookbooks for another blog. Have a fantastic day!

All About the Food Copyright © 2009 Designed by Ipietoon Blogger Template for Bie Blogger Template Vector by DaPino