Like many other sweet and sour recipes, this one includes pineapple, onion, carrots, and peppers. I was dubious about the tomatoes, but they worked out pretty well.
Once again, I got many more portions out of the recipe than the book suggested. This recipe was supposed to serve 4, but those must be really large portions. I got 7 regular portions and one lunch portion from this dish.
Do you like meatballs? What's your favorite recipe?
- Current Mood: full
The zucchini and mushroom salad from The Essential Cookbook requires a bit of planning to allow time for cooking and then cooling the zucchini slices. However, it's a fairly easy recipe with tasty results.
I'm glad I like this dish, because the recipe makes a huge amount. Because there are only a few ingredients, I eat only a small bowl of salad at a time. Fortunately, the left-overs taste even better.
This recipe from The Essential Cookbook is titled fish with peppers.
Can you see the red peppers? There is some, really. But this dish would be better titled fish with leeks. This fish is surrounded by leeks. I love leeks and enjoyed this dish. I just didn't realize it would turn out this way.
The creole jambalaya recipe in The Essential Cookbook doesn't seem authentic to me. For example, it includes diced ham where I would expect spicy sausage. That's an easy change to make, however, in an otherwise delicious recipe.
I love the combination of shrimp, tomatoes, bell peppers, and meat. This was easy to prepare and filling. Great comfort food on cool days.
One thing I noticed about The Essential Cookbook is that the recipe portions are generous. I think this dish was supposed to serve 4, but I got 6 servings. I don't mind. I'd rather have extra left-overs than not enough.
There's no point recommending books that are hard to find, so here is a small set of recommendations:
- Venezia: food & dreams by Tessa Kiros - Pretend you're on a trip to Venice, with this lush cookbook. If you don't like to cook, you can enjoy the beautiful pictures of Venice and it's food. Recipes are tasty and not too complicated. (Recipes I tried)
- Apples for Jam: a colorful cookbook by Tessa Kiros - These simple and appealing recipes are intended for families. Most recipes are delightful with their bold use of color. You don't need kids to appreciate most dishes. For a fun meal, you could plan a meal around a single color - or around the rainbow. I loved this cookbook so much, that I cooked far more than 10 recipes, almost bringing my cookbook journey to a halt. (Recipes I tried)
- Gluten-Free Quick & Easy by Carol Fenster - Cooking for someone with gluten intolerance? These recipes really are quick and easy. The baking recipes require a little more preparation than for non-gluten-free. However, you usually end up with a gluten-free baking mix that can make follow-up batches super-quick. My favorite is the fruit cobbler! I used the same tag for multiple gluten-free cookbooks. Scroll past the few recipes from the Betty Crocker cookbook (which I discarded) to see the recipes that I tried from this book.
- The Manga Cookbook by The Manga University Culinary Institute - Use this fun cookbook to cook fun meals for a child or as a first cookbook for a child. The anime-style cartoon recipes are easy to follow, and there are even a few recipes that don't require cooking. (Recipes I tried)
- Current Mood: hungry
After the sad lentil soup recipe, I wasn't sure that I would cook more than 5 recipes from The Essential Cookbook. However, as the next recipes were pretty good, I decided to continue. I'll continue my journey with the following 5 recipes:
* Creole jambalaya
* Trout with almonds
* Sautéed bananas
* Eggplant a la nimoise
* Meatballs with sweet and sour sauce
One of my favorite desserts in a Portuguese restaurant is pears in red wine. It tastes good, and is refreshing after a heavy meal. When I saw this recipe in The Essential Cookbook, I had to give it a try.
This dish is fairly tasty, but not amazing. I think that I was supposed to cook the wine sauce longer, so that it becomes a thick syrup. But the recipe wasn't clear (at least, to me), and I ended up with a liquid sauce that was ok for marinating the poached pears, but not worth adding to the plate.
What's your favorite fruity dessert?
Although I love a good ratatouille, I've always been intimidated to prepare it. I don't cook some of the ingredients often (eggplant, zucchini), and I expected it to take a long time to cook. I wasn't expecting much from The Essential Cookbook after my disappointment with the first recipe.
I had to get many veggies to prepare this ratatouille recipe. Some, like the canned chopped tomatoes (a welcome alternative to pallid transported tomatoes) and onions were easy. I wasn't sure whether I was really selecting medium-sized eggplants, but with only a few choices, it was hard to go wrong.
It turned out that the recipe really wasn't that complicated. The veggies fit in my large heavy pot (barely). They took a long time to slowly cook,but didn't need much attention, so I was free to do other things.In the pot, this looks almost like soup. But on the plate, not so much.
With such a huge quantity, I enjoyed left-overs through much of the week. The mix of veggies in this recipe is fabulous. As left-overs, this dish is versatile. Cold, I enjoyed the mix as a salad on its own, or mixed with lettuce. A couple of times, I made chicken ratatouille - thin pan-fried chicken breasts, topped with ratatouille.
In case I don't want to keep this cookbook, I checked my other books for ratatouille recipes. However, the other recipes don't seem as appealing. None have the same combo of veggies, and a couple add capers. No, I am not a fan of capers.
I really enjoy lentil soup, and I was looking forward to trying the recipe from The Essential Cookbook. It was easy to prepare. Required an hour of simmering, but I could do other things while the soup cooked.
The soup wasn't bad. It just wasn't amazing. Even the bacon didn't add much zing. If the other recipes in this book aren't any better, I won't hang onto it.
Next up on my cookbook journey is The Essential Cookbook by Zoe Camrass. This book bills itself as "the only cookbook you'll ever need." I'm dubious, but mostly because I found so many unappealing recipes at the start. However, there seem to be many appetizing recipes in latter sections, which is why I'm giving this book a try.
The first five recipes I'll try are:
* Purée of lentil soup
* Zucchini salad
* Pears in red wine
* Portuguese salt cod
If you were to keep only one cookbook on your shelf, which would it be? For me, The Original New York Times Cookbook by Craig Claiborne is my essential cookbook.