Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Little Addicted to the Cook Books?

Hi, my name is Shannon and I'm a cook book addict.

Yes it's true, I can hear my dearest friends laughing maniacally, but really, it's a fact. I'm very proud to post that I've finally kept a New Years Resolution and frankly, it's changed my life. I'm learning to cook. And I'm getting pretty damn good. Well at least with cold things, veggie recipes, soups, dips and breakfast, I seriously rock the kitchen and it's all thanks to cook books.

Funny thing is I have some requirements for my cookbooks. Kinda like subscribers to Playboy, I like the pictures. The cook books I read need to have color pictures, preferably for every recipe. Oh and authored by Julia Child, they can't be. If I can't find the ingredients between 3 local stores it's a no-go.

Here are a few sitting on my counter right now, and yes... they are library books!

The Good Cook 70 Essential Techniques, 250 Step by Step Photographs and 350 Easy Recipes by Anne Willan with photographs by Alison Harris. I want to marry Anne, she is my new Goddess. This book is perfection and the cover photograph of a mussels dish made me salivate. A favorite dish, and I hope to cook my self through this book is Rapid Ratatouille, the perfect Sunday dinner after visiting the Farmer's Market. This book is kinda like having your Grandma in the house, there are step by step instructions (with pictures) of everything from how to cook a steak to how to split and cook small birds to how to peel and chop shallots. Basic but practical for those of us learning late in life.

Great Party Dips by Peggy Fallon with photographs by Alexandra Grablewski. It's always a sign of a cookbook I'll enjoy when the photographer is listed on the cover. This book doesn't disappoint. EASY recipes, great pictures and ingredients that are easy to find between only 2 places, my farmers market and the local Mexican grocery store. With recipes ranging from 24 Carat Caviar Dip to Peanut Butter Marshmallow Dip, there is something for everyone.

The New American Olive Oil by Fran Gage. As beautiful as a coffee table book this is all about American made olive oil. I love the information on choosing an excellent olive oil made by US producers. Her pesto recipe is what I used to make my own for canning.

Quick Food Gourmet Recipes in Just 30 Minutes by Jenny Fanshaw and Annette Forrest. Right now this is my FAVORITE cook book. Every recipe has a picture, the recipes include prep time, cook time, how many each dish typically serves and level of difficulty. What's not to love? A few favorites include Grilled Tuna with Tomato and Mozzarella Salad (divine in the late summer when tomatoes are bursting off the vines) and Garbanzo Bean and Feta Couscous Salad. My next attempt will be mussels, I'm a little frightened off by the debearding but I'm going to try their recipe for Mussels in Garlic, White Wine and Tarragon ASAP.

Friday evening a local chef is giving a cooking demonstration and preparing dinner for friends and I in their home. Hopefully I'll learn some great tips on debearding mussels.

Drop me a comment and let me know if and when you will be in the Chicago area and I will invite you over for a meal!

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