Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Cookbook Three--Ten Dollar Dinners

Confession, I don't watch the program this book was a companion to.  I am a lover of the Public Library.  I have two must scroll through areas at my local place of bliss, I mean The Madison Library.  I go first to the New Books area.  Then I go through the Cookbooks.  Ah, rows of cookbooks to consider.  You probably know where I am going with this, I first found this book at the library.

I had to try the Smoked Tuna Spread.  I know this sounds lackluster to most people.  I am a big fan of Smoked Tuna Dip found in many restaurants on the Gulf Coast.  My last visit, I had four different varieties.  This recipe was delicious, so good in fact I decided to order myself my own copy of the book.  This one recipe alone is worth the price of the book.  I have made in many times since.

The Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup was a hit with my whole family.  It's an easy dinner since it is left to cook all day in the slow cooker.  It doesn't particularly photograph well, but imagine a nice tomato, black bean, spicy chicken soup.  I topped mine with avocado and cilantro, two of my favorite flavors.

The next two recipes I made were deserts.  Earl Grey Pots de Creme.  Surprisingly easy, yet impressive looking.  Earl Grey is another favorite of mine.

Chocolate Poundcake was easy and seems to improve with age.  It was good yesterday after it cooled, but had a better texture this afternoon for an after school snack for my daughter.

Other noteworthy recipes in this cookbook is the Kale and Crispy Bacon Salad, which is delicious.  I also want to try the Black Bean Nacho Burger, Bread Pudding, and Pan Fried Potatoes.  Definitely a keeper.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Cookbook Number Two---The Lady & Sons Savannah Country Cookbook

Five Recipes that I haven't made before from Paula Deen's cookbook, I would keep this book for the amazing dressings and sauces.  I hadn't paid much attention to this category of recipes before.

I started out the new year with black eyed peas and The Lady's Cheesy Mac on page 78.  It was popular with my family, so I would likely make it again.  The second recipe I made was Poppyseed Dressing page 111.  Oh, it is amazing.  I noticed while making it that it was paleo friendly so I took it to work to share with my coworkers, who are following a paleo diet.  There is agreement with my coworkers, this is a keeper recipe. 

The Lady's BBQ Sauce on page 108 would be excellent basted on on the grill.  It wasn't quite the texture I was looking for as a dipping sauce.  Oh the Twice Baked Potatoes, they were a winner.  Simple ingredients and basic techniques for this comfort food.  They were perfect on a snowy January day.  The the recipe is on page 79.  


The final recipe was Sweet & Sour Dressing.  The Poppyseed Dressing was such a hit that I decided to try another dressing.  I tried it on cucumber slices and the balance of the sweet and sour was just right.  

I have had this book for quite a few years.  I think it is a keeper.  I am going to explore more of the breads and dressings for sure.  

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Lots of Cookbooks

I have been cooking a lot.  I  really liked this salad dressing from Paula Deen.   It's worth making again. I have a few more to make from this cook book and I will write a longer review of my thoughts about it.

Mario Batali gave me a whole new thought about oranges.  Balsamic and Black Pepper Clementines?  Yes and it was delicious.

I have an amazing Banana Bread Recipe.  It is so good that a friend commented on Facebook about the following picture that it can't beat my other banana bread recipe.  I think she's right, but this one really is delicious.

This Salted Carmel drink is really good.  We had it while visiting Epcot and it tasted just like it did that day.  Josh and the girls gave me the Epcot Cookbook for Christmas following the Thanksgiving we spent there.  

A lot of cooking and baking and I am really enjoying it all.  I have more recipes to try before I summarize any of the books mentioned above.  I thought I would give an update, because I am still challenging myself.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Lu Lu's Chicken Salad

So, this is going to sound REALLY dramatic.  Truth, this is the best recipe I have made this year so far.  It is the very best chicken salad I have ever made.  It may be the best chicken salad that I have ever eaten.  

Her method of cooking chicken breasts I am going to use again and again for cooked chicken.  I already used that method for chicken I needed to add to a soup recipe.  

I have cooked many recipes from Lu Lu's cookbook over the years without a miss, this book is packed with restaurant quality recipes.  I had never considered this one, but wow.  I am glad I branched out.  

Monday, January 4, 2016

Cookbook One--The Clinton Presidential Center Cookbook

I received this book as a gift from my father in law, Tim, when The Clinton Presidential Library opened in 2003.  I have made Mary Steenburgen's Cheese Grits many times since then.

I have chosen five recipes, although there were more that really spoke to me.  I will have to go back and tackle James Carville's Jambalaya another time.  I made Hillary's Chocolate Chip Cookies first.   I remember the press about them in 1992 beating Barbara Bush's recipe, but I had never had them.

My second recipe today was Arkansas Cornbread from page 100. We ate it with out traditional Southern black eyed peas and ham for New Years Day. 

I switched up things a bit from my original list to make Baked Gouda instead of the the Hot Artichoke Dip.  

Pralines, yes I am a fan.  Although I had never tried to make them. They didn't set up the first try, so I scraped it all back in a bowl and cooked it a few extra minutes.  Surprisingly, that worked.  

I have one more to make from this cookbook that I am planning to make for dinner tomorrow.  I admit, I love this book.  It is full of interesting stories from the contributors.  I don't keep it a secret that I love Clinton Presidential Library.    

About the cookbook challenge, sometimes I change my mind.  So, I have been listing recipes I am interested in making on the post it notes that I stick on the front cover of the book.  I have listed more than five and will make the five I am interested in at the time.   When I went to make the recipes selected from this book,  I decided the enchiladas didn't look like something most of my family would be interested in.  I opted to make pralines. 

Best recipe so far from this book are Hillary's cookies.  Although I have high hopes for tomorrow's recipe.

Update:  Betty K's Sesame Tofu contributed by Christie Brinkley was a hit. 

It was the top choice of the five I made from this book.  I would definitely make it again.  This cookbook is a keeper.  Fun to read, interesting recipes, a lot of variety, and I fell in love with my husband in college when he had a Clinton/Gore campaign sign on his dorm room door.