Cook (those) books. Spring edition.

Social media is a funny thing. It’s a superficial entity filled with soundbites and pictures of the perfect moments of our lives. (Lets not even talk about all the pouty lipped “selfies” out there) Arguments could be made that it both brings societies and people closer together and yet somehow manages to isolate us even further. After all, we’ve all seen the table filled with people using their smart phones rather than having an actual conversation. I like to think though that used the right way social media is a great way to make new friends and keep up with old ones.

Spring dogwood

And that’s just what happened. A couple of weeks ago I had the great fortune of meeting an online twitter and blog friend Jeanette Ordas from the delicious website Everybody Likes Sandwiches. In our brief (in person!) chat we, not surprisingly, talked about blogging and cookbooks. It got me thinking that it had been awhile since I had written a Cook(those)books post about the recipes I’ve been trying from my cookbook collection. So, with thanks to Jeanette, a blog post was born.

As I flipped through my kitchen notebook to see what I had been cooking lately I realized that there were three recipes that had made several appearances. Winter Slaw from Plenty which you can find here; the chickpea fries from Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach; and one of Jeanettes recipes, Simple Crusty White Bread.

First. The winter slaw. This is a great recipe. It’s refreshing and filled with taste and texture. I’ve tried it with different nuts, added beans for protein and served it with chicken, fish and beef. I do find I like a bit more zest than the recipe calls for and that the coating on the nuts is a bit sweet but those are easy fixes and heck, it’s probably just me. The last couple of times I have made it I added a few more chili flakes and used a tablespoon of maple syrup to replace the sugar for the perfect hot and sweet combination. Don’t let the recipe name limit this to just the winter months though. It would be a great and easy addition to a summer barbeque or picnic.

Next up Chick pea fries. Oh my gosh. Where have you been all of my life? Now in regular rotation in weekly menu planning the mildly pathetic part is I don’t actually even own this cookbook (yet). I have however had it out of the library several times and given it to at least three friends as a gift. I wouldn’t say these are the ultimate in health food, but they could be worse and when you are really craving fries, these will more than satisfy that need. The hardest part about this recipe is finding the chickpea flour. Once you find it though they couldn’t be simpler. Just to add to their appeal they keep, uncooked, in the fridge for up to three days. I’ve used the spice mixture with chicken and devilled eggs too. My only suggestion is when you try them, don’t feel you need to fry them in as much oil as the recipe suggests. I’ve put a tablespoon of coconut oil in a large frying pan and they have worked perfectly. Eat them as part of a regularly scheduled meal or place some on a bed of salad greens and top with a poached egg for the ultimate lunchtime experience.

Bread Dough

Lastly bread. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I’m not a baker. I don’t really eat desserts and I try not to eat too much bread, so I’ve never made a point of trying to learn how to bake them. At least until recently. I realized that it might be smart to know a few basics. Ah. Such a slippery slope. One lazy morning I saw Jeanettes post about this less than no-knead bread and thought “Ok. Lets give it a shot”. As an aside I have to say, there is a lot of pressure in my family to make good bread. My mother makes the best molasses brown bread on the planet and my husbands grandparents family actually owned and operated a bread bakery….Gulp. But I put on my big girl apron, pulled down the large mixing bowl and set to work.

It took about 5 minutes to mix, sat emitting yeasty goodness on the counter for a few hours, then after being popped on my pizza stone in a super hot oven with a steam bath underneath it, it baked. And then it was done. And so was I. My life will never be the same. I can no longer say I don’t make bread. Made with simple white flour this bread is rustic paradise (hurry up tomato season – I want a sandwich!), changing it up and trying with variations of whole wheat, spelt and kamut flours it takes on different textures and flavours just meant to be matched with different meals.

I’m not quite sure if I should thank Jeanette for introducing me (and my waistline) to bread making, but I will say “Thanks for the blog idea and it was great to meet you!”.

Bread

What cookbooks have you been cooking from lately?

2 thoughts on “Cook (those) books. Spring edition.

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