October 14, 2008


UPDATE: Those burgers were indeed horrendous, even though Benedict ate an entire burger and the other kids ate about half each, which is pretty good...Still, definitely not a keeper.

Here are a few cookbooks I've recently used/bought/borrowed.

I only discovered Barefoot Contessa recently and she has already become one of my favorite cookbook authors. I bought this book from Costco and checked out the other ones from the library. I think this one has the best recipes. I made her "Parmesan Chicken", "Lasagna with Turkey Sausage" (I used an Italian sausage instead), "Zucchini with Parmesan","Parmesan Roasted Asparagus", "Garlic Sauteed Spinach" and her "Mashed Potatoes". Everything always comes out very good, except for the spinach recipe, but that's because it's hard to cook spinach perfectly, without overcooking. Her mashed potatoes are our favorites. I've made them several times already. The only downside is that she uses a little more fat than many of us are comfortable with (one of the reasons why my mother in law doesn't like her).

I just bought this one. It was $9 at Target and now after I read the Amazon reviews, I'm sorry I wasted my money. The author, who is Jerry Seinfeld's wife, had this amazing idea, which she apparently plagiarized from some other author, of adding small amounts of vegetable or fruit purees to kid friendly recipes (cauliflower in mac and cheese, broccoli in chicken nuggets etc). I'm making her burger with mushrooms today and I really hope they will turn out OK. Many of the reviewers said that nothing they made from that book was edible. One more reason why you should read reviews BEFORE buying a book.

A few years ago, when we lived in Ballard, a Seattle neighborhood, "Ray's Boathouse" was one of our favorite restaurants (and we did go to restaurants much more often back then, since we only had two kids). They have amazing seafood. I've been wanting to buy their cook book for many years and finally did it this summer, when my in-laws where here. My sister in law, Patricia, was so impressed with the book, that she bought one herself. They have them at Costco for about a 40% discount. I know Dominic and I made more than one recipe from this book already but there's one that I remember well, the "Seafood Risotto with Morels and Chanterelles". We made it without seafood, just with the wild mushrooms added to our already much loved risotto and it was delicious. Wild mushrooms can be expensive but we found an affordable solution: the small bag of mixed dried wild mushrooms from Trader Joes, for about $4.99. It's enough for a big pot of risotto, serving 10 or so.

I borrowed this William Sonoma book from the library when my dad was visiting. He loves salmon and I wanted to make some food using local ingredients, which this book suggests. There was one recipe there that I remember making, but I don't know its name. It was a salmon with a delicious red wine sauce (they suggested an Oregon Pinot Noir, but I just used a chep red wine I had in the house, which worked out just fine). I'm pretty sure we had this with Barefoot Contessa's mashed potatoes. The salmon was a nice alternative to our usual grilled salmon with salmon rub.


Anonymous said...

The salmon was really yummy!
So, don't waste good wine for food.
Drink it!
Irina's dad

Tirzah said...

I LOVE Barefoot Contessa; even Jack loves watching her show, there's something really soothing about her voice and her presence in the kitchen. She does use a lot of fat, and I find that most recipes turn out fine if I just use a little less heavy cream than she calls for.
Funny coincidence: Aaron made her saihuteed spinach on Sunday night and didn't like how it turned out. He thinks he used too much lemon, but I thought it had an awful lot of garlic in it.

When I Grow Up said...

Yum, all those recipes sound really good! Can I come over for dinner sometime :)

Mike and I eat pretty plainly, since he is a bit of a picky eater (hence the name of his blog). But I would like to still try out new dishes, even if it's just me eating it while he eats a simpler version. I think I'll check out Costco's cookbooks. Thanks for the informative post!