Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Book Sixty-Two: Today's Gourmet

by Jacques Pepin

              Chicken Legs with Wine & Yams

Comfort food at its simplest.

This makes a great weeknight meal for it is so fast and easy to prepare. All the ingredients other than the onion are left whole or halved and everything is cooked in one pot.

Success meter (1-3): 3

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Book Sixty-One: Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2009

                      Cranberry-Oatmeal Bars

As I was looking for something to make for dinner these appeared before my eyes; and I have been wanting to bring a treat to the girls at the bank for some time, and cranberry bars fit the bill perfectly this time of year.

The filling for these bars tastes out of this world. Cranberry and orange together is what peanut butter is to jelly - the perfect combination. The scent of these bars baking alone puts you in a state of bliss.

Why do recipes say "cool completely"? Is it to protect themselves from a lawsuit if one is burned? When something smells as good as these cranberry bars do it is impossible to wait till completely cool to have a nibble. These are good - though a bit sweet - could probably cut the sugar by half. However I will not be sending these to the girls at the bank for I overcooked them a tad and I want perfection when I give my baked goods as a gift.

I'm sure the boys will enjoy them.

Success meter (1-3): 3

Look at all the yummy bits of orange zest!

Book Sixty: The Low Fat Good Food Cookbook

by Martin & Terri Katahn

            Chicken with Leeks and Mushrooms

Love one pot (dish) meals! Everything went into the baking dish; rice, broth, chicken, mushrooms, and leeks. Talk about easy preparation!! After only a couple of minutes in the oven the aroma was wafting through my kitchen. It was hard to wait the ninety minutes for it to bake.

This recipe calls for Mrs. Dash which I did not have, so I used some dried oregano and thyme and of course salt and pepper.

Dud! Ohhh this was a disappointment... I knew when I prepped this and put it in the oven that I should have covered it with foil. Having the leeks and mushroom strewn atop the chicken they would not be in contact with the broth on the bottom. I should have gone with my instinct. The mushrooms and leeks were very dry as well as my chicken. This does have potential - it had nice flavor. Maybe if the leeks and mushrooms were sautéed first before topping the chicken and then covering with foil to trap in moisture, this would have had a better outcome.

Success meter (1-3): 1

I was a little short on rice.

Can you say dry?!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Book Fifty-Nine: The Professional Chef, 7th Edition

by The Culinary Institute of America

                Stewed Chickpeas with Tomato,
                      Zucchini, and Cilantro

Well... this turned out quite good being that I did not follow the recipe as instructed. I had even thought of not posting this as I was preparing it; but one bite changed my mind for it has a wonderful flavor. My husband thinks this would taste really good wrapped up in a tortilla.

The recipe calls for dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans), which I'm sure I have not seen at my local market -not that I have looked - so I used canned and proceeded to step 3 of the instructions. Tomato concassé (which are tomatoes, skinned, seeded, and diced) is also called for and again I reached for the can. I used petit diced canned tomatoes - drained, reserving the juice to add later.

The book states this makes 10 portions. I cut the recipe by half and served over brown rice. It made enough to serve the two of us. I'm assuming this was to be served as a side-dish; even then I think it would only make about 8 servings.

I may post again from this book. With a title like "The Professional Chef" and it being so big and heavy, I feel it deserves making something a bit more elaborate.

Success meter (1-3): 3

I added two Dragon Thai Chili Peppers.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Book Fifty-Eight: Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics

by Ina Garten

                     Mustard-Roasted Fish

To say that this was another wonderful and easy recipe from Ina is an understatement. I really should reach for her books more often.

This would be great for company; as Andy said "this is restaurant quality". You will actually be able to hang with your guests rather than slaving away in the kitchen before and after the meal. Typing the recipe actually took longer than it did to prepare the dish, and clean-up was minimal.

Success meter (1-3): 3

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Book Fifty-Seven: Vegetable

by Williams-Sonoma

                  Leek and Goat Cheese Tart

I was originally looking for a light and healthy recipe after eating Halloween candy all week long; and light and healthy to me usually ends up being fish or salad and I had fish two nights in a row this week and salad just did not fit the bill with the cold and rainy day we were having.

I pulled out this book and was ready to make the Escalivada and just have a big bowl of veggies with french bread. Then I saw this recipe and could not pass it up; not only for my love of leeks and Gruyere cheese, but I had all the ingredients on hand except for the leeks! I love when I can use up what I have in the fridge; this does not happen often enough for me. With the rainy day we were having, this sounded so much more comforting than a cold salad. Light and healthy will have to wait...

Oh the aroma...

Success meter (1-3): 3+

Don't waste your time on a fancy border -
 it does not hold.

make sure to trim your paper if you
think it will hit your heating element.

So much for the fancy border.

Not the best looking crust I have made -
 I also forgot to prick the bottom with a fork
after the first part of baking.
 (did it after the fact)