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Showing posts from March, 2010

Cookbook #14: Crêpes

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Adapted from Cookbook #14:  Crêpes (2002)

Recipe: Spinach Crêpes with Asparagus

March.  It makes us all feel as if spring is finally here.   It's 50 degrees all over the place.  Trees are in full blossom here in California, and some are even shaking off the tail ends of their bloom.  The Japanese maples have either budded or fully leafed, the daffodils are in their final blush, and it's time to start digging with purpose in the garden.  Funny how spring sprung about three weeks ago, but because of my Midwestern roots, I don't feel as if spring is here until the end of March.  Nonetheless, finally, it feels as if we have turned the calendar year into spring.

Spring is also the time for Paris.  While we're not quite to the requisite month, can't you just hear Ella Fitzgerald crooning it now:  "April in Paris, chestnuts in blossom"?  All those wonderful clichés about Paris in springtime.  Doris Day prancing around with Ray Bolger.  The City of Romance.  Hom…

Cookbook #13: Almost Vegetarian

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Adapted from Cookbook #13:  Almost Vegetarian (1994)

Recipe: Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

Pasta:  the ultimate comfort food, right?  Well, this was a week of failed pasta recipes from this cookbook.  I wanted these pasta dishes to work because I loved this cookbook back in the late 90s (lordy, this cookbook has been around for awhile).  So much so that pages 125 through 156 have broken away from the spine and now form a pull out pamphlet.  Full pages are stained from multiple makings of recipes and I have notes throughout the book: herald and celebrate the the eggplant pancakes (page 82), the cold sweet potato soup (61) (tastes like pumpkin pie but it's good for you!), the potato and leek soup (50) (with yogurt instead of cream!), tandoori-spiced chicken (177) (for all of us without a tandoor)!   However, given the week I just had with pages 120 and 206, I am just not sure I will open this cookbook for a while.

Page 210 is all about how to choose fresh fruit, particularly apple…

Cookbook #12: The New Irish Table

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Adapted from Cookbook # 12:  The New Irish Table (2003)

Recipe:  Poached Leeks with Pink Peppercorn Dressing

I ran a little behind this week with the post, but Sunday still counts as this week, right?  And in honor of St. Patrick's Day, I bring to you one of my two Irish cookbooks.  You might be thinking that one Irish cookbook is plenty, but I needed two.  Really, I did.  This Irish cookbook has 70 contemporary Irish dishes, while my other cookbook (which will make its appearance here sometime soon) has more traditional country cooking.  And I will have a lot to say about that when the time comes.

But let's focus on this cookbook.  Contemporary Irish cooking is pretty darned delightful.  When I was in college, I studied abroad in Galway,  and about five years ago I spent a summer in Donegal and Sligo. Back in college, I was on a tight budget.  Galway was the place to be:  I remember getting hearty bean soups and Irish soda bread for very little money at a little shop near (a…

Cookbook #11: Healthy Gourmet Cookbook

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Adapted from Cookbook #11:  Healthy Gourmet Cookbook (1994)

Recipe: German Apple Pancake

This cookbook does not have the most inspired or creative of titles, but it's still a pretty darned good cookbook.  Arranged by seasons and time of day (seriously, each season has a breakfast, dinner, and dessert section), the oversized book boasts that each recipe includes nutritional information, country of origin, and fantastic photographs. Tempted by most of the recipes, I can report that near to page 210 this winter, we also have Irish Brown Soda Bread, Smoked Chicken Hash, Sourdough French Toast with Poached Pear Sauce, and Butternut Squash Blintzes.  Yum. 

While this cookbook does not come from that series of really big coffee table cookbooks in the mid-nineties, I always associate it with them.  I used to work in a bookstore while I was in graduate school, and I was assigned the travel and cooking section, which I loved because it was inspirational.  Against one wall, we had all those…

Cookbook #10: Ajanta

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Adapted from Cookbook #10:  Ajanta  (2005)

Recipe: Gajar Aur Matar Ka Pulav (Vegetable Pilaf made with Carrots and Peas)

This is the blog entry that celebrates three of my favorite Indian restaurants:  Breads of India, Ajanta, and Bombay House.

Let's begin with Breads of India.  This tiny little restaurant doesn't have the ambiance of a fine dining establishment, but they make some damn fine gourmet Indian food.  They have a myriad of kulcha, chapati, paratha, and naan options (hence the name) that they recommend with each dish, and generally, they don't go wrong.  Sprinkle the naan with dill.  Stuff the kulcha with chickpeas.  Griddle-cook the paratha with ginger.  Yes, yes, please to all of the above.   The menu switches up daily, and they do take out.  Did you see that?  They do take out.  How many times have the husband and I watched movies from our couch while we ate samosas?  Generally our feeling after eating from Breads of India is one of disgust--at ourselves for…