Friday, June 15, 2012

What's on My Cookbook Shelf?

A few weeks ago I bought this (kind of ugly) hutch in the hopes of refinishing it later this summer. I couldn't resist. It was $15. (I heart Craigslist.)

I bought it to store some of my random mismatched dishware I use as props when I take photos for my blog. I didn't want my kids messing with whatever I put on the bottom shelf, so on went a few of my favorite cookbooks.

Choosing books for that shelf was an interesting exercise because I hadn't considered which were my favorite until now. When Mindy asked for every title on the shelf (and the photo) I figured I could work it into a post somehow. And I always do what Mindy tells me to do.

I also realized that I don't use cookbooks often for everyday meal preparation, but more for baking, desserts, or special occasions. For menu planning, I tend to grab recipes from my food magazines, other food blogs, and (when I get lucky) come up with my own creations.

Here's my list!

Baking: From My Home to Yours

Dorie Greenspan is a baking legend, at least in the online/blogging world. This particular book of hers is a big, hefty book with beautiful recipes and photos. It's got everything: breakfast baked goods, fancy cakes, cookies, spoon desserts...

Tested and loved: Pumpkin Muffins, Allspice Muffins, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Corny Corn Muffins

A Passion for Baking

This book by Marcy Goldman is one I would turn to if I was in the mood to bake a ridiculously rich, over-the-top dessert. She doesn't just include desserts in this book, though, and there are a lot of savory recipes as well.

Tested and loved: Cinn-a-bun Cheesecake, Garlic-Slathered Stretch Bread (both of these are blow-your-ever-loving-mind good)
The Perfect Scoop

David Lebovitz's book is my ice cream bible. I kid you not. It's the very first place I go for a recipe or for inspiration. There are ice creams, granitas, frozen yogurts, and sorbets as well as toppings, "vessels" (waffle cones, cups, etc.), and mix-ins. The brownie recipe from this book is my go-to and has that gooey consistency of a box mix.

Tested and loved: Chewy-Dense Brownies, Semi-Sweet Hot Fudge, Green Apple and Sparkling Cider Sorbet, Pina Colada Sherbet, Cheesecake Ice Cream, Lemon Buttermilk Sherbet, Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

This method of baking bread by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois completely changed the way I bake bread. If I do bake bread, I do it their way. Basically you make one big batch of dough that you keep in the fridge and pull out when you want to make a loaf, or some rolls, or some pizza/flatbread. One batch of dough will last you 3-4 loaves so you don't have to make dough as much! Plus, most of the recipes are whole-grain (or can be easily adapted).

Tested and loved: Whole Grain Roasted Garlic & Rosemary Crusty Bread (I've made a lot more, but that's the only one I posted because of the length of explaining the technique. It makes great pizza dough, too!)

 The Roasted Vegetable

This book was my very first RFS review! After checking it out from the library several times, I decided that it had to be part of my collection. It feeds on my love of roasted vegetables, and we've loved just about everything we've tried from it!

Tested and loved: Stacked Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas (the most popular recipe on my blog for the past several months), Roasted Potato Salad with Parmesan-Herb Dressing, Mediterranean Roasted Vegetable Pie

Easy Indian Cooking

My husband and I have a thing for Indian food. I've found so many wonderful, approachable recipes in this book for those who are new to Indian cooking and for those who aren't. It's my go-to book if I'm feeling ethnically adventurous during meal planning.

Tested and loved:  Baked Fish Fillets with Yogurt Topping, Egg Curry, Sindhi Chicken Curry, Masala-Baked Chicken (both of these will be on the blog soon)

On Food and Cooking

Although this book has a scattering of recipes, it really isn't a recipe book, but more of a reference book to the history and science of cooking. Translation: food nerd book. I haven't picked up this book in a while, but I used to read a chapter or two before going to bed at night. It can be heavy on chemistry at times (I skip those parts. Chemistry scares me.), but the history is absolutely fascinating and the tips shared are priceless.

There are a few others that I keep on my shelf for sentimental or other reasons, even if I don't use them as often:

Sizzling Skillets and One-Pot Wonders - I reviewed this one for RFS a while back, and I like having it on my shelf because the spine has Emeril's face on it. I've always wanted a bear hug from that man and his smile makes me happy.

Farmer's Market Desserts - Another RFS review book that I turn to, particularly in the summer, when I'm looking for fruit-based, lighter desserts.

In the Small Kitchen - Dare I admit that I put this book on my shelf because the spine is hot pink? Yes, it has some great recipes, too. (And I even reviewed it last year for RFS.)

Tyler Florence: Family Meal - One of my best friends and I got to meet Tyler at a signing for this book. He's one of my most favorite Food Network celebs, and I felt like a 14-year-old girl at a Justin Bieber concert (but in a more mature, "we're both married so I'd rather not make out" kind of way).

Pioneer Woman: Food from my Frontier - In a similar way, I was excited to get an autographed copy of Ree's newest book in the mail, just for contributing to her Tasty Kitchen Blog. We're practically best friends. She just doesn't know it yet. (Review coming this summer!)

1 comment:

MindySue said...

Great post, Natalie! If you really do everything I tell you too then: Move to Yakima and make me dinner every night!!


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