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Archive for the ‘Cookbooks’ Category

Cooky Book

It’s already December 14 and I haven’t even started my holiday baking. Augh! I’m so behind. Meanwhile, I thought I’d procrastinate even longer by showing you this great book that belonged to my Great Aunt. Every year she baked a traditional holiday cookie called BerlinerKranser.

Now that I have her Cooky Book I feel obligation and honored to bake a batch to share with the family. I’ll post a photo just as soon as I can get ’em done!

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I love Ina. She’s so real. And she loves to use lots of cream and booze in her feed. Did I mention I love Ina?

Her newest book, Barefoot Contessa, How Easy Is That? is definitely on my wish list. Is it on yours?

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Tracy gave me this beautiful cookbook for my birthday. She obviously knows my love for Farmer’s Markets, particularly the St. Paul Farmer’s Market. The recipes are organized by season and includes a preserving section, which is just around the corner.

There are so many good recipes in here, but this one for the Plum Tarte just made my mouth water. Can’t you just taste the butter in that crust? Yum.

Thanks, Tracy!

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I just finished The Tenth Muse: My Life Food, by Judith Jones. I had to wait a few months for this one from the library, but it was well worth the wait. Jones is the editor who published many amazing cookbooks, most notably, Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child and Simone Beck. She published many other books, including those by Madhur Jaffrey and Claudia Roden. It’s a wonderful, quick read that takes you from one end of the food world to another. I found one thing to be curious, though. For years Jones helped cookbook authors piece together their stories to be presented in an orderly way, but I felt this book could have used some of that editing. There were few references to the year, and the chapters skipped from one topic to the next. Sometimes it was hard to keep up. Regardless, I recommend it. And at the end, she provides a number of fascinating recipes that she writes about. This woman really helped to change the way we cook at home in America. And to that I say, Thank You.

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Timatar murghi

Cookbook by Madhur Jaffrey

Also known as Chicken with Tomatoes and Garam Masala

Dinner last night was taken from a cookbook I borrowed from the Library. Much cheaper than buying one cookbook after another, I’ve decided to scour the shelves of my branch library for a variety and then just photocopy the recipes I might actually make. I started with Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking. While there were a number of recipes that looked great, I only copied about six that I actually thought I would make. Even then, I had to take a field trip out to Bloomington to an Indian market to find a couple ingredients.

The main ingredient that I needed were http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardamom. (Click here for more on the Pods.), as well as some Naan. I bought three bags of Naan (2 frozen, 1 fresh) so I can try them all and pick a favorite. As usual, I was the only blonde in the store. Which is just fine. If too many Scandinavians were shopping, I’d be looking elsewhere for my spices. I found what I needed, as well as a huge bag of Cumin Seeds, and was on my way.

I wish you could smell this

The recipe was really easy, and I truly wish you would have been able to smell the spices as they crackled in the pan. A combination of the cumin seeds, bay leaf, a cinnamon stick and those pods created quite a fragant scent. Then, to make it even better, I threw in garlic, onions and ginger. Now you’re talking. The smell nearly sent me over the edge. And then, to tone it down, I added the chicken and a whole beast of fresh tomatoes. You know, the recipe called for peeled tomatoes, and I skipped that step, knowing that the whole thing would simmer for 25 minutes and the skins would become a non-issue. I was right.

Chicken with Tomatoes and Garam Masala

After simmering, the chicken was tender, the onions were sweet and the tomatoes were a thick paste. I removed the spices (bay leaf and pods easy, black peppercorn not easy) and served it over basmati rice with the onion naan. It was good. I added a dash of crushed red pepper because I add it to everything and we nearly slopped up the whole pan. (See Recipe Below).

We’ll make it again, which is funny, because I didn’t think Husband liked Indian. Huh. Oh, and I’ll have the recipe up soon. Email me if you’re dying to try it.

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I know, I know, I kind of tore into Padma and her new cookbook, Tangy, Tart, Hot & Sweet, but some of the recipes looked good. We tried to Tamarind-Glazed Cod the other day, and unfortunately, were again, disappointed. Not sure if it was the cod, or maybe the tamarind, but the result was bland.

So, I ask all of you out there, was it the Tamarind? I bought this little jar of Tamarind at an Indian grocery in Boulder, Colorado. The recipe called for a golf-ball sized ball of the Tamarind Paste. When I opened my cute little jar, I realized mine is in the liquid form. Given its a thick liquid, but there was no way I would be making ball out of it unless it was frozen.

Here are a couple links to more information on Tamarind; on wikipedia and gourmetsleuth.com.

So could that have been the problem? The flavor was there, it was just weak. The recipe comments say that you’ll be liking the thick, sticky sauce from the plate. I didn’t see much of a sauce, and it certainly wasn’t thick.

The good news were the green beans. It’s one of the decent looking vegetables I can find in the depths of winter. I’ve been sauteing them with just a touch of olive oil and a drop of sesame oil. When they get charred and tender they’re ready to go. Toasted pine nuts add a final, special touch.

Give it a shot, let me know what you think:

Tamarind, ginger and honey-glazed cod


1 oz (golf-ball size) knob of tamarind pulp

4 6-oz code fillets, skin on

2 T toasted sesame oil

Black pepper and sea salt

1/2 cup diced onions

2 T minced ginger

1 1/2 t honey


1. cover the pulp with 1 1/2 cups boiling water, breaking up the mass with a form to make a gravy

2. preheat the broiler

3. place the cod fillets , skin sides down, in a broiling pan. Brush the fillets with 1 T of sesame oil to coat well. Season with pepper and salt to taste and aside.

4. In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat the remaining tablespoon of toasted sesame pil. Add the diced onions and sauté for 4-5 minutes, and then stir in the ginger. When the onions begin to soften, through a fine-mesh strainer, pourin the tamarind gravy. Reduce the sauce by half to about 3/4 cup, and add the honey after 5 minutes. Add salt to taste.

5. Place the cod in the upper rack to broil for 2 minutes until the fillets just start to color. Remove the cod and turn the oven to 425°F.

6. Pour the tamarind glaze over the fish fillets, grind some black pepper over them, and return them to the oven, on a high rack. Cook for an additional 5-7 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets. Serve immediately with noodles, rice, or sautéed vegetables. Serves 4.

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