Monday, May 02, 2011

Cooking with Jordana

And these are just the cookbooks I keep in the kitchen...

If you came to my house, you would see that I have a lot of cookbooks. Although I do look up recipes on the internet, not infrequently, I still prefer a well-edited cookbook.  Naturally, amongst the all the books I have, there are those I turn to almost weekly and those I use less often, but can't bear to part with either.  Here are my current favorites. What are yours?

1.  Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day
I love bread, but I've been a yeast-o-phobe for years. I couldn't even make good bread in a bread machine consistently.  Then I found these books and I bake stuff all the time. You can find the basic bread recipe on-line, but there are so many wonderful recipes in these books -- broccoli cheese bread, whole wheat brioche (which I used as the base for the hot cross buns), pizza dough, naan, pita bread, Volkorn Brot, panettone. I've liked everything I have made.

2. 660 Curries
I cook Indian food almost every week and I have several good cookbooks, but this is my new favorite.  My husband got it for my birthday a year or two ago and I turn to it more often than any of my other Indian cookbooks. Favorite recipes include: chana masala, mattar paneer (my oldest son's very favorite Indian dish of all), aloo ghobi, and lentils with garlic and bay leaves.

3. America's Test Kitchen: Family Cookbook
You won't find any more thoroughly tested recipes than those from America's Test Kitchen. Though I occasionally complain that some of their recipes are fiddly or a bit too complicated, they always turn out very, very well. There are so many recipes in the book, from exotic to comfort foods and I always pleased. I love their recipe from Indian-spiced Lentils (again with the Indian food, I know!), German apple pancake, tuna noodle casserole, Mexican rice and many others.

4. Ken Hom's Foolproof Chinese Cooking
My husband grew up as a missionary's kid in Taiwan, so he has fairly high standards for Chinese food. He always seems to enjoy the things I've made from this book and although I tend to stick to the same favorites, everyone gobbles them down. I love the simplicity of the fried rice (although I add a few extra vegetables to it),  the kung po chicken is always a favorite (okay, I add some carrots to this one too) and the broccoli and green bean recipes are absolutely awesome.

5. Marcia Adams' cookbooks: Cooking from Quilt Country, New Recipes from Quilt Country, and Heirloom Recipes
I got one or two of these cookbooks from my husband's grandmother.  I can't remember where I picked up the third, but I love them all. Maybe because I grew up in the heart of Ohio Amish country or maybe because the recipes are just fantastic and hearty.  The pies are especially wonderful, although I have to admit that I didn't exactly love the sauerkraut chess pie all that much.  I make the cornbread muffins from the Heirloom recipe book almost weekly and the strawberry tapioca pudding makes my children cheer.

6. The Barefoot Contessa cookbooks
Although I grew up cooking and messing around in the kitchen, I think these books were part of my growing into a much better cook. It doesn't hurt that she uses a pound of butter in most of the baking recipes, of course. Yum.  The pan seared salmon and lentils in the French book? So simple and so delicious.

7. Twelve Months of Monastery Soups
Especially in the winter, I cook a lot of soup. I love soup and always have.  However, growing up, good soup came from restaurants and at home soup came from a can. I never knew as a child that you could make soup -- let alone broth.  What a revelation that was when I finally, as a teenager, figured out that soup didn't have to come out of a can and be reconstituted.  When you love soup, what could be better than a cookbook of soups?  Not much.  And this one is full of delicious, simple, often vegetarian soups.  Perfect for Lent or Friday meals -- especially when paired with a loaf of crusty bread made from the cookbook at the top of the list.

So, those are some of my go-to cookbooks. As I asked before, what are yours?


melissa said...

Yeah, I'm a cookbook addict as well. Btw, LOVE your kitchen if it all looks so cool as in the photo. :)

Marcia said...

ah. How did you know I was in a food rut? Thanks. I love the Artisan bread book...must revisit that one. Indian food is a favorite around here. So the currie book will be a must.
My top pick from this Lent was 125 best Vegetarian Slow cooker recipes by Judith Finlayson.

Jordana said...

Melissa, my kitchen is still not all finished and happens to be inhabited by a bunch of less than tidy people. It is pretty though and fancier than I ever expected to have or even would have picked, had it been designed by me.

Marcia, I'll need to look up that slow cooker book. I love using my crockpot and we usually give up meat for Lent, so I'm always looking for good vegetarian food.

Amy said...

I also LOVE Barefoot Contessa. Her recipes are amazing. I've looked at the Monastery soup book before but didn't buy it. Maybe I will for this winter.

I adore my Southern Living Annnual Recipes cookbooks. My MIL gives me the latest one every Christmas, so I have every year from 1994-2010, plus a few of the 1980s ones. Excellent books - huge variety, well tested, great pictures, some of my all-time favorite recipes have come from those books. (I'm about to have to build them their own bookshelf!)

Mary @ A Simple Twist Of Faith said...

I will say I borrow the Artisan bread book from the libary this winter, and then promptly got sick. I need to borrow it again, and try some recipes. I have heard great things about the book. For me, simple is best and I hae been using my old Better Homes and Gardens cookbook and my Mom's Betty Crocker cookbook. Good solid recipes, cheap ingredients, that's my season in cooking right now.

Michelle Smiles said...

I love the hood over your stove. Lovely!

I've got a couple of those books on my Amazon wish list but I haven't bought any because I am horrible about not using the cookbooks I have. Love cookbooks!

Crosby Kenyon said...

I love the idea of Monastery Soup and not just as a conceptual book. Homemade soup that's been cooking for days--meditative in the anticipation and in the eating.

Janis Gore said...

Thanks for the recommend on the 660 Curries. My snotty Louisiana foodies like Indian, too.

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