Sunday, March 3, 2013

What is your standard cooking bible?

Let's get to know our blogger, shall we?

Seriously, I've been getting asked questions on my facebook group and page.
I thought I would answer some of them publicly.
Hope it helps shed some light on me as well as knowledge to you.

I have been asked which standard cookbooks I typically use for everyday items.

To be perfectly honest, up until recetly, I sucked at cooking and didn't enjoy it.
I thought that someone like me just scored when I married a trained cook.
What they don't tell you, is that someone who does something for a living is NOT going to want to do it when they come home from work.... 
The fact that I don't enjoy preparing food collides with the realization that one must prepare food if one wants to survive and be healthy.

Since I had no interest in learning to cook in my youth, I floundered with my health and suffered for years because of it.  Too much processed food and fast food options caused numerous trips to the emerg with random ailments related to too much refined sugar and not enough fruit and vegetables in my diet.

In terms of cooking for my family, I believe that as long as its home made, I can make a more nutritous, balanced diet while controlling the ingredients and preservatives that enter our systems.

Since my cooking education was pretty much starting from the beginning...I thought I better have
a guide on how to do the most basic things in cooking and baking.
In my husband's extensive cookbook collection, I found my salvation.

I could not live without the following cooking manual:

I say cooking manual because this isn't just a collection of recipes.
The above book is a collected work of the most basic recipes and techniques for a multitude of cultures and cuisines.

The go-to recipes I use in this text are the following:
-apple crisp
-basic rolled biscuits
-any kind of meat I haven't cooked before...this book talks about how to prepare most cuts of meat in a variety of ways
-pancakes from scratch

My husband is more familiar with the cook book text book from his college days:

This tome intimidates I prefer to stick with something more published for the masses.

My sister swears by the Fanny Farmer cookbook from our childhood.

Everyone has their standard...or if really should invest in one.
Hit a local bookstore and search the cookbook section.
Ask a relative.
See if the book has recipes with which you are accustomed.

While I find that the internet is fantastic for searching for new recipes with old ingredients,
but there is something to be said for the old stand-by you reach for when you need something familiar.

For example, we made ribs the other night
(which is something I never used to make, but its quickly becoming a family favorite)
and needed a side dish.
Page 17 of the Joy of Cooking illustrates ideas for whole menus.
I found a section on what goes great with BBQ...and I found hushpuppies.

The Joy Of Cooking usually has a short blurb before the actual nitty-gritty of the recipe.
This one was no exception:

As found in The Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer:


Fishermen used to fry this savory corn batter in the same lard as the catfish.  (which was funny when, upon smelling the hushpuppies in the frying pan, my husband thought I was making fish).  Legend has it that they threw some to the clamorous dogs with the admonition "Hush, puppy". 

mix together in a bowl:
1 2/3 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp ground black pepper *
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 red pepper*

whisk together in another bowl:
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk**
1/2 grated onions***
*i used a bit more than a tsp of mixed red, white, green and black peppercorns
** i used  milk, but would probably try cream next time
*** i used chopped onions

  • add to the cornmeal mixture and stir until the dry ingredients are moistened.
  • heat 1 in of veg oil or shortening in a skillet
  • use a tablespoon to measure out and gently drop the batter in the oil
  • adjust the heat so that each side becomes golden brown and crispy in approx 60 sec
  • use a slotted spoon to flip them over and repeat on opposite side
  • transfer to baking sheet lined with paper towl and keep warm in a 200 degree C oven
  • repeat with remaining batter

Serve warm - Goes great with BBQ!

BBQ Ribs with Green beans and Hushpuppies

These babies ended up tasting like a deep fried corn bread biscuit.
Great dipped in the home made BBQ sauce, but
Definitely different, but I'm not so sure how often I'd be serving these up
for health reasons.

What is YOUR standard cooking bible?
(and what do you use it for mostly?)

1 comment:

  1. I ended up self-publishing my own cookbook of favourite recipes, Mom's Recipes, for my grown kids when they moved out (I've also given them for wedding and birthday gifts) - my kids kept phoning me for different recipes!
    But my overall, hands-down favourite cookbook is Whole Foods for the Whole Family (available here^title005 or amazon). It's full of basic recipes that are tested and delicious. Highly recommended!