Sunday, December 15, 2013

Cookery Nook

I wanted to write a post about my favorite cookbooks, but I couldn't decide which ones to choose. I have so many favorites! I finally decided to tell you about just three books from the long list and save the others for another time.

We'll begin with Faith Gorsky's An Edible Mosaic. Like Julia Child seeking to please her epicure husband, Gorsky learned to cook authentic Middle Eastern cuisine after marrying a man of Palestinian and Syrian descent. She began documenting what she learned in her delicious blog, also called An Edible Mosaic. Gorsky thoroughly describes ingredients and procedures, making it easier for cooks new to Middle Eastern cuisine to produce delicious fare. In addition to offering great recipes, An Edible Mosaic is a beautiful book. It has stunning photographs and each page has a border of Middle Eastern tile art. I also really appreciate the binding of this cookbook; it stays open to the page I want.

Featured Recipe:  Chicken Kebabs (Kebab Dajaj)
Preparing the chicken spice mix takes some time (it has twelve ingredients!), but the result is delectable! All three of my children like this one. That's saying something.

Sadly, I think my second selection might be out of print. When celebrity chef Rick Bayless travels with his family, they somehow end up in kitchens all over the world. Bayless and his daughter Lanie wrote Rick and Lanie's Excellent Kitchen Adventures together. In it, they tell stories of their travels to France, Mexico, Morocco, Thailand, and Bayless's home state of Oklahoma. The recipes are mouthwatering, and the Baylesses' instructions are easy to follow. One of the reasons I have long admired Rick Bayless is that he has clearly made an effort to maintain family unity in the family-hostile restaurant business. This book is an example of the Bayless family creating something wonderful together. It might be difficult to find this one in a bookstore, but your public library may have it.

Featured Recipe:  Chicken in Mustard Sauce
This recipe is a simple way to knock the socks off of guests.  It is so very yummy, but not hard to make. My children all like it, too, but I have to call it "Chicken in Yellow Sauce" since they won't eat mustard.

I like to entertain, but I get overwhelmed by all the tasks that require my attention at the last minute. One way to minimize that pressure is to prepare the food and clean the kitchen ahead of time. The Best Make-Ahead Recipe cookbook from America's Test Kitchen helps me to receive my guests with a sound mind. As is typical of America's Test Kitchen, these recipes are accompanied by extensive explanation, but home cooks do not need to be intimidated by what appears to be a lot of instructions.  The recipes are not really that complicated. I especially appreciate the storing and serving instructions: how to bake immediately, how to bake after refrigeration, how to bake after freezing, and so on. Some recipes also come with instructions for making enough for a crowd.

Featured Recipe: Chicken Enchiladas
These are scrumptious! Enchiladas do take some time to assemble, but none of the steps is difficult. I've made these many times for my family and for guests.  

I will revisit this topic in future posts. It's been fun telling you about three of my favorite cookbooks. What cookbooks do you like? Tell me in comments.

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