From my cookbook shelf – Part Two

Read Part One here.

Cooking Outside the Box: Easy, Seasonal and Organic: The Abel and Cole Cookbook – by Keith Abel: This is another of my recent acquisitions and such a fun cookbook to read!  I first came across it in a Barnes & Noble several years ago (I go there and look through their cookbook section and then come home and add the ones I liked to my Amazon wishlist…they’re always so much cheaper online) and immediately liked how laid-back it was in regard to measuring.  Many things are measured by mugfuls, glugs and dashes, which is exactly how I cook!   The author is British and he is the one who made CSA-type boxes popular in England…and Abel and Cole is the name of their company.  According the author, this cookbook came about as a result of their customers asking for good ways to cook this or that vegetable, and the farmers sharing their favourite recipes.  So yes, it’s focused mainly on produce recipes though there are a good many meat recipes too.  This cookbook is divided by seasons (spring, fall, summer and winter), as obviously a big part of their company is using seasonal ingredients.  Do note though…in regard to the “fun to read” part, this cookbook is full of British humour and British slang, which I greatly enjoy!   However, if you’re not familiar with that humour and slang, some of it may be confusing.  Also, because it’s written by a British guy, there’s obviously quite a few British food and cooking terms in this book so you may want to brush up on some of those before reading it.

Super Natural Cooking – by Heidi Swanson: I’ve followed Heidi Swanson’s cooking blog, 101 Cookbooks, for a long time and have found many yummy recipes on there.  When her first cookbook came out several years ago, I was very excited and added it to my wishlist.  I ended up receiving a copy at one of my bridal showers and finally got around to reading through it after all the wedding excitement died down and I finally had my own kitchen.  One of my favourite parts of her cookbook are all the pictures…she a photographer for a reason.  I also love all the different grains she incorporates into her cooking since that’s something I want to do and am not always very good at.  Her section on building a natural foods pantry has lots of great information and is very accessible.

The Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook – by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins: This is an older cookbook (published the year before I was born!) that I discovered through my friend Heather when I lived with her and her family in New Zealand.  Heather cooks very similarly to the way that I do (I learned so much from her!) and the fact that this cookbook had a spot in her collection said a lot to me.  The French onion soup recipe in here is so good that Aaron remembered it from when he visited me in NZ and it is actually a big reason why I finally bought this cookbook after we were married.  I also really appreciate the different food and cooking tidbits scattered throughout the book, most are quite helpful and informative.

Jimmy Schmidt’s Cooking Class: Seasonal Recipes from a Chef’s Kitchen – by Jimmy Schmidt: This is another one that was a gift from Aaron’s foodie brother and I’ve found it quite helpful.  Like several of my other cookbooks, this one is divided into seasons.  In each season part, there are listed 20-30 different ingredients specific to that season, with several pages dedicated to each.  Along with a couple of recipes for each ingredient, there are tips on selection and preparation and how to get the most of out of that ingredient.  I’ve really liked how each little chapter focuses on just one ingredient because it gives you the base to expand on and get creative with that ingredient after you know what it goes best with and how best to prepare it.

Mediterranean: Over 300 Sun-drenched Recipes – by Lorenz Books: Early this past spring, Aaron told me that he would like to start eating more Mediterranean food.  Eager to find some good recipes along that line, I ordered this cookbook that had been recommended to me by my friend Heather from NZ.  It was a rather hard one to find as it’s British and supposedly out-of-print, but once again, Amazon came through.  When it arrived, I had Aaron page through all 512 pages and mark (with little sticky notes) all the dishes he would like me to make at some point.  Needless to say, there are lots of sticky notes!  For his birthday, I made him what we called our “Mediterranean Feast” and prepared five or six different dishes from this book…so it’s one of my few cookbooks that I’ve actually made something from its recipes!  The feast was a big success and Aaron loved everything that I made…so big points for this cookbook.  From an actual cooking standpoint, I found the recipes very easy to follow (all of the recipes are illustrated with several photographs) and pretty adaptable too.  As already mentioned, this is another British cookbook, so learning some British food and cooking terms would be helpful.

More to come…


One thought on “From my cookbook shelf – Part Two

  1. I’m so enjoying your introductions to your cookbooks and the personal insights you’re sharing along the way! My mother started collecting cookbooks for me when I was little and every now and then I add another. Introductions to good ones I might like too are appreciated! 🙂

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