24 May 2011

A New Cook Book - Decisions, Decisions!

Luck of the draw brought me a new cook book from Brenda. I love her blog,  Brenda's Canadian Kitchen . It is a direct reflection of her love of cooking, her busy lifestyle, and her warm way of including her followers in her blogshares, recipe challenges, and commentary on different cook books ... oh, and did I say her love of cupcakes and sandwiches? She comes across as a real person with no fluff and stuff ... and I like that! I've often wished that Toronto and Fitzwilliam were just across the highway from each other, but no.

This past week, Brenda sent me Rachael Ray's newest book ... Look + Cook. I'd won a give-away! Now, let it be said, some folks are turned off by RR and others get past the perkiness and like her no-nonsense approach toward good  'stick to your ribs' comfort food, sandwiches, and short-cut recipes. I'm a fan. What can I say? Besides, she's a fellow New York state native ... and not from the Big Apple, but from the hinterlands ... like me.

So... I've spent the past few days leafing through my newest addition to the cook book collection, picking out a few recipes that are catching my eye and making me drool a bit. Deciding what to make first, when one gets a new cook book is momentous, don't you think? The first recipe I tried was the Spanish -style Chicken and Dumplings on page 60 ... a worthy place to begin ... all spicy Chourizo sausage and tender chicken thighs. The gravy for this dish is full of saffron and the spiciness from the sausage. The dish is rounded out by chunks of mushrooms, onions, garlic, and my addition, little red potatoes. The dumplings are herbed with parsley and paprika ... I used a bit of smoked to really kick up the spice factor. Sooo good! No pictures or commentary here, as I made the dish for our friends when they visited this past weekend. Nancy and I put it together, as we sipped the first of the wine and caught up chat-wise. Suffice it to say, the dish was awesome ... the wine was even better!

Last evening, though, SB and I knoshed our way through RR's Citrus Soy Stir-fry on page 112. I made it with chicken, she tells you you can use shrimp or pork and things will be just fine. Now, I am a total Asian cuisine fan, so when RR tries to tell me to use spaghetti noodles instead of good basic Asian ramen noodles or basic Chinese noodles ... well, ahem. No worries, though. I just used Chinese noodles! Mmhhmm! Her citrus and soy sauce is sweet and spicy. I halved the orange marmalade measure in the sauce just because SB and I like only a bit of sweetness in our Asian sauces. Now, I could show you the uncooked 'slice and dice' pictures that I took, but why bother? I didn't take pictures of the finished dish last evening because of the rainy day darkness by the time we sat to dinner and guess who ate the leftovers at lunch today while I was off doing my volunteer thing at our church. Curses! Foiled again! Oh, hell ... here's the shot ...

And yes, our stir-fry noodles looked just as gorgeous as that picture! SB says they were just as good today as last evening. He thoroughly enjoyed his lunchtime leftovers. Back to pictures, though! I love a cook book that has plenty of eye candy, don't you? It must be that I'm a visual learner, so when I'm doing a new recipe, I really appreciate having plenty of illustrations to help me along. RR is really good at the picture thing. She does, though have a whole section at the back of the book of add-on recipes that have no illustration whatsoever. Boo, hiss. I'll get over it though, as the quality of her prime line-up is really good.

Tonight, I'm going for Bocconcini Stuffed Meatballs with Tomato-Pesto Sauce - page 181. Now this is a recipe for spaghetti! I'll get back to you on it, okay? Ciao!


  1. Ooh, I love new cook books! Seems like you're doing really well with this one! I don't have any RR books, but I like lots of pics in cook books too!

  2. What a nice surprise! I don't "mind" RR, in fact I watch what she does, I just press the "mute" button most of the time! LOL!!! I like her short-cuts. The recipes you selected sound delicious!

  3. @ Mary - What ... no 'Yum-O!' at the end of the cooking segments?

  4. I'm a fan of Rachael Ray. I think she's fun to watch. The recipes you selected sounds delish.


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