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January 28, 2012 / beatricebunny

Cookbooks

ImageI have several goals with my cooking over the next few months and started on one of them this weekend.  In December, I got two new cookbooks, How to Cook Like a Rock Star by Anne Burrell and Around my French Table by Dorie Greenspan.  Like most cooks (and readers, and readers who are cooks), I have a bad habit of buying cookbooks and really not using them.  So I promised myself that this weekend, I would make at least once recipe from Rock Star and next weekend, I would make at least one from French Table.  I also get Bon Appetit Magazine, and I have promised myself, starting with the February edition, I will make at least one recipe from every month’s magazine.

I started to say that it’s a waste to get these books and magazines and not use the recipes, but that’s not entirely true.  A lot of times, especially with the mag, I look for inspiration rather than just a recipe to follow.  I think it’s a fair question as to why people continue to buy books and magazines when there are so many recipes available online.  I can’t speak for others, but I can tell you my reasons.

First, cookbooks are reference books in the same since that many researchers use reference material.  I write in mine.  I bookmark favorite recipes.  I refer to techniques, cooking times, and temperatures even when I am not making the recipe exactly.

Second, they are solid.  Yes, I have a Kindle and an iPhone.  I have cookbooks on both of those.  I also own a laptop.  I could bring any of those things into the kitchen for reference – and sometimes I do.  Mark Bittman’s app for How to Cook Everything is brilliant.  I use it often.  It still isn’t a book though.  I expect to occasionally drip a little food on a cookbook; I strongly prefer not to do so on my Kindle or laptop.

Third, there is the reliability factor.  Last night, I made a braised ribs recipe from Rock Star.  I like Anne Burrell.  I trust her cooking directions, and I like her style and, for the most part, her palate.  If I had look for a recipe online, and some random recipe had told me to put 1.5 cups of tomato paste into a recipe.  I would have assumed it was a typo or a terrible recipe.  That sounds completely crazy to me.  I normally measure tomato paste in tablespoons, not cups.  But her cookbook described the flavors to expect in this recipe, and it sounded delicious, so I went with it.  And it was delicious.

My husband and I had dinner at 10:00 last night.  I am lucky that I am married to a man who understands that cooking is important to me.  I got home from the gym around 6:30 after a stop off at the grocery.  I brought cheese, prosciutto, and crackers because I knew it was going to be a long night.  The recipe calls for two cups of dry red wine, so I opened a wine, poured my 2 cups into a measuring cup, then poured us glasses.  The recipe in the cookbook estimates three and half hours to prepare the meat.  Of course, this is from the recipes starting point, which is after the veggies are chopped, the liquids are measured, the meat is thawed and brought to room temperature…

It was delicious though.  I had thawed bone-in lamb sirloin cuts rather than beef short ribs, so I used that as meat.  I assumed that pretty much any bone-in meat would work in the recipe, and was proved right.  By the time I served it, the meat was falling off the bone.  As in the picture, I made homemade mashed potatoes to serve as a based for the meat and the use the sauce on, and then served it with fresh green beans.  I think it was worth the wait.

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3 Comments

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  1. Amber / Jan 28 2012 11:51 pm

    Im drooling! I was thinking of buy her cookbook as well, because she’s awesome.

    • beatricebunny / Jan 30 2012 2:35 am

      It’s a good one – at least the one recipe that I’ve tried.

      Sent from my iPhone

  2. Jim / Jan 31 2012 8:16 pm

    Well worth the wait. *drool*

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