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Books for Cooks

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The Tasha Tudor Cookbook: Recipes and Reminiscences from Corgi Cottage by Tasha Tudor

I have always loved Tasha Tudor's illustrations in children's books. Some of her older books have been selling for way over $100 at antiquarian book fairs. I was thrilled when I found she had a cookbook out with her illustrations in it, and very nice family recipes as well. Several years ago, I asked David ( to get it for me, and in the past couple of years, I've bought probably 7 or 8 copies from him so I can give them as gifts for special people.

Some of the recipes have been passed down for generations in her family, and others are ones she created for her children and grandchildren. Her collection in the book includes summer picnic salads, hearty soups for the winter, Great Grandmother Tudor's cornbread, blueberry coffee cake and butterscotch rolls. There are main dish recipes such as chicken with tarragon and sage, beef stew with loads of veggies, and salmon with home grown peas, plus of course wonderful favorite part of any meal. :-)

You will learn about her family traditions, Christmas celebrations, and the making of her famous gingerbread ornaments which have been displayed on the White House Christmas tree. All of these authentic, tried-and-true recipes are presented for the first time with some fifty original watercolor and pen-and-ink drawings in this wonderful, charming keepsake book. It is definitely a book to have for your collection and to give as gifts, especially to children (even though it isn't a children's book) who would enjoy cooking, and also looking at the marvelous illustrations.

CFF Shared by Beverly

Great Grandmother Tudor's Cornbread

"This is a very old family receipt.  It came from my great-great grandfather, Colonel William Tudor's wife Delia, who i am ashamed to say was a Tory before she married him.  Children love the cornbread split and buttered and spread with warm maple syrup or rasberry jam.  It is best made in a heavy cast-iron pan that makes twelve individual pieces; any pan will work, but iron imparts a unique crustiness."

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs at room temperature, seperated
1 cup unbleached flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup milk, lukewarm
1 cup yellow cornmeal

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Grease an iron cornbread pan that makes 12 sticks or a muffin tin, with  peanut oil. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar and add the egg yolks that were slightly beaten. Stir well. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Sift the flour with the baking powder an salt, then add it alternately with the milk to the creamed butter. Stir in the cornmeal, then fold in the beaten egg whites. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  bake at 400 for 25 minutes until beautifully browned. Makes 12 servings.

New Wave Luau by Alan Wong

I like single subject books and along comes The New Wave Luau from Alan Wong in Hawaii. This is a very nice book which focuses just on luaus. Now I have done some luaus in the past, at various hotels where I worked, but the pig was cooked in the convection ovens - just the decor or ambiance was the effect. The book has explicit instructions for the pit, and contains complete instructions all the way to service. The title fits very well even down to the New Wave Oshibi Shooters. Recipes in the book include Ginger Crusted Onaga, Drunken Duck, Kalua Pig Caesar Salad...hmmm? New Wave indeed!

The book contains nice photos, good information, and all from award-winning Honolulu Chef, Alan Wong. Although a single subject book in title, many of the ideas of Chef Wong could be used in many party settings.

Submitted by David

How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

Bittman's How to Cook Everything is wonderful big book. Probably weighs as much as a small baby, but has great recipes and wonderful comments, and information. There are more than 1500 recipes, and the book is great for beginners, cooks who are pressed for time, and of course us "old pros." :-) For example the book gives a simple grilled cheese sandwich for beginners, then gives 4 more versions to bring it up to something more interesting for the knowledgeable cook. He also gives ideas for menus for breakfast: family weekeday breakfast, summer weekday breakfast, winter weekday breakfast, weekday breakfast for one, weekday wake up late breakfast, weekend breakfasts, brunches, lunches, dinners, how to impress the boss dinners....are you getting the idea? :-) - even a paragraph about beans and gas, and suggestions....ROTFL.  The man teaches you how to make everything, including ketchup, spice mixtures, yogurt. He also lists in the back recipes that take 30 minutes, 60 minutes, 90 min, etc.  I could go on forever; like I said, a great book! I can't recommend it highly enough. I keep finding new things in it. It would make a wonderful shower gift, or included in a wedding gift with kitchen items.

Submitted by Bev Schneiderman

Seductions of Rice by Jeffrey Alford & Naomi Duguid.
Published by Artisan NY, ISBN 1-57965-113-5.
Retail price $35.00 price $14.00

Seductions is a big beautiful book giving the history of rice and recipes from around the world. It has magnificent photos, and stories preceding each type of rice used. Even if you are not a great lover of rice (as I'm not) this book is fascinating to read just as a source book, but you will enjoy the recipes as well. It definitely belongs in a serious cookbook collectors collection as well as someone who just enjoys good recipes, and beautiful cookbooks.

Chapters are:

Chapter 1:Beginning with Rice which has a rice dictionary describing each kind of rice that's grown. There are approximately 111 rices listed, plus photos of what the raw rice looks like after harvesting.

Chapter 2: The World of Rice - Cultivating and Harvesting

Chapter 3: White Rice, Black Rice, Congee - The Chinese Way

Chapter 4: Jasmine, Sticky Rice, Thai Red - The Thai Way

Chapter 5: Gohan, Sushi, Mochi - The Japanese Way

Chapter 6: Basmati, Gobindavog, South Indian Red - The Indian Way

Chapter 7: Chelo, Polo, Pulao - The Central Asian and Persian Ways

Chapter 8: Yassa, Mafe, Diebon Dien - The Sengalese Way

Chapter 9: Hoppin Joh, Rice and Peas - The North American Way.

Included is also a glossary, and mail order sources as well.

Thai Sticky Rice with Grilled Beef Salad, Indian Basmati (the best known Indian rice) with Curry, Cuban Black Beans and Rice, Louisiana Gumbo, Spanish Paella, Mexican  Rice Pudding, several recipes of hundreds from around the world attesting to the adaptability of rice. Many of the recipes don't even contain rice in them but are served along with rice.

Arroz Con Leche Oaxacana
(Oaxacan Rice Pudding)
(page 416)
6 cups whole milk
1/2 cup medium or long grain rice, broken (see note)
2 inches cinnamon stick
1/2 inch ginger
2 small strips lime zest
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350. Place the milk, rice, cinnamon stick, ginger, lime zest, salt and sugar in a large heavy nonreactive pot. Bring almost to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for 1 hour. Remove the cinnamon stick, ginger, and zest.

In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks, stir in about 1/2 cup of the rice mixture, then mix back into the rice in the pot. Add the raisins, reserving a few for garnish. Transfer to a shallow ovenproof dish and bake for 10 to 20 minutes until the eggs have set. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature, in individual bowls, garnished with the reserved raisins.

Note: To break rice, pound briefly in a large mortar, or place on the countertop, cover with a tea towel, and roll briskly with a heavy rolling pin, pressing firmly as you do so.

Submitted by Bev Schneiderman

Dinner at Miss Lady's: Memories and Recipes From a Southern Childhood
Author: Luann Landon
Published: 1999
Publisher: Alqonquin Books of Chapel Hill
ISBN # 1-56512-227-5.
Retail price: $19.95
New Books Cheap: $8.00 plus shipping

It seems I'm becoming more and more attracted to cookbooks that tell personal stories of family and friends along with recipes. I find myself reading them as if they were autobiographies (which in a way they are), biographies and novels. The recipe ingredients have become less important than the history of the recipe. The South has a great tradition of both family and cookery. Here is a book that epitomizes both, and a vanished way of life.

Miss Lady of the title is Luann Landon's paternal grandmother. This is the story of Miss Lady, her husband the Judge, and the children and grandchildren of an old southern well-to-do family. "Miss Lady was waited on by servants all her life, and didnt even know how to make a cup of tea, but she had an infallible sense of how food should taste." On the other hand, her maternal grandmother Murlo came from a much less genteel, wealthy background and was an excellent cook.

Both women taught their grandaughter a love, and appreciation of family, social manners, and good food. Henrietta, Miss Lady's black cook and friend, taught her how to enjoy the kitchen and how to make the delicious dishes family and friends loved. Between each chapter of menus and recipes, there are stories that almost read like a novel of the South. Besides being a book on the social mores and stories of a family, the menus and recipes are excellent.

Menu III from Dinner at Miss Lady's:
Pork Chops w/Horseradish Mustard, Dill and Sour Cream
Stewed Tomatoes
Blackberry-Rhubarb cobbler (recipe below)
Cousin Eva's Lemonade

Blackberry-Rhubarb Cobbler
1 lb fresh blackberries
1 lb fresh rhubarb
1 cup sugar
For the pastry:
4 tbsp butter
1 tbsp cream cheese
1 cup self rising flour
1 egg beaten
1/2 cup milk
Butter to dot
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Preheat oven to 325. Butter a 9x12 baking dish. Wash fruit, and cut rhubarb into 1 inch pieces (do not use the leaves). Combine blackberries and rhubarb in a large bowl, mix with sugar and let stand while making the pastry.

In a medium bowl, cut the 4 tbsp butter and cream cheese in small bits and cut into the self rising flour with 2 knives or pastry cutter. Add egg and mix well, then add milk to make a dough.

Press dough with fingers in a thick layer in bottom of a 9x12 buttered baking dish. Cover pastry with fruit including the juice; dot with bits of butter; sprinkle with lemon juice. (If the fruit hasnt yielded much juice, you may add 1/2 cup hot water.)

Bake for 45 minutes until bubbly. Serve warm with boiled custard or cream. Serves 6.

Submitted by Bev Schneiderman

The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
Format: Hardcover, 1st ed., 255pp.
ISBN: 0609602195
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Pub. Date: March 1999

Secrets from the legendary specialty food store for simple food and party platters you can make at home. Ina Garten, Melanie Acevedo (Photographer) Designed by Alexander Isley, Inc. Foreword by Martha Stewart. A conventionally organized cookbook with unconventional delicious food. The author shares all
of the many discoveries she has made on her journey from complete food amateur to seasoned professional. 150 full-color and b&w photos.

Submitted by David

Ultimate Chocolate
Author: Patricia Lousada
ISBN 0-7894-2084-8
Retail Price: $24.95

This one is gorgeous! Coffee table type with wonderful photographs of chocolate delicacies. Some of these beautiful chocolate desserts look like they are just Heavenly and there are just ove 100 recipes to tempt you too.

The book starts off with a small history of chocolate and a picture guide of the different types of chocolate. Then the book gives a good section of the basic techniques of working with chocolate which is well illustrated with step-by-step pictures. An illustrated list
of all of the essential tools you need to work with chocolate is included just in case you want to have all of the gadgets to make some of the procedures a bit easier.

In the decorating section they even show you how to make chocolate roses, leaves, baskets, etc. All of the "standard" ones we see plus some I hadn't seen before. And if you want to make your own chocolate box there are directions. (A chocolate box filled with fresh raspberries could be a relatively easy way to make a very special dessert.)

From there they go to the fillings and toppings and Recipes with pictures! Cakes, snacktime chocolate treats, pies, tarts, cookies, hot and cold special chocolate desserts, ice cream, confectionery, savory (as in Mexican mole sauce and venison stew), sauces, fillings, and drinks.

The dust jacket says "A mouthwatering celebration of chocolate for chocoholics everywhere" and I couldn't put it any better than that!

Chocolate Velvet Mousse

5 oz. (150g) bittersweet chocolate, melted
3 eggs, separated
5 tbsp. (75g) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 tbsp creme de cacao or Tia Maria or 2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg white
pinch of salt
1 Creme Anglaise (recipe to follow next)
Melted chocolate to decorate with (or curls, squiggles, etc.)

1. Melt the chocolate. While still hot, beat in the egg yolks, one at a time. Stir in the butter, and when the mixture is smooth, add the liqueur or vanilla extract.

2. Whisk all 4 egg whites with a pinch of salt until the whites form stiff peaks. fold a heaping spoonful of the whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, then carefully fold in the remaining whites.

3. Turn the mixture into the dish, cover and chill until it is set -- about 4 hours.

4. To serve, pour Creme anglaise onto individual dessert plates. Warm a serving spoon in hot water and then dip the spoon into the mousse to make an oval-shaped scoop. Put scoops, round side up, on the Creme anglaise. To decorate, pipe lines of melted chocolate on top, using a toothpick to pull it into a pattern.

5. Other serving suggestions are to top a small dish of mousse with chocolate curls or white chocolate melted and dribbled on top to form squiggles.

Creme Anglaise

1 1/4 cups (300 ml) milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 1 tsp vanilla extract
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp superfine sugar

1. Bring the milk almost to the boil, with the vanilla bean, if you are using it.

2. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until thick and light,then whisk in the hot milk. Return the mixture to the pan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the cream thickens slightly. Do not allow the mixture to come near a simmer, or it will curdle.

3. Strain into a bowl and let cool, when it will thicken more. Add the vanilla extract, if using, and refrigerate.


Coffee Creme Anglaise:  Add 1 tbsp instant coffee, diluted in a little water, to the basic Creme Anglaise.

Mocha Creme anglaise: Add 2 oz (60 g) grated semisweet chocolate and 1 tsp instant coffee to the thickened cream.

Liqueur Creme Anglaise: Add 1 tbsp or more to taste of Poire Williams or Grand Marnier.

Submitted by Jean Goddin

The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen Classic
Family Recipes for Celebration and Healing by Grace Young

Grace and her family came to the States when she was 20, and she had never cooked.  Neither did I until I was about 27, so immediately I was able to relate :-)  The book is also a story of her family, with pictures, as well as her family's recipes.  Her parents are elderly, but as the piece showed, her father has a very steady hand with a cleaver. The test of a good handler of cleavers/knives is how thin they can slice ginger. His was so thin it curled off the cleaver...I have trouble slicing hamburgers, so I was very impressed.  Grace told of being in her parent's kitchen when she wanted to write a book of Cantanese food since she spent many years writing western cuisine cookbooks instead of ones of her own heritage. She had to stop her
mother and father from putting ingredients into the pot until everything was measured. Sometimes she told her mom that the dish didnt taste the same as when she was younger. Her mom would tell her "Oh, you don't want to make it that way, it takes too long."  But she would have her make it in the traditional way for the book. She wanted things to be accurate as well as recreating her childhood memories. By the way, the narrator said there wasnt one wok in the kitchen :-). In the back of the book there are hints on how to shop in an Asian market. There is also an extensive glossary about the ingredients being used.

I think our food memories are important to us, no matter what our ethnic background is. You can relate to others who want to remember a happier time when our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles were alive, and were eating the foods of our youth that had been handed down from generation to generation. Here is a simple recipe from the book. All the recipes have comments from the author which makes it more interesting to me. I love recipe books, but I adore ones with personal stories and comments, and seem to be collecting more and more of them of different ethnicities. I love Bok Choy. My mom (that nice Jewish lady) used to make it for us quite often.  Hey, where would Jews go to eat after a fasting holiday, if not to a Chinese restaurant :-)

Stir Fried Bok Choy (Chow Bok Choy)

"Nearly every family stir-fries bok choy year round, but it is also prized as a vegetable for such occasions as New Year's. The mastery here is in choosing young, tender bok choy, no more than eight inches in length. Or, occasionally, you might be lucky enough to find hearts of bok choy, (bok choy sum), in the
produce market. Unlike the older bok choy, these vegetables are so tender that the stalks don't need to be peeled.  Stir fry the vegetables on high heat just until the greens are bright and the stalks are tender. A minute too much, and the vegetables lose their essence. Bok choy found in western supermarkets is often old and past it's prime, while the bok choy available in Asian markets is far superior in quality, and much less expensive."

1 lb young bok choy
2 Tbs chicken broth-preferably home made
1 Tbs oyster flavored sauce (available in most supermarkets or Asian markets)
1 1/2 tsp thin soy sauce (the lighter variety as opposed to the regular dark soy)
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp sugar
3 tsp vegetable oil
2 slices ginger
1 clove garlic, crushed and peeled

Seperate the bok coy into stalks. Wash in several changes of cold water and drain thoroughly in a colander. Trim 1/4 inch from the bottom of each stalk. Halve each stalk lengthwise and cut stalks and leaves into 2 inch long pieces. In a bowl, combine the broth, oyster sauce, soy sauce, cornstarch and sugar.

Heat a 14 inch flat bottomed wok or skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking.  Add 1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil and ginger, and stir fry 10 seconds or until ginger is fragrant. Add the remaining 1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil, bok choy, and garlic, and stir fry 1 to 2 minutes or until leaves are just limp and bok choy is bright green. Restir the broth mixture and swirl into the wok. Stir fry 1 to 2 minutes or until the sauce has thickened slightly, and lightly coats the vegetables. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6 as part of a multicourse meal.

Submitted by Bev Schneiderman

Desserts with a Difference
Sally & Martin Stern

All the desserts in this book are made from various vegetables.

Pumpkin Pound Cake With Three Liqueurs

3 cups sifted all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups granulated sugar
6 large eggs at room temperature
3/4 cup homemade or canned pumpkin puree
1/4 cup sour cream or low fat yogurt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup apricot brandy
3 Tbs orange liqueur (Cointreau, Triple Sec, or other)
3 Tbs dark rum
confectioner's sugar

Preheat oven to 325. Butter and flour a 2 1/2 quart bundt pan. In a medium bowl, sift the flour again with salt and baking soda. Set aside. In a large bowl of an electric mixer set on medium speed, cream the butter. Add the sugar about 1/2 cup at a time, and beat the mixture until it's light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the pumpkin puree, sour cream, vanilla, apricot brandy, orange liqueur, and rum until thoroughly combined. Turn mixer speed to medium low and beat in the reserved flour mixture.

Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake the cake in the middle of the oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until cake tester inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cook in the pan on a wire rack for 1 hour, then turn it out onto the rack and let it cool completely. Dust with confectioner's sugar and transfer to a cake plate. Cut in thick wedges and serve. Serves 10 to 16.

Note: try substituting 1/4 cup Frangelico (hazelnut Liqueur) for the apricot brandy, and 2 jiggers of cognac for the orange liqueur and rum.

Who ever heard of zucchini chocolate chip cookies, and why make them, are they that different?  Well this one again comes from the book "Desserts With a Difference."  The authors write "for one thing, they're much more nutritious (you can eat them with less guilt, more fiber, vitamins, and minerals); for another, they're moister, chewier, and keep longer and they are one more way to use up that overachiever garden vegetable. But the best reason of all is that they are delicious."

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 cup grated zucchini
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup semisweet chocolate bits

Preheat the oven to 375. In a large bowl of an electric mixer set on medium speed, cream together the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the egg until well blended. Add the zucchini and vanilla and continue beating until thoroughly incorporated. Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in the flour, baking soda and salt until well combined. Add the walnuts and chocolate chips and mix to
distribute well.

Drop the batter by rounded teaspoon about 2 inches apart, on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake in the middle of the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and the cookies are firm to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool (keep them seperated or they might stick together). The cookies can be kept in an airtight container for several days.

Submitted by Bev Schneiderman

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