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Your favorite cookbook and others you really like

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Volgadon
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Post by Volgadon » Mon October 13th, 2008, 9:18 am

Claudia Roden's A Book of Middle Eastern Food (NOT A New Book of...)!!! Remarkable cookbook, really more of a key to unlocking the cuisine.
I'm also partial to a book of Cossack and Don recipes I bought in Russia.

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cordaella
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Favourite Cookbooks

Post by cordaella » Tue October 14th, 2008, 4:43 pm

I'm a big fan of Nigella Lawson's cookery books too. And my cake bible is Mary Berry's Ultimate Cake Book, with the National Trust Book of Teatime Recipes not far behind. But my new best cookbook is Sarah Raven's Garden Cookbook, which I bought after reading about it on Cornflower's blog here.

Raven's baked potatoes stuffed with pesto and cheese are blissful and I can vouch for her fattoush (Lebanese salad) and her lemon and green bean salad. And now that summer's over, there are hordes of recipes for autumn things like apples and chutneys and sloe gin. The book is ideal for people who grow their own fruit and veg or enjoy foraging in the woods and hedgerows. Mouthwatering photography too.

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LCW
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Post by LCW » Tue October 14th, 2008, 4:54 pm

I LOVE cookbooks and have over 40 of them now. I'm a big fan of eating healthy so most of my cookbooks are health or diet related. I think healthy food can be delicious and taste just as good. I do have a few "regular" cookbooks as well though!

My current favorite "regular" cookbook is sort of old but each recipe is just delish, it's Everyday Italian by Giada DeLaurentis. Everyday Italian My favorite recipe is the Mushroom Ragu. Yummy!!

My favorite healthy cookbook has the weirdest name but the food is amazing. I've had this book for years and years and each recipe I've made has been a hit. The "diet" part of it is pretty much just eating sensibly and healthy, nothing ground breaking here but the food is great! Lose Weight the Smart Low Carb Way My favorite recipe is the Lentil Soup w/ Cauliflower.

I also have Nigella's Feast book and really liked it. I keep meaning to order more of her books but I just haven't yet. Her cooking show is great too but I don't get a chance to watch it very often.
Last edited by LCW on Tue October 14th, 2008, 4:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them. --Arnold Lobel

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LCW
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Post by LCW » Tue October 14th, 2008, 5:01 pm

[quote=""cordaella""]my cake bible is Mary Berry's Ultimate Cake Book [/quote]

I've been looking for a good cake recipe book but baking sort of overwhelms me and I don't know which one to choose. A couple times a year I get a baking urge and bake all sorts of things but I'm really not very good at it. The exception is my Very Cherry Berry Cobbler with an oat topping. That's my signature dessert! Everything else is a huge challenge for me. I've told my fiance that one of the things I expect under the tree this year is a Kitchen Aid mixer. I want the one with the pasta maker, meat grinder, and all the bells and whistles. Maybe that will help me get it right!! :D
Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them. --Arnold Lobel

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Telynor
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Post by Telynor » Thu October 16th, 2008, 7:22 pm

[quote=""1lila1""]I've been looking for a good cake recipe book but baking sort of overwhelms me and I don't know which one to choose. A couple times a year I get a baking urge and bake all sorts of things but I'm really not very good at it. The exception is my Very Cherry Berry Cobbler with an oat topping. That's my signature dessert! Everything else is a huge challenge for me. I've told my fiance that one of the things I expect under the tree this year is a Kitchen Aid mixer. I want the one with the pasta maker, meat grinder, and all the bells and whistles. Maybe that will help me get it right!! :D [/quote]

Baking, once I started to figure out the science behind it, suddenly got a lot easier once I had the proper tools. One of the best tools -- and tell the fiance that you want this, badly -- is a good -digital- scale that can do solids as well as liquids. Once I started to weigh all of my dry ingredients, my baking improved by leaps and bounds. Measure and weigh out everything before you start mixing, and make sure that eggs and butter are at room temperature as well -- an hour out on the kitchen counter should do. Please, ask me questions, as I would love to be able to help you. Homemade baked goods beat out store bought every time!

I'm spoiled -- the Culinary Institute of America is just down the road from me, and I've taken several courses there. If I was younger and stronger, I'd become a pastry chef.

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LCW
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Post by LCW » Fri October 17th, 2008, 2:22 am

I do have a really good digital scale but what do you mean about weighing liquids? Is there a seperate scale for that? I'm a fan of the Alton Brown show on the food network and he always weighs so I probably should get in that habit. If I remember correctly though, most cookbooks only give the volume measurements for dry ingredients. Is there a standard weight for what "one cup" should weigh? A table or something where I could look those values up?

And I'll definitely take you up on your offer of help. Christmas baking season is right around the corner!! Oh, I did make a delicious whole wheat fruitcake last year. It was a big hit! One of my few baking successes!
Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them. --Arnold Lobel

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pat
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Post by pat » Fri October 17th, 2008, 3:23 am

Do any of you adapt or make up recipes? When baking a cake, I often use a basic rubbed in method fruit cake and add or subtract the flavourings! For example I will leave out the fruit and add a couple of very large spoons of marmalade, a bit extra sugar and adjust the milk accordingly to get the right consistancy and voila! a Marmalade cake!

Also, once I tasted cauliflower cheese soup. So, I went home and made my own! By the second attempt it was better than the shop one! The first attempt was good too!
A good book and a good coffee, what more can anyone want? xx

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Telynor
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Post by Telynor » Fri October 17th, 2008, 5:24 am

[quote=""1lila1""]I do have a really good digital scale but what do you mean about weighing liquids? Is there a seperate scale for that? Is there a standard weight for what "one cup" should weigh? A table or something where I could look those values up?[/quote]

Ok, some digital scales can handle weighing liquids -- they tend to be of a different weight -by volume- than what a dry measure would hold. That's why you should have different measures for liquids -- you can use a chemist beaker the way Alton does if you want to be geeky about it, or just one of those pyrex glass measures that has a pouring lip on it. I have a 2-cup, 1 cup and a jigger sized one for various amounts. Very handy.

For the best information on cooking and baking, along with recipes and equipment suggestions, I recommend heading over to http://www.americastestkitchen.com, as they are hands down the best site on the web for getting straight facts on stuff. They also publish Cook's Illustrated, the best of the cooking magazines out there. It's worth the subscription price. They also have a series on PBS that is great to watch.

On average, a cup of flour should weigh about 4 ounces; however, it can vary to as much as 9 ounces depending on how the original recipe maker measured their flour. A good baking cookbook should have conversion tables in it, and I'm seeing more and more cookbooks that have measure and weight given for each ingredient.

I'm surprised that you use whole wheat in baking -- I've tried it and it inevitably ends up too bitter tasting to be pleasant. A truly fantastic place to go shopping for baking goodies is http://www.kingarthurflour.com, and they have recipes as well. The company produces the best flour - and in many varieties -- that I've ever come across. They also carry the Neilsen-Massey vanilla products, which are hands down the best you can get.

Sorry to be so long winded -- I tend to be very nerdy about cooking...

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Telynor
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Post by Telynor » Fri October 17th, 2008, 5:29 am

[quote=""pat""]Do any of you adapt or make up recipes? [/quote]

Yep. I've really gotten into adapting medieval and renaissance recipes, and having a great time figuring out new sauces and sweets to unleash on my unsuspecting partner.

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LCW
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Post by LCW » Fri October 17th, 2008, 5:50 pm

[quote=""Telynor""]I'm surprised that you use whole wheat in baking -- I've tried it and it inevitably ends up too bitter tasting to be pleasant. A truly fantastic place to go shopping for baking goodies is http://www.kingarthurflour.com, and they have recipes as well. The company produces the best flour - and in many varieties -- that I've ever come across. They also carry the Neilsen-Massey vanilla products, which are hands down the best you can get.

[/quote]

I love King Arthur flour! They have a great big whole grain baking book that is just amazing! That's where I got the fruitcake recipe although I changed some things according to my taste. Using candied ginger instead of the fruit peels makes such a huge difference! Yumm! Also, the sticky bun recipe is delish (although my dough sort of sucked), the scottish porridge bread, there's all sorts of good stuff in there.

I grew up eating whole grains so it doesn't taste bitter to me although it is much stronger tasting than white flour. The King Arthur flour book says that orange cancels out that bitter flavor and a lot of their recipes add a tablespoon or two of orange juice. Interestingly, the bitter flavor comes from tannins found in the germ or bran of the wheat. Also, there is a White Whole Wheat flour that is made from white wheat instead of red wheat. I buy the King Arthur or Bob's Red Mill brand. It's much lighter in flavor but it's still a whole grain. I do use white flour although I always feel better if I can manage to use whole grain and still have something come out delicious. For whole grain breads I prefer oat based or a multi grain rather than 100% whole wheat. It just tastes better to me.

I also have a Bob's Red Mill baking book but I don't like it as much. It uses a lot of weird flours that I'd have to buy a whole pack of to make one recipe and then what would I do with the rest! I'm not sure I'd use a whole pound of Kamut flour before it went bad, lol!
Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them. --Arnold Lobel

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