The Reluctant Blogger

Saving the cookbooks
January 10, 2010, 5:43 pm
Filed under: Cookbook Project

When I dreamed up the idea of cooking from all of my cookbooks over the course of 2010 or ditching them, I really wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into.  I felt like I had a lot of cookbooks, but I didn’t actually know how many.  I was pleasantly surprised when the final tally – just over 60 – was less than I’d feared (though, really, 60 is still somewhat ridiculous!), but still glad I’d made the resolution.  Just over a week in to the new year, I’m making good progress.  To date, I’ve already cooked from four at-risk books and have been inspired to try some new things rather than just stick to the tried and true.  I’ll be keeping keeping tally of the books saved on the “Save the Cookbooks” page, though will probably continue to post about some of the more interesting things I’ve made here on the main page.  It’s not likely I’ll write about every cookbook-saving dinner, but I’ll try to do roundups of the highlights from time to time.

One such highlight was the first cookbook-saving dinner: Shrimp Wonton Soup, from Andrea Nguyen’s Asian Dumplings (p. 70; wonton skins, p. 64).  This wasn’t my first time cooking from Asian Dumplings, but I knew this was going to be a cookbook I’d definitely be saving.  So, on New Year’s Day, with nothing planned and my husband occupied with a woodworking project in the garage all day, I decided to save Asian Dumplings. I opted for Shrimp Wonton Soup because I had everything on hand.  Looking back at the pictures I took that evening, there’s still a part of me in awe . I MADE that!  I’ve made wontons before, but have always bought the skins.  But they’re not that good, and these are so good.  So my wonton wrappers are a little thick, and the formed wontons are a little lopsided.  Still, I MADE THAT!  And it was really good.  And it wasn’t particularly difficult or time consuming, either.  Not that we have takeout as an option where we live, but if we did, I’d be done with takeout.

The other cookbooks saved this week are the big yellow Gourmet cookbook (Kale and White Bean Soup, p. 108-9, slightly adapted), The Joy of Cooking (Pancakes, p. 211-2, my standard pancake recipe, but I do have to pull the book out every time, so it counts, right?), and The New Best Recipe (Spaghetti and Meatballs, p. 252-3).

Because I have such a long commute and only have about three waking hours at home in the evenings, I try to do the majority of the dinner prep for the week on the weekends, so both the soup and the meatballs were made ahead.  The pancakes are quick and we rarely eat a cooked breakfast even on weekends, so pancakes show up for dinner from time to time (usually when I have a banana that must be used immediately or risk melting into a nasty mess on the counter, as I adore banana pancakes, though sadly my husband has yet to see the appeal).

The mister is very capable of putting dinner on the table, and occasionally he will surprise me with dinner ready when I walk in the door, but the truth is that I really love to cook and relish my time in the kitchen – both on the weekends when I’m doing the week’s prep, but also during the week when I get home.  A normal week’s schedule goes something like this: On Friday evenings I usually finalize the plan for the week, allowing some flexibility in case something looks particularly good when I’m at the store, then go grocery shopping early on Saturday morning.  In the winter this means the grocery store, as our local farmers’ market ends in October (though really it should be called a farmer’s market, as there is only one farmer).  This year I canned and froze a lot of stuff, so I’m not buying a lot at the grocery store, and some weeks I’m even able to skip the store altogether.  Once I’ve finished grocery shopping, Saturday afternoon and Sunday are usually spent cooking and prepping for the week.

So, many of my cookbooks will be “saved” over the weekends, and, at the rate I seem to post things, I’ll write about them a week or so later.  Maybe I’ll get better at this whole blogging thing, but then would I really be the Reluctant Blogger??


2 Comments so far
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Dumplings are perhaps the perfect food in my mind. Good show!

Comment by Amanda

This looks lovely, and kudos for making the wrappers from scratch! Andrea Nguyen is going to be in town on Fri the 12th, at Monsoon East in Bellevue, for a luncheon/dumpling class.

Comment by wasabi prime

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