Friday, January 21, 2011

My First Fancy Cookbook

I've never much liked cookbooks.  With me, they tend to get messy.  The one Weight Watchers cookbook I had got pear sauce in between two random pages while making a recipe and I never noticed.  When I picked it back up, the contamination of the pages made it unusable anymore.  I usually just use the web to find the recipes I need.

*B* ended up picking up a book from the library called Williams-Sonoma Cooking from the Farmers' Market.  It seemed appropriate, as we just received our first delivery of vegetables from the CSA we joined. The book explains what the different vegetables are, how to prepare them in general, and gives usually 3 recipes where they are featured.  The first foods he made from it were steamed kale and cheddar-apple panini. 

The steamed kale I could take or leave.  But, oh that grilled cheese.  Let me tell you - it was amazing!  I will never have grilled cheese without apples ever again.  He took homemade bread, sliced thinly, and brushed it with olive oil.  Then he sliced cheddar from pastured cows into very thin slices and covered one of the bread slices.  On that, he layered thin organic Fuji apple slices.  On goes the top slice, and into the George Forman grill.  The apple took the place that ham would have had, and it was delicious.

For breakfast Saturday, we made Spanish Tortilla.  It's just sliced potatoes, roasted peppers, onions, and eggs.  It sort of turned out like Egg Foo Yong with potatoes because we overcooked the eggs, but it was good.

That Sunday, we had my mom over and made cage-free roast chicken, homemade bread, and the maple syrup roast vegetables from the book.  I devoured the carrots, sweet potatoes, and parsnips, and actually ate the turnips and rutabaga.  The turnips might not ever happen again, but the rutabaga wasn't all that bad.

The food was so good, based on those three meals, that we actually bought the book.

The book came in the other night, so we made cauliflower au gratin, more kale, and parsnips and pears.  The cauliflower was actually tasty, but the parsnips and pears were my favorite.  I would eat them every day if I could.  We had a completely vegetarian dinner and it was amazingly tasty.  I didn't even miss the meat.  I'll be making many more recipes from this book, and I'll let you know how they turn out.

In the meantime, find out why I am in love with pears and parsnips and try this recipe one night for dinner:

Roasted Pears and Parsnips with Hazelnuts

1 lb Parsnips (smaller tend to be more tender, bigger are woodier)
3 Bosc Pears
Olive Oil
1 tbsp Butter
1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped
Kosher Salt (or any kind, really)

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Peel and cut the parsnips into pinky-sized pieces.
  3. Quarter the pears and remove the seeds.
  4. Put the pears and parsnips onto a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil and add a little salt and pepper.  Toss to coat.
  5. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes.
  6. Melt butter in a skillet and add the hazelnuts for just a few minutes.
  7. Put pears and parsnips in a serving dish, add the butter and hazelnuts, and serve immediately.

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