That’s right, I finally got the apartment moved from one to another this weekend. I’m living in a sinkhole of cardboard boxes and chaos right now; I have a cleared bed, an organized bathroom, and that’s about it. Everything else is surrounded. It makes turning the TV on and changing channels rather difficult. The only part that I haven’t moved yet is the kitchen. All my food is still in the fridge, all my pots and pans are still in the cabinets (except for my large pan and a baking dish or two). And I have to get most of it out of the way and moved before Friday night, because I will be leaving to go home for a week at 0330 Saturday morning. (I’m so excited I’m like to jump out of my skin!) I never realized just how much stuff I had until I put it all in boxes. I’m still trying to figure out how to organize a 7.5’x2′ pantry
I meant to post about DB’s birthday dinner last week, and I have photos uploaded and ready, but I just haven’t had time. Seriously. Trying to get a living space where you can actually live in it is tough work! I’m going to try to post about the birthday dinner as the day goes on. The creme brulee was particularly spectacular… and I have the recipe to share. I tried making up the buttermilk loaf as dinner rolls, but it failed because of me. I couldn’t bake it that night because it was too late; the loaf ended up rising three times. DB’s mom actually baked it and said that it never rose and was hard as a rock! I don’t have pictures of my baking failure, but suffice to say that I will be more careful from now on about picking my bread-making times.
Since the fall of Tastespotting, I now look at FoodGawker more than once a day for my food porn fix. I was greeted this morning with marinated flank steak, mac n’ cheese, Hillary Clinton’s chocolate chip cookies and pho. The last entry, from Jaden, also showcases a cookbook, Into the Vietnamese Kitchen. Now, if I had the cash and the patience, I would be like Heidi and have a bajillion cookbooks that would probably serve to make my little bookshelf look pretty. I only have a few as it is: my trusty BHG paperback, Barbara Tropp’s Modern Art of Chinese Cooking, Maryana Vollstedt’s Big Book of Easy Suppers, The South Beach Diet Cookbook, several pamphlets from the Beef Checkoff that include some super recipes and various other odds and ends from local papers and printouts that don’t exactly count as cookbooks. My ‘collection,’ as it were, is woefully inadequate. From now on, I’m requesting cash, vehicle upkeep and bookstore giftcards for birthdays and holidays. I have a running list of cookbooks in my head that should add themselves, however mysteriously, to my repertoire.
- The Joy of Cooking – How could anyone survive without this classic turn-to cookbook? This was my mother’s staple in the kitchen and continues to be so. I learned to cook as a youngster with her old, well-kept version of Joy. I consider it a necessary staple of any cook’s kitchen, and in some ways, a coming of age. I will not buy Joy of Cooking because it is, to me, almost the culinary equivalent of my great-grandmother’s pearls: I am still waiting for my mother to give me one and say ‘here, honey, this is yours.’
- Kentucky’s Best by Linda Allison-Lewis – My stepmother has a copy of this in her collection and I’ve used it with abandon. It ain’t my grandmother’s Bourbon County Ladies’ cookbook, but it’ll do. (I would really like to find that Bourbon County 4H cookbook, speaking of, but I have no idea who got it after she and Grandaddy died – or if it got thrown out.) This cookbook has old favorites (cheese balls, sausage balls, hot browns) and new wonderments (cheese-chutney pâtè? cashew-curry spread? None of these ever show up at my family’s Christmas table.) However, I will note that I do not use Linda’s recipe for beer cheese, though I can’t say that you shouldn’t. We just have our own family recipe and we like it that way.
- Shuck Beans, Stack Cakes, and Honest Fried Chicken: The Heart and Soul of Southern Country Kitchens by Ronni Lundy – I’ve never used this one, but I like the way Ronni talks to her readers. It makes me feel at home. I figure her recipes can’t be too far off the mark.
- The Blue Grass Cook Book by Minnie C. Fox – Never read this one either, but I’d like to.
- How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman – I am more or less still a fledgling cook. I’d like to always be a fledgling cook, so that I can never learn enough. But that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t have accessible, informative how-to books on hand, does it? In fact, it requires it.
- Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking by Jeff Hertzberg – I’ve heard so many awesome things about this must-have book that I must have it. Especially now that I no longer fear bread-baking, but am well on my way to embracing it. Now, if I could just get another loaf pan…
- Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments by David Lebovitz and Lara Hata – Again, another book that I’ve heard so darn much about that I crave it almost as much as I crave homemade ice cream. I love homemade ice cream! Especially vanilla ice cream made with Reyna vanilla… ooh-wee, that stuff is powerful.
- Room For Dessert : 110 Recipes for Cakes, Custards, Souffles, Tarts, Pies, Cobblers, Sorbets, Sherbets, Ice Creams, Cookies, Candies, and Cordials by David Lebovitz – Another Lebovitz book that I need to own. It beckons me with its cakes, its custards (I love custards) and cobblers. I’m convinced that Lebovitz will not disappoint me.
The Best Of Cooking Light by Holley Contri Johnson – Despite all the artery-clogging, sinfully caloric recipes no doubt encased in the above cookbooks, I do often try to keep my cooking on the light and easy side. Cooking Light would be my anchor back to the mindful cooking that I should be doing (and away from that wicked and dastardly pair of Perfect Scoop and Room for Dessert…)
Of course, that is by no means a complete list, but it’s a good start, right? I’m open for suggestions, too, if anyone is willing to speak.
I’ll save the list of kitchen gadgets that I would love to see cluttering my counter for a later date.