Monday, October 1, 2012

119 Cookbooks: The Worst of The Worst

And now…..the losers.  #10 being mostly edible, #1 being horrific. I tried to narrow it down to things that were actually awful, not just things I don't normally enjoy eating anyway. Read: mushrooms.

10. Crunchy Chicken Roll-Ups: First off, what a waste of paper. Anyone (seriously, anyone) can make a wrap. Secondly, water chestnuts are disgusting.

9. White Bean and Escarole Soup: Besides being a bit on the bland side, there was lettuce in this soup. Ever have lettuce in a soup before? No? You know why not? It’s horrible.

8. Fried Mush with Sausage: This one made the list just because the recipe was so badly written, the only thing that kept it at #8 is that when I did cook it (my way) it was pretty tasty.

7. Creamy Orange French Toast: It was like an orange exploded everywhere with this dish. The sauce would probably be good on French toast…if that bread wasn’t infused with orange and the batter didn’t contain orange zest.

6. Red and Green Salad: Here’s the thing….radicchio, red peppers, apples and peas do not taste good together. And it kind of hurts your jaw when you try to chew it.

5. Robiola Pizza: Oh Martha, you really let me down on this one. Maybe you should mention that when you spread the robiola on the crust, it will completely melt and soak in and your "pizza" will taste like a truffley sponge. Blech.

4. Scallops in White Wine: Honestly, boiled scallops in gravy.  It was fitting that this recipe was Zuko’s pick….because he was the only one who enjoyed it. And I’m not only talking about the mushrooms!

3. Allspice Lamb Chops:  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Allspice is the food of the Devil. It ruins everything it touches…especially perfectly cooked lambchops.

2. Gong Bao Chicken (aka: Pepper Spray Chicken):  I made this dish using half of the amount of peppers it called for and it still left us coughing for hours and barely to eat the food.  Maybe the phrase “or to taste” should be used, I’m just saying.

1. Pineapple Garlic Upside Down Cake: The absolutely worst thing made during the project….by about a million. It was the only dish that wasn’t edible. I took one bite and threw the whole thing away….and you know how I hate to waste food! My stomach is churning just thinking about it…..

Thursday, September 27, 2012

119 Cookbooks: Top Ten

I made so many fabulous dishes during this project (more good than bad, believe it or not!), that it’s hard to narrow the list down to just ten…..but I’ll give it a shot!

10. Ground Beef Wellington: This was so easy to make and was absolutely delicious. Serve it alongside a green salad and it’s the perfect weeknight meal.

9. Ligurian Style Pork Tenderloin Lasagne: While making this lasagna, I thought it was going to be hard and dry and awful. I could not have been more wrong, it was so rich and delicious…a little time consuming but so worth it!

8. Double Berry and Riesling Fondue: My mother insisted that this be included in the top 10, she needn’t have worried….it would have been here anyway. Not too sweet, not too tart, this fondue was a real surprise. And most importantly, no milk!

7. Eggplant Pasta: This dish holds the honor as the biggest surprise to come out of this project. I am not a huge eggplant fan, but this was absolutely delicious! The fresh basil really made this dish and I would recommend it to even the biggest eggplant haters!

6. Fettucine with Peas and Ham in Egg Sauce: Now, if you’re going to try this one, plan on having guests as it makes a tremendous amount of food! But the sauce was so fantastic and flavorful…everyone will love it!

5. Saute de Beouf a la Provencale: To be fair, I did cheap out on this one and went with a different cut of meat, but it was still tasty. Who knew beef tossed in a “quick” tomato sauce would be so good?

4. Buckwheat Risotto with Wild Leeks and Goat Cheese: I had no idea what to expect with this dish, who the heck eats Buckwheat Groats? As it turns out, they’re pretty tasty little grains. They cooked up so creamy that when you mixed them with the goat cheese everything just kind of melted to together into a big bowl of awesome.

3. Scallop and Onion Tartes Fines: Nothing about this dish was bad. The flavor of the onions, scallops and puff pastry was just decadent. Sure, they left crumbs all over the place but who cares?

2. Chocolate Maple Cupcakes with Rice Milk Ganache: Honestly, these were the most tender and rich cupcakes I’ve ever had. Make them.

1. Steak and Ale Pie with Yorkshire Pudding Crust: Beef, good. Guinness, good, Yorkshire Pudding, good. This dish takes the top spot because it was delicious, easy to make and reheated really well. It tis the perfect dish to serve on a cool autumn day or even for a dinner party.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

WTH: Tomatillo Salsa

2 pounds fresh tomatillos, paper skin removed
1 large white onion
2 jalapeno peppers, stems removed
3 cloves garlic
1 bunch cilantro
2 teaspoons cumin
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup fresh lime juice

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse tomatillos into a rough chop. Place tomatillos in large saucepan. Chop onions, jalapenos (I'll let you decide if you want to remove the seeds or not!) and garlic finely and add to saucepan. Chop the cilantro stems finely and add to pan, as well. Add cumin and salt.

Bring tomatillo mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.

Turn off heat and add the cilanto leaves (whole or chopped, it's up to you) and the lime juice. Stir to combine.

To can the salsa: ladle into prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space and process for 20 minutes.
To enjoy right away: Let cool and store in the refrgerator up to 15 days.

Friday, September 7, 2012

#45-Grits Pie from "The Lady and Sons:Just Desserts"

This is it people! My LAST 119 Cookbooks post.....a BIG thanks to the ladies at Wink Photography for their amazing pictures of this momentous occasion! I couldn't decide which ones I liked I used a bunch of them!

The recipe (photo courtesy of

Me! (photo courtesy of

Grits Pie from "The Lady and Sons:Just Desserts"

(photo courtesy of
1/4 cup buttermilk
3   large eggs, slightly beaten
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
(photo courtesy of
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/4 cup quick-cooking grits
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1   (9-inch) frozen pie shell, thawed and unbaked
Sweetened whipped cream and strawberries (optional)


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  In a small saucepan, bring water and salt to a boil.  Add grits and cook for 4 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add butter and cook for an additional minute.  Set aside and cool slightly.

(photo courtesy of
In a small bowl, stir together sugar, flour eggs, buttermilk and vanilla.  Stir into cooked grits.  Pour into pie shell and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until set.  Serve warm or cold with whipped cream and strawberries as a garnish, if desired.

Modifications: None.

(photo courtesy of
Me and my Grits Pie! (photo courtesy of
So good. Like really super good. It tasted exactly like my Grandma's custard pie, but without all that nasty lactose!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

#102-Vichyssoise from “Betty Crocker's New Cook Book"


Vichyssoise from “Betty Crocker's New Cook Book"

4 servings

1 tablespoon margarine or butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 medium stalk celery, chopped
1 can (14.5 ounces) chicken broth
1 ½ cups milk
1 cup half and half
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon pepper
chopped fresh chives, if desired

1 Melt margarine or butter in a 2 quart saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion in butter about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until crisp tender.

2 Stir in potatoes, celery and broth. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

3 Carefully place undrained potato mixture in blender or food processor. Cover and blend on low speed until uniform consistency. Pour into large bowl.

4 Stir in remaining ingredients except chives. Cover and refrigerate soup 5 hours or until thoroughly chilled. Garnish with chives.

Modifications: I substituted soy creamer for the milk and half & half.

This soup was really good. It was quick and easy to make and between you and me, tasted just fine warm as well! 

Friday, August 31, 2012

#85-Tofu Saute Korma Madras from “Tofu”


Tofu Saute Korma Madras from “Tofu

Serves 4

1 pound firm tofu cut into cubes
vegetable oil for cooking
1//2 finely sliced onion
1 tbs. Fresh ginger
6 ounces carrots cut into rounds
2 small green squash cut into sticks
6 ounces thin green beans
4 garlic cloves chopped finely
3 tbsp. Freshly chopped coriander
1 tbsp. Curry
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. red pepper
1 tsp. caraway
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 tbsp. Tomato paste
¾ cup coconut milk
¾ up natural yogurt
salt and freshly round pepper to taste

In a large pan, cook the tofu in a small amount of oil until golden.

Set aside.

In the same pan, cook the ginger and onion until golden.

Add the rounds of carrots, squash sticks and the beans. Cover and cook on a low heat for 5 minutes.

Add the rest of the ingredients and cook another 5 minutes.

Add the sauteed tofu and cook for 1 minute.

Salt and pepper.

Serve hot.

Modifications: None, but I did add the whole can of coconut milk to the leftovers, cause it was just too thick!

The flavors of this dish were fabulous, but it really needed longer than 6 minutes for the spices, coconut milk and yogurt to cook still had that raw spice taste to it. After I added the coconut milk and reheated the leftovers, it was pretty tasty!