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“A Cookbook a Week” Challenge (CAWC) – Thread #3 - Will you join me?

At long last I’m back in Canada and here to post Thread #3!! Thanks so much for your patience!!

It was so much fun catching up on all the great books reviewed in Thread #2. Believe it our not, in the few weeks since we first started this thread we’ve now reviewed a grand total of 52 books!! Thank-you so very much to all of you for joining me in this adventure.

For those of you that are new to this thread, welcome…please join us. Here’s some basic info:

GOAL FOR THREAD: Get to know our cookbooks better. Keep the good ones, toss a few duds along the way.

HOW IT WORKS (the condensed version):

- Pull a book off the shelf, dust it off and have a look through

- Post your impressions here. Is it a keeper? Any recipes that appealed?, have you ever cooked from it or might you now?

***Please start your post with title of your book in BLOCK CAPITAL LETTERS***

- If you make a dish at a later date, come back and post your review
beneath your original post. Review the dish as you see fit. Some folks will have lots to say, others won’t. This isn’t at COTM so it doesn’t have to be detailed but if someone wanted to do that, great.

• If others have the book and/or have cooked from it they can add their reviews beneath the first post about that book.

• BEFORE POSTING ABOUT A BOOK - PLEASE do a search of the thread (“Ctl F” w a
pc, “Command F” on a mac) to see if someone else has posted about it. If so, add your post beneath theirs. If not, hit “Reply to original post” and post to this OP.

If you want more info on How It Works, please click here for the OP in Thread #2: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8699...

Here are the 52 books we’ve reviewed so far:

BOOKS IN THREAD 1:

If you chose one of these books, please add to existing reviews here:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8673...

COOK’S COUNTRY COOKBOOK, 

MASTERING THE ART OF FRENCH COOKING – VOLUME 1,

THE BOSTON GLOBE COOKBOOK,

WILLIAMS SONOMA EAT WELL,

THE FRANTIC WOMAN'S GUIDE TO FEEDING FAMILY AND FRIENDS,

THE GREYSTON BAKERY COOKBOOK,

MRS CHIANGS SZECHUAN COOKBOOK,

CULINARY TEA,

THE MITSITAM CAFE COOKBOOK,

THE PAPRIKAS WEISS HUNGARIAN COOKBOOK,

A TWIST OF THE WRIST, 

I LOVE MEATBALLS,
AMERICAN BRASSERIE,

DONNA HAY'S MODERN CLASSICS BOOK 2,

GOURMET BY THE BAY,

THE LAURA SECORD CANADIAN COOKBOOK,

THE FEED ZONE COOKBOOK,

660 CURRIES (Oct 2012 COTM),

SO EASY: LUSCIOUS, HEALTHY RECIPES FOR EVERY MEAL OF THE WEEK,

MY FAMILY TABLE,

SAVORY BAKING,

URBAN ITALIAN

BOOKS IN THREAD 2:

If you chose one of these books, please add to existing reviews here:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8699...

THE TANTE MARIE’S COOKING SCHOOL COOKBOOK by Mary Risley,
TASTE OF HOME SPECIAL EDITIONS: 72 Tasty Recipes shared by real people,
THE ESSENTIAL NEW YORK TIMES COOK BOOK CLASSIC RECIPES FOR A NEW CENTURY, by Amanda Hesser
DINNER: A LOVE STORY, by Jenny Rosenstrach
COOKING FOR THE WEEK: LEISURELY WEEKEND COOKING FOR EASY WEEKNIGHT MEALS by Diane Morgan and Dan & Kathleen Taggert
The Book of New New England Cookery
formerly known as The L.L. Bean Book of New New England Cookery
Judith and Evan Jones,
THE SOUL OF A NEW CUISINE by Marcus Samuelsson
THE BOOK OF KALE, Sharon Hanna,
Sarah Leah Chase’s Open-House Cookbook (1987) and Cold-Weather Cooking” (1990
)I LOVE CRAB CAKES! 50 RECIPES FOR AN AMERICAN CLASSIC - Tom Douglas
HANDS-OFF COOKING: LOW SUPERVISION, HIGH FLAVOR MEALS FOR BUSY PEOPLE by Ann Martin Rolke
GOOD FOOD FAST by Anne Walsh with help from the editors of Food & Wine magazine
THE STOCKED KITCHEN: ONE GROCERY LIST...ENDLESS RECIPES by Kallio and Krastins
SUNDAY SUPPERS AT LUCQUES by Suzanne Goin
PASSION & PALATE: RECIPES FOR A GENEROUS TABLE by John Howie
ROBIN RESCUES DINNER: 52 Weeks of Quick-Fix Meals, 350 Recipes, and a Realistic Plan to Get Weeknight Dinners on the Table, Robin Miller
THE PLEASURE IS ALL MINE - SELFISH FOOD FOR MODERN LIFE from Suzanne Pirret
THE BRISKET BOOK, A Love Story With Recipes by Stephanie Pierson
CLASSICAL TURKISH COOKING – by AYLA ALGAR
A TASTE OF SHAN by Page Bingham
20-MINUTE MENUS: TIME-WISE RECIPES & STRATEGIC PLANS FOR FRESHLY COOKED MEALS EVERY DAY: By MARIAN BURROS
THE ESSENTIAL MEDITERRANEAN: How Regional Cooks Transform Essential Ingredients into the World's Favorite Cuisine, by Nancy Harmon Jenkins
HOLIDAY DINNERS WITH BRADLEY OGDEN – 150 FESTIVE RECIPES TO BRING FAMILY & FRIENDS TOGETHER by Bradley Ogden
PARISIAN HOME COOKING, Conversations, recipes, and tips from the cooks and food merchants of Paris, by Michael Roberts
COOK ONCE A WEEK, EAT WELL EVERY DAY Make-Ahead Meals that Transform your Suppertime Circus into Relaxing Family Time, Theresa Albert
WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT from Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page
How to Pick a Peach, (The Search for Flavor from Farm to Table) by Russ Parsons
In the Kennedy Kitchen, Neil Connolly
JENI'S SPLENDID ICE CREAMS AT HOME BY Jeni Britton Bauer

Also, Mr. Bigglesworth shared a link to his thread where he undertook a similar challenge and shared book and recipe notes:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8673...

As the holiday season approaches I’m guessing we’ll see some seasonal books pulled off the shelf and dusted off and I can’t wait. I sure could use more space on my shelf and I’m betting there are some holiday-themed books that could use a new home!!

Let the fun begin & welcome to Thread #3…I’ll post a new thread once we hit approx 300 posts (I promise!!).

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  1. LA MIA CUCINA TOSCANA – A TUSCAN COOKS IN AMERICA by Pino Luongo

    I have an extensive collection of Italian Cookbooks and have come to rely on this book for inspired, delicious dishes. I’ve selected this book for my CAWC since I know it well enough to provide a quick review and I know it’s a keeper. I’m hoping this post will be useful to anyone considering adding a Tuscan-inspired book to their own collection.

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR: You may know of Pino Luongo already. He’s a restaurateur famous to many for the delicious dishes produced at Coco Pazzo, Le Madri, Tuscan Square or Centolire. Chef Luongo has penned a number of cookbooks including Simply Tuscan and, A Tuscan in the Kitchen…also excellent books IMHO.

    ABOUT THE BOOK: In this book the author takes Old World Classic dishes and shares his own variations. In fact, each recipe starts with a description of “Il Classico” the original recipe and “La Mia Versione” a short description of the riff which sometimes includes suggestions for serving or accompaniments. Many of the recipes are accompanied by large, enticing photographs of the finished dish and I’m happy to report that the photographs accurately depict how the dish actually turns out if you make it at home. Recipes are laid out sensibly with ingredients listed on the left and instructions on the right. Generally instructions are clear though improvements could be made (eg. Specifying a quantity of juice vs juice of ½ an orange). Though this is far more critical in baking, I find such specificity is often a sign that recipes are well tested. I have found one error in the book so far, an oven temperature that was not accurately converted to Fahrenheit. The chapters in the book are organized by main ingredient (eg. Bread, Grains and Legumes, Mushrooms, Spring or Autumn Vegetables, Poultry, Pork, Fish and Shellfish etc). The author explains that this approach was taken to encourage cooks to put their own menus together and not be restricted to a starter, main course etc. Also, each recipe is accompanied by a recommendation for wine. In my experience these recommendations have proven to be quite reliable though in some instances, more obscure wines are not widely available here in Canada where the Government likes to make all the decisions about what we should and shouldn’t be drinking!! (no, I’m not bitter!!) Because this book was written with an American influence the ingredients are readily available in most supermarkets.

    ABOUT THE RECIPES:

    What I love about this book is the wide variety of dishes and ingredients used. Frequently the recipes from this book appear in EYB searches where I’m looking for a recipe for certain ingredients I have on hand. The author does provide recipes for core elements of dishes so if folks are inclined to make their own pasta for instance, Chef has you covered. Of course you don’t have to make your own pasta and I haven’t found any dish I’ve made to have suffered for the use of the purchased fresh or dried pasta I’ve used. Generally speaking, I’ve found the recipes to come together pretty quickly and there aren’t many complicated steps or instructions. So far I’ve made the following dishes:

    Spiral Pasta with Lentils, Shrimp and Bacon
    Roughly Cut Pasta with White Bean Sauce
    Tagliarini with Small Veal Meatballs, Mushrooms and Sweet Peas
    Garganelli and Chicken Ragout with Saffron
    Orecchiette with Dandelion, Sausage and Lemon Zest

    I’ve reviewed all these recipes in EYB and if anyone is interested, you can read my notes here:

    http://www.eatyourbooks.com/library/9...

    Last night I made the Pappardelle with Roasted Butternut Squash Crumbled Sweet Sausage and Sage and I’ll review that dish in this thread.

    So far I’ve only ever used this book on a “spot basis” meaning a recipe suggestion came up in EYB and I’ve made the dish. In the days ahead I hope to go through this book page by page and record dishes I hope to make or that just didn’t appeal here along with any other points that may be of interest.

    It’s good to be home and back on track with this thread!!!

    3 Replies
    1. re: Breadcrumbs

      LA MIA CUCINA TOSCANA - Pappardelle with Roasted Butternut Squash, Crumbled Sweet Sausage and Sage – p. 121

      Classically the ingredients used here come together in a zuppa but this version, a riff, pairs the sweetness of the squash w sausage and the earthiness of sage to produce a delicious pasta perfectly suited for a crisp fall evening.

      I find it easier to peel squash if it’s slightly softened so to achieve this I score the skin and place the whole squash in the microwave, covered w a piece of paper towel and microwave on high for 5-7 mins. Once the squash cools, I peel it w a y-shaped vegetable peeler.

      ¾ of the squash is roasted along w some garlic cloves, sage and bay leaves. The remaining squash is simmered w some sautéed leek and stock then pureed to make a light sauce. Mine was quite thick so I thinned it out w some water when pureeing in the blender.

      Once the pasta is cooked it is combined w the roasted veggies, sauce, sautéed sausage and leeks. Parmesan is grated atop. We didn’t have the suggested Sfurzat red wine to serve alongside so instead we went with a Shiraz. A delicious but very rich pasta that is best enjoyed in moderation. Definitely a dish I’ll make again.

       
       
       
      1. re: Breadcrumbs

        LA MIA CUCINA TOSCANA – Review Con’t:

        So in my initial post above I admitted to only having used this book on a spot basis without ever flipping through it to get to know it better. Well now I’m back to report that I’ve taken a full look through this book and I’ve learned something important.

        If I’d looked through this book in a store before purchasing (I ordered it online from a re-seller, sight unseen) I likely would never have purchased it!! Of course, that would have been a HUGE mistake because I’ve made some absolutely fabulous recipes from this book. So, I suppose you might be wondering what turned me off? Well, it’s the photography. There are a number of recipes and photos in the book that I would never make. These dishes appear too “artistic” or composed. These contrived concoctions make for better art than food in my view. The first thing I did on discovering these photos was to flip to the front of the book to see if it was published in 90’s where there seemed to be an abundance of stacked/piled food appearing in magazines but in fact, this book was published in 2003. I’ve also dined in a couple of the author’s restaurants and can’t say this type of food is typical of what I’ve found on his menus so I’m not sure what’s up w this book. So silly were some of the recipes/photos that I’ve posted a few photos here for you to see.

        So, now I’ve gotten that off my chest, let me tell you what else I discovered as I looked through the book. Mushrooms! I’d highly recommend this book to folks who love mushrooms. The recipes where this famous funghi played a starring role were plentiful and enticing. I also noticed a number of seafood and fish recipes which, in my experience, don’t normally figure prominently in Tuscan books. Despite the number of “artistic” dishes that didn’t appeal, there were still a number of recipes that did. Here are some of the dishes I’ve flagged to try at a later date:

        Hot Salad of Mushrooms, Spelt and Arugula
        Peas in a Light Tomato Sauce w Scrambled Eggs
        Spring Stew of Monkfish, Fava Beans and Italian Bacon
        Roasted Asparagus and Spelt Omelet
        Halibut Steamed with Lemon Leaves and Asparagus
        Fettuccine with Mushrooms, Shrimp, and White Wine
        Rigatoni with Chicken, Peas and Prosciutto
        Spicy Cornish Hen (he uses jalapenos however I’d go w Serranos)
        Prosciutto with Roasted Pears
        Pork Chops with Mortadella, Fontina, and Sage

        I especially found the two seasonal chapters (Spring & Fall) to appeal. The downside of the mushroom recipes for me is that I don’t have regular access to a good variety of wild mushrooms and while the recipes in this book would work w the basic varieties, I do think they’d be much better with wild mushrooms.

        I’m glad I had the opportunity to take a closer look at this book and I’ve learned an important lesson. As someone who is quickly drawn to photographs, I shouldn’t place too much weighting on them, as it’s really the recipes that matter. In this case I’ll happily put La Mia Cucina Toscana back on my shelf. Everything we’ve made so far has been a big hit and, I’m now looking forward to some new dishes as well.

         
         
         
        1. re: Breadcrumbs

          It's food sculpture! How very funny. You are right. If I flipped through this book in a store I would giggle and move on.

      2. HOW TO EAT, Nigella Lawson

        This is another book that I acquired shortly before my son was born and have never really used.

        This is an idiosyncratic, very personal book. It represents the way the world should work according to Nigella (food wise), and for this reason I find it hard to settle on any recipes for actual cooking, though I do find the book interesting.

        There is a lot of text and the recipes are set off within the text with blue type. I find this a bit hard to follow and it doesn't help with the problem of choosing recipes.

        I suspect that this book would make a good COTM as it could really benefit from crowd sourcing. There is also a good variety of recipes, which makes for a good COTM as well.

        The book is not organized in any typical fashion (seasons, ingredients, courses, etc) but rather is divided into 8 sections as follows:

        Basics etc.: contains recipes for roast chicken, a few viniagrettes and sauces (hollandsise, bearnaise), some basic desserts, holiday cooking (including the clementine cake)
        Cooking in Advance: soups, stews, vegetables and desserts best prepared in advance and later reheated
        One and Two: things to cook when dining alone or with one other person (linguine with clam sauce, steak bearnaise, blini with caviar, quail)
        Fast Food: things to cook quickly after work, including general strategies and some fast dishes to make for weeknight company
        Weekend Lunches: vaguely seasonal menus for casual lunches with friends. Usually consisting of entree and dessert
        Dinners: dinner party menus
        Low Fat: recipes nigella likes when on a diet (mostly Asian influenced dishes, lots of fish and veggies)
        Cooking for Babies and Small Children: general discussion and recipes for things kids like.

        I have made one recipe from this book: Anna's chickpea and pasta soup on p. 79. I liked it, however there is a very similar recipe in Marcella's essentials, which I think i prefer, though I don't recall why. I'd like to try more things from this book. One recipe calling my name is chicken from the Venetian grotto (a Claudia Roden recipe). Other than that I am having trouble getting inspired. I would be very curious to hear if others have favorites from this book.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Westminstress

          I've got the book too but haven't used it much. I've heard many many people raved about it. I've made a couple of chocolate puddings from it, iirc. I think it'll make a great COTM too, for the same reason as you say.

          1. re: lilham

            I've nominated Nigella's HOW TO EAT for December COTM over in this thread. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8770... Nominations end today so scurry over there to add your voice to the nominations thread if you wish.

            I was thiking this would be a good book for January (due to the low-fat options), but a) why wait until January to get started on good habits and b) it's got some Christmas recipes in it that might be put to good use sooner rather than later!

            ~TDQ

          2. re: Westminstress

            I'd love for this book to be COTM in January (I think I actually nominated it this past January) because it has that "low fat" section that appeals to those of us about to launch our annual diets...and something for most everyone else, too. But, I've only read it like a novel, never cooked from it, so it's a little hard to recommend it or push hard for it. I read the cooking for babies section when my son was an infant and would like to re-read it now that he's older. Maybe in January 2013. ;-)

            ~TDQ

            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              Cool - I will try to use it a bit over the next couple of months and will nominate it if I have good luck with the recipes.

            2. re: Westminstress

              I'm a big Nigella fan and have this book (gift of a very kind chowhound) and would love to cook more from it. It's the same old story - so many cookbooks, so little time.

            3. So good to be back home and get back to my CAWC! Here's this week's book:

              MUFFIN TIN CHEF By Matt Kadey

              I purchased this book during the summer and discovered it during a web search for portable food/recipes that I could use for weekday breakfasts. Of course I looked through it at the time, tabbed some appealing dishes and then forgot all about it!! Well thank goodness for this CAWC since a quick scan of my bookshelves this weekend lead me to this book. I quickly pulled it off the shelf to re-discover it. Unfortunately I didn’t get to it soon enough to shop for grocery items I might need to prepare any recipes but I’ve definitely discovered some really appealing dishes and look forward to trying a couple of recipes out next week. So, here’s a little more info:

              ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Matt Kadey is a registered dietitian and food writer. He develops recipes and has a website dedicated to…you guessed it, muffin tin cooking! Here’s the link…there are lots of recipes online: http://www.muffintinmania.com/p/recip... According to the author, he originally became interested in this type of cooking after taking on an assignment to develop some recipes to be prepared in muffin tins but “NO MUFFINS”. Clearly he was onto something as it seems he’s developed a good fan base. Oh and by coincidence, he’s a Canadian too!!

              ABOUT THE BOOK: Much like the dishes it promotes, the book itself is small in size, just 158 pages. I believe there’s a full page dedicated to each recipe and many of the recipes are accompanied by a clear and appealing photograph. The recipes are divided into 5 categories that cover breakfast/brunch, starters/appetizers, main dishes, side dishes and dessert. In addition there is a resource section at the back of the book. Somehow I find this book incredibly appealing. I love the clear photographs of the various recipes. I found myself wanting to make and eat almost everything. I was also impressed with how clever the ideas were and there is quite a variety of recipes. Everything just looks so “cute”. I can certainly see these dishes appealing to kids and adults alike.

              ABOUT THE RECIPES: In the book’s introductory pages the author makes a compelling case for muffin tin cooking. Some points of note: Time savings – obviously because you are cooking in smaller quantities, things cook faster. Not only does this speed up your meal prep time but also it uses less energy. Portion Control – a great way to ensure folks get an appropriate serving size…no more, no less than they need. Great for Kids. Portable – great for meals on the go. Easy to freeze and defrost pre-portioned amounts. Recipes are accompanied by notations to indicate whether they are “Vegetarian”, “Gluten-free” or can be “Frozen” for a later date. One thing that surprised me, given that the author is a dietitian, was that no nutritional information was provided with the recipes.

              Here are some of the recipes I’ve tabbed to try:

              Baked Eggs in Prosciutto Cups
              Huevos Rancheros with Salsa Verde
              Spanish Omelet
              Bacon and Eggs (looks great w tomato, onions, mushrooms and arugula mixed in

              )

              Egg and Sausage in Polenta Cups
              Baked Oatmeal…if I hadn’t needed to soak the oats overnight I’d have made these today as they look so good!
              Peach Oatmeal Bake
              Parmesan Hash Browns – these look like cute little nests!!
              Turkey Parmesan Muffins
              Granola Rounds – honestly the title doesn’t do these justice w their chia seeds, dried blueberries, cranberries and coconut…they sound amazing!
              Fruity Energy Bites
              Almond Protein Bites
              Curried Shrimp Cups
              Spinach Dip Bowls
              Caprese Cups
              Crustless Smoked Salmon Quiches
              Falafels with Asparagus and Hummus

              Honestly I marked so many this is getting a bit ridiculous!! I’ll share just a few more to give a sense of the main dish items:

              Turkey Pot Pies
              Lasagna Rolls
              Meatloaves w Chimichurri Sauce
              Eggplant Parmesan
              Mini Mac & Cheese!!
              Curry Tuna Noodle Casserole
              Pork Cakes w Apple Plum Chuteny
              Quinoa Mushroom Cakes w Sriracha Aioli

              Needless to say I’m quite smitten with this book and I’m crossing my fingers that the recipes work. If they do, I’m imagining this book inspiring many meals to come. FYI, I did manage to rustle up enough ingredients to make a variation on a dish this evening and time permitting, I’ll report back after dinner.

              28 Replies
              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                I'm looking forward to hearing more about this book. It sounds like the perfect book for someone looking to fill a lunch box 5x a week. Lulu's not big on sandwiches, which can make that iffy once the leftovers run out.

                1. re: LulusMom

                  I'm not big on sandwiches myslef LlM and that's one of the reasons this book appealed to me. I've now posted my first recipe review below btw. I think this is a great book.

                2. re: Breadcrumbs

                  Thanks for sharing this. Sounds perfect to me too as I'm not a sandwich fan at all. And the first thing that pops to my mind when I hear muffin food is freezing too!

                  1. re: lilham

                    So right lilham, this is the perfect "freezing food" and makes it super-easy to pull out just enough for your meal...no waste!

                  2. re: Breadcrumbs

                    After reading your description of this book, Breadcrumbs, I was so intrigued that when tonight I found myself near a bookstore I just had to go in and see if it was there...and it was! Looking through it I saw so many things (many of which are on your list above) that I had to buy it.

                    I'm looking forward to trying many of these and will spend some time tabbing ones to try first.
                    I also look forward to reading your recipe reviews!

                    1. re: poptart

                      Oh I'm so excited to have some company in the Muffin Tin kitchen poptart!! Looking forward to reading your reviews. I just posted my first one below.

                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                        Thanks for your pork cakes review! I tried the baked oatmeal this weekend; will elaborate more below!
                        Also I tagged many recipes to try.
                        :-)

                    2. re: Breadcrumbs

                      BC--I've always wanted to do more toaster oven cooking and figured a half (six) muffin tin would be the way to go. Does he address toaster oven cooking at all? This could be just my speed...

                      ~TDQ

                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                        Hi TDQ, no he doesn't address toaster oven cooking but you are so right, these recipes are ideal for the the toaster oven. Though I didn't use it this time, I'd definitely consider it in the future. Thanks for the suggestion.

                      2. re: Breadcrumbs

                        MUFFIN TIN CHEF - Pork Cakes with(out) Apple-Plum Chutney – p. 88

                        After reviewing the book I was so keen to cook from it but I hadn’t taken any recipes into account when I did my grocery shopping the day before so I was limited to finding something that worked with ingredients I had on hand.

                        Fortunately I did manage to unearth some ground pork from the chest freezer so this recipe was on the menu…without the chutney that is.

                        I found the recipe online so I’ll paste the link here to save getting into how this all comes together:

                        http://books.google.ca/books?id=tSbpN...

                        I did make a couple of changes. I went with chopped Thai bird chilies instead of the jalapeno and while the recipe suggests a yield of 12 pork cakes, I had 10 since I feared that portioning the meat any smaller would just entice folks to eat more. As it was mr bc ended up eating 3! The recipe also allows for a couple of choices. FWIW, I went w the dry breadcrumbs vs the oatmeal and dried sage vs fresh since the frost got the last of my fresh stuff!

                        Since I didn’t have the chutney I decided to glaze the tops of these cakes w some sweet Thai chili garlic sauce. This turned out to be a terrific option and everyone just loved these little meat cakes. What really impressed me was how flavourful and juicy they were. As you can see in the photos below, the meat must have been fairly lean as the cakes didn't shrink much at all in the cooking process.

                        Everyone raved about these and next time I’ll definitely make a double batch so we have leftovers for weekday breakfasts or lunches. This was a big hit!! Can’t wait to try another recipe!

                         
                         
                         
                         
                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                          MUFFIN TIN CHEF - Baked Oatmeal

                          This was easy and I made them to have for breakfasts and snacks during the week.

                          It takes a little planning in that you have to soak the steel cut oats overnight before mixing up with other ingredients to bake.

                          I made several substitutions; using dried cranberries for the raisins, omitted the cinnamon and used nutmeg only, and used soy milk for regular milk.

                          I liked the "moist muffin" texture very much and they are indeed filling and nutritionally dense.
                          So far, I've tried some at room temperature, and toasted. I've frozen a bag full and defrosted/toasted this morning for breakfast and they were fine.

                          These are not very sweet, which is fine for me. It's easy to add sweetness by putting on some honey, or maple syrup if you prefer. I like that they are not overly sweet, so that the taste can be varied. That said, I bet if using cinnamon they will seem sweeter.

                          I'll make these on a regular basis, as they are handy for breakfast on the run and for a late afternoon snack to help stave hunger pangs before dinner.

                          1. re: poptart

                            So great to read your review poptart, I'm glad you're enjoying the book so far. I also made the baked oatmeal and like you, we really enjoyed it. I'll post my review and would be very interested to hear if your batter was thin like mine before baking. As I've noted below, I did use flax seeds vs ground flax so I'm not sure how much of a difference that made.

                            1. re: poptart

                              MUFFIN TIN CHEF – BAKED OATMEAL – p. 22

                              Terrific! The head note for this recipe asks: “Why just eat your oatmeal from a bowl?” and it was the notion of having a portable oatmeal breakfast that attracted me to this recipe. I loved the variety of ingredients it included and wish I’d been able to find chia seeds at the supermarket as I’m always happy to add them to our meals. I used flax seeds instead and though the author suggests that ground flax seeds be used, mine were whole and the dish didn’t seem to suffer for it.

                              Here’s how it all comes together: As poptart notes, steel cut oats are soaked overnight then drained and combined w raisins, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, the flax or chia mentioned above, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. In another bowl eggs are beaten along w milk and peanut butter. The egg mixture is combined w the oats then the mixture is divided into muffin cups. I must say, at this point I truly had my doubts as to whether this would turn out. My batter was watery. I figured something must be wrong and after checking back w the book and seeing I’d added everything I should have, I decided to forge ahead. I used a ladle to portion out the batter and even snapped a couple of photos to share here so you could get a sense of how wet the mixture really was.

                              What I appreciate in this recipe is the opportunities it provides for variations. I elected to skip the walnuts as I had some dried cranberries to use up. I also had a handful of dried chopped apple that went into the mix as well. Almond butter could easily be used in place of the peanut butter and any milk would do. I’d like to try soy milk next time around. The author suggests you top these w an apple cinnamon mixture but since I’d added some dried apples, I opted just to top w some cinnamon-flavoured maple sugar.

                              FYI, I used muffin tin liners and gave them a quick spritz w butter-flavoured cooking spray. Nevertheless, the mixture did stick to the liners somewhat and certainly didn’t plate like a very similar dish photographed on the author’s website. I’ll share a link below.

                              The finished oatmeal cakes were a delight. Sweetened only by the fruit and the dusting of sugar atop they were definitely not overly sweet like so many oatmeal breakfast breads or muffins. The author does suggest that these could be served w some maple syrup atop but that’s not practical for a portable meal and, I liked this just the way it was. The cakes are quite dense and filling.

                              I loved the variety of textures in the dish was surprised about how moist they were. The egg mixture provides a custardy flavour and textural element to the dish, somewhat l like that in a bread pudding. I suspect if I’d used ground flax vs the seeds my mixture would have been a little drier. I like poptart’s idea of toasting them and would definitely try this at home sometime.

                              Here’s a link to a recipe by the same name on the author’s website. Please note while this dish is similar, this is NOT THE SAME RECIPE that’s in the book:

                              http://www.muffintinmania.com/2011/06...

                              Like poptart, I’ll most definitely make this again. I totally agree that this makes for a perfect, healthy weekday breakfast or snack and I can see us having this frequently. It’s great to hear they freeze well too!!

                               
                               
                               
                               
                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                Breadcrumbs, I think you are right that the batter might have been stiffer with ground flaxseed. Reading your description made me realize that I didn't have flaxseed so used extra chia instead. Perhaps this is why my batter was stiffer? I'd say it was stiff enough to have used an ice cream scoop.

                                I have a lot of chia seed, having purchased a few bags awhile back when they were on sale at Whole Foods for a very good price, so I'll be utilizing them in this recipe for awhile.

                                I often have stirred chia gel into cooked oatmeal for extra nutrition (and staying power) so may use some chia gel in place of some of the milk to see what happens.

                                This may be one of those recipes that morphs to something slightly different every time, depending on tweaks as you mentioned (different nut butters, dried fruits, etc.).

                                Thanks for the pictures, what a great idea!

                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                  I made these recently using the linked recipe. I thought they were ok, but I don't love them. I was a bit surprised by the texture - somehow I was expecting a more muffiny or cake-like texture (not sure why since there was no flour or leavening in the mix.) My cakes are like very dense oatmeal hockey pucks. I subbed chia for flax meal, maybe that's why? The texture is not that bad, as it's pleasantly chewy from the oats, pumpkin seeds and apple, but it is not what I expected. Also, I didn't realize until too late that there is no salt in the online recipe. I would definitely add salt if making these again. I do agree that these are a handy healthy snack to have around, very healthy and packed with protein and fiber. I wish I'd had these a few months ago bc these are just perfect for nursing moms during the first few months. Lots of nutrition in a small convenient package, plus oats are good for milk supply.

                                  1. re: Westminstress

                                    Mine were not cake-like either; I was looking for something like an bowl-of -atmeal replacement though so it wasn't too far off from that.
                                    I did try them cut in half and toasted, with plum jam on them and that was pretty good! Another day I did the same but used almond butter and honey instead of the jam.

                            2. re: Breadcrumbs

                              MUFFIN TIN MANIA : KALE CUPS

                              http://www.muffintinmania.com/2012/04...

                              I made these in the weekend for lunch today. (And more for the freezer). I mixed everything in the food processor, instead of a large bowl. I also used less kale but kept the amount of cheese the same as in the recipe. It came to 7 regular sized muffin 'cups'.

                              I don't like this. It's ok enough for lunch but I wouldn't make it again. It tastes quite dry. I don't think me doubling the cheese would make it drier than it should be. Also it has a very strange after taste to it, I think it tastes like I've overdone the ginger, but it doesn't have ginger in the mix.

                              I think I'll give the muffin tin mania another go because I really like the premise. But I'll stick with something safe like meatloaves or lentils.

                              1. re: lilham

                                Weird! I wonder what combination of ingredients mimics the experience of "too much ginger"? We might need a food scientist to step in! Thanks for reporting back on this one as this is one I was drawn to.

                                ~TDQ

                                1. re: lilham

                                  That's too bad lilham. Interestingly, I don't see this recipe in the book but I've also learned that the Index isn't terrific in this book since it's organized by dish name but not by ingredient so if he re-named the dish, I wouldn't see it anyway. Fingers crossed that you'll enjoy your next dish more.

                                  FYI, I made the Baked Oatmeal yesterday and unfortunately I forgot to bring one w me today so I can't report on how they turned out yet but stay tuned!! They looked and smelled great though!

                                  1. re: lilham

                                    KALE CUP & MINI MEATLOAF

                                    http://www.muffintinmania.com/2012/04...
                                    http://www.muffintinmania.com/2011/06...

                                    The mini meatloaf is part of a recipe with a rhubarb sauce, but I only made the meatloaf. It's a very interesting meatloaf in that it's half mushroom by weight. Rolled oats is used instead of breadcrumbs (supposedly it's healthier but I don't know why). I like to make my meat go further for lunch because of both cost and health issues. I've previously used tofu to pad out burgers, but never tried mushrooms before. The recipe has you fried the onion and mushrooms first. Instead I took a shortcut and simply chop both very finely in the food processor, then add to the rest of the ingredients. Pour into muffin tray and bake. I made the full recipe, and ended up with nine meatloafs, same as the author.

                                    I have one for lunch today, together with a kale cup, and also a quick toss noodle from Nigella Lawson's How to Eat. Both kale cup and meatloaves are DIVINE with the noodles. It's a packed lunch so everything is reheated through the microwave at work.

                                    The meatloaf is very soft and porous as you'd expect from the amount of mushrooms in it. It's also a bit bland on its own but you are supposed to have a barbecue sauce with it. But the noodle is very very flavourful and with one mouthful of noodle and a mouthful of meatloaf, I don't need a separate sauce at all. I suspect the meatloaf acts more like a flavour sponge here, similar to tofu. But I'll make it again because the noodles will become a regular in my bento, and the meatloafs go so well with it. And they are healthy and easy to make.

                                    Previously I thought the kale cups are a bit gingery and bitter. Now I think about it, it could be because I served it with
                                    http://justhungry.com/new-potatoes-wi...
                                    which has ginger in it. And the two just doesn't go well together. But with the noodles, the kale cups are much much tastier. It's such a nice freezer staple, and a good way to eat more kale. It could be the noodles making everything taste nice though!

                                    PS. The noodle recipe is a non recipe in the One & Two chapter (iirc). I'll review it when the COTM threads are up.

                                    1. re: lilham

                                      Heh. A "non recipe" from HTE. I know exactly what you mean--buried in the text somewhere. I look forward to your review. Am especially encouraged by the word divine.

                                      DId you say these kale muffins are supposed to be served with a rhubarb sauce? (oh, sorry, I see you said the mini-meatloaves). We get tons of rhubarb in spring...

                                      Am I going to have to buy this ding dang book?

                                      ~TDQ

                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                        Don't TDQ. I'm not that impressed by the Muffin Tin Chef. (Unless you are talking about HTE, then you need to get it). I was simply following the recipes online. I found both recipes I've tried just ok. I only like the site because this kind of cooking is perfect for packing my bentos. Everything is in muffin portions, so for example for this lunch, I just make a noodle, and then add one frozen muffin of kale cup, and another muffin of meat loaf. I don't think I'll be cooking from this site if I'm a sandwich person.

                                        I found the recipes on Just Bento a lot more to my taste. But I get bored of the same old same old easily.

                                        1. re: lilham

                                          I'm glad you told us because in theory this book sounds good and useful. But I have to say that a lot of what people have reported on doesn't totally appeal to me, and if what you've made isn't even very tasty, then I can nix this one.

                                          1. re: lilham

                                            OK, whew, thank you. I did mean MTC.

                                            I am already the proud owner of HTE.

                                            ~TDQ

                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                              I must have missed the reference. What is HTE?

                                    2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                      MUFFIN TIN CHEF - Quinoa-Mushroom Cakes w Sriracha Aioli – p. 100

                                      This is the recipe that first drew me to the book and I’ve been itching to give them a try. This week the stars were aligned. I remembered to buy mushrooms and walnuts so I was good to go. I used a tri-colour quinoa mix so mine may not look like the author intended them but they certainly tasted wonderful. I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of texture. Obviously it’s the eggs that act as a binding agent but there really isn’t that much egg relative to the other ingredients. I believe this led to the only issue I had with this recipe. While the cakes emerged from the oven (and their cupcake wrappers) in good form, it only took one pass of the fork to cause the portion of quinoa to fall apart. I suspect this is why the author suggests that the Sriracha aioli be served atop. I’d elected to serve it on the side so folks could take as much or as little as they pleased but it was almost futile trying to scoop and dip a forkful in the sauce and most folks opted to pour the sauce on their cakes. That said, the flavours were great. The earthiness of the quinoa and mushrooms were balanced by the sweetness of the onion and carrot. We all agreed that the sauce worked really well with the dish and I especially liked the textural contrast the walnuts brought to the mix. They also echoed the nuttiness of the quinoa. I’ve frozen the remainder and will report back on how that works out. I’d absolutely make these again but I don’t think they’re idea for work lunches as I’d worry about how well they’d travel given their propensity to break apart. Btw, I used lime juice vs lemon as it seemed like a natural fit to me for an Asian-style aioli. We loved it!

                                      The first pic is before baking but it really doesn't look that much different than the cooked version. The tops actually do get golden!

                                       
                                       
                                       
                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                        Thanks for this review; I was also interested in trying to make them. Perhaps I will consider using 2 eggs? Did you feel that the batter texture needed more to bind it and do you think an extra egg would do the trick?

                                    3. GEORGIAN BAY GOURMET ENTERTAINS by Anne Connell, Helen Gibson, Mary Hunt and Jean Leavens

                                      I’m now several weeks into my CAWC and though I’d hoped this exercise would help me purge some dud cookbooks from my shelves, to-date I’ve found nothing but keepers. So this week I decided that I haven’t been trying hard enough to unearth books that may be in need of a new home and I headed upstairs to a bookcase that holds what I call my land of misfit cookbooks! These are books that haven’t earned a spot downstairs. I’ve usually inherited them from someone who was doing their own clean-out and passed cookbooks along to me because a) I like to cook and b) they know I don’t have the willpower to pass up a cookbook! This bookcase also holds old cookbooks I collected in my youth but I haven’t looked at in years and books I’ve bought as part of a box lot at auction or at “fill-a-bag” type charity book sales. So now you get the idea.

                                      I pulled this book off the shelf because it had an “entertaining” theme so with the holidays approaching; I thought I’d give it a fair shot at earning its keep. Also it’s over an inch thick so it was taking up a decent piece of shelf real estate!

                                      ABOUT THE BOOK: My first impression was “this book has never been opened!” For those who haven’t heard of it, Georgian Bay is a picturesque area in Ontario, Canada well-known as a prime cottaging destination. My best guess is that someone purchased this as a souvenir for themselves or someone else and eventually it was donated to charity. Evidently the authors wrote 2 (self-published) books prior to this and it would seem no books have been written since…my first clue on the road to discovery! On the plus side, the book is organized by season and sub-divided by seasonal events or holidays. Interesting that athough the book does contain a number of colour photographs, they’re of the region vs food! (yes, you guessed it, another clue!!)

                                      ABOUT THE RECIPES: Recipes are provided for each occasion. I suspect the book is targeting the cottage chef as it seems to make use of many pantry ingredients. For example, the “In the Pink Potato Salad”, a summer dish, calls for 3 x 14oz cans of beets. Some recipes do tend to yield enough for a crowd. This doesn’t seem like a book where you’ll unearth a new recipe, rather it seems like a collection of family standards and perhaps favourites of someone's family. I suspect there may be a few gems in here but it’s one of those books that doesn’t offer anything appealing to someone with a large collection of cookbooks. I’d never find myself pulling this off the shelf to see if there’s something that appeals when I have so many books from chefs and author’s who I know and trust. Some recipes are, well, not really recipes at all. Take “Frozen Green Grapes” for instance. Yup, you guessed it, just one ingredient on the list…a bunch of grapes. Instructions are in two steps. The first has you remove grapes from their stems then place on a sheet pan to freeze (oops, they forgot to tell you to wash them first!!) Step two is to serve them in a glass bowl!! Then there are recipes I’d never have any interest in making like the “Date with a Salad” that combines yogurt, grated raw turnip, sugar, pitted dates (and more!) or the “Slender Escargot Pate” where margarine canned escargot and other ingredients are pitched into the blender. Though I was fairly certain I’d be sending this book off to a better place, it was the “Souper Toot Soup” that really sealed the deal for me. Honestly, what were these ladies thinking?!!

                                      Needless to say, I’ve managed to clear a small place on my bookcase and The Georgian Bay Gourmet Entertains will be on it’s way to the thrift store next weekend. Important lesson learned as well. If I ever get invited to a cottage at Georgian Bay, I’ll be sure to ask what’s on the menu first!!

                                      1. TEACHING DAD TO COOK FLAPJACKS by Miranda Gardiner

                                        This book just made its way to my shelves but since I am excited about it, I am going to christen it by making it my challenge book. The author has a lovely voice and her recipes are homey and inviting. Other than learning the "Cornish" lingo, there is nothing remotely challenging about the recipes in this book. Any home cook should be able to replicate them. Having said that, the recipes appear to be entirely original, at least to this non-brit.

                                        I have picked 5 recipes to try:

                                        Chewy flapjacks, p. 12 (a cookie of sorts, not a pancake like I originally thought)
                                        The shepard's cottage, p. 16 (a very simple stew)
                                        Swedish berry crumble with vanilla cream, p. 40 (ok this one is more familiar but I like how simple her instructions are so I am going to give it a go)
                                        `Roasted beetroot, feta cheese and clementine salad, p. 87 (the picture of this recipe is awe inspiring)
                                        Honied figs, p. 106 (if I can still find fresh figs)
                                        Salmon and lemon thyme fishcakes with brioche crumbs, 114 (these remind me of my mom's cooking)
                                        Jam tarts with orange drizzle, p. 120 (again, the picture got me)
                                        Blackberry and sour cream clafoutis, p. 150 (an intriguing variation)
                                        Cliff cake, p. 160 (not sure about this one....)
                                        Rocket and buttermilk soup, 165
                                        Zanzibar fish soup, p.167 (again, the pictures)
                                        Provence on the rocks, p.176 (where will I find lavender cordial)
                                        Rose petal and buttermilk cake, p. 182 (I do like me some buttermilk!)
                                        and
                                        Chocolate bark, p. 183

                                        O.K. that was more than 5, wasn't it? I'll be back in a meal or two to report on how well the recipes work. But if you are looking for a nice book to curl up with, buy it!

                                        8 Replies
                                        1. re: dkennedy

                                          So the Chewy flapjacks are now in the oven. Perhaps someone who is familiar with flapjacks can help with this, I get the impression this is supposed to be a subtly sweet treat to have with afternoon tea. Am I right? Super easy to prepare, butter and various sugar forms are melted together on the stovetop, then oats are mixed in, spread in a pan and baked for 15-20 minutes. We will see....

                                          ETA

                                          They are yummy, but they haven't firmed up as well as I had hoped so I have them back in the oven to get a firmer texture. They are sweet buy not cloyingly so. They have a sort of fall apart texture, chewy but not at all crunchy. It may be because I converted all the measurements to US measurements and didn't use a scale, but this doesn't seem to be a true baking recipe so I would be surprised if this would make such a big difference. In any case, I've had it back in now for 10 more minutes (a total of 25) and still not firm. I just had a bite with tea and tea would definitely be the right accompaniment. Took them out after a total cooking time of 30 minutes at 320. They were sizzling and crispy when I removed them from the oven, with the butter almost separating from the bars. Still have a fall apart texture but as I said, very yummy.

                                          1. re: dkennedy

                                            I've had these a few times and I seem to remember that they should be quite crumbly but should hold together well enough that you can cut them into squares and put them on a plate without them falling apart. How does Miranda Gardiner's recipe differ from this one (for example)? http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/me...

                                            1. re: geekmom

                                              Her recipe is for twice the amount of oats thanJaime's. Even factoring that in, Jaime's recipe calls for far less sugar.

                                              His:
                                              150g butter
                                              75g Tate & Lyle Fairtrade Light Brown soft sugar
                                              3 rounded tbsp Lyle’s Golden Syrup
                                              250g rolled oats (porridge oats)

                                              Hers:
                                              300 g butter
                                              4 T. golden syrup (I used molasses)
                                              170 g. raw sugar
                                              170 g. superfine sugar
                                              200 g. condensed milk
                                              500 g. porridge oats

                                              1. re: dkennedy

                                                Wow, Miranda's version is QUITE sweet! Holy cow! three different kinds of sugar, AND condensed milk. How can it not be good? Will try this as soon as my copy of this book arrives.

                                                I would urge you to look for some real golden syrup - molasses is so different. Do you have a World Market near you? I've heard it's a good place to find things like that.

                                                1. re: geekmom

                                                  I do have a world market nearby, I will look for golden syrup. My whole family really liked the bars. I think I just needed to let them cook for a lot longer than what the recipe suggested. I baked them at 320 as the recipe called for 160 c. I think I adjusted correctly. Next time I won't take them out until the pan is sizzling. That was when they solidified for me.

                                                  1. re: dkennedy

                                                    Thanks, that's good to know for when I try them myself -- I will watch for a sizzling pan :-)

                                                    1. re: geekmom

                                                      Just catching up on this thread. I loved eating flapjacks when I lived in t he UK, but for some reason have never been successfully able to make them,, they always fall apart on me.

                                                      1. re: rstuart

                                                        Funny I was doing the same thing today rstuart. (catching up on this thread).

                                                        I fell off track after the CH upgrade because I couldn't spend more than 10 mins on the site without feeling ill.

                                                        Subsequent changes seem to have helped so I'm looking forward to picking this up again and hopefully finding some cookbooks I'd be willing to part with.

                                                        As for flapjacks, they're not something I recall eating when I lived in the UK. I have a very old BeRo recipe book that's been handed down and I'll have to take a look to see if there's a recipe in there.

                                                        dk, this book sounds wonderful, I'll be keen to hear more about your experiences with it.