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Library treasures

Yesterday I took the opportunity to visit the library on my own while Will stayed home with our little one.  I returned one book, but mainly went to search for cookbooks to bring home.  I wanted one title in particular, but as it must have been taken out already I lingered in the food aisle reading the names along various spines until a few caught my attention.  All in all, I took home one by Nigella Lawson, two from Catherine McCord (popular for her baby and kid-friendly cooking), and one other by Nicky Moona that includes some really healthy and traditional Ayurvedic recipes.  I also headed over to the children’s library to pick out another Winnie the Pooh for you-know-who.

In the evening I sat in bed and leafed through the books, marking all of the pages that included a recipe I hope to try.  I’m most excited about Catherine McCord’s Weelicious books, because I have been looking for fresh ideas regarding healthy, whole foods recipes to try out on Piper.  McCord includes a huge variety of recipes in her books, though not all of them are vegetarian.  Regardless, she does clearly mark in at least one book which foods are dairy free, egg free, nut free, etc., which is helpful for vegans, vegetarians, and also for those with food allergies.  This morning Piper and I used a mango that we had sitting around to make two mango popsicles, and then filled the rest of the molds with blended strawberries for strawberry popsicles; both methods can be found in McCord’s book, I believe the one titled One Family. One Meal. I also put together a super quick and easy granola bar from another of her recipes.  It’s filled with things like pepitas, flaxseeds, old fashioned rolled oats, sunflower seeds, and almond butter.  I’m eager for Piper to try it, as it is filled with all sorts of goodies like omega 3’s, magnesium, and protein, to name a few.  I’ll be returning to her books when we run out of hummus to put together a few batches of our own.  Two dips that sound really yummy are her black bean dip as well as her carrot miso dip.  I like the idea of whipping together our own hummus and other spreads because I imagine when we have control of the ingredients, the flavor and nutritional value are usually greater.

Nigella’s book was a pleasure to flip through, just because I’ve long admired her food writing and the style and ease with which she seems to approach cooking.  I also happen to love British cooks and food in general; eggplant isn’t just eggplant but aubergine, zucchinis are courgettes, and cupcakes are more magically named fairy cakes.  I find that Nigella’s book seemed more approachable to me, though that may be because cooking toddler-specific meals is a bit new for me still, and as such seems daunting sometimes.  Yet, there is still something about the way Nigella approaches food that seems so tried and true.  She cooks for herself as much as for others, and includes a recipe for something called “Noodle Soup for Needy People” — I can imagine her eating a bowlful on her own at midnight, just as she so often is portrayed picking through the fridge for leftovers on her shows.  This is food that people will eat often, and will learn the recipes for quickly, until cooking them becomes second nature.  Tonight I’ll try her potato and mushroom gratin — don’t bother to peel the potatoes, she says!  I’m also looking forward to adapting her Singapore noodles recipe, her sweet and sour cucumber salad, her “Cloudy Lemonade for a Sunny Day”, lentil and walnut salad, and even her super simple minestrone.  I’m in a place right now where I’m finding the middle ground between eating healthy whole foods and being able to prepare them quickly for a hungry family.  I’m really pleased with what I found on my short trip to the library, and I’ll keep you all updated about any particularly delicious meals that we’ve enjoyed.

What are your favorite cookbooks?  Do you have a favorite cook or chef?

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6 thoughts on “Library treasures

  1. Your post reminded me that I could renew my library membership, first of all! I like cookbooks to have around, but I have to say: I barely cook directly from them. I gawk at the photos and draw inspirations, but in the end I will make many customizations to the recipes. One book which I have really come to love is Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg’s Flavor Bible. It’s not a recipe book, but a compendium if flavor combinations which is really helpful when your creativity needs a starting aid. As far as favorite cooks go, I’m a Nigella fan myself (pls. Share the lentil and walnut salad 🙂 ), when it comes to professionals, I like the style of Chris Consentino and Tracy des Jardins.

    1. I think I’ve heard of that book, I’ll have to check it out! I’d like to develop that kind of knowledge and creativity in the kitchen — also, I’ve never heard of Chris Consentino or Tracy des Jardins—I will have to look them up 🙂 Thanks for the suggestions!

  2. My favorite is called “vegan Comfort Food”. I use it at least once per week. Everything I prepare from this book is tasty and healthy.

    1. Oh, wow! I think I have that one — is it by Alicia Simpson? What’s your go-to recipe from the book? I’ll give it a try myself 🙂

  3. Love cookbooks, have collected them for years. Love to watch the cooking shows when I have time. I usually wind up taking a recipe for something I like and customizing it for us. Love your blog.

  4. I hadn’t heard of Nigella until I watched ABC’s The Taste, but I really love her. She has a lot of cookbooks – which one were you reading for that noodle soup and lemonade?

    Let’s see… well, I love Bobby Flay because of nostalgia. I grew up watching him on Iron Chef – the original Japanese version with subtitles. But I’d say that it’s more his personality than the food he makes, haha.

    Hmmmm. A lot of the chefs I like are because I’ve seen them on TV, whether on Food Network or PBS. I can’t say that I’ve ever pursued their cookbooks, but you’ve got my curious to see who I like when it comes to the recipes.

    I guess, when I do buy and use cookbooks, they aren’t from a particular chef, but themed according to food. I have a book of just soups, a book of macaron recipes, a book of adpating restuarant food to healthy eating at home, and three candy-making books that I’m hesitant to try, since the boiling water and gelatine thing intimidates me, haha. You know, I love microwaves, haha.

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