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52 ways to cook
getting off the shelf and into the pan
by tracey l. kelley (@TraceyLKelley)

After I mentioned in my “Chef, Interrupted” column that I have about 60 cookbooks, give or take, my husband said, “You really do have a lot of them. Why do you have so many?”

I didn’t set out to collect them. It just kind of happened. When I hosted a radio cooking show in New Orleans years ago, a guest gave me my first cookbook, a small spiral-bound cardstock issue called Mandy Lee’s Recipes for Good New Orleans Dishes. At the time, I knew nothing of her history, and much of it is still hard to find. But essentially, she was one of the first black women with a TV cooking show. In the 1950s. From what I can gather, WDSU-TV was quite progressive with this concept. Amanda “Mandy” Lee created dishes in the same studio as Chef Paul of Brennan’s. New Orleans’ historian and author Harnett T. Kane said Lee was "...one of the city's most resourceful artists of the skillet and baking oven, a mistress of high cuisine."

There’s not a date on the cookbook, but it must have come out when the show aired. However, a JET magazine census entry in March 1954 indicates that “Mrs. Ruth Prevost, 37, the Amanda Lee of WDSU-TV’s New Orleans Cookbook, died of cerebral hemorrhage.” Only recently have I realized I own an important piece of societal and culinary history.

Yet I’ve never cooked a single recipe from it.

As other guests came on the show, I received more cookbooks. Dom DeLuise gave me his Eat This, It’ll Make You Feel Better! Roy Guste, Jr. brought along a copy of The 100 Greatest Dishes of Louisiana Cookery. The National Goat Milk Council provided samples and a booklet featuring many different recipes. Each guest had a new surprise, and I delighted in creating more space on my kitchen counter.

However, I still wasn’t cooking a lot. As I mentioned in another column, “Hey, You Gonna Eat That?”, I'm an adventurous eater. But I didn’t know how to cook for a long time. It took a while to make the connection that if I followed a recipe, I might actually learn.

I started seeking out cookbooks when I traveled. Because of my experience in New Orleans, I enjoyed understanding a city, country, or region through food. Often a dish sampled in a restaurant or a B&B led to a cookbook that could replicate the experience.

-Savouring Ireland: Cooking through the Seasons
-Tom Douglas’ Seattle Kitchen
-Bermudian Cookery
-The Texas Hill Country Cookbook
-A Taste of Cuba (technically from Miami)
-Deborah Madison and Annie Somerville's The Greens Cookbook from San Francisco

As I became more comfortable in the kitchen, I picked out books for cuisine I usually didn’t make at home. Malaysian. Indian. Sushi. This was the launch pad for true experimentation, because how could I transfer my basic skills to the meticulousness of adding 12 different spices in particular order to an Indian dish I’d never eaten before? If something went wrong, how would I know? It’s hard to mess up roasted chicken, but making chicken soola was a new challenge.

Only in the past few years have I selected cookbooks not only for the food, but also to expand my already detailed interest (Chocolate, Tea: A History, Bread Alone) or my fascination with a particular chef’s style (Alice Waters, Jamie Oliver, Nigel Slater) or a concept I believe in (Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, The Wild Table, In the Green Kitchen). Now I want cookbooks not only for the recipes, but also for the photography, the reflections, the relationship the author and I can develop. Like a novel, if you will.

Back to the 60 cookbooks. If I also include festival recaps, charity fundraiser spiral-bound guides, and promotional jetsam I receive on a regular basis, I actually have...

87. Give or take.

This number doesn’t take into account the stacks of cooking magazines, flagged pages in other magazines, recipe cards, and recipes printed from online sources.

After the “Chef, Interrupted” column, my husband also said, “I challenge you to make something from every single one of those cookbooks. Ha ha!” The gauntlet may be wrapped gently in cheesecloth, but that puppy was thrown all the same.

So beginning in 2011, I will make one recipe from a different cookbook each week. 52 ways to cook. I'll start with something from Mandy Lee's collection (finally), see what sounds appealing the following week, and let it roll from there. I'll detail my exploits in the discussion of this column, and would love your feedback and questions, too. I’m excited about the prospect of clearing my shelves and really embarking on a new culinary adventure.

It's important to note that with this benediction, I’m not trying to sway a Julie and Julia book and movie deal. That’s been done.

However, I’d be perfectly fine if events unfolded in that direction. Just sayin’.


Tracey likes to shake things up and then take the lid off. She also likes to keep the peace, especially in a safe, fuzzy place. Writer, editor, producer, yogini, ('cause yoger or yogor simply doesn't work) by day, rabid WordsWithFriends and DrawSomething! player by night. You can follow her on Twitter: @traceylkelley or @tkyogaforyou

more about tracey l. kelley


finding nero
do good, do something, do anything
by tracey l. kelley
topic: general
published: 3.29.04

fireflies in a jar
summertime, and the livin’ is easy
by tracey l. kelley
topic: general
published: 6.26.03


russ carr
12.27.10 @ 9:58a

I'm with you. Just picked up three more cookbooks for Christmas. While I may not have ~87, I'm certainly in double digits and climbing. And yet day in and day out, I find that I fall back on the same quick meals, just to be able to throw dinner on the table quickly. I'll endeavor to do something about this year and make regular use of my cookbooks.

Especially the ice cream one.

matt kelley
12.27.10 @ 10:39a

Hungry now. Will you be starting tonight? :)

tracey kelley
12.27.10 @ 11:55a

There are other people who share this obsession, including Jenna at Eat, Live, Run, Heidi Swanson at 101 Cookbooks and Liz at Twilight at Morningside

"especially the ice cream one" The Perfect Scoop! Always good to use my Russ/Jael recommendations! :D

Not quite tonight, dearie. But soon. :D


lisa r
12.29.10 @ 11:14p

I have 66+ (I didn't bother to count all the little paperback ones in my recipe catchall box), 3 of which I acquired for Christmas. I read cookbooks like some people read serial romances.

I'd venture to guess that 85% of the books in my collection are either Southern Living or Cooking Light cookbooks, including the newly released 1001 Ways to Cook Southern. (I know, I already cook Southern--but a girl can never have too many Southern recipes.)

russ carr
1.1.11 @ 11:19p

Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma, is following your lead, TK:

So often we get in recipe ruts, making the same thing over and over. I have all these new cookbooks lying around that I rarely, if ever, use. This year I want to make a new dish every week. Just go to the shelf, open a book, and make one thing I've never had before.

sarah ficke
1.2.11 @ 3:00p

Inspirational! I don't have nearly as many cookbooks as you do, Tracy, but I do have ones I've never used, ranging from the spiral-bound local variety to a really snazzy one of Dim Sum. For awhile last year (or the year before?) I was making an effort to make one meal a week from the Eating Well magazine I'm subscribed to. I stopped because, like Russ, I got busy and fell back on easy meals I can make without thinking. Maybe I should start that up again, and throw my cookbooks into the mix as well.

tracey kelley
1.3.11 @ 7:02a

Sun. 1/2: Asian Chicken Meatballs and Greens in Broth from Easy Soups. Perfect way to use up leftover chicken and turkey. And simple: minced chicken, shiitake mushrooms, bok choy and other greens, scallions, Chinese 5-spice, pepper, soy sauce, broth. The recipe called for steaming the meatballs for 10 minutes, but I don't know if that would work well with raw chicken. I'd suggest simmering them in a smidge of the soup broth to make sure they're cooked all the way through. I'd also suggest cutting some of the soy sauce/broth sodium by adding a little more water than broth.

Sarah, do it! I definitely believe my choice of recipe depends on how busy I am, what I have around (see above), and what I'm in the mood for. I won't bake saffron bread, for example, unless I know I have 4 hours to steep the threads and deal with all the kneading, rising, etc... But the soup above took about 30 minutes.

Hey, I love Michael Pollan! Cool! I just watched "The Botany of Desire" with Matt last week. 2nd time for me, 1st for him. Really like it.


russ carr
1.3.11 @ 10:51p

...and I just won The Sriracha Cookbook in a Twitter haiku contest. Add another to the stacks...

tracey kelley
1.4.11 @ 7:01a

Watch out -- Jael will try to snatch it when she comes through STL! :D

A Twitter haiku contest? Really?

russ carr
1.4.11 @ 10:03a

Truth! Winning entries below:

Winning @SrirachaHaiku from @nerdliness:
Sriracha on all
Better going in than out
From my bum, fire comes.
(yes, the last line there exceeds the syllable count, but hey - not my contest)

Winning #SrirachaHaiku from @DocOrlando70:
Want oral pleasure
Guaranteed 'happy ending'
Produce the cock sauce

jael mchenry
1.4.11 @ 5:19p

If anyone had asked me which Intrepidite was most likely to win a Twitter haiku contest about sriracha, my guess would've been either Russ or Alex B. Congrats on the cookbook, Russ!

And Tracey, this is a fabulous idea! I don't even want to know how many cookbooks I have, but there are definitely way too many I've never cooked from. One a week is a reasonable goal and I can't wait to hear how it goes!

(The Perfect Scoop is definitely the book I cook from most often, with How to Cook Everything and All About Braising rounding out the top three. Everything else is way distant.)

tracey kelley
1.4.11 @ 5:42p

Yes, yes, most certainly Russ or Alex B.! That cookbook looks interesting -- yay for you! Such a clever boy. Naughty, too.

Thanks Jael! I think once a week is manageable, too. I did not start with Mandy Lee's cookbook like I stated in the column 'cause it's chock full of things I need a little more time for -- like Southern Fried Chicken, which I've never attempted, but would like to try over a weekend. Maybe Lisa has some tips? :D

The Perfect Scoop is a fav, but I haven't made anything from it in quite a while. Same with AAB. (I'll have to get HTCE!)


lisa r
1.4.11 @ 6:16p

I do indeed--use a large cast iron frying pan. You can't beat it for holding an even heat. I also use one for baking cornbread--it's essential for creating the ideal cornbread crust. :D

I guess I started a similar quest to yours over Christmas. My first offering: the Delta Mocha Chiffon Cake in the 2000 Southern Living Annual Recipes. Four layers of light chocolate chiffon cake separated by a wonderful mocha cream reminiscent of tiramisu and surrounded by a divine chocolate buttercream. It was the hit of our Christmas Eve dinner. Mom saw the picture on page 301 and decided I HAD to make that cake...and she isn't even a chocoholic!

tracey kelley
1.11.11 @ 7:09a

Mon. 1/10 From the cookbook that started it all, Mandy Lee's Recipes for Good New Orleans Dishes, I made Mandy's Oyster Loaf. Crusty bread. Pan-fried oysters. A little cream and spices. Hollow out the bread, fill it, and bake a little bit until everything is mixed and bubbly. It's like an open-faced po'boy.

Now for the confessions. Matt expressed concern over the 4 doz. oysters called for in the recipe, so I reduced it to 1 doz. oysters & 1-1/2 doz. shrimp. (me? I could eat a lot of oysters) Cream was changed to half 'n half, and I only used a 1/2 cup, rather than the full cup called for in the recipe because of the seafood reduction.

I also made it a little more healthy by adding chopped celery and spinach. Turned out great. Had a little heat from the white pepper and Tabasco, but that was offset nicely by the cream.

So, finally, after 20-something years.

Lisa! Thanks for the chicken tip! I have an old beat up cast iron skillet that I think I'll give to Matt for camping and trade up for a new one.

lisa r
1.11.11 @ 8:09a

Tracey! You're quite welcome. Be sure you season the new one properly before using.

I like a little heat with my greens. I grew up eating turnip greens (mixed with turnips) dressed with what we call pepper sauce. It's basically pepper vinegar. We fill a bottle with little red and green peppers and cover them in vinegar. I always have a bottle on hand.

russ carr
1.12.11 @ 1:01p

Turnip greens, mustard greens, collard greens... (I could go on, like Bubba from Forrest Gump). All made better with a dash of pepper sauce and some cornbread for soakin' up the pot liquor. Even my boys have picked up on this.

We kicked off our own cookbook liberation last weekend with Indian Spiced Chicken and Spinach (essentially a chicken saag) from Food & Wine Quick From Scratch Chicken. While the flavor was good, the end result didn't look much at all like the photo, which leads me to call shenanigans by the food stylist. We made some corrective notes, should we consider that recipe again.


lisa r
1.14.11 @ 8:56a

This is not good. Last night I discovered a new recipe website, www.Food52.com, which is essentially an online community cookbook. It even has editors who test the recipes. I now have a stack of soup recipes I want to try on top of all the recipes in all my other cookbooks.

My question is: Does this website count as a new cookbook in my collection?

(P.S. Forgive me for the lack of a hyperlink--I've forgotten some of my HTML. I'm so ashamed.)


jael mchenry
1.14.11 @ 9:46a

Lisa - Food52 is fabulous, and a great source for recipes -- and there is going to be a print version cookbook with the winners from each week, so yes! I would totally count that as a cookbook. Unless you don't want to, in which case I would forget all that. :)

Tracey, that oyster loaf sounds AMAZING.

tracey kelley
1.14.11 @ 11:07a

I should scan the recipe and send it around. It was delicious and super easy and quick. Not something you'd eat every day, but still.

In my research on Mandy's cookbook, I found an old forum post from her granddaughter, who is trying to persuade the TV station to release the cookbook again. Once more I realize what an important piece of history it is.

Lisa - yes. :D I'm struggling with the same dilemma because I want to cook a lot out of the Fine Cooking magazine. Really, really fond of it.


lisa r
1.18.11 @ 2:29a

Tracey, I think your cooking experiment is contagious. I tried a new recipe out of the aforementioned 1001 Ways to Cook Southern last night ( or rather, earlier tonight!)--Mustard Baked Chicken.

Results: Moist, tasty chicken with a beautiful mahogany skin (thanks to the paprika and Worcestershire sauce in the marinade). I saved the drippings to make gravy to go with the leftovers, since I made roasted potatoes for this meal. I think a little rice, some crowder peas (or were they purple hulls?), and maybe some cornbread will round out the encore performance nicely.

tracey kelley
1.21.11 @ 6:22a

Thurs. 1/20 From Jamie at Home, the wonderful Potato Salad w/Smoked Salmon and Horseradish crème fraiche. Technically, this is a spring dish that takes advantage of tasty new potatoes, but it really does work throughout the year, since everything, including fresh dill grown in a local greenhouse, is available.

When you dress the plate of hot potatoes with the salmon and spiced crème fraiche, and dot everything with capers and dill -- unbelievably good.

I confess -- this isn't a new receipe for me from this cookbook, but I did follow it exactly as he wrote it, rather than what I thought I remembered from watching his show. Turns out there's a dash of red wine vinegar in the dish that I always forgot that really adds a little more oomph.

Lisa - that chicken sounds so good!


tracey kelley
1.28.11 @ 6:52p

Alas, deadline constraints and travel alter the cooking timeline just a bit. Will have to cook 3 book recipes soon to make up the backlog and rack up numbers. Coming soon: Toasted Penne with Herbs, Goat Cheese, and Golden Bread Crumbs from Tom Douglas' Seattle Kitchen.


tracey kelley
2.21.11 @ 8:03a

Sun. 2/20 Starting back up again with a quick little lunch from Tapas Made Easy Slightly embarrassed to admit that I was looking for new ways to make deviled eggs, and tapas is great for that. I remembered this book had some ideas, so took a peek. Into the base mixture of yolk, mayo, mustard (yelllow), and S/P , added crab and flat-leaf parsely. Mellow and good. But my favorite was diced capers and pickles. You'd think it would taste like potato salad, but it so didn't. Bright and fresh.

I'll cook the recipe from Tom Douglas' cookbook later this week.


tracey kelley
2.24.11 @ 10:47p

Thurs. 2/24 Tonight, made the Tom Douglas dish noted above. This is the first time I've toasted pasta before boiling it, so I had no idea what to expect. The toasting gave it a nutty flavor and a heartier texture, which was interesting. It held up really well to the creamy, cheesy, herby, slightly spicy-from-red-pepper-flakes sauce (the recipe called for 2 cups heavy cream, but I used half and half instead).

The real kicker was the breadcrumbs - toasted in a pan, then tossed with s/p, flat-leaf parsley, and lemon zest. Great contrast to the creaminess of the dish, and added a bit of crunch.

The pasta was toasted in a 400-degree oven for about 5-6 minutes, right as it turns from yellow to brown. Makes me wonder if the process would be noticeable in other pasta dishes. I think the toasting wouldn't be as apparent with red sauces, but I could be mistaken.


russ carr
2.25.11 @ 9:43a

Oooh, I have that one. Should try it soon. Can't go wrong with goat cheese...

jael mchenry
2.25.11 @ 10:22a

Definitely been looking forward to that one since you posted the title, Tracey! Very interesting about the effects of the toasting. I love the idea of the breadcrumbs, too. (And my feelings on goat cheese are well-documented elsewhere.)

tracey kelley
3.7.11 @ 7:48a

Wed. 3/3 Mock not the crockpot, because when each weeknight is packed with activity, setting up the slow cooker in the morning means control over healthy and tasty meal options when you do finally make it home, plus leftovers for another dinner or lunch. I love my slow cooker, I don't care how quaintly Midwestern it is.

So, from Crockery Dinners, enjoyed Garlic Chicken with Artichokes. 12 cloves of garlic! Yum! Sauted onions, grated lemon peel, and crushed rosemary seasoned the chicken well. To the recipe's artichokes and red pepper, I added kale for a little more greenery and instead of brown rice, used a Kashi 7-Grain blend as a base. Healthy. Warm. Delish. Waiting for me when I got home.

Next up, something from Luzianna 'cause Mardi Gras is tomorrow!


tracey kelley
3.9.11 @ 7:17a

Tues. 3/8 To celebrate Mardi Gras, I cooked seafood and sausage gumbo and red beans and rice. Nice, rustic Cajun dishes that are always hearty and satisfying. But I also wanted to try something different.

So I pulled off the shelf my 1988 copy of Arnaud's Creole Cookbook and found Crabmeat Monaco. A simple dish in the basic prep: sauté crabmeat, mushrooms, tomato, garlic, shallots, and a variety of spices. Then there's the sauce. The traditional French glazing technique, glassage, includes fish velouté, one of the "mother sauces". So first you make fish stock, then the fish velouté, then the glassage that includes the velouté, hollandaise, and cream. Spoon that over ramekins of the crab mixture and broil a bit.

It was pretty tasty. But the sauce prep was a little too much for me on such an otherwise simple dish. A quick hollandaise probably would have done the trick, and if I make it again, that's probably all I'll do. But as an exercise in making French sauces (which I rarely do), it was fun.


tracey kelley
3.18.11 @ 7:57a

Thurs. 3/17 I know, I know. I should have been watching basketball and made some dip in a cute sourdough bread bowl shaped in a basketball. But I didn't. Irish all the way, baby! From Savouring Ireland, a book I truly adore, I made a delightful spring greens soup. We didn't have nettles or dandelions in my store, but watercress, sorrel, cabbage, kale, chard, and spinach worked well together. Saute onion, garlic, and diced potatoes together, sweat the greens down, add fresh thyme, and puree everything. The recipe called for cream, but the potatoes gave the soup enough body, so I left it out. And it was a GREEN soup. Fresh grass green. But very fresh and good.

Also made my usual cabbage, leek, and sausage soup, as well as two recipes from Irish Country House Cooking: one was from the Kinoith House in Country Cork - Timmy's Brown Soda Bread. As soda bread is prone to do, the loaf weighed 25 lbs. It was a bit drier than I prefer, even with enough buttermilk to make the dough soft but not sticky. I think I might add a little more next time. The second recipe has the best title ever: Wilson Murphy's In a Clougher Valley Smoky Mist...in other words, roasted potatoes with cream, bacon, and cheese. :D Honestly, that's it. It was submitted by the Grange Lodge in Dungannon. Stick-to-your-ribs stuff.

tracey kelley
4.5.11 @ 7:15a

Mon. 4/4 Opened up my wonderful Japanese Cooking to find a couple of things. I love cookbooks like this: great photography, detailed instructions, an intro at the beginning that outlines the ingredients and cookware you'll use...just a beautiful book all the way around.

I wanted something quick, simple, and healthy, and couldn't be happier with the two dishes I selected. The main course was Wakame with Prawns and Cucumber in Vinegar Dressing. A great salad on its own, but I made it more of a dinner by serving it over brown rice. The wakame tasted like the sea but wasn't too strong, and the dressing included ginger, which made the shrimp wonderful.

As a side, I chose Spinach with Peanut Sauce. Blanched spinach with a sauce of crushed then powdered peanuts mixed with soy sauce and a smidge of dashi-no-moto, or powdered tuna stock. You can usually find it in little packets at an Asian market. Really bright and delicious.

I will definitely make both of these dishes again, especially during a busy week.


tracey kelley
4.18.11 @ 8:15a

Sun. 4/17 I adore Nigel Slater, especially the way he writes about food. In his cookbook Real Fast Food, he offers easy yet tasty dishes that keep you from stopping through drive-thru. His recipes are chock full of wonderful ingredients and simple with instructions: "chop an apple, without bothering to peel it, into rough cubes."

So last night, after a busy afternoon of errands, I flipped through the book and decided to sauté together shredded savoy cabbage with chopped apple, and mix in s/p, sour cream, and nutmeg. And also make a Welsh Rarebit on crusty bread. Nigel says, "I have had a number of minor disasters with traditional recipes for this savory little delicacy, mostly involving mixtures that will not thicken or that turn irretrievably lumpy. This is not a particularly authentic version, but it is one that never fails me, and is far quicker than the norm."

It's made with a topping of gorgonzola cheese (or any other sharp cheese)/beer/country mustard/butter/Worcestershire sauce mixed together, and can be made more hefty with a little meat - Nigel suggested salami, but I chose La Quercia prosciutto instead. Toast the bread a bit in the broiler, then top with the prosciutto and cheese mixture and broil again until bubbly. As Nigel says, "If the toast is slightly charred at the edges, then even better."

Start to finish? 20 minutes. Easy to commit to memory? Absolutely, for both dishes. Bless you, Nigel.


tracey kelley
4.22.11 @ 7:39a

Thurs. 4/21 I have a masticating juicer, one that can squeeze every last drop out of wheatgrass. It works well for other leafies, too, such as kale and spinach. I juice about once every couple of weeks. I know I should do it every day, but it is like preparing a meal, what with all the chopping and sorting and juicing and then... you get 8 oz. of liquid. But it's fun to make new mixes.

So, from The Big Book of Juices and Smoothies I made the following:

-Veggie Carotene Catapult: A vitamin boost, with carrots, red bell pepper, broccoli, and sweet potato. That's right: sweet potato. Overall, slightly sweet, and kind of tasty.
-Green Hit: A detoxifying blend, with carrots, celery, watercress, kale (in place of spinach, which I did not have). Oh. God. One of the NASTIEST things I've ever tasted! If I had gone out into the yard and licked the compost pile, I don't think it would have tasted as bad as this! Since I love kale, I blame the watercress. I had to juice an apple to cut the bitterness of it all.
-Bloody Carrot: Chock full of vitamins and very cleansing, with carrots, beets, celery, and lime. The lime cuts the beet flavor (not really fond of beets, but I choke them down because they're so good for you) a little, but I wouldn't want to drink this every morning.

There are other more palatable juice combos in this book, and I've made many of them. With protein powder, a fresh fruit smoothie is a great breakfast, and I make them often.

tracey kelley
5.30.11 @ 10:20p

Mon. 5/29 So, so busy lately, I've been whipping up things from memory that are quick and easy. So it was delightful to make Spinach Callaloo with Crabmeat from Moosewood Restaurant Celebrates. Callaloo is a green found in Jamaican groceries...and not readily available 'round these parts. So the cookbook suggested spinach, which I expanded to include red-stem chard.

A delicious blend of spices, layered in one at a time into a big soup pot, kind of like Indian cooking, season garlic, onions, and dry rice. Add liquid to cook rice, then crabmeat and coconut milk, wilting greens at the last minute by stirring them into the pot. Full of flavor!


tracey kelley
6.16.11 @ 10:06p

Thurs. 6/16 My quest is sandwiched (heh) between a lot of other things, but even though it's only been a new dish every couple of weeks, it's still fun to keep up with the cookbook challenge.

Since I'll be in five states in the Midwest over the next 10 days, I decided to try the Three-Cheese Beer Soup from Taste of the Midwest. It's a great travelogue and insight about 12 Midwestern states, and cheese/beer soup came from, that's right, the Wisconsin chapter.

And it was exactly as promised. Beery. Cheesy (aged cheddar, sharp cheddar, and some parmesan), with bits of potato, celery, carrot, and onion. Extremely filling with toasted crusty bread and green salad.

Also tried broiled plums dotted with blue cheese. Not sure about these. Maybe the plums have to be so-so-so much more ripe to caramelize better than the ones I had, but I found the overall taste to be too acidic.


alex b
6.19.11 @ 6:59p

I just reread this. As it made me laugh out loud at my own cookbook clutter (I only have 12, and 10 of them are dusty), I have to mention that I'm issuing myself a similar challenge.

(And hee, I still love sriracha.)

tracey kelley
7.4.11 @ 5:45p

Sun. 7/3 Needed an ice cream to go with my mother-in-law's carrot cake (quite tasty in its own right, but it's always good to have ice cream on the side) so posted a question to the Intrepid Foodies for an alternative to sweet cream. Jael McHenry prompted replied "Cheesecake! BOOM!"

Because of her and Russ Carr's endless admiration for The Perfect Scoop, I purchased this book years ago and just love every page.

It's the type of cookbook that strikes a great balance between education and exploration, providing detailed instructions on the craft of making ice cream and accessible and delicious recipes.

And sure enough -- the cheesecake ice cream, with its dash of lemon zest, was spot on with the carrot cake. Light and creamy and just enough ooomph without overpowering the cake. More!

p.s. Alex! How's your challenge coming along, doll?


jael mchenry
7.6.11 @ 3:32p

So glad it worked out! TPS is such a great book, and the cheesecake ice cream is dead simple. Only wish I could've gotten a taste of it myself with that carrot cake you mentioned. I loooove carrot cake.

alex b
7.8.11 @ 12:01a


After years of bartending and haphazard takeout habits, my challenge is to USE my cookbooks past weekend/day off meals. 2 cookbooks down in 2 months, having knocked out 3 or 4 recipes from each. Am on a mission to perfect what I learn so I can do it without the book. Totally loving the day-to-day cooking and have lost a couple pounds as a result of way less takeout. :-)


tracey kelley
10.26.11 @ 12:26p


I've been cooking, but not from the cookbook stash. Unusual ingredients call for finding recipes online. When I haven't been cooking, I've been traveling. But now that things are slowing down a bit, I'll be taking up this challenge again. Especially since I just received a new, incredibly detailed French cookbook as a gift. (don't have access to the title at the moment -- will post when I get it)

I also ordered my first digital cookbook, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Thanks, Roger! :D Total trouble, that one.

Will I hit 52 recipes by years' end? Who knows. Is the challenge null because I haven't cooked each week. Nah. It's been fun trying!


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