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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Alternating reading "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed with browsing through a few new cookbooks.

I'm about half finished with Cheryl Strayed's memoir Wild.  It's been enjoyable reading thus far.  Cheryl is often hungry in this book where she recounts hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail.  Maybe that's why I've been alternating reading Wild with looking over three inspiring cookbooks.

The first cookbook I've been looking at is Big Vegan by Robin Asbell.  I'm not vegan, but am always looking for new ways to incorporate more veggies into my diet and this book has fabulous ideas for doing so.  There are hundreds of recipes. I'm already planning to make Asparagus-Quinoa Risotto, Cream of Cremini Mushroom Soup, and Coconut Sorbet.  There are not a lot of pictures in Big Vegan, but the recipes are easy to read, each recipe comes with a brief introduction, and the instructions look comprehensive.  Of the three cookbooks under discussion here, this seems like the one I will use the most.

The second cookbook is Home Cooking with Jean-Georges.  This book has many gorgeous photos of food.  There are also many interesting flavor combinations I want to try, such as butternut squash with balsamic and chile panko crumbs.  Yesterday I made the chocolate cake recipe in the book.  The cake looks like a brownie, but has an extremely light texture.  Interesting, but not really what I want from chocolate cake.  I am looking forward to trying some of the main dishes.  Many of the recipes in this beautiful book look tempting and inspire a bit more creativity in the kitchen.

Finally, the third cookbook I'm been browsing through is Yvette Van Boven's Home Made.  It's a big book with lots of photos and a hip vibe.  This vibe is fun except where it makes a few recipes a bit difficult to read, often because of the choice of font.  Thus far I've made two items from this book: Risotto with Sausage and Bell Pepper and Goat Yogurt Hangop.  The risotto was interesting mostly because of the cooking technique; it was tasty to eat, but if you've ever had stuffed peppers, then you've essentially experienced the flavor profile.  On the other hand, the hangop didn't really suit our taste preferences.  The recipe called for goat yogurt, cream, olives, chile pepper and salt.  All of this sounds great to me, but when combined I found it  -- not great.  Perhaps I need to try again.  This book has quite a few recipes that I found fun to look at but know I am unlikely to try, however I will definitely test a few more, such as Potted Shrimp and  Chocolate-Ginger Fudge Cake.  (It never hurts to try yet another cake recipe.)  As far as which book has the most cha-cha-cha going on,  Home Made is definitely it.

 Now, with a piece of cake and a cup of coffee, it's back to Wild, where Cheryl is hiking and hungry.

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