Friday, December 14th, 2012
I’m not a cookbook sucker. I carefully select these heavy, expensive books that take up valuable shelf space in the kitchen. I prefer to rely on my favorite recipe sites like Allrecipes and The Pioneer Woman. I’m a flag-waving non-gourmet with an occasional taste for Mark Bittman. But I am absolutely coo-coo for Cocoa Cocoa Puffs for two new (gourmet! gasp!) cookbooks that just landed on the New York Times bestsellers list.
I don’t want to go on and on about Ina Garten because almost every food writer in the world has already done that. I mostly love the paragraphs about and TV segments with Jeffrey–I’m starting to believe he’s real and not just a prop. But I do want to say I’m digging the Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust. I can’t get enough of her Green Salad Vinaigrette. I can get over her stuffy, virgin-white Hamptons house after I make her Easy Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Croutons.
I was more surprised to love The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman. Smitten Kitchen, I just learned, is a popular food blog. We just bought the book–full price–to support a local charity event at a bookstore. At first, we thought the recipes looked frivolous. I mean, who makes Potato Gnocchi in Tomato Broth, Roasted Eggplant with Yogurt-Tahini Sauce and Cumin-Crisped Chickpeas and Bourguignon? We do because Deb makes these elite dishes so dang easy. All of the ingredients are available at Pathmark, and the directions are so clear that my 7-year-olds made the gnocchi. I have to watch this food before I eat a lot of it. It’s beyond delicious. Tomorrow, we’re having a Christmas party with my best friend, and we’re making Balsamic and Beer-Braised Short Ribs with Parsnip Puree. This is definitely a step up from my usual spiral ham and green bean casserole.
These books are worth $35 a piece, and I’ve bought several of them as gifts. Thank you Ina Garten and Deb Perlman. I may be fat and broke, but I’m happy.
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