It’s no secret that I have a cookbook problem…in that I will never, ever have enough. However, I am also guilty of being lazy AF when it comes down to meal planning for this circus. Rather than taking the time to go through my library of cookbooks throughout the week for inspiration, I often spend Sunday mornings scrolling online for fast ideas so I can get my grocery order in on time.
Well, as this year-of-improvement trucks along, I realize that expanding my culinary skillsets also means that I really need to spend a little less time on my phone, and a little more time amongst my bookshelves. So, I’m slowly attempting to build into the routine time to look to my books each week when it comes to meal planning and experimenting. Since I also vowed to cut down on my phone usage (a wee bit harder than I thought), this goal is doing double-duty for me.
Here are a couple of books I cooked from this week, or dove into for future planning:
The Woks of Life came to me via my Hardcover Cook subscription, and dang if I wasn’t the last to know about the authors’ fantastic food blog. I absolutely love every part of this book, from the family history and stories to the recipes that feel completely accessible to home cooks. On my first pass, I flagged at least 20 recipes I can’t wait to try. This weekend, I made some pork dumplings and chicken curry pockets, along with the ultimate dipping sauce. I wanted to keep going, but alas, we were all full at that point.
My dumpling assembly technique remains woefully inadequate, but everything was still dang tasty and I have plenty more dishes that I want to make soon. This book is a welcome addition to my library, and you should totally check it out at least the blog. I foresee pork buns in my future very soon.
I’ve mentioned previously that I’ve been baking up a storm, but picky eaters are still gonna pick. So, in addition to cake and pie experiments geared toward broadening my culinary skillsets, I’ve also been working my way through this King Arthur Essential Cookie Companion. This book has PLENTY of cookies that are easy to make and frequently utilize items I already have in my pantry. More often than not, I can flip through and find a new cookie recipe to crank out in a pinch before one of the boys gets home for the weekend. So, while I toiled away on a 2-hour caramel frosting that could not save a bone-dry caramel cake (from another cookbook I won’t mention), I at least whipped up a back-up bunch of chocolate-peanut half-moons (post-dip in chocolate not pictured).
Yeah, I am definitely putting some miles on this one, and I also recommend it if you like easy cookie recipes with clear instructions that have been thoroughly tested. I just finished up a batch of Chocolate Wake-Ups in between typing this and working on this weekend’s sourdough.
So, I technically have not tried any of the recipes in this book, but I still think it’s worth a look before summer’s bounty starts rolling in. I cannot for this life of me remember where I heard about it, but I am always on the lookout for books to add to my canning/preserving/skill-building library. This volume covers a lot of bases, from water bath and pressure canning to meat curing and beginner cheesemaking. I have been wanting to branch out into pressure canning for a while, and after reading this, I feel a somewhat less intimidated to get started. Also, after perusing the chapter on curing/smoking, I am about to start the process of turning a lovely pork belly I got at the farm into bacon, so I’ll follow up in a later post on how that goes. Overall, this book is very well-written and thoughtfully laid out, so check it out if you are so inclined.
Well, that about covers it in the time I have before the dough needs more attention. Hopefully, Operation Cook the Books continues, because my habit for acquiring new cookbooks will probably never be tamed. In fact, I wonder what’s new at the bookstore this week……