Cheryl

“Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” –  Nathaniel Hawthorne

Cheryl is one of the founders of Cookbook Club.  She has been here since its inception in 2010.

Cheryl has been married for 38 years, and has been blessed with 3 wonderful sons, 3 lovely daughter in laws and 8 beautiful grandchildren.

When she got married, she could not cook anything!  She is completely self-taught. One of the first things she made as a new bride was Yankee Doddle Hot Dogs!

Cheryl enjoys most foods but her favorite flavor is Chocolate-peanut butter.  She least favorite food is oysters.

Her favorite cookbooks are America’s Test Kitchen and Cooks Country. Her favorite utensils are her kitchen scale, Victorinox Chef knife and her cast iron skillet.

Cheryl is so thankful for cookbook club. Good food, good friends and fun of trying new cookbooks. She loves the library!

Cheryl’s faith in God is very important to her.  Her favorite interests are cooking and baking, watching her grandchildren, and travel. She is very attached to her dog, Cody, who is 13 year old Bichon.   She also has a fondness for anything butterflies or peacocks.

 

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Mary Anne G

So the pie isn’t perfect? Cut it into wedges. Stay in control, and never panic.” – Martha Stewart

Mary Anne G is our next Cook’s Spotlight.

She’s been with the Club since 2014. She is a retired social worker, mother of 2 daughters, grandmother of 4. For her one granddaughter, who is 10, Mary Anne gave her a Kitchen Aid mixer for Christmas. Her granddaughter, Hazel, immediately made homemade pretzels and raspberry chocolate cake that was featured in Martha Stewart Living magazine.

Mary Anne’s mother loved to bake bread, but she never picked up that talent.  But Mary Ann does love to bake and she doesn’t cook any dish with chicken.

Her favorite cookbook authors include Martha Stewart, Christopher Kimble and Dorie Greenspan.

Her favorite kitchen is a sharp knife, which she says she still needs to buy one!

Mary Ann feels she’s collected way too many recipes, but can’t seem to stop.  She asks “Am I addicted?”

Her past times include sewing, gardening, playing cards, reading especially cookbooks, and of course cooking and baking.

 

The Pioneer Woman Cookbook Dinnertime

Now I live in the middle of nowhere on a working cattle ranch. – Ree Drummond

April’s cookbook of the month was Ree Drummond’s “The Pioneer Woman Cookbook Dinnertime.”

As always, we had a huge assortment of food, from soups and salads, to main courses and of course, dessert.

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We tasted Sweet and Sour meatballs.  Nancy made a few changes.  Because she didn’t have enough pineapple juice, she had a great idea to put the canned crushed pineapple in a strainer, reserving as much juice as possible, and pour additional water over the pineapple, creating the amount of juice she needed for the recipe.

The Beautiful Roasted Vegetables were tasty even if they started out on 3 baking sheets prior to baking. The Broccoli Cauliflower casserole was a success but used way too many pans and pots to make.  But I guess if you have a crew to prep and clean up for you, it may not be too many!

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Overall, we all rated the cookbook very high.  The recipes were in general very user friendly.  We liked the photos and the way the directions incorporated them.  One comment was that there were no prep or cook times listed at the start of each recipe.   Also, for the size of the cookbook, there were not many desserts recipes. Several cooks indicated that they were going to purchase the book and several others already owned it.

Until next month when we review another cookbook…

Betty

I did NOT have three thousand pairs of shoes, I had one thousand and sixty.”
― Imelda Marcos

 

I’m so excited to introduce our second Cook Spotlight

Betty has been a member of the Cookbook Club since 2013.

She has been married for 50 years, is a mother of 2 -Jason, 42 and Jessica, 38, with husband Fred and a 16 month old granddaughter. She has always been interested in food- cooking it, eating it, reading about it and above all, sharing with friends & family.

Her favorite memory is traditional Thanksgiving meal. The turkey purchased fresh from Terrill Turkey Farms in Ligonier (no longer in business, sadly), shared with extended family who all lived very close.

Betty’s favorite food is red meat- Hands down! Especially good steak or burger. And fresh bread too. Her least food is anything overly sweet.

Betty enjoys Ina Garten because her recipes are simple and delicious.

Betty’s favorite tool is her chef knife and also medium Pampered Chef spatula.

She has so many tips learned by TV chefs regarding meats as well as tips that were taught to her by her mom in the ’50s. Her mom was a terrific cook and baker. At lunchtime, she would come home to cupcakes, cream puffs, homemade French bread, etc.  Her Aunt Mary taught her about making pies, garnishing dishes, gardening and most importantly, Fashion!  “Got my love of shoes from her”

Her other hobbies include fashion, home decorating, food & entertaining, reading and gardening.

Cooks

“I have eaten 2/3 of 1/3 of my food ration. 7 remains. How much food did I start with?”

CUNEIFORM
Babylonian mathematics exercise, 1900 – 1600 BC

 

 

I’m excited about our first Cook Spotlight.

Michele has been a member of Club since January, 2016

Michele is a wife, mother of three and a Math teacher.  She enjoys cooking when she has the time!

Her favorite food memory is Sunday dinner at Grandma’s – pasta, homemade pasta, polenta or gnocchi with a light red sauce and meatballs or braciole and always dessert!

Her favorite food is pizza – “ I have never met one I didn’t like!”

She has never been big on meats.

She likes Chef/cookbook author Ina Garter because her food is simple and delicious.

Her favorite kitchen tool is her 5” Santoku knife. She likes the way the point cuts into everything and food doesn’t stick to it.

Michele also enjoys reading, biking, watching movies, handicrafts, and spending time with her family.

 

 

( I’m having problems solving some tech issues with the blog, but the Cooks will all eventually be in the Cook’s Spotlight area.)

First Day of Spring

 

“It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want—oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!”  ―Mark Twain

 

The flowers are blooming, the trees are budding and it’s snowing!!  What a first day of Spring!!

 

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Happy Spring!!

 

Lunch and A Movie

There are three things that every Greek woman must do in life: marry Greek boys, make Greek babies, and feed everyone.” – “My Big Fat Greek Wedding

For this month’s Cookbook Club, we decided to do something a little different.  We had lunch and a movie.  Our theme was Greek so we watched “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and indulged in Greek food for lunch.  We had selection of different Greek cookbooks to choose from or we could prepare our own recipe.  What a delightful feast we had!! As well as watching an enjoyable movie!

I have never really eaten Greek food. I’ve never had Grape Leaves or homemade Baklava. Walking into the room, the scent of Moussaka and Spanakopita filled the room. The Mediterranean flavors of olives, feta, spinach and the spices such as cinnamon and cloves were so intriguing and delicious.  What an indulgence our banquet of food was. I want to thank all of the cooks for putting their heart and soul into their food and introducing me to Greek cooking.

 

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In keeping with my intentions, I tried something I have always wanted to cook- Risotto.  While I always thought of Risotto as an Italian dish, the one I prepared was Barley Risotto with Parmesan and Mushrooms. Yes, it did take almost 60 minutes to prepare, but I busied myself in my kitchen between stirrings while it cooked. I now understand that you add small portions of hot broth (so it doesn’t cool down the risotto and make the cooking process continually have to start over) allowing the broth to absorb before adding more. I learned that stirring not only keeps the risotto from sticking to the bottom of the pan, but also promotes the creaminess that is created from the starch in the rice/barley when the grains of the barley rub together.  But also that you don’t what to continually stir because it will add air to the risotto, and therefore, cooling it down and make it gluey.

I think the risotto turned out creamy and tender, with the added flavor of garlic, basil and mushrooms.

Would I make the risotto again?  Yes, I would.. but maybe for a special occasion.

 

  But that’s a story for another day….

New Stories

 

“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking, you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” –  Julia Childs

When I read about the Cookbook club in our local Library’s newsletter, I thought what a perfect idea – a combination of the Library, cookbooks, food and new people to meet.  Some of my favorite interests!

Walking into my first meeting of the Cookbook Club, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I didn’t know any other members.  I hadn’t prepared a dish or reviewed the cookbook.  I just wanted to see what the Club was all about. What I remember seeing is a room filled with cooks, the wonderful aroma of interesting scents, and tables of delicious food.   Everyone was so welcoming. We all helped ourselves to a sample of everyone’s dish and sat down to taste and talk.  That was seven months ago.

The idea behind the Cookbook Club is simple.  A monthly cookbook is selected. Everyone selects a recipe from the book. Each brings the prepared recipe. We are encouraged to follow the recipe and to bring our selected dishes whether or not they’ve turned out as expected.  The results are a wonderful banquet of foods- some new and different- some tried and true.  Each member has an opportunity to talk about the recipe that they selected and what they liked/disliked/modified.  They also review and rate the cookbook with their thoughts on the cookbooks – whether there are photos, if the entire recipe is on one page, if there are healthy recipes, etc.

Throughout the months, I’ve learned so much.  I personally try to select a recipe that I’ve either always wanted to try, would be something I could add to my recipe collections for my family meals, or  would be totally consistent with the cookbook and author being reviewed (such as Angel biscuits and Chocolate gravy – which was oh- so Paula Deen).  I’ve learned not to judge a book by its cover or author.  One book which we weren’t overly excited about turned out to be one of my favorites.   The Club also pushes us past our comfort zone. I’ve made dishes that I wouldn’t try.  Other members have tried more complex dishes. And I’ve eaten foods and ingredients that I never have before.

We all have to remember that the purpose of Cookbook Club is to enjoy yourself.  We are not here to judge each other, only the cookbooks.

But what I find most interesting are the various individual discussions.  I love listening to everyone’s stories.  Within our group of members, we have over 400 years of collective cooking experience!

 

 But that’s a story for another day….