The Cookbook Club

Many of you followed our groups adventures in the ABC Dinner club where we ate our way through the alphabet at restaurants in Kansas City.  That club came to a close a few months ago when we finally (after 5 years) made it to the letter Z.  One of our club members had a friend who was part of a cookbook club and suggested we try that for our next adventure.

I have read about cookbook clubs in the past and there seem to be as many versions of these types of clubs as there are cookbooks themselves.  Basically it is like any other book club, you get together with friends to eat, drink and discuss the book.  The difference is that in a cookbook club each person cooks a recipe from the selected book and brings it to share with the other members.

cookbooks

Here are the guidelines for our version of the Cookbook Club:

  1. Each member of the group will have a turn selecting a cookbook.
  2. We will meet monthly to share and discuss prepared recipes.
  3. Husbands are welcome (and encouraged) to assist with the recipe selection and cooking.
  4. Each member will select a recipe from the cookbook for that month’s meeting. The monthly meeting does not need to be a meal with complimentary dishes selected.  It can just be a tasting of random recipes.
  5. We will continue making recipes out of the book until we have a good feel for it and decide we are ready to move to the next cookbook.
  6. We can change these guideline whenever the heck we want to…

The first cookbook selected is Pioneer Woman Cooks – Food From my Frontier by Ree Drummond.  Below are selections from our first meeting on April 30, 2016.

cookbook cover

 

Corn Casserole with Peppers – easy to make, would be great in summer when corn is cheap.  Discussed buying corn during the summer in bulk, cutting off the cob and freezing.  Tasted great!

Corn-Cassarole-with-Peppers

Buttered Rosemary Rolls – these rolls are excellent and easy to prepare since you start with frozen unbaked dinner rolls.  The coarse salt and fresh rosemary make all the difference in taste, the butter probably does not hurt either.

Rosemary-Rolls

Spicy Caesar Salad with Homemade Cornbread Croutons – the addition of chipotle peppers kicks this salad up a notch from a normal Caesar. For those of you that care (like me) there are raw eggs in the dressing which is also normal for Caesar dressing.  The croutons were good but if made in the future would probably just buy croutons instead of going to the trouble of making from scratch.

Spicy-Caesar-Salad

BBQ Chicken and Pineapple Quesadillas – easy to make and tasted great.  Serve with sour cream, salsa and a pineapple wedge on top.

Barbeque-Chicken-and-Pineapple-Quesidilla

Tangy Tomato Brisket – if you have six or seven hours to let this cook on a low temperature there is nothing better.  Easy to prepare and boy does it make your house smell good all day.  Turned out moist and tender which I can say is not always the case with brisket.

Tangy-Tomato-Brisket-2

Knock You Naked Brownies – delicious but very rich.  The recipe is a little more complex than simple brownies but good for a special occasion. Wish I would have taken a picture of the gooey caramel and chocolate on the inside which is the star in this dish.

Knock-you-Naked-Brownies

Let me know if you are or have ever been in a cookbook club.  I would love to hear how other’s operate.

 

 

Homemade Ice Cream with EASY, EASY Chocolate Dipped Cookies

A few weeks ago I watched an episode of Pioneer Women where she was making homemade ice cream and I was not able to stop thinking about how good that sounded.  With warm weather and the summer cookout season coming up I took the plunge and ordered a Cuisinart electric ice cream maker.

cuisinart

The day I received it Dave was out of town so I decided to fire that baby up and dig in to some homemade strawberry ice cream.  I used the recipe that came with ice cream maker and about 30 minutes later I had something that resembled strawberry ice cream and tasted really good but the texture was really icy, not at all what I had in mind.

I googled “icy homemade ice cream” and sure enough there were several articles on why homemade ice cream turns out icy.  It seems to be associated with the water content in the ice cream and if you are mixing in items with a high water content (like strawberries) the water will crystalize leaving the ice cream with an icy texture.

A few days later I decided to try again but with chocolate….cocoa does not have any water in it so I thought it would be safe.  Sure enough, it was PERFECT!!!

chocolate-ice-cream

I really wanted to try the strawberry again so this time when I purreed the strawberries, I drained them and actually patted them with a paper towel to dry them a little.  The original recipe called for adding lemon juice and I left that out also.  That was the trick……strawberry heaven in a bowl.

Since we were having a cookout over memorial day weekend I decided to serve some of this frozen perfection but I wanted a little something else to go with it so I remembered what I had watched this week on Ina Garten (I know, I watch Food Network way too much!)  Ina had served some homemade ice cream along side chocolate dipped shortbread cookies.  Of course Ina made her own shortbread cookies but as far as I am concerned, Lorna Doone’s are amazing so I decided to just buy some of those but dip them in chocolate myself.

Lorna-Doone

I wrote a post a while back about tempering chocolate for dipping items like fruit.  It is a complex process using multiple pans, water baths and thermometers.  You can read that post here.  Leave it to Ina to come up with a quick process that produces the same results.  If you have ever melted chocolate for dipping you might have seen how the chocolate turns a dusty gray color when it dries, this is called “blooming.” Tempered chocolate dries glossy.

Ina’s method is to melt half of the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second sessions, stirring between each session, until the chocolate is melted.  Remove the chocolate from the microwave.  Break up the second half of the chocolate and stir it in to the hot chocolate mix.  The more you stir the glossier the chocolate will be.  Within just a minute or so all the chocolate will melt and will be ready for dipping your cookies or fruit or whatever you want to dip.  SO EASY!

Choc-dipped-shortbread

Happy Weekend!