Project: cooking thru my cookbooks or else…

Susan Branch is one of my favorite niche cookbook writers. She lives on the glorious Martha’s Vineyard island where she moved too in the 1970’s. It’s a bit over the top since she and her husband live in a ginormous house and she has way way too much clutter. But her books are FUN to read thru. I will leave them for now.

The Zuni Cafe is really a classic by Judy Rodgers. She died of some rare cancer in, think the early 2000’s. Zuni cafe was started by a gay man and became iconic in SF. He later died of Aids but not before it was sold and the Judy Rodgers came in as chef. It is a great cookbook but doesn’ t make the cut. If any of my readers want it, just let me know I’ll send it media mail to you.

Project:Cooking thru my cookbooks or else…

I’m getting close to the end of my cookbooks.

Tartine Bread is one of the best sourdough bread books out there, BUT, it is not easy to read the instructions. He’s all about the science of bread making with the hydration, dry ratio, etc. What I finally did was just went straight to the initial bread instructions and just highlighted that. If you follow his instructions to the letter and weigh everything you will have a glorious loaf of sourdough, 2 actually. I usually cut the recipe in half as 2 big loaves is a lot to handle.

The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook by America’s test kitchen is a great cookbook and I’ve made lots of recipes. I think anything by ATC is outstanding.

Anyone who has cooked vegetarian for a while will know Mollie Katzen. She was doing on the East Coast in the 1970’s what Alice Waters was doing in Berkeley. Although Moosewood was much more casual than Chez Panisse. But Moosewood was also all vegetarian. Always excellent recipes.

I would definitely buy this is you saw it in the thrift store. I got my copy at the pet bookstore for $1.00

Back in the 70’s there was also the big macrobiotic movement. We did that for a while and in fact sometime @ 1978 we ate miso soup EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. for a year, either for breakfast or dinner. Funny though, we never got bored of it. I guess because I made it different everyday, sometimes with tofu and veggies, sometimes just plain. I still make miso soup occasionally but usually I just go for a bowl of ramen for breakfast which I’m eating as I write this!!! 🙂

Project: Cooking thru my cookbooks or else…

I think ina garten is one of my favorite chefs. Most all of her recipes are things I would make.

I like looking at her books for inspiration not just in food but how to serve food and often she adds a directory of where to get items.

The Paris one is really nice as she has a list of where to go in Paris for certain things. Not that I’m going to Paris but I still like reading about it. I got most of the these at the pet bookstore for a $1.00 so an inexpensive form of entertainment.

Our weather has turned and it’s much cooler today with a high around 91. I can live with that.

Barclay went to his PC yesterday and he gave him a shot of some sort of anti inflammatory( not cortisone) and I guess it seems to have helped. He also got an xray but it only showed some arthritis, so that’s not the issue. It’s still the sciatica. Hopefully it will improve all week. It’s hard to be in pain.

Project: Cooking thru my cookbooks or else..

The Minimalist Kitchen is by the blogger Melissa Coleman. I like the book and her approach. I do think it’s a somewhat entitled woman’s approach to minimalism. I mean, whose kitchen looks like that? But I still like her honesty and have used several recipes from the book. For now it will stay.

Simplicity at Home is a book I bought this spring as the Japanese stuff caught my attention. The book is by the woman who started Fog Linen. I adore linen but all of the stuff on the website is beyond my reach. Still, I like the book probably for the ascetics. I’ll keep for now as it is a good book to look thru on rainy days.

I’ve used Date Night In for a couple of years and her pizza dough recipe is the one I use the most and always works. I’ve made a number of other recipes too. I liked her before fame. Now her last book I bought new and promptly gave away as it wasn’t at all interesting. I think something must happen to bloggers and Youtubers that get noticed and offered book deals etc. I’ve seen it over and over. There’s one You tuber Shannon Torres that I really enjoyed but now it’s all the same content and all the same lingo to get subscribers to get money.( clean with me, declutter with me, why I am minimal, I understand that but something is lost in translation.

The same thing happened with Scandish home. I liked her originality to start( actually a couple of years) but then it all changed when she was clearly out for the subscribers and money. She’s very wholesome but clearly now wears makeup, has her hair done and on and on. She was a minimalist but since they moved into a house twice as big almost every vlog is about what she has just bought on Amazon and of course there’s the link.( that’s where you get a small % if someone buys from your link.) I don’t even bother watching her anymore. Everyone does evolve but sometimes the almighty $ is behind it.

Magnolia Table is a useful book and I’ve made a number of recipes. Her Chocolate chip cookie recipe is good. I’ll keep for now. I have room on my shelf so no problem there.

These four books are all very nice and if you find them in a thrift store get them but I wouldn’t go buy them retail( as I did). Just my two cents.

update: I looked thru Date Night In more closely, and I don’t think there’s anything else I would make from it so it’s going. It’s a nice book but if I’m not going to make her ‘ salmon cakes with chile and fresh herbs ‘ then it’s probably best to pass it on. I’ll take a photo of the pizza dough recipe and call it good.

Project: Cooking thru my cookbooks or else.

These both are keepers. I’ve used both for multiple recipes. They are both excellent for vegetarian cooking. The “Expanding Light Cookbook” has the recipe for millet patties which is superb. I make those and serve with their recipe for “golden gravy’ which uses nutritional yeast. If you’re ever visiting N. Ca you can go to Ananda and there is a store and I think they have food also for sale. They have many yoga retreats as well as meditation. It continues to be a thriving community based on Yogananda’s philosophy. Being that it started in the late 60’s early 70’s that is saying something. Back in the day, Barclay was their rep for food service so he went out their maybe once every month or so.

These two are also keepers. Nigel Slater is a wonderful writer with a great sense of humor. His cooking(British) isn’t really my style, but I love reading about how and why he cooks. He and his partner bought this wonderful old house with a garden and some of these recipes are about using garden produce. They are beautiful books worth taking down and having a peruse thru on rainy afternoons. I suppose if I was moving they would go but for now they can claim a spot on my cookbook shelf.

Project: cooking thru my cookbooks or else…

The first book, “Kitchen Counter Cooking School “is one of my all time favorite books. It’s not a cookbook per se but accounts of the author writing about teaching some basics of cooking. The recipes are true keepers. The Alfredo sauce is remarkable and if you’ve never made homemade fettuccine alfredo, you absolutely must. It is so easy. Just follow her instructions about the simmering of the cream.

The” Goldy’s Kitchen” is also a favorite as her series about Goldy, a caterer, is so much fun. I just made the Mexican torta and it’s excellent. Her Spinach soup is my gold standard although I use an immersion blender to blend it smooth.

Both are keepers.

I like both these mark Bittman’s but the “How to cook everything” is I think better.

The other one is his new book and it’s okay and I’ve made a few things out of it but most of the fancier recipes I wouldn’t make. I will keep for now.

Most of the rest of the my cookbooks are keepers but I’ll still go thru some for the project.

Yesterday, after I got back from Sacto, I blanched and froze 6 bags of corn. Corn is coming in from the valley 5 for$1.00. I plan on getting another batch done this weekend.

Project: Cooking thru my cookbooks or else…

So I’m moving thru the books at a good pace.

Going, going gone…

I always like her books because she is sexy and cooks food that means something to her. But, I will never eat octopus or squid or?? It’s fun to look thru but not keep.

Deb Perelman is iconic. I love her embracing her Jewishness and some of the foods are great. But I’m never going to make any of it. This was a pet bookstore find. Fun to read and look at but not to keep.

These are harder to get rid of simply because of the sentimentality. I mean, I used these books in the 70’s and yes, my whole bread were like bricks, but hey it was the 70’s. I always liked the drawings. I do and did like to read the Buddhist stuff thrown in but since I’m past any of that now. They are going.

Back in 1970, when I first became vegetarian, I knew absolutely nothing about food or nutrition. Then along came Frances Moore Lappe. Believe me the soybeans were getting cooked into really awful soy burgers but the food combining was the biggest thing to hit vegetarianism. That along with Adele Davis were the big hits of the time. Anyway, most of that is debunked now that you need to combine beans with rice or whatever. But at the time it was cutting edge in being vegetarian. I mean you couldn’t find tofu to save your life and brown rice, forget it. Now , it all seems so easy.

Anyway, going, going, gone.

That’s five more off the shelf.


I found this at the pet bookstore a few years ago. I love Julia Child and how she changed American cooking. But the real reason i will keep this book is the colors and pattern. It looks like Catherine Holm which I do love.

Next keeper:

Alice Waters book is a classic on just how to cook things right. I don’t think I’ve made any recipes but I do use to look up things.

I’ve made quite a few things from this Deborah Madison book and I have a letter from her tucked in the jacket. I wrote her how much I loved the book back in the 80’s and she wrote me back. Cool, right.

Project: cooking thru my cookbooks or else…

“Field of Greens” and “The Greens Cookbook’ both make the cut.

I’ve made lots of recipes from both these books. They are EXCELLENT vegetarian cookbooks and worth having.

Lots of great recipes.

The next 2 are also keepers.

This is a classic and has all the basics you could ever want. I refer to it regularly.

Funny story behind this book. I got this book when I got married( not this one though). I used it for a few things but one time I was looking thru it and saw this recipe:

One of my few pleasant childhood memories is my mom making these at Christmas although she called them by their Polish name of Kruschicki Recipe | Allrecipes I believe this was the recipe. I used to make these at Christmas too but only every other year. I didn’t make them last year so maybe this year.

So, I think I’m getting into mostly the cookbooks I’ll be keeping butI may still have a surprise or two.

Cooking thru my cookbooks or else…

Here’s two more that I will keep.

Dutch Oven Cooking is one I use with the Lodge.

I’ve made the Dutch oven potatoes , yumm. Also the Stuffed peppers but not with ham just rice.

I haven’t made any desserts yet simply because we don’t eat dessert as such.

So this one is a keeper.

Next is Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. This is also a keeper as I’ve made numerous things from it like the lentil soup and also the split pea soup. I don’t usually make any salads from cookbooks because we eat simple salads. but soup I like to make and casseroles. She has a good selection of soups and lots of southwestern dishes as she is in Santa Fe( well, or used to be).

This one makes the mark.

Project: Cooking thru my cookbooks or else…

Next on the chopping block.

This is a signed Alice Waters book. It really is a lovely cookbook with linocut images. Quite beautiful. But I’ve never made a recipe from this book or unfortunately never went to Chez Panisse. Probably the time to have gone would have been the 1970’s right when we moved here. Probably it could have been one of those Berkeley trips we made to visit our friend Jim. Also, when we had our bookstore later in the 1980’s we would drive down to Berkeley to go to

Bookpeople and buy literally $1000’s of inventory. It was a huge warehouse and fun too. But never ventured into town where Chez Panisse was.

So, I might look one more time if there is a recipe to make but I doubt it.