Aug 3, 2009

Must Have Mondays- Cookbooks Part 1

Not surprisingly considering the amount I read and the amount I cook, I have a massive collection of cookbooks. All told, I estimate I own over a hundred cookbooks. I can't stop. . .its a slight addiction. I just really enjoy reading cookbooks, and also collect vintage cookb0oks from the 1950's and 1960's.

However, I probably actually cook from a much smaller selection of cookbooks. Here are my must have cookbooks (in no particular order).

1) Bon Appetite Ya'll- Virginia Willis

Try making the crawfish etouffee (I use shrimp)- its a fabulous dish for a large dinner party with the hands off baked rice. Earlier this year Hubs and I had a "Mardi-Party" featuring the etouffee and Hurricanes. It got a little rowdy, but the food was wonderful!

However, please plan ahead when making etouffee. I started to become a little frantic when I had been stirring my roux in my enormous Le Creuset dutch oven for close to an hour. There was no sign of anything turning chocolately-brown, my guests were coming in half an hour, and I was a sweaty mess due to the "Cajun napalm" (hot flecks of the oil/butter and flour combo which have a tendency to spatter on the chef). I got a little impatient and turned up the heat. Then I start to smell a slightly burnt odor. Hubs walked into me frantically stirring and screaming obscenities, while hollering at him to order pizzas.

He was a little scared.

Luckily, my roux was not burnt (which would have entailed me having to toss it and start from scratch after constantly stirring for a whole hour). It was a close call though.

2) Paula Deen and Friends

This is my fave of Paula's or the Lady & Sons' assorted cookbooks (although the Lady and Sons' 1 and 2 are must-haves as well- I just don't want this post to turn into a 14 page essay). Bring this recipe to your next potluck, and get ready to receive compliments! There are great menus for every occasion, and recipes for every level of expertise in the kitchen.

3) Duh.

4) The Heritage of Southern Cooking- Camille Glenn
Sometimes this book can be difficult to find, but Amazon likely has copies. Its worth it- full of interesting commentary and old pictures. A couple weekends ago I made Mrs. Glenn's shrimp remoulade (delish!!!) and rosemary grilled chicken. Both were big hits, fresh, simple, and yummy!

5) The Silver Palate Cookbook
The New York Times had for more experience in review than I do, so just read this article. After you're done reading it make the Chicken Marbella (even if you read the ingredient list and think you won't like it). Its a great dish for a large buffet dinner party, especially when there is a touch of chill in the air.

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