Cookbook Junkie

I am a cookbook junkie. I love to flip through the pages, look at the pictures and be inspired by the creations. I read them like novels, illustrated, fabulous novels. This Christmas, I got three cookbooks that I have been coveting for a while: Inside the Test Kitchen, by Tyler Florence, Make it Ahead, by Ina Garten and The Frog Commissary Cookbook, by Steve Poses, Anne Clark, and illustrated by Becky Roller.

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Now that Christmas has passed and the frenzy has died down a little, I can really start to dig into them. 

First up, the delicious Tyler Florence. I have been following his test kitchen series on Instagram for a while. He’s been taking tried-and-true recipes and techniques and re-imagining them, using new ingredients, modern techniques and testing them, over and over. It has been so exciting having a birds-eye view as he (and his team) develop these recipes – every few days, there’d be a new ‘test’. What this man did to french toast – amazing (check it out on instagram – here’s one sneak peek)… 

He spent time testing the stretchiest cheese:

8SC_7509He made a hamburger bun with batter, cream whipper and a ring mold. Who ever would have thought to do that???

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These examples are just the tip of the iceberg. This book is a treasure trove of information and inspiration.

Here’s the thing. I’m not sure if I’ll make much of what is in this cookbook and that’s just fine with me. I have such respect for true chefs. This book is like a window into Tyler’s brain. I love the way chefs think and innovate. It is so inspiring. Watching him play with food and take chances is very liberating and exciting to watch. I will love reading this!!

If you’ve followed me at all, you already know that I am a HUGE Ina Garten fan. Her recipes are always spot-on. Anything I have ever made from her has been met with rave reviews. Therefore, it should be no surprise that Santa brought me her latest book, Make it Ahead.

8SC_7510Here’s what I love about Ina: she understands that people want to spend time with their guests and not be stuck in the kitchen all night, preparing complicated food. I love that she has developed this make-ahead cookbook, because it allows us all to prepare delicious food and still have fun with our friends. To quote Ina, “How great is that?”

I recently posted a recipe that she features in this cookbook, but with a different sauce. Slow roasted filet is completely amazing. Tender, juicy, flavorful. Make it – you’ll thank me (and Ina).

8SC_7511I will definitely be making lots of recipes from this book. Her books are always a go-to for me. I always trust her recipes and have never been disappointed.

Finally, I got my own copy of The Frog Commissary Cookbook. If you lived in Philadelphia anytime in the ’70’s and ’80’s, chances are, either you or your mother had this cookbook.

8SC_7513Back in the day, The Frog Commissary started as a little storefront called Frog, it soon gained steam and grew to another restaurant called The Commissary and a catering business. This is one of the books that I credit for my love of cookbooks and for cooking. As a young child, I remember reading through the book, looking at the illustrations and being captivated by the recipes. Some of my first cooking experiences were from this cookbook. I remember making Chicken Breasts with Apples and Cider Cream Sauce for my friends and I before the Homecoming dance.

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I also remember fantasizing about making the 16th Street Deep Dish Pizza. I don’t think I ever did, though… I just remember loving the illustrations on this page particularly. 

8SC_7517My mom still has her dog-eared, food-stained copy. I’m looking forward to doing the same to mine.

So, if you’re in the market for some new cookbooks, give one of these a shot. Inspiring, delicious, and a little nostalgic. That pretty much sums up cooking for me!

 

 

 

 

 

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