While Colorado is rife with opportunity to enjoy winter sports, my idea of a great winter afternoon is staying indoors with a good book and good food. Since Winter of Reading has declared reading itself a winter sport, I suppose I'm already halfway there! To combine reading and eating, I have selected a few cookbooks that read well from cover to cover, complete with excellent food writing, personal annotations, and, of course, recipes.
While putting together a quick DVD display at the Ross-Broadway Library Branch this morning, I started thinking about the Bechdel Test. In case you have never heard of it, it's a simple test developed by a cartoonist in the eighties about women in film.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right? I'll be honest, I am not much for wolfing down a bowl of cereal and heading off to work with milk spilled on my shirt. In fact, I am simply not hungry until late morning and then I want something salty and substantial. Or creamy and sweet. Or both- and brunch is just the thing.
For me, the quintessential part of a good brunch is hollandaise sauce. Once the sauce is made and eggs are handy, endless variations on the classic Eggs Benedict are inevitable. I like mine with spinach and smoked salmon in place of the traditional Canadian bacon. A bagel half or slice of toast can easily be swapped for the English muffin. Herbs and sauteed vegetables can be served on top or on the side, of course with a healthy dose of hollandaise. And if your sauce separates? No problem, give it a quick whisk and pour it on.
On chilly, dark winter nights, we all want to eat something hearty. We need comfort and simplicity, but without spending an entire evening in the kitchen. One-pot meals and casseroles are the answer and Denver Public Library has plenty of helpful cookbooks! Need some titles to satisfy your hunger and keep you warm?
Recent years have given us many new cookbooks that emphasize convenience, with a focus on one-pot meals and spending less than an hour on family dinner. On the other hand, casseroles may require some assembly, but these new cookbooks have given us fantastic updates to old-fashioned classics. It's hard to beat the all-in-one combination of vegetables, grains, and protein- especially when the flavors touch on all of our tastes. The leftovers are nice, too!
How about a recipe that uses up day-old rice and is a snap to prepare?
As summer comes to a close and the garden has much to offer, I have been thinking a lot about garden-to-table eating. The new wave of localized eating and knowing the source of one's food has led to many beautiful cookbooks that help you make the most of your garden.
Even if you skipped the heirloom Lemon Oxheart tomatoes this year, Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes provides many stunning photos and recipes, as well as inspiration for next year's garden plan.
I, for one, left out the potato patch this season, but the following recipe for herbed french fries cannot be missed. The volunteer Purple Peruvian Fingerling potatoes in my backyard will soon go under the knife to be made into these:
In the summer heat, start with dessert first! July's Spice Dreams has you covered with a variety of unusual ice cream recipes, including some that use herbs fresh from the garden. Check out the recipe for Basil Ice Cream, along with ice cream books selected from the library's collection.
You may have noticed ice cream book displays in your local branches, preparing you for an essential summer staple. I took on the delicious task of testing this recipe for you: