Test Kitchen

Test Kitchen

When Micah and I were dating, I decided to make him dinner one night when he had a big project to finish and couldn’t be bothered by little things like eating. This was the first time I had cooked for him by myself as we started cooking together when we started dating, and I was eager to impress. I looked through the cookbooks and found a recipe that I sort of almost had the ingredients for. I know I had pasta. And it called for dijon mustard, but I figured I could just use yellow mustard. I didn’t have the cheese soup it called for, but I did cream of mushroom that I was sure would be just as good. I didn’t have ham, either, so I thought I would make it a little bit more healthy by substituting celery. That was the night that I found out Micah doesn’t like celery . . . especially cooked celery. I thought it was fine, though, so I ate the leftovers for the rest of the week.

For Valentine’s Day Micah got me a cookbook I have been wanting for a while now, and I think maybe the memory of that meal is part of the reason I am now the proud owner of The New Best Recipe. This is the book that tells you why you can’t just go around substituting salted for unsalted butter (or celery for ham), why you need to mix the batter for only 37 seconds, why it is okay to use the same pan to saute the tomatoes that you just sauted the mushrooms in. It’s great for someone like me who reads cookbooks the same way she reads novels, and who needs a little extra motivation to keep from throwing all of the scraps into a pot and calling it dinner. Another plus: this is where our friend Lizzie Skinner got her recipe for Perfect Lizzie Cookies (as her friends like to call them), which I have been dying to make since I first had one.

Of course, last night as we were making dinner, I found myself biting my tongue on multiple occasions as I was reading through recipes and thinking, “Well, we don’t have fresh tarragon, but I’m sure basil would be just as good . . . .”

4 thoughts on “Test Kitchen

  1. Hmmmm, I don’t know if I’d like that book. I am always substituting and trying to “improve” recipes! I say, as long as it tastes good in the end, that’s all that matters! (Though, that’s the problem sometimes…)

    How’d the cookies turn out? (I assume you’ve made them since you were so excited to…)

  2. I actually haven’t made the cookies yet because I had to make some cupcakes for work . . . and those turned out GREAT. They were super easy, too. I’ll definitely make them again. But I’ll let you know how they turn out when we come down from our sugar high and feel like its a good idea to bake up some cookies.

  3. In case anybody is curious, we have made three additional things from this cookbook since the cupcakes and we really enjoyed them all. We made hummus (which I may blog about later), baba ganoush (which is good, but Micah didn’t like so much because of the texture of the eggplant), and spaghetti sauce, which somehow turned out a lot better than my previous efforts, despite the fact that I used pretty much the same ingredients.

  4. Very cool. I LOVE cookbooks, and do read them like a novel. I’ll have to see if I can check that out out at the library. My recent favorite is “Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen” by Deborah Madison. Very well written with lots of fun tidbits and tips on soup-making, as well as original, fabulous recipes. For example, “Summer Squash in broth with masa dumplings and cilantro salsa” or “black bean soup with chile, coconut milk, and lime” or just “really good mushroom soup.” You have to be ready to make a trip to your local health food or ethnic food mart, though. She likes to cook with unusual ingredients. Though you can always substitute…

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