So zucchini was on sale and I greedily threw a few pounds in my shopping cart. When I got home I tossed it on my kitchen counter and there it sat all week. Why you ask? Well cooking is hard with a newborn glued to one hand. Still I couldn’t let the zucchini rot on my counter so I decided to make Zucchini Bread. I have a no fail recipe that works at the high altitude in the back part of Parker. My house is at an elevation of 6300 and my bread always turns out. But would this bread be baby proof? I gathered my ingredients, moving with no speed or grace, I measured and mixed all of my ingredients using my hand mixer. (Note to self; invest in a stand mixer.) Even with one hand tied to my baby the bread turned out perfectly! Woo Hoo! So I guess I should share. Here is the perfect high altitude Zucchini Bread recipe.
Usually I’m not much of a TV watcher. I have a few shows I enjoy and that’s about it, but I’ve been on MATERNITY LEAVE. I had no idea that newborns follow a daily pattern; Eat, pee/poop, sleep. They do this at approximately a two hour interval 24 hours a day. There is no real time to sleep, or follow a plot in a TV show or book. So for these first few weeks I have been up all day and night. I need background noise and something interesting to look at. Since there is hardly any time to cook something beyond my standby basics (which I could make in my sleep) I have started watching cooking shows to get my cooking fix. In between changing diapers and rocking my son to sleep I have been sampling the On Demand offerings. I’ve been watching them on my iPad using the Comcast app. While binge watching On Demand, I have found three must see cooking shows. So the next time you are sick, or bored, or stuck somewhere and need something to watch I recommend the following shows.
Four chefs compete against each other to win $10,000. There are three rounds, and they have 30 minutes per round to use the desperate ingredients in a mystery box. The show is fun, exciting, and each episode is stand alone so you don’t have to know about the contestants to follow the show.
I found another Colorado restaurant I need to visit. I’ve never been to The Fort but looking at their book, Shinin’ Times at The Fort: stories, recipes, and celebrations from the landmark Colorado restaurant, I realized I should really plan a trip. This book has the history of The Fort as well as the inspiration for many of their dishes. The cookbook is divided into pretty standard areas like soups, breads, meats, sweets, etc. but the recipes are anything but standard. From buffalo tongue to quail and bone marrow to quinoa, this book has some very unique and interesting recipes. The recipes then have a history of the recipe at the top with other memories sprinkled throughout the book. Fortunately, the end of the book lists suppliers for some of the more obscure items.
Come to Books, Bites & Brews on November 9th at Cielo at Castle Pines and try some samples from this book as well as many others. There will also be beer sampling, knife skill demonstrations and other great activities.
Need to plan a dinner party but don’t know where to start? Eclectic Entertaining: 15 complete dinner party menus for busy people who like to cook would be a great beginning. As the title says, this book has 15 complete party menus with two appetizers, salad, main dish, two sides and a dessert (or two). The table of contents at the beginning of the book lists each recipe by main dish but also has all the other dishes listed. As well as being divided into menus, the end of each section has a shopping list with what will be needed for everything on the menu. The grocery lists are divided into convenient sections like fresh, dairy, baking, meat, etc. to correspond to sections of the store. Most individual recipes have a large color photo of the finished item. Want to try a sample? Join Douglas County Libraries on November 9th for Books, Bites & Brews where we will have samples from this book and many others. You can even meet the author of this book who will be demonstrating nifty kitchen gadgets.
If last Wednesday’s cookbook about Front Range foods caught your eye, check out Tasting Colorado: Favorite Recipes from the Centennial State by Michele Morris. This book is a similar idea but it covers more ground. Morris has compiled recipes from restaurants all over the state from Aspen to Telluride. Most recipes have gorgeous color photos accompanying them. The recipes all say where they are from and have a little note about the establishment or how to serve them. These recipes seem more approachable than the Front Range ones with fewer ingredients and simpler instructions. I found several recipes in this book that I want to try out. Join Douglas County Libraries on November 9th for Books, Bites & Brews and you can try something from this cookbook too.
I have never heard of the Vesta dipping grill, but looking at their cookbook, I may need to visit next time I go to a Rockies game. Although instead of driving all the way downtown to try out their stuff, I could get tickets to Books, Bites & Brews on November 9th and there will be samples from this book.
Beyond the Sauce: Vesta Dipping Grill has recipes for 50 sauces and lots of tasty dishes. The recipes are presented alone or as a meal grouping. One meal that sounds really tasty is Brown Sugar-and-Mustard Grilled Pork Chop with Pickled Onions and Bacon Home Fries. For dessert, I think I’d choose the Sticky Toffee Pudding with Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream. Most of the recipes have a picture of the finished dish and throughout the book are anecdotes about life at Vesta.
Sally Clayton and Lee Clayton Roper share some great recipes in their book A Well-Seasoned Kitchen: Classic Recipes for Contemporary Living. These recipes all sound really delicious and I am taking the book home to try a couple. The best part is that many of the recipes have “make ahead” tips, which can save time when you’re entertaining people. I plan to use some of the recipes that say they can be frozen, as that means I can portion them out a bit and get several good meals nicely spaced. As someone who loves to have people over and make food, these tips are great. It’s nice to know when you can do preparations early. I may have to have some friends over and try one of their recommended menus. If the weather cooperates, I can make the menu for a Comfort-Food Snowy Day Dinner. Let’s all hope there is no snow on November 9th when Douglas County Libraries is presenting Books, Bites & Brews at Cielo at Castle Pines. This cookbook is one of the books that will be featured and sampled from. I don’t know what we’re sampling (there is a Melted Gruyere and Bacon Dip that sounds good), but I’m sure it will all be tasty.
Denver and Boulder Chef’s Table: Extraordinary Recipes from the Colorado Front Range is another book we will be showcasing at our Books, Bites & Brews event on November 9th. This book has given me a new appreciation for the work that goes into crafting the fabulous meals available at our great eateries. The restaurants are listed alphabetically with a page of info about the location and then one or more recipes from the restaurant. Many of the recipes are daunting in their complexity or time commitment (some take days to prepare!) but the book is still an interesting read. Even the most daunting of recipes is fun to look over and see why they take so long. (Most of the long ones involve making homemade sausage.) There is also some fun info that gives you a feel for the owners of the restaurants. My favorite example is the servings for the Irish Car Bomb Cheesecake from Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs. The owner says the cake will feed “16 people very well – or make 12 people kind of sick”. Not all of the recipes are horribly complex, some of them look quite doable and I want to try a couple as long as I have the special equipment needed. The recipe tells you what special equipment will be needed; interestingly sausage only requires a large pastry bag, not a fancy machine. At home I think I’ll try the St. Louis-style Gooey Butter Cake from Jonesy’s Eat Bar and the Chinese Cold Noodles with Chicken from Loa Wang Noodle House. Each recipe has a great picture of the finished product and they all look so tasty! I don’t know which recipe we’ll be sampling at Books, Bites & Brews but I’m sure it will be fabulous.
Muy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor is a compilation of recipes and stories. Recipes are provided from all three generations but since the book was written by Evangeline Soza (2nd generation), Veronica Gonzalez-Smith (3rd generation) and Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack (3rd generation) as an homage to Grandma Jesusita, the stories all come from the second and third generations. Each recipe comes with a full color, full page photo. Many of the recipes come with notes or tips to help you find special ingredients or make do without. This is a very lovely cookbook that makes the recipes very accessible and easy to understand. The stories interspersed throughout are interesting to read with fun little vignettes of life around food. Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack, who contributed many of the recipes, will be at our Books, Bites & Brews event on November 9th. Join us at Cielo at Castle Pines for some samples from the cookbooks reviewed this week.
Adrian Miller’s Soul Food: the Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time offers an in-depth look at the history of “soul food”. Each chapter focuses on a particular dish with the history of the dish and a recipe at the the end of the chapter. There are some great snippets of information contained in this book. For example, did you know that macaroni and cheese was relatively unknown in the rural south in the late 1920s? Yet within two decades it was common dish in the same area? There is also a recipe in the fried chicken chapter for Corn Flake Fried Chicken and Cheddar Waffles which caught my eye. I had never heard of fried chicken and waffles before but thanks to this book I know the origins of the idea and have a tasty recipe to try out.
All this week we’ll be featuring cookbooks that will take center place at Books, Bites and Brews on November 9th. Join us for a fun time and great food.