Friday, February 18, 2011

The New Basics Cookbook - Book Review

Do you have a cookbook that you have had for years and wouldn't get rid of if someone offered you $10,000?

I purchased The New Basics Cookbook many, many, many years ago (about 20 years ago probably) and for most of that the book was at Mom's (unless I managed to sneak it out).  I recently got The New Basics Cookbook (updated I think) and I have been so excited - in fact, I told Mom she could keep the older version of this great cookbook!

"The New Basics Cookbook is a basic cookbook that combines the information today's cooks need with irresistible recipes for the foods they want to prepare." What I love about the cookbook is the way the chapters are written and the educational value of each is priceless.

Including the Index this cookbook is over 800 pages long!  It's perfect for the beginning cook, as a "first home" gift (apartment or wedding), for guys (yes, there is a Fire Up for Grilling and a Meat Market chapter).  It's easy to read.  As an example, the vegetable section (I think this one is the biggest) starts with a description of each vegetable, how to prepare it (with hand drawn illustrations), what to look for when purchasing it, how to season it, the various ways you can prepare it (boiling, steaming, baking, sauteing, roasting, etc) and you'll also find a good section on it's nutritional value (vitamins, carbs, fiber) and there are also great quotes such as:

"Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education." ~ Mark Twain

This last week I had a hankering for Buttermilk Blueberry Pancakes - I didn't make 'em but I did make waffles!  And I used a recipe out of this cookbook (after trying a recipe on another blog that I didn't like). I HAD to use up the buttermilk right?  I had blueberries, but decided to use these Aronia Berries that my Chiropractor suggested because they are the highest in Antioxidents and are great for people that have low immunity levels.  I thought I'd share the recipe with you.

You can purchase your copy of The New Basic Cookbook HERE. It's $13.16 and worth every penny!

Buttermilk Waffles (pg 452, in the chapter: "Which came first?" LOL)
This recipe is so good and cinnamony.  It was much better than the other recipe I tried - the flavor was wonderful!  It also froze well.  Makes 12 (5-6") waffles.

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
2 Tab (packed) light brown sugar
(Note: I actually used about 2 Tab. white sugar as I didn't have brown sugar.  Also I used all white flour as I didn't have whole wheat)
1 teas baking soda
1/2 teas ground cinnamon
1/4 teas salt
2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs, separated
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted & cooled

Preheat your waffle iron and grease it lightly.  In a large mixing bowl, toss together the flours, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, stir together the buttermilk, egg yolks and butter.  Beat the egg whites in mixer until stiff.  Stir the buttermilk mixture quickly into the dry ingredients, until almost blended. Then gently fold in the egg whites.  Cook the batter in the prepared waffle iron, using a generous 1/3 cup for each waffle, until crisp and golden, about 2 minutes.  Serve immediately with your favorite fruit sauce.  (This was super with maple syrup)

PS: The cinnamon (Highland Harvested Saigon Cinnamon) I used was from The Spice Hunter.  I had never used their cinnamon before but I really love it (you can find it in the grocery store in the spices).  The scent is very aromatic and almost "sweet".  I can't wait to try it in cinnamon rolls or Cinnamon Swirl Bread - this recipe is also in The New Basics Cookbook (pg 619) and the Walnut Raisin Whole Wheat Bread sounds scrumptious too!  

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