Thursday, October 4, 2012

Cookbook Challenge Updates & Wrap Up

This is the place where you can link up any updates or wrap up posts regarding the Cookbook Challenge.
If you have no idea what I am talking about, please go to the introduction post. Haven't signed up yet? You can do that there too! Want to spread the word? You can grab the big banner in this post, or the smaller one in the side bar.

You can update and link up as many times as you like! It doesn't matter. You can share full recipes or just a collection with pictures. Even full reviews are a way to go, it is all up to you. Either way: please share your progress with us through October and November. The linky will stay open till November 30, 11.59 PM CET.


  1. Well - Tonight Bijou and I used The Barefoot Contessa's How Easy is That? cook book. We made the Roasted Salmon with Green Herbs. Pretty simple actually - close to poached salmon coated with green herbs.
    1 2 to 2-1/2 pound skinless salmon fillet
    1/4 cup olive oil
    Kosher Salt and fresh ground black pepper
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    1/2 cup minced scallions
    1/2 cup minced fresh dill
    1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
    1/4 cup dry white wine
    Lemon wedges (for serving)

    I'll paraphrase here - Place salmon in roasting tin and then season salmon and mix lemon juice and olive oil and pour over it. Let stand for fifteen minutes. Combine the dill, scallions, and parsley and cover the salmon, turning it to get both sides. Pour the wine around the salmon and then roast in a 425 oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven cover with foil and let stand for 10 minutes to finish cooking.

    We ate it with parsleyed fingerling potatos and roasted asparagus.

    The salmon looked perfect, very pretty just like the picture in the book:). It was done perfectly, melt in your mouth texture. All that said, it is still not something I would make again. I am not a huge fan of dill and both of us found the dill flavor overwhelmed all the other seasonings. We both agreed we prefer salmon the way we usually prepare it, seasoned and cooked on the grill.

    The cookbook can be found here:

    1. Thanks for sharing this! It sounds great. But dill can be pretty overwhelming indeed.

    2. This sounds perfect. Salmon is a favorite in my house so I'm always keeping my eye out for a new way to prepare it. I like this simple version--will definitely try it next spring when herbs are plentiful in my garden again.

  2. Back again - I probably will do this challenge on weekends so my entries will be back to back:) Tonight Bijou and I used Williams-Sonoma Cooking for Friends and made Short Rib Shepherds Pie. We have a family recipe we use and Shepherds Pie is pretty much a family comfort food, so we were curious to try another version.
    Anyhow...on to the recipe:

    2 to 2 1/2 pounds of beef shortribs
    sea salt and pepper
    Extra virgin olive oil
    1 large onion - chopped
    2 ribs of celery - chopped
    6 cloves of garlic - crushed
    1 carrot - chopped
    3 1/2 cups dry red like Syrah (I used Crane Lake Petite sirah)
    3 bay leaves
    1 Tbsp of thyme
    4 cups of beef broth
    1 1/2 pounds of yukon gold potatoes peeled and quartered
    1/4 cup milk
    4 Tbsp unsalted butter
    1 egg yolk beaten

    Start out by seasoning the shortribs well and then refrigerating for at least 6 hours or up to overnight.
    Take out of fridge - season again and let stand for 15 minutes to come to room temp

    Heat oil in saute pan (I used my cast iron skillet) then sear the short ribs on all sides in batches. Remove from heat and put into a dutch oven.

    When you are done with the ribs, adust drippings/oil to make sure there is only about 2 tbsp in pan. Then cook onions, carrots, garlic, and celery until they begin to carmelize. (about 5 minutes)

    Add red wine, thyme, & bay leaves and bring to a boil over med. high heat. Good idea to put oven on to preheat to 350 degrees now. Continue cooking until wine reduces by half. Then, add beef stock and bring back up to a boil. (I only added half of it now, so that I would have some to add when it reduced later) Once it is bubbling again, take off heat and pour wine, stock, herb and veg combination over short ribs in dutch oven, (be sure to cover short ribs add more beef broth if necessary)

    Put lid on and cook in 350 degree oven for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, checking for liquid level occasionally. (you may have to add more beef broth as it cooks to keep ribs covered)

    The last 20 minutes of cooking put peeled potatoes on to boil and warm the milk with the butter.

    Remove dutch oven from oven and pull out bones and shred meat. Discard bones and put meat back into dutch oven. Turn oven heat up to 400 degrees.

    When potatoes are fork tender, drain, then dry slightly over heat, add milk, butter and beaten egg yolk and mash. Pile potatoes on top of meat mixture, then put back into oven for 35 - 40 minutes. Remove and serve. We had bread and chopped salad with it.

    Rated 5 stars for taste - the beef mixture had an excellent taste, all the reduction made it very flavorful.

    But... it is an all day cooking affair. You could break it up by preparing to one point the night before and make it more manageable. Still, definitely not somethng I would make on a weeknight. Probably 2 stars for convenience.

    A little cost prohibitive for me. Beef short ribs are expensive, at least in my area. The meat for this dish was almost $20, which is a lot for one meal, at least for me to spend. Probably 2 stars for Cost.

    I would be willing to try this again if short ribs were on sale (or maybe substitute a pot roast with some soup bones). I would probably make more potatoes. I didn't think the proportion of potatoes to meat mixture was quite right. I would also add more carrot. I modified the recipe slightly by putting only 2 cups of the beef stock in initially and then topping off the dutch oven as it reduced.

    I am probably going to try some more things from this book. It has kind of an interesting arrangement.

    Link to book for sale:

    1. How fun that you are back again! I am looking forward to seeing more recipes :) I am glad that you have fun with the challenge :)

    2. Wow this recipe sounds delicious and satisfying on a cold winter's night. Some fresh baked bread and a glass of wine? Mmmm. ^_^

  3. Over at my blog, I tried two recipes - rice and spinach gratin and red pepper sauce. Only one of the recipes was Inception-like, and had a recipe within the recipe, so I really tackled three of them!


    1. I just went and checked both of your entries :) I liked these ones best :)

    2. Me too! All three of these recipes were definitely ones I will return to again.

  4. I tried another recipe, with rather less astounding results than last week... it's okay though :)


  5. Ok, now that readathon is over I can talk about the cookbook challenge this weekend. I dug out an old cookbook I have that I have not used in forever. Julia and Jacques: Cooking at Home by....Julia Child and Jacques Pepin. On Saturday we had the Cauliflower gratin and Steak Au Poivre. They were both excellent. I made roasted butternut squash and a salad to go along with it. Today I made the Pot Roast from the same book.

    During this challenge, I have been basically making things that I already make, like the cauliflower gratin, just trying new recipes for them from different cookbooks. Bijou and I have them been able to compare the "new" version to our usual one. Sort of seeing if we can tweak our usual staples that we make or if we like them as is. :)

    This weekends were a hit and more manageable time wise. Yesterday's dinner of cauliflower gratin, butternut squash, salad and steak was on the table in under 45 minutes. Today's pot roast has to cook for a long time but prep was about 15 minutes, the rest of the timme is basically just letting it braise in the oven.
    I like this challenge because it is making me go through my stack of cookbooks. I fould some other recipes in this Julia and Jacques book that I think I will make this week.

    1. This sounds so fun! Comparing new version with the things you already make. I love hearing stories like this :)

  6. Tried another recipe from Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home. Made a Ragout of White Beans - really simple easy (and cheap) weeknight meal. Bijou and I had it with grilled sausage. I had the leftovers for lunch, so that also works well for me:)

    1. Ragout of White beans sounds really great! I must give that a go myself.

  7. One more recipe from Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home - Leek and Potato soup. I love leek and potato soup and I have a recipe that I usually use. This new one was not one I would make again. I prefer a creamier, richer texture to potato soups, this had a thinner texture. Good tasting though.

    The other thing I tried new this week probably doesn't qualify for the cookbook challenge but I wanted to tell everyone about it - it was so yummy. I am reading the Corinna Chapman series by Kerry Greenwood. In the back of each novel there are some recipes. I just finished Heavenly Pleasures and in the back was recipe for Chocolate Grog (basically grown up hot chocoltate) it was awesome, creamy, smooth, chocolately, drunken goodness :).

    500 ml milk
    75 g bittersweet chocolate
    pinch of allspice
    pinch of ginger
    1 tablespoon of honey
    75 ml of rum
    200 ml of brandy
    1 cinnamon stick
    whipped cream

    Put the first five ingredients together in a saucepan and heat stirring until too hot to drink...but not boiling. Then add alcohol and cinnamon stick. Heat and then serve topped with whipped cream and sprinkled with nutmeg.

    Great for a chilly night.

    1. I actually made Leek soup last week as well. This soup sounds lovely!

  8. Back at the challenge with cottage cheese and spinach gratin, with a jujjed up variation! Thank you again for hosting the cookbook challenge - it continues to be a very fun endeavor to keep me out of trouble on Sunday afternoons! Lovingly blogged at:

  9. Hi everyone,
    Just linking my Cookbook Challenge posts. I mostly wrote my posts as pseudo-reviews of the cookbooks with comments about the cookbook and recipe(s) I prepared. I'm never sure about posting someone else's recipe on my blog. I know it is likely to encourage people to buy the cookbook, but if everyone did it, all the recipes could end up online which isn't fair to the cookbook author. I'm so confused over this. What do you guys think?

    Here are links to my Cookbook Challenge posts so far:
    Autumn by Susan Branch ... from which I made Butternut Shotglass Soup! And the author stopped by and commented yesterday!! SO exciting! :))

    Indian Regional Classics by Julie Sahini ... from which I made saffron rice pilaf and shrimp with cream sauce (mostly coconut milk).

    More coming over the next couple of weeks! Happy cookbook cooking, everyone! :)

  10. Thanks so much for hosting this! I only managed to finish three recipes but they were all good and I'll definitely be cooking more out of the Rachael Ray Cookbook I selected. Thanks for the fun challenge Cynni!

  11. Hello everyone! I am having trouble with the linky and I can't seem to fix it :( I had a trial subscribtion but then I paqid for it, but still the linky is gone :( I have no clue what to do about it. I am so sorry for this :(