Sunday, December 4, 2011

Five Recipes from a Cookbook!

I have met my goal of cooking five recipes (and then some) out of a cookbook! One cookbook, anyway. Only took two years. Something like a hundred more cookbooks to go. One at a time, baby, one at a time. 

Which cookbook had me in the kitchen rather than mentally snacking from my armchair, you ask? The New Laurel's Kitchen by Laurel Robertson, Carol Flinders, and Brian Ruppenthal.

So far I've made:

Carrot Soup
Cranberry Squash
Gingered Squash
Whole Beet Borscht
Whole Wheat Pie Crusts (two different recipes)

Winners, every one.

If I'd been counting by the number of times I'm re-made a recipe, I'd have met my first five before now, still from this same cookbook. The borscht has become "my" recipe---the one I feel comfortable making in huge batches and freezing because I know my family will eat it happily all fall and winter, the one I feel good enough about to share with friends, the one I know well enough that I've even begun going "off recipe" and tossing in ingredients that aren't called for (my last batch I substituted a can of spaghetti sauce for some of the broth/water--and it was yummy!).  I've never really had my own recipe before, and the fact that it's a beet recipe is kind of amusing, I suppose, but honestly it's just so good I don't care.

As I've mentioned before, some of my cookbooks are, frankly, terrible. They may look snazzy, but their recipes are bloated fluff. Or they might be so poorly written or photographed that it's laughable to imagine anyone feeling inspired by them. I will be hard pressed to meet my five recipe goal from some of those. But Laurel's Kitchen? It's a gem. Filled to the brim with delectable, wholesome-sounding dishes from ingredients you can easily find (or grow!), simple ideas on how to add nutrition to your plate, and whimsical art throughout. I love this cookbook and I'm keeping and cooking from it forever, even if they make a new new version.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Cranberry Squash

From The New Laurel's Kitchen, a delish squash recipe perfect for this holiday season. Try it, you'll like it!

Cranberry Squash  from Laurel's Kitchen
1 1/2 lbs raw winter squash, unpeeled, cut in serving size chunks
1/2 cup raw fresh cranberries
1 small apple, chopped in 3/4" pieces
1/4 cup chopped raisins
juice and grated peel of small orange
1 1/2 Tbls honey
1 Tbls melted butter
dash salt
Arrange pieces of squash in one layer in a baking dish with a cover (or use aluminum foil). Scatter cranberries, chopped apple, and raisins over and around the squash. If you use acorn, butternut, or other small squash, you can halve them, mix all the other ingredients together, and pile the mixture into the cavities. Otherwise, mix orange juice, grated peel, honey butter (if desired) and salt together and pour over squash. 
Cover baking dish and bake until squash is tender--25 to 45 minutes, depending upon the variety.
Makes 4 servings.

My initial debut of this recipe was part of a much much larger meal so we probably made this work for 8 servings, but it's a seriously lovely dish for any squash lover (the cranberries and apples and raisins are the perfect complement!). This will grace our table again, guaranteed.