Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Cookbook Casting Call: Report Card for Joy of Cooking and This Week's Cookbook and Menu

So, here we are in the middle of the week and I finally have a few minutes between my crazy work schedule, which I know you are tired of hearing me whine about, and some plain good ole fun cooking and baking to give you the report card for last week's cookbook for the Cookbook Casting Call, Joy of Cooking: 75th Anniversary Edition.

75th Anniversary Edition of Joy of Cooking

When I picked this book to be part of the Cookbook Casting Call, I was pretty sure it would end up near or at the bottom of the heat. I've cooked from it before and, while I loved the food I had made, I absolutely hated the way the book was laid out and the way the recipes were written. I just didn't like the the back and forth between sections of the cookbook to find master recipes for this and sub-recipes for that. I also found the pages hard to look at with some things bold and other not.

Frankly, in the spirit of being completely honest with you, my dear readers, I was putting the Joy of Cooking in this game as a way to give it away to one of you and not feel guilty about it considering it was a birthday present from Wren. Well, I hate to disappoint you but...

There is no way in bloody hell you are getting my copy of Joy of Cooking. In fact, I may just stop right here and put all the rest of the cookbooks, the ones previously reviewed and the other two that are yet to be reviewed, up for adoption. (Just joking...)

Why the change of heart?

Because of all the cookbooks that we've looked at over the past month and a half, the Joy of Cooking blew everything else out of the water; bar none, so far. Not one thing I cooked last week from the menu didn't live up to the recipe or my taste buds expectations. I didn't have one recipe I can say, "it was good but..." about.

To gush even more about my new found love for this classic of classic cookbooks, let me tell you specifically about the recipe that I'm still talking about, Country Captain.

Country Captain - Joy of Cooking

If you are of a certain age, you probably have heard of Country Captain or seen it on menus in those old basement paneled chophouses that still exist in old neighborhoods. You know, the place your grandparents still take you to on your birthday.

Country Captain dates back to the 1800s but became very popular in the 1940s after FDR was served it at Warm Springs. The dish couldn't be simpler: bread and brown chicken some breasts, place in a casserole dish and then deglaze the pan with chopped onions, green peppers, tomatoes, some thyme and curry. Pour the sauce over chicken breasts and bake until chicken is cooked. Serve over rice.

Other standouts last week in a week of fantastic food were the bread pudding

Bread Pudding using BBB 5 Grain Walnut Bread - Joy of Cooking

made with the left over Bread Baking Babe Five Grain with Walnut bread.

The clam chowder

Clam Chowder from Joy of Cooking

was just the way I like it, more broth than cream.

I really enjoyed the tomato and goat cheese quiche

Tomato Feta Quiche - Joy of Cooking

even using sun dried tomatoes instead of the fresh the recipe called for.

I did switch up the dessert on Friday evening by replacing the Mississippi Mud Cake with chocolate souffle on Puzzle night.

Chocolate Souffle - Joy of Cooking

It was the first time I have ever gotten a souffle do that thing that souffles do!

Grade time. Is there anything higher than A+? No? OK, Joy of Cooking rates an A+. I'm letting you know right now this is going to be one of the cookbooks that stays on my shelf or rather on my counter.

Winter Pantry Plan went really well too. I only spent $13.12 on groceries all week. The grand total for groceries spent since I began the Winter Pantry Plan is $101.43. My weekly average is $20.27.

I'm already in the middle of this week's cookbook, The Yellow Farmhouse Cookbook written by that bow-tied, crotchety founder of Cook's Illustrated,Christopher Kimball.

Yellow Farmhouse Cookbook

I'm not going to let any cats out of any bags about how things are going. Let's just say I haven't gone hungry this week. Tomorrow, I'm even going to give you a sneak peak at how things have been going.

Menu for 3/1 - 3/7 - Week Six of the Cookbook Casting Call and Winter Pantry Plan: The Yellow Farmhouse Cookbook

Like always, item's marked with "*" are from this week's cookbook

Sunday 3/1:
Dinner: Country Hash*
Dessert: Bread Pudding*

Monday 3/2:
Lunch: Leftover hash
Dinner: Bean Soup* with Anadama Bread*

Tuesday 3/3:
Lunch: left over soup and bread
Dinner for Friends (Story on Friday): Country Captain and Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Dessert: Mini Chocolate Chip Cheesecake*

Wednesday 3/4:
Lunch: Spinach Salad*
Dinner: Lasagna* and crescent rolls
Dessert: Pan Caramelized Apples with Nutmeg and Cinnamon*

Thursday 3/5:
Lunch: leftover lasagna and spinach salad
Dinner: Pork Chops* and German Potato Salad*

Friday 3/6:
Lunch: left over pork chops and german potato salad
Dinner: Out with Friends

Saturday 3/7:
Lunch: whatever is left over in the fridge
Dinner: Puffy Omelet* and One-Step Skillet Potatoes*

Country Captain
Adapted from Joy of Cooking

Serves 4

Note: Recipe calls for 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 chicken parts and seasoned flour

4 six oz boneless chicken breasts
1 cup seasoned panko
4 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup finely diced onions
1/2 cup finely chopped green pepper, seeds and membranes removed
2 minced garlic cloves
3 tsp curry powder
1 tsp thyme
2 cup stewed tomatoes
1/8 cup currants or golden raisins

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Bread and brown chicken breasts in 3 Tbsp of melted butter over medium heat. Remove and placed in a 2 quart casserole dish. Melt remaining Tbsp of butter and saute onions and green pepper. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add curry, thyme and tomatoes and simmer until pan deglazed. Pour sauce over the chicken and bake uncovered until chicken is tender, about 20 - 25 minutes. Add currants or raisins for last 5 minutes of cooking.

Server over steamed rice.