New Culinary Explorations

For Christmas, Wheeler got me two new cookbooks. One is The Splendid Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift; the other is Cooking Up a Storm: Recipes from the Big Easy.  Interestingly, Wheeler first heard about both of these books on NPR. (I guess this is a sign that he spends too much time in his car.)

They are both great books. I’ve never gotten engrossed in reading a cookbook, but that has happened on more than one occasion with both of these books. The Splendid Table is not just a cookbook; it includes stories, background, and opinions on recipes, food, ingredients, and society. It’s fascinating reading, and so far, judging from the four dishes I’ve made from it’s pages, the recipes are outstanding. Just in the past two nights, Wheeler and I have tried two completely new things – goat cheese and red chard. Both delicious. The homemade tomato soup I made last night was an eye-opening, and mouth-watering, experience for someone who’s soup history could be summed up with one word: Campbell’s.

I’ve not tried any of the recipes from Cooking Up a Storm yet, but that will change tomorrow when I attempt the “blue cheese puffs” for a New Year’s Eve party. This book is so unique:

After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, thousands of people lost their keepsakes and family treasures forever. As residents started to rebuild their lives, The Times-Picayune of New Orleans became a post-hurricane swapping place for old recipes that were washed away in the storm. The newspaper has compiled 250 of these delicious, authentic recipes along with the stories about how they came to be and who created them. Cooking Up a Storm includes the very best of classic and contemporary New Orleans cuisine, from seafood and meat to desserts and cocktails. But it also tells the story, recipe by recipe, of one of the great food cities in the world, and the determination of its citizens to preserve and safeguard their culinary legacy.

Every since we moved to Louisiana last year, I’ve wanted to expand my recipes to include more Cajun recipes. Now, I can.

While some of my friends have looked at me a little strange when I told them about my Christmas gifts (Not just one, but two cookbooks? Where those for your hubby or for you?!), I couldn’t have been more excited. I love to cook, but I had gotten in quite a culinary rut over the last few years. I’ve been as excited cooking dinner the last few nights as I was when I first learned to cook after Jed and I got married. It’s fun again!

Happy eating. And check out these books.

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One Comment on “New Culinary Explorations”

  1. Jim Says:

    When I was a kid, many years ago, my mother made tomato soup – and you are right, there is no comparison to the canned variety.
    I gave up canned soups because of the high sodium content and discovered that soups are amazingly easy to make.
    I enjoyed your post.

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