Food For Thought — August 13, 2015 at 2:47 pm

This Book Cooks: A Recipe Book for the Ages

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this-book-cooks

Internet has made it so that you can quickly Google a recipe and not have to go out and actually buy a cookbook. The recipe is right there on demand at all times, and you don’t have to go through page after page looking for something good to cook. But whether it is a hardcover book or an e-book, are cookbooks dying out? This girl likes to think not, because I like delving into a good cookbook and reading the recipes, but also finding out why the author choose these specific recipes and how they all connect to the author and to one another.

Now I know you are not supposed to judge a book by its cover but when I saw the pictures of the sweets on the cover and the words “healthy cooking,” I thought that the recipes in This Book Cooks: Farm-Fresh Traditional Recipes for Healthy Contemporary Eating by Kerry Dunnington must really hold the secret to life. Once you start eating a certain way and continue to eat like that it is very hard to change your habits and start eating healthier. But in this book, Kerry shares with us some really amazing and succulent recipes. All of these recipes are family traditions and are made with fresh ingredients.

It is hard to read this cookbook and not have your stomach rumble because a lot of these recipes, especially the desserts, are decadent. I already have a grocery list prepared so that I can make the Chocolate Meringue Pie (pg. 166), the cream-filled Chocolate Baby Cakes (pg.172), and the Chocolate Buttermilk Cake (pg. 170). Check out a sneak peak of the chocolate buttermilk cake below:
Chocolate Buttermilk Cake

My mother made this cake for as long as I can remember. It’s one of those tried and true chocolate

desserts that satisfies a chocolate craving. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, add 1 teaspoon

of lemon juice or white vinegar to a half-cup of milk.

1 cup canola or neutral oil

1 cup water

. cup buttermilk

4 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 cups sugar

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 eggs

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

. cup confectioners’ sugar

1-2 teaspoons water

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Generously oil a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
  3. In a large pan, combine oil, water, buttermilk, cocoa powder, and sugar. Over moderate heat, bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Whisk in flour a .-cup at a time, whisking well after each addition. Whisk in eggs, one at a time. Add baking soda and vanilla, then whisk until fully blended. Transfer batter to prepared baking pan.
  1. Bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  2. In a small bowl, combine confectioners’ sugar with water, adding more or less water depending on the desired consistency. Allow cake to cool slightly before drizzling icing over cake.

12 servings

I don’t know about you, but I think out of those 12 servings, I will probably be forced to take two of them. Now for something that is a little more filling, I believe that my favorite recipes so far are the Tamale Pie recipe (pg. 67), the Savory Cheddar Cheese Casserole (pg.59), and the Spinach-Stuffed Chicken Breast (pg. 78), which I can’t help but share below.

Spinach-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

When catering clients request chicken, I often suggest this recipe because it’s unique and so

flavorful. The key to making the flavor memorable will come from your generous hand when

seasoning. This dish is delicious served with my recipe for Brandied Carrots with Peas (see page

90) and white rice that you’ve added a bit of wild rice to.

1 egg

20 ounces frozen chopped spinach, defrosted, drained, and squeezed dry

15 ounces ricotta cheese

. cup minced fresh parsley

. teaspoon salt

⅛ teaspoon nutmeg

1 tablespoon butter

1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)

8 chicken breasts, bone in, skin on

Dijon-style mustard

Dried basil

Dried oregano

Paprika

Several grindings of fresh black pepper 

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl, beat egg with a wire whisk. Add spinach, ricotta, parsley, salt, and

nutmeg. Set aside.

  1. In a medium saute pan, melt butter over moderate heat and saute onion until translucent.

Remove from heat and add onion to spinach/ricotta mixture. Stir until well blended.

  1. Place chicken breasts in a single layer in a glass baking dish. Gently lift the skin from each

chicken breast and stuff with the spinach/ricotta mixture, evenly distributing the mixture

across the top of the breast. Gently pull the skin over the chicken to cover the breast. (No

place for perfection here, so don’t worry if some of the mixture isn’t covered with the skin.)

  1. Spread a generous amount of mustard evenly over each chicken breast and liberally

season with basil, oregano, and paprika. Lightly season with black pepper.

  1. Bake uncovered for 1 hour (or more) or until chicken is cooked through.
  2. When chicken breasts are cool enough to handle, carefully remove the bone. (Reserve

the chicken bones for making chicken stock.) Don’t worry if some of the seasoning

comes off from handling the breasts.

  1. Serve de-boned chicken breasts as they are, or slice the breasts about a half-inch thick.

(It’s a matter of preference.) Either way, serve them warm. Place them back in the baking

dish, cover and warm them in a 200°F oven until heated through.

Even though we just gave you two recipes, there are many more where those came from. If you are well on your way to eating healthier but would still like to indulge and eat food that actually tastes good, then this book should be your bible. The recipes shown in this book show that you don’t have to sacrifice taste for health. You can still follow a healthy lifestyle by following this book. And if you want to follow Kerry Dunnington and her other cookbooks head over to her website at http://www.kerrydunnington.com/. This Book Cooks: Farm-Fresh Traditional Recipes for Healthy Contemporary Cooking is also available on Amazon.

Twisted Talk: Do you still buy cookbooks? Will you be picking up a copy of This Book Cooks: Farm-Fresh Traditional Recipes for Healthy Contemporary Cooking by Kerry Dunnington? Discuss below!

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