Monday, December 2, 2013

Cook the Books 2013 - The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook

Even though I was very excited for November's cookbook, The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook, after all the rich food from October's Cook the Books I wasn't ready for a lot of heavy baking. I tried to stick to some of the healthier recipes, and I kicked things off with something savory...

Tom's Tasty Tomato Soup - p 342

Tomato soup is good food in my book, and this soup gets top marks.

Most incredible to me is how it didn't taste like it was made with canned tomatoes. And, it was just the right amount of creamy and rich without going overboard. I really appreciate that I now have a trusted go-to recipe using canned tomatoes during the winter months. And, I had scored a huge bag of croutons from the last food swap, so was happy to put them to immediate use.

Seatown's "Golden Spurtle" Steel-Cut Oatmeal - p 115

This recipe has made me a steel-cut oat convert! 

We make a lot of oatmeal around here, but I typically go with rolled oats. I guess I always thought steel-cut took forever to cook, but this recipe was so simple and in 30 minutes there was a delicious breakfast on the table. I like how it calls for including salt and brown sugar in the cooking process, with a result that is slightly sweet but still nutty and savory too. À la Goldilocks, I give this a "this porridge is just right!" endorsement.

Best Bran Muffins - p 77-78

Bran muffins are another favorite — and who can resist the claim of "best" anything, right? — but they are actually something I never make myself, and I am subsequently often disappointed. These do not disappoint.

I also got parchment muffin/cupcake liners for the first time when making these and will never look back. In love...

Roasted Carrot, Leek, and Goat Cheese Hand Pies - p 212-14 (using Whole Wheat Pastry Dough - p 215)

These are perfect for a winter's day lunch. I think that's all I need to say. Except that they were way easier to make than I had anticipated. Afterwards I realized I find it simpler to work with dough rounds (versus rectangles) for a simple popover type hand pie.

I had some leftover dough, and was so inspired that I also made mini apple hand pies. I think my new mantra may be: because one hand pie is never enough. Oh yeah, hand pies are going to be fixation, I can tell.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Streusel - p 106-7

My mom makes a killer cinnamon coffee cake. So I have never bothered. Kind of pathetic, I know. But, now I have changed that! This is fruity and fairly light, and everyone who was served some dished up praise, so well done me and Dahlia Bakery Cookbook!

My biggest regret is that I did not get to the Toasted Pine Nut Amaretti. These type of cookies (pignoli) are one of the only cookies I will go out of my way for. By the way, for you San Franciscans, there are excellent ones at Dianda's Bakery on Mission Street. I will have to rely on those until I make some of my own. And, I will be in Seattle in March and plan to eat a number of the things I didn't make from the cookbook when I'm in town.

Next up is something right up my alley: The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making. Excited!

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