With the weather turning more seasonally appropriate, I’ve found myself spending extra time in the kitchen lately. Luckily, I’ve had some inspiration in the form of the many new cookbooks found in the Joplin Public Library’s collection. Here are just a few:

Organic Dog Biscuit Cookbook: from the Bubba Rose Biscuit Company, by Jessica Disbrow Talley

I’m not about to leave my adorable Corgi-German Shepherd mix, Buster, out of my culinary adventures. With more than 100 recipes for tasty treats, we had plenty from which to choose. The recipes are healthy; free of wheat, corn and soy; and have simple, easy-to-follow instructions.

Buster is a fan of cheese, so I selected some to try, among them the Cheese, Please biscuits, which contain oat flour, brown rice flour, cheddar and parmesan cheeses, an egg and water. The resulting dough was too sticky for the use of my collection of canine-themed cookie cutters, so I just sliced it into fairly neat squares with a knife. The final product was rather plain-looking, but Buster had no complaints. He gobbled down each treat that I slipped him. So I deemed the experience a success. Next time I’ll make the The Appetizer (Cheesy Bread) or the Quatro Formaggio biscuits.

By the way, if your dog isn’t as much a fan of cheese, there are plenty of recipes to try, ranging from the savory to the sweet. Although I continue to be a fan of the Three Dog Bakery cookbooks, which feature ingredients found in most pantries, Buster and I give the “Organic Dog Biscuit Cookbook” from the Bubba Rose Biscuit Company a paws up!

Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant and Unfussy New Favorites, by Deb Perelman

Derived from the blog of the same name, “Smitten Kitchen Every Day” is the perfect cookbook for those seeking elegant yet easy to prepare dishes. I loved the first “Smitten Kitchen” cookbook, released five years ago, and this one delivers as well.

I’ve already made the Spaghetti Pangrattato with Crispy Eggs for a fast dinner. What is a pangrattato, you ask? It translates as “grated bread” or “breadcrumbs.” This simple dish of spaghetti, topped with toasted breadcrumbs tossed with garlic, red pepper flakes, rosemary and lemon zest, then finished with a fried egg, is quickly put together and will please the pickiest of eaters.

Next up, I plan to try to the Roasted Tomato Soup with Broiled Cheddar. Envision a reimagined grilled cheese and tomato soup for dinner. Yum – my favorite! My favorite thing about this recipe? It calls for canned tomatoes, so no need to fuss with fresh, not very tasty tomatoes out of season.

I also found a couple salads to add to my potluck repertoire: a Mango Apple Ceviche with Sunflower Seeds, and a Carrot Salad with Tahini, Crisped Chickpeas and Salted Pistachios.

There are several recipes that I’ve tagged, so I could go on and on, but I won’t. Suffice it to say, that “Smitten Kitchen Every Day” will be a book I check out again and again. It’s vegetarian friendly, which suits my meatless diet, and Perelman writes in a conversational, breezy manner that I appreciate.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Come and Get it!, by Ree Drummond

Fans of Ree Drummond, also known as The Pioneer Woman, rejoice! Her new cookbook has arrived at the Joplin Public Library!

Drummond, author of a popular blog and star of a well-received cooking show on the Food Network, has crafted another charming cookbook. In between mouth-watering recipes, there are beautiful photos of her family and life on the Drummond ranch, as well as a poem penned about the late family dog, a Basset Hound named Charlie.

I’ve often said that I’d love to just sit in Drummond’s kitchen and talk with her while she cooks. She writes with a chatty style filled with asides and goofy jokes that make me think she’d be a fun person to hang out with.

What would she cook? The Chilaquiles, which I’ve made twice now, are easy to put together and have a short list of ingredients: corn tortillas, green enchilada sauce, eggs, and pico de gallo. (I added some queso fresco for some cheesy, salty goodness.) For another quick meal, you can’t go wrong with the Broccoli Cheese Potatoes. How about Roasted Red Pepper Soup? Drummond recommends using jarred roasted red peppers, which saves on prep time.

Although Drummond’s books tend to contain mostly meat-centric recipes – she lives on a cattle ranch, after all – I appreciate that this time around she included a chapter entitled Meatless Marvels. I’ve always been able to find something to prepare from her cookbooks, even if I have to adapt the recipes, but it’s a pleasant surprise to find a section devoted to vegetarian dishes.

“The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Come and Get It!” is sure to please. There is something for everyone, with easy-to-follow recipes and plenty of illustrative photographs.

Now that I’ve offered you a few suggestions, it’s time to get cooking! Bon appetit!

 

 

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