here is the bulk of my collection of cookbooks that i have at the moment. i have gone through many phases of interests... i was interested for a time in italian food, and got some italian cookbooks, and got the pasta machine, and made huge amounts of sauces over the years. and then, i was interested in chinese cooking, got a few more cookbooks, and got a couple of woks and stir-fried tons of things. when we were going to go to new orleans for a visit, i ended up falling in love with cajun food, and getting several more cookbooks. some of those are still my favorites, and i can make a red beans and a jambalya that are almost as good as some we ate in new orleans. (almost) of course, i have a lot of mexican cookbooks, but i don't use those so much for cooking as for inspiration...most of the recipes i actually cook, are in my head from watching family cook things, and they are not yet written down, yet. and at this time, my interests lie in eastern european food, and my very favorite at the moment, indian food. i love the smell of the spices and the flavors of the different sauces with cilantro and tamarind. we use cilantro and tamarind in mexican cooking too, but the flavors are so very different! that is one of the things that i love so much about cooking also. i also love that when you cook you see that we are really all a lot alike more than different, even when the food seems so very different than what you might be used to. and in all the cultures, everyone seems to have things that are similar to eat in some ways...tortillas and naan, sopapillas and beignets, and it seems like everyone has some kind of beans and rice!
i decided that since i have so many cookbooks i am going to start trying out more recipes. maybe once a week (or maybe twice!) i will choose a book, and a recipe, and then cook it and post the results...even if it is a disaster! maybe a total flop would even make it more interesting! but if i set the oven afire again, i won't be taking photos for the blog (until after the fire is out...hey, i'm a fireman's kid!)
the first recipe i will most likely put up, is one that is for my stepdad. every year for his birthday, we have done what he has started to call, 'the challenge'. he choses a cake that he would like for his birthday, and i track down (or make up) a recipe, and then make him his cake for his birthday. in past years, his requests have included a robert e. lee cake, (turned out pretty good...nice and citrusy) a coca-cola cake, (a bit of a disappointment, as it turned out to be a chocolate cake, and he is not a big fan of the chocolate!) and this year, the challenge is rum raisin cake. i have had the raisins in rum for the past two weeks, so they are gonna be good and rummy! as for the cake itself, i had about four different choices before finally deciding on one...there was a recipe on tabasco.com for 'caliente rum cake', and then i had a very old clipping from a bacardi ad from maybe the 70's
for a pineapple rum torte, and then a recipe from the cookbook "maida heatter's book of great desserts" for a rum cream layer cake, and lastly from "jack daniel's the spirit of tennessee cookbook",the final choice that i will be going with, a plantation cake recipe. i'll add the rummy raisins, and then i'm going to frost it with a brown sugar buttercream frosting from an issue of 'gourmet' magazine.
back to the jack daniels cookbook...don't laugh, it has some really good recipes! but i won't be using the instructions EVER for how to 'deal with' a 'possum...i will just let him go on about his business, even if it is in my back yard. i have another funny 'possum story too, one where the 'possum lives, and he doesn't end up with a sweet 'tater in his mouth...maybe i'll tell it another day!