May, 2004

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Dinner
May 30th, 2004

Dinner was good tonight. There was fresh wild Copper River salmon at the store today, so I made salmon with a Mustard Honey Ginger glaze. You know I've never really been a salmon person, but with the combination of a really good piece of fish and a good recipe I really do enjoy it.

We had garlic roasted baby red potatoes (e or no e? Darn Quayle), salad, and a tropical fruit salad with plain yogurt topping. I got a really good pineapple at the produce market yesterday and made a fruit salad with it, some watermelon, and two mangoes. A squeeze of key lime and it was tasty.

Percent of nutritious and yummy dinner eaten by Jay: .056% (a bite of potatoes after suitable amounts of butter and salt were smushed into them)

Sometimes I wonder why I bother. But then again, Jim the boy who managed to grow up in Hawaii without ever eating fish, ate a bite of the salmon and said in a surprised voice, "Hey, this is good!" Thanks for the vote of confidence honey, but yes it is good.


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Applesauce Gingerbread
May 30th, 2004

Okay, so this isn't a muffin, but it's probably my favorite healthyish quick bread recipe I've made recently. It's moist and gingery and very easy to make. You could also make this into muffins, just decrease the cooking time by about 15 minutes or so.

Applesauce Gingerbread
Makes 12 servings

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 Ĺ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup molasses
2 egg whites
3 tblsp skim milk
2 tblsp vegetable oil
2 tblsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350.

Lightly oil an 8-inch square baking pan or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine both types of flour, baking soda, ginger, and cinnamon. Mix well.

In another bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Beat with a fork or wire whisk until blended. Add to dry mixture, mixing until all ingredients are moistened. Place in prepared pan.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into squares and serve warm for best flavor.

-The Vegetarian Gourmetís Easy Low-Fat Favorites, Bobbie Hinman
Print Recipe

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Cookbook
May 23rd, 2004

Ah now, the good stuff. You know inviting me to ramble about cookbooks can be dangerous, but I'll attempt to restrain myself.

1. My number one recommendation for a good all around cookbook is How to Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food by Mark Bittman. He writes The Minimalist column in the NY Times and is a self-taught home cook, not a professional chef. His mission is to provide recipes that provide sophisticated flavor, without a hundred and one steps or super-expensive ingredients - hence, The Minimalist. Don't be fooled into thinking that this is just for super beginners though, I use it all the time.

2. For a good all around vegetarian cookbook you just can't get any better than Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison. She positions this cookbook as a book not just for vegetarians but for anyone who likes good food and wants to cook great vegetables, beans, grains, breads, eggs, etc. It's a huge book like How to Cook Everything - between the two of them you will probably have enough recipes for years and years! Some of her recipes can be time consuming, but some are super simple. Everything I've made out of this cookbook has been really good, and it's especially good for the summer when you can go to the farmer's market and get yummy stuff and then open her book to figure out what to do with it all.

3. Since you said you were interested in learning different sauces, I would also recommend Sauces: Classical and Contemporary Sauce Making by James Peterson. This book starts with the classic French sauces and moves through to more contemporary Italian and Asian style sauces. But the essence of the book is really rooted in the classic French techniques. The target audience is a bit more experienced than for the previous recommendations, but I didn't find it intimidating. I'll have to admit I haven't used it much though, as the classic French sauces don't really fit into your diet when you're trying to lose weight or limit saturated fat in your diet. But I really enjoyed reading it all the way through (it's something like 600 pages) and learned a lot about sauce technique. I think I've integrated some of what I learned into my cooking without actually following specific recipes.

I would recommend checking these out of the library first to see if you like them. I check cookbooks out of the library all of the time. Most of them I just end up copying a recipe or two and then returning them. The ones I love I end up buying. Then half.com is a good place to get books cheap, and jessicasbuiscut.com is a good cookbook specific retailer.

I could keep going, but that's probably a good start. If you want a recommendation for a specific type of cookbook let me know.


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