I was totally planning on posting about some cookies today, but then this morning I realized that it’s already the 1st of the month today! I should have posted the summary for the Cookbook of the Month yesterday, but time just seems to be getting away from me lately. So here it is, one day late!!
I usually only do 4 recipes from the Cookbook of the Month, but this month, I couldn’t help myself – I actually ended up making 6. I’ve posted about 4, and I am bringing you a bonus recipe today! I’m so glad I let someone else choose my cookbook this month, because otherwise, I don’t know if I would have heard about this cookbook when I did. And I have really enjoyed it! It’s had it’s high points – those Blackberry Pie Bars were killer – and it’s had it’s low points – the Ground Beef Gorditas that didn’t quite work out. But overall, what a good cookbook this is! The recipes in this book come from Rebecca Rather, the owner of The Rather Sweet Bakery and Café in Fredricksburg, Texas. It’s books like this that always make me want to open up my own little home town café, until I remember how much work it is cooking for a crowd!! I think my favorite thing about the recipes in this book is that they are not pretentious. All of the recipes seem to be full of flavor and personality. And it doesn’t hurt that the book features breakfasts, desserts, drinks and lunches/dinners. The only thing that I can complain about is purely a personal reason. I don’t drink, and only use alcohol in recipes where the alcohol will be cooked out. There are a handful of recipes in this book that I will either have to find substitutions or not make because of the alcohol. But like I said, this doesn’t apply to everyone! I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone, and I have added her second book – The Pasty Queen Christmas – to my wish list.
Recipes made from The Pastry Queen:
May’s Cookbook of the Month is kind of an unusual choice for me. I was actually browsing through craigslist a few weeks ago to see if there were any cookbooks for sale that I would like. Usually I come across things like “Microwave Dinners in 5 Minutes” from 1982 that someone is trying to sell for $10. Yeah, books that probably wouldn’t be worth the gas it costs to go pick them up, much less the price tag on them. But one day, I came across a copy of Everyday Italian for only $10. It’s a book that I’ve wanted, so I got excited. Then I saw that the same person had a copy of Barefoot Contessa Parties, also for $10. I originally blew it off, because I don’t entertain, but then I decided to inquire about it as well. Well, a few days later, I was the proud owner of these two books for only $20! And I have to admit, once I started looking through Ina’s book, Giada’s suddenly became not so important to me anymore.
Let me explain why I didn’t think I’d really love Barefoot Contessa Parties. Back when I was single, I had an idea of what my future husband would be like. He’d be very manly, but with a sensitive side as well. He’d love sports and the outdoors, but he would also take me to the theatre and the ballet. And I dreamed of having dinner parties with friends on a regular basis. Then I met Josh. He swept me off of my feet from the beginning. He was manly and sensitive, loved sports and the outdoors, and was willing to take me to the theatre, even if it wasn’t in his top 5 favorite things to do. But dinner parties? I can just forget about that. My husband is great with people but he is just not a really social person. He would rather spend the evening on a date with me than spending it with a group of people. If I would try to have a dinner party, I can just expect him to not be there. I’m not complaining, because I really think I have the best husband in the world. But my dream of entertaining has gone down the drain. (Maybe one day I’ll have to organize a girls group – that way I don’t even have to involve my husband!!) So seeing an entertaining book, I figured it just wouldn’t apply to me.
Boy was I wrong! I’m so excited to dive head first into this book because there are some great sounding recipes in it! So, I decided to choose it as the Cookbook of the Month for May!
And here is the bonus recipe from The Pastry Queen – this one is a real keeper!!
Green Chile Crab Cakes with Tomatillo Salsa
adapted from The Pastry Queen
1 pound tomatillos, papery skin removed,halved
1 medium yellow onion, cut into chunks
5 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely diced
1/4 cup red bell pepper, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 roasted chiles (optional)
1/3 jalepeno, seeded and finely diced
1 pound lump crabmeat, cleaned
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups Panko
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon finely ground pepper
To make the salsa:
Preheat the oven to 450F. Place the tomatillos, onion, and garlic on a baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil over the vegetables and roast, stirring once until brown around the edges, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes. Remove the vegetables to a food processor and process until pureed. Transfer the puree to a glass jar and refrigerate until cold, about 45 minutes.
To make the crab cakes:
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, and both chiles. Sauté for 5 minutes. Transfer the vegetable mixture to a medium bowl and cool for 5 minutes. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel.
In a large bowl, combine the crabmeat, lime juice, cilantro, eggs, 1 1/2 cups of the breadcrumbs, the mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Stir in the cooled vegetable mixture. Form into 8 3-inch patties.
Pour the remaining breadcrumbs into a medium bowl. Coat the patties in the crumbs. Melt the remaining butter and olive oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the crab cakes and cook until golden brown and crispy on both sides. Serve immediately with tomatillo salsa.