Saturday, January 16, 2010


I wanted to fill you in about a couple of cookbooks I've gotten lately. I know, like I really needed more, eh? But it turns out, I did. My problem with cookbooks is that I never use them. Well, not never. Hardly ever. I have a whole cupboard filled with cookbooks and more food magazines than anyone ought to have and I rarely use recipes out of them. Oh, I let them inspire my creations slightly, but I'm very bad about sticking to recipes and so I often prefer not to bother starting with one in the first place. Also, I find that most cookbooks nowadays have more lentils, couscous and quinoa than any normal person ingests in the course of a year. Really, no one eats that healthy. Anyway, one way to get me to use a recipe is to intimidate me. How does one do that? Well, you can start by putting Chickpeas in Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Which brings us to our first cookbook: Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld (yes, THAT Seinfeld. Her husband is Jerry.)
Matt and I had been going to a couples Lifegroup over the last few months. The wonderful hostess of the Lifegroup baked cookies for us one of the first nights. I took one bite and was dying for the recipe - they were this amazing sponge texture and tasted different than any other Chocolate Chip Cookie I'd ever had and I decided that that different was a good different. Later, when none of the boys were around, she told us that the cookies in fact contained a whole can of chickpeas. Yup. Chickpeas. I HATE Chickpeas! Really! And yet she fed them to me in Chocolate Chip Cookies (with walnuts nonetheless which I usually have an issue with in baking) and I loved them. So since that fateful day I've been eager to find that cookbook and try making these cookies for everyone I know. And I have. It was the first time I'd ever bought chickpeas at the grocery store. The first time, I really did stick to the recipe. I omitted the walnuts (I never keep any in the house!) but the cookies were still amazing. My mom didn't like them ;) But she's a purist. I, my husband and his whole family, loved them. Devoured them actually. So the second time around I let myself tinker. Not much, just a touch. I mixed in some butterscotch chips as well. The reason being that when you look at the cookies you can see little chickpeas in it but they are rather unidentifiable because, well, who'd expect them to be chickpeas? And actually, I wanted to ask what they were the first time I had these cookies but was too polite to ask. So if I make these for a mixed group someday I'll be able to say that they have butterscotch chips in them and successfully lull everyone into a false sense of security and then BAM - chickpeas. Consider yourself warned.
Back to the cookbook itself though. Jessica Seinfeld made the ultimate cookbook for making your kids eat healthy without letting them know they are. You've seen those commercials about Chef Boyardee Ravioli having vegetables in it? With the mom hitting the pots and pans? Yah, well this cookbook is that times 10. Carrot and Spinach brownies. Yah. But, I have heard that they are really good! The Tuna Sandwiches I have on really good authority as being great (that sentence reminded me a bit of Jonathan Swift. Creepy.) All of the recipes contain vegetable or fruit purees that help make them healthier, and Jessica tinkered with them sufficiently to ensure that you can't taste anything too funky. It's an awesome book and when Gabe is grown up and I can make cookies for him, his idea of what a real Chocolate Chip Cookie is will contain chickpeas.

The second cookbook (wow, I've written alot already) is Laura Calder's French Taste. As I've said before, I think she is fantastic - I love her flair. I enjoyed the cookbook for more than just its recipes; I really enjoyed reading her take on aperitif, coffee, eating and life in general. I have used a couple of her recipes already in the week I've had her book (a record for me actually, I have had some cookbooks for years that I've only used once - if at all). I actually read through the whole book, cover to cover, and flagged some recipes I'm really excited to try, although all of them seem doable as opposed to the only other french cookbook I have. Until I can find a good rabbit supplier I'm not sure I'll ever get around to that one!

To keep you updated on my breakfast efforts, this morning we had cinnamon buns. While I normally try to have breakfast ready by 8 at the latest, I didn't get up until 9 today (late night at the Banff Mountain Film Festival last night!) So, since I make the dough from scratch, put the buns together and let them rise before they bake for half an hour, I didn't have them ready and cooled until 11 - ah well. They still tasted great.
Tomorrow is Sunday. Sunday is waffle day to my husband. Always. Otherwise we can't go to church (not really, but he used to think so).

Well since my cinnamon bun recipe is a secret I guess we'll go without a recipe for today - unless I make something interesting for dinner, in which case I'll add that later!

Ta Ta

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

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I would love to know what you think of my recipes, or even of my antics! Let me know!