Over the past few weeks, I have been inundated with media about the release of our June cookbook, Indian-Ish by Priya Krishna and her mother, Ritu. Priya is a semi-regular cook on the Bon Appetit youtube channel, and with her cookbook coming out, they’ve featured her on their podcast and had her do recipes from her book through the youtube channel for promotion. I tried one of these recipes, Saag Feta, which is an adaptation of Saag Paneer with the more readily available feta cheese found here in the U.S.A. For that reason, I ordered Indian-ish a few weeks ago to get ready.
Earlier this year, I checked out a vintage cookbook: Thai Cooking in American Kitchens. From my first look at Indian-ish, it’s in a similar vein of adapting comfort foods to a new environment. Many of the ingredients that might be hard to find in a normal supermarket have been substituted, much in the same vein as feta to replace paneer. It appears to be a good stepping off point for home cooks wanting to expand their horizons into a new type of cooking.
From the first, it is a love letter from daughter to mother, and I enjoy that about this book very much. Most of the recipes are from Ritu's repertoire, and for that matter, almost all of them are vegetarian! I heard this impressive statistic on The Final Table where 30% of the 1.3 billion people in India are vegetarians. This cookbook supports that statistic, as far as I'm concerned. It comes into my life at a good time: I'm trying to eat healthier again.
We'll start cooking out of this the last week of May, and I will do my best to update you on my findings as June unwinds. Happy Memorial Day!
May Cookbook of the Month
It’s late into May, I know, but we did have a cookbook: The Elder Scrolls Cookbook by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel, well known for her Game of Thrones and World of Warcraft cookbooks. I’ve already cooked out of it for the month, and I can tell you much the same that I said about our last genre cookbook. It’s fun if you’re an Elder Scrolls fan, but very few recipes will ever be repeat cooks for me.
The best section of the book is the baking section right in the middle, composed mostly of breads and savory bakes. The cheese scones, for example, are quick bakes, fun, and delicious. I have the ingredients in the cupboard most of the time, and if I want to make, I gravitate to them. Rye flour, a new ingredient for me, is required in a lot of the baking for this book. I had to buy it on amazon, as it was not available locally for me.
And it wasn’t the only weird ingredient. Grains of paradise appears in a spice mix recipe that is central to a large number of later recipes. I bought them online, but I will tell you right now: do not go out of your way for them. You can generally substitute this out for black peppercorns. You won’t be missing anything, and you’ll come out spending a whole hell of a lot less on a spice you’ll use for a few recipes.
A lot of the recipes I tried were fun fora one time thing, but I don’t think I’ll be inclined to pull the cookbook out much for a normal meal.
Tartine Bread: Final
So here’s the thing: I tried. I really tried. I did the starter, I tried to make a loaf. It did not work, and I think a lot of it has to do with my starter itself. With that in mind, take my review of Tartine Bread with a grain of salt, because my failure definitely colors the way I look at this book. I am not sure if this book is written for the home baker, and let me tell you why.
First, there is yet another equipment barrier. I hit this with nearly all baking books I try out. With Flour Water Salt Yeast, I needed to get a dutch oven. That was fine, I needed it. Tartine Bread needs you to have a dual cooker dutch oven, one where the lid can also be a pan. It was expensive. It’s a pain in my ass, and I learned I’m bad at caring for cast iron because of it. Most people aren’t going to have this in their repetoire. You will have to buy a lot of things to keep up here.
An idea born in Normal, Illinois, Eating Normal hopes to chronicle the eating Experiences of a Red bird.
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