“My salad days, when I was green in judgment, cold in blood…” (Shakespeare – Cleopatra, in Antony & Cleopatra)
This quote would probably be more appropriate for our first cookbook club meeting, back in 2013. We’ve had twenty-two meetings and we’ve reviewed a lot of cookbooks since then, covering everything from soups to salads. At our last meeting we were talking about how much we have grown from that initial meeting. We don’t want gimmicky cookbooks or pretty cookbooks with bad recipes. Don’t get me wrong, we still like pictures in our cookbooks, but we now realize pictures definitely don’t make the cookbook. We’re not afraid to change a recipe to suit our needs and quite often we think we know better than the cookbook author what a recipe needs to make it better. All of this comes with experience and practice. So, even though the cookbook club is taking a break for the summer, we’ll be busy trying out new recipes from all those cookbooks available at the library! Here’s a sample of some of the salad recipes we tried out in June:
The Prosciutto Peach and Sweet Lettuce Salad, from Cooking Light’s Big Book of Salads, was Shelley’s favourite, she will definitely add it to her cooking repertoire. The other recipes she tried were really good, but anti-climatic after trying this recipe. The flavours in the Quinoa Salad with artichokes and parsley were much better on the second night.
The Potato Salad from For the Love of Salad had a very nice flavour, but wouldn’t pair well with anything too strong-tasting. It wouldn’t be able to hold it’s own. Overall, Nadene loved the cookbook and would consider buying it.
The Thai Beef Salad from Edible Garden Cookbook: Fresh, Healthy Cooking From the Garden was really good and makes a very generous portion.
New Flavors for Salads: [Classic Recipes Redefined] covers all the classic salads, with new twists. Craig learned an important lesson while making the Grilled Lamb and Pineapple Salad – always read the entire recipe first! You have to make the sauce first, which is on a different page. There are also how to instructions for cutting the pineapple and preparing the grill on separate pages.
Twelve Months of Monastery Salads: 200 Divine Recipes for all Seasons contains easy to make recipes with wonderful quotes throughout the book. It’s a great book to browse through and Elaine didn’t want to return it. The Royal Fruit Salad was very yummy, with lots of fresh fruit and orange mint.
Lynda tried several recipes from Salad as a Meal: Healthy Main-Dish Salads for Every Season, none of which were memorable. The tone of the author is a little too “hoity-toity.” Lynda preferred her own recipes for Caesar and Greek salads, but she did enjoy the Celery, Green Olive and Anchovy Salad, since it was something different.
The Joy of Cooking’s All about Salads and Dressings has all the classic salads, as well as every dressing you could possibly think of and a lot of great “how to” information. Ed made the Spinach salad with loads of bacon and eggs.
Salad for Dinner: Simple Recipes for Salads that Make a Meal has good instructions and suggestions, such as mashing your garlic and putting it in vinegar to let the flavours bind before making your dressing. The Warm Cabbage Salad and the Lentil Salad were both delicious.
The Vietnamese Noodle Salad with Shrimp, from Salad Makes the Meal : 150 Simple and Inspired Salad Recipes Everyone Will Love was ok, after a few adjustments – rice noodles instead of angel hair pasta, green onion instead of white onion, and the addition of chiles and mint. It made a huge bowl and was sort of like eating a giant salad roll without the wrapper.
The Cookbook clubs will start again in the fall, including a new club at Millennium Library, so be sure to check out the September/October issue of At the Library for information about registration.