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Cook the Books November! The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook!

3 Dec

Deck the halls with…oh wait, that still didn’t happen yet. Thanksgiving! Yeah, that’s it!  Gathering together and what not! I don’t know any other Thanksgiving songs.  How about this?  It has Rashida Jones!  In glasses!  How can you resist that?

You prolly cooked and baked last week.  Did you use the cookbook?   My ass sure did! We had my parents in town and I hosted my very first Thanksgiving! Oh, and we watched Planes, Trains and Automobiles, naturally.  The effing best Thanksgiving movie ever.  Let’s watch one of the funniest scenes, shall we?

Four fucking wheels and a seat!

Anyway, we don’t do turkey and all that jazz. We make German food: sauerbraten, potato pancakes, red cabbage, the whole 99 (luft ballon) yards! This was me on Thursday:

I love our German Thanksgivings now, but back in the day? Not so much. I was endlessly embarrassed at school and just lied and said we had turkey. Shame.

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But seriously folks, could Meg and I have picked a better month for The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook?? That shit was chock full of yummy desserts you could have made for you and yours. Notice how I said “could.” I had every intention to make multiple pies for dessert on Thanksgiving, and to otherwise get up early when my guest were sleeping to effortlessly throw together something like the sour cream coffeecake.  But you know what’s better than doing that? Sleeping till 9 then drinking coffee for hours on end and shooting the shit about the old times with the ‘rents. Eh, it’s the holidays. No big whoop! Did anyone else slack? Is this thing on??

Well I answered my own question about whether anyone else slacked when I opened up the links sent by our sturdy Cook the Books participants this month. Y’all are cooking fools!  Let’s see what everyone did, shall we?

Aimee over at Homemade Trade cooked up a storm!  She made Tom’s Tasty Tomato Soup (page 342), Seatown’s Steel Cut Oatmeal (page 115), Best Bran Muffins (page 77), Roasted Carrot, Leek, and Goat Cheese Hand Pies (page 212), and Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Streusel (page 106).

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Roasted Carrot, Leek and Goat Cheese Hand Pies, by Homemade Trade

You made the coffee cake I was drooling over but was too lazy to make!  Wow, my parents would have loved it if you were their kid instead of me!  Tomato soup for lunch!  Coffee cake for breakfast!

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Tom’s Tasty Tomato Soup, by Homemade Trade

I hope you make it to the bakery when you’re in Seattle, Aimee.  Nice work!

Karen over at Prospect: The Pantry also put me to shame with all the deliciousness she cooked up this month.  Check out Karen!  She made: Dahlia Bakery English Muffins (pages 51-55), “Seattle” Sandwich with Cured Wild Salmon (pages 39-41), Pickled Onions (page 39), Jackie’s Favorite Strata with Wild Mushrooms, Sausage and Chard (Pages 117-119), Tom’s Tasty Tomato Soup with Brown Butter Croutons (Pages 342-343) , Grilled Cheese with Heirloom Tomato (Page 345), Roasted Carrot, Leek and Goat Cheese Hand Pies (Pages 212-214), Whole Wheat Pastry Dough (Page 215), Carrot Muffins with Brown Butter and Currants (page 75), “Hot Buttered Rum” Apple Pie (pages 199-201), Flaky but Tender Pastry Dough (pages 183-185), and Kentucky Bourbon Pecan Pie (pages 197-198).  Wow!  Color me impressed!

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Kentucky Bourbon Pecan Pie, by Prospect: The Pantry

English muffins, by Prospect: The Pantry

English muffins, by Prospect: The Pantry

Karen was inspired by all the savory comfort food in the book.  I’m with Karen.  When it comes to cooking and comfort, savory is where it’s at.  Check this out:

Seattle Sandwich, by Prospect: the Pantry

Seattle Sandwich, by Prospect: the Pantry

Karen is marking pages and hopes to use this book again come Christmas.  Me too!

Angela at Tea Time Adventures had another lovely lunch with her friend J.K., where they enjoyed Tomato Soup and the Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread.  Fun!

Tomato Soup, by Tea Time Adventures

Tomato Soup, by Tea Time Adventures

They rounded out their day by making sourdough rye bread and chocolate frozen custard.  You guys are awesome!

Chocolate Banana Bread, by Tea Time Adventures

Chocolate Banana Bread, by Tea Time Adventures

Man, that tomato soup was popular, and well-loved by all for its tastiness and simplicity.  I will be trying this recipe soon with my tomatoes that I put up this summer.  Angela closes her post this month by talking about how inspired they were by all the cookbooks this year.  Me too!  And I love her idea for cooking from her own books next year, you know those ones that sit on the shelf collecting dust?  Exactly.  Glad you were inspired Angela, and I hope to read along with your cooking adventures next year.

Janet over at Jams and Chutneys didn’t have as good of an experience as some of the other bloggers.  Janet made the Rustic Olive Oil Cake and the Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread.  Hey, sometimes recipes are just too sweet for our tastes.  Sorry to hear it though, Janet.

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Olive Oil Cake, by Jams and Chutneys

But Janet did update and say the olive oil cake she made did mellow out a bit and started to taste downright pleasant, but still stayed resoundingly too sweet.  I like some savory in my sweet most of the time, so I understand where you’re coming from.  And sign me up as another person who doesn’t like chocolate in their banana bread!   I hope you join us next month to make some pantry staples!

My co-host for this year’s Cook the Books festivities, Meg over at Grow and Resist, cooked up a storm too.  As usual!  Meg made Tom’s Tasty Tomato Soup with Brown Butter Croutons (p.342),  Grilled Cheese with Bacon and Avocado (p. 344), Parsley Chive Scones (p.86), Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Streusel (p.106), Dahlia Bakery Granola (p.110), Old-Fashioned Molasses Cookies with Fresh Ginger (p.135), Flaky but Tender Pastry Dough (p.183), Silk Chocolate Cream Pie (p.167), Sugar Pumpkin Crème Pie (p.194), “Hot Buttered Rum” Apple Pie (p. 199).  Wow, Meg, your house must have been filled with tasty treats all month long.  Damn, I want that coffee cake.  Oh and the soup!  Oh and those molasses cookies!  Go check out what she did, here.

Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies with Fresh Ginger, by Grow and Resist

Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies with Fresh Ginger, by Grow and Resist

As for me, I made the one thing from The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook that I wanted to make: the motherfucking coconut cream pie.  Yep, I only made one thing.  Aren’t I the worst?

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I totally meant to make more things obvs, but this just wasn’t the month for cooking for me, friends.

So why did I make the coconut cream pie?  Backstory: Double S and I went to one of author Tom Douglas’s many Seattle restaurants last spring, Serious Pie. We ate delicious fancy pizzas, then decided to splurge on dessert. Boy howdy, were we glad we went for it on the dessert. Because that is when I first tasted this delectable coconut creation. As soon as I knew I was hosting Thanksgiving, I knew I had to make this. And I did!

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So it totes isn’t as hard to make as it looks.  I made my first pie crust, with some general crust making tips from Double S.  Check it!

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I was aided in my endeavor by the fact that I made eclairs from Dorie’s book, Around My French Table, all the way back in those innocent days of January. Because I made eclairs, I knew how to temper eggs and make custard. Also, I had a pastry bag and thus was able to elicit oohs and ahhs from my guests as I gracefully(?) piped fresh whipped cream all fancy like on the pie. Mission accomplished, y’all!

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The world’s worst photo of me piping whipped cream onto the pie.

In the end, the pie ended up being just a little bit too much for me.  Too sweet and too rich.  I didn’t really mind this when i had it at Serious Pie, but on thanksgiving night, I could only eat one small piece of this rich beast.  There is a lot of coconut in this creation; it’s even in the crust.  I’m still proud of my self for making it though.

Well, that’s it for Cook the Books this month. Sorry I missed y’all in October. I couldn’t make Italian food cuz my ass was in Hawaii for two weeks. Yes, it is tough being me sometimes.

Is everyone in for the last Cook the Books challenge? I hope so! Don’t worry, it’s not a big project book, and it just might give you some cool gifts to hand out to friends and relatives as you wassail throughout the month of December. Check it, Meg introduced it the other day:  The Homemade Pantry.

Enjoy your month, friends!

Cook the Books October! Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking with Marcella Hazan

29 Sep

Well, I’ve fought it long enough. Fall is, decidedly and unfortunately, here. I get it from the internet that people all over the country love the onset of fall, with its sweaters and its pumpkin flavored everything, but that’s not the case here in Seattle. Now don’t get me wrong. I like the fall, when it’s actually the fall. But here in Seattle, fall means its time to start worrying that because you don’t know exactly what it is that your sump pump does, it will break and you’re doomed. Buzzkill.  And, I mean shit, I spent the entire past Saturday re-organizing my closet. If that doesn’t say summer is over, I’m not sure what does. And with fall, comes more time in the kitchen. You know what sounds good this fall? Italian food. Let’s cook it, shall we?

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And if you wanna cook Italian food, you start with Marcella Hazan. For this month’s Cook the Books Challenge, we’re taking on Hazan’s classic, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.

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Marcella changed the way Americans eat Italian food, and in 2010 won a James Beard lifetime achievement award.  All told, she wrote six cookbooks.  And, it must be noted, Marcella Hazan died yesterday, September 29, 2013. Obviously, Meg and I didn’t know this a few months back when we chose the cookbooks for this fall, and Hazan’s classic specifically for this month, but it must be said. And her incredible contributions to Italian cooking must be noted. Rest in peace, Marcella. We, and our plates, are all better off because of you.  Read more about Marcella and her legacy here and here.

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Marcella Hazan, 1924-2013

Do check out this modern classic of Italian cuisine, and cook along with us this October. Cook from Marcella’s classic tome, blog about it, then send us your link (to cookthebookschallenge@gmail.com) by the end of the month, and we’ll include you in our end of the month round-up. Fun! So put on your flannel jammies, pull those tomatoes you preserved last month out of the cupboard, make sure your gutters are clear (If you live in Seattle that is. Nothing says fall in Seattle like worrying that your basement will flood!), and let’s make some pasta!

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