I always found spring the hardest season for cooking. Fall has an abundance of squash and sweet potatoes. You can do so much with summer tomatoes and eggplant. But spring, there are lots and lots of greens. And asparagus. You eventually grow tired of both. However, one of my favorite things about the Farmers Market is exploring new ingredients, which matches nicely with one of my favorite things about the library’s cookbook collection: finding new recipes. And through both of these Iowa City institutions, I’ve learned that I am wrong about spring. There are many ingredients available and dishes to make with them.
Posts Tagged ‘cookbooks’
We have a new smoker/grill at our house, just in time for summer. Our challenge now is to learn how to use it. Have no fear, the Library is here! We’ve had some delicious meals including Slaw Burgers (a family favorite of smoked pork on a bun with traditional cole slaw), marinated smoked vegetables and some great salmon. Now we’re ready to try some new meals.
A quick search of the Library’s catalog shows there are many books to help learn how to use a smoker. Subject headings of “Barbequing” and “Smoked Foods” were most helpful. I found a new book, Smoke and Spice 3rd Edition, that had some great recipes. Two recipes looked especially good – Peabody-Style Stuffed Onions and Deep-Dish Smoked Mozzarella Pizza. Yummy!
If you are ready to relax and enjoy some great summer food, but need some culinary inspiration, give us a call or stop by. The call numbers 641.5784 and 641.61 are a great place to start.
I love the Iowa City Farmer’s Market. I grew up in Iowa City, so I have happy memories of going to the Market when I was young. My children have also grown up going to the Farmer’s Market and one of their favorite Saturday morning activities is breakfast at the Market.
We typically bring our coffee cups and stop at Cafe del Sol for a refill, and then take in the Market. Once we’ve checked out all the booths we wander over to Washington Street and scope out all the different choices for breakfast food.
Our final decision for what to order is typically based on what looks good and where the shortest lines are. My personal favorite is the breakfast burritos while my kids like the breakfast sandwiches that use pancakes as the outer layer and yummy eggs and other fillings in the middle.
Once we have our food, we typically pull up a seat on the curb and people watch. We always see lots of friends so it turns into a social occasion too.
A trip to the Market would also not be complete without our beloved kolaches. I grew up with a Czech grandmother who made the best kolaches in the world, so finding a good kolache is a real treat. My favorites are poppy seed while my family prefers apricot, cherry, and peach. We all agree the prune kolaches are to be avoided.
Writing this blog post inspired me to investigate the books about Czech cooking at the Library. I found many awesome selections at the call number 641.59437. One book has recipes for poppy seed and cheese filling as well as the dreaded prune filling.
It’s so exciting to welcome the Iowa City Farmer’s Markets back into our weekly routine. I look forward to the food, fun and meeting friends. See you at the Market!
Were you among the hundreds of people to converge downtown Saturday morning for the first Downtown Iowa City Farmers Market of the season? I lost track of the number of people I said hello to, including the Library’s AV Specialist who attended the market with her four-week-old daughter, as I browsed the stalls with a smile on my face.
It’s farmers market season once more.
Growing up in on the other side of the state (shout out to anyone from Webster County!), I had no experience with farmers markets until I moved to Iowa City in mid-1990s. My college roommates and I would visit the market after classes every Wednesday, during which each one of us would purchase something to contribute to our weekly roommate dinner. This is how I learned to cook using ingredients that weren’t prepackaged.
The Library wants to help you make your farmers market experience even better, which is why we created recipe cards promoting two things: ICPL’s cooking resources and the Digital History Project.
Did you know the number of cookbooks in our collection numbers somewhere in the thousands? With that many choices — not to mention our collection of food-related magazines and children’s cookbooks — you are bound to find a recipe to help you utilize the foods you purchase at the farmers market.
For those of you who love local history, we have access to some treasured family recipes thanks to the Digital History Project. Take time to explore what’s available and look through your own collection of photos. You may have something to add!
You can find the recipe cards on the Iowa City Farmers Market table. In addition, Library staff will be blogging about their farmers market experiences all summer long. Feel free to share your stories with us!
We’ll see you at the market!
Did you know that rhubarb is also known as pie plant? I hadn’t heard, (or at least I didn’t remember hearing), rhubarb called pie plant, (or pieplant), until I lived in Dubuque. However, a little online digging shows that term pie plant has been in written use since 1838. If you are a Laura Ingalls Wilder fan, you might recall that it from a passage in The First Four Years -Laura was cooking for the threshers, the first dinner in her very own little house, and was running through the menu: “There was pie plant in the garden; she must make a couple of pies.”
A discussion of the term came up last month when I attended a meeting Historic Foodies, a local group with an interest in using recipes from the cookbooks of yesteryear. We were using The Iowa City Cook Book, and on page 181 one of our members found the recipe below. The cookbook dates from 1898 and is chock-full of recipes that will invite much discussion. You might just recognize the names of prominent Iowa City residents of the past. In fact, while we at the meeting we consulted Margaret Keyes book Nineteenth century home architecture of Iowa City to see if we could locate the recipe writer’s house. When we did we pulled up the Iowa City assessors website to find out if the house was extant. It was tremendous fun and we found a good number of the names in Dr. Keyes’ book and many of the houses are still here!
So what does all of this have to do with Irving B. Weber? First, Weber wrote the introduction to Dr. Keyes book. Second, while Weber’s mother doesn’t have any recipes in the cookbook, some of his parent’s neighbors do. Third, we are just about to celebrate Irving B Weber Days, a full month of programming and displays dedicated to local history. Fourth, the Historic Foodies will be providing refreshments from the Iowa City Cook Book for a program during Weber Days. Make sure you mark your calendar to come to Rachel Wobeter’s talking to tour of Iowa City food history. Rachel will share her research on what Iowa City folk ate between 1830 and 1900 on Wednesday, May 20 at 7 p.m. The program will air live on Library Channel 2o.
And finally, what does pie plant have to do with with Irving Weber? Well, here’s what I think, I bet you anything Irving ate pie plant in either a pie or as a sauce or maybe even like I did as a child, by dipping the stalk in the sugar bowl and taking a great big bite of sour delight.
Last month I wrote about my efforts to cook in big batches to make weeknight dinner decisions easier. Turns out, you can make breakfast for a week, too. This is not what I had set out to do when I picked up the Biscoff cookie and spread Cookbook, but it was a delightful fringe benefit.
What is Biscoff spread, you ask? In short: creamed cookies. The spread is as decadent as it sounds. In normal cookies, you have regular things like *air* taking up space, wasting precious room where sugar and fat could go. Biscoff spread wastes not a molecule, packing in sweetness at a 90 calories per tablespoon. Some people know the cookies as the ones they give out on airline flights. For me, the red, white, and tan jar of creamed goodness stared at me from the gifty section at the Bread Garden, and I had to try it.
The Biscoff Cookie and Spread Cookbook includes photos of desserts that look mouthwatering. You can see a few recipes on the Biscoff website, but these photos are nowhere near as scrumptious looking as the ones in the book.
The recipe I baked was the Biscoff coffee cake. The crumble topping itself contains two sticks of butter and lots of sugar. The cake part under the crumble held enough moisture that it did feel like it melted in my mouth.
I’m looking forward to future Biscoff baking Sundays!
The Holidays are fast approaching – and at least for me that means its time to bake cookies!
On the 2nd floor we have a new pop-up display of Cookie cookbooks, and there are even more in the circulating collection at 641.8654.
I can’t pick my favorite cookie book – there are just too many to choose from. One of our newest is:
100 Animal Cookies: a super-cute menagerie to decorate step-by-step by Lisa Snyder. The cover art says it all. This is a book for those who love to spend time creating decorated cookie masterpieces.
The 19 page introduction includes three basic cookie recipes (vanilla, chocolate, or gingerbread) and the recipe for Royal Icing; a explanation of tools and equipment; 8 pages of techniques. Patterns for 100 animals follow, in six sections: Farm & Pets; Garden Critters; Woodland Creatures; Ocean & Ice Animals; and Prehistoric Animals.
Each one page pattern contains a full color picture, list of necessary supplies and step by step instructions for creating the cookie creature. Tips and tricks are included when needed.
An index and a list of 16 suppliers are included.
Other books you’ll find on our display include: Cookies! Favorite recipes for dropped, rolled, and shapped cookies. By Good Houskeeping. If you’re a fan of Good Housekeeping’s cookbooks, you’ll have seen many of these before. All of the recipes in this book come from the many hundreds of recipes in the Good Housekeeping collection. \ The more than 200 cookies here are the best of the best!
COOKIES! is divided in to four sections: Drop Cookies, Rolled & Cut Out Cookies, Shaped & Icebox Cookies, and Holiday Cookies. Just glancing through the index brings back Holidays past when I see Biscohitos, Pfeffernusse, Browned-butter Shortbread, and Sally Anns. Seems like every woman in my family knows at least one of these recipes by heart.
Slice & Bake Cookies: Fast Recipes from your Refrigerator or Freezer by Elinor Klivans. Refrigerator cookies are my go-too cookies. Cookie connisseur Elinor Klivans once had one of those moments that makes you say ‘doh: most any kind of cookie can be made using the slice and bake method. It’s something most experienced cookie bakers have discovered on their own… you can stash a batch of dough in the fridge and bake them later.
Slice & Bake Cookies contains 47 cookie recipes in four categories: Chewey cookies; Stuffed & Sandwich cookies; Crisp cookies: and Savory cookies. She leads off with an 8 page “Ingredients, Equipment, and Techniques” section that is worth a read. I tend to be more of a “dump it in the bowl and mix” so the mix/chill bo’kind of cookie maker – but I did learn some things by reading her introduction.
It’s obvious Klivans loves her work. Who wouldnt want to sample more than 1200 cookies wile writing a book?
Is there a difference between a recipe book and a cookbook? If there is, than Mason Jar Salads and more – 50 Layered Lunches to Grab & Go is more of a recipe book. There’s little, if any actual cooking here. Author Julia Mirabella has come up with an ingenious method of preassembling salads, breakfasts and snacks ahead of time for quick meals on the go. It reminds me of the Make-a-mix fad from the 1970′s.
Mirabella has developed a simple layering technique that lets you combine all your ingredients in a Mason jar so that they stay fresh for up to a week while stored in the refrigerator.
The concept is pretty simple. The most problematic ingredient in making any salad ahead of time is the dressing. If you dress your salad greens in advance, they end up wilted and soggy. Using her layering technique, the dressing goes into the jar first. The next layer should be something that is impervious to the dressing – carrots, radishes, peas or the like that acts as a buffer between the dressing and the greens. Continue with your layers, placing the greens at the top. Seal the jar tightly and pop it in the fridge and you have a salad to go. And the same thing applies to the snacks and breakfast ideas too.
More than 60 different recipes are included for salads, breakfasts, smothies, soups, and simple pasta dishes, along with 4 pages of salad dressing recipes.
The one thing missing from this book is nutritional information for each of her recipes. Salads in general are nutritious, but dressings, fruits, nuts and cheeses can be sources of sugar, fats or sneaky calories, so use some common sense when creating your masterpieces. This would be a great addition to any kitchen – especially for someone tired of fast food lunches.
On these long steamy days of summer is there anything that sounds better than a nice fresh salad?
Some people can create wonderful salads as if by magic. But I’m not one of those people. Even wandering through farmers market I get stumped on what would go well together.
ICPL has a some great salad cookbooks. (Does one cook salad?) Check out the new Salad pop-up display on the 2nd floor west of the Reference Desk, or at search in the ICPL catalog for subject Salads for some great ideas.
I went a little crazy at the farmers market the other day. I bought the first container of strawberries I spotted and snacked on them while strolling the other tables.
It seemed like a great idea at the time — strawberry season is never long enough — but then I had a pile of strawberries I needed to use before they went bad. I also forgot about the two pints of blueberries already in the refrigerator.
I didn’t panic. Instead, I visited the Library’s cookbook collection, checking out Sally McKenney’s Sally’s Baking Addiction: Irresistible Cookies, Cupcakes & Desserts for Your Sweet-Tooth Fix. I’ve been a fan of McKenney’s blog, also called Sally’s Baking Addiction, for years, so I was thrilled to find out which of her amazing recipes she chose to feature in her first cookbook.
Flipping through the colorful pages, my stomach rumbling the whole time, I found the perfect recipe for my strawberry and blueberry situation: Jumbo Blueberry Streusel Muffins. I added strawberries to the list of ingredients and ended up with a grab-and-go breakfast that made me and my family happy for several days.
I posted a picture of the muffins on the Library’s Instagram account. If you are on Instagram or twitter, please share photos of the great recipes you’ve made because of ICPL’s cookbook collection using the with the #cookingwithicpl hashtag. It’s the next best thing to a city-wide potluck!