2013 Cookbook Project: DONE!!!!

Woo! Finished with my goal to make one recipe out of each of our cookbooks! That’s 35 in all!

Nothing is better than seeing 100% on a spreadsheet

Nothing is better than seeing 100% on a spreadsheet

Here’s a breakdown of the final 4 since last time we talked:

The Cooking of Italy by Waverly Root and the editors of TIME-LIFE BOOKS

Sorry for the all caps, but that’s how it’s formatted on the title page. It doesn’t surprise me that Time-Life books can’t figure out how to get their caps lock off. Check out the weird cover too:

Not even a title. I guess they think that picture says it all

Not even a title. I guess they think that picture says it all

I’m like 96% sure Steven bought this at Half-Price one day because he’s compulsive and only recently learned that there are lots of recipes on the Internet. It’s cool, this book is pretty alright. It’s organized by region of Italy and has a section at the beginning of each chapter where it talks about life in that region and specialties. We chose to make spinach ravioli with pesto:

Ta-Dah!

Ta-Dah!

Neither was very difficult, especially since I made Steven do all the work:

Kitchen Hack: coerce someone else

Kitchen Hack: coerce someone else

The Hungry Scientist Handbook by Patrick Buckley

This book is more about theory and crazy things that take too much time, effort, and equipment for the likes of me. Steven was really into the section on catching wild yeast to bake with, but that seemed too time-consuming and iffy. You have to check pretty regularly to make sure you aren’t catching mold instead.

I mean, I have my own labcoat, but I mainly wear it while making spreadsheets

I mean, I have my own labcoat, but I mainly wear it while making spreadsheets

However, there was one recipe I thought I could excel at! Wonton wrapper cranes! Basically, you get wonton wrappers, which are already little squares, and then fold them using the power of origami! Then you fry that sucker and it becomes a chip shaped like a crane!!!! Well, that’s the theory. They’re really hard to fold without breaking.

My ridiculous attempt, with a paper one for comparison. See if you can spot the difference

My ridiculous attempt, with a paper one for comparison. See if you can spot the difference

Steven was way better at it than me, probably because he has more patience:

Also, he refused to put a shirt on for this process, even though I TOLD him I was taking pictures for the Internet

Also, he refused to put a shirt on for this process, even though I TOLD him I was taking pictures for the Internet

So you get bonus footage of Steven’s man-nipple. Enjoy!

Eventually, I gave up on cranes and turned to the only kind of origami I can reliably fold: fortune tellers!

What will your wonton fortune be????

What will your wonton fortune be????

Oops, you're going to die

Oops, you’re going to die

The frying process was also fraught with peril, because the origami shape would unfold in the oil if you didn’t kind of hold it awkwardly in place with some tongs.

It took a few sad tries to perfect this process

It took a few sad tries to perfect this process

Here are the after shots:

Fortune teller: not really recognizable

Fortune teller: not really recognizable

Cranes?? Or blobs?

Cranes?? Or blobs?

Hard to believe that that was the easiest thing in the book I could find!

Nanny Ogg’s Cookbook by Terry Pratchett

This one is kind of a joke, supposedly written by one of the characters from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books. It has some good illustrations, life advice, and also some legit recipes.

I REALLY wanted to make Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler's Sausages Inna Bun, but I don't like sausages

I REALLY wanted to make Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler’s Sausages Inna Bun, but I don’t like sausages

So I had to go for the next-most famous: Banana Soup Surprise. Nanny Ogg has this to say about the soup:

People say: ‘What’s so surprisin’ about bananana soup?’ And I say, it’s got banananas in it. Of course, if you’ve ever read my book The Joye of Snacks you’ll spot that some of my special ingredients have been left out. People complained they made the soup a bit too surprisin’.

The recipe involves cooking mashed banana (or bananana) with vegetable stock, sherry, and some spices. What really stands out, though, is the presentation:

Laaaaaadies

Laaaaaadies

Unfortunately, the soup didn’t taste that great. Maybe if we had a higher quality sherry or I had used the food processor to puree the bananas. As it was, it mostly tasted like banana chunks floating in sherry. Ew.

Still, can't beat the presentation

Still, can’t beat the presentation

Cake Pops by Bakerella

Look at this

Look at this

This one was the last cookbook, and I’m not ashamed to admit, I was putting it off for a reason. Look at that cover! These cake pops are way too advanced for me. And I found that I just didn’t care enough to gain the necessary expertise even to fail at making them for you. My cooking strategy is very results-based to maximize deliciousness and minimize effort. I’m not adverse to work when it pays off, re: my homemade pie crust or bread, but if you’re spending hours on something that’s just cosmetic? Yeah, I’m good. Plus, unlike the last time I sucked at art for this project, I would have needed to buy a lot of stuff I would then proceed to never use again ever, so I just said screw it and made the “basic cake ball” recipe. You remember how to make cakeballs, right? That was probably the last time I made cakeballs, actually, two whole years ago! Also in the corner of one of those pictures is my old purple netbook.

I miss you purple netbook! So stylish

I miss you purple netbook! So stylish

Anyway, this time I let Steven choose the flavors, and he went with lemon cake, cream cheese icing, and milk chocolate coating on the outside:

Deformed as always, but delicious! Just the way I like it

Deformed as always, but delicious! Just the way I like it

That’s two of my 2013 goals down!

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