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It's not unusual to find me leaving the library with a teetering stack of cookbooks, but I'm selective about those that I own. Some of them I keep for sentimental value: the Betty Crocker cookbook that I first cooked from, gifts from friends and family, signed copies. Others I keep for the writing or photography, but don't necessarily cook from them.
If I had to narrow my collection down to just three cookbooks, I know what I'd keep.
There are three critical bases to cover when it comes to cookbooks: one that simply delights you whenever you pick it up; another for baking that not only has spectacular recipes, but ingredient weights; and last, one for basic recipes, a solid place to start that allows for creativity .
Here are my choices:
My Favorite 'Just Because' Cookbook - sweet paul Eat & Make: Charming Recipes + Kitchen Crafts You Will Love by Paul Lowe. I'll begin with a grin, the one that spreads across my face whenever I crack the cover of this book. Paul's recipes and crafts just do it for me: approachable and inspired. I love the photography, the way the book feels and the stories about Paul's great aunt, Auntie Gunnvor, and his grandmother, whom he calls 'Mormor.' Then there is Paul himself and Lestat (Paul's French bulldog); what can I say, I'm smitten.
My Favorite Baking Cookbook - The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook: Sweetness in Seattle by Tom Douglas and Shelley Lance. If you've been following this blog for awhile, you know that I'm always tinkering with recipes from this book, like these Chocolate Truffle cookies and these Peanut Butter Sandwich cookies. Keith and I were regular customers of this bakery when we lived in Seattle and I love being able to recreate some of the cookies, pies, cakes, and INCREDIBLE English muffins at home.
My Favorite Basics Cookbook - Twelve Recipes by Cal Peternell. I first read about this book on Michael Ruhlman's blog. He gave such a glowing review that I had to see it for myself.
Here's what I love about the book: you can start with his basic recipes and then embellish them forever. This is the book I would buy for a new cook, someone who thinks they don't like to cook, or for a seasoned cook in need of fresh ideas. Engaging writing and, of what I've tried so far, flawless recipes.
Recipes like the egg and anchovy dressing that I'm sharing with you today.
It's really a riff on Caesar salad dressing, but instead of raw egg yolk you'll incorporate a chopped hard-boiled egg (or two as I couldn't resist doing). To make the dressing, you can use a bowl and a whisk or a mortar and pestle as I did. I know the dressing isn't much of a looker, but how about the mortar and pestle that my father-in-law surprised me with for Christmas. Gorgeous, yes?
I often crave the cold crunch and rich, tangy flavor of a Caesar Salad. But when it's cold outside, it's nice to have a warm alternative and this roasted cauliflower salad cures the craving beautifully.
So how about you? If you had to narrow your cookbooks to just 3, what would they be?
Roasted Cauliflower with Egg and Anchovy Dressing
- 1 head cauliflower separated into large florets
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Egg and Anchovy Dressing
- 2 eggs
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic about 1 small clove
- 6 anchovy fillets
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Arrange cauliflower in a single layer on prepared baking sheet; drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Roast, tossing occasionally, until nearly tender, 20-30 minutes. (I like cauliflower to retain some bite, if you don't then roast up to 45 minutes.)
- Remove from oven and transfer to serving platter.
Meanwhile, make Egg and Anchovy Dressing:
- In a small saucepan, bring to boil just enough water to cover eggs (wait until the water boils to add eggs) Once water boils, slowly lower each egg into boiling water on a soup spoon. Keep at a low boil for 8 minutes; drain then return eggs to pan and cover with cold water. When cool enough to handle, peel and coarsely chop eggs.
- While the eggs cook, mash the garlic and anchovies together either on a cutting board with a knife or in a mortar with a pestle. (If using a knife on a cutting board, transfer mixture to a medium bowl)
- Add mustard, lemon juice, red wine vinegar and chopped egg; mix well. While whisking or quickly stirring with pestle, add oil in a thin stream; whisk or stir until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Drizzle dressing over cauliflower on serving platter. Serve.