Saturday, October 16, 2010

On Collecting Cookbooks . . .

The above photo is a picture of one of my mother-in-law's old cookbooks dated 1973, put out by the Junior League of Corpus Christi, Texas. My husband was born in Corpus and loves hot, spicy chili, barbecue and Mexican cuisine!

I admit it. I love cookbooks. Some might even call me a cookbook junkie. I have a huge collection of them, old and new. Right now, they're spread all over the house. Some in the kitchen, some on shelves in the living room, some in my office, a few on my nightstand for bedtime reading, and some packed in boxes in the attic. My dream is to have them all in one place, alphabetically categorized and displayed in the kitchen, so I can gloat over their food-spattered, thumb-smudged loveliness. I'd like to be able to find the cookbook I want when I need it, instead of being forced to hunt upstairs and downstairs in a raving frenzy. I have some of my grandmother's cookbooks and a few that belonged to my mother-in-law; both ladies were amazing cooks. I pick up cookbooks at yard sales and thrift stores and half-price book sales. Friends and family give them to me. I prefer cookbooks with pictures because I want to know exactly how a dish should look before I make it. And I love each of my cookbooks for different reasons, kind of like I do my children!

I made this cheese-alicious casserole recipe, from the Fiesta Cookbook, to go along with a pork tenderloin Tom grilled last Sunday. I changed the recipe just the tiniest bit. I used a 2-quart casserole, quartered dry bread, 4 eggs and 2 cups of grated cheddar, plus 1/2+ teaspoon of red pepper flakes and some black pepper. Then I baked it just a little longer than 40 minutes. And I sprinkled the top with parsley and paprika, to make it look pretty! I guess that's more than the tiniest bit but it was very tasty!

Libby's Cheese Casserole, from Fiesta: Favorite Recipes of South Texas

6 slices bread, crusts removed (use good bread)
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
Pinch dry mustard
1 rounded cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
Line bottom of 1-1/2 quart buttered baking dish with bread that has been cut in quarters. Beat eggs and add milk, mustard, cheese and salt. Pour the mixture over bread, cover and refrigerate for several hours. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. Serves 2 - 4.

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