Saturday, June 28, 2008

Lemon Garlic Lambchops, Grilled Romaine, Raspberry Fool and the Weekly Cook From Each Book Initiative

I may have mentioned before that I have a lot of cookbooks and I mean A LOT, some of which I have cooked from and some that I have not cooked from. I haven't gone through and counted them for a long time ( I am very afraid to) but this is about half of them in my dining room cabinet, the rest are on shelves in the closet in my spare bedroom.

It is a serious addiction I am afraid. The last thing I need is more cookbooks but when I saw the announcement for the Friends of the Hawaii Library Sale that started yesterday, I couldn't resist. I had heard about this book sale before but had never attended--basically I hate crowds and I heard this enormous sale draws them (about 30,000 people last year). This year I read that there was going to be about 150,000 books and something else caught my eye--there was a preview sale for "Friends of the Library" on Friday evening, before the masses get to shop and you could join and become a "friend" at the sale. Leaving work a little early, $25.00 check in my hand, I found myself at the sale. Apparently my friend the Library has a lot of other friends as it was pretty crowded--I would hate to see it on the opening day today! I also realized that I came pretty unprepared, with just a nylon shopping bag to carry my purchases---these other friends were pros carrying huge boxes on rolling carts no less.
So an hour and a half later, a borrowed box and use of the "will call", I left the sale with about about $47.00 less in my pocket and a box of 27 books. (In my defense only about 20 of the books are cookbooks) the others being fiction and children's (I wanted to read Little Women again and found a nice edition for $1.50) and a paperback copy of Bill Buford's Heat which I wanted to read and couldn't resist for only 25 cents. The books ranged from 25 cents to $5.00 for a 1961 copy of the New York Times Cookbook, edited by Craig Claiborne and a 1950 copy of the Gourmet Cookbook. I ended up with a couple of Betty Crocker classics, some Hawaiian Cookbooks and some vintage ones from the 30s and 40s, as well as a few modern ones as well. It was quite a haul and for a good cause. They tell you to keep going back to the sale as they put out new merchandise each day but even though it is only a few blocks from work, I have banned myself from going again as it is too dangerous (think mouse in a cheese factory!)
So what to do with all these cookbooks as well as the countless others taking up space in my house?!? I decided to issue myself a weekly challenge--The Weekly Cook From Each Book Initiative. Each week I will pick one (or two) of my cookbooks and cook a recipe from that book, putting a post it tab on the spine of the book until I have cooked at least one thing from each book I own. I figure that I can (kind of) justify having all my books if I am cooking from them rather than just focusing on my favorite cookbooks. I am allowing myself to count any book I cooked from and posted about since starting this blog in April--it at least gives me a bit of a head start!

For my first formal "entry", I had a friend coming over for dinner tonight and some lamb chops in the fridge so I needed to find a recipe for that. I also had some fresh angel hair pasta and some mizithera cheese which I wanted to cook with browned butter--so I needed a lamb chop recipe that wouldn't compete with the strong flavor of the cheese. I found a yummy sounding Lemon-Garlic Marinated Lamb Chop recipe in "The Food You Crave" by Ellie Krieger. Ellie serves the chops with Grilled Romaine Hearts, which I decided to do as well instead of a salad, along with the pasta. Organic raspberries were on sale at the market, so I decided to make a Raspberry Fool from Donna Hay's "Modern Classics; Book 2" for dessert. (That's two books down!)

Lemon-Garlic Marinated Lamb Chops
Foods You Crave, Ellie Krieger
Serves 4
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano or 2 tsp dried
6 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 Tbsp)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black
Eight 4-ounce lamb loin chops, trimmed of all visible fat
In a small bowl, stir together the oil, lemon juice, zest, oregano, garlic salt and pepper. Put the lamb chops in a sealable bag and pour the marinade over them. Move the chops around in the bag so the marinade coats them well. Seal the bag and marinate for 20 minutes to 1 hour at room temperature.
Pre-heat broiler, grill or grill pan over medium heat. Remove the chops from the marinade and discard the marinade. Grill or broil the chops for 4-5 minutes per side for medium rare or to your desired degree of doneness.

Grilled Romaine Hearts
Foods You Crave, Elle Krieger
Serves 4
2 hearts of Romaine Lettuce
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat your grill or a grill pan over medium high heat. Cut the romaine hearts in half lengthwise, leaving the end intact so each half holds together. Cut off the tops if they are bruised at all. Brush the hearts with the oil and grill over medium heat until they char and wilt slightly, about 6 minutes, turning a few times. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Raspberry Fool
Modern Classics Book 2, Donna Hay
Serves 4
1 & 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
2/3 cups caster (superfine sugar)
2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 cups (12 fl oz) whipping cream
Place 1 cup raspberries in a frying pan and lightly crush with a fork. Add sugar and lemon juice and cook over medium-low heat, stirring gently, until the sugar is dissolved. Simmer for 3 minutes or until the raspberries are soft and the juices are syrupy. Refrigerate until cold. Beat cream until soft peaks form. Fold through the raspberry mixture with 1/2 cup whole fresh raspberries. To serve, spoon into glasses.
All three recipes very easy and delicious. The lemon, garlic and oregano really flavored the lamp chops and the pasta (I just cooked the package of fresh pasta in lightly salted water and browned 2 Tbsp of butter. After draining the pasta, I tossed it with the browned butter, mizithera cheese, dried mint and some fresh ground pepper--no need for salt as mizithera is a salty cheese). The grilled romaine was very good, still a bit crunchy and the grilling brought out a sweetness in the lettuce. It is important to use good olive oil on this one as the flavor of the oil really comes through. The fool was light, sweet and delicious--a good, not too heavy dessert for a summer night. I halved the lamb and romaine recipes to make for two but not the fool (I'm no fool!) ;-) My friend pronounced it all delicious.


  1. I've always wanted to go to this Sale but have never been home at that time of year :( must be awesome to browse through all sorts of books! I also have an addiction with cookbooks, should challenge myself like you to cook from more of them :)

  2. It was awesome and very overwhelming too--I should have gone before now. Well worth the time if you are ever here when they have it.

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