Saturday, February 25, 2012

My Family Table Review


   The original reason I got this book (from the library) was because I think John Besh is a hottie. Also because he does not have a show on the food network. And because he lives in New Orleans and I love Creole type cooking. Enough reasons for you?

   Most cooks, when writing cookbooks for families (or children) try to incorporate too many "cutsie" kids meals. John does not do this. Instead he starts out with your Master recipes:

1) Risotto of almost anything
2) Creamy any vegetable soup
3) Curried anything
4) Quick pickled vegetables

You get the idea. That was a great way to start a cookbook out, because it gives you a basic recipe that you can add anything to to make it your own (and to be sure your kids will eat it).

   There is another (like I need one) reason to love John Besh. He teaches you about local issues. I, living in Northern MI, have no first hand knowledge on oil drilling. His first statement in his chapter on How to Cook a Fish is; "Growing up in southern Louisiana, it never once occurred to me to hate the oil companies......." and then goes on for the next two pages talking about how and why he became an advocate for the ecosystem of Southern Louisiana. This is not just a cookbook, it's an educational lesson on the people of the south, their eating habits, the history of them.

Since I am cheap I don't buy books, I just copy the recipes I love the most. I copied over 20 from this one (a lot for me).
I will share with you a recipe from the very beginning of the pages - the quick pickled vegetables. I went to a Krill Oil party last night (yes, I did say Krill Oil) and brought it (I used thin organic carrots). It was a hit!

Quick Pickled Vegetables

1/2 tsp salt
1 pound baby carrots, radishes or beets, peeled
1 cup sugar
1 cup rice wine vinegar
1 Tb. Crab boil seasoning, or 1 tsp. each of mustard seeds, coriander seeds and black peppercorns

1) In a medium saucepan bring 2 cups of water to boil with the salt. Add the peeled vegetables and blanch, no longer than 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. Add the sugar, vinegar and spices, return to a boil.

2) Fill canning jars with blanched vegetables and pour in enough cooking liquid to fill the jars. Cool, then cover and store the jars in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.

*** I also added a bay leaf, an ancho chile pepper and a garlic clove to each jar.