While browsing some of my favorite blogs a few weeks ago I came across a very interesting post from Sally at Tomato Lover. It was a post about a very popular cookbook called The Moosewood Cookbook. In her post, 30 Years of Tomato Recipes, Sally mentioned some great tomato recipes from the cookbook. After reading the post, I thought I’d share my story about how I found this awesome cookbook and a couple of my favorite recipes.
How I Came Across The Moosewood Cookbook
A few years ago while visiting my sister in North Carolina on July 4th weekend, we went around town doing some shopping and decided to venture to a used bookstore. As we approached the front door of the store, there was a huge bin of books that were free for the taking. Being the frugal guy that I am, I immediately began digging through the pile of books for a possible hidden gem. Little did I know that I would actually find one!
After a few minutes of scouring through the books, I settled on several cookbooks that were in the bin. I love trying new recipes and thought I might find a few good ones with the books I picked out.
Once we returned to my sister’s house, I began sifting through my new cookbooks. In all I had 12 cookbooks that ranged from Mexican food, to Italian, to desserts. There was one cookbook that particularly caught my eye. It was a simple paperback book, but contained some very beautiful hand-drawn art work.
It was The Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen. Mollie Katzen not only demonstrates her wonderful ability of creating delicious recipes, but she also shows the creativity of a pure artist. The Moosewood Cookbook was completely compiled, edited, illustrated, and hand-lettered by her. The hand-lettering and drawn illustrations add a unique touch to The Moosewood Cookbook that transforms it from an ordinary book filled with recipes to a treasured work of art. It features recipes from the famous Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, New York.
As you can see in the picture, the copy of The Moosewood Cookbook has been marked with a big circle on the cover by a magic marker. The used bookstore marked the free books this way to identify the books were free. I told the store manager that I understood this was their way of identifying the book, but I was upset they had marked the books in this way. It also has a number of stains on the cover and on certain pages of the book. This is a sign that the cookbook has probably received some good use.
Here are a couple of my favorite recipes from The Moosewood Cookbook:
Cream of Spinach Soup
1 carrot, 1 onion, 1 clove garlic, 1 potato. Cover with water. Steam until tender. Puree in its own water.
Steam 1lb. spinach in 1 cup water till wilted. Puree.
Make a roux by whisking 1/3 cup flour into 1/3 cup melted butter. Whisk in 2 cups milk and cook over very low heat, stirring until thickened.
Add spinach to the roux, along with:
1/2 tsp. salt (or more)
1/2 tsp. basil
(any fresh herb like parsley or marjoram)
Add first mixture to second. Adjust seasoning and, milk. Heat and stir till smooth, creamy, green, fragrant.
Ukrainian Poppyseed Cake
Add 1 cup poppy seeds to 1-1/2 cups milk in saucepan. Heat to boiling point only. Remove from heat; let stand for 20 minutes.
Cream 1/2 lb. butter with 1-1/2 cups light brown sugar till fluffy. Beat in 3 egg yolks (save whites). Add 1-3/4 cups flour. 2-1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt. Mix well.
Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold into butter mixture. Fold in poppyseeds and milk. Mix only until blended. Squirt juice from 1/2 lemon.
Bake in well-greased loaf pan or 9″ square. 350° 35 minutes – square pan 45-50 minutes loaf pan or until toothpick comes out clean.
Some Artwork From The Moosewood Cookbook
As you have already noticed from the pictures above, the hand-drawn illustrations by Mollie Katzen are absolutely astonishing. Here are a few more interesting illustrations from the cookbook:
The Moosewood Cookbook is so breathtaking and filled with so many unique and delicious recipes, I wish I could show you the entire book! If you love cookbooks and preparing interesting dishes, then I highly recommend you explore The Moosewood Cookbook for yourself. It will be a delight in your kitchen, and a great item to pass down to your children or grandchildren.
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