Friday, December 28, 2007

Is there a 12-Step Program for Cookbook Addicts?

One of my affirmations for 2008 is to organize a few areas of my home which are not up to par, have decided to start with my kitchen, specifically my cookbooks. Sigh.....I love cookbooks, especially old ones. I am always scouring thrift & antique stores seeking new additions to my ever-expanding collection. I often take one or two with me on road trip, pore over them like novels, marking recipes and planning fabulous meals. This is great except that I have run out of storage space and must also admit to myself that I rarely use them! Nowadays when I search for recipes I almost always turn to the internet. It's quick & easy and the possibilities are endless. Now, I don't want to give up all of my treasures, I just need to pare down a bit. So, I have decided to focus on one or two tomes at a time, prepare the recipes that strike my fancy, input them to my Mastercook program and then give away or sell the book. No internet recipes until I've weeded through this mess and made a serious dent in my trove. So, here goes!

This week I am concentrating on The Best Slow Cooker Cookbook Ever by Natalie Haughton and Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen. It's winter (even though it doesn't feel like it here), the time for soups & stews, so I'm going to make wise use of my slow cooker. Honestly, I use it year round anyway, just love that thing! It's fabulous for our family at this point where everyone's on a different schedule, eating dinner together is a hit or miss affair. Anyway, today I'm going to heat up my slow cooker again and try this tasty-sounding lentil soup. (I'm leaving this in Mastercook format for those of you who'd like to import it directly..I adore Mastercook!)

* Exported from MasterCook *

Lentil-Red Pepper Soup

Recipe By :
Serving Size : 6 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories :

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1 package lentils -- (16 oz.) rinsed, drained and picked over
2 medium onions -- chopped
1 ham hock
5 cups homemade chicken stock or 3 (14 1/2 ounce) cans chicken broth
2 cups water
1 tsp. ground cumin -- (1 to 1 1/2)
1/8 tsp. cayenne
1 can diced green chiles -- (4 oz.)
1 cup roasted red peppers -- rinsed, drained and pureed in a food processor

1. In a 5 qt. electric slow cooker, mix together the lentils, onions, carrots, ham hock, stock and water.

2. Cover and cook on the low heat setting for 9 hours or until the lentils are tender. Remove the ham hock; finely chop the meat and return it to the slow cooker. Stir in the cumin, cayenne, green chiles and red pepper puree. Season with salt to taste. Increase the heat to high and cook 15 minutes longer.

"Here's a zesty twist on traditional lentil soup."
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Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 173 Calories; 4g Fat (18.3% calories from fat); 13g Protein; 23g Carbohydrate; 11g Dietary Fiber; 18mg Cholesterol; 23mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 1 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 0 Fat.

NOTES : For convenience, I use jarred roasted red peppers to make the puree that goes into the soup, but you can roast a large pepper if you prefer. To add a colorful garnish, top with some diced roasted red peppers and a dollop of sour cream. To make this vegetarian I will substitute liquid smoke for the meat and vegetable broth instead of chicken.


Aisling said...

Rapunzel, I'm getting close to that point myself. I've tried the weeding out process a few times, but am strangely sentimental about some cookbooks. I read Laurel's Kitchen every few years like a novel! When I run out of room on the two shelves in my hutch, I will have to consider myself at my cookbook limit!

Julie said...

I had a fair amount of cook books myself and then inherrited my Mothers collection! She loved church cookbooks and said that they had more unique and 'tried and true' rescipes in them than other ones...real local cuisine. Makes sense!

Anonymous said...

I have weeded through mine and came up with a stack of about 15 I never use, but can't seem to part with. They are currently in a crate sitting beside the couch as an end table. Ugh! I still have like 100 left on the shelf. I'm the same way with other books - they're my faithful friends that I could never send away.