07 August 2008

A cookbook for Taylor

microwave surprise cake
Originally uploaded by allisongryski

One of my amazing girlfriends is moving back to Portland and we are all very sad. I'm going to miss the songs she sings about everything as we're doing it. She definitely lends a wacky sense of fun to every activity. Though there's no way I could match the awesomeness of this going-away present, I wanted to give her something to remind her of us (and why she should come back!).

It all started at our nostalgic sleepover when I had her mix some ingredients in a mug and microwave it. It took less than 5 minutes total and everyone was surprised when I announced that she'd just made a cake! (First tasting cleverly captured on film by lainevierge). She liked the recipe (despite the faces she made) and I thought I'd write up a little cookbook in this pretty blank book that she had brought me from her bookbinding class.

Taylor is a new cook and so I tried to include recipes that are easy, yet delicious. So many beginner-oriented cookbooks have really boring recipes in them and you don't learn anything. I aimed to include breakfast, lunch, supper, and dessert recipes that were all approachable, yet maybe would get you to try a new technique or ingredient or add some new spices to your pantry. Either they have very few ingredients or very simple processes. And almost all of them are happy to be modified with substitutions or additions. A couple of them are family recipes, some are ones I made up at the time I was cooking, and a couple are my versions of recipes that I've used from books or blogs.

My kitchen philosophy is Exactitude only matters in baking and even then not always. If I don't have an ingredient, I just use the most similar thing I do have. If I think something else might taste good, I try it and see. It's hard to make something truly inedible and when you do, it pretty much guarantees you'll never make that particular mistake again. (I once had to throw out a cake-that-wouldn't-bake because I mixed up baking powder with baking soda. And I once had pancakes that weren't working because I was accidentally using icing sugar instead of flour. But I've never made either of those mistakes again. Now if only I could remember that I really don't like cauliflower. When it's all purple and cheap at the market, it looks like fun. But I still have frozen soup in my freezer more than a year later.)

I left the second half of the cookbook blank. In a homemade cookbook, I think it's always nice to have some space to write in new recipes from friends or things you make up yourself. I can't wait to see the pictures of things she tries. If you're looking for some easy recipe ideas, you can see pictures of all the pages in my Cookbooks set. (apologies for the dim lighting but it's been nothing but GLOOMY weather for the past few days)