Wednesday, December 2, 2009

da cajn critter by Pamela D. Lyles

Well this will probably be the dullest review I will do to date. Unfortunately this will not be due to the book but to my lack of preparedness to do the review. As you can tell this is a cookbook and one that I absolutely loved. The problem will be that my digital camera has been in non-working order for a while so there will be no pictures of the delicious food that I prepared from it. I've been lazy about buying a new one so far that I apologize.

As far as cookbooks go I have to tell you that this is one of the easiest to use and doesn't take itself too seriously. There are recipes for everything from a basic Grilled Cheese Sandwich to Grilled Italian Beef a la Sonoma. You will everything from great soups like Oyster Artichoke Soup to a hearty meals that makes my mouth water, Crawfish Boil anyone?

Before I get to the two recipes that I will post about I will tell you a little more about what I liked about this book. I will give you the author's own words to describe what I feel was the whole feel of the book, "This cookbook isn't just favorite recipes with a catchy title. It is actually a way of life for someone who wants to eat good food, be with real people, and make cooking simple and easy so you actually WANT to cook. It's about breaking the rules and making cooking fun again."

I agree with everything she said. The recipes in this book are those that seem familiar to me because this is the down home good food that I grew up with. There is nothing in here that is overly hard to make or requires expensive ingredients to cook with. This is what I want to feed my son and I would recommend this book to everyone who wants to enjoy time in the kitchen again. By the way, this is the first place I learned how to tell how fresh bread was in the grocery store. For those of you who are like me and didn't already know I'll let you in on the secret. Bread is delivered to stores five days of the week and the color of the tie tells you what day it was delivered on. Blue is Monday, Green is Tuesday, Red is Thursday, White is Friday, and Yellow is Saturday. It's ingenious and I feel rather silly for never noticing the color difference before.

Alright on to the recipes I tried out. I actually have tried out more than two but I will give you the first two I tried out. Once again I'm sorry that there will be no pictures.

Mama Bea's Cheese Cookies

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sifted cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper
1/3 cup (1 stick) softened butter
5 ounces New York extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
3 to 5 dashes of Tabasco sauce
1 1/4 cups crisped rice cereal

Sift the flour with the salt and red pepper in a bowl. Cream the butter, cheese and Tabasco sauce in a Mixmaster. Add the flour mixture. Stir in the cereal. Shape the mixture into small balls and arrange 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Press down on each with the bottom of a drinking glass to flatten. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Makes about 48.

I made these for a Thanksgiving day appetizer and they were a big hit. My son, who is 6, loved them and has since asked me to make them again. I did have to make some changes though. I couldn't find New York cheese to I had to go with what I found in the store. If there was a difference I didn't notice what it could be. I also used a different hot sauce since I don't like Tabasco, it's too sweet for me.

Alma's Pork Tenderloin in a Bed

2 (1 pound) pork tenderloins
Salt and pepper to taste
4 potatoes
2 loaves French bread
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1/3 to 1/2 pound bacon slices
4 garlic cloves
Fresh sage leaves
Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Rinse the tenderloins and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper. Peel the potatoes and cut them into chunks. Cute the bread loaves to the length of each tenderloin. Remove the soft interior of the bread, leaving a shell. Place each tenderloin inside a hollowed loaf. Place a sprig of rosemary under and on top of each tenderloin. Place a garlic clove on top of each tenderloin. Wrap the loaves with bacon slices and tie with clean kitchen string. Arrange the loaves in a roasting pan. Arrange the potatoes and the remaining 3 garlic cloves around them. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with olive oil. Reduce the heat to 300 degrees and bake the tenderloin loaves for 30 to 45 minutes or until cooked through. Cut each loaf into slices to serve. Serve with the potatoes. Makes 4 serving.

This was fabulous. I served this with a spinach/apple salad with Gorgonzola cheese and walnuts. I have to tell you that it was a hit with my friends as well and will become a part of my monthly meal plans. I did use more garlic when I did it. I'm addicted to the stuff and put 2 cloves with each tenderloin instead of 1.


Alexia561 said...

Love cookbooks with recipes that aren't too complicated, but I'm a little leery of cajun food. Isn't it too spicy? Am totally going to try the cheese cookie recipe (but without the tabasco & red pepper). I'm a wuss! *L* Thanks Ryan!

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

These sound really good! They sound like they may be a little spicy. Are they? I'm not a big person on spicy, although everyone else in the house is.

I usually don't buy cookbooks because they are to hard for me to figure out at times. Or to much work into getting to the end result. But this one sounds like it is really easy to use and easy dishes to make.

Great review!

Ryan said...

Alexia/Melissa, At least the few recipes I've tried haven't been all that spicy, but I like a little kick in my food. My son isn't a big fan of hot stuff and he still loved the cheese cookies.

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

This book looks fantastic! I had read another good review on this book as well. The recipes sound wonderful!

Anonymous said...

Reading this post made me really hungry. That pork tenderloin meal you made sounds delicious~

Ryan said...

Sheila, The book is wonderful. Probably one of my favorite cookbooks now.

Stephanie, It was fabulous

Krista said...

These sound really good! I will have to see about this one :) I love cooking!!!

Sorry about your camera, though, but I think you still did a really good job :)

Ryan said...

Krista, Thank you so much. It's a wonderful book. Glad to see you back!

Unknown said...

The pork tenderloin dish sounds amazing! Nom nom :)

Ryan said...

Carolyn, It was one of the best pork recipes I've come across.

Misty said...

I'm actually salivating. Mmm, cheese...
And I love the title and cover! Too bad about the camera (been there; my neighbor decided to "borrow" mine and got it wet...)

Anonymous said...

Looks like a great cookbook, with recipes I could actually pull off.

That stinks about not having a camera. I don't know what I would do without mine.

Ryan said...

Misty, I hope that neighbor bought you a new one.

Carol, I have a regular camera but don't have film for it. I keep telling myself to buy film or a new digital camera. With Christmas coming up I better get to it.