I purchased this book recently on a trip to the North Shore. Browsing through the books being offered in one of the many (MANY) touristy type gift shops… my eyes landed on this book. It was pricey, (I can tell you I paid over double what I see it is on sale for at Amazon now…) but I really was drawn to this book.
I am that girl who has a stand by item or two that I bring to every outing we are invited too. One is my baked bean dish. You know the one that has baked beans, bacon, lima beans, hamburger…. yup that’s my “go to” dish to bring to outings… when I have time to mess with it. When I do not have time, I make my fresh salsa and grab a bag or two of good tortilla chips.
Nothing that I bring is “the dish”. I am not the coveted person that has to attend because what I bring makes the party. Nope, if not for my witty and fun personality, I may not be invited at all ( ha ha – I jest). I think…. 😯
So now you see the need for this book to get into my hands. Hard cover, square, appealing to the eye book with almost 500 pages of ideas…. I could not wait to read!
Ok… in my opinion, this book is a rave! From fun down to earth parties like back yard potlucks and kids parties, to house-warming gifts, or something a little more formal this book covers it all from, packaging, transporting, serving… LOVE IT. Each page has a right side bar space to record who you made the recipe for, prep notes, what not to forget, special touches and if this is an item you should bring again. It is a book that makes me want to go through and try everything just so I can make notes. 😀
So here are a few little items that caught my eye (there were many more…. but this is a sample)
Slice a loaf of French bread diagonally about 1/4 inch thick. You should get two to three dozen slices depending on loaf size. Place on baking sheet and lightly brush with olive oil. Sprinkle bread lightly with kosher salt (if desired), or dust with Parmesan cheese before baking. Bake at 400 until slices are crisp and browned – 15 to 18 minutes. These will store in plastic bags for up to three days.
(I may make this tonight to go along with spaghetti)
1 large head of iceberg lettuce
1 tablespoon vegie oil
1 pound ground chicken
3 med garlic coves, minced
1 cup chopped scallions (green part only from a bunch)
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
3/4 cup hoisin sauce
4 tsp. soy sauce
1 teaspoon Asian (dark) sesame oil
3/4 cup finely chopped water chestnuts
Fresh cilantro (optional)
Use a small paring knife and cut the core out of lettuce. Wash and dry on paper towels.
Place the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Combine in the chicken, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Add the garlic and cook, stirring until the chicken is cooked through – 4 to 5 minutes. Turn off the heat. Stir in the scallions, ginger, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, and water chestnuts. Cook this filling over medium low heat stirring until it bubbles and is heated through – 2 to 3 minutes. Keep the filling warm if you are serving immediately.
When ready to serve, carefully pull apart the head of lettuce to separate the leaves. Pat the leaves dry with paper towels and pile them around the outer edge of a large platter. There should be at least 12 large leaves. Spoon chicken filling into the center of the platter and garnish with cilantro. Serve at once. To eat – spoon chicken mixture into lettuce leaf and wrap the lettuce around it and eat like a burrito.
Ok scrap the spaghetti idea for tonight… I may try this one instead if I can find the Hoisin sauce.
*you can prep this ahead of time and not bake until you arrive to whatever event you made it for…)
For Taco Ring:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 – 2 pounds ground lean turkey or lean beef
2 packages taco seasoning
1 cup water
2 packages refrigerator crescent rolls (reg or reduced fat)
reduced fat sour cream
shredded iceberg lettuce
shredded cheddar cheese
Pre heat over to 375. Place the olive oil, if using, in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the turkey or beef and break up with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring, until cooked through – 3 to 4 minutes. Add the taco seasoning and stir to mix. Then add the water. Increase heat to medium high and cook stirring until all liquid has nearly evaporated, 4 to 5 minutes. Take off burner and set aside.
Unroll the crescent rolls; you will have 16 triangles of dough. Place an ungreased baking sheet or pizza stone about 14 to 16 inches, ona work surface. Arrange the dough with the large side of the triangles facing the center of the sheet and the points hanging over the edge. Leave a 3 – 4 inch empty space in the center. Press dough together where the triangles meet to connect them.
Spoon the turkey beef mixture in a ring on top of the joined dough, leaving the center empty (you can put a bowl of sour cream there when serving). Carefully pull all the points of the of the crescent rolls, twisting them together to seal over the filling. Do not get too fussy about this as after the taco ring bakes, it looks gorgeous no matter whether the filling os completely covered by the rolls.
Bake the taco ring until golden brown – 20 to 25 minutes. Let it cool 3 to 4 minutes before transferring to a serving platter. If you do not have a platter large enough, cur sturdy cardboard into a large enough piece and cover with foil. Put bowl of sour cream in the middle and arrange the rest of toppings in pretty little bowls around the ring.
*Note – it is just as easy to make two rings as it is one. If baking later, cover with plastic wrap and keep cool.
Ok – scratch everything I said above… I am making this tonight! 😀
These few recipes are barely scratching the surface of the recipes that caught my eye in this book…. main dishes, sides, appetizers, desserts, breads, soups, marinades…. and party planning. I will get many years of use out of this new treasure in my home.
To win a copy of this book:
In my excitement over my new find – I am offering a copy of this book to be mailed to one lucky commenter between now and Thursday morning. Open internationally – I will mail directly to you from Amazon. *Simply leave in the comment section what your favorite item is to take along to a potluck or gathering type event.
The 2011 WHERE ARe You Reading map has been updated to include What Can I Bring? Cookbook
I purchased this book in Grand Marias Minnesota… “Mini” Girls Weekend
This review is part of Weekend Cooking – the awesome weekend meme
hosted by Beth Fish Reads