Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Silver Spoon

Alright, I'm not doing a Julie to Julia thing here as 1) I don't have the time and 2) I don't have the money.  But I purchased this book, several months ago and it has just been sitting in my basement, where most of my books are.

Now, I think I'm a few years late, for as long as this book has been out, there have been hundreds and maybe even a thousand reviews of this book as of late.  It is a massive book, the kind of book that you find in the largest section of the Harry Potter world as the type of book that weighs over 10 pounds on its own. The mere mention of weight makes me wonder how many people have walked around the house with bruised foot tops or toes due to dropping this book.  Ouch.

The book is huge and that isn't a bad thing as it is filled with hundreds and hundreds of recipes from the Italy region.  The book was first published in 1950 and is the most successful cookbook in Italy.  This is real Italian cooking and while you would think I would say that the best part of the book is the pictures, you are wrong.  There are hardly any photos in the book.  What I like the best in the book is the way that it is organized.  Let's say that you open most other books and you have some radishes in your house that you want to cook and can't think of a good recipe.  If you have other books, you look in the back under an ingredient index, if there is one, or look elsewhere and try to find a recipe.  With this book, The Silver Spoon, you go to the "Radish" section and look at the 5-6 recipes starring radishes.  This book is organized by main ingredient which lets you plow through and see everything you want to find.

So, without further adieu, here are some things which I have made and taste really, really good.
This is Sausage Crostini.  This was done by making my own "sausage" with ground beef, parsley, oregano, basil and salt and pepper.  I added the cheese to it and spooned it out on french bread slices.  After 15 minutes in the oven, it was all melty-yummy and worked well together, giving you a taste of sausage and toast.

Stuffed Grape Leaves. What I think is interesting, is that I have grown up within the past few years, making and eating the stuffed grape leaves from Lebanon, of which my wife's family is from.  From a past cookbook on Russia and European cooking, I made a stuffed grape leaf recipe from Turkey.  Now, I made this recipe from Italy.  It is interesting that the Mediterranean countries that have grape leaves, roll them up with something good.  I didn't think this recipe is as good as the Lebanese one, but still very good.

This is listed as a Cauliflower Salad (2), and it is steamed then thrown in a bowl with some olive oil, white wine vinegar, tarragon and parsley.  A nice sprinkling of salt and pepper and that is it.  It reminds me of the simplicity of some French dishes where the ingredients are the star.  It is a good vegetable dish.

This was a turnip greens baked parcel which wanted me to bake some turnip greens, with chopped turnips, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper in the oven in wrapped up foil packets.  The greens were perfectly steamed and tasty.

Lastly, I have some of the Potato and Bacon Pie.  This is a quiche', I believe, as it has a base of eggs and cream (or milk) that encapsulates and cooks around some baton cut potatoes and some slices of bacon and onion.  This was so good that my wife and I were using it for breakfast.

I have decided to cook out of this cookbook for the rest of this year and I will post pictures of the recipes as I cook them.  If you see this book on sale anywhere, buy it!

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