Hooks for Cooks™

My No Guilt Cookbooks

April 19th, 2009

When I dashed out the door yesterday at 8:15, I had a very definite destination–The Seattle Public Library’s Friends of the Library Book Sale.

Of course, I really didn’t need any new cookbooks. My shelves are groaning under the weight of my massive collection. But, this sale is a twice a year fundraiser for the library, and I simply couldn’t resist the opportunity. Most of the used books sell for $1 per piece, and I’ve managed to find some real culinary treasure troves over the years. And, the money raised is going to a really good cause.

So, at 8:30 I parked the car and joined the massive line, which was already snaking around the airplane hangar at Seattle’s Magnuson Park. I didn’t have a lot of time and needed to be selective. Once inside, I bee-lined to the “better books” section. The prices are a little higher there (about $3 each), but I nailed some really nice volumes focusing on Northwest cuisine–The Lewis and Clark Cookbook by Leslie Mansfield, the second edition of McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant Cookbook, and Wildwood: Cooking from the Source in the Pacific Northwest by Cory Schreiber. I considered these finds “guilt free” because I am always expanding my Pacific Northwest collection.

We love to camp on the Oregon Coast, and I thought the kids would love to read and try recipes from The Lewis and Clark Cookbook. I’m pretty sure they will steer clear of the Turtle Soup recipe, but the Smoked Salmon and Corn Chowder recipe might make a great campfire dinner.

The Wildwood cookbook, published in 2000 by Ten Speed Press, is an absolute treasure trove of great recipes, pictures and historical memorabilia gleaned from Schreiber’s restaurant and his long family history in Oregon. The 1930s vintage pictures of Schreiber’s aunts, uncles and relatives are a delight to study.

The McCormick & Schmick’s recipe for Tuna au Poivre with Port Demi-Glace sent me to the market with a short list in hand. We decided to substitute some Alaskan halibut for the tuna, and I adapted the recipe considerably. Our Halibut au Poivre with a rich demi-glace sauce was a fabulous Saturday night dinner. Served with homemade creamed spinach and a some tender new potatoes, it was outstanding.

So, my early morning dash to yesterday’s sale was a success indeed. I’ve marked my calendar, because the next sale is in the fall…

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