Even in this day and age of having hundred of recipes at your fingertips, I love having those cookbooks with the pictures.
I have an odd collection of favorites:
1. Anything by Jamie Oliver. Jamie is my favorite chef; he uses lots of fresh ingredients and keeps it simple. I love this combination--fresh and simple. My very favorite is this one. I make something from Jamie at least once a week.
2. Cookbooks from the church or pre-school. True, there are many, many recipes that rely on canned soups (I make my own to substitute) or a very processed ingredient (I make an acceptable substitute) but when you really dig deep, you find a treasured recipe handed down by family members made from the freshest ingredients and the right amount of love. Also, you know nothing in the book is going to be 'bad' because everyone wants to display her finest meal for the church/pre-school.
3. Wise Guys By Henry Hill. If you have seen the movie "Goodfellas", you know Henry Hill. Ray Liota played him the movie and yes, he's a real person. Now if you remember the movie, you'll remember how crazy Hill was about food and how he loved how his friend in the pen could 'slice garlic with a razor so it melted like butter when it hit the pan'. The book also includes tales of his days in the mob and with the FBI. I cannot read the recipes in this book without getting hungry.
When I make my menu, I try to grab one Jamie Oliver cookbook, one local (preschool/church/junior league) Wise Guys and one of my others (vary from famous chefs to different types of food). I look through and mark ones I like with post its. Then I bring the recipes down to seven and refer to my calender. Based on what is going on that day, I figure out when I need a left-over or if I can make something a tad more complicated. By the time the menu is in place (I plan all meals because that is how crazy I am!), I have used maybe 3-4 recipes from the book along with left-overs and those meals that are my stand bys (salmon and greens, grilled chicken, etc.).
This is the result of this week's planning:
Monday: "Jail House Spaghetti" from the Henry Hill cookbook (called oven penitentiary sauce but the kids couldn't say that when they were little so jail house it is!) and broccollinni
Tuesday: Irish Stew (leftover from last week--stored in freezer)
Wednesday: Roast Chicken (Jamie Oliver favorite) with swiss chard (sauteed with garlic)
Thursday: White Fish Wrapped in Bacon with asparagus (back in season!)
Friday: Five Bean Chili (local cookbook) --email me for recipe
Saturday: Chicken Enchiladas and Calabacitas (from Canyon Ranch cookbook) If you make this, add some veggie stock to sauce and use less chicken too.
So where do you find your favorite recipes?