Books and Cooks
I'm a bookaholic.; I read a lot of books. I purchase new books from www.amazon.com - no tax, reasonable prices and reliability. For used books I buy from www.half.com or amazon. Half is a great resource for buying used books.
About a year ago, with my collection growing, I decided I had too many books. After reading them they just sat in my house collecting dust. I realized that I love the absorbing information from books, yet I no longer felt the need to add to my collection as often. It was at that time that I rediscovered the public library.
I have fond early childhood memories of the library, it opened up my world to many unknown worlds. I remember going there with Mom and my sisters as a little girl to read books. I sat at those beautiful maple tables for hours reading. I loved the peacefulness of the library, the quietness, I even remember loving the smell of the books in the library. Fast forward many years later to college, with so many libraries on campus, they were study havens for me in those days.
The LA Public Library is a great information resource and ever since it has gone high tech, there are many convenient features it offers. Once you get a library card, you can access their database from the web. I love the online search and hold feature. One search performs a search throughout all of their branches, yes all of them in LA County. Once you have found a book, you can request that the book be transferred to any branch you choose. When the book arrives at the branch, they send you an email notifying you that it has arrived. Library books are checked out for 3 weeks at a time. Four days before your book is due the library sends you an email notifying you that your book is becoming due. If you would like to keep the book for another 3 weeks, renewals can be done online, while you have the books with you at home. The whole process is convenient and as easy as cake.
Recently while I was in the business section of my local library, I discovered that they have cook books at the library. What a pleasant surprise! A brief review of their selection revealed that their collection of cook books contains all the greatest chefs and the books are all in excellent collection, like new, no cooking stains.
So I checked out Local Flavors, Cooking and Eating from America's Farmers' Markets by Deborah Madison, author of one of my favorite cookbooks- Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. [side bar-I am not vegetarian.] It was great fun to be able to check out that cook book. By having 3 weeks with the book, it in a way, forces me to use the book immediately, and it minimizes my guilt for having cook books sitting on my shelf that I don't use. The only drawbacks I see are 1) I can not write notes in the book like I do with the books in my personal collection and 2) I have to make sure I keep the book clean. If I really like the book I can buy it, but with so many cook books available, I'm looking forward to the variety of books I will try from the library.
Today I cooked a delicious meal for my parents. Here are some of the names of the recipes from the book I cooked:
Savory Goat Cheese Tart with Leeks
Chicken Thighs Braised with Dried Fruits, Shallots, and Bay
Avocado and Grapefruit Salad with Pomegranates and Pistachios
Fig Tart with Orange Flower Custard
Overall, the Goat Cheese Tart was my favorite. Deborah Madison used to work with Alice Waters in the 70's and Chez Panisse is apparently famous for their goat tarts. This recipe is amazing and so delicious. I served it as an appetizer. The leftovers were eaten later in the week for lunch alone and for dinner served with a delicious salad that also used the leftovers from the chicken.
The chicken Thighs were my second favorite dish. A couple days after the meal, I cut up the leftover chicken, apricots, prunes and shallots, added it to some greens with a dash of olive oil and it made a divine salad.
I also served salmon poached in prosecco and string beans with shallots. It was a great feast that we enjoyed immensely.
Mom and Dad brought one of my favorite wines: Flowers Pinot Noir. http://www.flowerswinery.com. The winery has grown in popularity from being featured on AOC's wine list. [ AOC, 8022 West 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048 (323) 653-6359] http://aocwinebar.com