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cookbooks + coming soons.

cookbooks 2013.

You know what the unfortunate side effect of recently acquiring two Thomas Keller cookbooks, two (two!) lauded ice cream shop books, the first (and hopefully not the last) book from the queen of food blogs, and a famous Seattle bakery cookbook is? Elation, immediately followed by a feeling of gross inadequacy. I’ve gotten used to the books I already have in my library; I’ve paged through them, cooked things, baked things, familiarized myself with their inner workings. I’m in a committed relationship with them. Sure, at first I felt all nervous and flitty, never letting them see me at anything but my best, but now? They’ve seen me in a tee and yoga pants with flour on the backside, so we’re cool with each other.

 New cookbooks give me the heebies. I love them, but I get very apprehensive around them. I don’t know where my favorite recipes are lurking, because I have no favorites yet. And they’re all….so….beautiful. And the recipes are perfect in every way. What could I possibly have to add to these? I mean, come on; people actually order Jeni’s online simply because no other ice cream even comes close, Bi-Rite and Dahlia Bakery are like individual Meccas for me, Deb is the person who inspired me to start my own blog, and I’m still convinced Thomas Keller is an archangel. He’ll never admit it, but…archangel.

Here’s what books are making me all giggly-nervous inside, pictured above:

I’m asking for some help and advice here: I love every book I received, and I’m at  the stage where I want to make everything in them. I can’t do that, so I need a starting point; a “first date,” if you will. I know some of you have the same cookbooks as I do; do you have any suggestions? Anything you’d like to see me make out of any of these books? Send your thoughts my way, because it would really help me to have something to aim at. I’m a desperate woman, you see. So let’s brainstorm together.

Other points of interest (perhaps):

I told you at some point I felt chock-full of ideas this year. I still feel that way, but I’m starting to vet some of them out and determine which things I’d like to move forward with. I’m going to be working on a few new features of the blog, including:

Adding a page to the cookbooks section for my vintage cookbooks (that’s been a work in progress, but I’ll be doing it this year for sure. As it turns out, I have quite a few, and if I don’t get them posted before the next St. Louis County Library Annual Book Sale, I’ll be buried in cookbooks)

The Songstagrams Daily page: I find that most days, I have a theme song which represents what I was doing, and what type of day it was. I find snapshots of people’s days interesting, so this will be mine. I shall accompany each theme song with an Instagram snapshot which encompasses the day. I’ve kept a record since January 1st, so it’s just a matter of laying it out and updating it daily.

A Flickr Stream: This should be interesting, considering my trials and tribulations with Twitter, so it’s really anyone’s guess how that goes. If I’m lucky, it will work. Oh, let’s be honest; if I’m lucky, no one will call the authorities.

Foodie Friend Trials: Little do you all know, but I’ve been keeping track on all the recipes I’ve made from those of you with food blogs of your own. I think I’ve posted most if not all of them to Facebook, but you know how Facebook is; not everyone sees everything. Now, there’s going to be an entire section dedicated to what recipes I’ve made of yours, along with a little review of how much I liked it, and what I did to tweak it (or if I tweaked it at all.)

 A Proper Blogroll: I think this has been made very clear these past few weeks, but at times, my internet problem-solving is akin to tossing spaghetti at a wall. I have tried many times to get my “blogroll” widget to work, with varying degrees of failure. In 2013, I will get it to work. Period. And when I do, undoubtably, I will forget to add people I know I mean to add. When that happens, you will email me and tell me who I was dumb enough to leave off. Deal? Deal.

 So that’s what you can expect to see this year on the blog, I think. When I roll things out, I’ll be sure to include it in a post and announce it on Facebook and Twitter as well. I actually just updated my About Me page a little bit; changed the paragraphs to reflect where I’m at now, and changed the photo (because in the original photo, the Wee One was like, 6 months old.) I didn’t change the photo collage, as the very nice Scott (of Scott & Katherine at Eggton) indicated he really enjoyed the photography on that particular page. It was sweet he said that, so I left it.

I’ve said it ten billion times, but thanks for being here. I have fun with this, and I hope you do too.

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  • Reply Jennie @themessybakerblog January 10, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    Oooo, all of this sounds amazing. I can’t wait. I’m still totally in love with the fact that I get to see (theoretically, that is) your face on Twitter.

    • Reply shannon January 13, 2013 at 10:12 am

      thanks! it’s fun so far, the Twitter. oh, except for being temporarily shut down, which was just pure comedy. 🙂 I enjoy seeing your virtual face on there too.

  • Reply Ashley January 10, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    Woohoo for new cookbooks! I take a very different approach to most new cookbook acquisitions (except for the few that intimidate/overwhelm me at first glance). I obsess over them, spending days flipping through their pages over and over again. I used to flag recipes I have-to-make-NOW with post-it flags…but realized the entire book was flagged, so I stopped with that. Anyway, my approach is the equivalent of a love-sick teenager doodling “Ashley + (cookbook) 4-ever” all over my trapper keeper. Yup, I said trapper keeper because those were awesome.

    Back on track!
    A few ideas of where to start for Jeni’s:
    –lime and cardamom frozen yogurt (we’ve made it, it’s amazing even with too much cardamom)
    –cherry lambic sorbet (we’ve made it, it’s ah-may-zing and easy to make, even with frozen cherries)

    A few ideas of where to start for Smitten Kitchen:
    –roasted eggplant with tahini-yogurt sauce and crisped chickpeas (super easy and super delicious)
    –roasted butternut squash, onion, and cheese freeform galette (again, super easy and super delicious)
    –apple cider caramels (a bit more effort, but so dang good. they’re what everyone loved most among my boxes of christmas cookies)

    (Sorry I don’t call these by their proper names, but I don’t have the cookbooks with me right now and was too excited to go home and check.)

    • Reply shannon January 13, 2013 at 10:10 am

      ha! ashley, i should show you a picture of my one Gordon Ramsay book; i did the same thing with tabs when i got it years ago, and the ENTIRE BOOK IS TABBED. So embarrassing! I left them as a reminder of what can happen when i find a cookbook i love. 🙂

      2 points for the Trapper Keeper mention! Those were the BEST…i wonder if you can still find them? I bet on ebay…and now i want one…

      These are all fabulous suggestions! i went through my cookbooks last night after everyone had gone to bed, and i know exactly which recipes you’re talking about, because they caught my eye too. Smitten Kitchen, in particular, i just know i’ll be cooking from alot; not just for the blog, but for everyday normal stuff too. Her recipes are just so inviting; it’s for sure a candidate for “i’m going to cook my way through this entire thing” because there’s not one recipe i pooh-poohed.

  • Reply sara January 10, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    Hi there! I have a few of these cookbooks, and some recommendations:

    From Jeni’s – I adore the goat cheese-red cherry ice cream…it’s really different from the usual, and SO delicious.
    From Ad Hoc at Home – the chicken pot pie. The most detailed/specific recipe for pot pie I have ever seen, but it is worth it…definitely my favorite pot pie recipe, although a lot of work.
    From Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones – the basic chocolate ice cream (made with cocoa) tastes like an extra amazing version of a Wendy’s Frosty. So if you a Frosty fan, you should make this ice cream…it is SO GOOD.

    • Reply shannon January 13, 2013 at 10:06 am

      hi sara! this is such awesome help; it’s so great to have food blog friends!

      I made a goat cheese ice cream once and just adored it; this cherry one caught my eye, too. it’s going on my list along with the Ad Hoc pot pie – do you know i’ve never made a pot pie? like, ever. So i’m thrilled that this will be my first.

      i. love. wendy’s. Frosty! now, i haven’t had one in decades, but i still remember the taste, and i’d love to recreate that. I’m getting so excited about this project now! Thank you!

  • Reply natalie January 10, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    OMG YOU DIDN’T HAVE THE JENI’S COOKBOOK?!?!! HOW COULD YOU NOT HAVE HAD IT?!?!? I’m so excited for you. It made ice cream easy and approachable, for me, a girl who gets tired from looking at recipes. So, yeah. EXCITED! BF’s fave is the strawberry buttermilk (I made “drumsticks”/”bombas” of them… i died over the milkiest chocolate ice cream though… and the buckeye state (since i am a buckeye, after all)

    Ad hoc at home i have had for awhile now and I haven’t made nearly enough things from it. I’m always eyeing the fried chicken recipe, and he has such a lovely story to accompany it, and then I go and make like, pineapple upside down cake or something instead because… breading? aint nobody got time for that! It was really good upside down cake though…

    There’s some sort of cinnamon cake recipe in the SK cookbook that isn’t on her blog (i looked). please make it. pretty please? 🙂 thanks <3

    Bouchon? I think I'm going to make the fuhgeddaboutits first. because i had them in nyc and they were one of my (and besties) faves. and it's amazing, because IT'S SUCH A SIMPLE IDEA! so simple.

    I'm super excited

    • Reply shannon January 13, 2013 at 10:03 am

      no i didn’t have it! I KNOW I’M STUPID! 🙂 I had looked at it awhile back, and didn’t get it, although i should have. then it got close to christmas and i thought it should just go on the list. I did that vanilla one from an interview she did where she made this recipe. I LOVE buttermilk-based ice cream! Like so much…something about the tangy flavor of it. I figured you had made the chocolate and the buckeye, Buckeye. 🙂

      I think you’re the reason Ad Hoc went on my list this year; you had told me awhile back you had it and loved it, and i need more “cooking” books because yes; i’m a dessert defaulter because i’m less nervous making sweets.

      oh i saw the cinnamon cake? did it look like a big, naughty snickerdoodle? i can absolutely make that. CHECK.

      i saw the fuhgeddaboutits! those look gooooooood. this is going to be a great list!

  • Reply elizabeth January 11, 2013 at 11:10 am

    I actually don’t have any of these (Ad Hoc is on my wishlist for this year) so instead I’ll be following along, looking for new acquisition ideas! 🙂

    • Reply shannon January 13, 2013 at 9:55 am

      i can’t wait for you to get Ad Hoc! Based on what i’ve seen you make, I think you’d really like it; so much stuff in there, and some great ideas to build off of, i think. I’ll do my best to let you know how I feel about all of these books, but i bet the word “love” will be said frequently. 🙂

  • Reply Brianne January 11, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    I made the mushroom bourguignon from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook last weekend, and it was divine. It didn’t really come together until the end, and all my apprehension melted away upon my first taste of the stuff. Oh, so good.

    Also, I have a flickr stream, and I think it’s more trouble than it’s worth. I mean, all the big time bloggers use flickr, but it’s become far less social and more status quo photo storage, I think. Plus I have to pay for it.

    Creeper alert: are you on Instagram? I can’t find you. (I’m documentngdinnr.)

    • Reply shannon January 13, 2013 at 6:38 am

      ooooh, i bet; anything with mushrooms and i’d maybe sell my soul for it. I really like her directions/recipe writing style in this book, don’t you? I’m happy they let her like, BE the Deb we all know. That may be my new mantra for this year…”BE THE DEB.” 🙂 I like it when recipes sort of whirl themselves into perfection at the very end; it keeps you on your toes. Andrew Carmellini recipes always do that for me; it’s like “is it gonna…is it gonna…eeeeee…YES! it worked!”

      Hmmm..i did see when i was trying to set up Flickr something about paying over a certain storage amount, so i was going to determine if i would use that or if i’d stay under? So much research for photos…why can’t it just be easy?

      Instagram: well, Brianne, this is a story similar to my Twitter-incident. 🙂 I didn’t get kicked off, and i am on instagram, but i think i need a tutorial. not to take photos, but to figure out how to manage my photos? I’d love to use it for the blog, but all you’d see is photos of the Wee One and random other things. so if you know more than i do (undoubtedly you do), i need to know details on public vs. private, etc.

      MAN am i random about technology.

      • Reply Brianne January 13, 2013 at 1:34 pm

        Flickr kind of trapped me…when I had reached the upper storage limit, I was using it to store all my blog photos, so I just paid to keep all my images in order. And Instagram doesn’t have ways to share each photo publicly or privately that I can find…either your whole feed is public or it’s private. You’d think since Facebook bought them they would be rolling out new features like that. Technology is overwhelming sometimes!

        • Reply shannon January 15, 2013 at 10:23 am

          i see we are flickr friends now! i really need to work on that sometime here in the near future. i use other storage for my blog photos, so i’m going to try (since i know ahead of time about the limits) to keep it to like, selective things. i looked re: instagram public/private settings, so i guess it’s flickr for now! maybe someday, instagram, you will give me a choice to be both private AND public.

  • Reply Amrita January 11, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    Congrats on your Riverfront Times nom! That’s how I found you (I’m an STL food blogger too). I love the layout and style of your blog and can’t wait to read more.
    Great cookbook choices… if you want to go for simple, the cinnamon ice cream from Jeni’s is the best to start with: it gives you her ice cream base with a hefty dose of cinnamon–perfect to eat with pie and other such warm things in this weather.
    I made the vegetable gratin from Ad Hoc first, and then made it about 4 times since… always delicious/easy.
    As for the Bouchon cookbook, I think I was head over heels in love and did nothing but gaze lovingly at it for days… And then I made the devil’s food cake, the carrot muffins, and the eclairs, all amazing.
    Nice to meet you! 🙂

    • Reply shannon January 13, 2013 at 6:32 am

      Thank you so much, Amrita, and hi! it’s nice to meet you. I can’t believe i haven’t seen your blog sooner; it’s gorgeous! I always know i’m in love when the first things i see are espresso eclairs and pie pops – you’ve been making food for me for TOO LONG without me knowing it! I’m happy i don’t have to go without any longer. 🙂
      noted! Especially that veggie gratin; i was eyeing that one last night as i was wandering through Ad Hoc. Do you just want to throw up your hands and eat anything in there? I do. and i think “gaze lovingly” at it is all i’ve been doing with Bouchon; it’s crazy how cookbooks can delight/intimidate you, right? *happy sigh*
      Amrita, it’s great to know someone from STL finally! We’ll chat. 🙂

  • Reply movita beaucoup January 13, 2013 at 6:00 am

    Okay, this post made me want to do so many, many things with my own reading and blogging! It’s like you’ve just given ME a huge stack of new cookbooks to deal with! Also, I be rip-roarin’ excited about everything that’s gunna be happenin’ at your place. I’ve got some plans too – all post baking school, of course. Along those lines, someone just lent me the Bouchon cookbook, but I haven’t opened the cover yet. I haven’t dared…

    (When I’m baking I’m usually listening to a couple of songs on a loop and dancing. I’ve always thought I should include something like, “this muffin was brought to you by Justin Bieber and the Bee Gees. Props to Bruno Mars and some major toprockin’ and move bustin’.)

    • Reply shannon January 13, 2013 at 6:09 am

      inspiration post! i hope one of the things you may have in the works is a section on the blog for videos of you bustin’ sweet dance moves in the kitchen; i would enjoy that. And now i have that Bruno Mars song on my head that i MYSELF have been high-kicking to. Playlists are the best: i’m such a control freak that i can’t even have my MUSIC shuffle most days because i need to know exactly. what. is next. Take THAT, shuffle; i’ll make my own music destiny. Does your baking music depend on what you’re baking? I have music for bread and different music for cookies, etc.

      When you do open the Bouchon book, don’t be afraid if you hear some sort of choir and a rainbow reveals itself. it happened to me.

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