The Spoils of Cookbook Testing

I’ve been testing so many recipes for other people lately that I rarely get to use my cookbooks anymore, not that I’m complaining, the recipes have been top notch so far. Like take these veggie fajitas for instance:

These bad boys from Kim’s recipe collection may not look like anything special but holy hell were they tasty. I’ve yet to see any soy curls floating around Calgary but I just so happened to have half a bag left from a care package swap I did a while back, so I sacrificed the remaining pieces to make these fajitas, and it was so worth it! I’m not one to rave about fajitas since I’m not normally a big fan but the marinade she created was so good I could have drank it (don’t judge, you would totally do the same if you tried it). A subtle smokey heat with a lovely citrus flavour, this is by far the best recipe for fajitas I’ve tried so far. When she finally releases her book you should go out and buy it for this recipe alone.

Speaking of amazingly flavourful meals I’ve had recently, this Drenched Pad Thai Salad from Allyson was packed with so much taste. There are so many different things in this salad that make it awesome, marinated grilled tofu, tropical fruit, zucchini noodles, a delicious dressing, totally perfect for a summer meal. I even got to try out my new indoor grill that I won recently at a golf tournament (I’m not good at golf, it was one of those everyone’s a winner kind of prizes), which is pretty awesome for when you’re not in the mood to fire up the bbq. When I first started putting the salad all together I was worried that it was going to be overly sweet but it ended up being fresh, sweet with a bit savoury to balance it out. Throw some sriracha on and this made a very satisfying meal.

I don’t eat pasta very often, but I’m a pretty big fan of pasta salad and I was intrigued by the creative version Carla came up with for a Curried Pasta Salad. There is no mayo to be found in this recipe, which was a nice change but even without the mayo the other ingredients that are combined add a bit of creaminess to the salad. My curry powder was on the bland side, but the dressing ingredients mixed with the add ins of green onions, peanuts and other things (I can’t give it all away!) really enhanced the dish, but I really need to get some better quality curry, the flavour of the stuff I have is just kind of sad..

Along with the pasta salad I also whipped up this Green Bean Waldorf Salad, also by Carla. Now I’ve never had a waldorf salad before, so I have no idea what it tastes like or what ingredients go in it but either way I thought Carla’s version was pretty good. I love eating fresh green beans in the summer, so maybe I’m a little biased towards a salad that contains said green beans, but I thought the ingredient combination was perfect, each item had a different type of ‘crunch’ that it seemed to bring to the table, and since I’m such a stickler when it comes to texture, this one was a-ok in my books.

Mmmm, I loves me some sauerkraut

I don’t know if I’ve declared my love for smoked tofu on my blog before but if I could marry an inanimate object, me and smoked tofu would live happily ever after…although I don’t think P would be thrilled about that idea. Anywhoo, I’m a big fan. So when I saw that it was one of the ingredients in Carla’s Soba Noodle Salad, it quickly rose to the top of my ‘to make’ list. This was unbelievable quick to make and pantry friendly too, besides for the bok choi that is, I find it too watery for most things and don’t by it very often. The sauce for the salad had a nice subtle smokey flavour and was slightly salty, in a good way. I know it’s called a salad but it makes a pretty great meal in a bowl, you got your veggies, your grains and your protein and you don’t feel heavy after you’ve eaten, what more can you ask for?

Have I mentioned I’m on a salad kick lately? Uh, yeah. As you may know, I can’t seem to pass up the opportunity to add peanut butter to something, so I thought making Carla’s Peanut Rice Noodle Salad would be a good choice. I like rice noodles, but man are they a pain in the ass to deal with, unless your just going to throw the whole package in the pot, I’ve never seemed to master the ability to crack the package in half without making a huge mess. So if someone knows how to do this please enlighten me, I’m still finding pieces of noodles in crevasses of our kitchen. The flavour of this salad is Thai inspired, kind of like pad thai but kind of not. There’s a bit of heat and a bit of lime that shines through and even though there’s peanut butter in the dish, it doesn’t seem to overpower the other ingredients. One of the best things about this dish is that if you don’t have any of the fresh vegetables listed you can always sub in whatever you may have in your fridge, just make sure it’s something crunchy, trust a girl who knows her textures.

4 thoughts on “The Spoils of Cookbook Testing

  1. Two comments! You can find soy curls at the ABC (adventist book centre) bookmobile when it comes to town. It’s a tractor trailer that comes to the Calgary Central Church (1920– 13th Ave NW) once a month for two days. It’s usually a Tuesday and Wednesday, the next two visits are August 30 & 31 and September 20 & 21. (Tuesday 12-7pm and Wednesday 10:00 am- 5pm) You can email them to get put on the mailing list, which has future dates/times and monthly specials. (albertabookmobile@pacificpress.com) The soy curls aren’t that cheap though, but it’s nice to have a local supplier. Also, they have large packages of daiya if that’s your thing.
    Second comment! I usually get a vietnamese style of rice noodles, usually Golden Swallow brand (http://www.orientdeli.com/rice_list/0082%20rice%20vermicelli%20g%20swallow.gif) and they come in little bundles of eight per package so you don’t have to worry about breaking them,it’s much more convenient! I have only seen the thin style of vermicelli like this though, so you are probably still doomed for mess if using the thicker styles noodles.

  2. soooooo much amazing food in this post. I want the recipe for that marinade! I’ll have to keep an eye out for that book when it comes out.

    I have a bunch of different curry powders but I was really surprised when the two flavors that i bought from Williams Somona ended up being the ones that i use the most. I have a red and a yellow and I add them to almost everything.. esp when bbqing.

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