Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Meatballs, Blue Cheese Pecan Logs, and Iguanas

Those who know me, know about my little obsession. Those who love me, tolerate and even enable me in it. What is IT? IT is that I am obsessed with cookbooks. I love cookbooks. I love reading them, owning them, sharing and giving them as gifts (and getting them as gifts), and talking about them. I have always been a reader, but I soon discovered during the early stages of parenting young children that one's 'free time' occurs in increments of about 2 minutes, TOPS. Immersing myself in the plot of a novel became a thing of the B.C. (before children) past, but I discovered that being interrupted from reading a cookbook didn't break the thread. I could open a cookbook to any page and read the recipe, close it, open it again to another (or the same) page and continue reading, and pick up the thread of their style of cooking, the feel of their food and kitchen, and through their food (the same as with some blogs) -the taste of another life.

These three cookbooks were recent gifts -all quite different from each other and all with their own unique merits. The Meatball Cookbook Bible by Ellen Brown kicked off my proclaiming 2011 to be The Year of the Meatball and if you have been following here, you've probably seen some of my weekly meatball recipe posts -and more will follow.

My son gave me The Complete Southern Cookbook by Tammy Algood and I have the Four-Layer Coconut Cake recipe in it flagged. The same son has requested a chocolate layer cake for this weekend -and I'll happily be indulging him with this request- so it will have to wait. Valentine's Day, maybe? For the skg's holiday party, I made her Blue Cheese Pecan Log recipe (she adds parsley, I leave it out), and this appetizer would be great for a Valentine Day party or dinner (I'll halve the recipe for a small dinner).

Blue Cheese Pecan Logs
Mix in food processor:
8 oz. cream cheese
4 oz. Rogue River Smokey Blue Cheese
3/4 c. shredded Tillamook Cheddar Cheese
1/4 c. minced onion
1 T. Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 c. finely chopped pecans
Refrigerate one hour. Shape into two logs. Divide 1/2 c. pecans in half and roll and coat each log separately. Wrap in plastic and/or store in an airtight container in the fridge. Serve with crackers -and some Red Pepper Jam or Jelly!

Oaxaca al Gusto by Diane Kennedy was a gift from my husband and is just the sort of book I love, even if I never cook from it. Diane Kennedy is the Grand Dame of Mexican cooking, AND she is always such a good read, giving the reader the FEEL of actually being there and seeing the people, the places and the foods. She describes the entire food experience and culture on a level that at times practically makes me jump up and shout, "Yeah!" football-fan-style, and at other times simply sigh contently. I won't be scoring an iguana and preparing it for dinner tonight, or tracking down those special peppers that only grow in a particular part of Mexico, but I really, really like reading about her doing those very things. And though I'm more likely to make a Mexican meal like this (click here), after reading Oaxaca al Gusto, I feel as if I actually have been in Mexico, catching and cooking that iguana, and I know how to do it, now.


  1. I got to personally taste test these ~ your Blue Cheese Pecan Logs are delicious, Tamra! I was going to ask you for the recipe and now I don't have to! And I have owned an iguana (and a turtle ~ early Valentine's gifts from my then-boyfriend-now-husband) but have never eaten one...

    I think I'll stick to Mexican soup ;)

  2. Mel, Please forgive me for nonchalantly talking about eating an animal you once kept as a pet...I have a tendency to do that here. I'm with you on sticking to eating Mexican soup rather than an iguana!

  3. someone, somewhere is always going to think of something you eat as a pet, so nothing to apologize for!