New cookbooks

I inherited a Barnes & Noble gift card over the weekend and this morning I made a visit to the big store downtown. I haven’t been there in years, I think, and these days when I get books I either go to the library or get them from Amazon.com. So I spent some time perusing around the store. I sat down and browsed/read Eat This, Not That. I was waiting to get this from the library, but haven’t gotten it yet. It was an interesting little read. I don’t eat at chain places much so this was pretty irrelevant for me, but it might be useful for someone that does go to chain places a lot.

I ended up buying two cookbooks:

Not Your Mother’s Weeknight Cooking by Beth Hensperger, which looks like it will be another good go-to cookbook for me for quick meals. I already own Hensperger’s Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Recipes for Two and started using it pretty regularly after I got it last year. I really like the writer’s style and that they provide such easily accessible recipes.

And I purchased Nestle Classic Recipes. As the title suggests, this cookbook has all of the classic Nestle recipes…the Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies, my favorite Butterscotch Oatmeal Scotchies and a bunch of mouthwatering, tasty cookies, brownies, and sweets. I really can’t wait to try them all. 🙂

I will leave with a video clip from Friends where Monica tries to find out Phoebe’s grandmother’s cookie recipe, which ends up being the recipe for Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe:

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Dilbert Comics

I remember about 10-12 years ago when I was in high school and read the newspaper comics every day. I liked Drabble and liked Peanuts. I kinda liked Garfield. I didn’t really get into Boondocks until college. I really didn’t understand Dilbert at all and found no humor in it at all.

Fast forward about 10 years and now I *love* Dilbert! It’s probably because I’ve been working now and have worked with all types of odd personalities. Interestingly and probably unfortunately, I can *so* identify with so many situations from Dilbert or really laugh at them because I can imagine that happening. I guess now that I’m a “grown-up” I completely get Dilbert and now consider it one of my favorites.

There were a few strips this week that I really loved and I’ll post here some of my favorite recent ones, and please pardon the formatting:

Tasty and quick fast food

As anyone that knows me knows, I can get so very much into cooking. I’ve tried all types of cuisines, am a collector of cookbooks and subscriber to Vegetarian Times (though I’m not a vegetarian…they really do have fabulous recipes) and Cooking Light. I try to catch the PBS cooking shows like America’s Test Kitchen , Lidia and Ciao Italia. Rachael Ray can be pretty annoying, but I do like watching her show and like her recipes and even have two of her cookbooks. When I do cook I definitely tend towards the food snob side and know where to go to get pretty much any ingredient. Luckily in Philadelphia I have access to many ethnic markets and great farmer’s markets. Reading Terminal Market is pretty much my favorite place in the city, though I don’t get there as often as I’d like.

Anyway, life has been pretty nutty for me lately and I haven’t had the energy nor the real drive to cook like I usually do, especially during the week. So my latest after-a-long-day dinner has been a very quick, easy and generally healthy recipe. I buy some very plain fish, usually flounder or tilapia. These fish are usually pretty inexpensive and have a very light texture. So, after rinsing off my filets, I dry them off using a paper towel and dip them in egg. I’ve actually been using the store brand of Egg Beaters since they don’t require beating, hence are less work for me. 🙂

So, I dip the fish in beaten egg or Egg Beaters and proceed to dip them in a bath of panko. In the meantime, I start to heat up about 1-2 inches of vegetable oil in my deep skillet. I put my panko covered fish in the skillet and let it fry for about 2-3 minutes each side and that is it. They come out good and crispy and I actually like them with some mayonnaise as a topping. I guess it does sound greasy, but it does give me a quick meal that does feel like “junk” food that’s still marginally healthy and doesn’t have me spending money for takeout, which probably is more junky and full of mystery chemicals.

And I usually have either plain blanched spinach on the side or a handful of romaine lettuce tossed with olive oil & red wine vinegar.

That has been my cooking lesson for today, kids. 🙂 And in my usual tradition, I will leave with a video. How about some humor from America’s Test Kitchen:

Goodnight Bush

My mom read me Goodnight Moon all the time when I was a child. So, I’m a little sentimental about the book. That same mom pointed me to this new book that’s coming out, Goodnight Bush. It sound interesting. As for me, I’m not so sentimental about the book that I’m offended by this parody…I love the idea!

Open Goodnight Bush: An Unauthorized Parody, and you might recognize the cozy green room with striped curtains, a fire glowing in the fireplace, a full moon outside in the starry sky.

But look closer and you’ll see that the painting over the fireplace shows an oil derrick with stealth bombers flying around it. In the fireplace, there’s a ballot box burning that says “Florida 2000.” And snaking around the side of the fireplace is a tiny microphone.

Goodnight Bush riffs off Margaret Wise Brown’s classic children’s book Goodnight Moon to satirize the Bush administration, co-authors Erich Origen and Gan Golan tell NPR’s Melissa Block.

In place of the bunny rabbit character in the children’s book, a child-like George Bush is tucked safely in bed “surrounded by toys that represent different facets of the Bush administration’s legacy,” Golan says. A tiny Osama bin Laden peeks out from many of the pages, and a shotgun-toting Dick Cheney whispers, “Hush.”

Those who hold the original dear to their hearts might say Goodnight Bush amounts to sacrilege, that Origen and Golan have turned something beloved into something really dark. One illustration, for example, shows a plane knocking over two towers made of building blocks, and it says “Goodnight towers,” a reference to the World Trade Center towers destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001.

“The book obviously isn’t for children,” Origen says. “At the same time, it lets us look at the past eight years through the eyes of a child. And it lets us see how far Bush’s reality is from the reality anyone would want for their children.”

The authors say the book is illustrated with “naked simplicity” to show respect and sensitivity.

“I think people really understand there’s a real poignancy to many of those images, and that’s the way it was intended,” Golan says, “because the last eight years have been full of all these tragic incidents and it’s really that combination of kind of flippant absurdity that we’ve sometimes seen from the president, and that’s in the book, but at the same time a real seriousness about what it is that we’ve lost.”

And here are some pictures: