The Loving Kitchen, by LeAnn Rice, has been a fantastic book for me. Subtitled Downright Delicious Southern Recipes to Share with Family, Friends, and Neighbors, this is a book that lives up to its subtitle!
When I received the book, I basically opened it up at random, just to see what I would find. Initially, I was a bit put off and worried that I'd have a tough time writing this review. The first page I opened (pretty much smack-dab in the middle) had a recipe for Pistachio-Crusted Salmon with Cream Dijon Sauce on one side, and Tequila Shrimp Skewers on the other. Ummm, yeah. The last time we've sprung for either salmon or shrimp is, well, ummmm... hmmm....
Neither recipe is likely.
So I flipped open randomly further back. Tiramisu Parfaits and Rice Pudding greeted me on that page, two more recipes I cannot image making.
So I flipped to the front of the book, and saw Baked Crab Dip. Again, crab is not something I usually obtain.
I set the book down.
Mostly, because I really didn't have time, but partially because I thought this was full of frou-frou ingredients and I was just NEVER going to figure anything out to actually make from this book, and WHY did I agree to review it.
Dumb. I should've known better. That evening, when I had more than three minutes, I sat down and started at the front, with some post-it flags so I could mark any recipes I found that I *could* make.
I gave up on that idea. Seriously, other than the five I saw in my first glance, I pretty much want to make them all. The abundance of gorgeous photos helped with that desire.
One thing I love about this cookbook is that there are recipes for a whole lot of different things. Very few are too "out there" for my rice and beans budget.
We had just gotten a bunch of corn on the cob, so I tried a suggested variation of the Sweet Oven-Roasted Corn on the Cob right away, and oh, that is so much easier when cooking (and serving) a bunch of people.
Next, I tried the Roasted Potatoes with Bacon and Cheese. Yummm. And so easy.
And then I made Sloppy Joes. And my family requested I make them again a mere three hours later. I didn't. I waited until the next day.
It isn't just that there are a whole lot of really great recipes in here, using a pretty wide variety of ingredients. But at points, reading the recipes is just a lot of fun. Like a recipe for Whole Wheat Baked Penne with Vegetables. It ends with:
I mean really? Has she been watching me cook?Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and let site for 10 minutes. Go ahead. Sneak some of the crispy cheesy edges. You know you want to. Before serving, garnish with torn basil leaves. (They'll hide the missing edges so no one will be the wiser.)
It isn't every recipe that includes a comment like that, but enough of them do that it just makes me giggle.
Not only that, but there is so much seriously wonderful wisdom in the pages too. Admonitions to go ahead and just create and not to worry about perfection. To love on the people you can love on, to feed more than just their bodies.
A great cookbook. And now I'm going to go make some Apple Cider-Pumpkin Bread.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”