Monday, February 6, 2023

Miss Cecily's Recipes for Exceptional Ladies: The Roundup

Thanks to everyone who cooked along with Cecily, Kate and us this round of Cook the Books! It's time to roundup the entries inspired by Miss Cecily's Recipes for Exceptional Ladies by Vicky Zimmerman. I think most of us enjoyed the book, and I certainly enjoyed all of the delicious food it inspired. Get your drool cloths ready, because here we go!

First up is Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm found the book  "a delightful novel about accepting yourself, taking care of yourself and believing in yourself." Kudos to Wendy for joining us this month as she finished the book in the hospital after being hit by a car on a walk. She says, "I finished this book during that stint in the hospital.  When I returned home to continue my rehabilitation, my husband who had taken over all the household duties, was the perfect caregiver of all my needs, including meals. ... One night he made these chili lime chicken skewers, steamed rice and stir fry vegetables.  It was a delicious dinner and I thought that, if I were Miss Cecily, I would add it to my cookbook as "A Meal to Serve When Someone Comes Home from the Hospital After Being Smashed by a Truck."

Next was Camilla of Culinary Cam who stoped reading the book soon after starting, annoyed by Kate. She says, ..."Then, when I saw it pop back up in my calendar to post about the book, I picked it up again. And I'm glad I persisted, but because it ended up being a delightful read about friendship. And the recipes were quite inspiring!" For her dish Camilla says, "I read more about this new-to-me dish called Sole Véronique. Oh, and before anyone screams that this isn't a traditional Sole Véronique, I know. It's my take on the recipe with what I had on-hand.I will admit it's a rare evening when all three of my food critics (that's husband and two boys) agree that a dish is fantastic. This was one of those dishes. But you really can't go wrong with fresh fish, butter, cream, herbs, and roasted grapes! "

Cathy of Delaware Girl Eats said, 'I especially enjoyed the excerpts from the Food for Thought book such as “A cookbook should be equally at home on the kitchen shelf as the bedside table.  This cookbook was written not for those heroic housewives who, having produced a cordon bleu dinner for twenty, emerge from their kitchens triumphant.  I address, rather, the more easily dismayed to whom a gastronomic occasion is a challenge and a dilemma.”" And it inspired her Cheesy Baked Pasta Casserole, "This passage spurred thoughts of what I could make for the kids and was a great lead-in for a simple dinner of roasted asparagus and a pasta casserole laden with mushrooms. As it turned out, they enjoyed the meal so much that they all took “to go” bags home with them.Yea for grandma! Hope you enjoy too."

Amy of Amy's Cooking Adventures said, "Cecily's book and recipes within are definitely the highlight of the story. In the afterward, we find that Cecily inspired by the author's own grandmother and the the (out of print) cookbook did exist. I have to wonder what the real Cecily's family thinks about this since the author admits that book Cecily is far meaner than her real life counterpart. I really wish I could get my hands on the real cookbook and that seems like it would be a worthwhile read!" For her dish Amy says, "I had several recipes marked to try, but decided to stretch myself with Potatoes Pave, which sounded fancy and delicious. I tried the recipe a couple months back and failed epically... I almost left it at that and posted my failure (by this time, the book was back at the library, so I didn’t have a back up plan for something to make). ...And yet…I just couldn’t let that failure sit and decided to give it another shot and I’m so glad I did. ...the potatoes were great! They reminded me of hashbrowns - which are always a hit in this house!"

Co-Host Debra of Eliot's Eats said, "I was a bit skeptical from the title (and I do think an alternate title would have been better) but I loved this novel. It’s a foodie book, sort of a realistic romance (meaning it’s not sappy) and a tale of female friendship that spans generations." For her book-inspired dish Debra said, "I loved how Cecily titled her menu selections and one night I was just inspired (or actually not so much). In a total homage to Cecily and partially inspired by Kate’s “Pasta on Pasta” meal, I present the following. “When there’s no protein in the house and you’re not going to the store yet you don’t want to make plain spaghetti with red sauce (and you have mushrooms to use)” Her Tomato Two-Times Easy Pasta w/ Mushrooms turned out well, "Delicious and easy. The toasted almonds just adds the right amount of crunchiness. The basil adds the right freshness."

Co-Host Simona of briciole said, "The story shines a light on the importance of mentors in one's life. Miss Cecily is not an easy one, but Kate perseveres, understanding that the elderly woman's sometimes sharp words come from a place of affection and wisdom." For her dish Simona says that ... "Kate could prepare this Avocado Salad for Ben whom in the story she scolds for buying store-bought guacamole instead of preparing it fresh. The salad was inspired by the avocado salsa cruda recipe in The Latin Table by Isabel Cruz. The main ingredient change I made is the use of arugula (rucola) instead of cilantro (coriandolo)."

Co-Host Claudia of Honey From Rock deserves kudos for posting while still recovering from a bad fall, says, "I for one was in complete sympathy with the grumpy old lady, Miss Cecily. After a bad fall in early November, spending the last few months in recovery and not able to get around as before, sob, sob. Well, I'm back at my computer at least, which is also acting wonky. And, at the absolute deadline for the book post. On the plus side, Bob has been stalwart throughout, my chauffeur and really big help and companion, as well as a great sous chef for the relatively simple meals we put together." For her dish Claudia says, "Kate, for her newly inaugurated Supper Club offers two pastas, against all tradition: tagliarini with crab, followed by pappardelle with cream, pancetta and new season's asparagus. With, Prosecco served for all. As it turns out, the grocer didn't have enough asparagus, so she subbed in green peas. There you have it. ... I was inspired to put a pasta dish together with the fresh green pea pods we had picked up from the market.Nothing too fussy, but I think in sync with the book. Especially with a nice glass of Prosecco. Meal For a Recovering Invalid and Her Sous Chef. He's very good at chopping things and stirring!"

Finally, at Kahakai Kitchen, I started out unsure of my book pick because I wasn't a fan of either Kate or Cecily, but they both won me over and I enjoyed the book --especially the recipe titles from the cookbook. Having another not-so-great couple of months with health flareups and crazy work schedule, I went for a Quick & Easy Shrimp Scampi Pasta, inspired by the fried scampi Kate cooks for the jerky Nick and the pastas Kate cooks for her pop-up dinner party. Informally this dish could be called:A Quick But Indulgent Dinner When You are Tired as Hell. I enjoyed it in a bowl with chopsticks, consumed on the couch after work while binging a new tv show. I highly recommend both the pasta and the show. 

I think I have posted all of the tasty entries for this round, but please let me know if I missed anyone. 

I will now turn things over to Claudia of Honey From Rock with our February/March selection, The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan

Happy Reading and Cooking!


Deb of Kahakai Kitchen


A Day in the Life on the Farm said...

Thanks Deb. What's the tv show that you are binging on?

Simona Carini said...

Nice roundup: thank you, Deb :)

Deb in Hawaii said...

Thank you Wendy and Simona.
Wendy, the show is Pokerface on Peacock! So good!

Debra Eliotseats said...

So many recipes this month! Great participation. Thanks for hosting, Deb. (Love Pokerface, too, but not in on this conversation.)