I positively love to cook. It is one of the things in life that just really gets me in the zone and it is so satisfying. I learned to cook through various cookbooks, and I still love to use them, even with all the great information that is out there on the internet... I just love to hold the books in my hand, and lay in bed reading them (yes, I read cookbooks in bed!) So each month, I am going to feature a cookbook of the month.
This month’s feature is Simply in Season by Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert. This cookbook was a wedding gift from our friend Lex, and it is truly a gem. It breaks down the recipes by season, which I really love. While all the seasons are great, and I tend to use this cookbook throughout the year, I have found I use it the most in the summer season.
The summer recipes are amazing, easy, and so fresh... and with the abundance of fruits and veggies in the summertime, it’s easy to find the ingredients for the recipes. The real hook though? The canning recipes!
I am REALLY into canning. It all started last year when my mother-in-law, Chris, and I started canning together. Our hobby has expanded since last year, and now, thanks to this cookbook, I am well on my way to eating yummy canned good all year long.
Summer Squash Skillet, is a summery mix of zucchini and squash with onions, salt, and pepper and this particular recipe gives you “options” of how to make it. It’s a great way to use up squash as a yummy side dish!
Okra Recipes, there are several okra recipes in the book, and I made two: Fried Okra, and Okra Sauté. The fried okra recipe was my favorite of the two, though both were really awesome! I highly recommend the fried okra, though, as it was easy, and as my father in law said, “tastes like candy!”
Okay, I said I was into canning, and since I have progressed in my skill set since last year, I was ready to take on more complicated recipes. The best part is, these recipes aren’t really all that complicated. I guess canning is half about timing, and the other half about following directions. Either way, I certainly think this cookbook is a winner for it’s canning recipes!
I love bruschetta, and if you, like me, have ever bought it in the store, you know how expensive it can be. Good bruschetta preserve can cost upwards of $10 a bottle!!! This recipe was fairly easy to accomplish, though, I doubled it because I was splitting the bounty with my mother in law. From doubling the recipe, we ended up with 5 pints and 5 half pints of bruschetta.... who going to be eating yummy bruschetta on homemade bread this winter? ME!
Hot Pepper Marmalade:
I had never made a hot pepper marmalade, but when my mother in law suggested it, I thought, “hey why not! We’ve got a recipe for that!” Having a food processor to process the peppers makes this recipe a ton easier, and we actually did it two ways. First, we followed the recipe exactly, which yielded us 5 half pints (not the 6 the recipe said it would).
Next, we doubled the recipe and replaced the chili peppers with jalapeño peppers (because we had an abundance of them) and we got 10 half pints of jalapeño pepper marmalade. YUM! This will be delicious served over cream cheese with crackers, especially around the holidays... and I can’t wait to share it with friends!!!
Some other things from the cookbook I am planning on making? The fruit platz (a traditional mennonite dessert) and pickled green beans (which taste wonderful as a bloody mary garnish!!)
On a scale of 1 to 5 stars, I am giving this cookbook 4 stars! This cookbook comes in handy all year long while also educating the reader (and cook) on what is in season!