Posts Tagged cooking

Cookies Anyone?

by John Pecoraro, Assistant Director

Who doesn’t want a cookie right now? Children, adults, even big, blue, furry monsters love cookies. They can be round, square, flat, fat, soft, crisp, with nuts, chocolate, coconut, or fruit. The cookie combinations are endless. Everyone has their favorite, but the most popular cookie in the United States is the chocolate chip variety. Today, 25% of all the cookies baked in the United States are chocolate chip.

The library is the place to go for cookie cookbooks. “The Great American Chocolate Chip Cookie Book,” by Carolyn Wyman offers a fun, historical perspective on this popular cookie. She traces the development of the chocolate chip cookie from its 1930 inception at the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts, and expands it to include recipes inspired by cookbooks, chefs, and businesses. She also profiles famous cookie makers such as Otis Spunkmeyer and Famous Amos.

 

Nothing says love like a warm, home-made cookie. In today’s busy world, however, we sometimes have to settle for store-bought. Not to worry. Christi Farr Johnstone shows how to jazz up those store-bought cookies in “Smart Cookie: Transform Store-Bought Cookies into Amazing Treats.” By following the 50 decorating designs included, readers of all ages can turn store-bought cookies into eye-catching custom creations. In each project, Johnstone presents easy techniques so that the recipes require minimal time and equipment and no baking.

For those of us short on time there is also “Slice and Bake Cookies: Fast Recipes from your Refrigerator or Freezer,” by Elinor Klivans. The author shares 50 recipes that are quick to mix up, stash in the refrigerator or freezer, and have ready when the cookie monster in your house raises his hungry head. Included are classics such as old-fashioned oatmeal raisin cookies and Linzer hearts, and modern takes on savory cookies and crackers.

There’s a cookie recipe for every day of the year, and you can sample them all in “The Daily Cookie: 365 Tempting Treats for the Sweetest Year of your Life.” Blogger and Pillsbury Bake-Off grand prize-winner Anna Ginsberg includes recipes for cookies, brownies, and bars for celebrating major holidays and every-day events. Her categorical indexes make it easy for readers to browse recipes by type, pan size, or batch size.

 

Cookies can be plain or fancy. For those looking for a truly high class cookie, look no farther than “The Gourmet Cookie Book,” by the publishers of “Gourmet” magazine. This book includes the Gourmet Magazine’s best cookie recipe for every year from 1941 through 2009. The recipes reflect changes in American tastes, such as the prevalence of coconut in the 1960s, and espresso in the 1990s.

Whether you called their biscuits or biscottis, cookies are a world-wide phenomenon. Try out some of the many recipes included in “Cookies: 1,001 Mouthwatering Recipes from Around the World,” by the publishers of “Reader’s Digest.” All kinds of cookies are represented: drop cookies, rolled cookies, brownies, icebox cookies, tea cakes, macaroons and more. Following the recipes in this book, an ambitious baker could bake a different cookie every weekend for 19 years without repeating a recipe.

Sometimes it’s a challenge getting the cookies in the oven before the cookie dough is eaten, raw eggs and all. Lindsay Landis offers an egg-free alternative in her “The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook.” Using her cookie dough, you can make dozens of delicious cookie dough creations from cakes, pies, candies, and even cookies.

May 15 is National Chocolate Chip Day. Ruth Graves Wakefield’s creation of the original chocolate chip cookie was a happy accident. Ruth intended to bake chocolate cookies for her guests, but she ran out of baker’s chocolate. When she substituted chopped up semi-sweet chocolate, she discovered that the pieces did not melt into the dough as she expected. Her cookies were an instant hit, and they still are today.

 

 

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 Discover Your Passion

by Brian Ingalsbe, Youth Services Library Assistant

Spring break officially begins tomorrow, and most – if not all – of our children are ready for a FULL WEEK of relaxation. What will they do with that week? If they’re like me, they’ll spend the first few days splurging on all of their favorite activities and pastimes. But what then? Take them to Manhattan Public Library to discover their next great passion. How? Well, I have just the answer for you!

Have fun

During the week of spring break the Youth Services department is having several fantastic programs that both you and your child can enjoy. You can find information about any of these events in three ways: 1) visit our website at mhklibrary.org and click on the events tab, 2) grab a March monthly calendar at any of our service desks, or 3) ask any of our staff!

Take a book trip

If you think that you need to physically move to go on a journey, then you have never read a good book. Stories of all kinds can transport you to vast worlds – both imaginary and real. Half of the fun of reading is escaping your humdrum routine for something a bit more exhilarating. As a lover of fantasy fiction, I understand this as well as anyone. If this is the kind of read you love, here are a few great books for you.

Savvy by Ingrid Law – For generations, the Beaumont family has inherited a magical secret. Each family member is endowed with “Savvy”, a special ability on their thirteenth birthday. On the eve of Mibs’s birthday, her father is in a terrible accident. Determined to prove her magic can save him, she hitches a ride on an ordinary bus, which is headed in the wrong direction.

School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani – Agatha and Sophie live in a world outside of the magical forest. Agatha is always glum and gloomy; Sophie is cheery and happy as can be. When these two unlikely friends are abducted to the School for Good and Evil they learn that appearances are not always what they seem.

If you don’t fancy fiction, nonfiction is another viable option. It is always fun to choose a geographic location and immerse yourself in a culture and way of life. Here are some great nonfiction series that accomplish this.

Scholastic’s Enchantment of the World – This series focuses on different countries around the world. This series is great because it addresses many of the different factors that makes each country unique – including its people, land features, religious practices, and even national pastimes! This series is broken up with numerous pictures, which makes it much less intimidating for children.

America the Beautiful This series – also published by Scholastic – focuses on the diversity of the each of our 50 states. Each book addresses the state’s basic information – such as history, government, and economy. I love this series because it utilizes fun fact trackers including graphs, FAQ’s, wow factors, and travel guides. You and your child will love learning about a new state with this fun and engaging series!

Learn a new skill

When you’ve had your fill of travel, you can come back to MPL and grab some amazing books to explore your next great hobby or pastime – or just satisfy your thirst to learn something new. When I think about exploring a new hobby, there are several activities and books that pop into my head!

Learn to Draw – This series is great for children who crave creativity. Each book in the series explores different ways to draw various subjects – including animals, transportation, and even your favorite Disney characters! These books not only teach you how to draw well, they also include mini quizzes and fun facts on every page. How cool is that?

Easy Menu Ethnic Cookbooks – This series of cookbooks features authentic and easy-to-replicate recipes from all over the world. Cooking is something fun that you can do with any of your loved ones, and what better way than to explore a new cuisine together?

No matter what their passions may be, MPL has something for your children! Our staff is always ready to help you find your next great read, explore the online world, or answer any question you may have. You can contact the Youth Services Department staff at kidstaff@mhklibrary.org or (785)776-4741 ext. 400.

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Spin That Dough, its National Pizza Month

by John Pecoraro ,  Assistant Director

Something vaguely similar to pizza has existed for thousands of years, but it wasn’t until the lowly, new world, tomato arrived in Europe that the pizza we know and love today became a possibility. Thought for years to be poisonous (as a member of the nightshade family), tomatoes had become a regular part of the diet of the southern Italian poor by the late 18th century. Pizza crossed the Atlantic to America along with Italian immigrants in the late 19th century.

As testament to how much we Americans enjoy pizza, consider that there are 70,000 pizzerias in the U.S., and that annual pizza sales revenue is 32 billion dollars. Three billion pizzas are sold in the U.S. every year, with the average consumer eating 46 slices (usually not at one sitting). An estimated 93% of Americans eat at least one piece of pizza early month, with more pizza consumed during Super Bowl week than at any other time of the year.

Since October is designated National Pizza Month, take the opportunity to sample some of the books about this delectable round (and sometimes rectangular) food.

In “Truly Madly Pizza,” food stylist Suzanne Lenzer sings the praises of pizza as a blank slate happy to be topped with whatever you’ve got floating around your refrigerator. Take a really good crust and have fun repurposing leftovers. What could possibly go wrong? Lenzer begins with one incredibly easy recipe for pizza crust, followed by hundreds of sauces, spreads, and topping combinations to make pizza a nightly affair.

Eleven time world pizza champion, Tony Gemignani, offers a collection of over 100 recipes in “The Pizza Bible.” This is a comprehensive guide to making pizza, covering nine regional styles including Neapolitan, Roman, and Chicago.

Just what are the differences in pizza styles? Neapolitan is tomatoes, garlic, and oregano (pizza marinara) or tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil (pizza margarita). Sicilian is thick-crusted, deep-dish, and usually rectangular in shape. Chicago style is the ultimate deep-dish pizza, baked in a high-edged pan with large amounts of cheese and chunky tomatoes. New York style is traditionally hand-tossed, covered with marinara sauce and cheese, and its oversized slices often eaten folded in half.

You don’t necessarily need a brick oven to cook delicious pizza. In “Grilled Pizza the Right Way,” barbecue champion John Delpha, reveals the best techniques for cooking perfect pizza on your outdoor grill. The results are pizzas with a crunchy crust, perfectly melted cheese, and a smoky flavor.

You can get quite a workout kneading pizza dough, but for a less strenuous experience, Jim Lahey presents “My Pizza: the Easy No-Knead Way to Make Spectacular Pizza at Home.” You do have to be patient with your dough, which has to rest unkneaded and unattended for eighteen hours. After the dough, the sky’s the limit, and Lahey’s recipes include innovations beyond tomato, cheese, and pepperoni.

“The Pizza Book,” by Evelyne Slomon, claims to explain everything there is to know about the world’s greatest pie. Included are more 200 easy-to-follow recipes, and advice about ingredients, equipment and technique.

Over the years pizza has become one of America’s most popular foods, especially in school lunchrooms. In her “Pizza: a Global History,” Carol Helstosky explains how pizza has been adapted to local cuisines and has become a metaphor for cultural exchange. Her book also features several recipes and a wealth of illustrations.

Pizza goes great with everything, especially when it’s free. Last April, Director J.J. Abrams bought pizza for 1,500 fans waiting in line for a Star Wars event in Anaheim, California. And speaking of Star Wars, the library celebrates Star Wars Reads Day on Saturday, October 10. Activities including crafts, trivia, selfie photo booth, and a Yoda impersonator contest begin at 11:00. The will be a showing of the movie that started it all at 1:00

Whether you enjoy your pizza delivered to your home or office, picked up from a pizzeria or supermarket, savored as you dine at your favorite pizza place, or love to make your own, October is the month to indulge your pizza fantasies. Happy National Pizza Month.

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A Summer of Salads or Burgers, You Decide

by John Pecoraro, Assistant Director

May is National Salad Month, so that’s good news for those of us who want to eat lean and green this summer. May is also National Hamburger Month. That’s also good news for those of us who love all things burgers and grilling. There’s no reason in the world that you can’t enjoy both.

For  salad lovers, Manhattan Public Library has a wide variety of books available. You don’t have to be a vegan to appreciate “Salad Samurai,” by Terry Hope Romero. This book includes 100 cutting-edge, ultra-healthy, and easy-to-make salads. Based on whole food ingredients and seasonal produce, these versatile recipes are organized by season. Selections for gluten-free and raw-ready options are also included.

If you’re looking for salads a little out of the ordinary, look no farther than “Salads Beyond the Bowl,” by Mindy Fox. This author pairs produce with grains, beans, legumes, cheeses, fish, and meat to create extraordinary salads as starters or main courses. One-hundred inspired recipes are included with flavors from a variety of cuisines, such as Cubanelle Peppers and Ricotta Salata, and Peanut Soba and Chicken Salad with Lime.

Salads are usually considered part of the sideshow to a meal, but often the salad can be the meal itself. In “Salad as a Meal: Healthy Main-Dish Salads for Every Season,” Patricia Wells gives readers hundreds of delectable ideas for main course salads. She also includes recipes for breads of all kinds, including Crispy Flatbread, Tortilla Chips, Ham and Cheese Bread, and Multigrain Sourdough Bread. “Salad Suppers,” by Andrea Chesman, is another source of fresh inspirations for satisfying one-dish meals. From Warm Asparagus and New Potato Salad with Pan-Seared Trout to Vietnamese Beef Salad, Chesman includes plenty of healthful possibilities.

You can find more information on the national celebration of salad at http://www.saladaday.org, or http://www.gone-ta-pott.com/national_salad_month.html.

So maybe the greens aren’t for you. If burgers are what you crave, checkout “The Book of Burger,” by Rachael Ray. This cookbook is packed with over 300 recipes for burgers, sliders, sides, sloppies, hot dogs, sandwiches, sauces, toppings and more. Burger recipes are as varied as Turkey Tikka Burgers with Indian Corn, to Mac ‘n’ Cheese-Burger Sliders, and Spicy Spanish Meatball Subs.

Or try “Bobby Flay’s Burgers, Fries, & Shakes” by Chef Bobby Flay. It doesn’t get much better than a burger, fries, and a shake, and Flay shows you how to do it right from the shape of the burger to what you put on top. Try the Santa Fe Burger, topped with a blistered poblano, queso sauce, and crumbled blue corn tortilla chips.

One hundred recipes for mouthwatering burgers every day every way is the claim of “The Great Big Burger Book,’ by Jane Murphy. These burgers aren’t limited to beef, but include burgers made with chicken, turkey, duck, fish and shellfish, and veggie burgers too. The average American consumes three hamburgers a week. So to avoid growing bored with the same old hamburger, Murphy offers recipes for Barbecue Cheese Burgers, Pecan Pesto Turkey Burgers with Caramelized Fennel, and Salmon Burgers in Grape Leaves.

There is a burger for every occasion and every taste, and “Burgers: From Barbecue Ranch Burger to Miso Salmon Burger” by Paul Gayler covers them all. The 100 innovative and fascinating recipes include almost every meat imaginable. The final chapter of the book is all about accompaniments with ideas for salsas, relishes, and dips as well as varieties of breads that can be used if you’re tired of the same old sesame seed bun.

Get all the beef on National Hamburger Month at http://www.gone-ta-pott.com/national_hamburger_month.html.

There is no need to feel conflicted this month. Salads for the green-eaters, and burgers for the carnivores, or, why not have your salad and eat your hamburger too. Discover the many possibilities at the library.

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M-m-m-m Chocolate!

hersheysHershey’s Chocolate was founded February 9, 1894. “How Sweet It Is” and has continued to be– for 121 years.

pureManhattan Public Library  has many wonderful books  about chocolate– both nonfiction and stories. Certainly we have cookbooks:  Pure Chocolate: Divine Desserts and Sweets by Fran Bigelow; The Great American Chocolate Chip Cookie Book by Carolyn Wyman;  The Mrs. Fields I Love Chocolate Cookbook by Debbi Fields; and Making Your Own Gourmet Chocolate Drinks  by Mathew Tekulsky.

You will find stories with “chocolate” in the title just to tempt you. Sweeten your day with Better Than Chocolate by Sheila Roberts;  White Chocolate Moments by Lori Wick; and an old favorite:  Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel.

cookiesMysteries abound:  Death of a Chocoholic by Lee Hollis; The Chocolate Snowman Murders by JoAnna Carl;  Chocolate Covered Murder by Leslie Meier; and  Dying for Chocolate by Diane Mott Davidson

You may enjoy this amusing and honest memoir:  Chocolate & Vicodin, My Quest for Relief… by Jeanette Fulda

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Souper Bowl Soups are Needed

by Mary, Adult Services Librarian

sundayDo you have any extra cans of soup in your pantry to share?  This weekend is the almighty Super Bowl, and Bill Kennedy has been coordinating and promoting it as Souper Bowl Sunday for a number of years.  “Long after a day when most of us celebrate with food and drink and relaxation, hunger will remain…   From 9a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, January 31, volunteers will be collecting canned food at each of Manhattan’s grocery stores.  Also every church and organization in the area can likewise collect food for hungry people.”

We all can enjoy thinking about the warmth soup can bring to us in the winter. In fact February 4th is National Homemade Soup Day.

 

Why not try Grammy’s Broccoli Soup from the food.com website.

1 bunch broccoli, cut up

1/2 cup diced celery

1/2 cup diced carrot

1 quart water

2 -4 chicken bouillon cubes

3 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 cup flour

1 quart milk (2% or whole is best)

4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

1.Combine broccoli, celery, carrots, water, and chicken bouillon in a large soup pot. Boil 20-30 minutes.

2.While vegetables are cooking – In a saucepan, saute onion in butter until tender.

3.Add cornstarch and flour to butter mixture, stirring until browned.

4.Gradually add milk and cook, stirring constantly, until thick. Add shredded cheese and stir until melted.

5.Add the cheese sauce to the broccoli mixture and stir until well combined. Simmer until heated through.

Try a new soup from one of our many cookbooks that focus on hearty goodness in a bowl.

300 soups300 Sensational Soups by Carla Snyder

Sunday Soup: A Year’s Worth of Mouthwatering Easy to Make Recipes by Betty Rosbottom

Soup Night: Recipes for Creating Community Around a Pot of Soup by Maggie Stuckey

 

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Gingerbread Decorating Day(December 13)

by Janet, Adult Services

gingerGingerbread is a classic holiday tradition. Imagine the wonderful aroma  wafting throughout your home as the gingerbread is baking. Then the fun begins as you decorate your gingerbread men, houses or cookies. These creations make great gifts and holiday treats for your gatherings. MPL has wonderful books all about gingerbread to help you with your creations. http://catalog.manhattan.lib.ks.us/polaris/view.aspx?subject=gingerbread

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Holiday Baking

by Keri Mills, Young Adult Librarian

It’s already time to get started on your holiday baking if you haven’t already. Many of us have favorite, traditional family cookie recipes, but if you are looking to switch things up a little bit, the library has plenty of cookie cookbooks to help you out.

 

decoratingOne of my favorites is “Decorating Cookies: 60+ Designs for Holidays, Celebrations, & Everyday” by Bridget Edwards. This is the book for you if you have always wanted to get your sugar cookies to look like those beautiful bakery frosted sugar cookies. There are only a few basic recipes included for sugar cookies and for royal icing, but the specific step-by-step decorating instructions are easy to follow and perfect for beginners. Only a handful of the decorating ideas are specific to Christmas cookies, but they should be enough to spark your own creativity.

 

If you want to make some cookies for a Christmas party, but are short on time, try “Smart Cookie: Transform Store-Bought Cookies into Amazing Treats” by Christi Farr Johnstone. As the title indicates, learn how to spruce up store-bought cookies into something unique and beautiful. There are only a few cookie ideas that pertain directly to Christmas, but there are many other ideas that could be adapted for the holidays. My favorite part about this book is that you don’t have to be an expert decorator to create most of these cookies!

xmasFor more traditional Christmas cookies, start with “A Baker’s Field Guide to Christmas Cookies” by Dede Wilson. This cookbook has a wealth of information in a very easy-to-use format. Each cookie has its own page with a picture of the finished product. There is also information on its type (dropped, rolled, bar, etc.) country of origin, description of its flavors, traditions, tips, variations, and length of time the cookies will keep. Helpful symbols are included that tell you which cookies are good to make with kids, freeze well, are quick to make, and sturdy enough to send in the mail.

 

Can’t figure out what type of holiday cookies to make? There is always the good ole American chocolate chip cookie, which is featured in the book, “The Great American Chocolate Chip Cookie Book” by Carolyn Wyman. There are over 75 recipes in this book for chocolate chip cookies and chocolate chip dessert variations like truffles and brownies. One interesting page gives suggestions on simple additions/substitutions to the basic Toll house cookie recipe, such as bacon, cereal, donuts, ice cream cones, and Brussel sprouts. While your cookies are baking, read up on the fascinating history of the chocolate chip cookie in the United States which is included in this book.

 

Cookie swaps are particularly popular this time of year. If you don’t have time to bake 50 different kinds of cookies this holiday season, then, hold your own cookie swap. “Cookie Swap!” By Lauren Chattman tells you exactly how to organize one. There is a handy checklist for planning your party and an example invitation. And, of course, there are also a number of cookie recipes suggested for your swap.

veganIf you are vegan yourself or baking for vegan friends or family, try “Chloe’s Vegan Desserts” by Chloe Coscarelli. There is a whole chapter that focuses on cookies and bars. There are full color photos of most of the recipes. Bake homemade Oreos, ginger molasses cookies, snowballs, black and white cookies, or the many others included in the book.

If you really want to switch things up, make an ice cream cookie sandwich from “Cookies & Cream: Hundreds of Ways to Make the Perfect Ice Cream Sandwich” by Tessa Arias. The recipes in this book are as aesthetically pleasing as they are delicious. They are almost too pretty to eat (almost). Can’t decide what cookies to start with? Try a few from the “Holiday” chapter, such as Maple-Nut, Gingerbread, Hot Cocoa, Candy Cane, or Eggnog ice cream sandwiches.

The library has all of these cookbooks mentioned, and many more to satisfy all of your holiday baking needs, so get started today!

 

 

 

 

 

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Cookie Exchange Week (December 1-5 )

by Janet, Adult Services

swapThis week celebrates a delicious holiday tradition. Make plans to exchange cookies with your friends. Even if they don’t want to participate, think about handing out your homemade goodies to your co-workers, neighbors, family and friends. They will love you forever. The library has a myriad of great cookie books to help you get started. http://catalog.manhattan.lib.ks.us/polaris/view.aspx?subject=cookies

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