Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Cookbook Wednesday: An Old Standby

Well, Louise is starting Cookbook Wednesday back up, and I want to join her in the fun.  Hopefully, it will help me get back on track after the disruption (still ongoing, albeit to a much lesser degree now) of our house fire.  And so, for this, the first Cookbook Wednesday of 2016, I bring you....

The Red Plaid Cookbook!
AKA The Better Homes New Cookbook

My grandmother had one of these; probably many of your mothers and grandmothers did, too.  Mine is a 1990 edition, and I bought one for my oldest daughter about 5 years back when she wanted a good, general cookbook.  (My grandmother's is long gone, despite my telling my mother I wanted it.)

Do you write in your cookbooks?  I do; sometimes I use pencil, and, when it's a necessary and important notation, I use pen.  Case in point: Lamb.

This was the recipe I consulted for my Easter lamb.  But look carefully!  They give a generalized time frame - cook for 2-1/2 to 4 hours for a 5 to 7 pound leg of lamb?  That's a big enough window to drive a truck through.  So I went to another reference book looked up the time per pound, and wrote in in - in ballpoint pen.

Now, for the Easter lamb, which I know you want to see:

1 Leg of Lamb (mine was 8 pounds)
1 tsp dried minced garlic
1 tbsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried minced onions
2 tsp salt
6 peppercorns

Combine all of the spices in a mortar, and grind them together with a pestle.  Remove the outer layer of fat from the lamb, and rinse with cold water.  Rub the spices all over the lamb, and roast in a 325F oven for 15 to 18 minutes per pound for medium-rare lamb.  (Reduce to 12 to 15 minutes per pound if you're using a convection oven.)

To make gravy, remove the fat from the pan drippings, add water and 1 tsp beef base to make 1-1/2 cups of liquid   Heat to a boil; whisk together 1/2 cup cold water and 2 tbsp cornstarch; whisk this into the stock and cook until it thickens.  Add a tablespoon or 2 of mint jelly, and stir until it melts in.  Serve the lamb with mint jelly in a dish at the side of the meat.  This is one meal which everyone in the family eagerly anticipates for weeks before Easter.

There was nothing left despite the fact that there were only 7 of us.  The lamb smelled splendid while cooking, and required no attention.  But if I'd followed the guidelines, and presumed that the 4 hour cook time was meant for the large end of the leg of lamb range, I'd have had a dried out mess.

Still, this is a good, general purpose reference cookbook, and I hope that one of my girls will some day appreciate my "corrections."

Happy Cookbook Wednesday, everyone; I'm linking up with Louise today!


~~louise~~ said...

Happy Cookbook Wednesday Marjie!
Ah yes, the Red Plaid Cookbook...I still think it's a good reference book to have even after all these years. Good idea on checking the per pound cooking time though. I wonder if the newer editions include them yet?

I do sometimes write in my cookbooks Marjie but not usually in ink. I guess I should have mentioned cookbook notes in my Pencil Day post. I've certainly used pencils in the margins and yes, I'm sure someone will one day appreciate your notes:)

Now, you know how much I love cookbooks, and you know how thrilled I am at the excitement over Cookbook Wednesday but, do you know how much I LOVE lamb?! I do think, if given the choice over Cookbook Wednesday or an Easter Lamb dinner, I would have to weigh it in my mind very carefully, lol...your lamb looks fantabulous!!!

I must ask, was your grandmother's Better Homes book gray or red plaid? I think the gray one was titled My Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book. Just curious:)

Thanks so much for joining in for Cookbook Wednesday Marjie...I'm looking forward to getting back on track too, lol...

P.S. Pictures?

Linda said...

I have that the pile that should be gone through.

Two French Bulldogs said...

Oh my dawg! We had that cookbook
Lily & Edward

Lapdog Creations said...

The 'ole standby indeed! I'm not a lamb fan, but I bet for those who are it was tasty!

Anonymous said...

I'll bet your grandma had some great notes. I have a cookbook that belonged to my mother -- published to support The Dayton Fine Arts League, of all things. Most of the recipes sound rather dubious, but I love to see my mother's handwriting in the margins.

Pam said...

This was my very first cookbook. I am sorry you weren't able to get your grandmother's copy... that would have been really cool!

The lamb looks perfectly cooked. Good thing you kept an eye on the cooking time!

In regards to mailing me the Relish Magazine, they send me copies each time they feature me. Thank you for offering!

Anna said...

There is one of cookbook that i have read. Thanks! It is interesting and great. People should try reading. GREAT! healthoop

Diane said...

I have taken to long slow cooking lamb, we like rare meat, but most of our visitors do not have the same taste as us!!! Cooking a leg for the two of us is a bit much, though we do often have smaller joints of meat. Looks like this is a great cook book. My mum's stand by was a very old copy of Mrs Beeton's cookbook. Have a good weekend Diane

grace said...

having seen lots of adorable lambs in my time, i a)can't believe the size of some lamb legs, and b)can never intentionally eat lamb. :/