Wednesday, December 30, 2009

great cookbooks for new year's - recipe: ina garten's orange yogurt

Ok, I haven’t been cooking over the past few weeks. The only good part about not cooking is that our (ridiculously difficult to keep clean) stainless steel gas range looks spotless. It’s a rather busy time of the year for me work-wise, so we’ve been enjoying ready-to-bake meals from the shop all month. However, after New Year’s Eve, things will slow down a little bit so I’ll be able to get busy in the kitchen again. So I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite cookbooks, and the recipes within.

I own so many fantastic cookbooks; below are the four that I’d save first in a fire.

Martha Stewart’s Hors D’oeuvres Handbook,
(Martha Stewart, 1999) – I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, this cookbook, so it’s hands down my numero uno. I love making hors d’oeuvres (my favourite type of party to cater) but I understand that not everyone enjoys making them, as they can be fiddly and time-consuming. That being said, if you’re like me and enjoy this type of thing, buy this book. It’s full of the most beautiful photos, recipes and stunning presentation ideas. I’ve flipped through this book over a hundred times and I never tire of it. Favourite recipe: Ruth Lesserman’s caramel brie with pecans.

Food and Memories of Abruzzo, (Anna Teresa Callen, 1998). David’s cousin Gabriella recommended this book. I love making dishes that David’s mother may have prepared for him when he was young. Favourite recipe: Polenta al Ragu di Maiale.

The Silver Palate Cookbook, (Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins, 1979). I remember reading this over and over again in high school (my Mom had a copy) along with the original Martha Stewart “Entertaining” Cookbook. I daydreamed about what I’d serve at the cocktail and dinner parties I’d host in my own future apartment! Favourite recipe: chicken marbella – we had this last week on Christmas Eve at my brother’s in-laws (thanks Lynn & Mike!).

The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, (Ina Garten, 1999). I adore this book as well, and if you saw my copy, you’d know just how much as it’s falling apart. I’ve considered buying a new copy but I think that there’s something special about a cookbook that is stained and tattered. It contains great photos, stories, and of course, recipes. Some of my favourite Ina Garten recipes include: crab cakes, pan-fried onion dip, rosemary white bean soup, coconut cupcakes, raspberry corn muffins, and orange yogurt.

Since it’s almost 2010, I figure a healthy, yet delicious recipe would be the most appreciated. Ina Garten’s orange yogurt is to die for – it tastes like you’re eating something that can’t possibly be good for you, and yet it is!

Ina Garten’s Orange Yogurt

note: for best results, strain the yogurt the day before you want to enjoy it


  • one quart plain low fat yogurt
  • one-quarter cup raisins
  • one-quarter cup chopped walnuts
  • one-and-one-half teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • one-quarter cup honey
  • grated zest of one orange
  • one-half cup to one cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • if desired, additional raisins, walnuts, and/or orange zest


  • Line a sieve with cheesecloth or good-quality paper towels and suspend it over a bowl. Pour the yogurt into the sieve and allow it to drain, refrigerated, for three hours or overnight
    (note: overnight is definitely best).
  • Place the thickened yogurt into a medium bowl and add the raisins, walnuts, vanilla, honey and orange zest to taste. Thin with orange juice until it is a desirable consistency
    (note: I prefer less orange juice so that it remains thick).
  • If desired, garnish with additional orange zest, raisins or walnuts.
  • Serve plain or topped with granola.

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