The Cooking Chronicles: The Gift of Inspiration

I love receiving cookbooks as gifts; they’re usually thoughtfully chosen by the person with some knowledge of the gaps in my collection. One of the cookbooks I was given this past Christmas was The Ultimate Appetizers Book, by Better Homes and Gardens. Mack’s Mom thought as people who like to entertain (but don’t do it often enough!) it would be a handy guide to have on hand.

It’s been great to page through so far, with a coloured photo that accompanies every recipe. Moreover, the book is chock full of serving and plating ideas, visually appealing but more practical and less stylized than Donna Hay’s tips.

Soon after we returned to Edmonton, I tried out two of the soup recipes so that we would have lots of leftovers for work lunches and convenient suppers.

Chicken-Wild Rice Soup

The chicken-wild rice soup appealed to me primarily because we’ve had a bag of wild rice from MoNa Food sitting in our pantry for some time, having only been touched once. And although I am not a fan of wild rice on its own, I thought incorporating it in a soup would be easier to take, and also mean I’d have less of a chance of undercooking it! (This is a similar recipe, but simplifies the thickening step.)

Chicken-Wild Rice Soup

Chicken-wild rice soup

This wasn’t a low-fat soup, with the incorporation of what was essentially a gravy (with heavy cream!) to thicken it towards the end. But chock full of vegetables and a variety of textures, Mack and I ended up really liking this soup (even the wild rice!).

Italian Sausage Soup

The use of orzo was the attraction of the Italian sausage soup, cooked with and not separate from the dish. Besides that, the ingredients were similar to many other tomato-based soups that we’ve made in the past.

Italian Sausage Soup

Italian sausage soup

Mack particularly liked the orzo, and noticed that the soup really deepened after a few days in the fridge.

We’re happy that both of the recipes we tried from the book turned out really well, and will be trying out more in the next few months.

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