Thursday, January 27, 2011

Clinton St. Baking Company Cookbook by Dede Lahman & Neil Kleinberg [Cookbook Inspection]

Number of Chapters: 11 (Biscuits; Muffins & Scones; Eggs, Eggs, Eggs; Pancakes; Soups; The Sandwich King & Queen; Fried Chicken; Sides; Condiments; Dessert; Drinks

The Story: There is a cute little anecdote at the beginning about how the owners met and the road they traveled to get to the Clinton St. Baking Company.  Not only is it cute (like I said before) but it gives you a little, nay, a lot of insight as to what the recipes are going to be like and whether or not you'll like the book (which I wager you will).  I think the best parts of the story part of this book are the bits at the beginning of each chapter and at the beginning of some recipes - like how Neil had to recreate recipes known only to him by experience and oral tradition.  There are also some great little tidbits on some recipes labeled Common Mistakes that I adored.  They sure helped me make my recipes rock, well - helped me make their recipes rock in my kitchen.

Recipe Tried: Blueberry Crumb Muffins (photo from my table, yo) [chapter 2, page 29]
Total time: 45 minutes (including baking for 25 minutes)

Cheque Please:
Unsalted butter, sugar, vanilla, flour, baking powder, baking soda, egg, sour cream: on hand
Blueberries: $3.99 for 18 ounces - some left over, and some used for pancakes (these were on sale, FTW!)
Cash, Credit, or Debit Total:  $3.99 (take into consideration how much these things would be at your store)

Notes:  This recipe is both delicious, easy, and fast.  Using the crumb mixture was something I've never done. The recipe said that it made 10 standard sized muffins, but I was able to crank out 12 to fill one standard size muffin tin.  That's the only inconsistency I found, and everyone who tried them loved them.  Monster took like four on the road with him the next morning.  If I were going to do it again, I'd bake them probably for 23 minutes as they were a little browner on the top than I generally like, but they were still way yummy.  This will definitely be my blueberry muffin recipe for a long time!

Recipe Tried: Neil's Pancakes (photo from my kitchen) [chapter 4, page 75]
Total time: 100 minutes - start to finishing last pancake

Cheque Please:
flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, eggs, vanilla: on hand
Blueberries: $3.99 for 18 ounces - shared with muffin recipe 
Whole Milk: $1.69/gallon
Walnuts: $1.79 (purchased for the recipe, but not used!)
Powdered Sugar: $1.79
REAL Maple Syrup: $6.18 for 8 ounces
Cash, Credit, or Debit Total:  $15.44, but a lot of it was used for other recipes, consumed in other ways, or will be used again (take into consideration how much these things would be at your store)

Notes:  I don't like pancakes.  I read this recipe and convinced myself that I could try them and that I would like them if I did try them.  It's a unique method of making pancakes because you have to do some fun beating of eggs and folding them into the rest of the ingredients in just a certain way.  I was both curious and skeptical, but once I got the temperature on the griddle figured out, I was amazed at the yum factor of these cakes.  My new permanent pancake recipe, ladies and gents.  And I'll also note these few things:  1) It would have gone faster if I owned a griddle that would make more than one pancake at a time.  2) The directions are not optimized for stovetop griddles.  If you don't want to burn the first oh, say, ten pancakes, put it on a 4.  I have a GE stove that has Lo, Hi, and 9 settings in between, so adapt to whatever you have.  3) You do not need to butter the griddle if it's nonstick. 4) The recipe says it makes 18-20 3-inch pancakes.  Mine made 37.  I did not double it.  And they were totally three inch pancakes.  

Overall Evaluation
Yum Factor: Heart It. I've got a long list of recipes to try from this book, and I just can't wait.
Salivary Factor: Heart It. Some of the titles aren't the most catchy, don't make me go, mmmmmm, but once you read the recipes, you're like, "Oh yeah, I'm trying that." *drool*
Cost Factor: Heart It.  I love that most of the recipes that I've looked at only require me to pick up one or two things that I don't have on hand, or things that I would usually have on hand or could use in another capacity.
Practicality Factor: Heart It.  Not only are there not a lot of extra chilling/rising/waiting times, but the recipes are pretty straight forward without a lot of exotic ingredients.
Pretty Factor: Heart It. I think this cookbook has a picture for every recipe.  The photos are done very well (bravo, Michael Harlan Turkell!) and the book is organized in a common sense manner.  It's pretty and practical while it's pretty which makes it even better in my mind!

Who I'd Buy This Cookbook For: Moms, Dads, Young Marrieds, Young Professionals, Grandma
Who I'd Discourage From Buying: College Students who only have a hotplate, The Exotic Food Lover, Chefs who might be tempted to steal the recipes for their own restaurants 'cause they're that good

Final Verdict: Dope cookbook, practically priced recipes, and total yum, but the price on the book itself might be a little high at $29.99.  I'd still recommend it though!

Buy it from Amazon, BN, Changing Hands

Tip:  You can view both recipes right now from Hachette's Site if you're interested.

No comments: