29 January 2011

Weekend Cooking: Review: The Crabby Cook Cookbook by Jessica Harper

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You've worked all day or ran after the kids since dawn or sat on the couch watching TV and eating bonbons . . . no matter how you spent your day there comes that moment when the members of your family actually expect you to cook. And they want something good. Hot dogs and baked beans will last only so many weeks.

Enter The Crabby Cook Cookbook by Jessica Harper. No more 5,000 ingredients for a recipe that takes 49 hours to make. No! Harper offers you--the potentially crabby cook--almost 140 recipes that fit the lifestyle of regular people with regular families who have limited time to spend in the kitchen.

The cookbook starts out with a test to see if you qualify as a crabby cook. The second item says if you are the type of person who carefully reads through a recipe before you start to cook, then you are probably not a crabby cook. As you'll learn in a minute, I don't really read recipes very carefully and so I'm crabby . . . kind of.

Harper's introductions to the chapters and recipes will have you laughing. But more important, the dishes are all extremely appealing, and busy families will turn to this book on a regular basis. Whether you want a healthy on-the-go breakfast or a yummy easy-to-make dessert, the Crabby Cook has the answer.

I tried three recipes from The Crabby Cook Cookbook: a cocktail (hey, how else can I cope?), a soup, and a sandwich. First up was Lazy-Ass Minestrone. I admit I was a bit of an overachiever (and thus perhaps not a crabby cook) and added extra vegetables because . . . well, we actually like our veggies in this house. The soup ingredients I used are shown to the right.

I think the soup was supposed to be a kind of meal unto itself, but the Crabby Cook obviously doesn't live with Mr. BFR, who may not require meat at every meal but who does want some kind of substance. So to go with the soup, I made the Tuna Kahuna Panini. Again (so shoot me), I went for a variation and our ingredients are shown to the right.

Let me emphasize that I made the soup and the sandwiches and straightened up the kitchen in no time flat. Both dishes were absolutely delicious and totally easy to make. Really. I promise that you and your family will love this meal.

I guess I should admit part of the reason I got through dinner and cleanup with a smile on my face is because I started out by sipping the Crabby Cook's Lemon Drop drink. In fact, Mr. BFR had to stop at the state store last night to restock our vodka supply; we've been sampling Lemon Drops since Wednesday. Are you jealous?

Lemon Drop
2 to 3 drinks (see note)
  • 2 ounces of vodka
  • 1 ounce of lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce of Cointreau
  • 1 tablespoon simple syrup
  • crushed ice
Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker, add crushed ice, shake until well mixed and chilled, and strain into shot glasses. Note: Here's where I confess to never having read the line that says the recipe makes up to three drinks; I also seem to have missed the suggestion about serving the drink in shot glasses. Instead I poured the whole thing into a small wineglass, garnished it with a lemon slice, and drank the entire cocktail myself (overachiever that I am).

To learn more about the Crabby Cook, visit Jessica Harper's website and take some time to watch her videos, try some recipes, and subscribe to her newsletter. Trust me, you'll be laughing your way to the kitchen.

Note: if any of the photos are blurry, I blame it on the Lemon Drop!

Published by Workman, 2011
ISBN-13: 9780761155263
YTD: 12
Rating: B+
Source: Review (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 1/29/11, 8:41 AM  

I had fun at the #workmanshorts (that's not the right hashtag, I know!) twitter party with The Crabby Cook!

Your lemon drops story is hysterical - yes, you are an overachiever, but it's all in the name of research :)

Julie P. 1/29/11, 8:49 AM  

I'll be posting my review of this cookbook tomorrow! I had luck with both of the recipes I tried as well!

Beth 1/29/11, 9:00 AM  

I like the idea of the crabby cook. I often fail to read all the way through and then find myself going "what the, h**l half way through a recipe!"

Vivienne 1/29/11, 9:04 AM  

I'm a crabby cook! I'm a crabby cook! Finally a book that describes my cooking skills. Lemon drops sound a bit lethal, surprised you could write a post under the influence of all that alcohol. LOL.

softdrink 1/29/11, 9:28 AM  

Love the title of Lazy-Ass Minestrone. I'm not really a crabby cook, but I am a lazy-ass one!

caite 1/29/11, 9:40 AM  

While I am sure the soup and sandwich are delish, I will take a Lemon Drop please.

But in a shot glass? really? I don't think so! For three? Now I am not a big drinker (really!) but 2 1/2 oz. of booze is not a drink for three.
I am with you...pour the whole thing into a nice martini glass and I am all set!
Then I will be on the couch, taking a nap...lol

Trish 1/29/11, 10:11 AM  

People don't carefully read through recipes before beginning? But what if something is missed? ;)

I covet your lemon drop but will just have to wait a few more months until baby comes. Until then maybe I'll check out the rest of Crabby Cook's recipes.

Mary 1/29/11, 10:14 AM  

I can see where a lemon drop would make one a less-crabby cook ;-)
I wrote the book title down and will look for it!

KLo 1/29/11, 11:26 AM  

I want this book!!!!!!!!!! : )

Margot 1/29/11, 11:53 AM  

This was your fun-est and funniest post to date. I can't wait to try the lemon drops now and see if it makes me as happy as you. I'll look for the book too.

JoAnn 1/29/11, 12:58 PM  

I doubt I'd be classified as a crabby cook, but I loved this post! Also need to try a Lemon Drop because I probably am crabby about other things ...this sounds like it would help;-)

Amused 1/29/11, 1:00 PM  

This cookbook sounds hysterical!

Amy 1/29/11, 1:07 PM  

Love this post!

Vasilly 1/29/11, 1:17 PM  

Every week you showcase a cookbook that I haven't heard of before and they sound so great! I'm not a crabby cook but I think I may need to give this book a try.

Kate 1/29/11, 1:35 PM  

Yup, for ages I'd have to remind myself to *read the whole thing through* before starting since I'd end up half-way through and missing a key ingredient. I understand that one!

Peaceful Reader 1/29/11, 1:41 PM  

This cookbook sounds hysterical. I am often guilty of beginning a recipe without reading it through or reading it wrong. I can hear my home ec teacher reminding us to read it all and I still rush ahead. As an ex-bartender I know a lemon drop is a shot but I think you served it better in a wine glass!

Sheila (Bookjourney) 1/29/11, 2:25 PM  

Crabby Cook looks fantastic!

Robin McCormack 1/29/11, 2:36 PM  

Crabby cook! Yes, that's me. I fail often to read the whole recipe before starting and thus getting blind sided looking for ingredients or forgetting to add something. Will have to check it out. The lemon drop drinks sounds yummy! Happy face!

Chinoiseries 1/29/11, 3:28 PM  

This cookbook seems like a fun read and apparently helps in efficient cooking (and that is something that I need after a long day at the office). Yum, lemon drops...

Leslie @ Under My Apple Tree 1/29/11, 4:18 PM  

I would probably overachieve in the same manner with the Lemon Drops. I have been looking for an easy minestrone recipe and Lazy-Ass Minestrone does sound like the answer.

Margaret 1/30/11, 8:52 AM  

I'm not really a crabby cook because I do read the recipe - but usually don't follow it too closely.

Lemon Drops looks like something I'd like!

Michelle 1/30/11, 9:04 AM  

Fitting the lifestyle of ordinary people is right up there with what I'm capable of! May have to check this one out.

Rebecca Rasmussen 1/30/11, 10:13 AM  

Mmm.. sounds good. And the lemon drops? I am in! XOX p.s. Forgot PA had state run liquor stores!

bermudaonion 1/30/11, 10:35 AM  

This cookbook sounds great! I'm usually not a crabby cook, but I have trouble figuring out what to cook. I do love anything that's approached with a sense of humor.

Marie 1/30/11, 2:02 PM  

Awesome! The amounts used in the recipe look like one drink to me. ;) I would have "missed" the yield amount too.

Bonnie 1/30/11, 3:42 PM  

This sounds like a fun cookbooks. I've never had a lemondrop and I am jealous...they sound wonderful!

Heather 1/30/11, 4:40 PM  

Generally I'm not a crabby cook, but it does happen on occasion.

I wouldn't be if I were drinking all the lemon drop. I'm going to serve mine in a fancy martini glass possibly with a maraschino cherry with a stem.

Zibilee 1/30/11, 8:11 PM  

This book reminds me of The I Hate to Cook Cookbook, but it seems like the recipes in this one are more modern and a little more palatable. I am occasionally a crabby cook and don't want to be in the kitchen at all, and at other times, could spend hours in there perfecting the most time consuming meal. I am going to have to try this book for my off days.

bookspersonally 1/31/11, 9:45 AM  

Who can resist a lemon drop? Sounds fun,thanks for the review!

Kris 1/31/11, 1:33 PM  

I have a feeling I would have had the same problem with the Lemon Drop. haha!

So glad the soup and the sandwich were good. This cookbook sounds like one I should get from the library, I don't do the cooking, the husband does, but he still strives for easy and that means we end up with hotdogs or tuna fish at least once a week.

Jessica Harper 2/2/11, 12:04 AM  

Your fabulous post has really sparked interst in the book!
I can't thank you enough for your support! It means the world to crabby old me! Now I'm going to wash the dishes...(sigh)...maybe I'll knock back a Lemon Drop first!
Jessica Harper (aka the Crabby Cook)

Alice Teh 2/3/11, 4:04 AM  

What fun! I love that cover!

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