12 December 2009

Weekend Cooking: Double Dose of Crescent Dragonwagon

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.


Today I'm spotlighting two cookbooks by Crescent Dragonwagon. Both have been well used in my kitchen.

Dairy Hollow House Soup & Bread is the perfect cookbook for winter. It consists of a collection of recipes Crescent made for the guests at her inn, Dairy Hollow House, in the Ozarks. The book starts off with a chapter on making stocks, which is followed by a chapter on tips, garnishes, and ideas. Then comes the wonderful soup recipes, divided by main ingredient or style (such as dairy-based soups).

The recipes are clearly laid out with easy-to-follow numbered directions. All the recipes use ingredients you can get at a good grocery store, even the ethnic soups. I admit (sorry Crescent!) that I don't always make homemade stock and that I often use canned (no salt, organic) beans, but either way I've had great success with every soup I've made from the book. When I pulled my copy off the shelf, I found a shopping list marking the page for Harira, a Moroccan vegetarian soup. It's delicious.

Of course there is also a bread chapter, which includes yeasted breads and quick breads, biscuits, and muffins. I noticed that the back of my book falls open to the stained and gritty page that has the recipe for Whole-Wheat Butterhorns, which are made from a wonderful honey-sweetened yeast dough. These always get rave reviews from my dinner guests (and Mr. BFR).

Throughout the text you'll also find the stories behind the recipes, variations, tips, and menu ideas. I also love the literary quotations and black & white sketches that add to the book's charm.

The other Crescent Dragonwagon cookbook I have is called Passionate Vegetarian. Let me tell you that my book is almost falling apart. It's a hefty tome at 1100 pages! But it is filled with just about everything you could possibly want to know about cooking grains, cereals, vegetables, and beans.

The really wonderful thing about this book, is that you do not need to be a vegetarian to find it useful. The basic information and incredible variety of dishes make this an excellent kitchen reference for everyone. And the fabulous index makes finding what you want a breeze.

Each section focuses on a single ingredient and provides basic information, recipes, tips, alternative cooking methods, and many yummy variations. The difficulty of recipes runs the full range: from dead simple to multi-stepped, but they are all well thought out and very flavorful.

I particularly recommend this book for people who have joined a CSA (community sponsored agriculture) or who shop at a local farmers market. You'll never be too intimidated to try something new again.

Crescent Dragonwagon has a website and a blog where you can learn more about her and her books (including the origin of her name). I bet you'll subscribe to her blog after just one look! She has a new cookbook coming out; watch this space for a review and more information.

Crescent Dragonwagon at Powell's
Crescent Dragonwagon at Amazon
These 3 links lead to affiliate programs.

Both books discussed in this post were bought (see review policy)


Beth 12/12/09, 7:37 AM  

Thanks for introducing me to Crescent Dragonwagon! I'm going to check out her veggie book--I'm one of those people with a CSA that sometimes has a hard time figuring out what to do with all that produce!

My recipe this week is for gingersnaps.

Julie P. 12/12/09, 7:55 AM  

This feature is so wonderful! I wasn't familiar with Crescent Dragonwagon. I'm going to check out some of the cookbooks!

bermudaonion 12/12/09, 8:03 AM  

Those look great! My sister is looking for a good vegetarian cookbook and I'll have to tell her about that one.

nat @book, line, and sinker 12/12/09, 8:34 AM  

We're up in Vermont for the weekend and yesterday I was flipping through The Pioneer Woman's cookbook at a local bookstore. I have it on request at my library and once I get it, I'm going to review it and link to you!

I love this challenge! :)

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 12/12/09, 10:01 AM  

Crescent Dragonwagon - fantastic name! I didn't know about her (or her books or blog) until I read your review. Both cookbooks appeal to me - I'm on a soup kick lately, and, yes, we're CSA people (I'll never forget the first time I picked up a Hubbard squash, "what is this big blue walnut-shaped thing??!")

JoAnn 12/12/09, 10:35 AM  

This is the season for soups... I've got some cooking in the crock pot now! Will keep an eye out for Dairy Hollow House Soup and Bread.

Sherrie 12/12/09, 11:36 AM  

Hi Beth,
These sound like some great cookbooks to have around. Mine is posted at my place, Sherrie's Stuff. I have kitchen gadgets. Have a great weekend!

Sherrie's Stuff

Margot 12/12/09, 1:04 PM  

I'm enjoying this peek at your fabulous collection of cookbooks. Crescent Dragonwagon is new to me too but I'm off to check out her website.

caite 12/12/09, 4:07 PM  

Oh, it would be a fine day for some nice hot soup...yummmmm..

As to my post, I hope you know just how lucky you are that I am sharing this recipe! :-)

Girl Detective 12/12/09, 5:33 PM  

Petunia gave me the heads up that you do cooking links. I've been baking this week, not just the link I included, but two before it. Glad to have found this!

Jill 12/13/09, 10:53 AM  

I've never heard of these...but now I'm intrigued! Thanks for putting them on my radar...I'm going to check them out! And, thanks for hosting WC.

prashant 12/13/09, 1:38 PM  

! I wasn't familiar with Crescent Dragonwagon. I'm going to check out some of the cookbooks!

Work from home India

Heather 12/13/09, 5:34 PM  

HI Beth, I do my recipe/food thing on Thursdays, but figure that will work here.

This week I made waffles. I am shocked at the people who are going nuts due to the shortage of Eggo Waffles.

Anonymous,  12/14/09, 5:22 AM  

Ha, I'll definitely be on the lookout for that Passionate Vegetarian! Being a veggie (in CSA as well).

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