Celtic Folklore CookingWe donated several hundred cookbooks to our local library book sale last year.   The books were literally just collecting dust downstairs.  We kept about a dozen of them – Lidia, Julia Child… more classic than trendy. figuring we might actually use a few books if they were upstairs, rather than a lot of books stored downstairs.  It was a wise choice.

I’ve been really good.  I haven’t bought a cookbook in several years.  Once upon a time I bought then constantly – hence the several hundred we donated – but I just didn’t use them enough to justify buying more just to have them collect more dust before giving them away, again.

Santa, (and Leah and Ross) this year, decided I had been too good for too long and brought two new books into the house.  The first, from Santa, is a fun book titled Celtic Folklore Cooking.  Just my kind of book!  Not only is it full of fun recipes, it has great stories to go along with them!  It lists what foods to eat with which holiday and delves into the history behind them.

My first recipe of the new year is Chicken with Almond Rice – a dish that is associated with several holidays, including Yule and New Year’s Eve.  (I’m less than 24 hours late…)

Chicken With Almond Rice

  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 1 chicken, cut in pieces (I’m using breasts – it’s what I had in the freezer.)
  • 1/2 cup ground blanched almonds
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp cardamom
  • 3 tbsp slivered almonds lightly browned in butter

Rinse rice in water; drain.  Cover with cold water and leave to soak.  In another pan, cover the chicken pieces with salted water and let simmer over low heat for one hour.  Skim off the fat and measure 3 cups of the water into a separate saucepan.  Add the ground almonds to the liquid and let steep about 10 to 15 minutes.  drain the rice and cook it in the broth until tender.  Remove the skin and bones from the chicken and cut into bite-sized pieces.  Add chicken to the rice mixture along with the butter, sugar, ginger, salt, and cardamom. Cover and cook over low heat about 15 minutes, or until meat is thoroughly heated.  To serve, garnish with the slivered almonds.

The second book is already a favorite of mine!
The Philadelphia Italian Market Cookbook

The Philadelphia Italian Market Cookbook – a Christmas present from Leah and Ross who just bought a house within walking distance of the market – is not only a great cookbook, but it’s a fantastic history of South Philadelphia!  It’s loaded with fun food and stories about the Italians from the first immigrants to the neighborhood today!  It’s especially fun for me since I’m not from here.  This is all new.  I see many great meals coming soon!

Oh… and I was on the Barnes and Noble website looking for post-holiday cheapies and ended up with two more cookbooks – 100 Great Risottos and 100 Great Tapas.

Winter… Risotto…  Yum…