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Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Best of the Best - Best of Bridges

I was introduced to The Best of the Best and More by a coworker. I immediately liked the book because it was a simple to follow the recipes and very doable. Plus the ingrediants were attainable easily and most grocery stores. So, in January, I started making some of the recipes, as part of my New Year resolution. I'm going to talk about it here two items I made from this book.

At this moment, I'm not at home and not able to take a picture of the recipe book but I'm going to check my Amazon link and see if I can show a picture of it.
The Best of The Best and More (1 in a series of 7 cookbooks)
The Best of the Best
Let me tell you a little about this series. It's quite well known in Canada, though it's more well known by my mother's generation. It's a Canadian series that started in the in 1976 by friends who wanted to share the food they made during their bridge club meetings. This book has become very popular here that they are reprinting them and making new volumes for a new generation. (

Like I said earlier, the recipes are generally easy to get the ingrediants and quite simple. I just read a review that a concern the reviewers had about this book was that it used too much processed food and the recipes are a bit "old fashion". (

When I bought the book, I was only looking at the baking and desserts and not the other stuff. Since I'm not really a cook, I didn't think I would buy the book for cooking but more for baking. I guess what Anna and Kristina say is true. Some stuff are a bit old...but to me, as long as it's easy recipe and healthy, I don't mind. However, I do mine the processed food part (I never really noticed until I read Anna and Kristina's review). If I'm going to spend the time to cook, I want to use fresh ingredients if not, I could easily buy frozen food and not have to do anything but microwave it or put it in the oven!

What I really don't like about this book is the lack of pictures. I generally try not to buy books without pictures, as I'm from a generation that grew up looking at my mom's recipe books with pictures in cookbooks (eg Australia Weekly).

Anyways, back to my cooking....

I decided to try Classy Chicken and a herbed potato which I forgot the name. The herbed potato is VERY VERY easy, that you don't need a recipe to make it. Anyways, I chose to make the Classy Chicken because I thought it was easy and I had all the ingrediants except a few things.

The Classy Chicken used Cream of chicken soup which was ok but it also included a fair amount of mayonaise. I was kinda shocked but felt I'd give it a shot since I have so much mayonaise. (I got the mayonaise to survey the taste and texture and since I don't use a lot, it's been in my fridge for a little while. I don't want to waste and throw away so I try to make things out of it eg cake or cook). The Classy Chicken includes broccoli, curry powder, cream of chicken soup, mayonaise and cheddar cheese. It was very easy to make and didn't take very long at all.

Anyways, here a pic of my Classy Chicken. My casserole dish is too big for the amount of food so may not look very appealing. Since I'm not a cook, I don't have a lot of cooking

I ate Classy Chicken with rice. When I scooped it, there was a thick layer of mayo and cream of chicken soup. Not very appetizing but what choice did I have...I bought the stuff and cooked it. I admit it was an easy recipe but it didn't taste very good. It was kinda gross.

I would never serve this to any guest and make it again. As someone who is pretty frugal, I didn't want to waste the food unnecessarily but I didn't enjoy the dish very much.

Since I had leftovers, the next day I decided that since it was so creamy, it might be better mixed within a pasta or rice like a casserole I broke spaghetti into smaller pieces and cooked it. I then mixed the spaghetti with the leftover Classy Chicken with cilantro and green onions.

After mixing well, I ate it and WOW! it was an excellent dish that I couldn't stop eating. It was very tasty and had a great flavour. I'm not sure if it was the addition of green onions or cilantro or just the fact of mixing with a starch, it made a difference. Would I serve the reinvention of this dish....probably since it was quite easy to make and did taste good. However, it would have to be a side dish. I think a nice meat dish would good well with it to balance the creaminess.

By chance, Anna and Kristina made the Classy Chicken and they also did not enjoy it. (I made this chicken before I read their review. I only read their review right now because I was blogging)

Oh my potatoes.....well, here's a pic. You can't go wrong with roasted potatoes with thyme, garlic and parsley with potato so with or without a recipe, this would have worked out.

I've also made a meatloaf from this book. Yeah I know meatloaf is suppose to be an easy dish, but it was never something I grew up with, so it's not a commn meal for me. The recipe was quite easy to follow along but the final dish didn't look very appealing or professional looking. It would be an good recipe to serve at home but not a dish to serve with guests.

 So far the recipe book is ok. Maybe the sweet stuff is better. I've made the Very best banana bread and it was quite good and easy to make. But most banana breads are fairly easy and taste pretty good. So at this moment, I'm not sure if it was really worth recommending this book to you. I'll be making more recipes and blogging about it and maybe at that point can make a better judgement and tell you if you should buy or not. You can also make your own judgement since I'll be blogging the food I make with ALL my recipe books!

Salmon Cake

So this next commentary is for a recipe that WASN"T in the Best of the Best and More recipe book. It was an old recipe I collected from Chatelaine or Canadian Living. I never made it but always kept it because it seemed easy and yummy.

It's called Lime Salmon Cakes. It was quite easy. It uses canned salmon, lime juice, cilantro and egg (maybe other stuff too but I can't remember right now). Just mix and make into patties and fry. My problem with this recipes was that my salmon cakes wouldn't stay in shape very well when I was pan frying it. Maybe there was too much liquid in the mixture. I might add some Panko next time (Panko is Japansese bread crumbs that many chefs now choose to use rather than bread crumbs).

Frying the salmon cakes
So you can serve the salmon cakes with a papaya salsa. Unfortunately for me (and my readers), I didn't keep that part of the recipe so I wasn't able to make it. It was a very delicious dish. I really enjoyed it. I ate the leftovers in a sandwich with a little mayo and lots of fresh lettuce and vegetables. You can skip the mayo but if you like a creamy sandwich spread but want to be healthy, replace the mayo with hummus. That's what I do and it tastes very good plus I know it's healthier!

Anyways, worthwhile making.

Final thoughts 
I've been really stressed and busy at work but baking has been my way of relieving stress (not cooking). Anyways, I've baked so much, I have 2 loaves of bread, 1 banana bread loaf and blueberry scones in my freezer because I can't eat all that I bake. I want to bring it to work....but how do you share a loaf of bread? It's Saturday night and I know I'm itching to bake something tomorrow but what will I do with the leftovers? Anyone want something? hahahaa......

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