New Fool-Proof Cookbook

Recipes from The Good Home Cookbook.

Let’s Eat!

New Fool-Proof Cookbook

Recipe-tested and approved!

-Betty Editors

The Good Home CookbookDon’t you hate it when you go to bake a cake or make a sauce from a cookbook and the recipes just don’t work? Well, that won’t happen with The Good Home Cookbook, (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2009), edited by Richard J. Perry. Hundreds of home cooks from all 50 states tested and cross-tested the recipes to create the first-ever public recipe tested cookbook.

Filled with basic all-American classic recipes for everything from breakfast to lunch, desserts and even drinks, this is our go-to book!

Here are a few of our fave summer salads.

Creamy Pea Salad

There is no farm chore more pleasant than sitting on the back porch shucking peas. This is a classic salad that was whipped together with those peas. You can use frozen peas if you don’t have the garden or the back porch.

Serves 4 to 6

3 cups fresh or frozen peas
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper

Blanch the peas in boiling water until just barely tender, (1minute for frozen peas, 3 to 5 minutes for fresh). Drain, then immediately plunge the peas into cold water to stop the cooking. Drain well.

Transfer the peas to a medium bowl. Add the onion and mint and toss gently with two forks.

Mix the sour cream and vinegar in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the dressing to the peas and toss gently with the forks. Serve immediately or hold for up to 2 hours in the refrigerator before serving.

Macaroni Salad

Before there was pasta salad, there was macaroni salad – always made with elbow macaroni, always dressed with mayonnaise. The crunch varied – often there was celery, sometimes bell peppers or carrots, and sweet pickles. It was a favorite for everyone.

Serves 6

8 ounces elbow macaroni
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
3 tablespoons finely chopped sweet onion, such as Maui, Walla Walla, or Vidalia
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
1/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1 cup frozen baby peas, thawed
4 large eggs, hard-boiled, peeled, and chopped
Salt and pepper

Cook the macaroni according to the package directions. Drain well, rinse, and cool.

Mix the mayonnaise, salt, relish, and onion in a small bowl. Set aside.

Combine the macaroni, celery, bell pepper, and peas in a large bowl. Add the mayonnaise mixture and toss to coat.

Gently toss in the eggs. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Chill well, about 2 hours. Taste and adjust the seasoning before serving.

Potato Salad

Can you even have a picnic without potato salad? A mayonnaise dressing makes this all-American favorite the perfect accompaniment to hot dogs, hamburgers, and deli sandwiches.

Serves 8 to 10

3 pounds waxy potatoes, such as thin-skinned red or white
3 large celery ribs, finely chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
1-1/2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion, such as Maui, Walla Walla, or Vidalia
1/2 cup sweet pickle relish or finely chopped sweet pickles
1/4 cup sweet pickle juice or white vinegar
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
6 large eggs, hard-boiled and peeled
1/2 teaspoon paprika

Put the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Cook until tender, 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the size. Drain and cool. Peel the potatoes and cut into cubes.

Combine the celery, mayonnaise, mustard, onion, relish, pickle juice, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a large bowl and mix well. Gently fold in the potatoes. Chop 4 eggs and mix into the salad. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

Cover and chill for at least 1 hour. Slice the last 2 hard-boiled eggs and arrange them on top of the salad. Sprinkle the paprika over the top, and serve.

Tip: The best potatoes for potato salads are waxy, low-starch potatoes, not the kind used for baking. Red Bliss and Yellow Finn are both excellent choices. If you don’t feel like peeling, choose new potatoes with thin skins.

Summertime Fruit Salad

Nothing perks up a flagging appetite in the summer like a fresh fruit salad. Feel free to vary the fruit, depending on what you have on hand. If you like, garnish with flaked almonds.

Serves 4 to 6

2-1/2 cups melon balls or cubes (watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe, etc.)
1 cup strawberries, hulled and cut in half
1/2 cup blueberries
1 cup peeled and sliced peaches or nectarines
1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup sweet sherry or port wine
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon crushed fresh mint leaves
Pinch of ground cardamom

Use a spoon to gently toss together the fruits with the lemon juice in a large bowl. Chill.

To make the dressing, combine the honey, sherry, and water in a small saucepan and warm over low heat, stirring constantly just until the honey blends with the other liquids. Remove from the heat, stir in the mint and cardamom, and cool to room temperature.

Pour the dressing over the fruit and chill for at least 1 hour, or up to 4 hours, before serving.

Cobb Salad

According to legend, this recipe was created by Bob Cobb, the owner of the Brown Derby Restaurant in Los Angeles, to use up some leftovers that had gathered in the refrigerator.

Serves 4 to 6

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup olive oil

6 cups torn lettuce (preferably Bibb, romaine, iceberg, or a combination)
1 bunch watercress, trimmed
2 cups torn curly endive or frisée
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
6 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
3 cups diced cooked chicken
3 large eggs, hard-boiled, peeled, and diced
1 large avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
1/2 cup crumbled Roquefort cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

To make the dressing, combine the vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and sugar in a small bowl. Whisk in the oil in a slow, steady stream until the dressing is smooth. Set aside.

To make the salad, line a large platter with the lettuce. On top of the lettuce, arrange the watercress and curly endive. Arrange the tomatoes, bacon, chicken, eggs, and avocado in a decorative manner on top. Sprinkle with the Roquefort cheese and chives.

Drizzle half the dressing over the salad. Serve at once, passing the remaining dressing at the table.

Recipes courtesy of The Good Home Cookbook, edited by Richard J. Perry (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2009)

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