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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Thursday Recipes - Guest chef Danielle Ackley-McPhail

Danielle Ackley-McPhail has written some great stuff, including these titles:
Today's Promise - the final book in the Eternal Cycle series ~Coming May 2012 from Dark Quest Books!
Yesterday's Dreams, Tomorrow's Memories, and The Halfling's Court
Editor of the Bad-A** Faeries Anthology Series - www.badassfaeries.com



Find more about her at www.sidhenadaire.com or stayed tuned on May 21 for a great interview, right here on The Far Edge of Normal.

But her real claim to fame is her cookbook - Everyone's Favorite Auntie D's Recipes. No, you can't buy it in the store. It's a very limited edition. She was gracious enough to share the story behind it and a few of the recipes here. In her words:

I am a creator. I love to make things. Being a small-press author who hasn't had an amazing stroke of luck, there isn't a lot of extra cash laying around, so each year at Christmas I generally find something I can make for my family as gifts, something that would mean more than anything I might buy. Well, I've been doing this a while so I have to admit that I've pretty much run out of stuff to do that isn't a repeat of something I've already done in one way or another. Everyone has an afghan, sculpy sun-catchers, hand-painted tree ornaments...I could go on, but you get the idea. That got me to thinking, what else do I do?

I cook. And I make books. Some of what I make my family and friends are particularly fond of so I thought, why not share? Most of my recipes start out on a foundation of an existing recipe, but I love to put my own spin on things so for them to truly achieve the same dish I was going to have to transcribe things. I went with the most popular and tried to give an even spread of the various types of recipes so that it resembled a cookbook you would buy in the store.

I tried to make it as book-like as possible so that it wasn't just a collection of papers with recipes on them. That would hardly constitute a special effort, now, would it? That's one of the reasons for the name...everyone knows all the cool cookbooks have catchy names, right? I wanted something that danced on the tongue and had a nice flow to it and I felt Everyone's Favorite Auntie D's Recipes was cute :). In part it's because when I sign an email to my nieces and nephews I always sign it AD for Aunt Danielle.

In the end I did 20 print books for my family. Funding being an issue, I went down to Staples and had double sided copies made, two to a page and then comb-bound them myself. I think even if I had extra money I would have done it this way, though, because of the convenience of being able to lay the book flat on the counter when actually trying to make one of the recipes.

Beyond the print copies I also emailed a PDF version to special friends as their Christmas gifts.

I don't currently have this on sale anywhere, but mostly because of time and not being familiar with the ebook conversion. Otherwise I'd have it posted on Amazon just for the heck of it. My husband and I are thinking of expanding it, who knows...maybe then. I would consider taking orders by email, if there were interested parties.

Here's one recipe from her book, just to give you a taste:
Homemade Pot Stickers

SHOPPING LIST
1 package of wonton wrappers (100 count)
1 3⁄4 lb ground meat of your choice
1 tbs fresh ginger, minced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tbs sesame oil
4 tbs soy sauce
Two green onions sliced thin
5 cups Chinese cabbage, chopped fine

MATERIALS
Electric frying pan with lid or steamer
Bowl with air-tight lid
Measuring spoons
Measuring cup
Large platter
Small plate
Conventional teaspoon
Several quart-sized freezer ziplock bags

PREPARATION
Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl except for the wrappers. Lay a wrapper on small plate and place one round teaspoon of mixture in the middle. Wet the edges of the wonton wrapper with water and fold the wrapper over into a triangle, firmly press the edges together and then shape into a half circle. Repeat. (I have taken to shaping these into purses, rather than triangles, by bringing up all four points to the center over the mixture and then pressing the edges together for a complete seal. The purses are easier to manage in the frying pan.)

If you intend to steam the dumplings arrange them in your steamer and steam them for 10 to 15 minutes. If you intend to fry them, put two tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Fry for two minutes until the bottoms are golden brown, then pour 1⁄2 cup of water into the pan and cover with lid. Let them steam for about 7 minutes. The mix is likely enough to make all 100 wontons, which is fine if you want them for a party, but if you just want them for a meal make the quantity you need (probably 4 to 6 per person) and freeze the bal- ance of the mixture in one-meal portions using the freezer ziplock bags. Do not prep out the pot stickers until you intend to cook them as the wrappers absorb moisture and tend to stick together. Serve with edamame or rice.