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Ilina took the book in like it was her own creation- she prepared and sampled THREE recipes from the book:
* Chicken Jerusalem
* Parmesan Crisps
* Needle in the Haystack

Some stories behind the recipes:

I remember eating Chicken Jerusalem for the first time at my friend Sue’s house. There was always a delicious something brewing at her home – and this dish is still a favorite of mine on a regular basis.

The Parmesan Crisps were my Grandmother Ginny’s favorite ‘keep on hand’ appetizer for those unannounced drop-by guests. If you are organized (I am not often in this category), you can make them before hand and keep them ‘ready to go’ in the freezer. They are featured on the front cover of the book and they are a MEGA CROUTON waiting to be devoured.

Needle in the Haystacks are just something I loved to eat growing up. No deep dark story here except for the variety of chocolate you use. Total salty-sweet combo. Wish I could whip some up now.

So what did Ilina have to say? I’ll share an excerpt from her review:
I have been a cooking fiend the last few days. I serendipitously received a new cookbook on my doorstep last Friday. I generally read cookbooks like they’re novels. I pore over them in the bookstore, thumb through dogeared pages among the racks at used bookstores, and spend hours gazing at recipes online. On rainy days, I curl up with a cup of Tension Tamer tea and browse through a stack of cookbooks. I clip recipes from the likes of Cooking Light , Food & Wine , Cookie , Bon Appetit , and Southern Living, all of which arrive in my mailbox monthly. You know what? I never make a single recipe. I use cookbooks, recipes in general really, as inspiration. I don’t measure a thing and am fond of substitutions when the recipe calls for something I don’t have on hand and can’t manage a trip to Harris Teeter. I joke that I am the queen of “kitchen sink cooking;” I can muster up a great meal with a dash of this and a dollop of that, whatever lurks in the back of the pantry or in the bowels of the freezer are fair game. I consult a recipe just to get ideas for spice blends, cooking times, food pairings, or menu options. It is rare that I cook with a book propped open.

Until I discovered Taste This! by Gina Von Esmarch.

If you want to know her detailed recap of the recipes, you must read her article, Taste This!.

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