Thursday, February 7, 2013

Librarian Test Kitchen: The Ploughman's Lunch and the Miser's Feast

The Library has almost every kind of cookbook one could imagine, and lately the trend has been towards thick books with plenty of full page photographs.  Trying new recipes is always fun, but is it really worth the time and effort?  Is a familiar television personality on the cover reassurance enough that the recipe will turn out?  We're sharing our cooking adventures here, good and bad to take some of the guesswork out of the cookbook selection process.  With nearly eight thousand cookbooks in the Springfield-Greene County Library System, the possibilities are endless.

I decided my first recipe would be the Traditional Cornish Steak Pasty found on page 156. Pasties are savory pies similar to turnovers. Since I needed crust, and am too cheap to purchase pre-made crusts from the store I decided to also make the British Hot-Water Crust on page 137. 

The crust had very few ingredients and simple instructions, but somehow things still went awry. At first it was way too sticky, then quickly turned way too dry. I still managed to use it, but had to fight it at every turn. In the future, I'll use my mom's pie crust recipe (this one is identical to hers).

The pasty itself was a simple mix of potatoes, onions, steak, and turnips (I used carrots instead). The beauty of this dish comes in the fact that you don't pre-cook any of the ingredients (not even the meat). Just plop a spoonful onto a circle of crust, fold, and bake.

I loved these pasties! I froze half the recipe, and had them for quick lunches. They were still amazing even after a month in the freezer and a trip in the microwave. I cannot recommend these enough. 

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