I purchased Katie Lee Joel’s cookbook, The Comfort Table, after I saw her win the Burger Bash last year. Luckily I was there to sample the winning burger and it was truly divine. Not at all what I would expect in a burger, more of a patty melt, but good tasting all the same. So I bought the book and have to say it’s simply adorable. There’s all of these cute photos of Katie Lee prancing around with her mom and friends and sitting at a cafe sipping coffee. But in addition, there are great recipes and stories weaved together, painting the picture of a young country girl from West Virginia happily observing the female influences in her life (Grandma, mom, aunts) cook and bake using local ingredients and keeping it simple, albeit a little special too. You could almost imagine a young Katie running between her grandparents’ house, her cousins house and her own, stealing a biscuit or slice of cornbread here and there. What Katie does well in this book is what she knows-the traditional recipes of the South. What I found myself skipping over were the things like Medeterranean Pasta, something I could get from 100 other cookbooks. But her baked goods and breakfasts, for example, are impressive because you could actually imagine making these yourself. They don’t take shortcuts by using store bought this or that-you really are baking your own chocolate cake to be used in the Trifle and her other recipes add something new that I haven’t found elsewhere.
So today I decided to make her Spicy Zucchini Pineapple Bread. I’m not much of a Zucch bread person, but I was intrigued by the notion of using canned crushed pineapple in the mix to moisten things. The recipes is titled spicy because it has allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg, but this part is not overpowering. The result was great, but for one kind of major thing-there is no way this recipe fits into a typical loaf pan. It doesn’t. I can prove it. See:
I should have known because when I filled the pan, there wasn’t much room between the batter and the rim, but I went ahead anyway and put it in the oven. In retrospect, I would have been better off taking the batter and sticking it into muffin tins. I wound up putting a cookie sheet under the bread for the final 20 minutes but I made a mess in the meantime.
Taste-wise, this came out well. The pineapple adds the moistness but you really don’t taste it at all unless you luckily bite into a piece. The spices are there, but subtle. I would make it again.
The kids? My son (picky eater) said “iwe” even though I told him it was “cake,” but he had my number and saw green flecks of something or other and knew it must be too good to be true.
The book is available at amazon.com