Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Library and Peanuttiest Blondies

On Tuesday night I ventured over to my local library, for only the 2nd time. I'm a big fan of libraries, but I have to say I'm disappointed by the library in the town where I live. It's very, very small. I was spoiled by a nice sized library in the town where I grew up--in fact, when I was in elementary I was part of the human chain that moved books across the parking lot from the old library in the Town Hall to the new library which had previously been a junior high school. From there I went on to a wonderful college library where I worked at the circulation desk for 4 years. Then I moved to Greenwich, Connecticut where the library is just spectacular. After that, I was a patron of the Boston Public Library (Brighton Branch) and then the Sommerville, MA libraries, both of which served my needs.

I guess when I moved to the 'burbs I was expecting a nice big library, like I had growing up, where everything I wanted was there. In hindsight, I didn't really have very sophisticated needs at that time, so I don't know how well-stocked that library really was. And, I can't remember whether it uses Library of Congress Cataloging. In any case, going to the very small library in my town and trying to find what I was looking for was rather difficult and disappointing. Their online catalog isn't very intuitive (mostly because I'm so used to searching Amazon), and they don't use Library of Congress cataloging. Also, of the 15 books I searched for, only 1 was actually available in the stacks--the others were checked out, only available through ILL from other libraries in the network, or weren't owned by any of the libraries in the network.

So I just headed into the stacks to browse. The last time I was there I had stumbled upon the gardening section so that's where I started my browsing. Lucky for me, on the shelf above gardening was cooking. I perused the cookbooks and picked out 2 to take home--Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, and Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours. I was also looking for some books on sewing and other than a few quilting books, they didn't have any (I requested Amy Karol's Bend the Rules Sewing via ILL). Disappointing...very disappointing.

But, I came home with the 2 cookbooks, a novel, and 3 books on decorating and window treatments (2 pre-1990 and 1 from 2005). My hope is that the Children's Room of the library is better than the rest since that's probably what I'll be using most in the future.

I don't know whether I've been living under a rock or what, but I had never heard of Dorie Greenspan until I started reading cooking blogs. I guess I never paid much attention to who actually authored articles in the magazines I read on a semi-regular basis, or who was being interviewed on All Things Considered. Being a cooking/foodie blog reader, I've now read all kinds of reviews and ravings of Dorie's recipes. So, I was excited to actually open up one of her cookbooks...and I wasn't disappointed at all! I love her introductions to each recipe and her little suggestions for modifications. And, the photographs are fabulous! I'm a real sucker for food photos (and someday will learn to take good ones myself).

Last night I was itching to make something from the book, but I didn't want to venture out to the grocery store, and I didn't want to be up until midnight baking. I chose the Peanutiest Blondies because I had all of the ingredients on hand, and it's a bar cookie so it wouldn't be very time consuming. I can't find the recipe online anywhere so I'll post a paraphrase of it on here later.

Due to my being impatient, my blondies didn't turn out so great. My faults were as follows: I used a 8x8 glass dish instead of a 9x9 pan, and baked for the minimum amount of time given. Too thick blondies, plus not enough cooking time = blondies that have a nice crust on the top, but are completely dough-like in the middle. The good news is that the dough tasted fantastic--so the finished product, though messy, tastes good. With peanut butter, chopped peanuts, and chopped chocolate, how can you go wrong?!

I'm going to copy the recipe out of the book and stick it in my file to make at a later date at which point I will follow the instructions! I think kids would really love these blondies!

1 comment:

Deborah said...

We have a fairly large library, but the cooking section is not that great. There are not very many modern or newly released cookbooks.

I didn't know who a lot of the good cookbook authors were before food blogging, so you are not alone!! I only learned of Dorie Greenspan from blogging, but I am a convert!