Valarie and I love cookbooks. No matter where you sit in our house, a book is no more than an arm’s length away. We have multiple copies of digital cookbooks, but there is nothing like holding a bound cookbook in your hands, especially one filled with amazing stories and recipes. It is no surprise, whenever you open a cookbook of ours, you may see notes in the columns, tabbed pages, and printed out recipes or ingredient lists stuffed between the covers. These books are meant to be used and visited often both for inspiration and amazing recipes.
We love the practicality and usefulness of cookbooks, but we are drawn to the stories behind each recipe and the cookbook itself. We would love to eventually roll the book club into an in-person cooking event, but for now we will keep it a virtual social media activity of sharing recipes from our favorite cookbooks. We are looking to eventually offer an online class where we can cook together virtually through a live stream platform.
The goal of our book club is simple – “to inspire you to cook more”. We want to help you elevate your home cooking skills and add to the regularly cooked dishes. It is meant to be fun. Regardless of your current skill level, we look forward to you joining us. We are sure between the recipes we choose and the encouragement we provide, you will no doubt increase your skills in the kitchen, but more importantly have fun learning something new.
The rules are simple;
- We will give away one copy of the featured “cookbook of the month” through an Instagram Cookbook Giveaway.
- We will cook 3-4 recipes from the book and invite you to cook it as well and share photos with the #unstoppablefoodie (or #unstoppablefoodiecookbookclub).
- We will share the featured recipes we cook.
- We will share your photos of your cooked dishes on our social media accounts and the Unstoppable Foodie Blog.
- In the future months ahead, we will do a zoom call with those registered and cook some of our favorite recipes together.
Our featured cookbook for the Month of November 2020
The Lost Kitchen – Recipes and a Good Life Found in Freedom, Maine by Erin French
We first heard about Erin French through her unique reservation system. She uses a mail-in “postcard” lottery system. Full details of the reservations system are announced on the first day of Spring each year. They describe the size of the post card to be sent, what you may put on it and how the cards are chosen. Based on the number of postcards sent versus the numbers of available seats per year, The Lost Kitchen is one of the most exclusive restaurants in the country. Although we have not had the privilege of eating at The Lost Kitchen, we have access to her brilliant recipes found in her cookbook.
Erin grew up in Freedom Maine (population 718) working on the grill at her father’s 50-seat diner at age 14. From those beginnings, she became a self-taught cook through her love and study of cookbooks. Her culinary career branched off to hosting secret suppers in her apartment, then to a 1965 Airstream trailer providing fork-to-field suppers and finally ending up at her current location inside an old grist mill in Freedom, Maine.
Her restaurant is currently closed due to the Covid pandemic, but she has branch into other directions with an online farmer’s market, prefix outdoor lunches, building dining/sleeping cabins, and a collaboration with the Magnolia Network and the show The Lost Kitchen. Joanna Gaines of Magnolia Network recently said this about Erin; “In the early days of creating @magnolianetwork, we knew we wanted to showcase people who are risk-takers, who are overcomers, and who are making the most out of life. Erin is all of those things and more. She’s the kind of person who, when faced with a setback, pushes forward and makes beauty out of hardship. I am so excited for you to hear her story, and for all of us to watch as it unfolds. #MagnoliaNetwork @thelostkitchen
We picked this book for several reasons:
- We love Maine having spent the last 19 years visiting in the Summer and Fall!
- We love Erin’s grit, determination and work ethic displayed in all she does.
- We love her creativity using seasonal ingredients in her dishes.
- Her flavor profiles are amazingly original.
- Finally, as Erin states when cooking, “there are few ails that butter and salt can’t cure.”
Below are a few amazing recipes from The Lost Kitchen we plan to cook this month:
- Sweet and Sour Apple Cider Chicken Wings with Cilantro (Page 162 – Fall)
We chose this recipe because who doesn’t like chicken wings. It features Erin’s secret sweet and sour sauce.
- Rosemary-Brined Pork Chops (Page 169 – Fall)
We love pork chops and love the rosemary brine Erin created for this recipe.
- Duck Confit with celery Root Rémoulade (Page 222 – Winter)
Who doesn’t love food cooked in duck fat! This beautiful recipe features duck cooked down in its own fat and served with a lovely rémoulade made with heavy cream, Dijon, cornichons and celery root.
- Ricotta Fritters with Custard Sauce & Preserves (Page 240 – Winter)
This is a short 15-minute dish, but the seafood lover in you will love the beauty of littleneck clams covered with delicious broccoli rabe smothered in a layer of crispy prosciutto and a tomato-wine sauce. This dish is best enjoyed right out of the pan in the center of the table with a fresh loaf of crusty bread.
We highly recommend adding this cookbook to your collection. It will show you ways to use beautiful seasonal ingredients during all four seasons.
We are sure you will enjoy these recipes and this cookbook. Please share your photos with us so we can feature any dishes you cook from this book on our social media pages and on our blog. The Unstoppable Foodie Cookbook Club is meant to be a social activity and a two-way street for all of us to get better at cooking and more importantly gathering around beautiful food with friends and family. Our tagline from the start has been – “Exploring the World, One Dish at a Time.” We hope you join us on this culinary adventure!