Normally I no longer do cookbook reviews. They take a lot of time to accomplish with all that recipe testing from one book within a short period of time. Also, I hate letting down commitments. The great thing about getting a cookbook as a present (thanks Kelly!) is that I can do whatever the heck I want.
True Blood: Eats, Drinks, and Bites from Bon Temps is so different, so, well, "me" that I just wanted to eat it up. It made me laugh (big fan of the show), it made me scratch my head and it surprised me. Definitely not a cookbook for everyone (if you don't watch the show you won't really get a lot of the humour) but if you are like me and can't get enough of the world of Bon Temps, I think you will fall in love with it.
Sookie Stackhouse's Skin-Deep Potato Skins
I had to make a recipe that was inspired by the main character of True Blood, Sookie Stackhouse. Who sometimes I love and then sometimes want to scream at. Here is an excerpt from the intro to this recipe:
"If I had a order of skins for every guy who had nasty thoughts about me, well, I would have a helluva lotta skins. Before Bill, no one ever thought of me as nice or pretty... As for the guys at Merlotte's? Let's just keep the orders of skins a-comin'."
Potato skins are one of my favourite treats when I eat out, if done properly. Overall, most of the time, I am disappointed. Let's see how Sookie's "stack" up!
"Stab" potatoes (I just made 2) randomly several time with a sharp thin knife. Rub them with olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Put in a preheated 400F oven.
Bake until slightly soft when squeezed, around 45 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Increase oven temperature to 450F.
When potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut in half and scoop out most of the flesh, leaving 1/4" on the skin. I added the scooped potato to my Roasted Butternut Squash Soup. So good!
Put potato skins on baking sheet and brush inside and out with olive oil. Sprinkle inside with salt and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes, flip over and then bake for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven, flip back and sprinkle with some cheese and homemade cooked bacon bits. Return to oven until the cheese melts.
Top with sour cream and green onions.
These were quite good! I love that you flip the skins over to crisp the edges, that was brilliant and I have never seen that before! These take a long time to make but if you are making a lot for a crowd, a great yummy treat. The potatoes I used were on the small side so I could eat them by hand!
I give this recipe four out of five wooden spoons
Candied Sweet Jesus Potatoes by Reverend Daniels
This was the biggest disappointment of all the recipe testing I did. This one took forever and the glazing never happened. It was more like oven-poached sweet potatoes. That said, they were delicious but when you slather vegetables with corn syrup, butter and sugar... that is bound to happen. I give this recipe two out of five wooden spoons.
The Beautifully Broken Bisque was surprisingly light and beautiful, not heavily "beety" like I was expecting.
Sloppy Jasons were good but it was my fault they were not fantastic, I wussed out on adding heat which would have taken them over the edge.
True Blood: Eats, Drinks, and Bites from Bon Temps is packed with full-page photographs from the show that if you are not a fan, you would feel ripped off. Me? I loved it. It got me right into the head space of that particular season and it felt like I was hanging out with the characters I love.
For me the main letdown is that a ton of the recipes are for alcoholic beverages which, in context, absolutely makes sense. A lot of the settings for the show are bars. I have to say, I am considering making "The Necromancer" one day. How could I not?!
I have tried making food from other show-inspired cookbooks and most of the recipes suck and have nothing to do with the show. Not so in the case with True Blood: Eats, Drinks, and Bites from Bon Temps. I feel absolutely transported to the show when I browse the book and a part of it when I eat the dishes which were, overall, quite good. Nothing fancy but we are talking about Bon Temps, a place where you would have Cracked Eggs Benedict or Drop-Dead Tuna-Cheese Casserole.
This cookbook successfully stayed true to the show and even though I was not 100% thrilled with all the recipes, I did like them and will continue to cook from the book. As a result, I give this cookbook four out of five wooden spoons for fans like me. If you aren't and you found some of the food titles offensive, stay away from this book!
Me? I think I am going to make Terry's Jailhouse Chili next.