New DIY cookbook swaps convenience for homemade

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A cookbook review is posted on Everybody Eats on the first Monday of the month.

Iím not the craftiest person in the world, but I love Pinterest. I donít want to even know how many hours I have spent on that website, repinning recipes, craft projects and inspirational quotes.

Like many Pinterest fans, I have followed through on very little pins. At last count, I completed five. I even started a ďStuff from Pinterest I actually saw, did, made or purchasedĒ board to track these milestones.

The America's Test Kitchen DIY Cookbook (Boston Common Press; Oct. 1, 2012) was written for those Pinterest fans that live and breathe the DIY lifestyle. Most of the recipes featured in this cookbook are for foods you can purchase at your local grocery store, but why do that when you can make them at home instead?

I can agree with this†idea in some cases. I used the apple butter recipe during The 2012 Apple Challenge, and was quite pleased with the result. However, when I set out to make the Chocolate Sandwich Cookies, I couldnít find all of the ingredients at my local grocery store. I knew I could find them if I drove a few miles more to Iowa City, but it was 8:30 p.m. on a Thursday night and I was ready to call it a day. Maybe Iíll give it a shot when itís time to bake Christmas cookies.

(I also plan to make the salted caramels if it ever gets cook enough to make candy. Donít tell my dentist.)

The goal of this cook cookbook is to be the ďhomemadeĒ back into cooking. Itís a great concept, but Iím not sure if it will fly with most home cooks. Iím all for baking bread, making fresh pasta and homemade salsa, but the idea of baking crackers instead of spending $2.50 at Fareway strikes me as something thatís great in theory only.

Still, I had fun reading this cookbook, making note of recipes to try when I have a few hours to experiment in the kitchen. It should be noted that each recipe includes step-by-step photos, which is helpful when you are trying something new. Iíll never understand why some cookbooks donít include pictures.

For anyone who wants to expand their culinary skills, The America's Test Kitchen DIY Cookbook is a great cookbook and a great purchase, but if you prefer to buy your own graham crackers instead of making them from scratch, you might want to save your money and explore Americaís Test Kitchenís website instead.


Makes about four 1-cup jars

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • Ĺ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ? teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • 1 red onion, minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1Ĺ tablespoons grated fresh ginger 4 mangos, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/4-inch pieces (6 cups)
  • Ĺ cup packed light brown sugar, plus extra as needed
  • 2 cups water
  • Ĺ cup raisins
  • ľ cup white wine vinegar

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Stir in mustard, cinnamon, cayenne, and cloves and cook until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Add onion and 1 teaspoon salt and cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add mangos and sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until mangos release their liquid, 10 to 15 minutes.

Stir in water, raisins, and vinegar and increase heat to medium-high. Vigorously simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thickened and begins to stick to bottom of pan, 30 to 40 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and sugar to taste.

Transfer chutney to jars with tight-fitting lids, let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate. Chutney can be refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.

Source: The America's Test Kitchen DIY Cookbook (Boston Common Press; Oct. 1, 2012)

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