Cookbook Reviews

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cookbook Review: The Mystic Cookbook: The Secret Alchemy of Food by Denise Linn and Meadow Linn

Book: The Mystic Cookbook: The Secret Alchemy of Food

Author: Denise Linn & Meadow Linn

Release date (if applicable): November 26, 2012

Synopsis: I wracked my brain about how to describe this cookbook. Not coming up with anything that I think described it fully, I decided to use the description given on Goodreads.
Provocative and insightful, this eclectic, inspiring, and beautiful book will open your eyes to the remarkable link between nourishment and spiritual awakening. Filled with ancient wisdom, practical advice, personal anecdotes, vibrant ceremonies, and original dishes lavishly illustrated with color photographs, The Mystic Cookbook brings to life a wealth of recipes and a myriad of experiences from places as far-reaching as Mexico, Italy, Vietnam, France, North Africa, and India—as well as from mystical, legendary, and mythic realms.
You’ll also discover how to increase the vibration of the food you eat to heighten conscious awareness; use food to open your chakras; trigger past-life memories with aroma; invite fairies and angels for dinner; travel through time and space from the comfort of your dining table; create feasts to activate abundance, success, and love . . . plus much more! In Denise Linn and Meadow Linn’s extraordinary book, learn little-known secrets about the food you eat and how it can mystically transform your life!

My rating: 3 stars

My opinion: Several things struck me about this cookbook. First, this book is new age/metaphysical. If this isn't your cup of tea, you will have issues with the concepts in this cookbook. There are a large number of concepts such as food rituals and developing a relationship with your food sources. There were definitely parts of this book that I think took the concepts too far. Second, The pictures in the book were beautiful, but there were WAY too many of them. This was a 312 page cookbook and I would bet that almost a half of those pages were of pictures. What I did like about this is that each recipe was accompanied by a picture of the completed dish. Finally, In a 312 page COOKBOOK, there were only 47 recipes. That barely makes a cookbook. Now, every single recipe looked delicious, and were unique but I don't think that constitues a cookbook.

Source: Netgalley for Publisher

Would I recommend? : To a very select audience. Others, take a look at the book at a bookstore or library before purchasing.

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Portuguese Baked Cod

Partnered with Caramelized Broccoli with Garlic

I have been trying to incorporate more fish into my dinners. Because I have a husband whose believes that unless a fish is fried, it isn't good, I need to always be on the lookout that will appease both of us. It has a sauce that has a nice blend of white wine, lemon and capers.

This fish has such a unique flavor to it. Plus, the veggies pick up the flavors of the sauces and they blend beautifully together.

So, here we go:


1.5 lbs fresh cod
2 baking potatoes-thinly sliced
1 large sweet onion-thinly sliced
2 red peppers-thinly sliced
1/2 lemon juiced
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup olive oil
1 T. capers
1/3 t. paprika
Paula Deen's house seasoning-to taste


1) Place fish in a 9x13 pan. Place fish fillets on a plate and season with PDHS and pour lemon juice over fish. Set aside for 1 hour.

2) In a small bowl, combine white wine, olive oil, capers, paprika. Set aside. In a larger bowl, place veggies and pour oil mixture over veggies and pour into the pan. Place fillets over veggies and cover with foil.

3) Bake in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes or until fish flakes easily. Be sure to spoon extra sauce over fish and veggie mixture.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Egg Nog Tini

Anyone who knows me for one minute...knows I HATE LATE FALL AND WINTER. Despise it. I keep trying to keep up my happiness factor once late November hits, but I really stink at it. If I could work and live in a spot where I NEVER had to see snow again, I would do a jig!

A couple of years ago, my husband brought home a card from Bacardi that a taster had been giving out and they had the recipe for an Egg Nog Tini. Now, I have made other Egg Nog Tinis before, but they have left me as cold as the outdoors! Until I tasted this one. Now, we get our Egg Nog from Aldi. I used to spend $9 a bottle for egg nog and found the Aldi brand gave the same taste/quality as the local dairy brand for a fraction of the cost. Plus, I didn't have to purchase a 1/2 gallon bottle. So come November...I am always perusing the Aldi refrigerators eagerly anticipating the arrival of their Christmas special products which Egg Nog fits into.

To boot, they have a spice cookie (again a special purchase) which do a beautiful rimmer and topping.

So, how easy is this tini? It only has 2 ingredients! Now that is easy.


2 oz Bacardi Gold
4 oz Egg Nog

Spiced cookies ground down.(optional)

Canned in whipped cream


1) Fill a shaker half way with ice. Pour liquid in and shake for no less than 60 seconds. (This is a 'tini which must be served ice cold!)

2) Rim glass and pour drinks in. Top with whipped cream and additional cookie crumbs.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Mistletoe Martini

Hard to believe it, but we are heading into the Christmas season. Where did the year go? The Pub and Grub, true to its' name, will be starting to focus on holiday drinks for all you yuletide fun!

This is one of my favorites that I stumbled upon accidentally. Loving anything tropical, it has both pineapple juice AND Malibu rum! It tastes like Christmas on your favorite beach.

Now, this tini has to be served very cold. Be sure to place glasses and shaker in the freezer to chill.

So, here we go!:


1.5 oz Malibu Rum
1.5 oz Pineapple Juice
1.5 oz Midori
1.5 oz Sweet and Sour


1) Fill shaker with ice half way full with ice

2) Pour all liquids into shaker and shake for no less than 60 seconds

3) Pour into chilled tini glass. Make sure you have a layer of froth!

The Tipsy Monk

I have found a DYNAMIC new cookbook author by the name of Billy Taylor on Amazon. His book was an Amazon freebie, which I grabbed and have been unable to put down. I would have GLADLY paid the book's shelf price though.

Those of you who know me or have followed me for the tiniest length of time know I love me some coffee. I have used it in drinks, as a beef rub, in my desserts. I am not picky! So, when I saw a cookbook with the title Unforgettable Fall Recipes with Coffee: A Seasonal Collection of Gourmet Recipes for Coffee Cakes, Sweets and Warming Drinks, I was SO over that bad boy!!

Anyway, my eyes found so many great recipes which I will be bringing to the Pub and Grub at a later time, but one really stood out to me as we come into the cooler weather and nights by the fires or holiday gatherings that I wanted to bring it to your attention right away.

Now, as to be expected, I tweaked it a bit for my husband's and my tastes, but I am giving you both recipes. I do only have pictures of my version. We had tried the original recipe and then decided we needed to soften it a bit and, thus, came up with our version. Let's just say it was a happy morning in the Blackburn home!

By the way, I have NO idea what double cream is. I know he said coddled cream could be used but I was WAY too lazy to go through the process to make Coddled Cream...might do it if I was serving this at a party though!

This first is Billy's original recipe. I don't like my coffee black, so it was a bit bitter for my husband and I. If you do like your coffees with no creamer in it, you probably won't have issues with So here we go:

* I used a 14 oz coffee mug for my recipe warmed in a 170 degree oven.

The Tipsy Monk (Original)

1/2 T. Amaretto
1/2 T. Creame de Cacao
1/2 T. Frangelico
1/2 T. Triple Sec
Double Cream and Cocoa to serve


1) In a warmed mug, combine all the liquors and swirl.

2) Add coffee, filling about 2/3 way full

3) Serve with the cream and cocoa.

The Tipsy Monk (Blackburn Style!)


1/2 T. Amaretto
1/2 T. Creame de Cacao
1/2 T. Frangelico
1/2 T. Triple Sec
2 t. sugar, equal or brown sugar
2 T. half and half
Canned whipped cream and sweetened cocoa


1) In a warmed mug, combine all the liquors, cream, sugar and stir gently.

2) Add coffee, filling about 2/3 full.

3) Top with canned whipped cream and sweetened cocoa. Serve IMMEDIATELY!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Jolean's Cheese Potato and Smoked Sausage Casserole

I loved this little dish that reminded me of a twist on scalloped ham and potatoes. This was pure comfort food with its' cheesiness and smoked sausage flavors. I made this in an 8x8 inch pan, but because it was so filling, my family was able to eek out 4 servings.
3 cups potatoes peeled, cut into 1 inch cubes and boiled
4 T. Butter
4 T. Flour
2 cups milk
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
8 oz package Velveeta Cheese
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 lb smoked sausage, cut into 1 inch slices
1/8 t. paprika
1) Brown the sausage in a frying pan.
2) Mix browned sausage with potatoes in a large bowl.
3) In a large sauce pan, melt butter, flour, milk, salt, pepper and Velveeta one at a time stirring each time until smooth.
4) Pour sauce over potato mixture and stir. Pour into a prepared 2 qt casserole. Top with the shredded cheddar and paprika.
5) Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Take out when golden brown on top.

Lip Lickin' Chicken Recipe

Lip Licken Chicken partnered with roasted cauliflower

8 chicken Breasts
1 t. Garlic Powder
1 t. Onion Powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 cans Cream of Chicken Soup
1 (16 oz) container Sour Cream
8 oz SHREDDED Parmesan cheese
2 cups sliced mushrooms, sauteed in butter or olive oil
16 Asparagus spears, cooked


1) Spray a 9x13 baking dish liberally with cooking spray. Place chicken breasts in in dish and sprinkle with garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.

2) In a bowl, combine soup and sour cream. Spread over chicken. Sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese. Cover with tinfoil and bake in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes.

3) Garnish with mushrooms and asparagus spears and return to oven for 15 minutes.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Grilled Giant Pork Chops with Adobo Paste

adapted: Epicurious

Partnered with Soffrito Rice

Much to my husband's dismay, I grill ALL year long. Below zero with a windchill? Yep, I am out there. Snowy? Won't stop me! This is a filling chop recipe that I assure will be on my Winter grilling menu.


2 1/2 T. Olive Oil
2 T. Paprika (NOT HOT)
1 1/2 T. Dried Oregano
1 T. Jarred minced garlic
1 1/2 t. ground cumin
1 1/2 t. dried hot red-pepper flakes
1 1/2 t. finely grated fresh lime zest
1/4 t. black pepper
6 (1 inch thick) bone in pork loin chops


1) Prepare grill for direct heat cooking.

2) Stir together all ingredients but pork chops to form a paste. Rub it all over pork chops.

3) Let pork chops sit for about 1/2 hour.

4) Grill chops over coals. Flip a couple of times during cooking. Mine took about 20 minutes for me to be happy with how done they are...otherwise cook until internal temperature is 165 degrees.

Copykat's Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup

I love the Copykat site ran by Stephanie Manley and this was a new recipe from there for the Blackburn family. Although, this isn't my favorite Olive Garden soup, I sure do enjoy it. I also loved how easy it was to make!

Now, although I did make a couple of changes, the recipe is the same. First change I made was instead of finely chopping veggies, I kept them chunky. I love the taste of veggies in my soup and I didn't want to lose that with finely shredding them. Being a spinach lover,  I added a full bag of baby spinach and I loved it. I was a bit nervous that it would be overloaded with wasn't. I am really happy I made that change. I also omitted the nutmeg that even Stephanie calls optional. I did include it in the ingredient list so feel free to add it if you would like.

A note on Gnocchi. Stephanie calls for regular sized gnocchi or the little baby ones. I used the mini ones and am thrilled that I did! Make it a point to find the mini ones. I will no longer use any other!

So, here we go!:


1T. olive oil
4 T. Butter
4 T. Flour
1 Qt Half and Half
1/2 cup celery, diced
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
1 t. jarred minced garlic
2 cans (14 oz) chicken broth
1 cup cook and diced chicken breasts
1 package of baby spinach
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. thyme
1/2 t. parsley
1/4 t. nutmeg (optional)
1 package mini gnocchi cooked according to package directions


1) Saute the onion, celery and garlic in the butter/olive oil over medium heat until onion is translucent. Add flour to make a roux. Let cook for 1 minute and add half and half.

2) Add the carrots and chicken.

3) Once it thickens, add the chicken broth. When it thickens again, add the remaining ingredients. Allow the soup to simmer until the carrots are soft.

Potato Bacon Casserole


I love doing breakfast for dinner and am always on the lookout for good recipes that fit the bill. One can never go wrong with ham, cheese, potatoes and eggs! This dish fit that bill in an "all in one" casserole. My only complaint regarding this dish was that it was tiny. What they said served 6 in the recipe only served 3 with servings that were large enough to fill my men! As can be seen above, the servings weren't that huge even with only serving 3.

I ended up partnering it with fresh tomatoes from my garden and toast. So yummy. Next time though, I will double the recipe. We didn't even get any leftovers from the original recipe. So, have a larger family double the recipe. Cooking for one or two? The original recipe is fine!

So, here we go:


4 cups SHREDDED hash brown potatoes
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
8 oz bacon or ham. Using bacon? Cook and chop it before adding to dish
1 cup Shredded cheddar cheese
1 can evaporated milk
1 large egg beaten or 1/4 cup egg substitute
1 1/2 t. seasoned salt


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 8 inch square pan with cooking spray.

2) Layer 1/2 potatoes, 1/2 onion, 1/2 bacon and 1/2 cheese in bacon dish. Repeat layers.

3) Combine evaporated milk, egg, seasoned salt in a bowl and pour evenly over potato mixture. Cover with tinfoil.

4) Bake for 55 to 60 minutes. Uncover and bake 5-10 more minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.