Best of contains 225 recipes for special occasions. This feel good cook book is perfect if you are craving a bite of nostalgia. If you are hosting a party, going to a potluck, wondering what to do with your leftovers from a previous event, or even want a recipe for making an edible holiday treat to give to friends or family, this book has your solution. The recipes are straightforward, and for the most part are simple and pretty easy. Many dishes utilize items often kept in the pantry.
The book has a retro feel and is written in a conversational style, allowing you to hear the voices of the authors. The Bridge ladies included some of their favorite quotes throughout the book and most of them gave me a good chuckle. I look forward to cooking and baking my way through this book. The baking section is especially interesting to me as it contains things that I’ve never made or eaten before, like Victorian Orange Peel Cake (I think this is going to be on the menu for New Year’s Eve). I was also very impressed by the edible gift chapter. I love giving (and receiving) homemade presents for the holidays, and this book has some great ideas and recipes to make a really nice, delicious, thoughtful gift that is under $10.00 per person.
My absolute favorite recipe that I made from this book so far was the Gingered Carrot Puree. The flavors in this dish are wonderfully bold without hitting you over the head. The sweetness of the carrots and the bite from the ginger marry very well together. The end result is a velvety puree that is quick and easy to make. I loved this so much I’m pretty sure that I could live off of this gingered carrot puree alone.
I made the Honey Garlic Chicken Wings for a potluck. They came out with a gorgeous golden brown glaze on the skin. The wings were tasty. Hoisin Sauce, soy, honey, garlic and rice vinegar play off of hot pepper sauce. The recipe suggests an amount of hot pepper sauce, but says to do it to your tastes. I’d recommend doing at least the amount in the recipe because the flavor balance won’t be there without that heat. I kept them very mild, and the end result was a sweet, garlicy wing. The flavor was maybe a seven and a half out of ten, but because they were so mild, they were very easy to keep eating. If I was making them just for my household, I’d have made them a little spicier for better sweet/salty/ spice balance. This is a good make ahead item, I’d get the wings sitting in the marinade overnight next time before cooking to get even more intense flavor into the wings. As a plus, when you bake these and boil the marinade, your entire house will smell amazing.
I made the Fantastic Fudge Brownies recipe. The end result was a rich fudge brownie, topped with icing. They were a hit at a ten-year old’s birthday party as well as my husband’s office. To my personal taste, they were a little too sweet and too rich. Maybe I’m more of a cake-y brownie gal than a fudge brownie one.
I also made the Peppermint Brittle recipe (also in the gift section). This is a super easy, fast recipe that allows you to make a really nice gift for someone in about ten active minutes of cooking and an hour to cool it down.
The book also has a Microwave Peanut Brittle Recipe. It takes 8 minutes plus about an hour to cool to make some pretty delicious peanut brittle. I did make this (and forgot to photograph it), and sent it with my hubby to give to co-workers for holiday presents. It tastes good and goes from hard to very sticky once in your mouth. Caution to those with dental work.