IN THE KITCHEN WITH MISS PIGGY - Fabulous Recipes from My Celebrity Friends - 1996
This cookbook is a compilation of the prized personal recipes of the friends of Miss Piggy. I am suspicious. I find it entirely believeable that Liz Taylor knows about Spicy Chicken or that Willard Scott has spent years perfecting the recipe for Brown Sugar Pound Cake. But one must suspend
reality to fall for Ivana Trump cooking Goulash or Robin Leach making
Chicken and Pasta Salad. Or is that just me? Yo-Yo Ma's Barbequed Spareribs with Beer and Honey or Barbara Bush's Bologna for a Cocktail Buffet - the jury's still out.
In a failed attempt to broaden the Teen Queen's list of acceptable foods, this book was a gift to her. The first recipe she chose to make was Frank Oz's Glop, a concoction of zucchini, spinach and broccoli steamed together, run through a food processor and baked after adding butter and mozzarella cheese. Did she eat it? She declined.
What we have here is a book containing 50 recipes that are clearly written and easy to follow using common ingredients. Each offering includes a beautiful color photo of the finished dish, and Miss Piggy appears in a fabulous outfit on each page with tips and enhancements of her own. Originally produced as part of a fund-raising effort for Citymeals-On-Wheels, a private program that feeds homebound elderly people, it can hold it's own against many other cookbooks on the shelf and definately outshines the pretentious Williams-Sonoma series. It includes four recipes for soup, only one of which is worth mentioning:
KATIE COURIC'S ZESTY TOMATO-THYME SOUP
The Description :
This is a chunky soup with a light, fresh taste.
1. Coarsely chop one medium onion and two cloves of garlic in a food processor. Remove the mixture; set aside. Chop two stalks of celery and 1/4 cup (packed) of fresh parsley. Remove and set aside.
2. In a large saucepan, warm one tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the onion and garlic and stir-fry until the mixture begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in 2 16-oz. cans of crushed tomatoes and their juice, 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth, two tablespoons of tomato paste, two tablespoons of grated orange zest, one teaspoon of dried thyme, 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper and the celery and parsley.
3. Bring to a boil; then reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for at least 10 minutes.
4. Serve hot, at room temperature or slightly chilled, but not cold. Offer with a dollop of sour cream on top.
To save time, you could make this in the microwave. Here's how: Combine the oil, chopped onion, garlic, celery, and parsley in a 3-Qt. microwave-safe casserole. Cover loosley and cook at 100% for 4 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and their juice, the chicken broth, tomato paste, orange zest, thyme and pepper. Cover and cook at 100% for 6 minutes, then at 50% for another 7 minutes.
Our panel of judges went to the test-kitchen and came back with this report:
The College Man "This is great." He had two servings and used light rye bread to mop the bowl. That is the sign of a tasy broth.
The Teen Queen Declined to partcipate.
The Girlfriend She doesn't usually care for canned tomatoes, but in this case, she admitted she was pleasantly surprised. She said she wouldn't make it in her own home, but retracted her statement within a week. The Cook I liked the microwave version better on this one. It didn't seem so dark and heavy as the stove-top version and the orange zest was a little brighter this way. Easy to make for a quick lunch of soup and sandwich. Whenever a recipe calls for canned crushed tomatoes, I use canned whole tomatoes and squeeze them through my fingers. They have a much better texture.