It has been a wild ride recipe testing from The $5 Takeout Cookbook: Good, Cheap Food for When You Want to Eat In
Please note, this cookbook (despite what it says on amazon’s site) is NOT by Rhonda Lauret Parkinson. My sincerely apologies Rhonda! I LOVE your Everything Chinese Cookbook. It is one of the best cookbooks I have bought in a long time and think everyone should have a copy. I am so very sorry for the misunderstanding.
It began with the Cozumel Chicken seen above that looked tasty but really was very boring.
Then I hit a wall. I tried making the classic pizza crust and as soon as I started, I got worried. The cookbook says to use a mixer and yet there was only 1 1/2 cups of bread flour being used. The hook barely touched the ingredients and it was clear that 3/8 cup warm water (???) was not going to be enough.
It looked to me like they got an industry recipe and broke it down to what they thought would be a single-home-serving of pizza dough. Which it wasn’t and it was completely unusable which upset me. I ended up just getting creative and proofed more yeast in more water and added a heck of a lot more flour. Zero wooden spoons!
Last and definitely least were the Singapore Noodles which are apparently “food proof.” I used to get these noodles in Toronto’s Chinatown when I lived there and knew them well.
You were supposed to soak 1 package of rice sticks in hot water. It did not say weight or size when it came to the noodles which bothered me. It also did not say that the water had to be boiling hot (which is usually how I make them) so I tried to soak them with just hot water “until soft.”
The other red flag was the sauce which contained 3 tbsp of curry powder for just one package (unspecified size/weight) of noodles. I did like that the sauce used oyster sauce which I thought would be tasty.
When I added the noodles after soaking for over 30 minutes, I could see they were not soft enough. Sigh…
And as much as I love a strong sauce, this looked like way too much and it was all pasty.
The noodles looked pretty but after putting one bite in my mouth, I actually coughed it out. It was so overwhelming, bitter and horrid I could not eat it. What a bloody waste of my food. Two chicken breasts got thrown into the compost bin. Unforgivable!
So I am done! How on earth do I review a cookbook that is completely unpredictable? Once again I think this recipe was an industry recipe (which does go to its credibility) that probably used a hell of a lot more noodles than I did and probably would have ended up being just fine.
With such conflicting results, I do not trust this cookbook at all and refuse to rate it one way or another. It is completely untrustworthy and wasted a lot of my time and money. I obviously would not buy it as a result. What a shame. Such a great idea for a cookbook, I am always looking for ways to make this kind of food at home so it is healthier and less expensive.
There is nothing cheap about having to throw out food.