Jul 252017

One Pan & DoneOne Pan & Done
By Molly Gilbert
Published by Potter

This cookbook is a continuation of the sheet pan meal concept that Ms. Gilbert wrote about in Sheet Pan Suppers. In One Pan & Done all of the recipes are once again cooked in a single pan, but this time it can be anything from a baking dish to a Dutch oven or even a muffin tin.

The single pan concept is appealing to me and probably many other cooks. Who hasn’t cooked a meal then been faced by a mountain of pots and pans leftover from the preparation? It’s so nice to have a single pan in the oven or on the stovetop.

Basically, it’s all about timing. To get everything perfectly cooked in a single pan it’s often necessary to add ingredients at different times. Really, that’s no different than many recipes, like adding fresh spinach at the end when making soup or topping a casserole with cheese for the last ten minutes of baking time. This cookbook just finely tunes the timing of when things should be added for many of the recipes.

The recipes cover every part of a meal, from appetizers to dessert, breakfast to dinner. Some are simple in that everything cooks at the same time, such as cakes or muffins, while others need the ingredients added in stages. There is a variety of styles of recipes too, from kid-friendly to dishes that would work well at a dinner party. Personally, I really loved the Thai Turkey with Carrot “Noodles”. Thai-flavored ground turkey with strips of carrots instead of noodles. Very tasty, fun, and low carb. Another thing that I really liked is the recipes for DIY doughs, like biscuit and bread, so you can use the convenient store-bought options or make your own. Each chapter begins by categorizing the recipes by what pans they use. Very handy if you happen to not own one of the pans or want to use one in particular.

I really like this book and have been enjoying trying the different recipes and techniques. Definitely a “keeper” on my bookshelf because it is both convenient and full of really tasty recipes. The added bonus is having fewer dishes to wash.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

 July 25, 2017  Posted by  Food, Review Tags:  1 Response »
Jan 272017

NewWayToDinnerA New Way To Dinner
By Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs
10 Speed Press

Standing in the kitchen at dinner time with a hungry family and no meal plan. A lot of people have experienced that scenario, including me. Many times the best solution turns out to be take-out. Or, if actual cooking is involved, often convenience foods such as rotisserie chicken or frozen pizza are part of the meal. Let’s face it. Putting good, fresh food on the table after working all day is hard. This cookbook offers a solution.

The basic strategy is to cook and prepare the main components of the week’s meals on the weekend, then use them throughout the week in different combinations. The book is divided into menus that go along with the four seasons to take advantage of the best produce for that time of year. Each author wrote two, week-long menus for each season. Each menu starts with a “The Week Ahead” page that details the recipes, what each dinner will feature, what work needs to be done the day of the dinner, and several brown bag lunches that can also be made. Then the reader moves on to a “Game Plan” that details which recipes should be made on the weekend and offers plenty of tips and tricks. The final component before the actual recipes is a grocery list.

Since this book is from the creators of the Food 52 website, the recipes emphasize quality ingredients. No condensed soup casseroles or frozen french fries in sight. The meals aren’t filled with the processed foods that many people may associate with getting a meal on the table quickly. Instead, the process of getting weeknight meals on the table quickly depends on a savvy prep plan. Some of the recipes included are Rosy Chicken, Stuck-Pot Rice, Garlicky Greens, and Lime Ice Cream. While simple, the recipes offer sophisticated flavors from around the world. If you have ever experienced the struggle of making meals on weeknights, this is definitely a cookbook to look into. The recipes and plans are easily modified to customize the meals to fit the tastes of any family.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.


 January 27, 2017  Posted by  Review Tags:  1 Response »
Dec 032015

My PantryMy Pantry
By Alice Waters with Fanny Singer
Published by Pam Krauss Books

This is a lovely, in so many ways, little book about some of the staples in chef Alice Waters’ pantry. While my pantry has far less sophisticated ingredients, I can’t wait to add more gourmet fare using this cookbook. Recipes range from spice blends to homemade cheese. Some recipes, such as the Espelette Hot Sauce, add to your pantry stash. Others, like Lebanese-inspired lentil soup and whole-wheat flatbreads, use ingredients from the pantry. I have a feeling the multigrain porridge, containing brown rice, millet and quinoa, will be a mainstay breakfast for me this winter. For adventurous cooks there are instruction for accomplishing tasks such as making wine vinegar in oak casks, salt-preserving kumquats, and curing gravlax.

This book is like a cookbook jewel. Small in size. Charming illustrations, the full-page pantry drawing before the Table of Contents is wonderful, all drawn by Waters’ daughter – Fanny Singer. Many of the recipes have variations, which I greatly appreciate. Everything is woven together with Alice’s thorough instructions. It’s a book that would be right at home on a pantry shelf, next to the vinegars and flours, to be called on like a trusted friend.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.


 December 3, 2015  Posted by  Food, Review Tags: ,  2 Responses »
Nov 082015

The Homemade KitchenThe Homemade Kitchen
By Alana Chernila
Published by Potter

The subtitle of this cookbook is: Recipes for Cooking with Pleasure. There are recipes that will be pleasurable for both novice and experienced cooks to try their hand at. Beyond that readers can find chapters on everything from cooking for one to making meals for a crowd. There are basics, like how to cook a variety of vegetables or turn fruit into jam. For more adventurous cooks there is a chapter on cultured foods and recipes for making classic, usually store-bought snacks like cheesy fish or animal crackers.

Alana writes the blog, EatingFromTheGroundUp.com. This cookbook carries on the style of her popular blog. It is beautiful with matte pages, gorgeous photos and charming hand drawn accents, like a page of her favorite inspiring sayings. As I read the introduction I instantly knew I would love this book.

I cook because feeding myself is the one basic, essential, daily requirement that I can do entirely in my own way.

-Alana Chernilla, The Homemade Kitchen

The philosophy of the book is to find pleasure in cooking, doing the best that you can with your ingredients and skills. So you can try your hand at a roasting a chicken or be a bit adventurous and make your own tofu or chevre cheese. There is even a chapter called “Use Your Scraps” with recipes to help reduce the waste in your kitchen.

My favorite chapter was “Feed Yourself”. It’s all about meals for one, a type of cooking I often find myself doing since I work from home. I can’t wait to try the single-serving Shakshuka (eggs in tomato sauce) and The Arlesienne (a French salad with potatoes, tuna, and chickpeas) for lunch. With winter coming I’m looking forward to making the Miso Soup, loaded with tofu and veggies, and Congee with Chicken and Greens, a savory rice porridge. The focus is on good food with a mix of recipes representing countries from around the world. It’s a bit eclectic, but that makes it all the more appealing. The range of recipes completely fits into the idea of creative, nourishing cooking.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

 November 8, 2015  Posted by  Food, Review Tags:  1 Response »
Aug 192015

Street Vegan: Recipes and Dispatches from the Cinnamon Snail Food Truck
By Adam Sobel
Published by Potter

There is one eating experience that I absolutely cannot resist indulging in if I have a chance, it’s visiting food trucks. I always find the food from trucks to be both delicious and innovative. So I was very excited to see that the chef from one of the most famous food trucks in the country, The Cinnamon Snail, wrote a cookbook.

The truck has won many awards for its cuisine. Upon receiving the cookbook, I understand why. If I ever get a chance to visit NYC, I am definitely going to track down The Cinnamon Snail! The recipes are sophisticated and bursting with flavor. Smoky Portobello and Potato Stuffed Poblanos, Korean Kimchi Soup, and even the famous cinnamon rolls the truck is named after are just a small sample of the recipes. Every meal is covered, from Almond Milk French Toast with Raspberry-Grapefruit Coulis and Smoky Roasted Almonds for breakfast, a Gochujang Burger Deluxe for lunch, and Pecan-Crusted Seitan with Smoked Mushroom Gravy and Fried Parsnip Matchsticks for dinner.

Some of the recipes have a lot of ingredients, but the recipe instructions are clear and walk cooks through the process of creating the flavor-filled gourmet vegan fare. Some ingredients may be difficult to find, but they are used in more than one recipe. I’m the kind of person that will buy food just because it sounds interesting, so I loved the My Vegan Pantry section of the book (subtitled: Some Kooky (and Not-So-Kooky) Things In The Snail’s Pantry). I am now on the lookout for Umeboshi Plum Vinegar  and Yacon Syrup to add to my pantry. There are stories about both Mr. Sobel and the food truck mixed in throughout the book. I love everything about this book and it has earned a place of honor in my cookbook collection.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

 August 19, 2015  Posted by  Review Tags:  1 Response »
May 082015

Want a shot at winning one of these books? They’ve all lived on my bookshelves (so they are used) and now they’re up for adoption. Do you see one you would like to give a new home? The only catch, you have to subscribe to my newsletter. (I promise, I will never share your email with anybody else. Sharing is a good thing, but not in this case!) If you are a subscriber by the next time I send out a newsletter, you’re entered to win.

 May 8, 2015  Posted by  General Tags: , ,  1 Response »
May 032015

Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto
By Aaron Franklin and Jordan Mackay
Published by Ten Speed Press

Barbecue is an art form and Aaron Franklin is a superstar pitmaster. He went from cooking brisket for his friends, to opening a food truck, to owning a now world-renowned restaurant that has sold out of meat every single day since it has opened. People travel from all over the world to sample his barbecue. This book is a detailed chronicle of how he produces his spectacular barbecue.

The first chapter explains how Aaron and his wife, Stacy, came to be the owners of a restaurant where people wait for hours to get a taste of the food. It’s a story of humble beginnings, chasing a dream, and dogged determination. Then, the manifesto begins. Everything about the techniques Franklin uses is detailed. If you are handy with a welder, there are instructions on how to build a smoker from scratch, just like the ones they use at the restaurant, but on a smaller scale. Diagrams explain the mechanics of the smoker while photos show the building process. From there the book goes on to what kind of wood to use, how to build fires and how to prepare meats – from the famous brisket to turkey breast.

This is not a cookbook full of recipes, although there are a few for things like beans and espresso barbecue sauce. Instead, this is a step-by-step guide on how to reproduce barbecue similar to what is served at Franklin Barbecue. There is a lot of information, from how to start a proper fire in the smoker to tips on concocting your own rubs. Glimpses of what it’s like to run what is probably the most popular barbecue joint in the world right now are offered in between the barbecue-making wisdom. I love that there is an espresso maker in the kitchen for employees, since there are workers there literally around the clock to prepare the thousands of pounds of meat every day. For anybody that is interested in making truly great barbecue, this is a wonderful resource.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

This post is part of Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads

 May 3, 2015  Posted by  Review Tags: ,  9 Responses »
Apr 102015

A Good Food Day

By Marco Canora

Published by Potter

The subtitle of this book is: Reboot Your Health with Food That Tastes Great. And that is exactly what the author did. He is a chef who found that he needed to make some major changes in his life. Unhealthy eating habits had left him with gout, high cholesterol and with a serious risk of developing diabetes. As a chef, working long hours in restaurants, he ate foods that would only make his conditions worse. At first he panicked about the diet changes, thinking healthy food wouldn’t taste as good and he would never enjoy eating again. But then he began doing research and found that healthy food didn’t have to be bland. This cookbook is the result of his quest to make foods that are good for you taste wonderful. A Good Food Day is a day when feeling well and eating well go hand in hand.

There are a lot of vegetarian recipes in this book, as I had expected. I can’t wait to try the Pear-Maple Oatmeal Shake for breakfast soon. There a salads, soups, side dishes and even sweets like Hazelnut Brownies. While much of Canora’s diet now is plant based he still eats healthy fish and lean meats like wild salmon and grass-fed beef. The one recipe that really caught my eye was Flavor-Pounded Chicken. He uses a meat tenderizing mallet to pound herbs and spices into boneless, skinless chicken breasts. What a great way to add a huge boost of flavor to an otherwise bland meat. Bonus that the flattened chicken is quick to cook.

Most of the recipes use readily available ingredients. I think the only ingredient I have never seen in my area is marinated anchovies.  The pantry list at the beginning is a great way to start building a healthy arsenal of foods. There are no complicated recipes with long ingredient lists, just easily made, healthy dishes that are full of flavor. I can’t wait to try more of these recipes, especially with fresh produce from the farmer’s market this summer!

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

 April 10, 2015  Posted by  Review Tags:  1 Response »
Mar 222015

Like every writer I know, I have a lot of books. A LOT of books. Book hoarding is an affliction of many writers. I hold on to books that I’ve read and I keep around books that are no longer useful to me…for no good reason. It’s time to find those under-utilized books a new home! So here’s how I’ll be doing that:

Every month I will do a blog post with a picture of a collection of books that need loving, new owners. A winner will be chosen from my newsletter subscribers. That person will get to choose the book of their choice. Easy, right? No need to leave a comment or fill out a long entry form. Just be a newsletter subscriber and you are automatically entered to win every month. Pssst…if you don’t subscribe to my newsletter you can sign up below.

I’m going to start out the inaugural contest with one of my favorite kinds of books…cookbooks! Check them out above. Some of these are like new and a few have been “loved”, but all of the recipes work fine. :)

 March 22, 2015  Posted by  Updates Tags: , ,  4 Responses »
Jan 272015

The Moosewood Cookbook 40th Anniversary Edition
By Mollie Katzen
Published by Ten Speed Press

There are some cookbooks that stand the test of time. After being welcomed into countless kitchens they become one of the go-to books for many cooks. The Moosewood Cookbook is one of those books. It features vegetarian recipes that were developed in the author’s restaurant in the 1970s. Hearty, healthy dishes that will often appeal to non-vegetarians too. In this edition some of the recipes have been updated a bit, but the book still holds the charm of the original.

The entire book is handwritten and illustrated with line drawings – some simple, some more complicated, all delightful. It makes the reader feel like she is flipping through Ms. Katzen’s recipe files, which is exactly what the original version of this book was. After receiving many requests for recipes from the restaurant, she sat down, wrote out many of them, then had them copied and bound at a local bookstore. A very humble beginning for a beloved-by-many book.

With the popularity of global cuisine now, the ethnic recipes aren’t as exotic as they probably seemed forty years ago. But that certainly doesn’t mean they aren’t tasty! I made the apple crisp. It was hearty with plenty of oats and not syrupy sweet like some recipes for the same dish that I’ve tried. Some of the recipes were revamped from the original photocopied version, lightened up or revised to improve flavor and texture in the mid-1980s. Twenty five recipes were also added at that time. The 40th Anniversary Edition is a clothbound hardcover with gold-toned fabric and blue embossed images of fruit, vegetables and leaves. Between the rather coarse fabric cover and the absence of a dust jacket, to me it feels like a book that is meant to be used, not placed on a shelf because it is too precious to risk staining the pages with beet juice or olive oil.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.


 January 27, 2015  Posted by  Food, Review Tags:  3 Responses »