A good starting point for planning any trip to the National Parks, or a miniature coffee table book. National Geographic's edge is always in the photo...moreA good starting point for planning any trip to the National Parks, or a miniature coffee table book. National Geographic's edge is always in the photography, so smaller or lesser known parks receive a good boost. That's with the exception of the park of American Samoa. It's clearly an afterthought. After all, who'll bother going to American Samoa? (My cousin and her family and anyone in Hawaii, that's who.)
The parks are listed alphabetically by region, though I wonder as to the value of some of these regions. Example: the Colorado Plateau encompasses a goodly number of parks, however it splits the standard Southwest region by placing all of ARizona in the Colorado Plateau. Only New Mexico and Texas comprise the Southwest. Clearly, the editor was ok with employing nonstandard definitions. The only perceived benefit, is that the Colorado Plateau parks could conceivably be toured in a single (though looong) road trip. (less)
I love Chicago. Living there for a summer opened my eyes to what a city could be in all its beauty and terror. Despite having experienced incredible w...moreI love Chicago. Living there for a summer opened my eyes to what a city could be in all its beauty and terror. Despite having experienced incredible walkabouts during that summer, having a copy of this book would have bumped that experience up more than a few notches. Best of all, this walking guide actually takes you to parts of Chicago outside Northside and the Loop. OMG, you might enjoy Southside. Heh. I remember friends and acquaintances balking at my living in Southside near Hyde Park (HYDE PARK!?!). As if that neighborhood were the projects ... There was a Starbucks on the corner and Skip Gates was a regular at the time. How was THAT the hood?
Back to the book ... The walks chosen are fantastic. The hubby and I visited during winter and took a few rounds near Wrigley and Boystown. I've walked several of the other locations. Anyone looking for an experience outside the Loop will definitely appreciate this.(less)
The hubby and I have fallen in love. Ouef cocotte, hazelnut and thyme matchsticks, apple and broccoli quiche, tomato tarte tatin, the beouf bourgingon...moreThe hubby and I have fallen in love. Ouef cocotte, hazelnut and thyme matchsticks, apple and broccoli quiche, tomato tarte tatin, the beouf bourgingon with chocolate? All wonderful. Only one dish fell flat, the zucchini and cocoa nib pasta. There's plenty more to discover, but we've gained loads of keepers from this slim volume.
Update: I attempted the apple cake. It's delicious, but barely holds together. I'm thinking there's a difference in the flour that's not conveyed in the conversions for an American kitchen.(less)
This cookbook has received little attention from me over the last few years. But this summer/fall I've given it another look. Not everything requires...moreThis cookbook has received little attention from me over the last few years. But this summer/fall I've given it another look. Not everything requires jamon serrano and there are certainly locavore substitutes available. (Thank you, Virginia Ham!)
Anyway, here's what I've dabbled with: Bell pepper coca, Spring ragout of artichokes, fava beans and ham; Rosemary scented apple tart (yummmm! but eat quickly); Grandma's of Sils apple yogurt cake (divine!); Cherry and beet gazpacho; Strawberry and fennel gazpacho; Classic gazpacho; Salmorejo ... There's more, but I'll have to pull the book out to list the recipes.(less)
If you're looking to enliven a geographically uninterested palate, seek out this text. Batmanglij's experience with Persian cooking proves that the Mi...moreIf you're looking to enliven a geographically uninterested palate, seek out this text. Batmanglij's experience with Persian cooking proves that the Middle East and Central Asia has far more to offer than the usual rice and kebab. The foodways presented here demonstrate a culture lost to most Western palates since industrialization and the mass production of food. Elements reminiscent of the high Victorian period abound with the use of herbs most cooks have never heard of let alone can recognize by sight or smell. Yet these ingredients were prominent in American and European kitchens just over a century ago, amongst them angelica, unripened grapes, rose water and quince.
Pomegranate gelatin (a fantastic combination of textures!)
Kuku or Persian omelettes
Khoresh of rhubarb, peach, green beans, etc.
Must-o-kheyar (a lovely yogurt salad similar to Indian raita)
Warnings: take care to cook rice and khoresh dishes at shorter times than recommended. Some of the cooking times soften the vegetables well beyond my preference.(less)
Great suggestions for hiking in all of Arizona's regions. This book in combination with the Moon series travel guide for Arizona makes for a wonderful...moreGreat suggestions for hiking in all of Arizona's regions. This book in combination with the Moon series travel guide for Arizona makes for a wonderful trip. And I want to go back just to hike some more of those trails.(less)
I've sampled from this text since the early- to mid-90s. And not once has it failed to make me appreciate how home cooks the world over feed their fam...moreI've sampled from this text since the early- to mid-90s. And not once has it failed to make me appreciate how home cooks the world over feed their families using meager ingredients. Undoubtedly, the least complicated dishes in this book tend to shine brightest. For example, the idea to combine milk and grapefruit juice offers up a sublime refreshment that I patiently wait for every January/February when ruby red grapefruit come into season. I have to stop myself from drinking gallons upon gallons of this Dominican treat.
If nothing else, the recipes in this book can aid in the process of emptying an overstocked pantry. What to do with leftover couscous or cornmeal? Why, mix them with cooked greens or make a simple vegetable sauce to eat them with. I might not have survived graduate school without this book. It enabled me to live on a meager $20/week for groceries. In DC, that's quite a feat. But, it's possible, and healthy given the right mindset and appreciation for non-animal proteins. (less)
If you love to experiment with fresh produce, this is a cookbook for you. Same goes for anyone frustrated with too many tomatoes or zucchini in their...moreIf you love to experiment with fresh produce, this is a cookbook for you. Same goes for anyone frustrated with too many tomatoes or zucchini in their garden. And even though it's not strictly vegetarian, this book contains far more interesting vegetarian fare than every other vegetarian cookbook I've come across. Plus the carrot cake and papaya bread will knock your socks off!
Too many cook books de-emphasize vegetables, but this one places them on reverent display. It also runs the gamut from simplistic to several day complicated headache type recipes. It also contains plenty of catch all recipes so you can never wonder what to do with all those leftover bits.
The margins are another part of this book which shines. Look to them to answer any sort of selection, preparation or growing tips.
Favorites: Apple pie with cheddar cheese crust (best apple pie crust ever!); Chocolate zucchini cake with sour cream frosting; Papaya tea bread; Baby zucchini and squash blossom fritatta; (less)
My dear departed aunt gave me this book one Christmas nearly a decade ago. And since then, I haven't viewed cuisine in quite the same way ... much les...moreMy dear departed aunt gave me this book one Christmas nearly a decade ago. And since then, I haven't viewed cuisine in quite the same way ... much less Chinese cuisine. Reading Foo's descriptions of her food's origins taught me that each cook's repertoire and product really exist as the end result of their culinary journey. (I was young and naive then, forgive me.) Foo's dishes are precisely the result of her journey, and I commend her for placing that fact squarely in her book. To talk of or deride a cook's food as bastardized is to overlook the possibilities of food preparation and the origins of some the most loved dishes the world over. After all, the heavenly Trinidadian pelau wouldn't exist without the engenuity to mix Chinese, Spanish and Indian techniques and ingredients.
Now for the food. I truly adore her vegetable preparations. The green beans w dried shrimp, eggplant "salsa" and daikon with brussel sprouts and dried scallop have become regulars in my reportoire. They also tend to be inexpensive and satisfying. The orange beef with sundried tomatoes is a knockout. Also worth adoring is her version of scallion pancakes; they trump the highly oily and gelatinous versions found in even the best of Chinese restaurants. My only quibble is that if followed to a T, a few of the recipes can become too oily despite Foo's own concern to make light dishes. Also, the directions for Shanghai vegetable rice cooks the rice too quickly leaving it soggy and undercooked. But despite this, most of the recipes are easily adjusted to one's own tastes and locked into memory.
Take a chance on this book if you are willing to explore a lighter, less corn syrup laden direction American-Chinese food can take. It'll be a tasty journey. (less)