Inspiring take on using what you have in the kitchen, even when it's not a happy produce season. I especially found the section on leftovers useful. IInspiring take on using what you have in the kitchen, even when it's not a happy produce season. I especially found the section on leftovers useful. It's one of those cookbooks with more "a handful of this" sort of precision that I like to cook by, more suggestions than rules....more
Laid out a bit like your grandmother’s holiday table — everything in its carefully doilied place —, The Vegetarian Option separates recipes by ingrediLaid out a bit like your grandmother’s holiday table — everything in its carefully doilied place —, The Vegetarian Option separates recipes by ingredient into more than fifty small sections. Despite this fusty approach, Hopkinson manages a feat most vegetarian cookbooks don’t even attempt: singular focus on the vegetables. While he turns to a handful of rice and pasta dishes at the back, Hopkinson embraces even unpopular veg like watercress, sorrel, and turnips with expert ease. Imagine what he does for the usual suspects.
Recipes range from quick, two-step prep to several complicated paragraphs of work before a final, though impressive, meal emerges. Simple dishes like spaghetti al aglio and peperocino (i.e. garlic and pepper) and broiled eggplant with pesto are hearty and manageable dinner options for even novice home cooks. Or spend a few hours creating the asian fried turnip paste or mushroom cannelloni, multi-step meals with breathtaking results.
Despite the high level of ingenuity in his recipes, Hopkinson’s ingredients are widely accessible and budget friendly. Some of the more creative dishes, the tomato jelly with basil and goat cheese for example, feature ingredients like agar agar — an easy to use vegan thickening agent rarely used outside of the raw food realm but available at a decent supermarket. It's the experimental pairings and texture variations that set this cookbook apart.
A few sample recipe titles: Cheese-crusted fried parsnip stripes with romesco sauce Cream of fennel soup with garlic butter Red pepper and potato stew with jalapeno relish Warm asparagus custards with tarragon vinaigrette
Hopkinson’s compiled a thorough, adaptive collection with enough diversity to keep you thumbing its pages seasonally. Though he's thrown in a few easy ones, his recipes aren’t the simplistic, 30-minute fare so popular lately. But if you’re looking for a vegetarian Sunday dinner that will impress people, start your browsing here.
There's no better motivation for creating allergy-free desserts than raising a wee one with serious health issues, as I found out myself several monthThere's no better motivation for creating allergy-free desserts than raising a wee one with serious health issues, as I found out myself several months after receiving this cookbook. Though it's written with children in mind, Divvies showcases a sweet collection for all ages, treats that inspire worry-free sharing — possibly the true definition of dessert.
From more traditional classics like Robin's Apple Pie to unique bake sale treats like her Popcorn Snowmen, Sandler's included an extensive list of allergy-free fare. Some of the Divvies Bakery's signature recipes, Benjamin's Chocolate Chip Cookies for example, are what you'll find for sale on shelves at Whole Foods. Especially enticing recipes include a Strawberry-Rhubarb Oatmeal Cookie, a nice update on the classic oatmeal-raisin, and Oh Fudge!, a dairy-free chocolate concoction with a pleasantly smooth mouthfeel.
Overall, the book's clean design and organization make it highly usable. I only wish there were photos of each dessert.
Admittedly, it is odd reviewing a cookbook devoted to allergies with you eat all of the missing ingredients. So I waited, asking the help of friends with dietary restrictions. And then, when my son was six weeks old, we thought he might have a milk protein allergy. Since I'm already vegetarian, that made me into a vegan for at least three weeks — plenty of time to miss my sugar rush! Of course, I whipped out this cookbook and brought vegan cookies to a friend's swap last week. It's true: no one noticed the difference!
Whether you use it occasionally or depend on it regularly, Divvies drool-worthy desserts will please the pickiest palate, leaving everyone at the table satisfied. Don't just take my word for it....more
It's been more than a year and I'm still working through this inspirational collection of seasonal recipes. Frankly, I'm appalled it's taking me so loIt's been more than a year and I'm still working through this inspirational collection of seasonal recipes. Frankly, I'm appalled it's taking me so long when everything I make turns out lovely.
Jamie Oliver, my cooking icon, uses veggies as the centerpiece in the majority of the recipes grouped here and every passthrough I find something droolworthy. One of my favorite recipes, the Asparagus and Potato Tart, has made numerous dinner appearances, despite the pitfalls of creating a filo crust. Grrr, filo. Although many recipes have meat in them, it's usually either something that's simple to leave out or something I'm inspired to make with a meat substitute. The Italian Ham and Spinach Tart, for example, I'll be making this week and leaving the ham off. Easy peasy.
All the recipes I've tried have been successes. Many have earned repeated rounds on the menu, like Sweet Pear and Apple Salad with Endive, Superb Squash Soup, Creamy Asparagus Soup, Fresh Tagliatelle with Sprouting Broccoli and Oozy Cheese Sauce, Rhubarb and Sticky Ginger Crumble, Mothership Tomato Salad and more. Top two recipes on my 'to make' list: Baked Cauliflower & Broccoli Cannelloni, Incredible Smashed Peas & Fava Beans on Toast. Note to self: plant fava beans.
I admit, I'm a sucker for Oliver's excitement over good-quality, fresh produce. Why shouldn't I be? He's absolutely right. Jamie's abstract directions (a 'good handful of parsley') may worry a more methodical cook, but I find them an opening, a verbal head-nod to improvisation and creativity. I find Oliver's recipes and his hands-on approach to home cookery continually inspiring, making this book one of the first I reach for in a pinch....more
Lucid Food arrives, already a present, gorgeous with scrolling artwork and vibrant images, wrapped and ready. I am enamored. Also, I am hungry. ThumbiLucid Food arrives, already a present, gorgeous with scrolling artwork and vibrant images, wrapped and ready. I am enamored. Also, I am hungry. Thumbing past photography for Chickpea Cakes with a verdant green Cilantro-Jalapeno Sauce, Fall Fruit Focaccia succulent with apple wedges, Crispy Yuba Rolls that look toasty brown and crunchy, ready to dip, I confess to some absent-minded lip licking. On the second pass, I’m stuck on the Ash-e-reshteh, or Persian New Year’s Soup with Beans, Noodles and Herbs, all the colorful, herby bits crowded into a steaming bowl.
Louisa Shafia knows how to eat well, fashioning meals from quality produce and local fare. Nestled amid the recipes are the nuggets of valuable health information that expand Lucid Food from a mere (heavenly) cookbook to kitchen notebook. Shafia’s voice, warm and genuine, weaves her decades of food knowledge throughout the book, sharing her notes on sustainability, locality, and old-fashioned DIY values.
I’ll admit I am obsessed with the new wave of seasonal collections. Particularly, I enjoy the variety of produce that pop up in these, even if it isn’t always available in rural Kansas. These are people bedeviled by produce. (My kind of people.) Shafia adds a rich reference to the home cook’s stash, reimagining tired winter vegetables into savory staples.
Poised to win a spot on my shelf of beloved, dog-eared cookbooks, Lucid Food serves up nearly 100 delectable recipes, only about a dozen featuring fish or meat. (It’s not frowned upon, don’t worry about harsh words; it’s simply not the focus here.) There aren’t photos of every recipe, but the photos included showcase lush preparations of plump, perfectly-cooked veggies with occasional animal proteins tucked in.
Shafia is one of the rare chefs able to communicate her intensity about quality, seasonal ingredients in amiable terms. No lectures here, simply facts and considerable inspiration for making dinnertime shine. And extraordinary food, with a little help from Shafia, speaks for itself....more
Yes, yes, I was one of those twentysomethings who subscribed to Martha Stewart Living magazine straight out of college, tearing out recipes and scrapbYes, yes, I was one of those twentysomethings who subscribed to Martha Stewart Living magazine straight out of college, tearing out recipes and scrapbooking them like precious family photos. It's no great surprise, then, that I'm delighted to be rid of those greasy pages in favor of this professional, tape-free collection of cookie recipes. And unlike some greatest hits compilations, this one actually includes all of my favorites.
Of the seven major cookie categories listed, I prefer. . . uh, many, multiple. I'm nearly equal in my benevolence. In the spirit of cookie madness, I'm highlighting the recipes I've already tried below, with their varied results.
My point? Loads of delicious recipes, ones I've been collecting for years, are now grouped droolingly in a softcover edition with gorgeous, full-color photographs next to single-page directions. Bake and enjoy.
Glowing and bronzed, the book whispers from the shelf: open me. I am caught. It’s alluringly rich with memories and recipes, the food seductively photGlowing and bronzed, the book whispers from the shelf: open me. I am caught. It’s alluringly rich with memories and recipes, the food seductively photographed. I come away from the first read of Venezia: Food and Dreams enchanted.
You see, I have been to Venice, and this cannot be the same city I visited. I recognize it from the photos, but the food, the food!, so lush and local and homey and ancient. That’s not what I ate. Yet it’s exactly what I looked for when I traveled there, what I expected to find by scouring dead-end alley restaurants and tiny nook cafes for family fare. And the last day of my trip, just before the hours of rushing to the train station on crowded water taxis after carting unwheeled luggage over a thousand bridges, I found exactly the ingredients this sort of food is made of — fat chunks of parmesan, firm-tart olives, wedges of herb-flecked focaccia, handfuls of squid, and baskets of tomatoes, plums, apricots. If only I could’ve followed the food directly to the restaurants that cooked like this, the trip would have been heaven on a plate.
Organized by traditional Italian courses, Kiros empowers readers to create a full menu using whatever ingredients are freshest. As a vegetarian with limited fish intake, I was pleased to find so many things to make, at least one from every category. Mozzarella in carrozza, one of my favorite Italian appetizers, are droolingly photographed in their deep-fried glory, a dripping sandwich of mozzarella smashed between savory, egg-battered bread. An array of risottos, polentas, soups, and fried fish dishes had me salivating. Gnocchi di zucca, winter squash gnocchi, is a toast to fall with nutmeg and sage, though shaping takes a few tries to perfect. Almonds shine as the center of the sbriciolona, or crumbler cake, a divine addition to any casual dinner party as it perfectly finishes any meal without too much fuss.
Though I’m not certain it’s possible to replicate the flavors of some recipes, including Kiros’ intruglio, an appetizer specific to Sergia’s restaurant, without access to the produce and cheeses of Venice, I’m willing to give it a go. I imagine it will taste better if I close my eyes and remember dipping my fingers into the plastic bag of olives from the cheese mongers, following each with a fat bite of focaccia padded with fresh mozzarella. It’s simple yet exquisite, one of my standout meals, and this feels like Kiros wrote Venezia about it. ...more
Moosewood’s Multicultural, Accessible Vegetarian Recipes Satisfy The Moosewood Collective has promoted local, organic food since before it was popular.Moosewood’s Multicultural, Accessible Vegetarian Recipes Satisfy The Moosewood Collective has promoted local, organic food since before it was popular. It’s no surprise to find they’re still a step ahead of the veggie curve, making a case for whole, plant-based foods. Their latest collection of more than 200 recipes showcases trendy, healthful ingredients like stevia, umeboshi, celeriac and more, with loads of vegan options and even raw foods. Moosewood Restaurant: Cooking for Health by the Moosewood Collective continues the tradition of accessible vegetarian cuisine for household cooks. Insightful ingredient descriptions preface ten different sections, highlighting, for example, the various kinds of beans and peas, how to cook them and cook times.
Even if you’re no stranger to healthy cooking, Moosewood’s often-adventurous ingredient lists may send you to the store before dinner. Mouth-watering recipes like Avocado-Citrus Dressing (which I’m drizzling over just about everything these days), Greek Tomato-Yogurt Soup (delicious hot and cold!), and Mediterranean Eggplant Casserole (a satisfying fall recipe) have already earned spots on my dinner rotation.
While I wish the folks at Moosewood understood the value of cookbook photographs — their books are notoriously artwork-free — I depend on their detailed serving information and accurate prep and cook time predictions. And since the collective blatantly encourages my recipe tinkering, I’m wholly sold.
As the temperatures cool, I look forward to sampling Maple Banana Oatmeal, Creamy Curried Pea Soup, Polenta Casserole with Winter Squash and Greens, and Sweet Potato Pie with Pecan-Oat Crust, just to name a few. Fall even sounds delicious at the Moosewood Restaurant, and I hope to echo a few of those smells in my kitchen....more
If you've followed her blog as I have, you'll be pleased to find that author Ree Drummond sticks to her characteristic mix of wry humor and butter by If you've followed her blog as I have, you'll be pleased to find that author Ree Drummond sticks to her characteristic mix of wry humor and butter by the pound. I'm glad. It's been working for her. In The Pioneer Woman Cooks, her cookbook slash photographic memoir, Ree brings to life the story of her city upbringing with her farm woman reality, currently wrangling four kids and a husband on a working cattle ranch in Oklahoma. Mesmerizing photographs of family members, get-togethers and muddy farm work blend well with humorous anecdotes — and serve to show you why her family is so hungry!
Cute, ranch-laden, photo-intense asides with amusing anecdotes leave you longing for a house on the prairie in a way that 'Little House on the Prairie' episodes never did. Miss Mustang International, my favorite of these sections, showcases the farm's haughtiest mares, snobby and cool as horses can be, deadlocked in imaginary pageantry.
What apparently didn't work was the step-by-step visual instructions Ree compiles for each recipe. Drummond's gorgeous pix can be viewed on her website, and it's this stunning photography that leaves viewers drooling for more. Normally. In this publication, however, her photos fall flat. Whether an error in photo correction or on press, it's a sad reality that the green tint of the tutorial pictures makes the food less than appetizing. (Let's flag this for correction on the second printing, Harper Collins. You're far too professional for this type of error. Unless it's just my copy. Hmm.)
Now I bought the book despite its meat-centered mains partly to support a fellow blogger, but mostly because Drummond's recipes can be counted upon to work. This is turning out to be a rare feat in cookbookery. For obvious reasons, I won't comment on the chicken-fried steak or meatloaf recipes, sticking instead to ones I've already tried.
PW's Creamy Mashed Potatoes: killer Thanksgiving staple. Maple Pecan Scones: get this, already made them three times. Cinnamon Rolls: yum. Migas: delectable, eggy nachos. I know, right? Egg in the Hole: something I've made before, but the extra butter does make it better. Like two days in row better.
And I've only had the book for two weeks. In short, Drummond's pithy writing style and remarkable large-scale photography make this book almost as much a coffee table item as a kitchen resource. If you like having cookbooks you can rely on with unfussy authors you'd ask over for lunch, pick up The Pioneer Woman Cooks. You won't be disappointed, especially if you like butter as much as I do. ...more
Punished by an economy in turmoil, the newly jobless Suzan Colón turns to a swath of family recipes, long buried in her basement, hoping to find somePunished by an economy in turmoil, the newly jobless Suzan Colón turns to a swath of family recipes, long buried in her basement, hoping to find some comfort in hard financial times. She quickly realizes how closely her current challenges parallel those of her predecessors.
Childhood tales seam pleasingly into past, future and recipes, a family history powered by food. Already highly relatable in content, Cherries in Winter feels like a worn-in leather armchair, its comfortable manner ensures a steady friendship with any reader who happens along. Her gracefully wrought 'lessons' of economy and cookery, things she learns from her mother and the sheath of unearthed recipes, brim with honest disclosures, both moving and humorous by turn.
And the recipes, country cooking polished by necessary economy, glow heartily as only family fare can, from Aunt Nettie's Clam Chowder to Nana's Lemon Meringue Pie, some reprinted in spidery, early-century handwriting and some typed in 50s secretarial style. What Colón uncovers as she endeavors to survive a layoff with grim prospects is that economizing has always been part of her family's heritage.
Her message? With strengthened family ties and a few good recipes, anything's possible after you've put up soup. A warm tale of hope and family, Cherries in Winter satisfies....more
A curious legacy of Syrian and Jewish recipes, riddled with photos and a meandering family history, A Fistful of Lentils is much more than a simple coA curious legacy of Syrian and Jewish recipes, riddled with photos and a meandering family history, A Fistful of Lentils is much more than a simple cookbook. It's part memoir, the family memories wrapped up in food as so many good things are, and part how-to, divulging the secrets of Abadi's childhood Syrian-Jewish cuisine.
The book begins by relating the "secrets" of the Syrian cuisine: 42 heavily used ingredients. Most are common here in the U.S., like rice, salt, sesame seeds, tomatoes, though definitive of the region's cuisine. (A specialty grocery and spice store appendix is listed by state, making the few rarer items more accessible.) Abadi provides a glimpse at daily life with her thorough menu planning section, grouping recipes by meal, and then highlighting special occasion and traditional holiday menus. For example, this Jewish holiday menu for Yom Kippur dinner: Baba Ganush, Syrian Pita Bread, Tomato-Rice Soup with Stuffed Meatballs, Stuffed Squash with Lemon-Mint Sauce, Lemon-Mint Salad Dressing, Stuffed Date Candies and Mint Tea.
Abadi's recipes have a strong sense of balance, heavy on the cinnamon and cumin for warmth, sweet-spicy and comforting, often with the Syrian tang of fruit appearing unexpectedly. Recipes run the gamut from breakfast to dessert with yummy-sounding vegetable sides and flavorful, brothy soups.
Originally published in 2002, I find the paperback addition much more usable for cooking with its flexible spine. I was surprised to find so few Jewish recipes, though I can see the influence of the holidays and style of cooking in the dishes Abadi does include here. Simple Syrian recipes like Lebnah (yogurt cheese), Syrian Pita Breads, Eggplant Dip with Pine Nuts, look easy to make and seem refreshingly different than the hummus and baba ganoush typical of Middle Eastern restaurants here in the states. (Not that I don't appreciate a good hummus and baba ganoush!)
Though the recipes don't achieve true hybrid status between the Syrian and Jewish cultures, with Abadi leaning almost entirely on Syrian flavors, A Fistful of Lentils showcases the balance and singular palate of the Syrian cuisine. ...more