I’ve become a fan of Food52. I recently reviewed their book Genius Recipes, which garnered my very rare and coveted “A+” rating! And last night I madeI’ve become a fan of Food52. I recently reviewed their book Genius Recipes, which garnered my very rare and coveted “A+” rating! And last night I made dinner using a recipe from their website.
Food52 in general is not vegetarian, but this cookbook is the baby of Gena Hamshaw, who writes the column New Veganism for Food52. It's chock full of inventive and flavorful vegan goodies.
The book begins with a foreword by Food52 founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs. They express their initial reservations regarding vegan cooking, but the author converted them.
The foreword is followed by a brief Vegan 101 index, letting you know where you can find some essential information like "Getting to Know Some Vegan Staples" or "Essential Techniques".
The book is divided up into chapters:
Breakfast Appetizers & Snacks Soups Salads Main Dishes Desserts
It's filled with beautiful photos. The ingredients are generally simple, common ingredients (at least for someone familiar with vegan dining. Some things like nondairy milk, tamari, or nutritional yeast may not be familiar to more traditional cooks). I didn’t notice anything that would be especially difficult to find in most modern grocery stores.
There are lots of delicious-sounding recipes, like Peach Crumble Coffee Cake, Penne with Summer Squash, Corn and Herbs, Smoky Tempeh and Hummus Sandwiches and Chai-Spiced Bread Pudding.
Also note that the index is searchable by ingredient or recipe.
This book is put together well, the recipes are familiar yet presented with a twist, the ingredients are attainable. This book makes vegan cooking "friendly" and accessible....more
The Tsar of Love and Techno is an inventive and accomplished collection of interwoven short stories by the author of A Constellation of Vital PhenomenThe Tsar of Love and Techno is an inventive and accomplished collection of interwoven short stories by the author of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena (my favorite read of 2015). The stories take place in the war-torn areas of Russia, Chechnya and Siberia, have characters, places, items and/or storylines in common, and span the years between 1937 to 2013.
An artist responsible for removing people from history.
Two ballerinas separated by a generation.
A quietly defiant man in love with a scarred and blind woman.
Two Russian prisoners of war.
Two young brothers living in a forest of metal.
A woman who was responsible for the execution of her own mother.
Young men seeking to avoid the war, and a father who will save his son by any means.
These are the characters that make up these stories.
My final word: I've become a huge fan of author Anthony Marra! His writing is top notch, the characters well developed, the storylines are fresh and innovative. His stories are full of strong characters, and his writing is overflowing with sensitivity and barrenness. There's a beauty in its desolation. Please read anything you can get your hands on written by this author!...more
I wanted to loooove this cookbook! It sounded so good. I loved the concept. The photography was beautiful! The recipes look like what I'd love to eatI wanted to loooove this cookbook! It sounded so good. I loved the concept. The photography was beautiful! The recipes look like what I'd love to eat in a restaurant. The trouble is I don't want to cook them at home. There are too many ingredients, too many tools, too many steps. I just don't have the patience for this kind of cooking. That's why I eat out! I would recommend this to people who don't mind putting effort into dinner! So I'd probably put it at about 3.5 stars....more
I'm not sure how to summarize this book. I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I'm not a big Fantasy/Sci-Fi reader, so this one was a bit of a stretch fI'm not sure how to summarize this book. I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I'm not a big Fantasy/Sci-Fi reader, so this one was a bit of a stretch for me, but it sounded interesting.
The first chapter started out great. Vague and alluding, creepy and disturbing, it left me wanting more. Then Chapter 2 started, and I didn’t know what the heck was going on for the next 80 pages. Like disjointed images from a dream, it just didn’t make sense to me. Are they kids? Are they animals? Is Father supposed to be “God”? Is this hell? Is Father the devil, and the kids are demons? What is going on here?
One minute they are having a conversation, and then they just throw in a jaguar growling, or deer that seem human (or are the humans deer?), and a disgusting guy covered in blood wearing a tutu, digging up graves to raise the dead. What the heck is going here???
There is no disputing that the author is a gifted wordsmith. It isn’t his writing style that I had a problem with, but the storyline and content.
I almost gave up on this book by about 50 pages in. I was frustrated, because the author was quite obviously a masterful writer. However it was like being inside of someone’s LSD trip. Just flashes of disjointed scenes that made little sense to me. Maybe this is typical fantasy, and fantasy just isn’t my cup of tea? However I had seen a review that said the first 100 pages didn’t make any sense, but then it turned around. So I hung in there.
Sure enough, the first three chapters had me tripping. Then the fourth chapter began, and FINALLY some sanity! I could follow along at last!
The pieces began to fall together, the picture began to clear. Carolyn was a tricky character. There wasn't a clear liking or not liking of her. She was a very complex character, very well written. Glimmers of compassion and gentleness amid brilliant detachment and cruelty.
The characters of the other children are less well-developed. Carolyn is closest to Michael, who seems gentle and sweet and brave. David is sheer chaos and brutality. Jennifer is like a hippie shaman. Margaret is simply out of her mind.
Carolyn seeks out Steve for a job. Steve has made some bad choices in life, but he's been staying clean. He's a bit of a Taoist. Carolyn brings him nothing but trouble, and tests his innate goodness.
There is a lot of religious symbolism in the book. Some of it may not be obvious to all, but would be to those more familiar with scripture.
Even when things were chaotic, confusing and insane, it was still a little genius. At one moment, there is a conversation about the ancient language of the Atul and a concept that essentially means “the moment when an innocent heart first contemplated the act of murder”. It said to the Atul “the crime itself was secondary to this initial corruption.” And another phrase which is “the moment when the last hope dies”. These concepts alone were brilliant!
My final word: I was initially nervous about my choice to read this book, but by chapter four it started to get under my skin. Little by little things came together, and I began to see the big picture. It became more engrossing as time went on, and I was really impressed with the writer's ability to captivate and draw me in. I'll still be hesitant to read fantasy and sci-fi, as I still think it is a shaky genre for me, but this author has definitely won me over! ...more
Let me start by saying that this is an absolutely beautiful book! It has a hardbound embossed cover, thick high-quality pages, and beautiful pictures.Let me start by saying that this is an absolutely beautiful book! It has a hardbound embossed cover, thick high-quality pages, and beautiful pictures. It feels expensive, and something about it reminds me of the cookbooks of yesteryear, but it is modern and updated.
There is a clear index, organized by Breakfast, Snacks & Drinks, Soups & Salads, Meaty Mains, Meatless Mains, Vegetables, and Desserts.
The book offers up recipes that include "genius" techniques and twists you may not have thought of. For example, mashing up onions and cilantro into a paste, and folding that into mashed avocado for a smooth guacamole. Or cooking a whole chicken at super high heat with no basting to create a really juicy and delectable meal. Some things may seem contrary to what you would expect, but the results speak for themselves.
I can't wait to work my way through this book and make other delicious recipes like Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter. This book will hold a respected position on my cookbook shelf. Food52 knows how to do cookbooks right!...more
This book is all about fresh eating, and it is simple and to the point. The author herself states in the introduction:
"Pure Food is not a 'fancy' cookThis book is all about fresh eating, and it is simple and to the point. The author herself states in the introduction:
"Pure Food is not a 'fancy' cookbook. It's an approachable guide to help you quit fast, frozen, processed foods and get back into the kitchen."
Her straightforward introduction is followed by a pantry section, outlining the tenets of eating fresh and buying local, and the healthy basics for stocking your pantry. This book calls for things like maple syrup, brown rice flour, coconut oil, almond milk, and other important staples. (I don't think all of the unusual flours like buckwheat and millet are necessary, but are good gluten-free options or have other special attributes, and I think most recipes can easily have a different flour substituted.)
The book is then organized by month, where ingredients are showcased when they are at their peak. This helps you to eat seasonally-- something I am always striving for, and failing miserably. This book helps you succeed in that area.
I've had the Almond Butter and Cacao Nib Smoothie two days in a row now (and still lost weight!) A tasty blend of almond milk, almond butter, frozen banana, maple syrup, vanilla, coconut oil and cacao nibs, this smoothie is high in healthy fats and fiber, and a good source of potassium, calcium and iron, and no cholesterol! And very tasty to boot!
And last night I also made some healthy scalloped potatoes from the cookbook. This simple dish has potatoes, peppers onion, garlic and herbs, but no cream, butter or cheese. The "sauce" is simply created by adding a little water and letting it simmer, causing the starch from the potatoes to create a little thickened scant sauce. I did my best to figure out the calories per serving, and I think it lies somewhere in the range of 90.
My final word: A great effort, and a good way for me to pick up some healthy, wholesome, seasonal eating habits. I wish it had more photos to entice me, but overall I like this cookbook!...more
This unusual story opens with Noel living with his godmother Mattie, although I don’t think the book ever addresses how he came to be living with MattThis unusual story opens with Noel living with his godmother Mattie, although I don’t think the book ever addresses how he came to be living with Mattie, what happened to his parents, or Mattie’s relation to his parents. However the bond between Mattie and Noel is evident. Noel is bright and inquisitive, and he possesses wisdom and understanding beyond his years. Part of this has to do with Mattie's unorthodox style of parenting. She is a bit of a "free thinker", and has always pushed Noel to question the status quo. I found Noel very likable right from the beginning. He is a brave and resourceful sort, taking whatever life throws at him and making the best of it. When WWII gears up and there is word of Hitler's troops heading their way, Noel is one of the 3.5 million civilians who are evacuated by train out of London to outlying areas deemed safer.
Noel arrives in St. Albans, where he is taken in by Vee. Vee will do whatever she has to do to survive in life. She gets quite crafty, deciding to take in Noel who appears to walk with a limp, with dreams of financial assistance for doing so. Instead it turns to be Noel who has the mind for crafting "schemes" that keep the family housed and fed. Vee and Noel share a home with Vee's son Donald, who himself is thought to be disabled (but is really just spoiled) and Vee's mother.
Vee is not initially very likable. She is dogged and tough, commits unethical acts to get by. Life has let her down, and she's never figured out how to pick herself up.
Then along comes Noel, who is really the stronger of the two. He is the type of kid that is just plain odd. He's very bright and lives inside his own head. That means that other kids don't like him, and he tends to make most adults uncomfortable. But occasionally someone will take notice and see something else in them (I think his teacher Mr. Waring eventually did this with him). And Vee eventually sees it, too.
This novel explores the difficulties of living in Britain during the war and The Blitz, with rationing and children being shipped away. It is a war novel without the war. You catch glimpses of the war, in the growl of an airplane overhead, the mention of a ration book, the blackouts, but in St. Albans they are relatively safe from the horrors of war.
This is one of those quiet stories. It isn't rambunctious, exciting or edge-of-your-seat suspense. It's quiet and gentle. The writing is very easy to read, but it could get a little clipped at times for my taste.
The relationship between Vee and Noel grows throughout the story, and in the end I think they sort of save one another. I love the imagery used throughout the story, particularly in the way that Noel looks at the world.
My final word: Unadorned and restrained, there was something wistful about this story. It felt sentimental and at times a little morose. But I thought it was a sweet war novel. It is about friendship and what defines (or redefines) family. I would wholeheartedly recommend this one when looking for a quiet read with real characters....more
A protester detonates a phosphorous grenade at an outdoor concert, and the friends of the suspected "bomber" (whose remains are beyond identification)A protester detonates a phosphorous grenade at an outdoor concert, and the friends of the suspected "bomber" (whose remains are beyond identification) can't believe him capable of such a thing. A mystery revolves around the bomber's identity and motive, whether he killed himself or was killed, whether he was the intended victim, and who knew about it.
This is my first introduction to Deborah Crombie, and this book is the 16th in the "Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James" series. I wasn't sure whether I could easily jump this far into a series, or if I might feel a little lost.
Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James have a growing family and manage different forces. Kincaid, formerly of Scotland Yard HQ, has recently been promoted and has a new team working under him, but he isn't above looking to former co-workers for help when needed. Gemma has her own murder case to solve, but this novel mostly involves her as a wife and mother, and you don't see much of her work life.
The story is told in third-person with a host of characters. Other than Duncan and Gemma, there is Melody, Andy, Doug, Tam, Duncan's new DI Jasmine Sidana, and more detectives, and then a host of other characters playing witnesses or otherwise involved with the cases. Sometimes when the point-of-view would shift, it would take a few seconds for me to orient myself and figure out who this character was and how they related to the other characters. I think this is a side-effect of being unfamiliar with this series. For someone who has been reading Deborah Crombie and is familiar with this particular series, I think it would have come much more naturally.
One of the drawbacks to jumping so far into a series is that there isn't going to be a whole lot of character development-- it's already been done in past novels. And another drawback is that there are little allusions to past occurrences and quirks and things from past novels that leave you feeling that you are sort of missing out on a private joke.
My final word: That all being said, I really enjoyed the author's writing style, which was very easy to read and engaging. The story was suspenseful at moments, and a little sentimental at times, but always well done. I can see why the author is so popular! She paints a good mystery with a colorful palette of characters, and I can imagine it’d be fun to follow the lives of these recurring characters over the years, from book to book. Even though I haven’t read the first 15 books in the series, I want to find out what happens with the characters from here, and will be keeping an eye out for the next in the series!...more