Another review in an attempt to clear cookbooks from my to-read list. This one was recommended in a recent conversation about new but simple recipes tAnother review in an attempt to clear cookbooks from my to-read list. This one was recommended in a recent conversation about new but simple recipes to try, and I discovered one of my friends loved this book. I read a lot of cookbooks, and it is hard to find one that has anything new, but this one manages to! Interesting combinations of ingredients and techniques, without a lot of fuss or difficulty. Win/win!
Recipes I've marked to try: -Smoked Salmon, Basil, & Lemon Quesadillas -Palacsintas with Apricot Jam and Powdered Sugar (for my ongoing pancakes of the world project in my baking blog) -Golden Raisin-Fennel Scones (this is an example of an "oh what would that taste like" reaction?!) -Chickpea Flour Soup from Provence (intriguing) -Caramelized Cabbage and Noodles (a homey Hungarian recipe, sounds like great comfort food) -Rutabaga, Creme Fraiche & Havarti Torte (I have definitely never made a recipe featuring rutabagas)
My tiny wee complaint is that salt, pepper, and water are not included in ingredients list but are often called for in the recipes. I would have liked to have everything included, despite what might be expected. She also calls for extra-large eggs throughout the cookbook and this would require either recipe modification or buying two kinds of eggs, just a personal pain. Not enough to give the cookbook anything less than five stars. ...more
I have too many cookbooks on my to-read list so I embarked on a project to try some and get them off the list! This book supports my Oceania World LitI have too many cookbooks on my to-read list so I embarked on a project to try some and get them off the list! This book supports my Oceania World Lit reading project for 2015. I've finally moved past Papua New Guinea to Indonesia. Not far, but still a change.
I've made a few recipes out of this cookbook so far:
Some recipes in this slim book require ingredients that are hard for me to get, such as fresh pandan leaves. Others are hard to imagine, like the melon salad with a mustard dressing, or the melon drink in rose water (but I might still try this one.) Overall this is a very tasty cuisine, similar to Thai or Vietnamese in some ways but not as sweet as Thai and not as soup-based as Vietnamese. Each recipe I've made has used almost an entire bulb of garlic! For baked goods and desserts I had to find recipes other places; this is primarily a savory cookbook....more
I received a copy of this from the publisher through the Penguin First Reads program in exchange for an honest review.
The story of Eva Thorvald, a cheI received a copy of this from the publisher through the Penguin First Reads program in exchange for an honest review.
The story of Eva Thorvald, a chef with a once-in-a-lifetime palate, is told through other people in her life. It starts with her mother, her father, then moves toward people who aren't as directly connected to her. This tactic had varying amounts of success in my mind. In the beginning I felt I had a clear sense of Eva, particularly in her love for spicy pepper jelly as an unborn child and her revenge with peppers she grew in her closet as a child. But as the characters get farther removed from her, we stop knowing what she thinks and feels, and instead have to deal with various people including a somewhat obnoxious Minnesotan church lady.
But then again, the characters are also great. If I take away my feeling that the novel is about Eva and we should be closer to her, I can say the capture of the midwest is fantastic. I don't know if in the final copy the publisher provides recipes but that would be a good idea (who wouldn't want to try those damn peanut butter bars?)
In my reading around the USA challenge that I've been halfheartedly working on for a few years, I had never found a book set in Minnesota. Here it is!...more
I was poking around for more books on Papua New Guinea, and found the eBook of this at the library where I work. I hadn't considered reading an entireI was poking around for more books on Papua New Guinea, and found the eBook of this at the library where I work. I hadn't considered reading an entire book about the crop production in one region, but here it is. In fact this is more of an econoethnography, as the anthropologist is a longterm researcher in this area of Papua New Guinea, and decides to focus on coffee for this book with chapter names like "neoliberal coffee" and "village coffee."
"Among coffee experts,... Papua New Guinea coffee is variously described as 'sweetly acidic with mild to medium body and fruity undertones,' having 'uniquely wild notes in the cup with a fruity endnote,'... and 'full-bodied with a thick texture and a smooth and soft aftertaste.'"
After reading Four Corners: A Journey into the Heart of Papua New Guinea, where she mentions the growth of the coffee industry in PNG (from the perspective of the mid 90s), I ordered some PNG coffee online. I wanted to taste something connected to the land, and banana pancakes were not enough!
I was choosing between Peet's and Counter Culture Coffee, I ended up ordering the Baroida from Counter Culture, a single-origin coffee from the eastern highland region. And from this book I know almost 400,000 households in PNG grow coffee, with 30 percent of those households from the same province my pound of coffee came from.
Part of the book is about how coffee is marketed, with primitivism and poverty used frequently as selling points. The fact that I, an American middleclass woman in my mid-30s, purchased this coffee, means the marketing specifically targeting me as a coffee customer COMPLETELY WORKED. At least Counter Culture doesn't seem to be emphasizing their poverty or "thirdworldedness" the way some coffee importers do. The description on the website reflects the story in this book, that this is one more family growing coffee that used to sell to exporters that would blend it with other coffees, but now sells to exporters that will market it as single-origin, a step which has brought more money as the coffee market changes.
Apparently people from different countries value different things about coffee. Americans are most likely to choose a coffee or a coffee shop based on how it makes us feel, whether that's comfort or sameness or helping someone out of poverty (it's different for different generations.) Germans (according to West) value the intricate blends of coffees, whatever produces the best overall taste, and they don't care about the story.
Other little fascinating facts:
"One of every three people in Papua New Guinea is connected to the coffee industry in some way."
The connection between coffee, independence, and the economy: "Coffee is one of the things that force us to act like a nation." - PNG government official
"Expatriates in New Guinea... have a saying about the people that come to New Guinea. They say that they are 'misfits, missionaries and mercenaries.'"
"Despite the important economic role that coffee plays in their lives, people in Maimafu do not drink coffee. They do not like it. It is thought of as bitter and tasting rather like soil."
M.F.K. Fisher only came on my radar this year, and I didn't pick her up to read until I heard part of her essay about canning, and her earliest memoryM.F.K. Fisher only came on my radar this year, and I didn't pick her up to read until I heard part of her essay about canning, and her earliest memory of jam-skin. She is one of the great foremothers of food writing, in fact there is even an award named after her for excellence in culinary writing.
I'm not sure this was the book to start with, as she is best known for The Art of Eating: 50th Anniversary Edition and The Gastronomical Me. This book is a collection of essays spanning 1941-1980, of memories and food in places she has lived around the world. Most of them have prefaces written later to give some context. Some of the instances detail places and even food that just doesn't exist in the same way anymore, and it was a great nostalgia read on Thanksgiving day.
(Warning: this book will make you hungry!)
I Was Really Very Hungry about a trip to a restaurant in northern Burgundy when a somewhat manic waitress gives her the best meal of her life, stuffs her to the gills. It is almost unbelievable, but the food!
The First Cafe details her first visit to a fine dining establishment at the age of 6, Marcel's in Los Angeles (in 1914.) She recalls the details that have never left her memory and talks about taking her own daughter to a similar place. "...She is whatever tender creature can thus begin the long nibbling through the invisible tunnel of the world."
Two Kitchens in Provence transports to a very specific moment in time from when she picked up her family and relocated to France for a while. It's like Julia Child without the political connections, even more embedded in the local life.
About Looking Alone At a Place is probably my favorite essay, about living in Arles, alone, in the off-season where a tourist is not exactly welcome. So much detail, so much place.
Dutch Freighter talks about life and food for people who travel on freighters. I don't know of anyone who has ever done this, so I'm guessing this is a pre-World War II phenomenon. The Fishers traveled from Marseille to Los Angeles on one in 1932, but also took shorter trips. The description of Dutch freighter food, from hodgepodge to Goudaspritses to Nassi Goreng (obviously a food from the Dutch empire) was fascinating, but to me reading in 2014, it also felt... lost.
I lived in Indiana for six years, and had easy access to Amish-grown vegetables, Amish-made cheeses and furniture, and Amish pie! There was one restauI lived in Indiana for six years, and had easy access to Amish-grown vegetables, Amish-made cheeses and furniture, and Amish pie! There was one restaurant in Northern Indiana, Das Dutchman Essenhaus, that feeds over 1,000 customers a day with Amish cuisine, mostly pie.
Why pie? I imagine because it is simple, and there are endless varieties for seasonal fruits. This cookbook is a good representation of the Pennsylvania Dutch recipes, including some very traditional ingredient-stretching recipes like one using dried apples and another using raisins.
I tried the buttermilk pie and the shoofly pie, and you can see the results on JennyBakes. I thought the shoofly pie was delicious. I took the two pies into work, and a week later neither had been completely eaten, which almost never happens. User error? I'm not sure, but take that into consideration....more
I came across a mention of this book in an article in the Fall 2014 Oxford American: Cooking with Chris: CIA CAKE & JEFF DAVIS PIE by Chris OffuttI came across a mention of this book in an article in the Fall 2014 Oxford American: Cooking with Chris: CIA CAKE & JEFF DAVIS PIE by Chris Offutt. Of course I had to track down a copy!
Even though it was published in the 1990s, it feels like it is from a much earlier time, with home cooks heavily influenced by the convenience food recipes of the 70s. Most of the recipes use canned and instant food, but from my experience with missionaries on the field, I suppose that is simultaneously what will last overseas, what might be purchased, and what seems most "American" (a tragedy, really.) There is also a lot of alcohol included, particularly whiskey!
I was hoping for more recipes that CIA agents and their families discovered while they lived abroad. There are some of those in here, like the "spicy fish" from an unnamed Asian country, which the recipe contributor learned from her housekeeper and successfully served to a CIA administrator on an area visit.
I've never seen so many disclaimers in a cookbook, and there is even a note in the front that the editors worked to remove confidential information, and most contributors are also anonymous. Funny.
The recipes are almost always preceded with a story, and I laughed at the one about the butler window, and wondered why the woman serving food to the head of the secret police in pre-revolution Iran would have put bacon on the salad.......more
This book was nominated for my international book club for the next year, but not selected. I got a copy anyway, because the person who put it forwardThis book was nominated for my international book club for the next year, but not selected. I got a copy anyway, because the person who put it forward made it sound better than it is.
What is it? Basically a cheesy barely-strung-together erotic novel that was more embarrassing than anything else. Also I would not be eating off of that table!!
It did entertain me for the last part of a late-night plane ride, but I kept checking to make sure my seat mate wasn't reading over my shoulder. Just not my kind of thing, and we wouldn't have had anything to talk about at book club, so I'm glad it wasn't a selection!...more
This is a much-needed cookbook in the vegan world, particularly since "holiday" is not just the four usual American Christian holidays. The definitionThis is a much-needed cookbook in the vegan world, particularly since "holiday" is not just the four usual American Christian holidays. The definition expands to sports events, other cultures, and other religious observances. Each chapter is just begging for a party, and I got excited.
Recipes I'm most excited about: Grilled Box Choy with Sesame-Ginger Sauce (Lunar New Year) Steamed Vegetable Dumplings (Lunar New Year) Miso-Ginger Braised Tofu over Bamboo Rice Pilaf (Lunar New Year) Sweet Fried Dumplings with Blood Orange-Ginger Sauce (Lunar New Year) Passion Fruit Creme Brulee (Valentine's Day) Chopped "Liver" (Passover Seder) Joy's Grandma's Seitan Brisket with Roasted Carrots, Shallots, & Turnips (Passover Seder) Chickpea Crepes with Berries & Vanilla-Lavender Cream (Passover Seder) Spring Vegetable Salad with Fava Beans, Peas, Asparagus, & Lemon-Chive Dressing (Easter Brunch) Stuffed Avocado Salad with Chipotle Vinaigrette (Cinco de Mayo) Chile-Crusted Grilled Corn (4th of July Backyard Barbecue) Roasted Brussels Sprout Salad with Apples, Cranberries, & Maple-Cayenne Dressing (Thanksgiving) Roasted Cauliflower & Fennel Soup with Truffle Oil (Christmas)...more
Sean Brock is making quite a name for himself, one of the younger southern chefs who are true to their roots but also commit to using local ingredientSean Brock is making quite a name for himself, one of the younger southern chefs who are true to their roots but also commit to using local ingredients and local farmers. He has also done considerable research about what used to grow in the south, specifically in the low country surrounding Charleston, and has made great efforts to bring those ingredients into his restaurant(s). I knew a bit about him but was really impressed by the recipes and the ingredients he is using in his restaurants. It explains a little why they are so expensive (the reason I haven't yet gone when I visit Charleston, although I suspect I've had some of the food from its place of origin - shrimp from Shem Creek, gold rice grown the old way, etc.)
The cookbook includes creative recipes using ingredients specific to the low country, but he does allow that you may not have access to those heirloom and local items. When he claims they will be best using those ingredients, I believe him. I happen to have some Carolina Gold rice at home from Anson Mills, so you'd better believe I will be using it in the recipes in which he specifies that ingredient. One is "Charleston Ice Cream" which is just a creamy preparation of the rice, hardly altered from just using that ingredient. Another is "Squash Seed Risotto."
Full disclosure - I am a pescatarian, meaning I am a vegetarian who also eats fish. While I am intrigued by Brock's exploration of local poultry, pork, and lamb, and greatly admire his efforts to only buy from humane, organic growers, I can't really weigh in on those recipes. That also has kept me from eating at his restaurant, but now that I know his personal cooking goals include frequently making entirely vegetarian meals, I know he has the ability to cook without a meat-centric dish. You would be surprised at how many chefs freeze up at this idea! It's just a fact of living in South Carolina that a farm-to-table restaurant will be very pork-centric. We have some great local growers, I just don't eat it.
To that end, there are other recipes I am eager to try (half baked goods, what can I say, I'm a baker): -Corn-Goat Cheese Soup with Shrimp and Brown Butter Chanterelles (I can get low country shrimp, local goat cheese, fresh corn, and local mushrooms at my downtown farmers market and this recipe would be a good reason to splurge) -Salad of Plums and Tomatoes with Raspberry Vinegar, Goat Cheese, and Arugula Pesto (plums and tomatoes together?) -Creamed Corn (his grandma's recipe) -Pickled Shrimp with Cilantro and Fennel (a southern staple) -Audrey Morgan's Apple-Sorghum Stack Cake -Chocolate Alabama Stack Cake (love the story with this one) -Rhubarb Buckle with Poppy Seed-Buttermilk Ice Cream -Carolina Gold Rice Pudding with Candied Kumquats ...more
I received a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.
I consider it a happystance that I got a review copy of this cookbook, because I just cameI received a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.
I consider it a happystance that I got a review copy of this cookbook, because I just came across Juli's website PaleOMG.com and made one of her muffin recipes this past weekend! I'm always looking for new Paleo/low-carb recipes that I can adapt to my low-sugar lifestyle.
Juli is completely herself, on her blog and in this cookbook. If you don't like her one place you won't like her the other, but I found her approach refreshing in a world of diet-following sticklers who can get pretty tedious. She has adapted Paleo eating to work for her, with a few fudges here and a few sacrifices there. I appreciated her openness.
Since I don't eat meat, there weren't a lot of the main dishes I could try, but I think the recipes seem approachable for people who cook all the time and for people who are new to figuring it all out. She even has some five-ingredient recipes for Paleo bachelors. Some of the breakfasts and desserts look great. Paleo breakfast is hard, so having new ideas is helpful. First up will be the pumpkin blueberry loaf!...more
I received an ARC of this in exchange for an honest review. The publisher contacted me directly but I'd already downloaded it in NetGalley!
Leah EskinI received an ARC of this in exchange for an honest review. The publisher contacted me directly but I'd already downloaded it in NetGalley!
Leah Eskin has written the "Home on the Range" column for the Chicago Tribune since 2004, and this book is a compilation of those columns. Each tends to include a personal story and a recipe, very similar to what most bloggers are doing. I found myself reading it the same way I read most of those blogs that are heavy in unrelated personal story - skipping the story, skimming to the recipe, and then if I like the looks of the recipe, maybe going back and reading the story. Within the context of the Tribune, the columns are very seasonal in nature. I think this book might be good to dip into throughout the year to allow for a similar experience.
The recipes are not sophisticated (one is a recipe for using a rice cooker) or very original (with a lot of pork and pasta), but they have a lot of heart. The stories combine with them to create a very personal narrative from parenting to cancer. I suspect it is more targeted at the busy mom type person, whether they "stay at home" or "work." It isn't really targeted at someone like me who is willing to spend more time to try something new or complicated.
Still, I found plenty of recipes that sounded good that I would want to try in this book. I appreciate that she always gives credit to the original source of the recipe, which so many people fail to do:
Drinks Molten Chocolate Fair Lassie
Main Dishes or Sides Greens and Beans Tumbled Corn Salad Tortilla Española End of Summer Ratatouille Kik (Peas Porridge)
Desserts Butterscotch Pudding Apricot Pie Thick and Thin Mints Sour Cream Doughnuts Standoffish Cinnamon Loaf (a one-person, one-time Amish Friendship bread, without the friends or days needed!) Upright Pear Pies Intensive German Chocolate Cake Peach Ice Cream
"Even if you didn't work with them you'd be able to tell. It's a certain way of carrying oneself that secretly helps any cook recognize one of his own"Even if you didn't work with them you'd be able to tell. It's a certain way of carrying oneself that secretly helps any cook recognize one of his own. An outward air of strength and mental toughness, tempered by some undeniable tinge of anxiety."
The second person narrative is a bit grating in this book, but if you can get past it, this is a great capture of what the kitchen of a busy fine-dining restaurant is like. Not just the kitchen but the culture of the people working in it, inside and out.
I've worked in restaurants. I think it is incredibly difficult to communicate the stress, the rush, the sheer amount of exhausting work, the creative energy, the smoking breaks, the energized exhaustion, the passion, the alcohol... unless you have lived it, it would just be too unbelievable. Gibney is smart to focus on one 24-hour period in the life of a sous chef (somehow played by "you") because summarizing it doesn't get at how it feels and how much goes by in a single day. I felt like I was back in it, like on the night where we had 250 graduation reservations and our head cook dumped boiling water over his head and we had to figure out a way to make it work. Or when everyone got drunk during Mother's Day brunch.
"It might bring you joy to think that these guests are happy because of something you've provided them, but sheer exhaustion prevents your thoughts from wending that way."
Gibney has memories like this and more, and this is a reflection of his experience. As one-time executive sous chef of Tavern on the Green, he has worked in some big places. There are moments where he waxes poetically about the call of the kitchen, the service, the joy, and it may read as false. It's important to understand that there is a deep-seated reason cooks and chefs end up where they are. It really isn't just a job, not for people who are willing to put the time and effort in to making it to positions of significance like "Chef." Sous Chef is an accurate reflection of just how long and hard that path will be, even for a talented and well-trained cook.
For people who haven't worked in restaurants, there is a very helpful "Selected Kitchen Terminology" at the end of the book. Scanning through it, I realized that in my year and a half in the culinary world, I learned a new language. Readers coming from the dining room of restaurants and not the back of the house may need to refer to this list to have some terms explained. ...more
I would probably not have picked this book to read if it were up to me, because I tend to prefer books that go a bit more in-depth on a topic. After aI would probably not have picked this book to read if it were up to me, because I tend to prefer books that go a bit more in-depth on a topic. After all, I read an entire book about one kind of fish (Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World). This was the holiday read for my in-person international book club, so I was able to breeze through it over the holidays.
The author gives a brief overview of the history of six beverages - beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and... Coca-Cola. Yeah, the last one was a surprise to me too. I would have expected chocolate or water. He includes a bit about water in the wrap-up, but not really what you would expect.
I did learn some surprising things. Beer and the discovery of fermented grains may have been a driving force behind moving away from hunter-gatherer society and toward cultivation. They know exactly what kind of wine Julius Caesar drank, and what type would have been on the sponge raised up to Jesus during the crucifixion (those Romans and their records!).
The author does a decent job of research although every once in a while he surprises the reader with an overly strong opinion about something. He does NOT APPRECIATE drug addiction or using drugs to control people, and said so in situations about the opium trade (related to tea). I remember that moment because it didn't match the tone of the rest of the book, which I would call popular scholarship....more
Ann Mah ended up in Paris when her husband was placed there in a diplomatic role. During that time, he was sent to Baghdad on a year-long assignment,Ann Mah ended up in Paris when her husband was placed there in a diplomatic role. During that time, he was sent to Baghdad on a year-long assignment, leaving her in Paris by herself. I wish that had been more of a back story than central to this book, because her complaints almost ruined this book for me. Mah is an aspiring publisher and journalist, and she writes extensively about missing her husband? I couldn't decide if she was including it to try to make her more human, more approachable, but I really didn't want to read about it.
I did want to read about the food.
The food parts of the book were very well researched, fascinating, and she clearly has a talent for combining in-person experience with historical research. She made me want to be in Brittany for crêpes and attempting soupe au pistou amongst the grimaces of the older French women at the market. I would have traded the sections about talking to her husband in Skype for a nice chapter on croissants or breads, which only get mentioned in the context of her husband chomping into one.
Call me a purist. One of the best books I've read lately about French food is The Whole Fromage: Adventures in the Delectable World of French Cheese, a book where devoid of personal story, I was able as a reader to delve deeper into the topic of interest. That's my preference! I know some people really enjoy the Elizabeth Gilbert flavor of travel writing, and this would be a good book for people who really liked Eat, Pray, Love.
I listened to the audio, read by Mozhan Marno. Mozhan does a great job pronouncing the French in the book (which there is a lot of, and sometimes not translated, the reader being left to read between the lines). She also does a decent French-accent-in-English to distinguish between Mah and the people she encounters. It brought the book to life.
I received a copy of this from Random House Audio in exchange for an honest review....more
If Marisa McClellan wanted to consider another profession, I think she would take easily to perfumer. Her flavor combination ideas just in this book aIf Marisa McClellan wanted to consider another profession, I think she would take easily to perfumer. Her flavor combination ideas just in this book alone make me want to try every recipe and stock my pantry with little batches of goodness.
The recipes catching my eye the first time through: -Vanilla-Rhubarb Jam with Earl Grey -Chunky Fig Jam -Apple Pumpkin Butter -Orange Vanilla Curd
You get the idea. I've had some of these recipes marked for a year and finally had a chance to make the Vanilla-Rhubarb Jam, and instead of Earl Grey I used my Reading Envy tea which is part Earl Grey, part coconut. This is a lovely light but intricately flavored jam! I've been putting it on toast this week but will bring it to work in the form of oatmeal jam bars.
The recipes in this book include directions for small batch canning, but the recipes aren't in great quantities, so it is just as easy to consume what is made. The idea behind small-batch preserving is to eat some, save some. Many of the recipes could also be frozen. If canning intimidates you, you could either simply not do those steps or allow McClellan to instruct you in your first attempts.
She also has a fabulous blog, Food in Jars, with additional instructions (I went to it to find out how to substitute powdered pectin for liquid in the recipe I was trying, to great success.)
Just a personal note: Marisa McClellan is the sister of Raina Rose, a singer-songwriter from Portland who I first encountered on the streets of Memphis (during an art walk) and lives in Texas. It's a small world out there in internet land, and I had followed both before knowing they were connected....more
This is a beautiful cookbook with beautiful photography, and probably my favorite of 2013. The idea of building a cookbook around winter ingredients fThis is a beautiful cookbook with beautiful photography, and probably my favorite of 2013. The idea of building a cookbook around winter ingredients for baked goods is brilliant and much appreciated. There are chapters on nuts and squashes and citrus, to name a few.
Both recipes I tried were not dishes I had seen in other cookbooks, and had interesting flavor profiles. I made the butternut squash cake twice!
Butternut squash cake:
Cocoa Pomegranate Pavlova (I couldn't resist the striking color in this dish and the added ingredients of balsamic and cardamom made for a very sophisticated bite.) ...more
I made the gingerbread loaf but because of user error had to throw it away (too much salt!). I made the Chocolate and Hazelnut Meringue Cake for New Year's Eve, so here are two pictures of it (apologies to David Sven who does not want to see any cake!)
The other recipes that caught my attention in particular:
Gingerbread Cheesecake Cranberry Upside Down Cake Black Forest Cake
Hmm, must be the season. The nice thing is, there are recipes for every season. There is even a cake for when gardeners have an abundance of summer squash!
The one omission I am really surprised about is that the recipe for the best cake ever, the Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake from Martha Stewart Living, would be left out of her first cake cookbook. It is a recipe I recommend to everyone and always hear rave reviews when I make it. I was sad not to see it here, but since the rest of these recipes come from the same editorial crew, this is a solid cookbook. ...more
The gorgeous photography in this cookbook made me long for a neighborhood bakery like Butter Baked Goods. Since I don't live anywhere near Vancouver,The gorgeous photography in this cookbook made me long for a neighborhood bakery like Butter Baked Goods. Since I don't live anywhere near Vancouver, BC, I am very lucky to have the cookbook to help me recreate their treats.
The recipes reflect what is served in the bakery and cafe - muffins and scones, cookies, bars, cakes, cupcakes, pies and tarts, and then there are the marshmallows. Butter is famous for its marshmallows, in all flavors, and also a component in several of the recipes. Several variations are contained in this cookbook, and that is what I'm looking forward to trying the most. I'm thinking of coffee flavor! I also have my eye on the Smores Bars, which look incredibly decadent, and utilize the handmade marshmallow.
Since I bake so often for other people, and bring things to work, I like recipes that are simple. I'm particularly enamored with the bar cookie chapter, which includes the very Canadian Nanaimo bar that is a must-try when baking Canadian!
Since I received a copy of this in the fall, I immediately made the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Blondies, which were a huge hit!
This is a very quick read since each chapter ends with a significant recipe section. Nina Mukerjee Furstenau tells the story of growing up in Kansas iThis is a very quick read since each chapter ends with a significant recipe section. Nina Mukerjee Furstenau tells the story of growing up in Kansas in the 60s-70s, the child of Bengali parents, living in a very unBengali place. The book starts with a description of the traditional Durga Puja holiday, a week long celebration after the monsoon season, a holiday that can't possibly be fully experienced in Kansas no matter what a community might do.
The entire book has an element of sadness and loss to it - the author has a connection to her background through the food she learns to cook, but she never learns the language fully, only gets to visit Bengal on a rare occasion, and even getting to know her cousins' names is difficult. Still, the descriptions of food and the dichotomy of home life (with Bengali elements) vs. public life (as Americanized as possible) bring her experience very vividly into the mind. One chapter is named, "All Our Tupperware is Stained with Turmeric," which to me was the best example of the combination of East and West!
Also included are recipes from when her parents lived in Thailand, and when she and her husband worked for the Peace Corps in Tunisia.
"It is not as easy to shape a life that includes all the important bits from the past as it is to follow a recipe, especially when you leave your homeland."
I received a copy of this from NetGalley in exchange for nothing other than the opportunity to read it. I am always honest in my review....more
I got a copy of this cookbook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I wasn't keen on reviewing a one bowl baking cookbook at first, becI got a copy of this cookbook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I wasn't keen on reviewing a one bowl baking cookbook at first, because I feel like it's been done and I'm not that interested in trying to make something in one bowl. When I saw the author had spent several years on America's Test Kitchen, I was more interested, thinking her recipes would probably be from scratch and a higher caliber than your typical time-saving baking cookbook.
First, I made the Apple Crisp Mix-In-the-Pan Bars, because I had an abundance of apples. They were okay. I felt the bottom crust baked too quickly and mixing in a shallow 9x13 pan wasn't as easy as it would have been just to do it in a bowl. I did save a bowl.
The recipe that made me the most excited? Mocha Valencia Cupcakes, which the author developed after Starbucks discontinued their very delicious orange mocha of the same name. These were a huge hit, with the mocha-orange moist cupcake and the very rich mocha-orange ganache to top.
I'm not done trying recipes from this book, but I've sampled enough to recommend it as a solid cookbook spanning a lot of different types of recipes. The other pages I've marked to try:
Chocolate Monkey Banana Cupcakes with Malted Milk Ganache Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate-Peanut Butter Ganache Gingerbread Cupcakes with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting Warm Mix-in-a-Mug Chocolate Chip Cookie Tropical Coconut Macadamia Banana Bread (sounds so good for summer!) Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cake with Chocolate Ganache Orange Ricotta Cheesecake Mocaholic Hot Fudge Pudding Cake
I received a review copy of this cookbook from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
As someone who frequents an amazing Jewish deli in my city,I received a review copy of this cookbook from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
As someone who frequents an amazing Jewish deli in my city, yet has only had partial success in making my own bagels, I thumbed through this book with awe and trepidation. The author makes it LOOK easy, but many of these recipes take quite a bit of finesse - babka, rugelach, bagels. Most of the recipes in here are very traditional, but that's completely the point.
I'm happy to keep trying to perfect these recipes, and this book makes me want to try again. Many of the recipes have seasonal variations, which I thought was a nice touch. I've had dreams of the chocolate babka french toast since I saw the picture. That may be our holiday breakfast this year!
I did adapt one recipe to a lower sugar macaroon, and although they got a bit toasty, they were still tasty!
Other recipes I want to try:
Open-faced Potato Knishes Hungarian Mushroom Soup Chocolate Babka (and Chocolate Babka French Toast!) Cheese Blintzes (seasonal toppings include blackberry lavender for summer and spiced pumpkin for fall) Classic Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Rugelach (for winter - chocolate and fig!) Three-Strand Braided Challah (with really great picture directions)...more