All Posts By Mallory Viscardi

Mallory Viscardi is a country girl at heart. She grew up in her grandmother's kitchen and in her mother's bookshelves. There are few things in life she loves more than a good cup of coffee, a well-written cookbook and -- above all else -- a delicious meal. She's an enthusiastic home-cook, a haver of small adventures and does all her own stunts.

Flour + Water — Off the Shelf

by in Books, September 19th, 2014

Flour + Water CookbookFlour + Water by Thomas McNaughton is the ideal cookbook for the home cook who loves a good food story and wants to give homemade past a try. The book features recipes from the renowned Flour + Water restaurant in San Francisco, along with the history of the establishment. It perfectly captures the thought and detail that go into opening and running a restaurant, and building a seasonal menu from the ground up.

The book sings with the possibility of turning inspiration into actualized dreams, and that’s what sets it apart as a restaurant cookbook. It beckons readers to step into their kitchen with their pasta makers and do the same: Have a little culinary adventure inspired by seasonal ingredients. The prose stops just short of being whimsical, an enjoyable mix of good-humored practicality and well-timed comedy. McNaughton takes you step by step and story by story through the launch process for Flour + Water, tying details of the restaurant and menu tightly together with their local and global inspirations in the pages of the book.

As is usually the case when talking about pasta, the recipes will bowl you over with their variety and deliciousness. The majority of the storytelling takes place in the introductions of the book (there are three, each more entertaining than the last). Then it gets down to business with sections for dough and composed recipes. The dough section takes you through the heritage and science of pasta making, and features stunning photo tutorials, easy-to-follow instructions and even an email address you can message if you have questions. It covers everything from equipment to how to cook fresh pasta, and you’ll be crazy with cravings before you crack a single egg thanks to Eric Wolfinger’s immaculate photographs.

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Tacolicious — Off the Shelf

by in Books, September 12th, 2014

Tacolicious CookbookSara Deseran’s Tacolicious is a fiesta cleverly disguised as a bright, colorful cookbook. The book is inspired by the heart of the menu of the collection of taquerias in San Francisco and Palo Alto, Calif. of the same name: tacos, snacks and cocktails.

The recipes you’ll find are admittedly a mix of authentic Mexican cuisine and Californian variations on Mexican-American dishes. The book is broken into themed chapters, starting with Salsas, Pickles and More, then focusing on Snacks and Sides, Tacos, Tacos and Tacos, and finishing with Cocktails, Aguas Frescas and More. Peppered throughout the book are fantastic factual tidbits that reveal the deep roots of the food’s heritage, as well as tips and tricks that make the recipes easier to execute. Tucked into these little asides you’ll find everything from tips for cooking beans to an in-depth look at corn tortillas and a comprehensive guide to quick and easy taco dinner recipes. The book has all the information you need to cook delicious Mexican-style food at home, regardless of your past experience with the cuisine.

Deseran also introduces you to vendors that have become friends, the chefs and bartenders that keep their eatery running, and a colorful assortment of characters that bring life to the restaurant and the pages of the book. The recipes in Tacolicious feel like they’re meant to be shared among friends and family (like the Guajillo-Braised Beef Short Rib Taco, recipe shared below). This cookbook is perfect for the busy home cook who wants vibrant, flavorful, fuss-free food. You can order your copy here.

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Huckleberry — Off the Shelf

by in Books, September 5th, 2014

Huckleberry CookbookHuckleberry by Zoe Nathan is an all-around stunning book. From the immaculate food photography to the craving-inducing recipes to the yellow polka-dot pattern adorning the pages, Huckleberry is everything you could hope for in a bakery cookbook — and then some. Nathan’s witty stories bring you right into the heart of her kitchen, and it’s easy to feel like she’s unlocked her bakery doors for you and invited you in for a tour.

The chapters roll out based on what time in the morning Nathan and her team start which baked goods, from muffins at 3:30am to biscuits and scones, rustic cakes and tea cakes, breads and other things that rise, flaky dough and its many uses, things baked in a dish, fried stuff, pancakes, cereals, sandwiches, hearty plates each topped with an egg to 10am coffee and other beverages. The substance of each chapter is a marvel, and the book features more than a hundred recipes that you can easily make at home. Nathan gives detailed notes on ways you can change things up, and the balance between sweet and savory dishes ensures that the book has something that will speak to any craving. With food photographer Matt Armendariz’s stunning food images, there’s no way to escape craving the Chocolate Chunk Muffins, the Vanilla French Toast with Brown Sugar-Cranberry Sauce, or My Dad’s Pancakes. The recipe for Black and Blue Oat Bars is included below, in case you just can’t wait to try one of the recipes.

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A Mouthful of Stars — Off the Shelf

by in Books, August 29th, 2014

A Mouthful of Stars CookbookPack your bags and grab a fork, because this week you’re heading on a trip around the world with Kim Sunée’s new book, A Mouthful of Stars. Part travel diary and part cookbook, A Mouthful of Stars covers a vast and intriguing amount of ground in its pages. It also offers up an impressive and delectable selection of food from Sunée’s favorite destinations.

The chapters are broken down into location themes, but you won’t simply find the usual suspect destinations in A Mouthful of Stars. Instead, Sunée takes you on what really feels like a personal guided tour of her favorite international (and a few domestic) food spots. Chapter one takes you to Seoul; chapter two whisks you off to North Africa, India and Mexico.

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B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery Cookbook — Off the Shelf

by in Books, August 22nd, 2014

B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery CookbookFlipping through Alexe van Beuren’s B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery Cookbook is like wandering down the friendliest small-town Main Street in the country. Hailing from Mississippi, the book is a love letter to small-town life and the food that goes along with it. The stories and recipes are vibrant, jumping right off the page. Van Beuren founded the grocery to fulfill a need for the town, but it was the establishment’s addition of a lunch counter that led to the genesis of the recipes collected in the book. The B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery Cookbook tells the tale of both businesses in a charming and honest way. The foundation of the book and the moral of van Beuren’s stories always lead back to a willing and supportive community coming together around plates of delicious food.

That brings us to the most-important part of the book: the food. Alexe Van Beuren makes one thing incredibly clear: the B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery wouldn’t be the same without the recipes brought to the table by Dixie Grimes. The magical spell a good Southern dish casts over the senses is laced throughout each of Grimes’ recipes. The book starts off with a bit of town history and a welcome to the store, then covers breakfast, seasonal soups, salads, spreads and sandwich fixings, casseroles, mains, sides and “Southern sweet thangs.”

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The Soda Fountain — Off the Shelf

by in Books, August 15th, 2014

The Soda Fountain CookbookOpening The Soda Fountain by Gia Giasullo and Peter Freeman is like taking a step back in American culinary history. The book takes you on a fascinating tour of the American soda fountain, a traditional establishment that has roots far deeper than a lot of the cola drinkers and ice cream lovers of today realize. It hits the mark of being “a slice of history with a double scoop of how-to.”

The Soda Fountain is divided into two primary sections, Stories and Recipes. The Stories chapters take you through the evolution of the soda fountain as an American culinary institution, from its first days as a pharmacy staple (yes, you read that right) through its Golden Age and into the Great Depression, right on to its second coming in small shops around the country. The stories are fun and charming, featuring tales of jazz and Prohibition. You get the sense as you flip through the pages that Giasullo and Freeman love and respect American food history as much as they appreciate a well-made ice cream float.

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Sweet and Vicious — Off the Shelf

by in Books, August 8th, 2014

Sweet and Vicious CookbookLibbie Summers approaches cooking like a fun adventure, and Sweet and Vicious bursts with color, excitement and inspiration. Her mantras leap right off the page and snare your attention: Welcome the unexpected. Be fearless. Have fun. Be creative.

The book promises right in the introduction that the recipes are melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and they do not disappoint. Summers approach to baking is layering flavors together, some that you’re familiar with, and some that will delight and surprise you from the first bite to the last. Sweet and Vicious breaks the baking into chapters on cakes, sweet breads and pastries, savory breads, pies, cookies, canine goods and secret weapons. That’s right: There’s a whole section featuring treats for your furry friends (and my own pup can attest that these recipes are something special).

The section entitled Secret Weapons is the one that really stands out and brings it all together. Libbie gives you recipes for myriad extracts, the essences that take the layered flavors in her recipes to the next level. You’ll also find a handful of especially wonderful drink recipes tucked in there, along with some infused sugar recipes and a frosting guide. Secret Weapons elevates recipes like the Hot Spiced Donut Holes (below) or the Salvation Cinnamon Rolls or the Lemonhead Cake. Sweet and Vicious also contains a lot of supplemental content that you can find on Libbie’s site. You can order a copy of Sweet and Vicious here.

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Enter for a Chance to Win Cookbooks Featured in Off the Shelf

by in Contests, August 4th, 2014

Enter for a Chance to Win Cookbooks Featured in Off the ShelfNothing takes the burn out of midsummer heat like free cookbooks. FN Dish is giving one lucky reader his or her very own stack of books mentioned in recent Off the Shelf posts.

The books featured in this giveaway include:
Jeni Britton Bauer’s Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts
Marisa McClellan’s Preserving by the Pint
David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen
Kimberley Hasselbrink’s Vibrant Food
Allison Kave’s First Prize Pies

To enter: Tell us in the comments what your favorite summer recipe from Food Network is (must include URL in answer). FN Dish is giving away this collection of cookbooks to one lucky, randomly selected commenter.

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The Family Cooks — Off the Shelf

by in Books, August 1st, 2014

The Family Cooks CookbookIf you have a family to feed, I have the cookbook for you. Laurie David’s The Family Cooks was written with the goal of assembling delicious, nutritious meals that will keep everyone at your table full and happy, and I’m not exaggerating when I say I think it knocked it right out of the park.

Overall, the most-enjoyable thing about the book is its empowering message and tone. It encourages readers to take their family’s food choices into their own hands. It gives you all the information you need to make delicious snacks, meals and treats at home. The recipes are sympathetic to both the time and budget constraints many families face today without shortchanging flavor. It has a fail-safe guide to get you in and out of the grocery store in one piece, an ingredient rundown that’ll have you cooking with more flavors in no time, and a buy-and-store guide that’ll help you cut down the amount of food you purchase and then discard because it’s past its prime. The recipes in the book are broken down by course, starting with breakfast and working through lunch, soups and salads, dinner, snacks and drinks, sides, condiments, and sweets.

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