All Posts In Books

A Kitchen in France — Off the Shelf

by in Books, December 26th, 2014

A Kitchen in France“Everything they say about the French way of life is true,” declares Mimi Thorisson in her new book, A Kitchen in France. “Especially the food part.” If you’ve ever dreamt of moving to a farmhouse nestled in the French countryside where you can relax, garden and cook all day, Thorisson’s new book is for you (because that’s exactly what she and her family did). “Even now I would be at a loss to explain exactly why we took the plunge,” she admits. “But we needed a bigger place for a growing family, so why not outside the box, outside Paris? My husband wanted more dogs, we wanted to see the kids running around in a big garden, we were up for an adventure.”

A Kitchen in France chronicles that adventure in lovely, descriptive writing and through a stunning collection of recipes. What you’ll find in the pages are recipes that sound much fussier than they are; French food is largely simple food, designed to coax subtle and big flavors alike from good ingredients. Thorisson’s recipes accomplish just that, and the stunning food photography will have your mouth watering as soon as you crack the book open. Start with the Onion Tart (recipe after the jump for you to try at home), but you won’t be able to stop there. Almond Mussels and Red Berry Barquettes taste like summer. You won’t be able to wait for autumn to make the Potatoes a la Lyonnaise, and the Harvest Soup recipe with beef, root vegetables and garlic is the perfect dish to pull the chill out of a cool fall evening. “Some dishes just can’t be enjoyed in warm weather,” Thorisson says. “And they are my favorite thing about winter.” You’ll find recipes that do call for hours-long simmering, like the traditional Coq au Vin or the Beef Cheek Stew, but what better way to warm the house on a cold winter weekend than letting those enchanting smells fill your home? You’ll also find simple dishes, like the Garlic Soup, that achieve a flavor it’s almost impossible to believe came about in under half an hour. And it’s not all main courses; there are plenty of seasonal dessert offerings, along with some smaller plates like the Roquefort and Walnut Gougeres, which would be a perfect addition to a New Year’s Eve menu (or whatever you were already planning for supper tonight).

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National Geographic Kids Cook Book — Off the Shelf

by in Books, December 23rd, 2014

National Geographic Kids Cook Book‘Tis the season when helping hands — especially little ones — find their way into your holiday kitchen. It’s with the junior culinarians in mind that we present you with the National Geographic Kids Cook Book by Barton Seaver. A year-long food adventure, the Kids Cook Book is a fun way to get your little chef’s hands dirty in the kitchen and his or her mind piqued when it comes to the possibilities food offers. The most-fantastic feature of the National Geographic Kids Cook Book is its perfect balance of fun activities, easy-to-digest information and kid-friendly recipes, like the Hot Cinnamon Apple Cider recipe (given after the jump for you to try at home), Dinosaur Kale Chips, Not-So-Sloppy Joes and more.

Activities and information are organized by month, giving your little chef fun kitchen tasks and recipes to try every week of the year. Every activity and recipe in the book is family-friendly, designed to get the whole family cooking and learning about food together. With the National Geographic Kids Cook Book, your junior culinarian will learn about everything from how to grow his or her own herb garden, composting, seasonal ingredients to how to pack the perfect school lunch. The book also gives you plans to easily put together cook-offs, family food challenges or pizza parties, or even start a cooking club. The kid-friendly paperback design leaves the book lightweight enough for little hands to carry with them.

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The Fat Radish Kitchen Diaries — Off the Shelf

by in Books, December 19th, 2014

The Fat Radish Diaries“On our first day of shooting we spent an entire day trying to capture a good shot of pancakes. We almost quit on the spot,” admits Ben Towill, one of the restaurant owners and writers behind this week’s featured book, The Fat Radish Kitchen Diaries. The Fat Radish serves up vegetable-centric English cuisine, but make no mistake: This cookbook reaches further into the restaurant team’s history than a simple recitation of recipes from the menu. The Fat Radish Kitchen Diaries is full of vibrant, funny tales of the journey it takes to build a successful restaurant business (and to write a truly gorgeous cookbook).

That’s not to say the food isn’t remarkable. As far as restaurant cookbooks go, The Fat Radish Kitchen Diaries is remarkably cookable, filled from the first page to the last with recipes that you’ll easily be able to make and enjoy in your home kitchen. The book features traditional English fare, like Cottage Pie, Brussels Sprout Bubble and Squeak (recipe after the link for you to enjoy at home), and Scotch Eggs. The Fat Radish Kitchen Diaries also includes a couple of nods to pub favorites, like The Fat Radish Cheeseburger and Spring Onion Rings with Tartar Sauce. The book is organized seasonally, but the gorgeous images dare you to wait until spring to enjoy the Leek and Peekytoe Crab Gratin or the Charred Snap Peas with Mint Salt and Chili Oil. The Fat Radish Kitchen Diaries even has a recipe for Banoffee Pie, something many Americans have wondered about since the first time they watched Love Actually.

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Hickory Daiquiri Dock — Off the Shelf

by in Books, December 18th, 2014

Hickory Daiquiri DockTim Federle, the mixologist mastermind behind Tequila Mockingbird, is back and quippier than ever in his new book for new parents, Hickory Daiquiri Dock. Squeeze happy hour in right after bedtime with these nursery rhyme-inspired cocktails, garnished with a twist of humor. All your kids’ favorites are present and accounted for, from Rocks-N-Rye, Baby and Wee Willie Whiskey to Mary Had a Little Dram and London Binge, I’m Falling Down. Give the Bloody Mary, Quite Contrary a try for yourself (recipe for you to try at home after the link).

Unlike parenthood, the rules for enjoying a refreshing cocktail are simple. “Rule No. 1: Don’t serve anything alcoholic in a sippy cup! Rule No. 2: Drink what you like and don’t stress out too much about rules. Rule No. 3: make fresh ice. You don’t want your cocktail to taste like a frozen hot dog.” The drinks are simple, designed to be mixed quickly and deliciously. Federle candidly declares, “If a drink requires more than, say, three alcoholic components (I’m looking at you, Long Island iced tea), but it doesn’t taste alcoholic at all (I’m glaring at you, Long Island iced tea), grab a beer and hide in the attic.”

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In the Kitchen With: Dorie Greenspan

by in Books, Holidays, How-to, December 16th, 2014

“I guess I’m a baking nerd,” says Dorie Greenspan with a sly smile. The award-winning cookbook author is standing in the middle of Food Network Kitchen, whisk in hand and talking about her latest book, Baking Chez Moi. “I’ve come to think of myself as a baking evangelist. I want people to have the satisfaction of making something themselves. So when I write, I try to imagine I’m talking to a newbie.” Dedicated to the home cooking she delights in during the four months a year she spends in Paris, Greenspan’s newest book is friendly and approachable, straddling both the high (Bubble Éclairs) and humble (Chocolate Chip Cookies). Her Custardy Apple Squares are an ideal mix of the two, and Greenspan happily demonstrated how to whip them up during her visit. “I love this recipe,” she says. “It’s so easy, so unfussy, so French.” Follow Dorie’s step-by-step how-to to make them at home.

For many sweets lovers, Greenspan’s name is synonymous with one thing above all: amazing cookies. So we couldn’t let her go without asking her to share a few of her best cookie tips, too. Here’s what we learned. Read more

Eating Delancey: A Celebration of Jewish Food — Off the Shelf

by in Books, December 12th, 2014

Eating Delancey: A Celebration of Jewish Food“It wasn’t easy – but it was sweet.” That’s how Aaron Rezny and Jordan Schaps described the making of their new cookbook, Eating Delancey: A Celebration of Jewish Food. As you might expect from a good Jewish cookbook, the recipes run the gamut. You’ll find everything from kreplach and chopped liver and pastrami-on-rye sandwiches with Russian dressing (the recipe from Katz’s Deli is below for you to try at home) or mustard to pickles and blintzes and gefilte fish. The late Joan Rivers wrote the introduction to the book and quipped, “Jewish food makes Italian food seem like Lean Cuisine.” As the time of year approaches when you want your meals to stick to your bones, Eating Delancey will be a welcome addition to your bookshelf.

Eating Delancey is half culinary tour of historic Delancey Street, complete with recipes from some of the most-notable eating establishments in New York’s epicenter of Jewish cuisine, and half essay collection that lands close to every reader’s heart. Even if you don’t have roots steeped in Jewish culture, the unmistakable themes of hard work, pride, family and food resonate in each story and dish. These essays are what make the book such an exceptional find. Friends and family of Rezny and Schaps all jumped to help contribute recipes and stories. “They were amazingly enthusiastic and wanted to contribute, and wrote immediately,” said the authors. “The memories of the food, the making of the food, the family experience – the words, the emotions and the memory of the recipes flowed. We were thrilled by the outpouring. It inspired us to make this book.”

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Top With Cinnamon — Off the Shelf

by in Books, December 9th, 2014

Top with CinnamonLondon food writer Izy Hossack has made quite a name for herself in the food blogging world. At just 18 years old she wrote her first cookbook, Top With Cinnamon (aptly named after her successful food blog), and delighted food fans the world over. Hossack’s book delivers on her blog’s promise of light, effervescent writing and delicious food. “A few of my fave ingredients are bittersweet chocolate, Maldon salt, pecans and maple syrup,” she writes in the About section of Top With Cinnamon. “That pretty much sums me up.”

You’ll find all of Hossack’s favorite ingredients in her new book’s recipes, each laced with an inviting attitude of fun and built on a foundation of culinary skill. The Rainbow Biscotti Cubes (recipe below for you to try at home) are the perfect little holiday party bites if you’re on the hook for bringing a sweet treat. Hossack admits, “My favorite thing to make is the pulled Chicken Tacos with Peach BBQ Sauce because they’re ridiculously easy and surprisingly quick to make, so they’re great for weeknight meals or when I’m cooking with friends.” Which dish seals the vote for friend favorite? “I think the general consensus is that the Swedish Chocolate Cake is the favorite recipe of everyone I know, but it’s such an easy recipe to make that they all make it themselves!”

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Hand Made Baking — Off the Shelf

by in Books, December 5th, 2014

Hand Made Baking“If you can make a cake or a batch of cookies using a mix, you can surely bake something from scratch!” This is the premise of Kamran Siddiqi’s new cookbook, Hand Made Baking, and the simple, delightful, classic recipes in the book deliver on that promise. Siddiqi’s goal is to set even the most-timid home baker up for culinary success with easy-to-follow and fun-to-make dishes. Everything in Hand Made Baking, from the friendly headnotes to the luscious images, draws you in and compels you to head straight for the kitchen. Classic Cream Scones and Lemon-Poppy Seed Drizzle Cake (recipe linked below for you to try at home) dare you not to crave them. The Cinnamon-Raisin Granola wants to be your new go-to breakfast. Jammy Linzer Cookies are the perfect sweet treat to make this holiday season.

Siddiqi shared with us several tips to ensure success when baking from scratch. “My first tip, though quite obvious to most, is to read the recipe first; this helps any confusion later on.” He added, “Learn how to measure flour properly. Proper measurement of flour is crucial in baking, and not doing so can lead to lackluster baked goods. A pretty standard way to measure flour is the ‘fluff, pour, and sweep’ method, which I talk about in detail in the ‘Before You Begin’ chapter of my book.” If you’re just starting out baking from scratch, Siddiqi recommends his Nancy Drew Blondies, the Everyday Chocolate Cake and the New York-Style Bagels as a jumping-off point. And with the holidays coming up, Siddiqi said his family and friends always request the Pistachio Polvorones, the Molasses Spice Cookies, Forgetabout it Cinnamon Rolls (perfect on Christmas morning), Cranberry and Almond Coconut Macaroons, and the Chocolate Pudding Pie. The reality is there’s not a bad recipe in the book, and you’ll find yourself reaching for it again and again.

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How to Roast — Off the Shelf

by in Books, November 29th, 2014

How to RoastMichael Ruhlman’s newest cookbook, How to Roast, is here to bring the magic back to holiday cooking. Slated to be the first in a series of technique-specific cookbooks, How to Roast takes you through the history of and variations on roasting, one of the oldest forms of cooking. The book reads easily, laced with Ruhlman’s signature wit and humor, and his efficient approach to cooking translates nicely here. He gives you all the information you want without making you feel like he’s telling you too much, or taking too much of your time. It’s beautifully concise while remaining descriptive enough to whet your appetite for roasting.

The book starts with an introduction that lays out a quick history of roasting, then jumps right into chapters on The Basics, The Recipes, and Equipment and Tools. The Basics covers the technical side of roasting, from what Ruhlman means when he says “high heat” versus “medium heat” to various kinds of specialty roasting, like spit roasting and smoke roasting. Then you move on to The Recipes, a chapter that includes iconic dishes like Roasted Chicken and includes step-by-step tutorials for skills that are a little more complicated, like how to properly truss that chicken up before you pop it in the oven. But Ruhlman doesn’t stick solely to the classics. You’ll find recipes for roasted dishes that range from Roasted Shellfish with Tarragon and Thyme Broth to Broccoli with Garlic to Roasted Tomato Sauce. He even sidles up to the sweeter side of the technique with dishes like Roasted Peaches with Creme Fraiche and Mint (recipe below for you to try at home).

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The Big Book of Sides — Off the Shelf

by in Books, November 21st, 2014

The Big Book of SidesThe holiday season is here and it’s time to make room on the shelf for books that will make holiday menu planning easy and fun. Rick Rodgers’ The Big Book of Sides is the perfect answer to everything from your most-elaborate holiday meals to your year-round weeknight family dinners.

The book is broken down into sections based on ingredients and preparation method, starting with Getting It to the Table, then covering Eat Your Vegetables, From the Root Cellar, A Hill of Beans and others. It’s a brilliant layout, making it easy for you to select a recipe based on what you’ve already got in the pantry or the refrigerator. The book boasts over 450 recipes, which means you’ll never be left scrambling to come up with a new way to serve potatoes again. It covers everything from classics, like Potato Rolls, from-scratch Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese, and Potato and Fennel Gratin to new favorites, like Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Maple Syrup and Carrot Ribbons with Pomegranate Dressing (recipe below for you to try at home). The Getting It to the Table chapter even includes comprehensive menus for all your special occasions, from Old-Fashioned to New-Fashioned Thanksgivings, to a New Year’s Day Open House, to a Sunday Roast Pork Dinner.

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