Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Bal's Spice Kitchen


I already own two awesome cookbooks by Bal Arneson, so why would I want to have another one of her books?  All you have to do is read my other reviews to understand why I love her. - Everyday Indian and Bal's Quick & Healthy Indian.  So it wasn't really hard to imagine how excited I was when I was sent a copy of Bal's Spice Kitchen from Whitecap Books (which publish some of my favorite cookbooks).

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Straight from the Line


First, let me say that there is nothing as delightful as when some of my favorite things converge - family, local food, cookbooks.  Last September, I had a rare Mummy - Daughter date with Joanna. (You can read about it in detail here) Usually we have to share each other with kids and husbands - fun, don't get me wrong, but rarely do we have the opportunity to do something just for the two of us.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

At Home with Lynn Crawford


Most of the cookbooks I write about were sent to me by publishers.  I only write about the ones I truly like and even so, there are still so many lining my bookshelves, counter tops, window ledges.   That said, sometimes I still feel the need to buy myself a present.  This is one such book.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking


My love affair with Marcy Goldman began years ago.  I received a copy of A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking and overcame many of my baking phobias. It was always the first book I'd check before each holiday so I could add something new to my standards.

Then her second book came out A Passion for Baking, and I did an interview with her,  I loved that book even more!  It was followed by another awesome book - The New best of BetterBaking.com: 200 Classic Recipes from the Beloved Baker's Website with more delicious baking recipes and my first batch of Montreal bagels.  Needless to say, my love affair continued.

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of being in Montreal, visiting my daughter and I called Marcy to see if we could meet for a coffee and talk about.. life...family...and her newest book What Bakers Cook, which isn't quite ready for us, but I know it will be amazing when it launches.  You can be sure I will keep you posted.

During our time together over cappuccino for me and tea for her followed by meandering through the Jean Talon Market, she told me that there was a 10th Anniversary edition of  A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking by Marcy Goldman with not only the tried and true wonders, but a chapter filled with Jewish holiday cooking recipes to accompany all the baked goodies.  And since I never did share why the original book was a favorite of mine, I thought I'd so so now.

I know the old adage of "never judge a book by its cover" is wise... I have been sucked in and disappointed in the past, but not this time around.  The mouth-watering image of a Mock Chestnut Torte (page 278 in the Passover section) had me hooked instantly.  The stunning photos peppered..or should I say sugared, throughout the book are by Ryan Szulc and really inspire those of us who aren't "natural" or artistic bakers.

I still love the way Marcy organizes her books...first chapter - detailed notes about ingredients and equipment, and tips.  One of my favorites (in more detail in the book, but gives you an idea of why I love her style of writing and mentoring as she shares her tips and recipes)
"Three Ingredients to Better BakingThere are three essentials to better baking:  The first two are simple.  They are your own hands and your refrigerator.  The third is less obvious but equally attainable.
Hands.  Your hands are the original mortar and pestle....Respect them and take care of them...
The Refrigerator. When I was in pastry school, I soon learned that nothing was unsalvageable as long as there was a refrigerator nearby....
Patience.  ...Patience is that wonderful trait that is behind every careful, caring baker...."
The recipe portion of the book begins with a detailed chapter on bread baking,and moves from Jewish holiday to holiday throughout the year, but you really don't have to be Jewish to enjoy any of the recipes.  Pecan Cinnamon Sticky Buns,  a Shredded Dough Plum Tart or any of the many biscotti recipes are universal favorites.
This particular recipe may be called Everybody's Jewish Apple Cake, but everyone I serve it to, wants seconds!

Since I really am a cook, more than a baker...always have a craving for savory before sweet - (late night snack?  I'm the one standing at the fridge hoping for a last piece of cold chicken)... I am super excited about the last chapter - the one called "A Baker Becomes a Cook".  Here's a list of just some of the recipes I've earmarked: Old Fashioned Mushroom, Bean & Barley Soup, Spice & Lemon Roast Chicken, Roast Potatoes with Olive Oil, Garlic & Lemon, Onion-Kissed Old Fashioned Potato Knishes, Sweet & Sour Meatballs, Deli Cheese Blintzes and at least three brisket options.  

So... for my Jewish friends, remember that Hanukkah is fast approaching and this book makes a perfect gift. As for the rest .. it still is almost holiday season, whatever your culture and time for baking.





Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year Round


There really are a number of books sitting on my counter for me to review, but this one jumps the line.  Primarily because it is harvest season, after all and definitely time to think about preserving things for that long, dreary winter ahead.  And because many of us WANT to make pickles and chutneys and jams, but are afraid we might kill those we love....or at least make them sick, we don't.  Now for the good news...

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Eat the City

I'm not sure what I expected when I agreed to read and possibly review Eat the City: A Tale of the Fishers, Foragers, Butchers, Farmers, Poultry Minders, Sugar Refiners, Cane Cutters, Beekeepers, Winemakers, and Brewers Who Built New York.

I always tell those who approach me to review a book that I only promise to read the book and if I love it, I'll write about it. Normally the books I review have recipes... some are about a place, or an ethnicity, or about a particular ingredient... but they all have recipes.  So I was surprised to discover that Eat the City has no recipes.   But don't let that deter you from getting your hands on a copy... and here's why.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Jerusalem A Cookbook

I own a ton of cookbooks and continue to drool at local bookstores over new ones.  But I think I found a one that classifies as one of my all time favorites... and I mean EVER!   Jerusalem A Cookbook is stellar! In fact it should be renamed Jerusalem THE Cookbook!  I love everything about it.  I don't even know where to begin in sharing why I love it so much.