I Think I Have A New Favorite Cookbook

It’s not surprising that the good things naturally rise to the top.

The Complete Cooking For Two Cookbook | CLICK TO BUY IT!

 

I like to eat out. But, I like cooking for myself just about as much. Another thing. I’ve got a pretty giant cookbook collection. Maybe, not by library standards. But, certainly by any reasonable measure.

These days, it’s just me and my full time dining companion (and wife) sharing our kitchen table. Cooking that family meal seems to be a lot tougher when there is only the two of you. Is it just me or does it feel like most recipes are targeted for the 4-5 person household? That’s not us. Even at our peak we were only three full time diners. Not including pets.

Here’s part of my problem I guess. I HATE throwing good food away. I don’t obsess about it. Still, it makes me sad to do it. No, I didn’t have that “starving children on the other side of the world” thing beaten into my brain when I was young. But, it just seems like a big waste.

Just when I’m getting ready to freeze another 4 pack of boneless skinless chicken breasts, the folks at America’s Test Kitchen (aka Cook’s Illustrated) come to the rescue. Enter The Complete Cooking For Two Cookbook. And, just in time

It’s subtitled, 650 Recipes For EVERYTHING You’ll Ever Want To Make. I am happy to report that the reality of what’s inside lives up to the self-proclamation on the cover. Nice for a change.

Here’s a great example.

Oven-Roasted Salmon with Fresh Tomato Relish

That was my first crack at one of these recipes. Oven-Roasted Salmon with Fresh Tomato Relish (P.180). In all honesty this plate is actually a combo of two recipes. The asparagus in the background comes from, Salmon with Asparagus and Herb Dressing (P.178). They both seemed so great that I decided I didn’t need to choose.

The main problem with my newfound cookbook love is that I’m mildly obsessed with it. Not in a ugly way. More in a, “what can I make out of this thing next” way. I’ve picked some great ones already. Add to the salmon above, Fennel, Apple and Chicken Chopped Salad (P.71), Cucumber Salad with Olives, Oregano and Almonds (P.68), Foolproof Vinaigrette (P.64) and Pot-Roasted Steaks with Root Vegetables (P.139). When you add it all up, I’ve taken this thing for a pretty decent spin around the block.

Here’s what I’ve come to expect from America’s Test Kitchen. Recipes that work every time! I mean it. Sure some of these may not suit your individual tastes. But, if properly executed they turn out as good or better than anticipated. That’s saying a lot. The last thing you really want is a big investment of your time, money and energy and then have to hunt for a carry out menu. No Good.


** BOOK NOTES **
There is tons of great and useful info up front. Substitutions, utensils, pantry lists, prep lessons and a bunch more. This book is highlighted with instructive images and smart explanations of many f the recipes. I love the breakdown of ingredients between the main part of the recipe and it’s accompaniments (i.e. sauces, relishes and the like). Plenty of recipe variations. Enough to please most. All bases covered, from soups to cakes and most everything in between. Enough recipe variety to please most. Even veg/vegan.


Should you own this cookbook? Take this simple quiz. Do you have two people in your house? Do you like making delicious recipes that are pretty much idiot proof? If you’ve answered YES to either of these questions then this one is a no-brainer. You need it!

DETAILS

TITLE: THE COMPLETE COOKING FOR TWO COOKBOOK
PUBLISHER: AMERICA’S TEST KITCHEN
PAGES: 448
CUISINE STYLE: MIXED, COOKING FOR TWO
DIFFICULTY: 5 (1- Boiling Water, 10-Liquid Nitrogen)

The Complete Cooking For Two Cookbook | CLICK TO BUY IT!

CLICK TO BUY IT

Lust for Leaf | Alex Brown & Evan George

Is it love or lust? I guess you’ll just have to find out.

Lust For Leaf | CLICK TO PURCHASE A COPY

TITLE: Lust For Leaf
AUTHOR: Alex Brown & Evan George
PUBLISHER: Da Capo Press (Lifelong)
CUISINE: Vegan/Vegetarian

• • • • •

FEATURED INGREDIENT: Kale or borecole (Brassica oleracea Acephala Group) is aImage by: Tuscanycious | CLICK FOR DETAILS vegetable with green or purple leaves, in which the central leaves do not form a head. It is considered to be closer to wild cabbage than most domesticated forms.

The species Brassica oleracea contains a wide array of vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, and brussels sprouts. The cultivar group Acephala also includes spring greens and collard greens, which are extremely similar genetically. [Wikipedia]

• • • • •

FIRST IMPRESSIONS
It’s a nice size. Not giant or overwhelming. I like the fact that it’s a hard cover book. Nice and durable. Great food images by Aaron Farley throughout the book. I love the TOC that’s laid out like a Food Pyramid. That’s different. It seems like it’s just as much about people enjoying food as the food itself. That’s a little bit of a switch. Obviously, most cookbooks tend to lean heavily on ingredients and technique rather than the enjoyment of the finished dish. This book just looks like FUN!

• • • • •

WHAT YOU’LL FIND INSIDE (aka Table of Contents)

Taco Zone
Wild Grub
Pizza Pool Party
Bro-Tein
BBQ Mosh Pit
Potlatches
Sweets

• • • • •

Having some accompaniment to your cooking or meal is an outstanding idea. Making that process all the easier, the Hot Knives guys tell you EXACTLY what you should be listening too. Here is Eggplant Crasserole (P. 48). I only wish I could give you a taste of the La Chouffe, Houblon that goes along with it!

• • • • •

THE BEST OF THE BOOK (Our Favorite Recipes)

Mushroom Ceviche Blackened Okra Gratin
Elote al Echo Parque Artichoke Hummus
Backpack Bahn Mi Icey Hot Sorbet
Pea Pod Pesto Stonefruit and Strawberries
Awesome Blossoms Weed Dip

The name of this dish alone is reason enough to mention it here, Junk Food Potato Salad (P. 64). The use of corn chips as an ingredient rates high with me. Here’s another. Corn Porn (P. 17). There’s a theme at work here. This time Fritos makes this recipe shine. And, while we’re on a corn themed run, how about, Popcorn – 5 Kinds! (P. 35-36). Everybody loves a great bowl of popcorn. Unless you have a medical exception. Then you still probably love it, but, you just can’t scratch the itch. These five varieties are all exploding with flavor and easy to make. Cue up your favorite flick!

• • • • •

SPECIAL FEATURES
This is typically a fun part of the post. And, this one is more fun than most. This is where the Lust for Leaf: Vegetarian Noshes, Bashes, and Everyday Great Eats--The Hot Knives Wayauthor’s REAL personality shows through. I love the fact that each recipe comes equipped with it’s very own soundtrack and beverage suggestions. A great way to expose yourself to new music and new brews. There is an extensive and wide ranging beer list towards the back of the book. Also there is a list of the songs included in the recipes. All of the vegan dishes are clearly marked with a V for easy ID.

• • • • •

CONCLUSIONS
This isn’t your typical vegan/veg cookbook. It’s fun! Not pretentious, stuffy or preachy like so many of these can be. The book itself is easy to use and contains enough interesting dishes to keep you occupied for some time to come. There are lots of easy to obtain ingredients. Again, something that so many cookbooks of this cuisine style ignore. Hey, we have to be able to get the stuff to make the food! Loaded with colorful images and some interesting asides.

Culinary Expertise 6.0
1= Boiling Water (novice) 10= Liquid Nitrogen (expert)

RESOURCES, LINKS AND PRESS

Hot Knives Website
Lust For Leaf – Da Capo Publisher Page
Video Photo Shoot – Lust For Leaf

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GIVEAWAY I’ve got one extra copy of Lust For Leaf to giveaway. CLICK HERE, send us an email and if you’re first, it’s your. Just that easy…

Cooking For Two | America’s Test Kitchen

Wouldn’t you love a great recipe that is made just for two? Of course you would.

Cooking for Two 2013 | CLICK TO PURCHASE

TITLE: Cooking for Two – 2013
AUTHOR: Many. America’s Test Kitchen
PUBLISHER: Cook’s Illustrated
CUISINE: American

• • • • •

FEATURED INGREDIENT: THE CROCKPOTPhoto #431 - Crockpot | By Tammra McCauley
Trying to feature a single ingredient out of a recipe collection like this is next to impossible. Or, maybe, just downright impossible. So, in lieu of an ingredient, how about an appliance? There is an entire section of this book dedicated to slow cooker recipes for two. That will make for some super convenient and delicious dishes.

• • • • •

FIRST IMPRESSIONS
Look, this is a book that is published by one of the premier cookbook publishing companies around. So, you expect it to look great and be more thoroughly tested than the common book off the shelf. And, it is. A nice gloss stock makes page turning a breeze. There are beautiful images throughout from Carl Tremblay, Keller + Keller and Daniel J. Van Ackre. It is exactly what you would expect from Cook’s Illustrated. Classy, useful and well laid out.

• • • • •

WHAT YOU’LL FIND INSIDE (aka Table of Contents)
The Smart Shoppers Guide
One-Dish Suppers
Pasta for Dinner
Vegetarian Suppers
Dinner Off The Grill
Light and Fresh
Express Lane
Slow-Cooker Favorites
Side Dishes
Baked Goods and Desserts

• • • • •

So maybe you’ve seen a Cook’s Illustrated magazine or cookbook. And, maybe you’ve even caught an episode or two of the television series. You may be thinking, “Wow all of that testing and analyzing and sampling, these people must really be serious and committed to their craft. Well, they are. But… have a look at some of their lighter moments.

• • • • •

THE BEST OF THE BOOK (Our Favorite Recipes)

Prime Rib for Two Maryland Crab Cakes
Weeknight Roast Chicken Chicken & Chorizo Paella
Spicy Pork Tacos (al Pastor) Sour Cream Biscuits
Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes Fresh Pasta Without a Machine
Vegetable Pot Pie Risotto Primavera
Campanelle with Roasted Garlic, Shrimp and Feta Grilled Spicy Shrimp Masala with Zucchini and Couscous Salad
Turkey Taco Salad Braised Cod Peperonata
Shrimp Fried Rice White Bean and Tuna Salad
Slow-Cooker Black Bean Soup Crème Caramel

 

There are tons of great recipes here. Over the years, I have seen so many versions and adaptations of the traditional US Senate Navy Bean Soup (P.60). Oddly enough, I never tire of them. This particular recipe really nails it. Great care was taken to replicate the original dish. I am certainly not a baker. I’m the first to admit that. The Skillet Olive Bread (P.268) can make even my limited skills really shine. Easy and beyond tasty. I know that we’re leaving winter behind at this point. But, the Slow-Cooker Southwestern Pork (P.226) is a fantastic excuse to breakout the crock pot in the middle of July! Is an excuse really even needed? Just plug and play.

• • • • •

SPECIAL FEATURESCooking for Two 2013 [Hardcover]
The most special feature of Cooking For Two is the detail displayed in each of the recipes. Not that you would expect anything less from the authors of this cookbook. Short, illustrated lessons dot the sidebars along the way. And, an occasional product evaluation makes an appearance to guide you to the best ingredients for your creation. The Smart Shoppers Guide at the front of the book gives the reader a list of some of the basics you might consider for making the recipes.

• • • • •

CONCLUSIONS
Here is the thing about this book. The basic structure is as comfortable as the popular Cook’s Illustrated magazine. If you like that style (like I do), then you will love this cookbook. Great recipes, more than thoroughly tested and explained in detailed step by step instructions. If you love the periodical, you’ll flip for the book. Cooking For Two makes cooking for two a snap and a pleasure.

Culinary Expertise 5.5
1= Boiling Water (novice) 10= Liquid Nitrogen (expert)

RESOURCES, LINKS AND PRESS
Cook’s Illustrated Website
America’s Test Kitchen YouTube Channel
Follow America’s Test Kitchen on Twitter

Cooking for Two | CLICK TO BUY IT!

UPDATE: Check out our review of the new Complete Cooking For Two Cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen!

 

America’s Favorite Food | MyRecipes.com

Can new tech play nice with comfort food cooking?

BUY IT! | America's Favorite Food: 200 top-rated recipes from the country's best magazines

TITLE: America’s Favorite Food
AUTHOR: Many. Edited by, Nichole Aksamit
PUBLISHER: Oxmoor  House
CUISINE: American/Comfort/Magazine

• • • • •

America's Favorite Food | Digimark AppFEATURED INGREDIENT: IPHONE
Our “Featured Ingredient” for this cookbook isn’t really an ingredient at all. But, it is one of the most important components of this particular cookbook. The Smartphone. Without this “ingredient” you take away some of what makes this cookbook unique among it’s peers.

 

• • • • •

FIRST IMPRESSIONS
At first blush this is all a little hard to take in. I consider myself a “tech” person too. I get the concept. But, I’m not sure it’s worth the effort. To be sure, this is a great collection of some delicious magazine reprint recipes. If you haven’t taken the time to subscribe to each, then this is really a treasure trove. You know the names, Cooking Light, Southern Living, Real Simple, Coastal Living, Health and more. It contains lots of easy to prepare dishes for everyone in your family. There are beautiful food images throughout. All in all, an eye pleasing, easy to flip through book.

• • • • •

WHAT YOU’LL FIND INSIDE (aka Table of Contents)
Starters
Soups & Sandwiches
Poultry
Meats
Seafood
Meatless Mains
Pasta & Pizza
Sides & Salads
Desserts
Breakfast & Brunch

• • • • •

How about a small taste of what some of the video extras look and feel like. Hey, everyone needs to know how to cut up a whole chicken.

• • • • •

THE BEST OF THE BOOK (Our Favorite Recipes)

Spicy Black Bean Hummus Watermelon Margaritas
Hearty Potato Soup Turkey Reuben Sandwiches
Creamy Slow Cooker Chicken Buttermilk Chicken Tenders
King Ranch Chicken Casserole Dry-Cured Rosemary Turkey
Cheddar Burgers w/Red Onion Jam Classic Beef Stew
Brandied Cranberry Short Rib Stew Salsa Verde Braised Pork
Halibut w/Coconut-Red Curry Sauce Fresh Salmon-Cilantro Burgers
Creamy Butternut Squash Risotto Ultimate Mac ‘n’ Cheese
Broccoli Beef Lo Mein Shrimp Pad Thai
Peach & Gorgonzola Chicken Pizza Broccoli Casserole
Italian Chard Dressing Grilled Potato Salad
Oatmeal Cream Pies Salted Carmel Brownies

 

It’s obvious from the list above that just about anyone you would care to feed could be satisfied. There are lots of very traditional dishes. Some with a new, more modern twist. Some have been left to their roots. That’s a good combination. There is no shortage of recipes from any of the individual chapters. Every major food group is well represented.

• • • • •

BUY IT! | America's Favorite Food: 200 top-rated recipes from the country's best magazinesSPECIAL FEATURES
This book is actually one giant special feature. Special tips and hints are available for a large percentage of the recipes via the smartphone app. And, as a bonus, the app works well. No hang ups. That means even the least tech savvy cook in your household will be able to take advantage of all that this cookbook has to offer. Each recipe is coded with special icons that represent the dish. There are metric equivalents and nutritional information stashed in the back for reference use.

• • • • •

CONCLUSIONS
OK, there are a couple of things at play here. First, we should call this cookbook what it really is. It’s compilation of magazine recipes. And, a lot of them are great tried and true dishes. You’re going to find no nasty surprises once you start cooking. They have all been thoroughly tested and they work. A HUGE bonus. Second, This book is not a cooking tech breakthrough of any kind. I do love the use of the current technology. And, I appreciate the fact that smartphones and tablets have found their way into the kitchen. I use mine there. It’s just that it might be too loaded with extra off site “stuff”. I’m just left wondering how often those badges get scanned and used. You also end up with a little tech overload. So, here is the bottom line. Buy it if you are looking for an easy to use, comfort food cookbook for your whole family. And, you may just have a little unexpected fun in the kitchen whipping up your dinner of choice. That too is a nice bonus.

Culinary Expertise 4.0
1= Boiling Water (novice) 10= Liquid Nitrogen (expert)

RESOURCES, LINKS AND PRESS
My Recipes Website
America’s Favorite Food | Digimark Website
Oxmoor House Press Page

BUY IT! | America's Favorite Food: 200 top-rated recipes from the country's best magazines

The World’s Greatest Culinary Encyclopedia

When they say “only time will tell”, this is what they meant.

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To say that the Larousse Gastronomique is a work of art would at first seem like a pretty grandiose statement. Add to it the tagline, “World’s Greatest Culinary Encyclopedia” and the bar just gets re-set at a much higher level.

Pick up the book. I mean physically pick it up. It’s massive. The latest edition (2009) weighs in at an immodest seven pounds! That’s 1216 pages of recipes, information and culinary reference material. That is impressive and more than a little intimidating.

Sure, there are other BIG volumes of food technique and information out there. The Modernist Cuisine comes quickly to mind. But, these are two entirely different animals. Yes, the six volume 2,400+ page set delves unimaginably deep into some pretty obscure cooking topics. But, pound for pound Larousse is the standard bearer.

If you want 200 pages on cooking tools that you may never have access to. Or, recipes that include ingredients so obscure they may be next to impossible to locate, then Modernist is your baby. If you are more in the mood to examine the building blocks of classic techniques married with flavors that have stood the test of time, then Larousse is your archive of choice.

That does not mean that the most recent incarnation of LG doesn’t touch on some of the newer cooking methods and contain some pretty exotic ingredients. It certainly does. But, it tends to be more of a cooking class and less of a science lab.

Since I first laid eyes (and hands) on the book I’ve wanted to write about it. But, what? Where to start? I thought a series right here on CBM.com might be appropriate. The goal will be to explore the Larousse Gastronomique in all of it’s delicious, mouthwatering glory. Maybe to learn how it’s lessons have impacted what we are currently seeing chefs around the world put on their plates. And, possibly gain a little insight into classic culinary thought.

This is the book that many of today’s biggest and most successful chefs cite as their cornerstone. It’s turning 75 years old this year. That’s a milestone that deserves to be celebrated and toasted!

- LH

Canal House Cooks Every Day | Hamilton & Hirsheimer

 

Simple, elegant & refined. Just the way a cookbook should be.

Canal House Cooks Every Day | Hamilton & Hirsheimer

TITLE: Canal House Cooks Every Day
AUTHOR: Melissa Hamilton & Christopher Hirsheimer
PUBLISHER: Andrews McMeel Publishing
CUISINE: American/Comfort/Seasonal

• • • • •

Featured Ingredient: Duck ConfitDuck Confit | By AllanThinks
Duck confit (French: confit de canard French pronunciation: ​[kɔ̃.fi d(ə) ka.naʁ]) is a French dish made with the leg of the duck. While it is made across France, it is seen as a specialty of Gascony. The confit is prepared in a centuries-old process of preservation that consists of salt curing a piece of meat (generally goose, duck, or pork) and then poaching it in its own fat. [Wikipedia]

• • • • •

First Impressions
Gorgeous! Substantial and sophisticated also fit well. That’s my first impression. This is a cookbook that is also a work of art. Simply amazing. From the soft textured cover to the recipe ribbon to the bright white premium stock, this cookbook says class from beginning to end. It is what a cookbook should be.

• • • • •

What You’ll Find Inside (aka Table of Contents)
Spring
Summer
Autumn
Winter

• • • • •

Sometimes seeing is believing. Have a peek at what the Canal House is all about.

 

• • • • •

The Best of the Book (Our Favorite Recipes)

Cold Avocado and Cucumber Soup Lobster Stew
Roast Chicken and Bread Salad Canal House Crab Louis
Open Faced Sandwiches Shrimp Risotto
Smoked Salmon Butter Roast Goose with Ten Legs
Shrimp Roast Pan Fried Chicken Thighs with Zucchini
Asparagus with Lemon-Butter Sauce Baked Ham with Golden Bread Crumbs
Roasted Spring Onions Strawberry Shortcake
Classic Vanilla Ice Cream Apple Tart
Braised Beef Brisket with Onions & Currants Olive Oil Poached Zucchini and Raw Tomatoes

 

OK, there’s a list above of some of our favorite recipes. But, in all fairness this list is very flawed. Just about EVERY recipe contained in this book could have made the list. I haven’t reviewed many cookbooks I can say that about. Anyway, there are of course some standouts. The Lamb Shoulder Chops with Rosemary Potatoes (p. 216) is super easy and super tasty. Here is a common scene from a lot of parties. Someone walks through the door carrying a tray of Deviled Eggs (p. 71). They are immediately mobbed by happy people saying, “Awesome, deviled eggs. I LOVE those”. The Canal House version is simple and classic. Finally, the Deconstructed Carbonara (p.201) is a creative and fun take on a traditional Italian dish. This recipe update works well.

• • • • •

Special Features
BUY IT | The Canal House Cooks Every DayI love the recipe index up front. For me indexes shelved away in the back of the book are a waste. Being front and center is almost like saying, “Hey, here’s all the good stuff you’re in for, have a look”. There is a very brief intro and then straight into Spring. A conversion table is located in the back of the book as is some author bio information. Obviously, Melissa and Christopher have some amazing culinary credentials. But, this book isn’t about them. It’s about the food. And I like that.

• • • • •

Conclusions
This cookbook stands out from a very crowded field. It’s apparent from the moment you pick it up that this book is different. The dishes are simple and refined. There is a range of recipe difficulty. But, for the most part the recipes are doable for most competent home chefs and cooks. The images are art. Christopher does any amazing job. They far surpass the normal cookbook photos. You could reprint any one of them, hang it in your kitchen and have an immediate upgrade in your kitchen décor. Here’s the bottom line on The Canal House Cooks Every Day, buy it. Buy it now for a holiday gift for yourself or someone you know. The recipient (even if it’s you) will be happy and grateful.

• • • • •

Culinary Expertise 6.0
1= Boiling Water (novice) 10= Liquid Nitrogen (expert)

Resources, Links and Press
Canal House Website
New York Times Article
The Kitchn – Recipe Review | Serious Ragu
Canal House on Twitter

BUY IT | The Canal House Cooks Every Day

30 Minutes Vegan’s Taste of Europe | Mark Reinfeld

 

Can meatless versions of European classics measure up?

The 30-Minute Vegan's Taste of Europe: 150 Plant-Based Makeovers of Classics from France, Italy, Spain . . . and Beyond

TITLE: The 30 Minute Vegan’s Taste of Europe
AUTHOR: Mark Reinfeld
PUBLISHER: Da Capo Lifelong
CUISINE: Vegan

• • • • •

Featured Ingredient: Tempeh
Tempeh (/ˈtɛmpeɪ/; Javanese: témpé, IPA: [tempe]), is a traditional soy product originallySliced tempeh - By FotoosVanRobin from Netherlands (Tempe) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons from Indonesia. It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form, similar to a very firm vegetarian burger patty. Tempeh is unique among major traditional soy foods in that it is the only one that did not originate in the Sinosphere. [Wikipedia]

• • • • •

First Impressions
If you’re looking for a nice well rounded assortment of vegan dishes this cookbook will satisfy that. Like the covers says, it contains “Plant based makeovers of classics”. There is a center insert of color images by Fawne Frailey and Sebastian Romero Sea Light Studios. The paper stock is a nice, soft off white that is easy on the eyes and great to page through. This is a nice everyday vegan cookbook. It has dishes you could make for dinner seven nights a week.

• • • • •

What You’ll Find Inside (aka Table of Contents)
Italy
France
Spain and Portugal
United Kingdom and Ireland
Greece
Germany
Europe Fusion

• • • • •

Roam around the world…

• • • • •

The Best of the Book (Our Favorite Recipes)

Pommes Frites French Onion Soup
Quiche Monet Empanadas
Irish Stew Yorkshire Pudding
Currant Scones Beer Soup
Potato Pierogi Swiss Chocolate Fondue

 

I love Greek food, so the Tzatzaki (p.162) and the Spanikopita Triangles (p.173) were both big hits with me. You can use that Tzatzaki sauce on just about everything from salad to corn flakes as far as I’m concerned. The Spaetzle Noodles (p.195) is another winner. I have a spaetzle maker (two actually) and I’m always looking for a reason to break it out. Also, the Chickpeas and Roasted Garlic (p.110) is a mouthwatering side dish. It has 15 to 20 cloves of garlic in it, so it has to be amazing!

• • • • •

Special Features
The 30-Minute Vegan's Taste of Europe: 150 Plant-Based Makeovers of Classics from France, Italy, Spain . . . and BeyondMany of the recipes are annotated with special symbols to help you make cooking decisions. These symbols indicate cooking times and ease of preparation. It’s a nice touch. In the table of contents, the recipe names and page numbers are listed under the chapter names. I LOVE this type of formatting. If you’ve read any of my previous reviews, you know that feature always rates high with me. Making cookbooks easy to use, there’s a novel idea! Also, as you would expect with any vegan/vegetarian cookbook, there is an extensive section on preparation basics contained in the appendix. As is a metric conversion chart. Hey, it’s taste of EUROPE here, so I guess it makes sense. There is also a great list of additional reading and some super helpful online resources. If you’re looking to expand your knowledge of vegan cuisine there is a lot to keep you busy.

• • • • •

Conclusions
Mark Reinfeld does a nice job on his “plant based makeover”. These are recipes that you could use again and again. They are relatively easy to make, so it would be a fairly good cookbook for the vegan beginner. The once sparse space of vegan cookbooks is starting to fill up fast. The 30 Minute Vegan’s Taste of Europe fills the vegan international cuisine void nicely. If you’ve been hunting for that meatless version of your favorite French dish, you can stop looking. The Seitan Bourguignon (p.84) is now at your fingertips.

• • • • •

Culinary Expertise 5.0
1= Boiling Water (novice) 10= Liquid Nitrogen (expert)

The 30-Minute Vegan's Taste of Europe: 150 Plant-Based Makeovers of Classics from France, Italy, Spain . . . and Beyond

How would you like to be a cookbook insider? Of course you would. Included with every cookbook that a publisher sends out for review are publicity notes. Click below to view the notes from The 30 Minute Vegan’s Taste of Europe. Have fun being on the inside for a change.

The 30 Minute Vegan’s Taste of Europe – Publicity Notes

• • • • •

Resources, Links and Press
Vegan Fusion Website
Video: Eating Live: An Introduction to Live Food Cuisine
Mark Reinfeld on vegan.com
Follow Mark Reinfeld on Twitter

Monday Books | National Pancake Day

 

Pancake breakfast. Enough said.

Pancake Breakfast - South Haven MI

I love them! And, it doesn’t really matter who is hosting. Although, I will admit that from my personal experience firemen are damn good pancake chefs. I’m talking pancake breakfast here, of course. Here is the typical menu. Pancakes (buckwheat preferred), eggs, brown n’ serve sausage and/or bacon and of course a room temperature stryo cup of Tang. Regular 100% OJ doesn’t cut it. That’s my all-star pancake lineup.

September 26th is National Pancake Day. I couldn’t possibly think of a better Monday Books feature than the humble pancake. Oh, thought you should know – Glenn Michigan throws a top notch pancake breakfast. They’re known as the “Pancake Town”.

Anyway, pancakes come in all kinds of different shapes, sizes and flavors. In order to give you a little pancake day inspiration, I’ve recommended some fantastic cookbooks to get you in a flapjack lovin’ mood.

FYI – I’ve thrown in a few awesome non-cookbooks for any pancake crazed kids (and parents).


 

The Pancake Handbook: Specialties from Bette's Oceanview Diner Pancakes, Pancakes! Pancakes for Breakfast The Best of Waffles & Pancakes
Curious George Makes Pancakes OMG Pancakes!: 75 Cool Creations Your Kids Will Love to Eat Pancakes: From Morning to Midnight CakeLove in the Morning: Recipes for Muffins, Scones, Pancakes, Waffles, Biscuits, Frittatas, and Other Breakfast Treats
The Ultimate Pancake Pancakes and Waffles Celebrating Pancakes, Waffles, Crepes (Leisure Arts #5569) (Celebrating Cookbooks) 101 Things to do With Pancake Mix


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Good Greens. Super Good Superfood

 

It’s true. Good things come in small packages.

Good Greens

“Creamy”, “Tastes like a Girl Scout cookie”, “It stays on your palate”, “As you’re eating it, you’re enjoying it” and finally “Now you’ve got me hooked”. What in the world could we be talking about? Let me bring you up to speed.

A couple of weeks back the folks Good Greens sent me a box of their new product to check out. They’re nutrition bars. It was a pretty big box. I’ll eat these kinds of bars from time to time. But, the box had more bars than I could handle. So, why not share?

Restaurant people are open to trying just about anything. That’s what I like that about them. Just try bringing any edible product from the outside into a restaurant kitchen or dining room. The scene quickly deteriorates from an inquisitive, “what’s that?” to servers, bartenders and bussers diving for pieces of unknown treasure.

I thought this would be the perfect setup for a taste test. And, I was right. Before we get around to the results, let’s talk for a minute about Good Greens. Sure, they are nutrition bars. But, they’re not like any you’ve had before. Just look at all of the great healthy stuff that they have crammed into every bar.

Good Greens

That’s a whole lot of goodness. And, since we’re going over some of the facts… Are they vegan? YES. Are they gluten free? YES. Do they contain Probiotics? YES. And do they contain 100% of all the vitamins you need for the day? YES. Talk about superfood!

All of this good for you talk is great. But, if eating these bars is like eating a fist full of dirt or something equally as appetizing then who really cares. So, how do they taste? Let’s ask our panel of “experts”. The words, “creamy and moist” were used a lot. Tasters asked if it was a candy bar. Some thought they tasted like fudge brownies. “Soft”, “delicious” and “are these really good for you?”, are a sampling of the other comments.

Good Greens

Here are your flavor choices: Chocolate Raspberry, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chocolate Coconut, Wildberry, and Chocolate Mint Chocolate Chunk. If you like your nutrition bars chocolaty then you’re set. I loved the peanut butter version.

Good Greens

A nice plate of Good Greens and milk. Santa treats? Probably not. But, that shouldn’t stop you from indulging in a healthy snack.

OK, here’s the bottom line. If you’re looking for a delicious nutrition bar option, Good Greens delivers. The bars are packed with “goodness” as the name would indicate. They’ll make your body and your taste buds happy at the same time. That’s a pretty great result. And, one final observation. If you bring a box of Good Greens into a restaurant and say, “hey, who wants to give these a try?” Be prepared to lose a finger in the melee that is sure to ensue.

Would you like to know where to buy your Good Greens? Click here for a store locator.

Good Greens provided the product for our tasting at no cost to us. We were not compensated in any way to write this review. Thought you should know.

Soup of the Day | Kate McMillan

 

“Soup is the song of the hearth…  and the home.” – Chef Louis P. De Gouy

Soup of the Day (Williams-Sonoma): 365 Recipes for Every Day of the Year

TITLE: Soup of the Day
AUTHOR: Kate McMillan
PUBLISHER: Weldon Owen
CUISINE: Soup

• • • • •

Featured Ingredient: Stock or Broth?
The difference between broth and stock is one of both cultural and colloquial terminologytomatillo soup by little blue hen but certain definitions prevail. Stock is the thin liquid produced by simmering raw ingredients: solids are removed, leaving a thin, highly-flavored liquid. This gives classic stock as made from beef, veal, chicken, fish and vegetable stock. Broth differs in that it is a basic soup where the solid pieces of flavoring meat or fish, along with some vegetables, remain. It is often made more substantial by adding starches such as rice, barley or pulses. Traditionally, broth contains some form of meat or fish: nowadays it is acceptable to refer to a strictly vegetable soup as a broth [Wikipedia]

• • • • •

First Impressions
I’m a soup fanatic. So, you almost have to stop me from shaking as I turn the pages. 365 soup recipes! Really? Yes, really. It’s printed on a nice premium white gloss stock. It has great page feel. Vibrant color images by Erin Kunkel add to the allure of the recipes. It’s all soup, so you need to keep it entertaining. The way in which the cookbook is divided into days and months does that. They have found a perfect way to keep a single subject cookbook interesting from start to finish.

• • • • •

What You’ll Find Inside (aka Table of Contents)
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December

• • • • •

Duck, duck, soup…

• • • •

The Best of the Book (Our Favorite Recipes)

Cioppino Stone Soup
Celery, Leek & Oyster Bisque Three-Bean Soup with Linguica
Artichoke Soup with Morel Butter Creamy Spinach-Leek Soup
Red Bean & Andouille Soup Cool Honeydew-Mint Soup
Brazilian Fish Stew Tom Yum with Shrimp
Pork Pho Garlicky Pork & Chili Soup
Minestrone with Pesto Soup Cream of Parsnip Soup
Wedding Soup Weeknight Hungarian Beef Stew

 

Paring this list down was unbelievably hard for me. There was a new favorite with the turn of every page. But, were there some soups that rose to the top? Of course,

I make a Tortellini and Spinach soup in the winter that both my wife and I both love. The Tortellini & Escarole (p.27), is a nice variation on that theme. The Crab & Avocado Soup (p.173) is a great warm weather soup. Light, fresh and delicious. I was never a huge fan of chilled soups. But, over the years I’ve “warmed” up to them. I love pumpkin soup. So, the Pumpkin Soup with Spicy Pumpkin Seeds (p.267), makes my mouth water. I especially loved the pumpkin roasting technique. For me, fall would not be the same without it. And finally, Ribollita (p.207), need I say more? I think not.

• • • • •

Special Features
Soup of the Day (Williams-Sonoma): 365 Recipes for Every Day of the YearThere aren’t any special features to speak of. At least in the traditional cookbook sense. The special features of this book come down to its formatting. I love the fact that each month starts with a calendar. Inside each of the days of the month is the soup title and the page number. It is almost like twelve separate tables of contents. That format makes it very easy to browse the recipes. There are 365 soups in this book. That’s a lot. The user friendly formatting aids navigation. The fact that each month contains soups that are appropriate for the weather and the ingredients available was thoughtful way to arrange the content. No matter what time of year it is, you can find a soup to fit the season.

• • • • •

Conclusions
Again, I cannot overstate this, I LOVE SOUP. So, this book is a serious home run for me. Now, maybe you’re not as possessed by soup as I am. You will still love the variety and diversity of the recipes. All different styles and types are covered. For fun, you could just randomly open to a page and let the soup making begin. Oh, in case you were wondering, today’s special is, Minestrone with Pesto (p.214), yummm!

• • • • •

Culinary Expertise 5.0
1= Boiling Water (novice) 10= Liquid Nitrogen (expert)

Soup of the Day (Williams-Sonoma): 365 Recipes for Every Day of the Year

Resources, Links and Press
Kate McMillan’s Website
Kate Talks About Soup – Interview
Kate McMillan – TV Interview
Recipe – Pumpkin Soup with Spicy Pumpkin Seeds