Monthly Archives: June 2011

Cookbook Daily: PICNIC: 125 Recipes with 29 Seasonal Menus


Cookbook Daily

PICNIC: 125 Recipes with 29 Seasonal Menus

Here’s the scenario. A lot of people have a picnic basket stuffed back in a closet or hidden away in the attic. You probably got it for a wedding present, shower gift or another significant giving occasion. It’s lonely up there. Can’t you hear it begging to be used?

That’s where Author DeeDee Stovel comes in. She’s going to help you out!

Even though this cookbook was released WAY back in 2001, it’s still a slam dunk for the summer season. Who doesn’t love to go on a picnic?

I, for one, am a big lover of a carryout outdoor meal. This summer will be filled with lots of picnic opportunities. I’m talking about days and evenings that make it nearly impossible for you to even consider dining indoors.

The book contains recipes for almost any picnic possibility. Sandwiches, salads, desserts, you name it. It’s divided up into seasons, so, even if you can’t get it together for this summer, there is always the fall.

Author: DeeDee Stovel
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC (March 1, 2001)
ISBN: 9781580173773

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PICNIC: 125 Recipes with 29 Seasonal Menus

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If you already own this book. Leave a comment and let everyone know what you’ve made from it and how it turned out.

App Update: iGrill

CLICK to buy your own iGrill

Back last February we did a piece on the new iGrill thermometer/app.

The iGrill is a slick little smartphone application that lets you monitor the cooking temperature of whatever you happen to have on your BBQ or smoker. Since our original post, the app has had a major overhaul. And, I’m here to report that the changes that have been made make for a much improved user experience.

In addition to the refinements to the smartphone app, there is now a new iPad application for the iGrill. This version still has the old school meat thermometer interface that has apparently been removed from the new phone update (if it hasn’t been removed, I can’t figure out how to get to it).

The iGrill iPad App

The biggest problem I had when first testing the iGrill was its ability to stay connected to the base unit. The latest update seems to have remedied that issue. The connectivity problems have disappeared.

The user interface has been redesigned. It’s still pretty straightforward, time and temp, very readable and simple. I have to admit that I do miss the option of having the meat thermometer (pictured above) as a choice on the phone. That was pretty awesome (maybe it will return in a future update).

I decided to use the smoker this time for my evaluation. And, for consistency, I cooked chicken once again. I also thought the 4 hour smoking time would be a fair test of the Bluetooth handshake problems that I had encountered previously.

Chickens in. Connection seamless. So far, so good.

I wanted to make sure that my chickens smoked to 180 degrees. But, I didn’t want them to get there too fast. I checked in regularly with the iGrill and made the necessary temperature adjustments to the smoker. The app performed fantastic. No problems at all. Connected flawlessly each and every time I fired up the phone.

The connection distance seems to have been increased a little too. Granted, I couldn’t check from my beach chair, but, I could monitor in between bean bag tosses.

This is a very successful update for the iGrill. The app was great before. But, now with all of the issues I had experienced during my first use addressed, it’s going to be a regular part of my BBQ/smoker tool arsenal. iDevices should take a bow for making something already good, that much better!

Oh, and the chickens ended up being some of the best to come out of my smoker! My Guinea pigs were most happy!

Buy your very on iGrill

Cookbook Daily: Super Natural Every Day

Cookbook Daily

Super Natural Every Day: Well-loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen

When I hear supernatural I don’t immediately think Super Natural. I’m thinking more along the lines of objects levitating, mysterious glowing lights or at the very least Carlos Santana.

Cookbook Author and Blogger, Heidi Swanson is out to change all that (at least for me). Swanson, the creator of the popular website, has put together a fantastic collection of recipes that will turn your ordinary, every day meals into… Well, you know.

If you’re looking to put a fresh new spin on your regular, dull cooking routine, Super Natural Every Day: Well-loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen will help you down that path.

We’ve got Heidi’s book on our reading list, so, a full review is just up the road. Keep your eyes wide open!

Author: Heidi Swanson
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Ten Speed Press (April 5, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1580082777

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If you already own this book. Leave a comment and let everyone know what you’ve made from it and how it turned out.

Great Last Minute Father’s Day Cookbooks

Beef Kabobs Grilling

Father’s Day=BBQ. That’s the formula that plays out in a lot of households around the country every June. And, to be perfectly honest, it’s a formula that works for me. If your Dad wants to grill, I say, by all means let him. If he wants throw a big old pork shoulder on the smoker, get out of his way. It’s his day and you certainly wouldn’t want to ruin his good time.

If you happen to be scrambling around right now hunting down that unforgettable Father’s Day gift you’re probably not alone. But, maybe I can be of some assistance. Here’s a list of books that any Dad would be proud to own!

Dad’s Own Cookbook
Fire It Up: 400 Recipes for Grilling Everything
Falling Off the Bone
Sam the Cooking Guy: Just Grill This!
The Good Stuff Cookbook: Burgers, fries, shakes, wedges, and more
Pig: King of the Southern Table

I don’t think that any of those books will sit on a shelf collecting dust. Now get out there and show your Dad a good time!

Your Chance To Grab A Signed Guy Fieri Cookbook

Guy Fieri Food: Cookin' It, Livin' It, Lovin' It

Looking to score a copy of Guy Fieri’s new book, Guy Fieri Food: Cookin’ It, Livin’ It, Lovin’ It? Well, we’re going to turn you on to a fantastic opportunity.

In case you aren’t familiar with Bookperk, they’re a website dedicated to book lovers everywhere. They offer their site visitors “insider access to the world of books”.

What does all this have to do with Guy? He’s out with a new cookbook. It’s loaded with some of his favorite recipes that you can make at home for yourself and your family. While it’s great to have a copy of Guy’s book gracing your kitchen. How about if we go one better? How would you like to have a copy signed by the man himself? You would, great!

Here’s how you can get your signed copy of Guy Fieri Food: Cookin’ It, Livin’ It, Lovin’ It. Just click the Bookperk button below and you can order up your copy today!

CLICK to order your signed copy of Guy's new cookbook

Keep your eyes peeled, we’ll be bringing you a full review of Guy’s new cookbook in the near future!

Cookbook Daily: The Butcher’s Guide to Well-Raised Meat

Cookbook Daily

The Butcher's Guide to Well-Raised Meat: How to Buy, Cut, and Cook Great Beef, Lamb, Pork, Poultry, and More

This book looks amazing! There, yes I said it. I’m not sure that it’s politically correct in some circles, but, I’m an equal opportunity eater/reviewer. And, I like meat.

Touted as the “definitive guide to eating great meat responsibly”, this book offers some great insight into all things meat and meat related.

Ever wanted to host a backyard pig roast? I know that I have. There are complete details on how to do it. You will most certainly impress your friends and family.

I’ll be bringing you a proper review of The Butcher’s Guide to Well-Raised Meat: How to Buy, Cut, and Cook Great Beef, Lamb, Pork, Poultry, and More in the near future. Until then, keep those knives sharp, I think you’ll need them.

Author: Joshua Applestone, Jessica Applestone and Alexandra Zissu
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Clarkson Potter (June 7, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0307716627

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Did you miss a posting of Cookbook Daily? You can check out the full list here?

Great Grilling: Cookbooks To Tame The Flame

Great Grilling! Beef Kabobs

Summer is here by most measures. That means it’s time to dig out or uncover the Cookbook Man’s favorite cooking apparatus. The barbeque grill!

Don’t you just love going for a summer stroll and smelling the deep, rich aroma of a BBQ cooking away in some mysterious place in your neighborhood? That smell is hard to resist. Even if you’ve just eaten, that olfactory alert makes your mouth water (at least mine does).

Lucky for us there are lots of great books packed with awesome recipes to assist us on our outdoor cooking exploits. These roadmaps span the range of grilling expertise. There are some people who just want to flip a few burgers and enjoy a cold beer. That’s certainly one definition of grilling. Others aren’t happy until they have perfected a whole grilled red snapper stuffed with fresh seasonal herbs. Like I said, something for everyone.

Those who will act as our guides on this summer grilling adventure have long mastered the art. Bobby Flay, Steve Raichlen and Jamie Purviance share with us what they have learned from years of taming the flame. Try and pay attention.

So, light the Kingsford or uncork the propane, grilling season is upon us!

Enjoy a few of my favorites!

How to Grill: The Complete Illustrated Book of Barbecue Techniques
Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way
Weber’s Time to Grill: Get In. Get Out. Get Grilling
Bobby Flay’s Grill It
The Cook’s Illustrated Guide To Grilling And Barbecue

Sheryl Crow Rocks Some Great Dishes

If it weren’t for the complicated things, you would have no appreciation for the simple things.

If It Makes You Healthy: More Than 100 Delicious Recipes Inspired by the Seasons

We’ve all paged through some pretty intimidating and intense cookbooks in our lives. Some maybe more than others. You stare at the table of contents waiting for something to spring from the pages that might be close to your culinary skill level. You shouldn’t feel embarrassed and totally inadequate (in a culinary way), I’ve been there too.

Why does life have to be that way? It should be easier to know what’s about to be thrown at you before it whacks you in the face. Maybe we should go to a color coded system for our cookbook releases. Green for beginner and double red X’s for expert only. “Warning, do not attempt at home, experienced chef in closed kitchen”. You get the gist.

I’m sure that you’ve noticed the uptick in celeb penned cookbooks. Every major/minor/wannabee star is committing their favorite childhood recipes to paper. A trend that has yielded some successes and also it’s share of major fails.

Enter Sheryl Crow and her personal chef, Chuck White. Yes, that’s right, rock star Sheryl Crow. OK, what gives? Does this super busy activist and performer really have what it takes to crank out a cookbook as great as her music. In short, the answer is YES.

Sheryl and “Chef Chuck” have put together a nice collection of simple dishes inspired by her lifestyle. For the most part, the recipes can be executed successfully by cooks of all experience levels. That’s what a lot of this is really about. You see something you would like to make for you and your family AND you can actually do it! Collecting recipes is great, cooking them is so much better.

It being summer and all I thought I would try my hand at Sheryl and Chuck’s Caprese Salad.

Caprese Salad

Caprese’s are a great warm weather food. Light and flavorful, just right for that beautiful summer evening. It’s a casual dish that still has a certain amount of elegance to it. This one is no expectation. I love the addition of the cucumbers!

Here’s How To Do It

Ingredients –Salad
1 lb. ripe heirloom tomatoes (2 or 3)
8 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/4 inch thick
6 to 8 cucumber slices
6 to 8 basil leaves
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. Balsamic Reduction
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

Ingredients –Balsamic Reduction
1 cup high quality balsamic vinegar

In a small saucepan bring the balsamic vinegar to a boil. Drop heat to a simmer. Simmer until the vinegar is reduced by three quarters. There should be about 1/4 cup left in the pan. Transfer the remaining liquid to a container with a lid. Chill for a minimum of two hours. It will keep in your fridge for up to three weeks.

For the salad, cut the tomatoes into slices about 1/4 inch thick. On a serving plate arrange the tomato, cucumber slices and mozzarella. (I peeled my cucumber before I sliced it. I’m not a big fan of the waxy skin. You can do what you like with yours). Tuck the basil leaves between the sliced ingredients. Or, you can chop the basil into small pieces and sprinkle over the salad.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Right before serving, drizzle with olive oil and Balsamic Reduction. Serve.

Here’s what mine looked like.

Caprese Salad

Recipe Adapted From Caprese Salad, Sheryl Crow and Chuck White, If It Makes You Healthy, St. Martin’s Press.

(Apology ahead, I was somehow separated from my good camera. Had to use my phone for the photos. Shame on me. I’ll try not to let it happen again.)

This was a big hit at my dinner table. A great starter or side dish.

Here are a couple of more thoughts on the book in general. It is divided into sections entitled, “On The Road” and “In The Studio”. Cute designations given the authors background. Both major sections contain recipes ranging from appetizers through desserts.

Most of the recipes included have a healthy bent as you would guess from the title. That is almost expected given that Sheryl is a breast cancer survivor and leads a health conscience lifestyle. The nice thing here is that the benefits of healthy eating aren’t presented in a preachy or in your face way. They have taken a softer approach which I appreciate. The message is obviously still there, but, it’s not the sole reason for the book to exist.

The Bottom Line

If It Makes You Healthy: More Than 100 Delicious Recipes Inspired by the Seasons, is a fun, healthy and delicious read. It contains easy to execute recipes for all lifestyles. The emphasis on fresh seasonal ingredients help the recipes really shine. If you have a nice collection of healthy eating cookbooks, this one would make an excellent addition.

If It Makes You Healthy: More Than 100 Delicious Recipes Inspired by the Seasons


Author: Sheryl Crow, Chuck White and Mary Goodbody
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
ISBN-10: 0312658958
ISBN-13: 978-0312658953

Making Cheese, Top Chef Author and A Major Award

side dish

Out Soon: Lots of great new cookbooks will be hitting the market soon. Here’s look at a few.

Gobba Gobba Hey: A Gob Cookbook
Ever wonder what a “Gob” actually is? Author Steven Gdula takes us through fifty two recipes of his favorite moist and delicious snack food. – Bloomsbury USA (July 5, 2011)

Artisan Cheese Making at Home: Techniques & Recipes for Mastering World-Class Cheeses
I can’t wait to get a crack at a little home cheese making. Mary Karlin gives you all the info you could want to turn your house into a mini creamery. – Ten Speed Press (August 23, 2011)

Cooked – Out of the Frying Pan
Justin Bonello, the host of the BBC Food channels, Cooked, takes us on a fantastic food adventure. Included are the kitchens of some great South African food experts. – Penguin Global (August 10, 2011)

The Ultimate Cook Book: 900 New Recipes, Thousands of Ideas
New in paperback. Jam packed with over 900 recipes. Authors Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarborough give us recipes from Roast Chicken to Lemon Bread and everything in between. William Morrow Cookbooks (June 21, 2011)

News and Events: There are things happening in the culinary world. We’ve got you plugged into a few items.

A BIG Deal. Hyperion and Disney interactive have announced that Food Network star, Sandra Lee has agreed to a five book deal that will include two cookbooks and two food themed novels. The first book (which will be a cookbook) is schedule for release in October of 2011. The second installment, an entertaining book is due out in November of this year.

A Top Chef’s Recipes In Your Kitchen. Top Chef All-Stars runner-up, Mike Isabella is hitting the cookbook market. His first effort, titled, Flavors from a Jersey Italian, is due out in the Fall of 2012. Everybody loves Mike. He was a fan favorite during his two appearances on the Bravo Network hit show. Da Capo Press will be publishing Mike’s book.

Waste Not, Want Not. The International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) has been busy handing out awards. In the Food Matters category, Jonathon Bloom’s, American Wasteland brings home the top honors. Jonathon’s book on the food waste epidemic will make you think twice before you fill up your fridge.

Signings: Want to meet one of your favorite cookbook authors in person? Here’s a listing of where some of them will be signing books.

Martha Hall Foose, A Southerly Course: Recipes and Stories from Close to Home
Tuesday, June 7, 2011, 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Eggshells Kitchen Company
5705 Kavanaugh Blvd.
Little Rock, AR
(501) 425-3750

Elaine and Karin Tammi, Scallops, A New England Coastal Cookbook
Saturday, June 18th, 10:30am to 12:00pm
Partners Village Store
865 Main Road
Westport MA

Donna Powers-Willson, Yum Y’all
Friday, July 8 2011, 11am to 1pm
Two Sisters Bookery
318 Nutt Street
Wilmington, NC

We want your news and events. If you’ve got something you would like to tell the whole cookbook world, tell us. We’ll help you spread the love. Just drop us an email by clicking here.

Cookbook Daily: The Bacon Cookbook

Cookbook Daily

BUY IT! -The Bacon Cookbook: More than 150 Recipes from Around the World for Everyone's Favorite Food

Bacon. Everybody’s favorite side dish, add on, condiment and scent. The humble smoked meat has gone through a real surge in popularity over the past two or three years.

As evidence, just try finding any food product that does not have a bacon version. It can be challenging.

Way back in 2007, well ahead of the bacon curve, James Villas got the idea that we should be embracing bacon in all of it’s glory. His book, The Bacon Cookbook: More than 150 Recipes from Around the World for Everyone’s Favorite Food, details lots of ways to use this smoky, yet sweet ingredient.

Obviously, there are a tons of uses for bacon in traditional or even non-traditional breakfast dishes. But how about a recipe for Chinese Lions Head? It’s a fantastic dish using Chinese bacon. The name is probably going to need a little help if you’re ever going to see it at your local, P.F. Changs, Pei Wei or Panda Express.

Author: James Villas
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Wiley (October 2007)
ISBN-10: 9780470042823

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BUY IT! -The Bacon Cookbook: More than 150 Recipes from Around the World for Everyone's Favorite Food

If you already own this book. Leave a comment and let everyone know what you’ve made from it and how it turned out.

Did you miss a posting of Cookbook Daily? You can check out the full list here?