BOOK REVIEW: Classic German Baking by Luisa Weiss

Classic German Baking, the recently released cookbook by Luisa Weiss brings back the old-world nostalgia for me for sure. There is nothing like a comfort of a good cake or cookies full of flavor. A hot fresh from the oven roll or potato pie on a  cold winter day brightens up your day immediately. I appreciate all that this book stands for and what a perfect timing for it to come out- just before the holidays!

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The book includes famous treats and some less known (at least to me) recipes. Here are the sections the book consists of: Cookies, Cakes, Yeasted Cakes, Tortes and Strudels, Savories, Bread and Rolls and (most importantly this time a year) Christmas Favorites. All recipes are fairly straightforward and adapted to the produce available in US stores. More unique ingredients such as quark can be made at home, and recipes are included as well. I love the photography in this book (although I wish every recipe was accompanied by the picture, insecure baker here) it gives me a “diary vibe” with the mix of recipe photographs and postcards of German towns.

Overall impression: This book will be treasured in our household, the recipes are easy to follow and can be re-created even with limited baking experience. Terrific collection of holiday baking recipes.  I highly recommend this book for anyone, be it someone craving European baking goods, or someone looking for family friendly, no too sweet baking goods. Excellent gift idea.  5 stars.

I received this book via Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

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Cook Korean! by Robin Ha- it’s a comic! it’s a cookbook!

Korean food is delicious and I try not to miss an opportunity to leaf through a book on Korean cuisine and try a dish or two. I am also an aspiring artist and art book enthusiast. Robin Ha,  a comic artist,  brings the two together- in her book “Cook Korean!”   . Yes, it is a comic book about cooking Korean Food!

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The book features more than sixty recipes of Korean most popular dishes. Each recipe is done in a delightful comic strip with straightforward yet amazingly detailed instructions. The introduction shows us basic tools and ingredients, but also specialty dishes of Korean regions, as well as Korean table layout (which I really appreciate, I see it often in k-dramas, but it’s good to know what’s on it at last). Next 1o chapters cover staple dishes for 10 categories : Kimchi and Pickles, Side Dishes, Meat and Poultry, Seafood, Soups and Stews, Porridges , Noodles and Rice Cakes, Snacks and Street Food, Cocktails and Anju, and finally Korean Fusion. Each chapter introduces reader to a specific food category and includes cultural tips and historical facts as well. I loved the character Dengki who cooks each dishes in the comic strips. I loved gorgeous illustration that opened each chapter as well. A quick leaf-through can be found here.

Overall impression: This book truly stands out. The dishes are not complicated and the fact that the instructions are so thorough helps a great deal. Sometimes the comic format seemed a bit erratic to me, but it took some getting used to and I found it easy enough to follow. The main character is adorable, comics are humorous and fun to read even without any plans to cook. I loved all the cultural information, very helpful and educational. 5 stars.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and unbiased review

BOOK REVIEW: Citrus by Valerie Aikman-Smith and Victoria Pearson

In their new book Citrus Valerie Aikman-Smith and Victoria Pearson explore wonderful possibilities offered by various citrus fruit. Winter time is perfect for enjoying various citrus fruit because of their high vitamin content, and surely, bright colored fruit make bleak grey winter days more cheerful.

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First thing I noticed about this book is its organization-recipes are grouped by fruit rather than by course, although there is a helpful index provided in the very beginning. So is “citrus basics” note.  The sections of the book are the following : lemon, lime, orange, tangerine, grapefruit and the final section is simply called “and the rest”. The final one includes recipes with kumquat, yuzu and various tidbits like candied citrus fruit. Each section includes a few recipes for each course. The recipes themselves look easy enough. Each section includes note on variety in each group of fruit. Some I haven’t heard about and was wondering about difference between some, so it was rather interesting.

Overall impression: A nice collection of recipes when one craves something specifically with citrus. It comes handy because of recipes for different courses being in the same place. Dishes are not complicated. Photography is lovely. 4 stars.

 

This book was sent to me by Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

BOOK REVIEW: Einkorn by Carla Bartolucci

Einkorn, the ancient wheat, has entered our lives a few months ago when my husband’s tests showed that his blood sugar is elevated. He started to look for alternatives to his beloved breads and pastries. He was buying einkorn pastas and cookies ever since. It seemed to help. Recently he brought home einkorn flour and I realized that I have no idea what to do with it. Or rather hesitant.  So I got the book.

Einkorn the cookbook is written especially for people like us, who want to bake with einkorn, but have trouble figuring out how to make it work for the best. This cookbook is written by Carla Bartolucci , the founder of Jovial, the brand that produces all einkorn products we came across so far. She came across this ancient grain while looking for a remedy for her daughter’s health issues and she is very passionate about einkorn’s benefits.

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The book starts with explaining what exactly einkorn is, and how is it different from the regular wheat that we all know and are used to. The introduction is followed by tips for working with einkorn, how to make bread starters, utensils’ specifics (no metal bowls!), times etc. The section on breads follows, then quick breads and breakfast items, after that cookies, cakes, pies and other sweet things, savory and street food sections are the last two in the book. The collection of recipes includes old favorites and international flavors. The photography is attractive and the food looks great.

Overall impression: Absolutely helpful. So far we tried making sandwich bread and pancakes. The bread was rather dense, but edible. The pancakes were lovely. I guess I probably need to adjust for altitude somehow, or just get a hang of things. I am glad to find useful tips in this book, it would have taken me a long time to figure it out on my own, and einkorn isn’t exactly a kind of product (pricewise) that can be wasted while one experiments.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

BOOK REVIEW: The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl+Spoon by Sara Forte

The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl+Spoon is second book of author and blogger Sara Forte.  Her previous work The Sprouted Kitchen received great praise, so I was doubly curious about this cookbook.The concept is very attractive to me: delicious, healthy dishes combined in a single bowl. Something simple enough to throw together in a hurry, yet attractive enough to serve guests. This book didn’t disappoint. It celebrates wholesome, fresh ingredients, selected and cooked with love and care.  It encourages people to share preparation of meals and to sit down to eat together despite crazy rhythm of life.

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The book starts with the list of simple tools necessary to prepare a nutritious meal. The list of pantry essentials follows. First section of the book is dedicated to breakfast, Morning Bowls. It includes egg dishes, grains, toasts- with an emphasis on lean proteins. Side Bowls follow.  This section includes salads and dips. Big Bowls include omnivore (well, mostly fish and a bit of poultry) and vegetarian options. “Building a bowl” cheat sheet is included in this section. I do believe it would be more noticeable in the beginning of the book as it applies to all bowls, save for desserts. Next section is Sweet Bowls, the selection is fresh and delightful, proving once again that healthy doesn’t have to be boring.  The final section is Dressing and Sauces, it includes a handful of recipes that go with recipes in the book and are designed to enhance flavor  and complement the dish.

Overall impression: A very interesting selection, I appreciate the thought of making healthy food a convenient choice and of creating atmosphere for meaningful meals. As an avid carnivore, I do miss meat options in Big Bowl, other than just one turkey and one chicken recipe there is nothing else, but at the same time it fits author’s philosophy. I appreciate number of grains/veggies combinations. I loved the Sweet Bowl section. The photography, done by Forte’s husband is gorgeous and inviting. Four solid stars.

I received this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for a fair and unbiased review

BOOK REVIEW: Salad Love by David Bez

The spring is here at last, spring means greens and greens mean more greener plates. David Bez’s Salad Love is a book dedicated to just that- salads!

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David Bez  is not a professional chef. He’s a designer and a blogger. He is  a guy who likes his salads so much he  came up with many ways to make greens interesting. Salad Love includes 260 recipes for fun, delicious and nutritious salads.  Bez’s philosophy is simple- he’s all for freshly prepared, fair trade and organic when possible. His salads are prepared in minutes (some with, some without pre-cooked ingredients) and he actually does it right at his workplace.

The book is split into sections starting with basics for salad assemblage, main components, dressings and tools. All of these are easily accessible and easy to put together. Dressings are split by type which is helpful- jump to vinegar, creamy or pesto page to get a quick recipe. After the introduction the book is separated into four sections- each for a separate season starting with summer.  Selection of recipes includes seasonal fruit and vegetables, grains and meats. Each recipe is marked as “omnivore” “vegan” and so on, which is, again, very helpful. There is also a little note on each recipe for someone who wants to “tweak” the salad according to one’s dietary preferences. These salads are very simple (as Bez’s stance on ingredients is “the less the better”). They are colorful and flavorful, never boring.

Overall impression: I like this book and I am excited about new salad possibilities. I appreciate the simplicity of combinations and ease with which these salads can be created. I wonder how my family (that is mostly reluctant to “eat grass”) will react to some of these dishes.  The photography is simple and unaffected. Four solid stars.

This book was sent to me by Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

BOOK REVIEW: The Perfect Egg by Teri Lyn Fisher and Jenny Park

The Perfect Egg by Teri Lyn Fisher and Jenny Park (the labor of love from the auhors of spoonforkbacon blog) has just hit the shelves. This book is dedicated to the super-food that is healthy and delicious -the egg. One would think- how many ways are there to really make an interesting egg dish? There are quite a few, as it is proven in this book.

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The book starts with  information on types of eggs and how they are graded. The most helpful for me were the notes on how to read an egg carton, with all the options out there it’s so easy to get confused. Next section is Egg 101: The Basics. It includes main cooking methods, storage, sauces and condiments (oh my, I’m in love with Egg Butter), pastry and breads. Morning, Snacks, Afternoon, Night and Sweets are the sections that follow. Each contains more or less familiar recipes. as well as dishes that are more daring. Most of the recipes require easily accessible ingredients and can be prepared with no advanced technique. And yet, the selection is quite creative. I was especially delighted to find Okonimiyaki, a seafood pancake, originally from Japan. It’s such an amazingly delicious and very much underrated dish, I am glad an opportunity was given to it to shine:). Tea eggs featured in Snacks section are a big hit with my children, they look so cool when done. Sweet things featured in the final section are likewise exciting.

Overall impression: Excellent book, there is simplicity and there is variety, there are international flavors along with old favorites. The photography is lovely, the recipes are written in the way that is easy to follow. Such a sunny book! 5 stars.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.