BOOK REVIEW: DINNER by MELISSA CLARK

I don’t often see a cookbook that deals with specific meal of the day, or rather when I do, it’s focusing either on breakfasts or special occasion. It’s the first time I came across a book that is dedicated specifically to dinners. Melissa Clark, a writer for a number of cooking publications offers an astonishing collection of recipes that are meant to “change the game” of typical dinners by adding new flavors and giving new options to a home cook.

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The recipes are organized by main ingredient, which is helpful (although I’d prefer to have all the poultry in one section, rather than chicken separate). There is a good number of light dishes and a plenty of vegetarian choices. The author uses lots of ethnic flavors too. Most of the recipes are kid friendly. We tried a few simpler ones, and they turned out pretty yummy. Most of the ingredients look easily attainable.

Overall impressions: With over 200 recipes to choose from this book looks like a delight. It will take me a while to cook through it, which means lots and lots of new dishes for my family to enjoy. The recipes are easy enough to put together and directions are fairly straightforward. Gorgeous photography.

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

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.

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: The Basque Book by Alexandra Raji and Eder Montero

Regional cuisine always interests me. I feel that one can get to know a place a little bit better after tasting local dishes. For an armchair traveller like me it is also a chance to experience a foreign land from the comfort of my home. The Basque Book by Alexandra Raji and Eder Montero invites us to experience flavor of Basque country (an autonomous community in the North western Spain). I love the latest trend of creating culinary books/travel diaries, when the book is not only filled with recipes, but also photographs of the local life, little essays help to get essence of the place as well.

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The book is split into following sections: Basics, The Art of Pintxos ( much like tapas), Huerta (kitchen garden), Eggs, Cod section (wow, I love eating cod and the fact that it deserves the whole section is very pleasing), Soups and Stews, Gathering the Basque Way, Sweets and Beverages. The recipes do require some specific ingredients, there are links to purchase them in the end of the book. Recipes are mostly straightforward, interesting flavor combinations too. Although fresh seafood is hard to come by in my region, I am looking forward to try other recipes, especially salads and breakfast items.

Overall impression: Liked this book a lot, looking forward to cooking from it. Beautiful photography, glad I got to peek at the local scenery as well. 5 stars.

 

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

BOOK REVIEW:Food with Friends by Leela Cyd

Summer is approaching. It’s the season for outdoor parties, afternoon get togethers and picnics. Finger food is a must. New book by Leela Cyd “Food with friends” is meant just for such occasions.Leela is a contributor for Kitchn, as well as Food & Wine, New York Times, Kinfolk and more.

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The book offers 6 chapters,one per occasion. Each chapter holds a dozen or so recipes. In the beginning of the book, the author also gives tips on styling the scene and taking pictures of the food. First section is Breakfast and Brunch, it includes baked goods, and some fruit dishes. Second chapter is Teatime includes recipes of cookies and drinks, such as  spa waters and vegan hot chocolate with coconut cream. Third section is Happy Hour. Here we see some savory snacks at last. I enjoyed this section the most because of interesting flavor combinations such as Pickled Fig, Pistachio and Ricotta canapés and Purple Cauliflower Hummus. Potlucks and Picnics section has more savory dishes, this time including soups and salads, and again a couple of sweet dishes. Desserts section follows with all its sweet glory, bringing recipes of cakes, puddings and tarts. The final Tiny Takeaways section gives some ideas for treats and party favors to send home with one’s guests. A combination of sweet and savory snacks recipes. All the recipes in this book are vegetarian.

Overall impression: I liked the balance between sweet and savory dishes. Although the book is organized by occasion, I would have probably preferred it organized by the type of dish and had occasions listed in the recipe, some dishes can easily work for multiple occasions. The photography is lovely and put me into mood for summer.

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

BOOK REVIEW:KOREATOWN: A Cookbook by Deuki Hong and Matt Rodbard

I love, love, love Korean food, be it barbecue, street snacks or a nice big bowl of bibimbap. Yet, Korean cookbooks seem to be rather rare comparing to any other ethnic cuisine. I am super excited about Koreatown : A Cookbook written by Deuki Hong, a chef of a Korean barbecue restaurant, and Matt Rodbard a food writer.

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The book is as busy as Koreatown itself, mixing recipes with essays and interviews with people on the scene- chefs, merchants and Korean food enthusiasts. The book is actually  organized by the type of food one feels like eating. After the introduction of tools and ingredients comes the section main ingredient of any Korean meal- kimchi! The most beloved side dishes recipes are  included in this section. Rice, Noodles and Dumplings section follows with Barbecue after that. Drinking food is the next one with a bunch of recipes that go well with drinks and for a hangover – salty and greasy snacks and hearty soups. Soup, Stews and Braises section is my favorite- lots of soups to choose from, perfect for winter days. The guest recipes and drinks sections come after that . A rather small section with sweets recipes completes the book. The organization of this book felt a little bit erratic- I would have probably put drinking food closer to  drinks and guest recipes section, but it’s easy enough to find as it is.

Overall impression: I liked this book for what it was- an ultimate comfort food book, recipes are straightforward and easy to follow. Many of my favorite dishes are included. There are helpful guides to where to find ingredients. The little essays are fun to read.  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.