Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Cookish Book: Bourbon & Bacon

I received a copy of Southern Living's Bourbon & Bacon: The Ultimate Guide to the South's Favorite Food Groups thanks to a giveaway on For the Love of the South. (Thanks, Amber!) I was surprised by this book in a few ways. It's a nice hardcover (no dust jacket) with lots of color photos, but it's a really handy size (about the size of a large-format paperback book). As soon as I got my hands on it, I thought what a great gift it would make. I several men in my life that I think are difficult to shop for, but this would easily please them, and with the holiday season approaching, I think you should give it a look for the bourbon-lovers in your life. It's really nice to flip through (I've left it on my coffee table since I got it because I really love the book design and I think others would enjoy flipping through it). I'm not a big drinker, but you can't go wrong with bacon, and there are several recipes I want to try: Sticky Bourvbon Toffee Pudding, Turtle Bourbon Pecan Tart, Bacon Popcorn, etc, I think this one might help you check off your gift list!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Bookish Review: An Everlasting Meal

An Everlasting Meal  is part cookbook, part cooking philosophy, with a sprinkle of memoir. Tamar Adler firmly believes that cook good, nourishing food need not be difficult, and doesn't need explicit recipes so much as mastery of a few techniques. This book should be encouraging to anyone who is unsure in the kitchen or thinks cooking is difficult or just doesn't know where to start. Allen encourages repurposing leftovers, and using every bit of a meal, from the beet tops that might be discarded to the pasta water that might be poured down the drain. It is a wonderful way to think about food--honoring ingredients and not being wasteful. It's also thrifty and smart. This was a really enjoyable and empowering read--I recommend it to anyone who could use a little confidence in the kitchen.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Slices of Life is taken from the author's newspaper columns. Some cover life with her husband or her kids, or stories from her own childhood. Each is accompanied by a recipe. This is a good book to pick up occassionally and read a passage or two and then move on. I couoldn't get in to reading it cover-to-cover because the columns didn't seem to be arranged in a cohesive way. However, many of the recipes looked good, and the columns can be entertaining--it's just better as a book you read while you're waiting in line, reading a column or two at a time, rather than a real page-turner.

I was provided an advanced e-copy of this title though NetGalley, courtesy of the publisher. Receiving a copy did not affect my review. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bookish Review: Biting through the Skin

I really enjoyed Biting Through the Skin. I, for one, have a hard time imagining what it would have been like to be a blond-haired, blue-eyed American growing up in India--nor could I imagine growing up in America's heartland as an Indian girl from Bengal, but now that I have read Biting Through the Skin, I have a better idea of what that must have been like. Nina Mukergee was a girl caught between two cultures, longing to better understand her Indian roots. She paints lovely pictures with words and makes you yearn for the exotic smells and spices of her kitchen, while at the same time really feeling for her as she describes how she often felt out of place in both worlds--American and Indian. Her prose is lovely, and I always find reading about a different culture to be exciting and interesting, even when plopped within my own American context. This book is mostly memoir, but a little beit cookbook, too, and can take you on a journey to a new place. Recommended.

I was provided an advanced e-copy of this title though NetGalley, courtesy of the publisher. Receiving a copy did not affect my review. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Bookish Review: Phoenix Island

Phoenix Island was a good read--I think pre-teen boys would probably find it to be a page-turner. Carl, a fighter and down-on-his-luck kid with noble intentions, gets sent to a sort of isolated juvie. He plans to keep his head down til he gets out but notices more and more strange things happening, possible medical experiments on the inmates, and sadistic drill-sargeant-like leaders. Carl is respected for his fighting skills and gets selected for an elite group within the camp, but when he figures out what's really going on, he must find a way to escape--and to save the friends he's made along the way.

This one seems ripe for a sequel, so keep an eye out!

I was provided an advanced e-copy of this title though NetGalley, courtesy of the publisher. Receiving a copy did not affect my review. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Cook Bookish Review: My Paris Kitchen

I was very excited to read this book because I am a big fan of David Lebovitz's blog, and I downloaded his Paris Pastry app when I was heading to Europe for my honeymoon (I recommend it if you are a chocolate and pastry freak like I am and you are heading to Paris--it was great!) I read this book before heading off on that trip, to prepare me, and it was great inspiration (and also lead me to visit Bernachon in Lyon, which I am dying to go back to). I imagine that over the years I will turn back to this book to remind me of our honeymoon trip. I already whipped it out for advice on re-creating the delicious crepes you find all over Paris. This one is a great cookbook to read as well as to cook from. If you've ever dreamed of visiting France, I think you'll really enjoy it.

I was provided an advanced e-copy of this title though NetGalley, courtesy of the publisher. Receiving a copy did not affect my review. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Cookish: What's for breakfast?

English Muffin Bread!

This bread really does have the bubbled texture of an English muffin and toasts up deliciously without your having to try to shape individual English muffins at home. The rise is not terribly long, so it really is possible to make the same day for breakfast (if you're like me, anyway, and have a husband who sleeps in much later than you do on the weekends!)

Recipe from Cook's Country (episodes of the Cook's Country TV show are now available on Amazon Prime!)

2 1/2 cups bread flour
2 1/4 tsps yeast
1/2 tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups milk, heated to 120 degrees.

Whisk all dry ingredients together, then stir in the milk. Cover the bowl with oiled plastic wrap. Let it rise 30 minutes. Stir the dough and put it in a pan that has been greased and coated with cornmeal. Cover it again with greased plastic and let rise for another 30 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, rotating halfway.