April 1, 2016

Eating Appalachia by Darrin Nordahl

Eating Appalachia: Rediscovering Regional American Flavors
My rating: 3 of 5 spoons

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Eating Appalachia is not really a cookbook, but more a collection of writings with a few simple recipes scattered throughout. It begins with an introduction on American Ingredients and cuisine before moving on to chapters covering key places in Appalachia:

• Albany, Ohio
• Richwood, West Virginia
• Prestonsburg, Kentucky
• Cairo, West Virginia
• Cherokee, North Carolina
• Colfax, North Carolina

The book ends with an epilogue, Toward a New American Cuisine. Each chapter includes information about the area and the produce found there. For instance, the chapter on Albany, Ohio includes information, history and recipes about the pawpaw, while the chapter on Colfax, NC is all about the persimmon.

If you’re interested in Appalachia and the food there, you should enjoy this book. If you’re looking for a cookbook packed with Appalachian recipes, this is probably not for you. There is only about 23 total recipes in this book, and most are fairly simple. Overall, however, I enjoyed the book and recommend it provisionally to others.

I received a copy of this book from Chicago Review Press through the Lisa Ekus Group. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Royal Heritage Cookbook by The Hon. Sarah Macpherson

The Royal Heritage Cookbook: Recipes from High Society and the Royal Court
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons

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I love cooking, but I love history as well, so this cookbook is a great match for me. I'll be honest, I was expecting a lot larger cookbook with more recipes, but the more I read this cookbook the more I liked it. The book includes conversion tables, menus options, recipes and history. I love that many of the recipes show a photo of the original recipe along with it re-typed out and updated for today's cooks.

There is such a variety of recipes in here from the classic Chicken, Cream & Leek Pie which was a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I and known to be made as far back as 1580 (and is still delicious today!) to Thirlestane Castle Curries from the mid 1800's and Rich Fruit Cake possibly created for the wedding of King George III in 1761.

If you're looking for slick, perfect, modern cookbook, this is not for you. If you love history, are an Anglophile or just love cookbooks in general, this is a great choice for you. It's a great cookbook that I'm happy to recommend.

I received a copy of this book from Trafalgar Square Publishing through IPG for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Savor by Ilona Oppenheim

Savor: Rustic Recipes Inspired by Forest, Field, and Farm
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons

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To begin with, this is just a beautiful book! From the front cover photography, to the quality hardcover, sewn binding, to the luscious interior photos (most of them taken by the author!) and lovely recipes, this is definitely a book to delight all the senses. To make it even better, this is not a trained chef doing spectacular things outside of the skill set of most everyday cooks, but a mother who loves to fish, forage and cook for her family and just wants to share this with others. Don’t feel you can’t use this book if you don’t have a place to forage from. Most ingredients can be sourced in stores as well.

There is so much to choose from, it was hard to make the decision of what to cook first. I finally decided on the 24 Hour Onion Soup. How nice to be able to make a full-bodied, lovely onion soup that takes so much time, but does most of the work on its own in the slow cooker! Served with the crusty bread with toasted Gruyere…what could be lovelier?

The Roasted Chicken recipe is packed full of flavor. Serve the chicken with Crispy Roasted Potatoes with a side salad for a meal sure to delight your family. The Ricotta recipe makes it so easy to make your own ricotta cheese at home. Use it to make the Ricotta and Roasted Fig Bruschetta.

I was in the mood for a dessert, so I made the Pine Nut Cookies next. I love that these cookies are not overly sweet and have a light, delicate flavor. The down side is that they’re very addicting! I have a feeling that most of the desserts in this book will be the same. Emphasis is placed on flavor instead of just loading it with sugar, and the results speak for themselves.

This is a great cookbook for anyone interested in flavorful, healthy food. If you’re interested in foraging or sourcing from the wild, that just makes it more appealing, but I think anyone could use and thoroughly enjoy this book. I highly recommend it.

I received a copy of this book from Artisan Books for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

March 30, 2016

Courtyard Kitchen by Natalie Boog

Courtyard Kitchen: Recipes and Growing Tips for Herbs and Potted Fruits
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons

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When I first receive a cookbook to review, I flip through it marking dishes that initially catch my eye and make me want to make them. Some have 2 or 3 markers from that first time through and more are added as I go back through the cookbook for a more in-depth look. This beautiful book looked like a porcupine from the first time through it had so many markers!

Some of the recipes I’ve marked I won’t be making until later in the season when I actually start harvesting from my garden, but others I dove into immediately. Thyme and Lemon Cookies immediately grabbed my eye as I love both of these flavors, separately or combined. The dough did not turn out as the recipe described, but I put it through a cookie press instead, and they still turned out lovely. They have a light, delicate flavor that are quite addicting!

For supper tonight, I made the Pork San Choy Bau. I’ve been wanting to make this, so I was excited to see the recipe here. Very simple to make with lovely flavors. This is a great lunch or dinner you can make quickly and easily and be satisfied that you’re serving a fairly healthy meal as well!

The book is divided into chapters according to herb with the last three chapters being Chilli, Lemon and Strawberry, which makes it nice to find recipes for whatever herb you have on hand to cook with. There are so many wonderful recipes in this book. The Flourless Orange and Rosemary Cake is next up on my 'to cook' list, and I'll be making the Couscous with Herbs and Almonds soon. I'm sure to be cooking out of it for a long time to come! Pick up a copy and see for yourself. It's a great cookbook you can use over and over again.

I received a copy of this book from Trafalgar Square Publishing through IPG for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tasting Rome by Katie Parla

Tasting Rome: Fresh Flavors and Forgotten Recipes from an Ancient City
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons

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Ahhhh! Food from my favorite country! Although I’ve never spent time in Rome itself apart from the airport (another story in itself!), I love the flavors of Italy and I waited with great anticipation for this book. It does not disappoint!

Tasting Rome is not just a cookbook. Filled with history, tidbits of information and photos that draw you in and make you long to be there, Tasting Rome is an experience. After the introduction, a section on Rome: Then and Now and a section entitled About This Book (none of which should be skipped over!), the book is divided into sections entitled Snacks, Starters and Street Food, Classic and Variations, Cucina Ebraica (food from the Jewish Quarter), Quinto Quarto (The Fifth Quarter, or offal based recipes), Verdure (Vegetables), Bread and Pizza, Sweets, and Drinks.

One of the things I love about Italian food is the simplicity of so many of its dishes. For instance, Insalata di Misticanza (Micro Green Salad with Hazelnuts and Pecorino), there’s only six ingredients, but those six ingredients combine for a salad that is both simple and delightful. Gnocchi di patate di Arcangelo Dandini (Arcangelo Dandini’s Potato Gnocchi) have 4 ingredients plus the sauce of your choice. Now, I have had gnocchi one other time in my life. They were premade and vacuum sealed and they were terrible! Heavy and chewy, they were not pleasant to eat, so I assumed I just didn’t like gnocchi until I learned years later that they are supposed to be light and fluffy. I just never got around to making them myself…until now. I’ve heard getting the texture right on gnocchi can be difficult and I believe it. I was still happy with how these turned out. There were a little denser and chewier than I think they really should have been, but were still very good. I’ll definitely try these again!

I’m currently searching for ‘nduja, a spreadable spicy sausage from Calabria so I can try the ‘Nduja in Carrozza, a take on Mozzarella in Carrozza where instead of mozzarella sandwiched between bread and fried, this recipe puts the ‘nduja between two slices of mozzarella and bread it before deep frying. It looks and sounds amazing!!

The Suppli Classici and Suppli Cacio e Pepe are Roman variations of the Arancini I so love from Sicily. The first is a mixture of rice, chicken livers and pork sausage in a tomato-based sauce inside, while the second is a simpler one with lots of black pepper throughout and mozzarella in the center.

There is so much to learn and love in this cookbook. Take a visit to Rome without ever leaving your home! I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!

I received a copy of this book through the Blogging for Books program for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

March 28, 2016

The Best of Jane Grigson by Jane Grigson

Best of Jane Grigson
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons

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Jane Grigson is well known for her classic cookbooks on British and European cookery, and now you can get a lovely collection of her most well-known recipes from around the world in one book. The book is divided into the following sections:
• At Home in England
• At Home in France
• Charcuterie
• The Mediterranean
• The Europeans
• The Americas
• India and the Far East
• Treats and Celebrations
Each section is then subdivided into various sub-sections. Some chapters have more subdivisions than others, but all are well done. The index is thorough, making it easy to find a recipe either by title or by main ingredient.

There is such a lovely variety of dishes from a classic Shepherd’s Pie (a favorite of mine) or Yorkshire Pudding (equally well loved in this family!) to Boeuf a la Bourguignonnne, Spanakopitta, Paella, Scandinavian Pickled Salmon, Chilli Con Carne, Stir-Fried Chicken with Mushrooms, and so much more. You’re sure to find not just something to cook, but a whole array of tempting dishes to make at home.

I received a copy of this book from Grub Street Publishing for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Seasons to Taste by Jonathan Bardzik

Seasons To Taste: Farm-Fresh Joy for Kitchen and Table
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons

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Seasons to Taste is subtitled “Farm-Fresh Joy for Kitchen & Table”, and that’s exactly what it delivers—delectable recipes showcasing beautiful, farm (or garden) fresh produce—and proteins--that are a joy to cook. Recipes are divided by season beginning with winter and an array of gorgeous stocks to make from scratch. From a hearty beef broth, to a rich mushroom or White Chicken Stock, you’ll find all the stocks you need except a fish or seafood stock, but as there are only a couple of fish recipes, you may not miss it.

Ground Lamb with Mushrooms & Spinach showcases all three main ingredients in a delicious dish sure to impress. The Wild Mushroom and Gruyere Frittata is just amazing. (In case you hadn’t figured it out yet, I love mushrooms!) Pasta Primavera is a classic spring dish highlighting the beautiful new spring produce, while Zucchini Pappardelle Pasta showcases the beautiful new summer squashes.

Fresh Herbed Tomato Salad is a summer delight, and can easily be tweaked by substituting fresh mozzarella occasionally for a different twist. Tacos de Pescado is on my list to make this summer with instructions for making each ingredient from the marinade, to the cabbage, avocado lime crema and fish. Love minestrone soup, but hate waiting for colder months? Try the Minestrone Pasta!

If you are a pumpkin lover, you’ll love the Fall section of this book with everything from Cinderella Pumpkin Dumplings to Pumpkin Lamb Sausage Pizza, Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal and more. If you’re like me and not that into pumpkin, there’s still much to choose from such as Chive Goat Cheese Mashed Cauliflower, Sausage Apple Mushroom Stuffing (Yum!) and more.

Seasons to Taste is a feast for the senses! From the gorgeous photos to the tantalizing flavors, you’re sure to enjoy this delightful book.

I received a copy of this book from Story Farm through the Lisa Ekus Group for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.