May 23, 2015

BBQ Bistro by Karen Adler

BBQ Bistro: Simple, Sophisticated French Recipes for Your Grill
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons
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It's that time of year again! Time to pull out the grills and enjoy time with family in the great outdoors. How about adding some French flair this year?! This fascinating cookbook combines classic French flavors with your outdoor grill to make some memorable meals. Why not try Croque Monsieur on the Grill Griddle or Ham and Gruyere Tartines? Maybe Grilled Lamb Chops Paillard-Style, Sweet and Sticky Ribs, Grilled Ribeye Steak Au Poivre with Onion Straws or Lobster Tail with Pernod Butter is more your style. Why not try your favorite grilled item with a side of Provencal Grill-Roasted Tomatoes or Grilled Ratatouille? Grilled Pound Cake with Strawberry Compote or Grilled Apricot and Plum Skewers with Almond Chantilly--or any of the other lovely desserts--will round out your meal nicely.

Get a little creative and have fun this summer with your family! Grill out with a French flair with this lovely cookbook. I definitely recommend it!

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

Cookie Craft by Janice Fryer

Cookie Craft: From Baking to Luster Dust: Designs and Techniques for Creative Cookie Occasions
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons
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Cookie Craft is not so much a cookbook as a diy type book. There are a grand total of 4 cookie recipes and 3 variations of royal icing. Fondant is talked about, but no recipe is given--if you want to use it you'll need to find a recipe elsewhere or just buy it. That being said, there is a cornucopia of information, tips, techniques and ideas in this book to make gorgeous cookies on your own. There's even information on how to store, pack and ship your masterpieces!

Photography and sepia sketches are used to show the steps to use and the finished products, and the finished products are gorgeous! Give yourself a crash course in making beautiful cookies on your own with this lovely book.

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

Ciao Biscotti by Domenica Marchetti

Ciao Biscotti: Sweet and Savory Recipes for Celebrating Italy's Favorite Cookie
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons
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My family is a huge fan of biscotti. We adore Italian food, and biscotti is quintessential Italian. I, personally, don't have a huge sweet tooth, so was thrilled to see savory versions as well. Go with a classic almond or hazelnut, branch out with some chocolate-almond with pistachios, stracciatella, coconut-lime, cappuccino or even crispy pancetta, almond and aged asiago or cornmeal with rosemary and parmigiano! A few non-biscotti recipes are included as well such as hazelnut meringues and nutella sandwich cookies.

Ciao Biscotti is a great cookbook for lovers of biscotti everywhere. Such a lovely variety of flavors and easy-to-read instructions combine with lovely photos to create a lovely little cookbook that I highly recommend.

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

Cooking Class by Deanna Cook

Cooking Class: 57 Fun Recipes Kids Will Love to Make (and Eat!)
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons
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I am a firm believer in teaching kids to cook, and this is a great cookbook for doing just that! It's well and good to teach one on one familiar dishes; I think kids need to learn how to cook WITHOUT a recipe all the time, but they also need to learn how to cook from a recipe as well. One of my daughters just turned 13 yesterday and is passionate about learning to cook. This book works great for her as well as my younger daughter. It covers beginning cooking instructions, breakfast, lunch, snacks, veggies, dinner and dessert. From the supper simple such as how to hard boil an egg or mix and match sandwich shop or dipped strawberries to the more complicated such as crepes, spring rolls or meringue nests, there is something for every level of expertise in your little ones. I love that they can start simple and work their way to harder recipes all in one cookbook.

The photography is colorful and very informative. Step-by-step photos are included for many of the recipes helping the child follow the recipe even better. My older daughter just fell in love with California sushi rolls, so is thrilled to have the instructions to make her own!

I highly recommend this cookbook to families with kids. Even if they don't have a desire to learn to cook at the moment, this colorful, fun book just might be the inspiration they need!

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

May 22, 2015

My Indian Kitchen by Hari Nayak

My Indian Kitchen: Preparing Delicious Indian Meals without Fear or Fuss
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons
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"My Indian Kitchen" feels like an abbreviated "bible" of Indian food. It doesn't have the thickness of some of your more comprehensive tomes, but what it has is packed with goodness! I'm not talking a few yummy recipes and some pretty pictures. Techniques, ingredients, tools, spice mixes and so much more combine with delicious recipes and gorgeous photography to produce a gem for your kitchen. Tuttle has hit a home run once again with this cookbook!!

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

Soul Food Love by Alice Randall

Soul Food Love: 100 Years of Cooking and Eating in One Black Family, with Recipes
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons
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A heartwarming tale of food and family, Soul Food Love brings just that--love! Love for food and family permeate the pages. Comfort food--the kind you want to feed those you love--is prepared with a healthy twist, just another example of love. We want those we love to be around a long time so we can feed them goodies such as Spicy Pepper Chicken, Shrimp Stew, Roasted Asparagus with Lemon Zest, Chopped Spinach and Turkey Salad, Herb Roasted Salmon and more so we can show our love with HEALTHY comfort food. Kudos to Ms. Randall!

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

April 30, 2015

Lighten Up, Y'all by Virginia Willis

Lighten Up, Y'all: Classic Southern Recipes Made Healthy and Wholesome
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons
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I grew up on Southern cooking. My parents are Southern born and bred, so even when we weren't living in the South, that's how we ate. This is a great cookbook: Southern favorites with a healthy twist. Some things struck me as a little odd, though. For instance, biscuits and sausage gravy are a southern staple. Instead of just adding 3/4 c whole wheat pastry flour to standard white flour, why not at least use unbleached flour in place of the white. The carrot cake looks amazing--they did a great job of making it healthier...until you get to the frosting with a whole pound of confectioner's sugar! Aren't there any healthier frostings out there? Also, the Makeover Broccoli Mac and Cheese calls for 1 c 50% reduced fat cheese and 3/4 c 75% reduced fat cheese. That just seems silly to buy two different fat content cheeses for such small amounts. I also did not appreciate the swear word in one of the recipe titles.

Caveats aside, as I said earlier, this is a great book. Want some fried okra, but not all the fat? Try it oven-fried! Love the Seven-Layer Dip you find at potlucks and reunions all over the South, but not the calories? Try her "Sinless" version. Grilled Potato Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette, Sassy Slaw, Baked Zucchini Crisps (probably my new favorite recipe!!), New Soul Creole Dirty Rice, Turkey Meatloaf with Mushroom Gravy, Grilled Balsamic Flank Steak, Multi-Grain Pecan Waffles and Pineapple Right-Side-Up Cake and many more round out a great collection of Southern recipes made a little healthier.

I received a copy of this book from Ten Speed Press through Blogging for Books for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.