February 5, 2015

In Her Kitchen by Gabriele Galimberti

In Her Kitchen: Stories and Recipes from Grandmas Around the World
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons

This is such a delightful book!! I love the thought and heart behind it, and it was fascinating to read. The photos are gorgeous, and it was lovely to have a look at so many lives and their passion for feeding family. The Moose Steak recipe from Alaska really took me back. We didn't eat a lot of moose steak when we were living in Alaska, but a nice moose roast, slow cooked in a cast iron dutch oven on the back of a wood stove all night? Oh, my!

There is such a nice variety of dishes from the simple and scrumptious to the interesting and I don't think I would EVER make that! (Caterpillars in Tomato Sauce any one?) The instructions are clear and easy to follow, and it's so nice to have a picture of each finished dish.

This is a truly, lovely book and I highly recommend it to anyone.

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

January 29, 2015

Dishing Up New Mexico by Dave DeWitt

Dishing Up® New Mexico: 145 Recipes from the Land of Enchantment
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons

I'll let you in on a secret. Hot peppers and I do NOT get along. I've never been one to like my taste buds burnt off (I like to TASTE my food, and if my mouth is on fire, I'm not tasting anything!), but I had no problem using small amounts of hot peppers occasionally. I decided to make some stuffed pepper with Anaheim peppers (these are NOT considered hot peppers!) and spent the next 6-8 hours in agony with my hands on fire from cleaning and de-seeding them! That was a couple of years ago, so I'm just now getting to the point of being willing to work with peppers again--albeit with gloves, this time!--so I was thrilled at the opportunity to review this book. I'm still a little gun (or pepper) shy, so I haven't got into making my own chili sauce's yet, but I'm getting there!

Starting small with Grilled Green Chile Polenta, can I just say YUM! On a nice, cold day nothing beats a great bowl of soup, so I decided to make the Creamy Green Chile-Chicken Soup for supper. While I was making it, I started to have my doubts. There was no seasoning other than the green chiles, a LITTLE salt, white pepper and oregano. (Note: I was not ready to dive into roasting and chopping my own chilies like the recipe called for, so I used a large can of diced green chiles in its place.) Ah, you should not doubt this gem of a recipe. It was AMAZING!! My oldest daughter’s first comment was, “You didn’t make enough of this!” Now, this does have a little spice to it if you’re not into spicy foods, but it is so worth it! I didn’t even offer it to my youngest as she is unable to deal with ANY spiciness, and it my 12 year old daughter didn’t finish hers as she said it was too spicy, but the rest of us loved it!

This is a great cookbook with some amazing recipes in it. You should give it a try!

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

January 12, 2015

Food, Family and Tradition by Lynn Kirsche Shapiro

My rating: 4 of 5 spoons

This is part cookbook, part memoir and completely inspiring. What began as finishing her father's autobiography and publishing her mother's recipes ended up as a lovely cookbook and a tribute to all Holocaust survivors. Pull up a chair and prepare to be inspired by this delightful book!

I love the layout of this book. It begins with the family's story and has sections on everything from kosher wines to Jewish holidays. The recipe section has lovely tidbits sprinkled throughout--everything from photos to traditions, stories and remembrances. As for the recipes themselves, you will find everything from Latkes (see below) to Poached Salmon, Candied Carrots, Brisket, Boiled Tongue, Israeli Salad, Traditional Potato Kugel, Cheese Danish and Baked Apples.

Surprisingly enough, I had never actually made latkes before, so I decided to try my hand at them. They turned out quite nicely, though grating them is rather labor intensive. If I make them again, I’ll probably use the food processor.

This is a lovely cookbook that is as interesting to read as it is to cook from. I definitely recommend it!

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

They may not be the prettiest, but they are yummy!

Potato Latkes

4 med russet potatoes*
2 lg eggs
½ t salt, or to taste (mine needed more salt)
1/8 t freshly grated black pepper, optional
Vegetable oil as needed for frying

Grate the potatoes into a medium bowl using the second finest side of a box grater, or use the food processor fitted with the metal blade. Chop potatoes into chunks; grate finely by pulsing, but do not puree.

Transfer potatoes and their juices to a medium bowl. Add the eggs and salt. Add pepper if using.

In a 12-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat ¼ inch of oil. When a drop of water sizzles and evaporates immediately, the pan is hot. Drop latke batter by ¼ c ladles or large spoon carefully into the frying pan. Fry on one side until edges are crispy and golden; about 3 minutes. Turn once and fry until cooked through and crispy on the other side.

Transfer latkes to a paper towel-lined plate and repeat using remaining batter, adding more oil if necessary.

*A medium russet potato is 2¼ by 3¼ inches. If the potatoes are very large, use 1 egg per potato.

Complete Book of Indian Cooking by Suneeta Vaswani

Complete Book of Indian Cooking: 350 Recipes from the Regions of India
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons

I haven’t had a huge amount of exposure to Indian cooking, but I have liked everything I’ve tried so far. 350 recipes? Yes, thank you! My daughters were thrilled to find Naan again (one of their all time favorite breads!), but I was very disappointed not to find Gulab Jamoon. I had this delectable dessert at an Indian festival in Texas of all places and fell in love. Unfortunately, I haven’t had them since. I was really hoping for a recipe for them in this book, but it didn’t happen. There are, however, some lovely desserts included, so all is not lost!

There is a nice section on common ingredients in the front of the book that explains about many of the ingredients you will find often in the recipes and is followed by Spices, Spice Blends and Herbs. Recipes are included for four of the spice blends, which is nice. Mail order sources are at the end of the book before the index.

The book is laid out according to type of dish (Appetizers, Chat, Beans and Lentils, Rice Cereal and Breads, Eggs Chicken and Meat, Fish and Seafood, Vegetables, Salads Raitas and Chutneys, Sweets and Beverages), but then each section is divided into regions and these are color coded: red for the Northern regions, orange for East, green for South and blue for West. This is particularly handy for finding dishes from certain regions.

This is a great book for people who love Indian cooking or just want to try something new. It’s easy to follow, so I would even recommend it to novice cooks.

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

January 10, 2015

Tamales by Alice Guadalupe Tapp

Tamales: Fast and Delicious Mexican Meals
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons

I've wanted to learn how to make tamales for ages, but never really had the opportunity, so when I saw this book I knew it was finally time to give it a try. I wanted some fairly simple flavors for my first attempt, and something that my kids would potentially like, so I settled on the Refried Beans and Chorizo Tamales. The masa was a little tricky to make and it never did float in cold water like the book said, so I just went with the thick, paste-like texture it called for and prayed it would work. Next came the filling. Oh, my!! I could just sit down with a bowl of the filling alone! Simple, but so delicious!

Now comes the fun part. I soaked the corn husks for the allotted time and set out to attempt my first tamale. The wrapping went much easier than I expected, but I did the simple fold over, so that could be part of it. Confession time--I didn't refrigerate it over night. I somehow missed that step until I had already made the masa and filling, and that was my plan for supper, so I went ahead with the steaming and hoped for the best.

Sooooo, the BEST is absolutely what I got!! Oh, my! These are amazing! I will definitely be making these again!

If you love tamales or just love Mexican food and want to try your hand at tamales, I highly recommend this book!

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

Raw Energy in a Glas by Stephanie L. Tourles

Raw Energy in a Glass: 125 Nutrition-Packed Smoothies, Green Drinks, and Other Satisfying Raw Beverages to Boost Your Well-Being
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons

This is a great little cookbook for anyone wanting to boost their health and/or energy. A lot of books like this rely heavily on bananas, and that is a problem for me. I get that bananas are very healthy, but I really dislike them. Thankfully, there are some great recipes here such as Tropical Berry Sunset Frappe (with citrus, strawberries, raspberries and mango), various yogurt drinks and protein shakes. This book is worth it for the first section alone! In "The Basics" if covers all kinds of information on juicing, blending, energy, getting the most out of your food and more. My favorite section is the Superfood Dictionary that breaks down exactly what is in each ingredient and what it is best for. It is divided into sections (Fruits, Vegetables, Nuts and more) which makes it easy to find what you're looking for.

This is a really great cookbook to get your new year started right. I'm not making big New Year's Resolutions to lose weight, exercise more etc., but I AM trying to get healthier this year. This book gives me a great start!

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

Best of Bridge Holiday Classics

Best of Bridge Holiday Classics: 225 Recipes for Special Occasions
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons

Classic, nostalgic recipes fill this cookbook. The hardcover, spiral binding is a nice touch. Enjoy classics like Artichoke Dip, Green Goddess Salad, Poached Salmon, Christmas Cheese Balls, Shortbread, Ceasar Salad, Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding. Whether you are cooking for a Holiday Brunch, Cocktail Party, Buffet, Potluck, Sit-Down Dinner or just using up leftovers, you are sure to find something here. I used the Cranberry Muffin recipe substituting milk for the orange juice and Chopped strawberries for the cranberries. My kids demolished them! The cookbook ends with a section on Food Gifts. This is a lovely chapter of Candied Almonds, Spiced Pecans, Cranberry Pistachio Bark, Toffee, Marmalade, Chutney and more. The "Novel Nuts" were a huge hit at the family Christmas dinner!

This is a great, nostalgic cook that is great fun to read through and to cook from.

I received a copy of this cookbook from Robert Rose, Inc. for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.