Monday, June 9, 2014

Beach House Baking by Lei Shishak

Beach House Baking: An Endless Summer of Delicious Desserts
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons
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I love to bake. I fell in love with baking long before I fell in love with cooking, so this book was definitely calling my name!! Now, I love sweets like most people, but I have to admit that I'm definitely more of a savory-type person. I really appreciated the savory side of this book as well as the sweet. The Aged Cheddar, Bacon and Scallion Biscuits were the first to call out my name (Oh, my! You have to try these!), and the blueberry scones are on my menu for tomorrow morning. I know the Surfin' P.B.J. cupcakes are going to be a huge hit with my family, and my girls loved the snicker doodles!!

On a personal preference side, while I love having a photo for every recipe, the style of the cookbook (type font, large lettering, etc.) reminds me more of a kids cookbook. Not to my taste, but the recipes help make up for that. Also, this is a baking book, so the frozen pops and the beverages--especially the alcoholic ones!--seemed completely out of place.

Over all, this is a great little baking book that about anyone could find something to enjoy!

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

An Edible Mosaic by Faith Gorsky

An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons
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Though a long time fan of ethnic cuisine, my education in Middle Eastern fare has been sketchy at best, so I was delighted to get a chance to cook from and review this cookbook. The cover photo alone made my mouth water and made me want to dive in! I was somewhat surprised that the cover photo was of chicken kebabs--not something you'd necessarily expect from a book like this. I would have expected beef or lamb, but not chicken! My girls thought it looked amazing, so I thought I'd make some for supper--until it came to the spices. I don't have a Middle Eastern store handy, so I headed to the front of the book to make the Chicken Spice Mix myself. I ended up sitting there laughing as I would have to make 5 different batches of spice mix to finally get the Chicken Spice Mix!! While the spices weren't necessarily hard to find, they aren't necessarily spices I have right at hand, either. Therefore, the Chicken Kebabs still sit on my "to make" list, and we moved on.
Meat Sautéed with Leeks (Bellasia) gets a definite thumbs up as does the Zucchini Fritters, and Sesame Seed Breads. The Spiced Shawarma Chicken Wraps have gone the way of the Chicken Kebabs for now as I haven't been able to find the fenugreek yet, and I'm not willing to purchase online and probably pay more for shipping than the spice itself. However, it is definitely on my "to make" list as well.


Overall, this is a great book. I did lower the rating a bit as there are definitely some harder-to-find ingredients that make cooking some of the recipes a bit of a challenge. However, I do highly recommend this book.


I received a copy of "An Edible Mosaic" from Tuttle Publishing for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Tina Nordstrom's Scandinavian Cooking by Tina Nordstrom

Tina Nordström�s Scandinavian Cooking: Simple Recipes for Home-Style Scandinavian Cuisine
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons
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I have never seen Tina Nordstom's cooking show, but when I was offered this book to review I jumped at the chance. I love cookbooks from around the world, and haven't had the opportunity to check out many from Scandinavia. The book is large, beautiful and full of color photos and scrumptious recipes. I recommend the Chanterelle and Ground Beef Pie, Chanterelle Topped Veal Patties (yes, I love mushrooms!), White Wine Poached Mussels with Fennel and Garlic, and the Flounder Fish 'n Chips is sure to be a hit with the kids! My almost-12-year-old daughter is actually a huge mussel and fennel fan, so the mussel recipe was about as perfect for her as you could get! The recipes are clear and typically easy to follow.

On the down side, when I pick up a book that touts itself as cooking from a specific place, I'm looking for their specific ethnic recipes. Even though this book is called "Scandinavian Cooking", there is recipes from all over the world. Greek Lamb Balls, French Chicken Stew, Tomato & Buffalo Mozzarella Salad and--the one that made me laugh out loud--American Pancakes! I wish she had stayed with Scandinavian cooking or named it something different so there wasn't the disappointment of finding an international cookbook instead, but that is my only issue with this book.

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

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Haute Dogs by Russell Van Kraayenbert

Haute Dogs: Recipes for Delicious Hot Dogs, Buns, and Condiments
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons
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What a fun book! As a mother with four kids, hot dogs are a fun part of life sometimes, especially during the summer. This book is full of fun facts, history and recipes for all aspects of hot dog cuisine. Learn to make your own buns, condiments and, yes, even hot dogs! How to make all your classic hot dogs from the Chicago Dog, to the Coney Dog, and even some fun international dogs! Some recipes were hits-Coney Island, Maxwell Street Polish to name a couple--and some fell more in the "Please don't make these because we won't touch them!" category such as the Swedish Shrimp Dog, The Vegan and the Columbian Pineapple Dog.

This is a great, fun cookbook for hot dog lovers everywhere. I recommend you pick it up and try it out!

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

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Cook's Journey to Japan by Sarah Marx Feldner

A Cook's Journey to Japan: 100 Homestyle Recipes from Japanese Kitchens
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons
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Mmmmmmm! Luscious cookbook with luscious food!! This book is a delight to the eye, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Don't just stop with reading, though. Dive in and cook up some fabulous Japanese food! My husband loved the Sesame Seared Beef! Yakitori Chicken Skewers, Chicken and Vegetable Rice Medley, Breaded Pork Cutlets, Five Color Salad, Spicy Pan-Seared Eggplant and Toasted Sesame Cookies--there's something for everyone!

If you don't have a good Asian market, you might have some trouble getting some of the ingredients, so that dropped the rating a bit. However, there's still plenty in this cookbook to make you go back again and again. I definitely recommend it!

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

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bake: The Essential Companioin by Alison Thompson

Bake: The Essential Companion
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons
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I love baking! There's just something so satisfying abut making yummy, from-scratch baked goods for my family--like the Savory Scones (Cheese & Mustard version) I just took from the oven. Personally, I think the oven should be hotter. It says 15-20 min at 340F, but I cooked them over 25 min--the last 5 min bumped up to 350F--and they're still a tad doughy in the middle. The flavor is amazing, though!! I made the Cornish Pasties for my daughters for a picnic and they absolutely LOVED them...and so did I!

This cookbook is filled with scrumptious recipes and lovely photos. It's broken into sections from Breads to Cakes, Pastries, Cookies, Croissants and even a gluten-free section! There's lots more recipes I can't wait to try. I hope the flavors stay up the high standard these have set!  I did drop the rating a bit due to the uncertainty that all the temperatures/times will be accurate.

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

World Class Cakes by Roger Pizey

World Class Cakes: 250 Classic Recipes from Boston Cream Pie to Madeleines and Muffins
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons
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A feast for the eyes and the palette!! While definitely not for the beginning baker, this is a great cookbook full of recipes for amazing cakes. The book is divided into sections that start with Sponges & Layer Cakes and end with Celebration Cakes. Each recipe starts with a small blurb about the cake and its history. Several of the recipes have a page beside it titled "Where to Eat Cake..." and a location that gives multiple great places to find local baking. There are lots of pictures throughout the book, which is a big plus. It's always nice to know what the finished product is supposed to look like when you're making something completely new.

When I first get a cookbook, I usually flip through it and find a couple of recipes that I want to try the most. That was not possible with this book. If I had marked every recipe I couldn't wait to try, the book would look like a porcupine with markers sticking out all over! I started with Sonhos, Portugese "dreams" doughnuts. Oh, my! These were a HUGE hit with my girls!! I didn't use the optional 4th egg, and I'm really glad I didn't. I think these would have been to eggy tasting if I'd used the 4th. Make sure and cook them plenty long enough--they'll split slightly and puff up much larger than expected when they're done. My first batch I didn't leave long enough and they were slightly doughy inside, but all the rest were amazing!! Definitely try the Turkish Lemon Cake, Tippaleipa (Finnish Funnel Cakes), and the Devil's Food Cake!

One downside to this book is quite a few ingredients may be semi to very hard to find. If you live in an area with many specialty shops or are comfortable buying online, that may not be a big issue to me, but it was fairly frustrating to me.

If you are a beginning baker, you might have some trouble with some of these recipes, but if you're at least somewhat experienced I recommend this book! I gave it 4 out of 5 because of the more advanced nature, and the fact that there are many harder-to-find ingredients.

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