March 28, 2013

"Cast-Iron Cooking with Sisters on the Fly" by Irene Rawlings

Cast-Iron Cooking with Sisters on the FlyMy rating: 2 of 5 spoons

With a motto of, “We have more fun than anyone,” Sisters on the Fly member Irene Rawlings introduces readers to the culinary comfort of cooking with cast iron inside Cast-Iron Cooking with Sisters on the Fly. Harkening back to the days of car travel before the interstate highway system made it easy to get to today’s popular camping spots, Irene offers heirloom and contemporary recipes presented alongside engaging stories and action photos of kindred Sisters cooking deliciously flavorful meals with readily available ingredients over campfires and at their home ranges. Special to this collection, Rawlings explores the basics of cooking with cast iron for 100 tasty main dishes, delectable sides and appetizers, scrumptious biscuits and breads, to-die-for desserts, and luscious libations.

Maybe I'm too picky, but when I read the title of this cookbook I expected exactly that--cast-iron cooking. I did not expect so very many recipes for everything from pimento cheese, pasta salad, a salad made with Rice-a-Roni of all things, unbaked pies, and punchbowl cakes to lots and lots of alcoholic drinks. If it had been titled something to do with camp cooking it wouldn't have bothered me so much. It just seemed an inordinate amount of recipes that either weren't cooked at all or they were cooked in something other than cast iron. THIRTY-ONE (yes, I counted them) recipes for drinks, and most of them were alcholic. It left me very disappointed.

Most of the actual cast-iron recipes look very good. Some are "old friends" so to speak, and some I really want to try. However, this cookbook left me unimpressed overall.

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

"The Amish Canning Cookbook" by Georgia Varozza

The Amish Canning Cookbook: Plain and Simple Living at Its Homemade BestMy rating: 5 of 5 spoons

From the author of The Homestyle Amish Kitchen Cookbook comes a great new collection of recipes, hints, and Plain wisdom for everyone who loves the idea of preserving fresh, wholesome foods. Whether instructing a beginning canner or helping a seasoned cook hone her skills, certified Master Food Preserver Georgia Varozza shows people how to get the very best out of their food.

Everything you need to know about canning in one book! This is a very detailed book on all the different aspects and types of canning. Includes a short history of canning, needed supplies, basic safety, recipes and guidelines for adapting those recipes to fit your taste. If you plan on getting into food preservation, I highly recommend this book. Everything is covered here from your super simple fruit butters, to tomatoes, fruits, vegetables and yes--even meats! The only downside I found was that, at least in the digital copy I received, there was no index. Other than that, a great book on canning!

I received a digital copy of this book from Harvest House through for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

March 26, 2013

"Hazan Family Favorites" by Giuliano Hazan

Hazan Family Favorites: Beloved Italian Recipes from the Hazan FamilyMy rating: 5 of 5 spoons

As a child in America, Giuliano Hazan’s mother, Marcella, packed him meatballs with potatoes and peas, veal stew with mushrooms, and other homemade dishes for lunch—dishes that in no way resembled the peanut butter sandwiches his classmates enjoyed. And so began his appreciation of great food. Hazan Family Favorites celebrates delicious recipes from the Hazan family, prepared just as Giuliano prepares them for his own family today. Here are 85 recipes for every course in the Italian meal, including Appetizers, Soups, Pastas and Rice, Meats and Seafood, and Sides and Desserts. With recipes from Swiss Chard Tortelloni to Strawberry Gelato to everything in between, Hazan Family Favorites offers an intimate look at this iconic family and their most beloved recipes.

As an Italian food lover, this book was right up my alley. I am more familiar with Southern Italian cookbing, but I thoroughly enjoyed the recipes, recipe backgrounds and anecdotes. I realize some think there were too many anecdotes, but this was a family history of food and I felt they struck the right tone.

The recipes were amazing. Where do I start? Old favorites, new loves and some non-traditional recipes (latkes anyone?) with an Italian twist. I'm dying to try the Brussel Sprouts Braised with Pancetta, Pistachio Baklava, Boeuf Giuliano, and so many more. I have a large list to cook now. I can't wait to get started!

I received a digital edition of this book through for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

March 13, 2013

No, I haven't been neglecting my cookbooks!

I realize I haven't posted cookbook reviews in awhile and I just wanted you to know that I'm not just slacking off here! :-)  Between multiple rounds of the flu and moving into our house, things have been more than  little crazy.  Also, some of the cookbooks I review are through  I get a digital copy for a limited amount of time.  However, some of them do not want you to publish reviews until a certain time such as 30 days before publishing, or even the week of the publishing date.  I do have to go ahead and read them so I don't lose my copy before it's reviewed, so I have some review sitting on my computer until such time as I can publish them.  (One of them I can't publish until JUNE!!)  I have two more to write reviews for (that I can't post from 10 days to a month), but I hope to have some new reviews posted here later this week or next week at the latest.  Thank your for your patience.

Happy Cooking!!