December 16, 2013

Balaboosta by Einat Admony

BalaboostaMy rating: 3 of 5 spoons

I couldn't wait to get into this book, but the author turned me off before I ever got to the recipes. She comes across as very arrogant and boastful to the point I quit reading anything but the recipes. The recipes are varied and fascinating, but not enough for me to keep this book around.

UPDATE**  I first reviewed this book on my own just because I was interested in it.  A couple of months later I received an unsolicited copy from the publisher (which, I might say, I do not have an issue with receiving unsolicited cookbooks to review!), so I thought I'd go back and re-examine this book and see if I missed anything. 

On the positive side, because I was reviewing for a publisher, I did look at the actual recipes more, and found many great recipes.  The book is well laid out and the photos are great.

On the negative side, I still have several issues with this book.  I realize many would not be bothered by this and think I'm being picky, but I didn't appreciate her referring to God as "She".  The biggest thing that struck me going through the book this time was on page 47 in the section on cooking for kids she makes this statement: "Allow them (kids) to knead raw beef and stretch dough between their fingers--but be sure they don't swallow uncooked dough."  So, let me get this straight.  She's very concerned about your child's safety so doesn't want them to eat raw dough, but has nothing to say about raw meat?!  I found that very strange.

The quality of many of the recipes and the actual quality of the book pushed my rating up slightly, but definitely not going on my favorites list. 

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

December 15, 2013

Dos Camino's Mexican Street Food by Ivy Stark

Dos Caminos' Mexican Street Food: 120 Authentic Recipes to Make At Home
My rating: 3 of 5 spoons

I was excited to receive this book and dove right in only to come up with mixed feelings. I was looking for a cookbook filled with authentic street food from Mexico. There are definitely a lot of those recipes in this book, but some fell woefully short such as the Cornmeal Biscuits with Cheddar and Chipotle that the author clearly states were based on biscuits she loved growing up so she made a "Mexican" version. There are many dishes in here that are definitely NOT street food, and that made this book a little disappointing.

The other issue I had with this book is some of the ingredients it calls for. Sea urchin roe, epazote (I had to look this one up. It's a hard to find spice.), huitlacoche (a corn fungus--seriously!) and goat meat are definitely not readily available in most of the United States, so that dropped my rating a bit, too.

There are some lovely recipes in here that are great. I'm a sucker for the Mexico City-Style Street Corn and I love the Jicama, Orange and Apple Salad and Roasted Chicken Flautas.

Go into this book with your eyes open, and I'll think you'll find lots to enjoy. This book is full of lovely photographs and interesting information and some great recipes--just not all of them are actually "Mexican Street Food".

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

Prep School by James P. DeWan

Prep School: How to Improve Your Kitchen Skills and Cooking Techniques
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons

This is such a great resource for cooks!! From bare beginners to confident cooks, all can glean from this reference book for cooks. From chopping onions, to cleaning mussels, corning beef, poaching an egg, making homemade ricotta cheese (something I LOVE to do, but I know many cooks who didn't even realize you could easily make your own at home), carving a turkey or cooking in parchment paper, this book covers it all. It's not just a "how-to" book, but after teaching you the technique then gives you at least one recipe to use that technique. While most cooks can glean something from this book, I especially recommend it to beginner cooks. There is so much they can learn out of this book. I highly recommend it!

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