December 29, 2015

Meet Me in My Cape Cod Kitchen by Linda Maria Steele

My rating: 3 of 5 spoons


I love New England, and I absolutely adore seafood. I couldn’t wait to get into this cookbook. You’d think I’d dive right into a great seafood dish, but that didn’t happen. I received the book a day or two before my oldest daughter’s 16th birthday. She doesn’t care for cake, but she loves cheesecake, so I had given her the option this year of either buying her a classic New York Cheesecake, or we could make one together. She opted for the two of us to make one and this cookbook happened to have a recipe for Fancy New York Cheesecake. It had to stay in the oven longer than the recipe called for, but the results were more than worth it. It was amazing!! She’s already asked that we make it again next year for her birthday. Actually, I think it was more along the lines of every year until she leaves home!

So, surely the seafood came next! Nope. Though it was calling my name, it was time for holiday baking. With multiple neighbors to make plates of baked goods for, we had to get hopping. While browsing this book, I ran across the Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies. Ahhh! Hazelnuts are my favorite nut…well, they probably tie with pistachios. I knew I had to try them. These little gems are keepers!! Everyone who tried them loved them. It’s just going to make it that much harder on me that hazelnuts are only available around the holidays here. Sigh!

We also made the Dr. T’s Date & Bacon Appetizer, though we stuffed some of them with a whole almond, and some with a small stick of Asiago cheese. They are so delicious!

Okay, I’m going to make some seafood!! I decided to go with a classic…clam chowder. Unfortunately, things started to go downhill here. If you are a novice cook or have never made clam chowder before, I do NOT recommend you starting with this recipe! I don’t know if she was assuming people had made it before and so everything didn’t have to be listed or stated, but ingredients and steps in the recipe were just completely missing!! I had to posit from common sense and past experience to get a decent pot out of this. It didn’t end there. The more I looked through the book, the more issues I found. The picture for the Seafood Fettuccini (which is also one of the photos on the front cover) doesn’t match the recipe. It looks like the fish is coated with something, but there is nothing in the recipe about coating the fish. In fact, the directions for cooking the fish itself are fairly vague. It also shows chopped tomatoes in the photo, but they are nowhere in the recipe or ingredient list.

While this cookbook was not exactly everything I had hoped for, it is still a pretty good cookbook. It’s worth it for the cheesecake and Hazelnut Shortbread Cookie recipes!!

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

French Country Cooking by Francoise Branget

French Country Cooking: Authentic Recipes from Every Region
My rating: 3 of 5 spoons


French Country Cooking is such an interesting cookbook. It's divided by region, not by recipe type, so if you're looking for something specific, the index is your friend. The recipes reflect the "country" aspect with recipes such as Lamb's Feet and Stomach Parcels (which has two recipes from two different regions), Beef Stew in Beer, Boulogne Fisherman's Chowder, and Alsation One-Pot Baked Dinner where the ingredients (which include pigs feet and tails) are sealed into the earthenware casserole by a layer of dough around the rim which seals it well. You can also find more decadent recipes such as Fondue in a Fourme de Montbrison which is a fondue made from and in a whole 4 lb wheel of Fourme de Montbrison cheese, Gratin of White Asparagus or Filet Mignon with Brie.

I've heard of Breton Apple Cake and couldn't wait to try it. Unfortunately, it did NOT turn out well at all. It had to cook nearly twice as long as called for, and the texture was...interesting. I read the recipe repeatedly to make sure I had not missed any ingredients or steps, but I followed it perfectly. The Gougeres (Cheese Puffs), however, were amazing!! They were a huge hit with the entire family and they are clamoring for me to make them again soon!

There is much to love in this book, and some things that are interesting but will never be cooked. The fact that they're at least interesting, though, says much about the book. If you're looking for classic, French country cooking, I think this could be a good book for you.

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

Hartwood by Eric Werner & Mya Henry

Hartwood: Between the Land and the Sea
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons


Hartwood is as much a work of art as a cookbook. From the cover, all through the pages (about 300 of them!) the absolutely gorgeous photography draws you in. This is a book you can enjoy just curling up in a comfy chair and immerse yourself in. At some point, however, you want to start cooking. That is a little harder. Many ingredients are used that if you don't have access to a well-stocked Latin American grocery could be a little harder to find, and there are no substitutions given. That said, there is so much in this book! Lots of information on building flavors, chiles, fruits, drying herbs and more start you off on the right foot, before heading into chapters titled The Larder, The Market, The Sea, The Land, Desserts, and Drinks.

Ultimately, Hartwood is a cookbook about a restaurant. These are the dishes you would eat there, and they've given you the gift to try to re-create them in your own home. That is quite a gift. If you've ever been to Hartwood, or if you long for the flavors of the Yucatan, this is definitely the book for you. If you want an armchair trip, this is not a bad choice, either. Give it a try!

Slow Fires by Justin Smillie

Slow Fires: Mastering New Ways to Braise, Roast, and Grill
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons


I love to grill. I also love slow braised and roasted meats, and this book beautifully covers it all with some great foundations and finishes to boot. The title says a lot about this book. Do not expect to pop in the kitchen and deliver an amazing meal in an hour. This is all about SLOW that may be fairly simple, but they take time. For example, Seared Bay Scallops with Bagna Cauda and Vegetables may sound like a quick, easy dish, but you have to refrigerate the scallops, uncovered, for 3 hours, roast the sunchokes for about half an hour, make the bagna get the idea. However, the results speak for themselves.

I like that there is a nice mix of everyday ingredients that most are familiar with as well as a few that you might have to go searching for. However, that just piques the interest and encourages you to go on a little food adventure.

I wouldn't necessarily recommend this book for absolute beginners. The directions are clear, but the sheer volume of work for many of the recipes could intimidate the novice cook. However, if you've been cooking awhile, I think this would be a great book for you.

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

December 15, 2015

Enchiladas: Aztec to Tex-Mex by Cappy Lawton

Enchiladas: Aztec to Tex-Mex
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons


Everything you ever wanted to know about enchiladas! From Mayan and Aztec, all the way to Tex-Mex, it's all covered here. Classic recipes, history, information about the various ingredients and more fill the pages of this delightful cookbook. It's sorted by main ingredient such as Pork, Beef, Cheese, Vegetable and more ending with Tex-Mex. The instructions are clear and easy to follow.

This is a gorgeous, heavy, well-made book. It would have benefited from more photos of the finished dishes, but it's still a wonderful book! Why not try some authentic enchiladas to surprise and delight your family with?

I won a copy of this book through Goodreads Giveaways. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

New Orleans' Best Seafood Restaurants by Ann Benoit

My rating: 4 of 5 spoons


Do you love seafood? Are you heading to...or missing the flavors of...New Orleans? If so, this is a great cookbook for you! Each two page spread covers one restaurant with a bit about the restaurant, where it's located and a recipe for a dish there. The photos make you want to dive in and start eating!

Try the Trout Supreme from Sapphire, or the Seasonal Boiled Seafood Special from Pier 424 Seafood Market Restaurant or Seared Scallops in Beurre Blanc from Keith Young's. It's not too far to the Super Bowl, so why not try the Crawfish Nachos from Deanie's Seafood? There's even recipes with alligator and turtle!

This is such a fun cookbook. You're sure to find something you like whether it's a more upscale Flounder Crudo, or a down-home Crab Boil or Gumbo.

I received an F&G of this book from Pelican Publishing for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Top Secret Recipes Step-by-Step by Todd Wilbur

Top Secret Recipes Step-by-Step: Secret Formulas with Photos for Duplicating Your Favorite Famous Foods at Home
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons


I've used Todd Wilbur's cookbooks before, so I couldn't wait to get hold of this one. There was only one problem...I could barely pry it out of my teenage daughters' hands!! I love that this edition has step by step photography instead of little sketches. A lot of these recipes I would feel totally comfortable turning them over to my daughters to cook as the recipes are so easy to understand and follow.

I've seen fairly ridiculous prices for a small box of mix to make Red Lobster's Cheddar Bay Biscuits, but you can make them here quickly and easily...and pretty cheaply! Make your own Olive Garden salad with dressing (this dressing is sooo good!!), or KFC's Grilled Chicken! Who wouldn't want to be able to make their own Cracker Barrel Chicken Fried Steak or Chili's Grilled Baby Back Ribs? All these and so many more are found in the pages of this delightful book.

Some of the recipes do require specialty items such as liquid nitrogen for Dippin' Dots or a special pan to make Twinkies or a special cutter for curly fries, but most are made with items many people typically have or are easily accessible.

This is a fun cookbook. Instead of going out to eat, why not get together as a family and make some of your favorite "eat out" foods at home!

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

The Art and Craft of Tea by Joseph Uhl

The Art and Craft of Tea: An Enthusiast's Guide to Selecting, Brewing, and Serving Exquisite Tea
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons


The author clearly is passionate about tea, and it really shows in this lovely book. Everything you need to know about tea from the history of tea, to selecting, brewing and serving tea is covered here. Beautiful photography fills the pages and draws you into the warmth of tea.

Whether you want to learn about your favorite kind of tea, or you just desire a thorough education on tea, you can find it here. Growing regions, cultivating, processing, the chemistry of tea and more are found in the pages of this jewel.

Do you crave a classic English 'cuppa', a rich cup of Russian tea, a Persian Rose tea, or an Indian spiced tea? All these and more are covered here. There are delightful recipes in the back of the book for such delicacies as Cinnamon Cream Tea, Basil Peach Tea, classic Iced/Sun Tea and more.

Though this could be considered a reference book more than a cookbook, it's really much more. I highly recommend this for tea lovers everywhere.

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

Per La Famiglia by Emily Richards

My rating: 5 of 5 spoons


Mamma Mia!! What a delightful book! "For the Family" encapsulates how and why I cook, and this book is filled with the delicious food I love to prepare for my family.

Every Italian cookbook has their own Homemade Tomato Sauce recipe and, for me, how that turns out says a lot about how I'll feel about the rest of the cookbook. The Homemade Tomato Sauce is easy and delicious. It just takes a few minutes to get the ingredients going on the stove where it simmers on its own while you do other things. It was a huge hit with my family as well as at the church potluck. I've made two batches so far and both turned out delicious. I will be making this often!

I have made multiple trips to Sicily, and one of the things I would bring back for my kids were Amaretti--little crunchy almond-flavored cookies. I was thrilled to see a recipe for them! They are not the same color or quite the same texture (the ones we brought back were crunchy all the way through while the inside of these are soft), but the flavor is the same. They are amazing!! Once again, these were a huge hit at the church potluck with multiple women asking for the recipe. They are so quick and easy to make as well! These are going on my Christmas cooking list this year!!

From a simple Spaghetti Carbonara to Prosciutto and Ricotta Chicken Roll Ups, Cassata Sicilian and a version of my beloved Arancini, this cookbook is filled with lovely photos and delightful recipes. It includes menus for family celebrations, special chapters on Christmas and Easter along with all the normal chapters such as Antipasti, Pizza e Pane, First Courses and Light Meals, Main Courses, Vegetables and Salads, Desserts, and Cookies.

I love this cookbook. It easily won its way to my favorites shelf and I know I will cook from it often. I highly recommend it to everyone!

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

December 7, 2015

Crossroads by Tal Ronnen

Crossroads: Extraordinary Recipes from the Restaurant That Is Reinventing Vegan Cuisine
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons


I am not a vegan, but this is a gorgeous cookbook!! I would feel very comfortable cooking for a vegan using these recipes, and many I would enjoy on my own. Bloomsdale Salad with Black Garlic Vinaigrette, beautiful breads, Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms with Shallots and Toasted Almonds (oh, my!), Summer Berry Galette...where do you begin?!

There are gorgeous pasta recipes which are great cooked according to the recipe, but can be made for meat lovers by switching out ingredients such as a regular sausage for the vegan sausage in the Bolognese sauce. Salads, flatbreads, desserts and more fill this delightful book.

The book itself is a work of art. It is beautifully bound with gorgeous photos abounding throughout calling out to you to get in the kitchen and start cooking. So, what are you waiting for?!

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

December 5, 2015

The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook by Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez

The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook: Artisanal Baking from Around the World
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons


Oh, my! I am a complete bread addict, and I love to bake. This book is just perfection for me. The chapters move seamlessly from Primordial Bread: Unleavened Flatbreads to Slightly Elevated: Leavened Flatbreads, Masa y Mas: Tortillas and More, The Dark, Crusty Loaf: Lean Bread and Rolls, Challah and Beyond: Enriched Breads, Rolls and Buns, Filled Doughs From Around the World, Short and Sweet: Quick Breads and Holiday Breads and Waste Not: What to Do With Leftover Bread.

The cover of the book just grabbed me immediately with the gorgeous photo of Nan-e Barbari bread, and that's exactly what I made first. The scent of the bread wafting through the house nearly drove us nuts for the 18 minutes it was in the oven, and the flavor is absolutely amazing!! It is a leavened flatbread, and was so easy to make. I'm sure I'll be making it again.

I love that it's not JUST bread recipes, but things to do with the bread (and not just in the Waste Not chapter) such as Monkey Bread using leftover Challah dough, Roast Pork Belly Bahn Mi With "The Works" using the Bahn Mi Baguettes and more.

I only see one problem with this book, and that's deciding which recipe to use next! Well, the only other issue is how many pounds am I going to put on because of this book! Seriously, this is an amazing book that I cannot recommend highly enough. It has definitely found its way to my favorites shelf!

I received a copy of this book from Clarkson Potter Publishers through the Blogging for Books Program for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Slow Cooker Desserts by Roxanne Wyss

Slow Cooker Desserts: Oh So Easy, Oh So Delicious!
My rating: 3 of 5 spoons


As a stay-at-home, homeschool mom I absolute love my slow cooker!! I use it often, and I was really excited to get this book. I have to be honest. I was a little disappointed, though. It starts promisingly with cheesecakes and cakes. Ah, but there's a catch! These all use a 7-inch springform pan in a 5 qt or larger slow cooker. I know you can make cakes straight in the slow cooker--I have done it before. It was just a disappointment that NONE of the cake recipes are made outside of a springform pan.

Pushing down my disappointment, I made the Warm Brownie Pudding. A self-saucing, fudgy brownie...what's not to love?! It was okay. It wasn't bad, but it didn't wow me.

Apple Butter is great made in a slow cooker, but be aware if you don't like yours super sweet, you might want to cut down on the sugar. They call for a combination of Granny Smith and Jonathan, and you definitely need some sugar with Granny Smith apples, but 1 1/3 c brown sugar is a bit much. I, personally, like to use a sweeter apple and not even add sugar, or just add a bit of fruit juice.

The fruit crisps are sure winners. Luscious, dripping with fruity goodness, they are sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Chocolate Cashew Clusters are a no brainer. Who wouldn't love these?! Yum!! I need to try the Crispy Peanut Butter Candy for my kids. I'm sure they'd love it as well.

There are some great hits and a few misses in this book. If you're a die-hard slow cooker fan, this book is definitely for you. If you want cakes, though, you'll have to find a 7-inch springform pan, or re-work some of the recipes to go straight in the cooker. Happy Cooking!

I received a copy of this book from St. Martin's Press through the Lisa Ekus Group for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Blue Ribbon Baking by Linda Amend

Blue Ribbon Baking
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons


I love to bake, and now I'm trying to pass that on to my kids. What's not to love about blue ribbon baking recipes?

I started with the Cheese Bread. I wanted something quick for supper, and we all love cheese, so it seemed perfect. There was only one problem. I probably should have made two loaves!! It was excellent. The crumb texture was so nice as it is in quick breads, and when your butter melted into the warm slices it just became a little bit of heaven!

The cookies are a nice selection of classics. The Fudgy Mocha Cookies are a delight! There are brownies and bars galore, cakes for any taste, frostings and fillings (including my all-time favorite, lemon curd!), pies of all kinds, quick breads, muffins, yeast breads and pastries. The only problem is so many choices, so little time!

This is a great cookbook, especially for beginning bakers that need clear instructions and tried-and-true recipes. The instructions are easy to read and understand. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am happy to recommend it.

I received an F&G ("folded and gathered", unbound pre-print) from Pelican Publishing for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Celebrating the Foods of New Mexico by Susan D. Curtis

Santa Fe School of Cooking: Celebrating the Foods of New Mexico
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons


Classic Southwest cuisine at its best. This book made me want to visit New Mexico as soon as possible!! My daughters and I could just sit and make a meal of the homemade flour tortillas...they're that good! I need to get a tortilla press as I really want to try the corn tortillas, as well.

I grew up on the Southern version of chicken enchiladas--cream of chicken and cream of celery soup formed the base of the sauce. Now, I knew this wasn't authentic, but it's what I'd had and what I had been taught to make. It wasn't something we had very often and there were so very many new things to try that I hadn't gotten around to getting a good, southwest recipe. Well, look no further! The Green Chile and Chicken Enchiladas in this lovely book are amazing!! I made the homemade green chile sauce from the recipe in the book, though I used store bought corn tortillas (see above). I was a little concerned when putting it together as there didn't seem to be a lot of sauce for the amount of tortillas and chicken. No worries. It was perfection! My youngest can't handle spice of any kind, so I made her something else (this is NOT a hot dish, but green chiles of any kind get to her), but everyone else in the family absolutely loved it. This recipe alone puts this book on my favorites shelf!! Don't limit yourself, though. There are so many more lovely recipes to cook! I really want to try the Goat Cheese Enchiladas with Tomatillo Sauce, Lamb-Stuffed Green Chiles with Fresh Tomato Puree, Glazed Shrimp and Chorizo Skewers....I could go on and on.

From your basic tortillas to salsas & sauces, salads, tamales, desserts and more, there is definitely something for about everyone here. Not every recipe has a photo by any means, but the photos that are included are very nice. There's a great little section in the beginning on the history of the Santa Fe Cooking School as well. Give it a try. It's a great cookbook that I'm delighted to recommend!

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

November 21, 2015

Foster's Market Favorites by Sara Foster

My rating: 4 of 5 spoons


A sumptuous feast for the eyes and palate, Foster's Market Favorites is a delightful cookbook sure to become a favorite. From old favorites done right such as roasted vegetables, Tortillas and Simple Herb Spaghetti with Greens, Pesto and Parmesan, to new, bold flavors such as Roasted Chicken and Bread Salad with Pan Juice Vinaigrette or Thai-Style Pot Roast with Fat Noodles, there is so much to choose from.

The Potato Leek Soup was a touch on the bland side for me, but that's easily fixed. On the other hand, the Lemon Bars are divine! Herb Cheddar Biscuits are sure to become a guilty pleasure (2 sticks of butter in the dough as well as the cheese!), and Savory Cheese Crisps just made it on my Christmas Eve Snacks for Supper list.

The book is great quality, and the photographs are superb. Holidays are coming...this could be just what that Southern food loving person on your list needs! I highly recommend it.

I received a copy of this book from Story Farm, LLC for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

So Jane by Hollie Keith

So Jane: Crafts and Recipes for an Austen-Inspired Life: Crafts and Recipes for an Austen-Inspired Life
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons


My daughters and I love Jane Austen, so this book is perfect for us. From cute crafts to yummy recipes, it's all things Austen. The book is divided into sections. Each section is based on one of Austen's novels. The Patchwork Fabric Bowl (Northanger Abbey) is adorable, and the Key to My Heart Children's Apron (Persuasion) is to cute for words as is the "I ♥ Mr. Darcy Pillow"...and I'm sure we all know that novel! Patterns are included in the back of the book.

The recipes range from the simple Assortment of Cheeses to the more complex Cheesecake, though none are particularly complicated. I like that as my mid-teen girls can easily make about anything in this book without my help. They love having tea parties, so they can easily get in the kitchen and make their own fancy sandwiches, Scones, Cakes, Baked Apples and more.

This is a darling book for any Austen lover. It would make a great Christmas gift for the Austenite in your life! I definitely recommend it!

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

Making Dough by Russell van Kraayenburg

Making Dough: Recipes and Ratios for Perfect Pastries
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons


Let me just start by saying this book is worth every penny if just for the Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie recipe. Oh, my!! I substituted wheat flour for the crust and accidentally added too much liquid which meant I had to add more flour, work it more and that left me with a somewhat tough crust and it was STILL amazing! I didn't use the bourbon,! I'll be making it again in a few days for Thanksgiving!!

I would love to get each of my girls a copy of "Making Dough" before they leave home. It's just that good. All the classic pastry doughs you could ever need are covered in this book along with delectable recipes using them. From a simple Biscuit or Scone, to Shortcrust, Sweetcrust, Pate a Choux (Lemon Curd Eclairs are amazing!!), Brioche, Puff Pastry, Rough Puff Pastry, Croissant, Danish and Phyllo are all covered with a handful of recipes using each.

Charts, diagrams, ratios and photos abound along with clear, easy to follow instructions make this a great book for anyone from a very new beginner to someone who is used to making easier doughs and are ready to move on to the more complex such as Croissant, Puff Pastry and Phyllo doughs. This is a great quality book that I am happy to highly recommend to anyone interested in baking. Holidays are just around the corner, so it's time to get baking!!

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

November 20, 2015

Puglia by Tara Russell

My rating: 5 of 5 spoons


Phaidon has one again shown it's commitment to high quality in this gorgeous cookbook. Good quality paper, sewn binding, double ribbon bookmarks and the lovely cover and dustjacket come together for a heirloom quality book. This is a book I would be happy to pass down to my children and grandchildren. As they share my love for Italy and its cuisine, I know they would delight in it.

Puglia and it's sister region Basilicata (which is also covered in the book) is a lovely section of Italy--tucked into the heel and instep of the book--whose land and cuisine is somewhat overlooked. That is a pity as you will see soon after opening this book. History and food go hand in hand in this gorgeous book. I love Sicily (and Phaidon's book on it!), but this book makes me want to visit Puglia as well. Between the beauty shown in the photos and the delectable recipes, this is not a region that should be overlooked!

Most if not all of the recipes include a gorgeous color photo of the dish. While there are always at least a few recipes that don't interest me (I'm not much on octopus or squid. I have tried it, but just don't care for it), most of these had me drooling over them. Agnello con Finocchietti (Lamb with Wild Fennel) looks amazing. The fennel is just starting to show up in the grocery store here, so I'll have to try it soon. Polo Ripieno (Stuffed Chicken) is absolutely delicious. Try a different version of gnocchi with Gnocchi di Ricotta con Pesto di Zucchini e Tartufo (Ricotta gnocchi with courgette pesto and truffle) which makes the gnocchi with ricotta cheese. In the mood for fresh pasta? Try the Strascinati con Pomodoro e Basilico, a simple Puglian pasta with tomatoes and basil or mix it up with Lagana Chiapputa, a pasta and almond dessert! Fusilli con la Mollica (Fusilli with Bread) may have become my new favorite quick pasta dish.

There is so much to love about this cookbook. It has definitely earned it's way on to my favorites shelf. Give it a try, I think you'll love it!

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

Maggie Beer's Winter Harvest by Maggie Beer

Maggie Beer's Winter Harvest
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons


I'm in love. I don't know why, but this cookbook drew me in from the first moment. From the delight of the author's writing to the delectable recipes, this is a lovely book. The ONLY thing that could improve it would be more photos of the dishes, but it is still a wonderful cookbook. The author is from Australia, so be aware if you're from a different hemisphere that her "winter harvest" would be more like our summer.

The book is not divided by course, but by ingredients in alphabetical order. You start with Cavolo Nero (Italian black cabbage) and end with Witlof (a form of chicory) and a small section on Basics--recipes for stocks, spice mixtures and sauces. Some of the ingredients are by type more than one ingredient such as Offal or Root Vegetables, but there is a good index if you're looking for something in particular.

Some ingredients might be harder to find, but many are well worth the effort. The recipes range from the simple such as Carmelized Onion Salad, Leek Frittata (lovely!) and Pears, Parmigiano and Green Extra Virgin Olive Oil to the more complex or harder to find Kangaroo Tail Pie, Braised Pork Belly, Cotechino and Green Lentils or Seared Duck Breasts with Chestnuts, Bacon and Vino Cotto-Glazed Radicchio.

This is the second of four cookbooks from Ms. Beer, one for each season. I can't wait to check out the others!

I received a copy of this book from Penguin Books Australia through Independent Publisher's Group for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

How to Cook a Moose by Kate Christensen

How To Cook A Moose
My rating: 3 of 5 spoons


The title alone made me want to read this book. I lived in Alaska for ten years and have eaten moose more times that I can count in many, many different ways. Add the fact that the book is all about Maine, one of my very favorite states, I couldn't wait to begin!

This is definitely more of a memoir than cookbook, which is what I normally review, but fun all the same. However, the liberal sprinkling of vulgarity kind of put me off the book for awhile, and dropped my rating.

As I mainly review actual cookbooks, I do want to focus somewhat on the recipes. Barbara Damrosch's Chicken Stew with Horseradish Cream is excellent even without the cream. This is the kind of rich soup you want to make when the family is sick, or it's cold outside and you want that warming, comfort food. It calls for the solids and the broth to be served separately, but it was easier with my family dynamic just to keep them combined. As we're finally (here in Tennessee) moving into colder weather, New England Fish Soup is on my "to make" list. It's hard to see where this recipe could go wrong!

Now I really enjoy moose meat, but I'm going to give the Jellied Moose Nose a pass. Some recipes are historical and can be very interesting (see the Mock Turtle Soup recipe that involves boiling a calf's head!), but some make you want to try them such as the Brown Bread recipe that's from the Old Yankee Cookbook.

The book itself is interesting, showing a slice of Maine life. I absolutely busted up laughing out loud at the author's description of her reaction the first time she saw a moose. Anyone who has seen a moose up close and personal (trust me, I have!) will get a good laugh out of the way she described it. I love the bits of history both of the food and the state itself.

If you don't mind sprinkles of profanity, this is a great book. The writing is good, the history fascinating and the recipes mostly delicious. If scattered F words ruin it for you, then you might want to give this one a pass.

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

Fresh Tastes from a Well-Seasoned Kitchen by Lee Clayton Roper

Fresh Tastes from a Well-Seasoned Kitchen: Over 170 Flavorful Recipes, Essential Cooking Tips & Delightful Stories to Spark Inspiration in Your Kitchen
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons


Delicious, fresh, healthy dishes--what's not to like about this cookbook?! Mushroom, Spinach and Onion Frittata with Goat Cheese uses egg whites instead of whole eggs to lighten the dish. The salad section includes delicious side salads as well as salads to use as a main dish such as Grilled Steak, Roasted Potatoes and Tomato Salad or Chicken, Blueberry and Mango Salad.

I like that there is a nice mixture of light dishes and heartier, comfort food (though usually with a healthy twist) suchc as Coq au Vin, Chicken Pot Pie, Beef Stew with Caramelized Root Vegetables (oh, my!) and more. In the fish section you can find a light and delicious Lemon-Rosemary Swordfish en Papillote or a more robust Ham and Shrimp Jambalaya. There's even a lovely pasta section. There's such a nice selection of healthier pastas these days that it's nice to include a delicious pasta dish in your weekly menu without feeling guilty about it. Vegetarians will be happy to find a section of main dishes just for them.

Side dishes run the gamut from Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, a personal favorite, to Cheese Grits Souffle and Italian Popovers. Dessert lovers, don't despair! You're covered with a delectable selection of pies, tarts, mousses, cakes, fruit & ice cream, cookies and brownies. May I just say that the Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies are to die for?!? We've made them twice already and I'm ready for another batch!

Fresh Tastes from a Well-Season Kitchen is a well rounded, delightful cookbook with something for everyone. I highly recommend it!

I received a galley proof from MLC Publishing through the Nagler Agency and Lisa Ekus Group for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Afternoon Tea by Sue Simkins

My rating: 4 of 5 spoons


This little book is full of classic recipes for afternoon tea. Whether you want a simple meal of Cheese Toast (a big hit with my daughters) and biscuits or you want to go full on with different sandwiches, Victoria Sponge Cake, Strawberry Tarts, Scones, Shortbread and more, you can find it here.

As an American, I appreciate the oven temperature conversion chart. There is also helpful equipment and an overview of different types of tea times and occasions.

The one down side to this book is the complete lack of photos. It is a simple little book with a lower quality, matte paper. I would call it the budget tea book. The recipes are great, it would just be nice to see some photos of the finished dish. That is my only issue with this book, though. Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend you give it a try.

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

November 14, 2015

Food52 Baking

Food52 Baking
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons


I love to bake, so this book was a natural choice for me. I'm definitely more of a savory than sweet kind of gal, so I thoroughly enjoyed the savory recipes. Grilled flatbreads, pizza dough, cheese crispettes and more combine with the more sweet recipes such as Brown Butter Cupcake Brownies, Chocolate Dump-It Cake, Peach Tart and Cream Cheese Cookies to create a lovely book with a little something for everyone. There's even some gluten-free options!

The book is well made with beautiful photos of the finished dishes. It's a great little cookbook to try your hand at baking. Happy Cooking!

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

November 13, 2015

The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen by Amelia Saltsman

The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen: A Fresh Take on Tradition
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons


What a gorgeous cookbook! Beautiful inside and out and filled with heavenly dishes just waiting to fill you house with luscious smells calling even the most reluctant eater to the table. Many are very simple such as Apple, Fennel and Watermelon Radish Salad, Oven Braised Romanian Chicken (yum!), Israeli Salad or the super delicious Late Spring Chicken-in-a-Pot, but utterly delectable. Try the Baked Pasta with Spinach, Ricotta and Brown Butter or surprise your family with amazing Chocolate Pavolovas with Tangelo Sorbet and Seville Orange Sauce. There are so many to choose from, and you're sure to find a delightful array of new dishes to love.

There is a section on what exactly Jewish food is and instructions on how to use the book. For instance, this is not necessarily a kosher book, but many recipes are easily adaptable to kosher guidelines just as vegetarians and vegans can easily find much to love here. There is the classic section on essential ingredients (something I personally appreciate in cookbooks highlighting other cultures), kitchen fundamentals and so forth. There is also a section of Seven Basic Recipes that are the foundation of Jewish cooking. From there it moves to the recipes which are divided into six chapters arranged two month micro-seasons beginning with September & October. This book goes the extra mile with three indexes: Recipes by Course, Recipes by Kosher Category and your classic Index. Major Jewish Holidays are listed with the Hebrew date and the Gregorian Timeframe listed and there is a nice resource guide as well.

I love the thought and care that went into this book. The author's love for the Jewish food and tradition shines through. I highly recommend you give it a try.

I received a copy of this book from Sterling Epicure through the Lisa Ekus Group for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

November 11, 2015

L'Art de la Table by Gintare Marcel

L'Art de la Table: Taste of the Mediterranean
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons


L'Art de la Table, is a gorgeous cookbook. Dreamy photos of the Mediterranean combined with succulent looking photos of most of the dishes are a feast for the soul. This book is definitely not just about feeding your soul, though! Page after page of delectable dishes make your mouth water and cry to be re-created in your own home.

I started with Berry and Cacao Nibs Breakfast Cake. I'll be honest, it was a little hit or miss, but mostly just due to different personal tastes. My husband like the cake, but said the berry/chocolate mixture didn't work for him and my youngest flat out didn't like it. Most of the others liked it but weren't overwhelmed. However, I don't expect to love every single recipe I make out of a cookbook, so we moved on.

I've made three separate visits to Sicily over the years, and my all-time, absolute favorite "street food" is Arancini. Little fried rice balls with prosciutto and a young pecorino cheese inside, they are a little bit of heaven! These are slightly different using parmigiano instead of pecorino and no meat (thought it would be easy to add some meat and change the cheese), but are still amazing little bites sure to create fans everywhere. I like that they made them small, snack size. Arancini in Sicily are around the size of an orange (which they are named for!), but these are great for appetizers.

Tomato Carpaccio is just flat out amazing. We've done something similar for years, though I had never added the cheese. I'm not really sure why as I'm a complete cheeseaholic, but I will definitely add the cheese now! For my final dish, I made the Chicken Drumsticks with Roasted Garlic. Wow! The dish is so simple to prepare, but the taste is amazing!! Lemon, garlic and thyme create a marriage of flavors completely infusing the chicken that takes is up a notch...or two. These were a huge hit with my family and I, and destined for our list of favorite dishes to be made repeatedly.

I am far from done cooking from L'Art de la Table! From Olive Oil Buns to Double Chocolate Panna Cotta, there are many, many dishes on my "have to try" list.

I am very impressed by this cookbook. From the nice weight in your hands to the quality binding, gorgeous photography and delectable food, this cookbook is a sure winner and has easily earned it's place on my favorite cookbooks shelf. I highly recommend it!

I received a copy of this book from Aerial Media Company through Perseus Distribution for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

November 5, 2015

New England Farmgirl by Jessica Robinson

New England Farmgirl: Recipes & Stories from a Farmer's Daughter
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons


I love New England. It's been a not-so-secret wish of mine for some time now to someday live in the area--preferably Maine. Until then, I love to soak up lovely cookbooks and food from the area. This beautiful book is right up my alley! I had a huge sweet craving right after receiving this book (which is unusual for me--normally I crave salty stuff), so I tried out the Farmhouse Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookies. They immediately became a family favorite! I didn't have maple sugar, so I just added a dollop of maple syrup and they were scrumptious!

We love authentic baked beans around here, so next up was Pop's Baked Beans. I splurged awhile ago and bought a traditional bean pot that I love to use, so out it came. I was a little nervous with the amount of ketchup the recipe called for, especially as that's all you smelled for the first hour or so, but they mellowed out and were very good. They were a little sweeter than I typically like, but I am definitely in the minority on that! That's also an easy fix if you prefer more savory beans. Rustic Herb Potatoes and Herb-Roasted Chicken are scrumptious. Pair those with the Buttermilk Biscuits and you have a wonderful meal.

This cookbook isn't just pretty with a few yummy-looking recipes, but something I will want to cook out of for a long time to come. Maple-Nut Fudge is on my list for holiday cooking this year. I can't wait to try her Maine Lobster Stew and the Creamy Cheddar and Broccoli Soup as the days get colder and soups are the order of the day. We're in the middle of a warm snap (it's November and the windows are all open in the house as it's a balmy 68 with a high of 73 today!!), so soups will wait a little longer.

I could go on and on listing recipes that I want to try or even recipes I want to make again, but suffice it to say that this is a great cookbook that I am happy to highly recommend! I thoroughly enjoyed it and hope you will to. Let's get cooking!

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

October 24, 2015

Le French Oven by Hillary Davis

Le French Oven
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons


My husband, (who knows me so well!) bought me the perfect Christmas gift last year--a gorgeous, 6-qt enameled Dutch oven, or as they're called in this book, a French oven. I love it!! When I first heard about the cookbook called Le French Oven, I thought it was French food made in the oven. I was thrilled when I saw it was all about French/Dutch oven cooking!

This is a gorgeous book, with breathtaking photos of both food and France, that pulls you in and keeps the pages turning. The biggest issue was deciding what to cook first!! Due to various circumstances, I wasn't able to run to the store to pick up specific items, so that limited me somewhat. I had some sirloin steaks in the freezer, so I pulled them out and decided to tweak the "Beer-Braised Brisket" recipe to fit. I don't cook with beer, and I was out of cooking wine, so I ended up using broth instead. Now, I think it would have been a little better with cooking wine, but it was still an excellent dish that my family would be happy for me to make again! Even the 6-year-old had a second helping--and she doesn't normally with beef unless it's hamburgers or meatballs!

Simply Delicious Roasted Vegetables? Definitely a keeper. Lemon Lovers' Panna Cotta with Lemon Curd? Are you kidding?!? I think I just died and went to Heaven!! I'm currently out of fresh basil, but Homemade Basil Garlic Bread is next on my list--I refuse to compromise and used dried for this dish! Fondue Mac 'n' Cheese is a close second. I could go on and on on dishes I want to make from this book there are so many. That, to me, is the mark of a great cookbook. I've had beautiful cookbooks before that there were really only a few recipes I was interested in cooking, but this one I'd say easily 50-75% of the recipes I want to try.

This is a great cookbook that I would highly recommend to anyone. It's well made, beautiful, and filled with delightful recipes. What more can you ask of a cookbook?

I received a copy of this book from Gibbs-Smith, Publisher for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

October 20, 2015

Maple by Katie Webster

Maple: 100 Sweet and Savory Recipes Featuring Pure Maple Syrup
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons


I'm a busy home school mom of four--three of them in high school. While I love to cook, with this crazy life sometimes I get a bit lazy about some the little things in cooking--little touches that make the difference between a good dish and a great dish. This cookbook has just changed that. I was in the mood for something sweet, so I decided to try the Maple Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies. Normally I wouldn't bother with toasting the walnuts, but I wanted to follow the recipe as completely as I could, so I toasted the walnuts in a pan before mixing the cookies. Wow! It's such a little thing, but between toasting the nuts and adding the maple syrup (I didn't have maple sugar, so I used regular sugar with a generous dollop of maple syrup), they were amazing!! They were a huge hit with my family and moved this cookbook to my "hang onto and cook from often" shelf.

You might think a cookbook on maple syrup would be just desserts, but there are plenty of savory dishes as well. I'm making Maple Glazed Carrots as a side dish with supper tonight. We love baked beans around here so the Sap Baked Beans are on my list to make soon as are the Maple Spiced Pecans. They will go well with our snacky supper we usually do for Thanksgiving night and Christmas Eve.

If you like maple syrup at all, this is a great cookbook for you! Some great history, how-to's for tapping your own sugar maples should you have any, a guide to grades of syrup and so forth just add to the cookbook. I highly recommend it!

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

Tacos by Alex Stupak

Tacos: Recipes and Provocations
My rating: 3 of 5 spoons


I love tacos. Frankly, I love tortillas, and just about anything you can do with them. I have fond memories of a missions trip to Mexico when I was a little girl and some of the local ladies fed us with fresh tortillas and frijoles, or living in a tiny village in Alaska and wanting tacos, so my dad and I made them from scratch. I was so excited to get this book and dive into real, authentic Mexican tacos. Ummm, not so much. There is some great recipes for basic tortillas and tacos, but there are far more recipes for.....interesting variations.

The book has a great beginning with sections on the Mexican pantry and types of chilis. From there it moves on to tortillas, including a recipe for making your own masa, before moving into what it calls neo-traditional tortillas. Beet, saffron, pistachio, buckwheat, chicken (yes, that's shredded chicken right in the dough) and more swim before you. From tortillas you move to salsas and then into tacos.

The salsa section is very full and fairly complete. It's great to browse through and find your favorite salsas to make yourself. The taco section, on the other hand left me wanting a good, authentic, classic Mexican taco. Cheeseburger, pastrami, pork rind tacos, tripe, fava and blood sausage, black bean hummus and more fill the pages with not a glimmer of a classic bean or ground meat taco anywhere to be found.

If you want a classic, authentic taco, good luck finding it here. If you like exotic food with odd combinations or just pushing the boundaries in food, this book is for you.

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

October 19, 2015

Fresh Made Simple by Lauren Keiper Stein

Fresh Made Simple: A Visual Recipe Guide to Light Meals & Snacks
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons 


This little book caught be by surprise. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn't this! Cute graphics take the place of true recipes with general (if any) amounts and instructions. Amounts are often spoken of as "lots", "a bunch", "a squeeze", "a sprinkling", "a handful" and so forth. The title does say "Made Simple", but sometimes it seems to take it a bit to the extreme, such as the Pistachio Nut Mix. Raisins, Dried Cherries, Honey Roasted Sesame Sticks and Roasted, Unsalted & Shelled Pistachios. No amounts, just "Give a shake to mix." The Tomato Slices on pg 111 are very similar to what we do often around here, only we usually add oregano. Very easy and very delicious and the Black and White Bark is something my kids would love (minus the cranberries--none of them like cranberries!).

I would say that most people who are seasoned cooks might not be enthralled with this book, but I do think it has its place. It's perfect for children or very new cooks. It won't overwhelm them with long lists of ingredients (usually 5 or less per recipe) or long, involved instructions. Quick, simple, and pretty healthy recipes with colorful graphics will interest most kids. That alone makes it worth it.

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

October 7, 2015

From India by Kumar Mahadevan

From India: Food, Family & Tradition
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons 


May I just say that this is a beautiful book! The cover is blue padded fabric with a gorgeous design that you just want to drink in. Moving to the inside, it just keeps getting better. A feast for your eyes as well as your palate, "From India" is filled with mesmerizingly beautiful photos both of food, as well as what looks to be family heirlooms. "Vannakkam" means "welcome" in Tamil, and this book welcomes you into the Mahadevan kitchen and their lives. You are drawn in and part of you wants to drink in the beauty of the book, while the rest of you wants to run for the kitchen and start cooking!

I do recommend you pick up a few essential ingredients before you begin cooking out of this book. Items such as green cardamom, ghee, cumin seeds, curry leaves, chili powder (NOT the American version!) and more are used liberally throughout. Very few, if any, recipes can be made with pantry items on hand unless you keep Indian and/or Asian items readily available. Even a simple Pistachio Ice Cream calls for ground cardamom.

I would have to say, this is probably my favorite Indian cookbook I've reviewed to date. It is a feast for the senses, inside and out. The recipes are delectable, and easy to follow. If a particular recipe takes a long time or in especially complicated, the author notes that, which is very nice. It would be nice if the recipes had the approximate time needed to execute the dish. While not necessary, it is a help for anyone not used to cooking Indian food to have an idea of how much time they can expect the execution of that dish to take.

This really is an amazing book. Give it a try, and take a trip to India with your family tonight from your own kitchen. Happy cooking!

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

October 5, 2015

Paleo Italian Cooking by Cindy Barbieri

Paleo Italian Cooking: Authentic Italian Gluten-Free Family Recipes
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons 


Much of true Italian cooking is innately healthy, but this book takes it a step further to gluten free. Now, I don't have a problem with gluten, but I like to have recipes that I can make for friends that are allergic or have celiac disease. This book is perfect for that.

Paleo Italian Cooking begins with articles and information including The Paleo Italian Lifestyle, The Seasons and Savors of Italy, Cooking Methods and Tips and more. From there you move to basic recipes: Italian Pickled Vegetables, Chicken Broth and Veal Stock. From Basic Recipes you move to Sauces & Condiments, Appetizers & Salads, Brunch, Tuscan Favorites, Soups, Stews & Chili, Meat & Poultry Main Courses, Seafood Main Courses, For Pasta Lovers, Side Dishes and end with Desserts.

There are plenty of old favorites in here. Chicken Scalloppine in Lemon-Caper Sauce is a definite favorite in my family. We love the clean, crisp flavors, and it's so easy to make! Likewise, the Salmon with Lemon, Capers & Thyme is truly delicious. Lemon and capers are paired often in Italian cuisine, and it's a great match with the chicken or fish among other things. You won't miss pasta so much after trying the Spaghetti Squash with a Chicken Ragu. The Roasted Carrots & Butternut Squash make a delectable side dish. I haven't made it to the desserts yet, but I can't wait to make the Custard Pie with Pine Nuts and Almonds...or any of the other desserts! They all look amazing.

The recipes are clear and easy to follow, and most--if not all--of the recipes have a beautiful picture so you can see what the end result should be. While having photos for each dish is not make or break when it comes to buying a cookbook for me, it definitely helps make the decision easier!

This is a great cookbook. I am happy to highly recommend it, not only to those who have to eat gluten-free or are living a paleo lifestyle, but to anyone who truly loves Italian cuisine. Now, who wants some Pistachio-Almond Biscotti? I think I'll go make some right now!

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

September 24, 2015

Einkorn by Carla Bartolucci

Einkorn: Recipes for Nature's Original Wheat
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons


I don't have a gluten intolerance that I know of, but I know many people that do. The history of this wheat fascinated me and I couldn't wait to try it. My book looks like a porcupine with all the bits of paper sticking out of recipes I want to try! They look all look so delicious!

I'm a Southern girl, so biscuits are a big part of my life. I had to try the Cheddar Bacon Biscuits. I left out the bacon this first time as I was fighting a migraine (that tells you how bad I wanted to start cooking from this book!) and didn't feel like messing with it. The prep work and rolling out is very different from how I'm used to making biscuits, but I pressed on anxious to see how they turned out.

It definitely wasn't a typical, Southern biscuit, but then I wasn't really expecting it to be. It was kind of a cross between a biscuit and a cheese straw--and you won't find me complaining about that as I love both!! It's definitely given me the incentive to try more recipes. Now it's just deciding among the multitude which one to do next!

This is a great cookbook for people who are gluten intolerant or cook for those who are, or are just trying to eat healthier. There is a wide variety of recipes that will keep you cooking for a long time. Get some einkorn flour, and give it a go!

I received this book from Blogging for Books for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

August 19, 2015

Seven Spoons by Tara O'Brady

Seven Spoons: My Favorite Recipes for Any and Every Day
My rating: 3 of 5 spoons

Starting from the cover, this book is beautiful and really captured my attention. Moving into the book, it became not as interesting. Long, complicated recipes made with obscure ingredients are not uncommon, and many of the recipes are just not interesting to me. There seems to be a fairly strong Middle Eastern influence in her recipes, which are interesting at times, but not something I cook or enjoy often. Few of the recipes in the book are something I'd just up and cook for a regular week-night supper.

Overall, while this book is not really something I'll cook from very often, it is something many would enjoy.

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

August 12, 2015

The Broad Fork by Hugh Acheson

The Broad Fork: Recipes for the Wide World of Vegetables and Fruits
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons

What a lovely book! Three simple recipes and then a complex one for a wide range of fruits and vegetables giving a nice variety of ideas for each. Not all the recipes are vegetarian, but I like that variety. After all, "variety is the spice of life"!

Recipes are organized according to season, beginning with Fall. Fall gives you apples, eggplant, figs, sweet potatoes, pecans and more. Winter is the season of broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, turnips, winter squash and so forth. Spring brings artichokes, asparagus, beets, carrots, fennel, peas, among others. Summer finishes up with produce such as basil, beans, corn, leeks, melons, peppers, tomatoes and more.

Not sure what to do with that fennel? Try Fennel Salad with Anchovies, Lemon and Roasted Tomatoes. Want to do something new with brussels sprouts? How about some Roasted Chicken Thighs Over Barley and Brussels Sprout Risotto? (My mouth is watering right now!) I'm dying to try the Mussels with Porcini, Mustard and Cream and Seared Scallops with Corn, Spinach and Bacon is a must!

There is so much to try in this gorgeous cookbook. Everyone can find something amazing to cook!! Give it a try and wow your family with something new.

My one problem with this cookbook is language. A sear word in large letters right on the inside cover, and at least one more in the cookbook. Sorry, but I hate swearing,w and it's particularly grating to me in a cookbook. I removed one star due to that. Otherwise, it's a great book.

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

August 6, 2015

Pasta by Hand by Jenn Louis

Pasta by Hand: A Collection of Italy's Regional Hand-Shaped Pasta
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons

This book is more about dumplings than "pasta" per se, but is still a great book--especially for beginners. The dumpling recipes are divided by area (I was very disappointed to see Sicily completely left out!), and then followed by sauce recipes. There is a nice variety of pastas and sauces; enough to keep you busy for some time to come! Try the Gnocchi alla Romana, Potato Trofie with Pesto or Spatzli with Sage and Speck. Mix it up or go traditional--there's something for everyone.

Invite some friends over, make some pasta together and enjoy the food and fellowship. Mangia!

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

The Land Where Lemons Grow by Helena Attlee

The Land Where Lemons Grow: The Story of Italy and Its Citrus Fruit
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons

I realize that this is not a book everyone is going to fall in love with. It is, however, a very fascinating book for me. I fell in love with the citrus in Sicily and this book pulled me in from the beginning. There is a great combination of story, humor, history and even a few recipes to keep you interested. There are a few places that move a little slowly, but overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was enjoyable to read about the bizarre varieties of lemons in ancient gardens (which brought to mind the lemons we had in Sicily that the pith was the most delicious part!) and the history of citrus throughout Italy. I'm impressed that the author could take such a tiny point of interest and turn it into a fascinating book. Well done!

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