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.

Flavor Flours by Alice Medrich

Flavor Flours: A New Way to Bake with Teff, Buckwheat, Sorghum, Other Whole & Ancient Grains, Nuts & Non-Wheat Flours
My rating: 2 of 5 spoons

I love cooking healthy for my family, though I acknowledge that I don't do it as often as I should. I do try to stay away from refined, white flours so was looking for recipes using different, healthier flours. We are not gluten intolerant nor do I try to cook gluten free, so I was not looking for recipes that mix multiple flours to mimic wheat, but rather tasty recipes using healthier flours. I was very disappointed, therefore, when I realized as I browsed through this book that what seemed to me to be the majority of the recipes lean on white rice flour. Maybe it's just me, but there's not exactly a lot of nutrients in white rice flour. White rice has been bleached and pretty much everything good about it is gone, so it stands to reason that white rice flour isn't going to have much good going for it.

I love the idea of this cookbook. I would love to learn to cook with other flours such as sorghum, buckwheat and more, but it feels like cheating if in your section on sorghum, for instance, you call for 1/4 c of sorghum flour and 1 c of white rice flour or a scant 1/2 c sorghum and 1 1/3 c rice. The same thing happens over and over in all of the sections (each flour or flour family has its own section). There are some delicious looking recipes in this book, but I probably won't be cooking out of it much as to me I'll be healthier with wheat flour than white rice. I'm sorry, but this book just didn't work for me.

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

The Cafe Spice Cookbook by Hari Nayak

The Cafe Spice Cookbook: 84 Quick and Easy Indian Recipes for Everyday Meals
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons

I thoroughly enjoy Indian food, though I don't make it very often partly due to the length of time so many of the recipes take. I love this collection of delectable Indian dishes that are also easy to make in a relatively short period of time. A lovely, fragrant Lentil and Spinach Soup can be ready in as little as 45 minutes, South Indian Cabbage Slaw in 15, Milk Dumplings in Saffron Syrup (a favorite of mine!) in just 40 minutes. Now, in the age of instant everything, those may not sound like fast meals, but for an authentic, home-made Indian dish it's really good.

There is such a lovely assortment of dishes to cook here. Gorgeous color photos are scattered throughout for a significant number of the recipes. Be brave! Make your own spice mix (recipes are included) and choose a lovely Indian dish to make today.

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

Simply Ancient Grains by Maria Speck

Simply Ancient Grains: Fresh and Flavorful Whole Grain Recipes for Living Well
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons

I recently fell in love with quinoa, so I was excited to learn new ways to cook it as well as new grains to love. I can't wait to try the Quinoa Salad with Roasted Red Beets, Blood Oranges and Pomegranate--I just have to wait for blood oranges to come back in season here!

There is a multitude of delectable recipes and interesting history in this lovely cookbook. It contains everything from Lemon Pancakes with Millet and Amaranth to Warm Wild Rice Salad with Herb-Roasted Mushrooms and Parmesan (oh, my!), Flemish Beef Stew with Caramelized Onions and Rye, Roasted Portobello Mushrooms with Hazelnut Buckwheat Stuffing (yes, I love mushrooms!) and Kamut Shortbread with Hazelnuts. Find something fascinating to cook in any of the seven categories: Breakfast, Slow Mornings, Salads and Sides, Soups and Stews, Pasta, Simply Mains and Simple and Sweet.

I this book four out of five as there are multiple obscure and/or hard-to-find ingredients called for that make it more difficult to cook from this book. That is my only caveat with this book. Otherwise, I highly recommend it!

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