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.