March 30, 2016

Courtyard Kitchen by Natalie Boog

Courtyard Kitchen: Recipes and Growing Tips for Herbs and Potted Fruits
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons


When I first receive a cookbook to review, I flip through it marking dishes that initially catch my eye and make me want to make them. Some have 2 or 3 markers from that first time through and more are added as I go back through the cookbook for a more in-depth look. This beautiful book looked like a porcupine from the first time through it had so many markers!

Some of the recipes I’ve marked I won’t be making until later in the season when I actually start harvesting from my garden, but others I dove into immediately. Thyme and Lemon Cookies immediately grabbed my eye as I love both of these flavors, separately or combined. The dough did not turn out as the recipe described, but I put it through a cookie press instead, and they still turned out lovely. They have a light, delicate flavor that are quite addicting!

For supper tonight, I made the Pork San Choy Bau. I’ve been wanting to make this, so I was excited to see the recipe here. Very simple to make with lovely flavors. This is a great lunch or dinner you can make quickly and easily and be satisfied that you’re serving a fairly healthy meal as well!

The book is divided into chapters according to herb with the last three chapters being Chilli, Lemon and Strawberry, which makes it nice to find recipes for whatever herb you have on hand to cook with. There are so many wonderful recipes in this book. The Flourless Orange and Rosemary Cake is next up on my 'to cook' list, and I'll be making the Couscous with Herbs and Almonds soon. I'm sure to be cooking out of it for a long time to come! Pick up a copy and see for yourself. It's a great cookbook you can use over and over again.

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

Tasting Rome by Katie Parla

Tasting Rome: Fresh Flavors and Forgotten Recipes from an Ancient City
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons


Ahhhh! Food from my favorite country! Although I’ve never spent time in Rome itself apart from the airport (another story in itself!), I love the flavors of Italy and I waited with great anticipation for this book. It does not disappoint!

Tasting Rome is not just a cookbook. Filled with history, tidbits of information and photos that draw you in and make you long to be there, Tasting Rome is an experience. After the introduction, a section on Rome: Then and Now and a section entitled About This Book (none of which should be skipped over!), the book is divided into sections entitled Snacks, Starters and Street Food, Classic and Variations, Cucina Ebraica (food from the Jewish Quarter), Quinto Quarto (The Fifth Quarter, or offal based recipes), Verdure (Vegetables), Bread and Pizza, Sweets, and Drinks.

One of the things I love about Italian food is the simplicity of so many of its dishes. For instance, Insalata di Misticanza (Micro Green Salad with Hazelnuts and Pecorino), there’s only six ingredients, but those six ingredients combine for a salad that is both simple and delightful. Gnocchi di patate di Arcangelo Dandini (Arcangelo Dandini’s Potato Gnocchi) have 4 ingredients plus the sauce of your choice. Now, I have had gnocchi one other time in my life. They were premade and vacuum sealed and they were terrible! Heavy and chewy, they were not pleasant to eat, so I assumed I just didn’t like gnocchi until I learned years later that they are supposed to be light and fluffy. I just never got around to making them myself…until now. I’ve heard getting the texture right on gnocchi can be difficult and I believe it. I was still happy with how these turned out. There were a little denser and chewier than I think they really should have been, but were still very good. I’ll definitely try these again!

I’m currently searching for ‘nduja, a spreadable spicy sausage from Calabria so I can try the ‘Nduja in Carrozza, a take on Mozzarella in Carrozza where instead of mozzarella sandwiched between bread and fried, this recipe puts the ‘nduja between two slices of mozzarella and bread it before deep frying. It looks and sounds amazing!!

The Suppli Classici and Suppli Cacio e Pepe are Roman variations of the Arancini I so love from Sicily. The first is a mixture of rice, chicken livers and pork sausage in a tomato-based sauce inside, while the second is a simpler one with lots of black pepper throughout and mozzarella in the center.

There is so much to learn and love in this cookbook. Take a visit to Rome without ever leaving your home! I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!

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

March 28, 2016

The Best of Jane Grigson by Jane Grigson

Best of Jane Grigson
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons


Jane Grigson is well known for her classic cookbooks on British and European cookery, and now you can get a lovely collection of her most well-known recipes from around the world in one book. The book is divided into the following sections:
• At Home in England
• At Home in France
• Charcuterie
• The Mediterranean
• The Europeans
• The Americas
• India and the Far East
• Treats and Celebrations
Each section is then subdivided into various sub-sections. Some chapters have more subdivisions than others, but all are well done. The index is thorough, making it easy to find a recipe either by title or by main ingredient.

There is such a lovely variety of dishes from a classic Shepherd’s Pie (a favorite of mine) or Yorkshire Pudding (equally well loved in this family!) to Boeuf a la Bourguignonnne, Spanakopitta, Paella, Scandinavian Pickled Salmon, Chilli Con Carne, Stir-Fried Chicken with Mushrooms, and so much more. You’re sure to find not just something to cook, but a whole array of tempting dishes to make at home.

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

Seasons to Taste by Jonathan Bardzik

Seasons To Taste: Farm-Fresh Joy for Kitchen and Table
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons


Seasons to Taste is subtitled “Farm-Fresh Joy for Kitchen & Table”, and that’s exactly what it delivers—delectable recipes showcasing beautiful, farm (or garden) fresh produce—and proteins--that are a joy to cook. Recipes are divided by season beginning with winter and an array of gorgeous stocks to make from scratch. From a hearty beef broth, to a rich mushroom or White Chicken Stock, you’ll find all the stocks you need except a fish or seafood stock, but as there are only a couple of fish recipes, you may not miss it.

Ground Lamb with Mushrooms & Spinach showcases all three main ingredients in a delicious dish sure to impress. The Wild Mushroom and Gruyere Frittata is just amazing. (In case you hadn’t figured it out yet, I love mushrooms!) Pasta Primavera is a classic spring dish highlighting the beautiful new spring produce, while Zucchini Pappardelle Pasta showcases the beautiful new summer squashes.

Fresh Herbed Tomato Salad is a summer delight, and can easily be tweaked by substituting fresh mozzarella occasionally for a different twist. Tacos de Pescado is on my list to make this summer with instructions for making each ingredient from the marinade, to the cabbage, avocado lime crema and fish. Love minestrone soup, but hate waiting for colder months? Try the Minestrone Pasta!

If you are a pumpkin lover, you’ll love the Fall section of this book with everything from Cinderella Pumpkin Dumplings to Pumpkin Lamb Sausage Pizza, Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal and more. If you’re like me and not that into pumpkin, there’s still much to choose from such as Chive Goat Cheese Mashed Cauliflower, Sausage Apple Mushroom Stuffing (Yum!) and more.

Seasons to Taste is a feast for the senses! From the gorgeous photos to the tantalizing flavors, you’re sure to enjoy this delightful book.

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

On Toast by Kristan Raines

On Toast: Tartines, Crostini, and Open-Faced Sandwiches
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons


I am a bread addict. I love bread in about any shape or form, so what better than a cookbook devoted to great new ways to top good bread?! “On Toast” is brimming with delectable ideas for tartines, crostini and open-faced sandwiches.

The book opens with an introduction, Types of Bread, Pantry and Toasting Techniques before moving into the recipes which are divided into season beginning with Winter.

Now I had never heard of cookie butter until I read this cookbook. It includes a recipe for Apples and Cookie Butter. It sounds delightful, but I definitely don’t need new ways to add calories to my diet!

Fresh Ricotta and Olive Oil is so good. The recipe calls for spelt sourdough bread, but don’t let that limit you! Spicy Chorizo and Scrambled Egg on sourdough or wheat bread makes a nice change for breakfast. Roasted Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese—oh my!! That is a lovely morsel just bursting with flavor!

It’s not all savory, though. There are many treats for the sweet tooth, such as Strawberry and Chocolate Hazelnut Spread (utter bliss!) or Whipped Lemon Curd and Summer Berries or Raspberries and Chocolate.

This is a beautiful cookbook filled with delightful recipes and gorgeous photos. Brighten up your day with something “On Toast”!

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

Cabin Cooking by Kate Fiduccia

Cabin Cooking: Delicious Easy-to-Fix Recipes for Camp, Cabin, or Trail
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons


I’m not a big camper, but I love cooking with cast iron. “Cabin Cooking” is perfect in that regard, as it has recipes for cooking outdoors or indoors with many recipes giving you the variations of how to cook it either indoors or out.

There is a lovely variety of recipes with everything from fish, to wild game and even desserts! I started with the simple Gobbler Omelet. It’s an easy recipe to use up some of that leftover turkey (or you could use chicken as well) for a quick, delicious breakfast.

A little while ago, I finally bought a cast iron tortilla press. I’ve made my own flour tortillas before, rolling them out by hand, but I wanted to try corn tortillas and had been warned that I really needed a press to do that. This book gave me a great opportunity to make them. The corn tortilla recipe is extremely simple to make, and they turned out perfectly!! How nice to be able to make my own corn tortillas now!

There is so much more in this book. Pan Turkey and Stuffing, Garlic Salmon, Bread on a Stick, Deer Camp Stew, Baked Apples and so much more fill the pages of this delightful cookbook. Pull out your cast iron—or give in a finally invest in some cast iron!—and give these recipes a try!

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

March 15, 2016

The Scots Kitchen by F. Marian McNeill

The Scots Kitchen: Its Traditions and Recipes
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons


I struggled with reviewing this cookbook. On the one hand, I love, love, LOVE the history and charm of the book and its recipes. On the other hand, it's not the easiest book to cook out of. There are many recipes that use measurements such as "a breakfastcupful", "a crumb of a pennyloaf", "a teacupful" and more. If you are a fly by the seat of your pants kind of cook or love to throw a little of this and a little of that in a pot, you'll love this cookbook. If you need clearly defined amounts and instructions, you'll struggle here.

That said, this book is delightful!! There is so much history, tradition and lore, bits of poetry and prose and more scattered throughout. This is the kind of book to curl up in your comfy chair and just lose yourself in the pages. When you come to yourself, head to the kitchen and give it a shot! There is so much to choose from. You'll find everything from a traditional Scotch Broth to Tweed Kettle (Salmon Hash which is much better than it sounds!), Haggis, Colcannon, Floating Island, more scones, bannock and oatcakes than you can shake a stick at and so much more.

Take a trip to the Highlands from the comfort of your own home. This book is sure to delight many!

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

Maggie Beer's Spring Harvest Recipes by Maggie Beer

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


Another delightful book from Maggie Beer's Harvest series, Maggie Beer's Spring Harvest has held up the tradition of good, honest, seasonal food. As I've said before, not everything is available where I live, but there's still plenty to cook! The Roast Waxy Potatoes with Pancetta, Capers and Preserved Lemon was delightful even without the lemon! I'm waiting for good, Meyer lemons to come in season so I can preserve my own as I've not had luck finding them around here. In the meantime, the recipe was still a winner. I made them with a beautiful roasted turkey and the family was thrilled. Next up in the potato section is the Gnocchi with Crisp Sage Leaves when my sage gets big enough!

The strawberries are starting to show up in the stores from further south, so Moist Buttermilk Cake with Strawberries will be on my menu shortly. Veal pan-fried with Rosemary and Lemon melts in your mouth, and her Golden Chicken Stock recipe works great for so many things.

Recipe after recipe makes my mouth water and gets me heading for the kitchen. Give it a try and delight your family with a delicious meal tonight!

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

March 11, 2016

The Art of Traditional Italian by Lucio Galletto

The Art of Traditional Italian
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons


As anyone who knows much at all about me knows, I LOVE Italian food! Needless to say, this book was high on my list of books I wanted to review. It did not disappoint!

The book itself is gorgeous and well made. The colors pop, and the recipes are a delight. Scattered through the book is original artwork by some of Australia's finest artists. I like the fact that they are a wide variety of styles so that while some may not necessarily be something I enjoy, there are still many, many others that are lovely.

As far as the food goes....let's just say "party in my mouth" comes to mind! The recipes are easy to follow and many have a full color, full page photo to go with them. The Spaghetti alla Siciliana is simple but amazing. Orecchiette al Funghi e Salsiccia was an instant family favorite, even for those who normally don't like mushrooms! Saltimbocca alla Romano is, well, perfection on a plate!!

There are so many recipes I want to try still, and some I want to make a second time...and a get the picture. I'm sure I will be cooking out of this book for years to come. Give it a try. I'm sure you won't be disappointed!

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

My Paris Market Cookbook by Emily Dilling

My Paris Market Cookbook: A Culinary Tour of French Flavors and Seasonal Recipes
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons


Ooo la la! My Paris Market Cookbook is a cookbook sure to delight! Divided by season with information on markets and specialty shops scattered throughout, this book is filled with lovely recipes sure to tantalize your taste buds!

The first dish I cooked was a take on the authors Spring Chicken with Asparagus. We're not big on asparagus around here, so I left it out and added a few more mushrooms and magic was made. From first bite all you heard was "Mmmmmm!" as my family fell in love with this dish. Nearly everyone told me at least once "You HAVE to make this again...SOON!!".

Next I made the Lemon Zest Madeleines. The only one who didn't enjoy it was my one daughter who doesn't care for lemon desserts, and this was very lemony! I could have sat down and ate the entire pan, personally. Yum!

Breakfast brought about Baked Eggs with Fresh Chives. So simple, yet so delicious. I love them because they taste great, and you can adjust the amounts so easily. The ingredients are given for each ramekin used, with one ramekin per person. Lovely!

Next up is the Forest Foraged Walnut Cake, but I didn't want to hold up my review any longer. This is a beautiful, delightful cookbook that I highly recommend!!

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

The Rugby Pantry by Daisy Dagg & Amber Vito

The Rugby Pantry: Healthy Measures & Guilty Pleasures
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons


The wives of two rugby players from New Zealand's All Blacks teamed to create a lovely cookbook of delightful food that is (mostly) healthy as well. By the time I finished my first flip through the book, it looked like a porcupine with all the papers marking recipes I wanted to try sticking out. I cooked my first recipe that very night, the Caramelized Banana Bread. Oh, my!! Moist and luscious, this is all you could want in a banana bread!

The Zucchini Fries are an absolute treat that you don't have to feel guilty eating!! Spatchcocked Spiced Chicken with Jewelled Couscous & Raita was amazing!! I didn't actually make the Raita as I just found out that I can't eat cucumbers, but the chicken and couscous was utterly delightful! I wasn't sure how I'd feel about the dates and oranges in the couscous, but they lifted the dish and were lovely.

The Fritto Misto was fun to do with my kids as was the Vietnamese Spring Rolls. Unfortunately, the Spring Rolls were less than enjoyable as we discovered that we do not like the rice paper rolls. The filling was delicious, and the dipping sauce is absolutely divine!!

This book has easily jumped to my favorites shelf and there are still many, many recipes that I'm dying to make--I just didn't want to wait to get my review out and let people know how wonderful this cookbook really is! I am happy to give it my highest recommendation.

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

March 10, 2016

Bal's Spice Kitchen by Bal Arneson

Bal's Spice Kitchen
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons


Indian food. I love it, but I don't get it often and I'm far from an expert at making it. It doesn't help that all the specialty ingredients aren't the easiest to find around here, but I was looking forward to cooking from this book.

Many of the recipes were beyond me as I simply couldn't find the ingredients around here (I'm still finding all the specialty shops in this area), but I was over the moon to find a recipe for Gulab Jamun. About 20 years ago I attended a Festival of India in Texas. Among the dishes I tried was these delectable, syrup-soaked Indian donuts. I fell in love, but every Indian cookbook I tried didn't have the recipe. I couldn't wait to get make them myself. Warning!! These are highly addictive!! They were relatively easy to make (once I sourced the ingredients. I had no idea how hard it would be to find green cardamom, and I never did find ground anise seeds. I finally had to grind my own.), and just as delicious as I remembered. The syrup recipe makes way more than you need for the donuts, but it is awesome on pancakes!

I haven't made a huge amount out of this book so far, but the book is filled with so many delightful recipes. To be honest, it is worth it just for the Gulab Jamun! Give it a try tonight. You won't be sorry!

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

March 3, 2016

Let's Cook Italian by Anna Prandoni

Let's Cook Italian, A Family Cookbook: Cuciniamo italiano, Un ricettario di famiglia
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons


We love Italian food around our house, and my kids are learning Italian, so what could be better than a cookbook in both English AND Italian?! Each recipe is on two facing pages--the left side is in English, and the right side is Italian. This is great for supplementing their Italian learning, and is just downright fun!

I love that there is a variety of recipes that range from very easy and simple to more complex and challenging. This allows your children to grow in the kitchen without overwhelming them at the start. They can start with an easy Vermicelli in Tomato Sauce or Peas with Italian Ham and as they learn and get better in the kitchen can graduate to more difficult dishes such as Beef Rolls (Involtini di Manzo) or Piedmontese Chocolate Pudding (which is more difficult to make than it sounds with multiple steps).

Kids today are losing that valuable art of cookery what with all the convenience foods and restaurants everywhere. Bring the family together, teach your kids some valuable skills and try something Italian for dinner tonight!

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

The Whole Enchilada by Angelina Larue

My rating: 4 of 5 spoons


I love enchiladas, so I couldn't wait to cook from this book. I was somewhat surprised to find it only had 3 recipes for enchiladas (4 if you count the soup). Considering the name, I was expecting more, but forged ahead anyway. It was a nice, cold day so I decided on the Slow-Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup, and I'm so glad I did! This soup is absolutely delightful! Lightly spicy and rich, it was the perfect dish for a cold day...but that won't stop me from making it during the summer, too!

Next I decided to make a nice, hot breakfast for my family so I pulled this book back out and made the Breakfast Tacos. I had to tweak it just a touch. I didn't have Serrano ham so I actually used sausage, and I left out the crushed red pepper flakes so my youngest could eat them as well. They were delicious and reminded me of the breakfast burritos we used to get from a tiny place in Texas years ago.

Don't be deceived by the title, this is so much more than just a book of enchilada recipes. From brisket to empanadas, or tamales to handmade tortillas, you can find a bit of everything from the Southwest.

I received an F&G fro Pelican Publishing Group for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

In a While, Crocodile by Patrice Kononchek

In a While, Crocodile: New Orleans Slow Cooker Recipes
My rating: 2 of 5 spoons


New Orleans food in a slow cooker? What's not to like?! Unfortunately, several things. I wanted to love this cookbook and to use it a lot, but there were many issues. I made the Crabby Chicken to do the Crabby Chicken Salad and, while the chicken itself was fine, the chicken salad was another matter all together. The photo showed a beautifully dressed salad with cubed chicken while the recipe called for you to shred the chicken and there was no dressing to be found. I realize you can just cube the chicken if you want, but it is a pet peeve of mine for cookbooks to show you one thing while giving instructions for something different, and I would want the authentic dressing, not have to just figure something out on my own. Anyway, it was not a hit with my family.

Unfortunately, anything I tried from this cookbook pretty much had the same results. No one in my family really cared for anything from this cookbook, and we spent some time in Louisiana and lower Mississippi and they loved the food there.

If you really know what you're doing with New Orleans cuisine, you can probably tweak these recipes to get them to come out better. If you're completely new to New Orleans food, you might want to try a different book.

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

March 2, 2016

Brodo by Marco Canora

Brodo: A Bone Broth Cookbook
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons


I have just recently been introduced to bone broth and had made one batch of beef bone broth. I couldn't wait to dive into this book! Brodo is filled to the brim with information, tips and recipes to make amazing bone broth at home. I decided to go with the Golden Chicken Broth, and I was not disappointed. Such a rich, healthy, lovely broth!

I love the fact that you can do almost anything with these broths. My second daughter had her birthday today and requested Chicken Enchiladas. I used my Golden Chicken Broth to poach the chicken breasts as well as in the sauce itself. I love that I get some added health benefits even when I'm not just drinking the broth.

There are so many broths to choose from. You can start with a simple chicken broth or go with something else such as veal, lamb, duck, fish, clam, vegetable and many, many more. There are lovely recipes at the back of the book to use your new bone broth in to make delightful dishes for your family.

Join the bone broth movement! Add to your health while making delicious bone broths to drink or to cook with. It's worth it!!

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