Tuesday, November 18, 2014

In Her Kitchen Stories and Recipes from Grandmas Around the World

While browsing through Amazon - In Her Kitchen Stories and Recipes from Grandmas Around the World by Gabriele Calimberti tugged at my heart strings.  I posted immediately in The Cookbook Junkies, my group of cookbook lovers, that I had to have it. 

Gabriele set off around the world to take photographs of grandmothers in their kitchens (for the most part there are occasional photographs of grandmothers in their living or dining rooms) along with a recipe to honor their heritage.

I love the photographs and stories of these wonderful strong women who have continued traditions with food to nourish and love their families.

There are many recipes that interest me (double cooked pork with vegetables, short ribs, spatzle, chocolate toffee trifle, tiramisu, apple and chocolate pizza) and a few that don't (primarily caterpillars in tomato sauce) - but this book isn't about the recipes - it's about the grandmothers and their love of cooking and food. 

I love this book and will turn to again and again to connect with grandmothers from around the world.

Thank you Blogging for Books for this review copy. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook and Blue Chair Cooks with Jam & Marmalade

For many years, I was fearful of canning or even making small batch jam to eat on the spot.  As profound a baker and cook as I am, I was positive that I would surely kill someone or land them in the hospital.   Jennifer Perillo's postings on Facebook of her jams and marmalades finally pushed me to pull out all my jam related cookbooks and give it a go.

In 2010, Rachel Saunders published her first book The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook, a stunning book jam packed (pun intended) with jams, jellies, marmalades and more and I had to have it.  370 plus pages of gorgeous photos and recipes.  Rachel owns The Blue Chair Fruit in San Francisco -- she named it blue chair to represent an old timely kitchen feel - a trip back in time when our grandmothers and mothers made preserves and canned.  This has become one of my favorite go to jam books.

Rachel's recipes combine unique flavors such as pear-lemon marmalade with cardamom, which happens to be one of my favorite spices and meyer lemon marmalade with mandarin and lavender.  You could make a different recipe a week for two years and not have a repeat -- so many wonderful ideas.

I did make the pear-lemon marmalade with cardamom right after I got the book and it was delicious.   At that time I wasn't taking so many photos of everything I made -- it was tangy, sweet and had a warmth from the cardamom.  I had given a jar to a neighbor and the jar was returned in hopes for a refill.

In October, I was thrilled to learn that Rachel recently published Blue Chair Cooks with Jams and Marmalade

Rachel has produced yet another stunning must have cookbook this time including recipes to incorporate her jams and other creations as key ingredients in every meal.  Recipes that scream make me include coconut pain de mie, chocolate-orange babka, marmalade kugelhopf, black walnut and caraway scones, jamlettes (an egg crepe like omelette with jam - oh my),  coconut jam, tomato-coconut soup, chickpea-carrot soup with turmeric and lamb, faro tagliatelle with mushrooms, radicchio and speck.  There are drinks, jams, breads, soups, vegetables, meats and desserts and so much more.  I am a huge fan of jams and fruits combined with savory items such as proteins --- and cannot wait to try some of these recipes.  Goat's milk caramel and apple crostata  and Swedish cheesecake with almond and orange notes were two that stood out to me in the dessert section.
I cannot express how much I love these two books -- not only gorgeous but a wealth of information and recipes that will become favorites in your home.
In the next weeks, I have a few things planned to try out and I'll edit this post and share those  photos and results.  I wanted to post this today because I was reading the book the last few days and just fell in love and wanted you to check it out for yourselves - sooner rather than later.

Eat by Nigel Slater

Nigel Slater -- Britian's foremost food writer (actually I think Nigella should have that title because ...Nigella!) threw together this little book of 600 meal ideas to get food on the table fast. 

I'm not a fan of fast food -- or books with "easy" in the title - but I have to admit like anyone else - some days you just want to put food on the table.  When those days come around, this book will give you plenty of ammunition. 

I have to admit nothing in the book overwhelmed me as innovative -- chorizo burgers, bagel sandwiches, crab mac and cheese, stir fried chicken with cashews and broccoli are some samples.  A friend stated that gingersnaps for banana cheesecake was genius - then I'm a genius because I've been doing that for decades.  :-) 

I didn't try any dishes yet because nothing screamed make me.  When I do, I'll edit this post with photos. 

It's a great book if you are just getting started and want some ideas for fast meals...a nice gift for a college student, new bride, someone new to cooking or a mom returning to the work force and needs a boost.

Thanks Blogging for Books for this opportunity.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Kitchen in France

Mimi Thorisson's beautiful life and food is chronicled in A Kitchen in France

A jealous me wants to hate her gorgeousness -- but as I stroll through the pages, I find myself being a little envious but also marveling at how simple and stunning her life and food seems to be. 
The photographs are gorgeous and taken by her husband.  I'm more of a let's see the photos of food and not so many of the stunning family and author --- but if you got it flaunt it.

The recipes run the gamut of simple French fare and will be easy to recreate here in the middle of the United States. 

The book is broken down by seasons and the recipes that intrigued me the most were the onion tart, roast chicken with crème fraiche and herbs, bugnes with orange flower water, sugar almond tart, mustard roasted poussins, Lyonnaise sausage roll, her Lyonnaise potatoes and pork cheek ravioli with cepes.

The garden cake looks gorgeous -- as well as the Caneles de Bordeux and Kouign Amann. 

Truthfully, this is one stunning book that can keep us cooking as if we too lived in a small French town. 

Thank you Blogging for Books for this opportunity.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Baking Bible -- Rose's Perfect Pie Plate & Book -- Giveaway

Rose Levy Beranbaum is a baking rock star.  I believe I have all of her books.  Her newest book, The Baking Bible, launches October 28th, and will also be available soon in fine kitchen shops and bookstores nationwide. 

This book is not only 560 plus pages of beauty -- the measurements are in weights and volumes and the attention to detail is wonderful.  I'm an accomplished baker and this book makes me excited to get into the kitchen and start baking --- but a novice can pick up this book and use Rose's details and instructions to create baking masterpieces. 

I'm partnering with Rose's publisher HMH as well as Harold Import Co. to celebrate the launch of The Baking Bible and to share my experience making Mud Turtle Pie from the book and using Rose's Perfect Pie Plate. 

Harold Import Co. is the company that makes Rose Levy Beranbaum's specialty baking tools which are available in kitchen shops nationwide, and on line.  Rose's Perfect Pie Plate is a beautiful and quality piece that comes in this adorable pie/hat box -- perfect for gift giving (if you order the one with the recipe booklet).  I love the red one -- but I'm thinking another color would be great at Christmas hint, hint...wheat or sage, please.


I made the pie crust for the Mud Turtle Pie and while it was resting in the fridge, I  threw together the ingredients for the pecan filling.  As usual, Rose's instructions and details are impeccable.

The pecan filling came together quickly and smelled incredible baking.  The chocolate ganache is a blending of different chocolates and is rich and creamy.

Rose gave instructions for a chocolate turtle but I made a pie crust turtle.  I thought it looked cute - I hope it looks like a turtle.  Someone tell me it looks like a turtle. 

Andrew could not wait for me to cut this pie.  We all had a taste and it was delicious --- the crust is amazing and the pecan filling and ganache - so good.  It will be better once the ganache sets but someone couldn't wait!  Rose's crust recipe is on line here

The recipe for the Mud Turtle Pie can be found here.

For more about Rose's nationwide book signing tour, go here.

For more about Rose Levy Beranbaum's specialty baking tools made by Harold Import Co., go here.

Now for the giveaway details:

Thanks to Harold Imports Co. and HMH -- for offering my readers a chance to win an autographed copy of The Baking Bible as well as one of Rose's Perfect Pie Plates.  Please leave a comment on this post and Random Number Generator will pick a winner on November 14th.  The giveaway is for US addresses only. 

Good luck and thanks for reading. I'd appreciate your sharing this post and giveaway with your friends. 

I have to go wash chocolate off a little boy's face now.

Thanks again to HMH and Harold Imports for this amazing opportunity as well as Donna Currie, author of Make Ahead Breads.

*****************More giveaways ----

Cookistry has A Baking Bible and a Silicone Bowl giveaway here.
Cindy's Writings and Recipes has A Baking Bible and pie plate giveaway here.
Food Hunter's Guide has A Baking Bible and Silicone Bowl giveaway here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

My Perfect Pantry

I'm a fan of Geoffrey Zakarian.  I love his first book Town /Country and have an autographed copy. 

His newest release My Perfect Pantry is the perfect book for a new bride or someone who is just getting the cooking bug.

Zakarian starts off with a section on foundation items that you need in your pantry.  He then proceeds to write about the 50 Essential Pantry Ingredients and Recipes --- almonds, anchovies -- all the way through to recipes including Worcestershire sauce and yeast.  I am especially excited to make the chicken vinegar with cinnamon candy.  I make a chicken vinegar dish that is so delicious - and I'm excited to make Zakarian's version.

This book is packed with great recipes and information -- grilled salmon with almond tarragon romesco, almond crusted pork chops -- Park's ham and biscuits, all purpose fritter recipe, ricotta gnudi, jams, apple cider doughtnuts -- the whole spectrum of cooking from pantry ingredients.

I tried the apple cider doughnuts and they were delicious - but how can a doughnut not be? I didn't make the glaze with this doughnut but will this weekend when I make them again got to use up the apple cider!

Great book for your kitchen and as a gift for those who like to cook and especially are just starting.

Thank you Blogging for Books for this opportunity.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Joy the Baker Homemade Decadence

From the overview:
Joy Wilson believes that everything is better with pie. And caramel. And definitely ice cream. Her world is pretty sweet: she dabbles daily in butter and sugar as her blogging alter ego, Joy the Baker. Her new book, Joy the Baker Homemade Decadence, is packed with 125 of Joy’s favorite, supereasy, most over-the-top, totally delicious treats, such as Dark Chocolate, Pistachio, and Smoked Sea Salt Cookies; Butterscotch Cream Pie with Thyme-Marshmallow Meringue; Mint Chocolate Chip Cake; and Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream. After all, every day is an opportunity for sweets.


Most people in the blogging world know Joy the Baker  -- her first book published in 2012 to wide acclaim from her fans and friends.  I tried a few recipes - they were good  but nothing that were spectacular. 

Joy's new book seems more promising Chocolate, Pistachio, and Smoked Sea Salt Cookies; Butterscotch Cream Pie with Thyme-Marshmallow Meringue; Mint Chocolate Chip Cake; and Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream all sound wonderful. 
The photos are beautiful and there are some interesting flavor profiles.

The book is broken down into --

Cookies, Brownies and Bars
Pies, Crumbles and Cobblers
Layer Cakes, Cupcakes and Skillet Cakes
Ice Cream Social

The brunch section looks delicious and is the section that interested me the most --   lemon poppy seed pancakes, whole wheat, peach and fresh sage scones, French onion quiche!  Some other recipes that stood out -- chocolate dipped banana bread biscotti, chocolate dipped cookie dough balls, pear, cranberry and pecan crumble and a huge ice cream section. 

Overall, I'm not as wowed by this cookbook as I am with Sugar Rush, Ovenly, The Messy Baker and/or Huckleberry.  It's just "okay".  It's a pretty book with some good recipes - nothing screams make every recipe like these other books have.   
Thanks Blogging for Books for the opportunity to review this book.