Summer Reading B2G1 Free
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores

PowellsBooks.Blog

Authors, readers, critics, media — and booksellers.

 

Author Archive: "Tracey T."

Breath, Eyes, Memory

Haitian-born Edwidge Danticat's themes of mother-daughter relationships have exotic rhythms that feel as magical as they do earthy. There is honesty in her storytelling of the Haitian diaspora, of divided families; revealing love, loss, and longing. Her novels and short stories are of bittersweet memories and quick, violent societal injustices. Danticat's award-winning writing (National Book Critics Circle, American Book Award, etc.) embodies the spice of the cooking pot, the vibrant colors of Haiti, and a sisterhood of women. In Breath, Eyes, Memory, a Haitian daughter is removed from the world she knows and understands to be sent to New York for a reunion with a mother she doesn't recall. They do their best to accommodate each other's love, but adherence to generational tradition endangers their delicate trust. Danticat's writing is alluring, almost tribal. Simple and complex, crushing and beautiful, Breathe, Eyes, Memory will linger long in your own memory.


The Broad Fork

The Broad Fork is from Southern chef Hugh Acheson — although he's actually Canadian. He followed his American wife to the South and fell in love with the food, so The Broad Fork has a touch of the American South in its recipes. Inspired by farmer's markets and community-supported agriculture boxes, he concentrates on recipes for the common and uncommon fruits and veggies likely to be landing in our kitchens this summer. (What do I do with green garlic, with a persimmon? What even is a ramp?) Each item of produce is given a number of recipes, which is extra helpful, as CSA boxes often come with an abundance of whatever is in season. Acheson's style is easygoing; I love a cookbook author who can claim to be imperfect and who is honest about having budget brand goods in their kitchen. (Jif, because his kids love it, and sliced American cheese because it's the best for melting on burgers.)


Better on Toast

There is nothing as satisfying as a really good sandwich. Better on Toast celebrates the sandwich cousin, the open-faced sandwich. Author Jill Donenfeld ALWAYS starts with really good bread. (This isn't a baking book; it's all about the topping. Nevertheless, she includes one bread recipe — and a gluten-free recipe at that.) Step two in her sammie magic is pan grilling, or oven toasting the bread. The bread can be toaster-toasted as well, but you'll lose the delicious fatty seasoning. Step three: the star of the meal, the topping. Turning to a random page, we get: Fig Bagna Cauda and Watercress. Figs mixed with garlic and anchovies? What the...? Donenfeld states it's her favorite recipe in the book, and upon reading it, I can see how blending sweet figs with fishy anchovies could turn into a favorite. I love when a cook can see beyond expected flavors to make something fresh and new. Another random page brings a recipe for a demi-baguette topped with baked grapes and a cheese spread made of goat cheese and blue cheese. She suggests Humboldt Fog for the blue cheese. (Humboldt Fog is one of the keys to my heart.) Better on Toast has charmed ...


The Picnic

First off, this is a beauty of a cookbook. The fruits and flowers on the cover are gently embossed. What is a picnic without a few ants? Don't miss the tiny guests at the bottom of the cover. This attention to detail is carried along throughout the book: Deviled Eggs with Chorizo Strips, Shocking-Pink Beet Hummus, Figs with Feta and Honey, Spicy Salted Olive Oil Brownies. Illustrations are sweet and enticing with a touch of sass. This cookbook covers pretty much all you need to plan a vivacious picnic, from picking your blanket and packing your bike to building your cocktail al fresco. The authors are experienced gourmet picnickers, come rain or come shine. (Rain is a covered topic in their book, page 26.) They are the founders of the Portland Picnic Society, which this year made the resolution to picnic each and every month, no matter how foul the weather. That is some admirable dedication to outdoor dining. (Not to drop any names, but I've met the authors a few times and they are all charming folk.)


Powell’s Summer Potluck

Let's not beat around the bush. The Powell's new book buyers like to eat. We have a special appreciation for brand-new cookbooks and for being among the first to try out the recipes. For our biannual potluck this summer, we were pleased to have fellow book-slinger visitors from Seattle: Pam and Anna from the University of Washington Bookstore. Authors of The Picnic, Jen Stevenson and Marnie Hanel, dropped by the week before with a picnic basket filled with treats from their book. This got us off to a fine start as we prepared for our culinary event. Anticipating a special meal has an enticement all its own.

As trite as this quote might be: a picture is worth a thousand words. Since we have some fabulous photos of our potluck, this blog post will be more of a photo essay. For those with a sweet tooth, head to the bottom of the piece for a sampling of recent dessert releases.

Mary Jo made Honey Roasted Radishes from A Modern Way to Eat:
"Easy to prepare, equally delicious hot or cold, honey-roasted radishes are sure to be a hit with

...


New Cookbooks: Better on Toast, Food52 Genius Recipes, The Picnic

Spring is a heady time for cookbook releases. There are so many new cookbooks that it feels like Christmas; we even had an early spring mini potluck lunch for a taste testing. We have so much love for many of these new cookbooks. Missing from these reviews are a number of dessert cookbooks; there were just too many books to include here. The dessert books are piled on my desk waiting to be covered in the next On the Table post, so stay tuned. (Let me tell you, it's a little distracting to work with the words: "ice cream," "truffles," "cookies," and "sugar" staring at you all day long.)

÷ ÷ ÷

A Modern Way to Eat
Are we ever cooking from this cookbook! Author Anna Jones presents a fine, fat cookbook (352 pages) of creative vegetarian recipes. I've already made the Gentle Brown Rice — twice. Filled with nuts and loaded with aromatic spices, I've served this to guests and family alike. The second time I made the Gentle Brown Rice, I bought pork sausage to go into it, but then I thought better of it and left it out as the dish was perfect as presented. Also made by coworkers: Blueberry Pie Oatmeal, Cherry Poppy Seed Waffles, and Spiced Carrot and Cashew Salad. The salad was amazing; the roasted carrots with coconut cream were a delight for our whole office. We keep coming back to this book over and over again. It is awesome! A Modern Way to Eat is destined to be a vegetarian classic.

Better on Toast
A few things trending up in the food world: ethnic food, toast, bugs. Let's just ignore that last one. There is nothing as satisfying as a really good sandwich. Better on Toast celebrates the sandwich cousin, the open-faced sandwich. Author Jill Donenfeld ALWAYS starts with really good bread. (This isn't a baking book; it's all about the topping. Nevertheless, she includes one bread recipe — and a gluten-free recipe at that.) Step two in her sammie magic is pan grilling, or oven toasting the bread. The bread can be toaster-toasted as well, but you'll lose the delicious fatty seasoning. Step three: the star of the meal, the topping. Turning to a random page, we get: Fig Bagna Cauda and Watercress. Figs mixed with garlic and anchovies? What the...? Donenfeld states it's her favorite recipe in the book, and upon reading it, I can see how blending sweet figs with fishy anchovies could turn into a favorite. I love when a cook can see beyond expected flavors to make something fresh and new. Another random page brings a recipe for a demi-baguette topped with baked grapes and a cheese spread made of goat cheese and blue cheese. She suggests Humboldt Fog for the blue cheese. (Humboldt Fog is one of the keys to my heart.) Better on Toast has charmed the Powell's new book buying department, and I will not be surprised if one of its recipes shows up soon as a break-time snack.


New Cookbooks: The Perfect Egg, Street Foods, Pasta by Hand

Here in the Powell's offices, we are prone to geeking out over Pi Day. Not so much for the mathy-ness of it, although the math is pretty awesome. No, we get excited over the pie part. Pi Day starts early in the month for us, as we tuck into the piles of forthcoming cookbooks littering our desks, all looking for the best recipe. We're a pretty tight crew, and sharing food is a joy we love. Although my joy was temporarily diminished when, at 9:30 the night before our Pi Day celebration, I suddenly remembered I had yet to start making mine. I wasn't entirely sure my pie would even work, as I was altering a recipe I'd never made before to be both gluten-free and a little diabetic-friendly. Luckily, my Double Chocolate Mint Chess Pie tasted fantastic (phew!), as did all our pies, both savory and sweet. Some pies came from family recipes, some from blogs, but most were from soon-to-be-released cookbooks. We even had some anarchy in our Pi presentation with scones made from The Dirty Apron Cookbook.

The past few weeks were super-chunky with some great new cookbook releases, so you might want to fortify yourself with a grilled cheese sandwich or at least make a cup of tea before you read on.

÷ ÷ ÷

Back in the Day Bakery: Made with Love

I have a secret family recipe for a delicious chocolate mint refrigerator pie, which has been called Slide Pie ever since a pie tipped to one side while quick-setting in the freezer. One side of the pie was frozen mid-drip over the edge of the pie tin, the other side nearly flat. We gave up on slicing it and just communally dug in with spoons. Remember, it doesn't have to look good to taste good. Back in the Day Bakery: Made with Love has a Double Chocolate Mint Chess Pie recipe that made me turn aside from my beloved Slide Pie. Delicious! I altered the recipe to be gluten-free and quasi-diabetic, and I gave my usual heavy pour on the mint. I'm pretty sure if I were to go to Savannah, Georgia — the Back in the Day Bakery would be one of the first places I'd visit, and I've wanted to go to Savannah since reading Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, about 20 years ago.


The Haunting of Sunshine Girl

Sunshine, a normal-seeming teen (albeit a budding paranormal warrior), has a refreshing relationship with her mom — they are BFFs. Young love and the power of friendship mix with some truly scary bits (but scary in a good way!). Based on the YouTube channel, Sunshine Girl is a welcome new book series.


New Cookbooks for January and February: Healthy (and Tasty!) Cooking

Most of the new cookbooks released in January and February tend to fall into the "healthy" and "diet" arenas. Luckily, we live in a time when healthy cooking can be so delicious and filling that we hardly know we are dieting. Not in the mood to diet? There is a short list of dessert cookbooks included below as well.

For dinner last night, I made mini cauliflower soufflés from Ivy Manning's Weeknight Vegetarian: Simple, Healthy Meals for Every Night of the Week. (Not pictured: the other two soufflés that we gobbled down before I thought to snap a shot.)

The soufflés couldn't have been easier. Made with a base of cottage cheese, they didn't require the vigorous beating and careful baking of the usual fancy-pants soufflé. I might call this more of a rustic soufflé. The recipe quite lived up to the concept of being easy to make on a weeknight. Local author Ivy Manning can always be counted on for a thoughtful cookbook. Her recipes are nutritionally well-balanced and sometimes include unconventional ingredients that turn out to be a perfect blend: masa dumplings in chili; a mushroom and chestnut strudel; and, my favorite, apples in a Welsh rarebit!

From Katrine van Wyk, the author of Best Green Drinks Ever, we now have Best Green Eats Ever. I appreciate that Countryman Press has kept the pricing below $20 on this series. This is a rarity in the cookbook world. Author van Wyk includes enough eating-green information to get a beginner started, and there may be a thought or two new to the seasoned hand at healthy eating. (Antinutrients — what are those? See page 20 in her book.) Recipes are simple and well-designed, and almost every recipe comes with a picture. Best Green Eats Ever is a well-rounded and solid cookbook entry into vegetarian eating.


Tracey’s Recipe for Baked Bacon

Editor's note: If there's one thing that's as delightful and delectable as books, it's bacon. Here, our cookbook specialist and On the Table writer Tracey shares her soon-to-be-famous Baked Bacon recipe.

Step One: Do not preheat oven. (This is the most important step to remember.) This ensures the bacon has the long, slow cooking time necessary for this recipe to work.

Step Two: Lay bacon out on a cooking sheet with rolled edges, like a jelly roll pan. Fancy people will want to line their sheets with foil for easy cleaning. I have a dedicated bacon sheet that is always covered with a fine layer of bacon grease.

Step Three: Put the pan in the oven. Now turn on the oven to 400 degrees. Ignore for 16 to 20 minutes, depending on thickness of bacon and how your oven heats.

Step Four: Keep an eye on bacon during the last minutes of cooking, as it can speedily go from delightfully golden brown to dreadfully burnt black.

Step Five: Remove from oven, and enjoy!

This recipe renders a lot of lovely fat to save for another recipe.


spacer
spacer
  • back to top

FOLLOW US ON...

     
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.