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Archive for the 'Handpicked' Category

New Cookbooks for August: Family Meals, Comfort Food, and Drunken Wisdom

As befits the beginning of the end of the hot summer days, and looking ahead to back-to-school, the August lineup of newly released cookbooks is a harvest combination of family rededication, comfort foods, and good old-fashioned drunken fun.

My goodness gracious. I don't know quite what to say about My Drunk Kitchen. To fully comprehend this cookbook, you should watch Hannah Hart's YouTube videos. If you've seen the videos, can you imagine them as a cookbook? Me neither. But somehow Hart has managed to condense her irreverent style into a highly readable book! I don't know that many will want to make her recipes, but reading about them is hilarious! Okay, maybe I'd like to eat her Pizza Cake, which is made of four or five pizzas stacked on top of each other. And I often have her String (Cheese Theory) recipe; the ingredients consist of just: (1) string cheese and (2) a plate. Each recipe comes with an inspirational cocktail suggestion to get drunk by, 'cause this is My Drunk Kitchen, yo. And each recipe comes with a life lesson because the stated intent ...

New Cookbooks for July: All-Things Veggie

July. The deep summer month that brings a belated spring cleaning, picnics, and the beloved abundance of backyard bumper crops (or an abundance of farm-fresh produce from the weekly CSA delivery box). There is a joy in opening a community-supported agriculture box, followed a few days later with, What the heck do I do with all these veggies? July's new and recent releases help us in that department.

Coauthor of Veganomicon Terry Hope Romero presents a salad book that stands up and fights back: Salad Samurai. I can do no better to sum up her book than to quote from it: "Stop making salads that suck." These are kick-ass main meals. True story: a coworker trotted off with my copy of Salad Samurai after one look at the Pesto Cauliflower Potato salad. A favorite recipe of mine is the Pepperoni Tempeh Pizza Salad. (No offense to tempeh, which I like okay, but I'm an omnivore and used meaty pepperoni. Also, I tossed in a little shredded cheese.) I'm currently enamored with the Middle Eastern herbal spice mix za-atar, and I was pleased to find this included in ...

Handpicked: New Cookbooks for June

With Memorial Day under our belts and the hot summer fast upon us, we're already in the thick of barbeque season. To be honest, I've yet to fire up my sturdy Weber, but I've been doing some hearty armchair reading of recent releases. June is turning out some fine BBQ titles.

There's nothing like a carnivorous visit to a Brazilian churrascaria, but if you don't have one in your town, try Brazilian Barbecue and Beyond. The cooking techniques are simple and basic, and the way-south-of-the-border zing is what makes this meat-focused grilling fresh and new. Also, banana upside-down cake! Why have I never thought of this amazing creation? Likewise, chicken fried in a coating of tiny matchstick potatoes? Genius! From cover to cover, this book is a color fest of modern Brazil.

I love food on a stick, so The World's 60 Best Skewers... Period is right up my alley. Most BBQ books have filler recipes of sides and drinks, but this is nothing but skewers. Cooking techniques are both over a flame and over an indoor grill, which is nice for our unpredictable PNW summers. Amidst ...

Handpicked: New Cookbooks for May

One of the trends we're seeing in new cookbook releases this May is the concept of small-batch cooking. Portland loves food, so cheese making and home beer brewing are right up our alley. And what better to serve with small-batch goods than homemade street food?

There are stores and restaurants I will go to especially for their artisan cheese, but it hadn't occurred to me that I could make my own. Claudia Lucero's One-Hour Cheese is an eye opener! I can easily make my own paneer and string cheese? A prerelease copy of Lucero's book has been passed around our office and made a few field trips home with employees so we could try out the ridiculously easy recipes. Each recipe has roughly 8 to 24 accompanying photos that finely detail the process of cheesemaking. Yes, 8 to 24 photos per recipe! How amazing is that? To make it all even easier, Lucero also puts out DIY cheese kits. And it must be said: Ms. Lucero is a Portlander!

Caprese Salad
Coworker Aubrey made this wonderful Caprese salad with


Handpicked: New Cookbooks for April

April's newly released cookbooks represent the cusp of winter/spring by featuring both cozy comfort foods to keep us warm in these still-cool weeks and fresh-from-the-garden veggies ahead of harvest season.

Warming up my kitchen with a French Provincial flair is From Scratch by Laurence Laurendon. This has a winning combination of simple, hardy recipes and a DIY approach. There is a distinct lack of fussiness, even dry-curing your own ham seems doable. Most recipes are represented with storage options, so you'll have some time to get out in the yard, work up an appetite, then get back in your kitchen later to enjoy such delights as mason-jarred ratatouille or (my favorite) yogurt with apricot jam.

Another comfort-food cookbook rocking my kitchen this April: Tina Nordstrom's Scandinavian Cooking. Dare I call this a perfect cookbook? Every recipe has a personal, chatty, helpful introduction, and almost all are accompanied by a beautiful photo illustration. Kitchen tips are scattered throughout. Oddly, not all recipes are Scandinavian. I think of this more as a collection of Nordstrom's favorite recipes, most of them Swedish but with tacos and tempura tossed in as ...

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