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Chefs use microorganisms for extra flavor and nutrition

sauerkraut

Fermented foods are not a new discovery; cooks have been using microorganisms like yeast and bacteria to make tasty food and beverages for millenia. But recently interest in using beneficial bacteria to transform food's flavor and nutrition has hit new highs, as NPR's The Salt reports.

We've long known that fermented foods like yogurt and sauerkraut can be delicious, and now scientists are finally beginning to understand their health benefits. For instance, resarchers have found that turning cabbage into sauerkraut "increases glucosinolate compounds believed to fight cancer,"  according to a publication from Tufts University Health & Nutrition.

These discoveries, coupled with renewed interest in traditional cooking methods among chefs and adventurous home cooks, have led to a renaissance in fermented food production. Although the health benefits are welcome, most chefs look to the fermentation process to boost flavor. Chef Rob Weiland of Washington, DC, explains to NPR how he uses time, heat, and humidity to turn ordinary garlic into something extraordinary. Called black garlic, the finished product "picks up caramel notes during browning. Hints of dried fruit come out. Also, natural microbes on the garlic bulb can ferment, creating more distinct flavors," according to the article.

Just as many chefs have jumped on the fermentation bandwagon, so too have academics. There is now a fermentation certificate program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, offers an elective course on another popular fermented product - beer. Students learn brewing basics, with an emphasis on science. "I would say the most exciting development has been the ready use of wild yeast and bacteria in beer fermentation," says Hutch Kugeman, head brewer at the CIA.

Photo of Sauerkraut from Observer Food Monthly Magazine by Claire Ptak

Featured Cookbooks & Recipes

Did you know adding online recipes to your EYB Bookshelf is a really great way to build your personal recipe collection? You can now do this even if you have a free membership!

Try it out now and see how easy it is. Browse the recipes below, choose one that appeals, click on the link, and add it to your Bookshelf. (Make sure that you are signed in first.)

All the recipes we feature in these weekly round-ups have online links so you can add any of them to your Bookshelf.

Happy cooking and baking everyone!

 

From magazines:

Strawberry Crème Fraîche Biscuits from the June issue of indexed Food & Wine Magazine

 

 

From AUS/NZ books:

23 recipes from Spice Journey: Adventures in Middle Eastern Cooking by Shane Delia

 

 

From UK books:

19 recipes from Summer Berries & Autumn Fruits: 120 Sensational Sweet & Savoury Recipes by Annie Rigg, indexed by an EYB member

 

10 recipes from For the Love of Veg: Get the Best Out of Your Seasonal Fruit and Vegetables by Bryn Williams, indexed by an EYB member

 

 

From Canadian books:

11 recipes from The Indian Family Kitchen: Classic Dishes for a New Generation by Anjali Pathak
(Originally published in the UK as Secrets from My Indian Family Kitchen)

 

 

From US books:

4 recipes from Whole World Vegetarian by Marie Simmons 
Enter our giveaway (US only -- ends July 12th)

 

16 recipes from Foolproof Preserving: A Guide to Small Batch Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Condiments, and More by America's Test Kitchen

 

1 recipe from Lebanese Home Cooking: Simple, Delicious, Mostly Vegetarian Recipes from the Founder of Beirut's Souk el Tayeb Market by Kamal Mouzawak, indexed by an EYB member


Test your French food knowledge

herbes de provence

Are you a Francophile? Do you love French food? Think you know a lot about French cuisine? If the answer to any of these questions is 'yes', you might want to take the Epicurious quiz designed to test your knowledge of French food.

The quiz contains several multiple choice questions that range from information that anyone with a passing knowledge of French food would know (which of the following is not one of the mother sauces - a) Velouté, b) Espagnole, c) Mayonnaise, or d) Tomate) to ones that may be a bit more challenging (According to Larousse Gastronomique, this military and commercial crossroads of western Europe has a surprisingly unexceptional history of cuisine - a) Champagne, b) Bordeaux, c) Normandy, or d) Burgundy).

If you are a true Francophile, or have been at the cooking game for some time, you'll likely do fairly well on the quiz. If not, you might learn a thing or two about French foods or regional specialties. I discovered an interesting tidbit about herbes de Provence (I won't spoil the surprise by telling you before you take the quiz).

Photo of Herbes de Provence from Vegetarian Times Magazine

Food idiosyncrasies are both personal and cultural

huevos rancheros casserole 

There are basically two kinds of eaters in this world: those who eat each item of food separately and those who combine items together with abandon. Amy Fleming of The Guardian explores these disparate personalities in a recent article that explains some of the psychology between the two camps.

Of course there are gray areas, but you likely relate more to one of these categories than the other. Researchers have studied these behaviors, even giving a name to those at the separate eating extreme. Brumotactillophia is the fear of different foods touching one another, and is seen as a holdover from being a fussy eater as a child. Usually we grow out of this stage, but for some people it gets worse as they get older. You might be surprised to learn that Yotam Ottolenghi prefers to keep his foods separate. He admits that, like his small child, he likes each food item on the plate to be apart from the others. "Possibly even served in a sequence and not all together. I love tasting each item and then moving on to the next one," he says.

Another "militant eating category" involves people who exhibit extreme delayed gratification. These people make it a point to save the very best bite of each food for last, and sometimes even put all of them together for one final burst of flavor and texture. This is in contrast to those who prefer to eat the best first. To exemplify this category, the article describes the habits of Chef Marcus Wareing, who eats foods in order of what he likes best. For a Sunday roast dinner, he will follow this progression: "potatoes, sage-and-onion stuffing, crackling, pork, with the poor old carrots and cauliflower left to the lukewarm end."

What shapes these and other food idiosyncrasies? According to researchers, cultural influences play a large role. Eating customs vary from region to region, and what is acceptable in one area may be taboo in another, and societal outlooks can also have an effect. For example, studies show that more Americans are delayed gratifiers than 'eat the best first' types. Psychologists surmise this is due to the idea of the American dream that working hard will bring a reward later, or to use the researchers terms, "Americans prefer a rising sequence in life." There doesn't seem to be as much consensus on what makes someone a stacker versus a separatist, however.  

Are you a stacker, or does the thought of foods touching, like in the Huevos rancheros casserole from Alaska From Scratch pictured above, give you the heebie-jeebies? Do you save the best for last or do you eat your favorites first?   

Review of Little Flower Baking by Christine Moore

Little Flower BakingA queue of eager patrons line the sidewalks that lead to the doors of Christine Moore's bakeries and cafés in Los Angeles. Moore, the pastry chef and mastermind behind the food and scrumptious baked goods served at both Little Flower and Lincoln, honed her craft in Paris. Her first book, Little Flower: Recipes from the Café, is a favorite of mine and garnered great reviews from multiple critics.

In this title, Little Flower Baking, she shares the bakery recipes which have been tested for the home kitchen. When bakery recipes are tested for home kitchens, it is a plus as sometimes those recipes do not translate well in a non-commercial kitchen. A stunning photograph of each tempting offering is shared and provides inspiration to any level of home baker.

The book is well thought out and organized as follows: For the Love of Baking, Mise en Place, Pastries, Cakes, Tarts & Pies, Cookies, Savories, Sweets with two indexes one for Gluten-Free and Vegan Recipes and then a complete index. The Mise En Place chapter is extremely helpful as it details techniques such as Egg Wash, Ribbon Stage, When to Sift Flour and more. This chapter covers the basics: Brisée Dough (which was very easy and quite delicious), Quick Puff Pastry, Basic Cakes through Buttercream Frostings. One page in this chapter is an index to other basic recipes contained throughout the book such as purées, compotes, a wide variety of glazes and more.

There is a wonderland of scone recipes in Little Flower Baking: Maple Oat, CurryMaple oat scones Pineapple, Strawberry Rose, Strawberry Basil, Honey Lavender, Plum Ginger and Peach Ricotta Scones as well as several savory varieties: Bacon Cheddar and Onion Swiss. The book is worth its price for the Maple Oat Scone recipe alone. A famous coffee shop made a maple scone that was my weakness and I've tried a few scone recipes that were allegedly copycats. I made these scones one afternoon and they put the scones from that coffee shop to shame - they tasted very similar but somehow better. One note: I confess to not having freezer space - so I refrigerated my scones overnight instead of freezing them. They were done after 20 minutes in the oven. I recommend refrigerating them for as long as you can before baking if you lack freezer room as well. I baked half of the scones after 30 minutes in the fridge and they spread a little more but still were delicious. The scones baked after refrigerating overnight were tall and kept their shape. I had to give them away as rapidly as possible because I couldn't keep my hands off them.

Potato tartOver the weekend, I made the Potato Tart - I served it with a green salad. It was delicious and beautiful and I almost didn't want to cut it - but how could I not - potatoes, garlic cream, pastry crust…heaven.

I have numerous tabs on recipes that require my undivided attention - the Brioche Ring, Royal Biscuit Cake, Lemon Semolina Cakes, Fennel Blondies, Pink Peppercorn Hibiscus Shortbread, Raspberry Foley Bars, Fennel Morning Buns and the list goes on. This book is truly a baker's dream.

There are some basic dishes covered such as Sticky Buns and the gorgeous Lemon Meringue Pie on the cover, but truthfully Moore's creations are anything but basic. She somehow makes everything look delectable and high-end. While there are some typical recipes covered, there are plenty of noteworthy recipes to excite us including those mentioned above we have Turmeric Orange Cake, Michelle's Tomato Ricotta Cake (with Tomato Cream Cheese Frosting) and Buttermilk Five-Spice Crackers as well.

Photos for tested recipes by Jenny Hartin.

Jenny Hartin is an enthusiastic home cook who lives in Colorado, owns the website The Cookbook Junkies and runs the Facebook group also called The Cookbook Junkies. The Facebook group is a closed group of 30,000 cookbook fans - new members are welcome.

Potato Bacon Herb Biscuits

Potato, bacon, and biscuits...all together!
 This is a great way to used leftover bacon and potatoes-just add a scrambled egg and you've got breakfast. These keep well in the freezer, too. 

Makes 15 2½ inch biscuitsPotato herb bacon biscuits

2 cups (400g) Yukon gold potatoes
Olive or grapeseed oil for roasting potatoes
4½ cups (540g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons sea salt
½ cup (30g) chopped dill, packed
¼ cup (12g) chopped chives, packed
¼ cup (24g) chopped parsley, packed
1½ cups (342g) butter, cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces and chilled

4 large eggs
¾ cup + 1 tablespoon (188g) heavy whipping or manufacturing cream
5 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
1 egg, whisked, for wash

1 tablespoon Maldon sea salt

Preheat oven to 375°. Rub potatoes with oil and roast until fork-tender, about 25 minutes. Smash with a large spoon or fork and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flour, baking powder, salt, dill, chives, and parsley on lowest speed. Gradually add butter and mix at the lowest speed until butter is well coated with flour and pea-size lumps form, about 2 minutes.

Add eggs and cream. Mix until just incorporated, but no longer. Add potatoes and bacon and mix on low speed until just incorporated. Dough should be shaggy with some dry bits.

Transfer dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat into 1-inch-thick rectangle. Use a chef's knife to cut dough into 15 2½ inch squares. Transfer to a parchment-lined sheet pan, spacing biscuits ½ inch apart. Use a pastry brush to apply egg wash. Sprinkle biscuits with Maldon salt and freeze until firm, at least 1 hour, or overnight. They will keep in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.

Bake, rotating halfway through, until golden, about 30 minutes. 

Sample recipe photo by Staci Valentine. Special thanks to Prospect Park Books for sharing this recipe.

German classics finding new audiences

 Chicken rye schnitzel

If you are wondering what's next after the rise in Nordic cuisine the past few years, the answer may lie just to the south of Scandinavia. Classic German dishes like spätzle , sauerkraut, and schnitzel are finding their way onto menus in some surprising places, says Nation's Restaurant News. These classics are being presented in both traditional and non-traditional ways.

While wienerschnitzel is traditionally made with veal and sometimes pork, chicken seems to be the protein of the moment in the schnitzel resurgence. Atlanta seems to be a hotspot for chicken schnitzel, where each restaurant puts on its own touches. Seed Kitchen's schnitzel "gets extra depth of flavor from miso mustard and oven-dried tomatoes, while 1Kept's version is accompanied by caramelized onion cream," according to author Nancy Kruze. But the twists don't stop there. A restaurant called Seven Hens offers seven different chicken schnitzel sandwiches, including curry cucumber, ginger teriyaki and chipotle cilantro. 

Spätzle, German for "little sparrows", can be found on menus across the US from New York to Nashville to Denver and all points in between. The interpretations of this simple dish are quite varied. At Freud in New York City, you'll find dark rye spätzle with cheddar and cauliflower, while Denver boasts an inspired sweet potato-celery version.

Sauerkraut is riding both the New Nordic and fermented foods waves. It's making appearances on menus as a pizza topping, in tacos, and as a burger garnish, as well as being a side dish to serve with other German foods. If you don't see any of these traditional German items on menus near you, the EYB Library can help. You can find a dizzying array of items there, including these Member favorites:

Spätzle from Beard on Pasta by James A. Beard
Rye spaetzle gratin from A Good Appetite at The New York Times by Melissa Clark
Pork schnitzels
from Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros
Chicken rye schnitzel with mustard sauce from A Bird in the Hand by Diana Henry (pictured top)
Sauerkraut from French Feasts by Stéphane Reynaud
Braised sauerkraut
from The Way To Cook by Julia Child

Michael Symon's plans to make Cleveland a barbecue destination

 lamb ribs

Several US regions are known for their particular barbecue styles: Texas beef brisket, Eastern North Carolina's vinegar and pepper sauced whole hog, Western North Carolina's pork shoulder with a tomato-vinegar sauce, and Memphis' dry-rub ribs, to name just a few. Now former Iron Chef Michael Symon aims to add a new city to the list. Symon recently opened a restaurant called Mabel's BBQ, which features what he calls "Cleveland-style" barbecue. "From the sides all the way through the meats, we made a very conscious effort to make it feel like the hometown that I grew up in, and the hometown that I grew up eating food in," says Symon, who has established himself as a local restaurateur as well as a cookbook author.

The chef aims to imbue both the meats and the side dishes with a Cleveland flavor. You won't find coleslaw or mac-n-cheese as the sides here. Instead, expect items that draw on the Eastern European and German influences long part of the city's own rich culinary tradition, like sauerkraut, spaetzle, and cabbage. Symon uses spices like celery seed and coriander, and a sauce made with a local brown mustard. The menu also features Ohio's garlicky kielbasa. The chef also relies heavily on local ingredients, like wood from the area's many fruit trees, which he uses to fire his offset smokers. 

Symon isn't abandoning already established traditions, however. He uses brisket supplied by the same company that services the Austin's Franklin Barbeque, and his beef ribs also echo the Central Texas style. Says editor and cookbook author Douglas Trattner, "Of course he didn't invent brisket. Of course he didn't invent the beef rib. He's standing on the shoulders of giants, but he's putting it through his Cleveland lens."

Photo of Grilled lamb ribs with quick preserved lemons from Food and Wine Magazine by Michael Symon

Father's Day food stories

 Sloppy joes

Tomorrow is Father's Day, which people will celebrate with cookouts, trips to a preferred restaurant, or by making Dad's favorite meal. Facebook news feeds will be filled with nostalgic photos of fathers and daughters and sons as those children remember favorite moments with their dads, many of which involve food. If you are a fan of these heartfelt reminiscences, you should head over to The Splendid Table, which is sharing stories of meals with Dad.

The first memory is from cookbook author Pati Jinich, who recalls a Father's Day weekend with her dad spent cooking and eating. She reminisces about watching her dad make breakfast: "As he tied one of my aprons around his waist, he announced, 'I am making the best Huevos a la Mexicana that you have ever tried in your life.' So we chopped just enough onion, fewer tomatoes than I would have wanted, and a lot of jalapeños. As he cooked, he used strange and probably nonexistent terms to describe what made his eggs so tasty: 'See how I am un-rawing the onion and mushing the tomato?'"

Laura Kaliebe, one of The Splendid Table's production assistants, shares her father's love of pie, noting that he was so fond of making pie that it was the first thing he wanted to do when he came home from the hospital following surgery (sounds like a man after my own heart). Readers, too, provide memories of cooking and eating with their dads, which range from chagrin at their father's stubborn insistence on using processed ingredients to foraging for mushrooms together on a camping trip and cooking them in an iron skillet over a campfire. 

While my relationship with my father has often been strained, I do have fond memories of helping my dad make his 'famous' sloppy joes, one of the few foods that he made (like most families, in ours my mother did the bulk of the cooking). My dad never followed a recipe, but instead relied on eyeball measurements and innovation, frequently adding a new ingredient but always relying on a few staples like Worcestershire sauce and lots of black pepper. The sloppy joes were never the same as the previous batch but they were always delicious.

What cherished memories do you have of cooking or eating with your father?

Photo of Sloppy Joes from Food Wishes by John Mitzewich

Featured Cookbooks & Recipes

Finding the best recipes amongst the millions online is not easy - but you don't have to! The team here at Eat Your Books, searches for excerpts from indexed books and magazines and every week we bring you our latest finds. Every day recipes are added from the best blogs and websites.

As a member, you can also add your own favorite online recipes using the Bookmarklet. With EYB, you can have a searchable index of all your recipes in one place!

Happy cooking and baking everyone!

 

From magazines:

Gooseberry and Oat Crumble Bars by Claire Ptak from indexed The Guardian Cook supplement

 

 

From AUS/NZ books:

50 recipes from I Quit Sugar: Simplicious: 306 Sugar-Free So-Nutritious-It-Hurts Recipes by Sarah Wilson

 

 

From UK books:

44 recipes from Clean Cakes: Delicious Patisserie Made with Whole, Natural and Nourishing Ingredients and Free from Gluten, Dairy and Refined Sugar by Henrietta Inman

Schedule of upcoming events

Enter our Clean Cakes giveaway -- open worldwide! (Ends 6/23)

 


6 recipes from  Ready, Steady, Glow: Fast, Fresh Food Designed for Real Life by Madeleine Shaw

 

12 recipes from  Free-From Food for Family and Friends: Over a Hundred Delicious Recipes, All Gluten Free, Dairy Free & Egg Free by Pippa Kendrick, indexed by an EYB member

 

15 recipes from  The Guilt-Free Gourmet: Indulgent Recipes Without Sugar, Wheat or Dairy by Jessica & Jordan Bourke, indexed by an EYB member

 

 

From Canadian books:

 

11 recipes from Batch: Over 200 Recipes, Tips and Techniques for a Well Preserved Kitchen by Joel MacCharles & Dana Harrison

Schedule of upcoming events

 

 

From US books:

33 recipes from The Farmette Cookbook: Recipes and Adventures from My Life on an Irish Farm by Imen McDonnell

 

10 recipes from Icy, Creamy, Healthy, Sweet: 75 Recipes for Dairy-Free Ice Cream, Fruit-Forward Ice Pops, Frozen Yogurt, Granitas, Slushies, Shakes, and More by Christine Chitnis

 

31 recipes from The Blender Girl Smoothies: 100 Gluten-Free, Vegan & Paleo-Friendly Recipes by Tess Masters, indexed by an EYB member


Uzbekistan's fabulous flatbreads

tashkent naan 

Travel writer and photographer Eric Hansen has spent over 25 years documenting his travels through Europe, the Middle East, Australia, Nepal and Southeast Asia. Last year he visited Uzbekistan, and wrote a fascinating, in-depth article on the country's fabled flatbreads in AramcoWorld magazine, accompanied by several beautiful photographs.

Uzbek flatbreads, called "non", are similar to others of the region. The naturally leavened dough is shaped into rounds and baked in a wood-fired tandoor, from which is emerges crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside, and slightly smoky. The word "non" comes from Persian, where it is sometimes transliterated into the more familiar word "naan."

Hansen follows a local baker, called a "nonvoy", who specializes in a particular style of flatbread known as Tashkent. The small country has many different styles of non, including Buhkara, Urgench, Samarkand, and Kritiy. Each offers subtle differences in texture, flavor, and in the decorative style of bread. The article contains photographs of the various styles, which range from rustic to highly detailed and decorated. Tashkent-style is lighter, softer and chewier than other flatbreads of the region, and is at its peak for only a few hours after baking. Because Uzbeks prefer to eat their non hot out of the oven, most bakeries employ a fleet of delivery men who use bicycles to deliver the product to cafés, markets, and even private homes.

The article explores the history of Uzbek flatbreads, which can be traced as far back as 2700 BCE. Sharing bread has been part of the region's hospitality traditions at least that long, and Uzbeks take the sacredness of bread seriously. Hansen provides an example of this reverence, noting tha t"when a piece of bread does fall to the ground, tradition calls for it to be picked up and placed on top of a wall or in the crook of a tree for the birds while saying "'aysh Allah" ("God's bread")." Bread also plays a vital role in weddings, engagement parties, and other family events. 

Photo of Soft, fluffy Uzbek bread (Tashkent non) from Food52

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