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Italy hands out stiff penalties for olive oil misbranding

 infused oils

Earlier this year we reported on the scandal of counterfeit extra-virgin olive oil being passed off as the real thing to customers in Italy and beyond. Now the Italian antitrust authority has started handing down stiff fines to olive oil producers caught mislabeling their oils. Discount supermarket Lidl and Spanish company Deoleo (makers of Bertolli, Sassa and Carapelli oils) have been fined €550,000 and €300,000, respectively, for branding malpractice. The Deoleo products were found to contain lower-grade 'virgin olive oil' instead of 'extra-virgin' as labeled.

The penalties for false labeling in Italy were recently increased substantially, as part of an effort to protect the quality of Italian olive oils. The fines were sextupled from the previous €2,500, and now manufacturers can be assessed up to €16,000 for each occurrence of mislabeling. Another law comes on the books tomorrow, which increases the fines for 'country sounding', which is the practice of misleading consumers by using symbols or images associated with a country other than that where the olive oil was actually sourced.  

A cynical person might assume that as some countries tighten up laws about misbranding, producers will move the product to countries without such protections. The laws in the US and some other countries don't carry the same level of fines for mislabeled products, so it can be easier for companies to pass off inferior oils to consumers without penalty. To complicate the matter, it can be difficult for users to detect substitute oils, making it easier to pass off lower quality oils as 'extra-virgin'. Finding a reputable brand is key to ensuring that you are receiving a quality product.

Photo of Flavorfully infused oils from The Minimalist at The New York Times by Mark Bittman

Recipes for a life filled with food and love

Beatice Peltre

Béatrice Peltre is a food writer, stylist and photographer working out of her home studio in Boston. She is a regular contributor to the Boston Globe Food Section, and her work has appeared in many publications. Her indexed blog, La Tartine Gourmande, is popular with EYB Members. Beatrice has just published her second cookbook, My French Family Table: Recipes for a Life Filled with Food, Love, and Joie de Vivre. (You can enter our contest for a chance to win a copy of the book.) Béatrice was kind enough to provide us with an excerpt from the book's introduction:


When our daughter, Lulu, was born - she is now six - a new chapter opened up for me. It was my turn to become a mother and learn more about how to feed my family. I knew that I loved to cook, so cooking would not be an issue. But would I intuitively know what dishes to prepare? Would my cooking style change because of her? Would I need to simplify it? Would I have enough time to cook? And most important, would Lulu enjoy the food I made and our family meals?

Against this background, I knew one thing right away: food was going to be an essential part of her education. It was in my genes because, being French, I had been brought up to think that a healthy relationship with food is essential to happiness. And that really starts at home.

My mother showed me how to love food. She has also handed down to me one of her strongest skills - she made me see how much love and care a cook can demonstrate when he or she prepares and shares food. I don't know that she is aware of this. To be honest, for the longest time, I didn't know that she was going to influence me so strongly in both my adult life and the kitchen.

When I'm asked about my mother, I often describe her as a woman of few words, rather réservée (shy) in fact. She has never been comfortable sharing her feelings, unlike my father, who is the chatterbox in the family. Instead, she prefers to cook and show how much she cares through her food. "C'est bon?" ("Is it good?"), she invariably asked anxiously when we were children and sat down to eat a dish she'd brought to the table. "Je t'ai gardé lespremières fraises du jardin!" ("I kept the first strawberries for you!"), she said when the season came for strawberries to ripen in her vegetable garden. Her desire to please us with food was and is heart stirring. I spent a lot of time watching and cooking with her in the kitchen. And I saw that by making sure her family and friends were happy around the dining table with her delicious foods, she was expressing her love through actions rather than words.

Hence, gathering around food was essential in my family. Part of this was setting up the table together, making sure it looked inviting for both special occasions and everyday meals. My brother and I loved our daily pre-meal routine of arranging plates, cutlery, and glasses on the dining table. We each had a task to accomplish, and we were extremely diligent about it. When dinner was ready, my mother would call, "À table!" ("Dinner is ready!") from across the room. These words worked like magic as all of us hurried to come and sit down.

Everyday foods didn't need to be elaborate. Yet as simple as they were, our meals gravitated around being équilibrés (balanced) - with a main course comprising vegetables and meat or fish, a salad or soup, and a dessert. As children, we ate what our parents ate. We were taught to respect food and enjoy the moments created around it, even if that meant sometimes we didn't like one food or another. The motto was Il fallait au moins goûter (You must at least taste it).

Good table manners and eating habits were also the norm. We ate lunch together à midi (at noon), which sometimes still seems fairly formal to many of my foreign friends when they come to visit; we ate ungoûter (a snack) at 4 P.M. after school; and dinner was served around 7 P.M. Mealtime was sacrosanct - no phone calls, television, or any other distraction. Once we were seated at the dining table, what mattered was our time together enjoying food.

At first, I didn't realize that I was training Lulu to think about meals in these terms too. Then one day when she was four, she was sitting at the dining table. Neither Philip, my husband, nor I were yet ready to sit down with her. I asked her to start before her food got cold. But she protested, "Mais non, maman, je vous attendspour manger! Je veux que tout le monde soitassis à table avec moi pour manger" ("No, Mummy, I am waiting for you before I start! I want everyone to sit down at the table with me to eat"). On hearing those words, I must have beamed. Clearly, something magical had just happened.

When I started to think about the recipes I wanted for this book, I thought about Lulu's words. Togetherness resonated deep and strong. Essentially, what I wanted most were delicious recipes that would give enjoyment to little ones and adults alike, together as a family for everyday meals or with friends for celebrations.

The recipes here are nutritious, because I've always cared about being healthy -  although I don't like to be extreme about it. They are also flexible, allowing room for simplification and personal interpretation as needed. So sometimes an everyday meal can be turned into a more dressed-up food experience - I like clothes that are that way too.

For the most part, the recipes take their inspiration from French cooking because that's what I know best and prefer. Tell me we are eating a strawberry clafoutis or chocolate petits pots de crème for dessert; a vegetable tart for lunch; or stuffed potatoes for dinner, and you will see me smile. But you will also find recipes using more exotic (for traditional French cooks) ingredients - my mother still does not use coconut milk, eat corn on the cob, or make labneh. My more diverse approach comes from having been lucky enough to travel globally and from living an expatriate life.

I have organized the book around the rhythm of our family meals: from morning foods with breakfast and brunch to light dishes (soups, salads, and tarts); from children's snacks (with the traditional French after-school goûter) to recipes Lulu and I enjoy cooking together; and finally, from family dinners to tempting desserts that seal our meals. These are the foods I cook for Lulu and Philip, and now my young son, Rémy. My family. Our friends. To express my care and love.

I hope you will want to go back to those recipes that appeal to you and cook them again and again for your family and friends. These foods are meant to make you happy and inspire you to cook more of them.

From My French Family Table by Beatrice Peltre, © 2016 by Beatrice Peltre.  Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications Inc., Boulder, CO. www.roostbooks.com

Cookbook giveaway - My French Family Table

My French Family Table

To the French, food is one of life's greatest pleasures, and in Béatrice Peltre's home, each meal is a small celebration. In her kitchen, bright, colorful ingredients are transformed into wholesome, delicious dishes and served with love. The popular blogger (La Tartine Gourmande) has just released her third cookbook, My French Family Table: Recipes for a Life Filled with Food, Love, and Joie de Vivre. Béatrice gave us a sneak peek into the cookbook with an excerpt from the introduction.

We're delighted to offer ten copies of My French Family Table to EYB Members in the US, Canada, UK and Australia only. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post:

What is your most cherished family mealtime tradition?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends July 27, 2016.


June 2016 cookbook roundup

Every month Jane and Fiona wade through hundreds of cookbooks, selecting and reviewing all the best new releases of U.S., Canada, U.K., Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand cookbooks. The only thing left for you to do is to add them to your Bookshelf.

June's trends have shifted from grilling to another summertime specialty - salads. But although we see several vegetable-centric cookbooks, they are outnumbered by baking tomes, which feature prominently this month. Preserving and reissues of classic books from the 1970s are minor trends in June's offerings.

USA

cookbook collagePreserving Italy by Domenica Marchetti: The notion of preserving shouldn't be limited to American jams and jellies, and in this book, Marchetti turns our gaze to the ever-alluring flavors and ingredients of Italy. Classic recipes such as marinated artichokes in olive oil and classic giardiniera sit alongside lesser known sweet and sour peppers and Marsala-spiked apricot jam. You can find details of Marchetti's book tour on the World Calendar of Cookbook events. Stay tuned for an upcoming promotion for Preserving Italy.

A la Mode: 120 Recipes in 60 Pairings by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough: With A la Mode, IACP winners and cookbook dynamos Weinstein and Scarbrough show you how to create innovative delights such as creamy hazelnut gelato atop coffee-poached pears, or maple frozen custard with a mouthwatering cinnamon roll cake, alongside simpler classics like confetti ice cream with layered vanilla birthday cake. The pair are touring in support of A la Mode; find details on the Calendar of Events.

Naturally Sweet: Bake All Your Favorites with 30% to 50% Less Sugar by America's Test Kitchen: The inveterate team at ATK tackle another problem, this time the disasters that can occur when you try to reduce the sugar in baking recipes. ATK addresses these issues with recipes for cookies, cakes, pies and more that reduce the overall sugar content by at least 30% and rely solely on more natural alternatives to white sugar.

A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches by Tyler Kord: Kord is chef-owner of the lauded No. 7 restaurant and No. 7 Sub shops in New York. He is also a fabulously neurotic man who directs his energy into careless ruminations on sandwich philosophy, love, self-loathing, Lil' Wayne, getting drunk in the shower, Tom Cruise, food ethics, and what it's like having  the names of two different women tattooed on your body. Most of these ruminations also happen to be truly excellent recipes.cookbook collage

EatingWell Vegetables: The Essential Reference by EatingWell Magazine: This reference book guides both vegetable lovers and novices through the world of produce. Organized alphabetically by vegetable, the book includes information on seasonality and the health benefits of each vegetable, as well as recipes with complete nutrition analysis, plus advice on which cooking methods to use for which vegetable.

Meat on the Side: Delicious Vegetable-Focused Recipes for Every Day by Nikki Dinki: The Food Network star's latest book is not just for vegetarians or vegans, but is aimed at home cooks looking to make the shift to healthier, vegetable-focused meals; couples where one person is vegetarian and the other is not; vegetarians looking for new ways to eat vegetables; and for the family that wants unique recipes that are guaranteed to get their children to eat healthier.

Cured: Handcrafted Charcuteria & More by Charles Wekselbaum: Award-winning chef, owner of Charlito's Cocina, and creator of charcuterie Charles Wekselbaum has written an unconventional entry-level guide to the process. Drawing on his Cuban-Jewish background and inspired by flavors from Asia to Italy, "Charlito" includes recipes for pork and beef salami, dry-cured whole muscles like prosciutto and bresaola, and more unusual seafood and vegan options.

Market Math: 50 Ingredients x 4 Recipes = 200 Simple, Creative Dishes by Food & Wine Magazine: Based on Food & Wine's popular monthly column, Market Math starts with everyday ingredients and transforms them into fast, fresh, and delicious weeknight meals. The recipe collection features contributions from the magazine's favorite culinary stars, including Mario Batali, Giada De Laurentiis, and Bobby Flay.cookbook collage

Smuggler's Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki by Martin & Rebecca Cate: The founders and owners of acclaimed tiki bar Smuggler's Cove take you on a colorful journey into the lore and legend of tiki: its birth as an escapist fantasy for Depression-era Americans; how exotic cocktails were invented, stolen, and re-invented; Hollywood starlets and scandals; and tiki's modern-day revival.

Back to the Kitchen by Freddie Prinze Jr.: Most people know Freddie Prinze Jr. from movies and as one half of beloved Hollywood power couple with Sarah Michelle Gellar. But to family, friends, and co-stars he's always been a terrific father and skilled home cook. The recipes in Back to the Kitchen reflect the influence of his childhood in New Mexico cooking with his mother and eating dishes with a ton of flavor and spice from his Puerto Rican heritage.

The Airfryer Cookbook by Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen: Books about appliances have been trending down recently, so it's hard to tell if this is the beginning of an upswing or just a one-off. This cookbook focuses on the Philips Viva Digital Airfryer. In a refrain that has echoed through the years, this Airfryer promises to "revolutionize the way you cook!" The book explores uses beyond frying, offering recipes for baking, roasting, and grilling. 

Les Diners de Gala by Salvador Dali: The opulent dinner parties thrown by Salvador Dalí and his wife and muse, Gala, were the stuff of legend. Luckily for us, Dalí published a cookbook in 1973, Les diners de Gala, which reveals some of the sensual, imaginative, and exotic elements that made up their notorious gatherings.
This reprint features all 136 recipes, specially illustrated by Dalí, and organized by meal courses, including aphrodisiacs.cookbook collage

The Food and Wine of France: Eating and Drinking from Champagne to Provence by Edward Behr: French culinary techniques are the foundation of the training of nearly every serious Western cook and some beyond. In The Food and Wine of France, Behr talks with chefs and goes to see top artisanal producers in order to understand what "the best" means for them, the nature of traditional methods, how to enjoy the foods, and optimal wine pairings.

Finding the Flavors We Lost: From Bread to Bourbon, How Artisans Reclaimed American Food by Patric Kuh: We hear the word "artisanal" all the time-attached to cheese, chocolate, coffee, even fast-food chain sandwiches-but what does it actually mean? In Finding the Flavors We Lost, James Beard Award-winner Kuh profiles major figures in the so-called "artisanal" food movement who brought exceptional taste back to food and inspired chefs and restaurateurs to redefine and rethink the way we eat.

The Book of Lost Recipes: The Best Signature Dishes From Historic Restaurants Rediscovered by Jaya Saxena: Part vintage nostalgia, part history tour, but all great food, the recipes - often inseparable from their legendary haunts - were meticulously researched and reconstructed for this unique cookbook. You'll find  signature recipes formerly lost to time from the most fashionable American hotels and restaurants of bygone times.

Taste of the Nation: The New Deal Search for America's Food by Camille Begin: During the Depression, the Federal Writers' Project (FWP) dispatchedDriving Hungry scribes to sample the fare at group eating events like church dinners, political barbecues, and clambakes. Its America Eats project sought nothing less than to sample, and report upon, the tremendous range of foods eaten across the United States. Author Camille Begin shapes a cultural and sensory history of New Deal-era eating from the FWP archives.

Driving Hungry: A Delicious Journey, from Buenos Aires to New York to Berlin by Layne Mosler: Adrift in Buenos Aires, Layne Mosler was hungry-for an excellent (and cheap) meal, for a great story, for a new direction. A chance recommendation from a taxi driver helped her find all these things, and sparked a quest that would take her to three cities, meeting people from all walks of life, and finding an array of unexpected flavors.


UK

cookbook collageEivissa: The Ibiza Cookbook by Anne Sijmonsbergen: Ibiza's traditional farming and fishing culture has been supplemented with a wave of chefs and producers making artisan products and vibrant food. Now Eivissa, the first recipe book to showcase the incredible Ibicenco dishes Ibiza cuisine has to offer, reveals how to recreate the tastes of the white island in your own home.

Nina Capri: Recipes From Italy's Amalfi Coast by Nina Parker: Following up to her book about St. Tropez, Parker's new cookbook draws on her passion for Italian cuisine. Full colour throughout, much of this beautiful cookbook is shot on location on the stunning Amalfi Coast of Capri.

Nadiya's Kitchen by Nadiya Hussain:  Having fallen in love with Nadiya and her outstanding bakes on last year's Great British Bake Off, readers can now discover all her favourite recipes. Nadiya is touring in support of her cookbook; find details on the World Calendar of Cookbook Events.

Samarkand: Recipes & Stories from Central Asia & The Caucasus by Caroline Eden and Eleanor Ford: Over hundreds of years, various ethnic groups have passed through this city, sharing and influencing each other's cuisine and leaving their culinary stamp. Samarkand is a love letter to Central Asia and the Caucasus, containing travel essays, beautiful photography and recipes that are little known in the West.

cookbook collageK-Food: Korean Home Cooking and Street Food by Da-Hae & Gareth West: There's a great buzz around Korean food right now. The Wests use K-Food to introduce us to the cuisine: Da-Hae uses her Korean background to explain the details of traditional recipes, and Gareth shows how Korean and Western flavors can be fused together to create really delicious combinations.

Tanya Bakes by Tanya Burr: Burr is an English fashion and beauty vlogger, blogger, make-up artist and author. She is best known for her fashion and beauty channel on YouTube, and now she can add a new title: cookbook author. In Tanya Bakes, she shares her passion for baking along with all her favourite recipes. In addition to cakes and bakes, you'll find simple puddings, loaves and pastries in the book.

Food for All Seasons by Oliver Rowe: Rowe trained at the highly-regarded restaurant Moro and went on to open Konstam, an award winning restaurant in King's Cross. There he focussed on local, seasonal food and starred in BBC2's The Urban Chef. In this book, Rowe draws on his wealth of experience to bring seasonal food to life. The chef is touring in support of the book; visit the Calendar of Events to view dates.

Deep South: New Southern Cooking by Brad McDonald: The soul food of America's Deep South is celebrated in this new cookbook from native Mississippi chef Brad McDonald. From cornbread to smothered catfish, pimento cheese to lemon icebox pie, from Cajun and Creole to the BBQ and smoking techniques of rural communities, this classic food has been given a contemporary edge.

cookbook collageCook Happy, Cook Healthy by Fearne Cotton: Cotton is one of UK's best-loved television and radio presenters. She is also a keen healthy baker and young, busy, working mum who has found some great ways to eat well and eat clean. Her first cookbook is full of easy, fast and healthy recipes for everything from breakfast and speedy suppers to baked treats.

LEON Happy Salads by Jane Baxter & John Vincent: London restaurant Leon was founded on the twin principles that food can both taste good and do you good. Six months after opening, Leon was named the Best New Restaurant in Great Britain at the Observer Food Monthly Awards. In this book,  Baxter and Vincent bring together recipes for fresh, vibrant, delicious salads.

Savage Salads by Davide del Gatto & Kristina Gustafsson: Savage Salads is about taste as well as health. It's about filling up, being satisfied, enjoying what you're eating and knowing it's good for you. Kristina Gustafsson (from Sweden) and Davide Del Gatto (from Italy) understand how to create punchy flavours and satisfying textures, all topped with grilled halloumi, chicken or fish.

Posh Eggs: Over 70 Recipes for Wonderful Eggy Things by Lucy O'Reilly: Posh Eggs makes the humble egg the star of the show, with recipes that make a meal out of this easy ingredient. With a guide to the basics of cooking eggs, plus a photo for every single recipe, this is the ultimate gifty cookbook or self-purchase for egg addicts, expert chefs, and novices alike.

cookbook collageThe Bountiful Kitchen by Lizzie Kamenetzky: The Bountiful Kitchen shows how you can develop and transform leftover meals into a variety of separate and delicious dishes. Start with a master recipe based on one main ingredient and then turn the leftovers into interesting new dishes.

The Great British Bake Off: Children's Party Cakes & Bakes by Annie Rigg: Bake the birthday cake of your child's dreams and make the annual party a stress-free occasion with these brilliant new recipes for delicious cakes, biscuits, buns, and bakes. Recipes for sweet and savoury treats will complete your perfect birthday party.

Teatime: 50 Cakes and Bakes for Every Occasion by Cath Kidston: Afternoon tea is a British tradition that has become a staple the world over, bringing people together over sumptuous scones and sponges, elegant sandwiches, marvelous macarons, and delectable cupcakes. Teatime includes recipes for bakes, tips on perfect styling, as well as cooking know-how.

A Handful of Flour: Recipes From Shipton Mills by Tess Lister: Shipton Mill's flour is the one that professional and home bakers namecheck, from Richard Bertinet to Andrew Whitley to Darina Allen, Raymond Blanc, Jamie Oliver, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Yotam Ottolenghi. In this, their first, much-anticipated book, Tess Lister will show you how to choose the best flour for breads, pastry, pizza, cakes, tarts, biscuits and more.

cookbook collageThe Italian Baker: 100 International Baking Recipes with a Modern Twist by Melissa Forti: In her tea room in an idyllic medieval town near Tuscany, Forti bakes beautiful cakes that combine Italian traditions with her own modern twists. This book is a collection of tarts, cakes, loaves, biscuits, and coffee-time treats born out of Melissa's signature style of baking.

In addition to the reprint of the Dali book, this month features two more reprints from publishing house Phaidon.  Both of these books are included in the special EYB members discount. The first is France: The Cookbook by Ginette Mathiot. Many consider this book the bible of traditional and authentic French home cooking. The recipes, which have been fully updated by Clotilde Dusoulier, author of the popular Chocolate & Zucchini blog, prove that authentic French food doesn't have to be complicated, heavy or too rich.

Spain: The Cookbook by Simone & Inés Ortega: The second Phaidon reprint is of the book Spanish cooks have trusted and relied upon since it was first published over 40 years ago. True to its original title (1080 recetas de cocina) it contains a comprehensive collection of 1080 authentic Spanish recipes, covering everything from tortilla to bacalao. There are also menu plans, cooking tips, and a glossary and the book is fully illustrated by the famous Spanish graphic designer and illustrator Javier Mariscal.

Eat.Drink.Shine by Jennifer, Jessica & Jill Emich: The recipes in this book arethe foodie teen organised by the effect that food has on your body: recipes for energy and vitality, for a healthy libido, to improve digestion, to maintain desired weight and radiant skin, and to elevate the mood and spirit.

The Foodie Teen by Alessandra Peters: The Foodie Teen offers nutritious, delicious meals from the inspirational, award-winning teenage blogger Alessandra Peters. Alessandra is on a mission to inspire others to embrace the ten food commandmentsa healthy lifestyle. Her approach to cooking centres around eating unprocessed, real ingredients and her recipes are for everyone. 

The Ten (Food) Commandments by Jay Rayner: The Ten Commandments may have had a lot going for them, but they don't offer those of us located in the 21st Century much in the way of guidance when it comes to our relationship with our food. And Lord knows we need it. Enter our new culinary Moses, the legendary restaurant critic Jay Rayner, with a new set of hand-tooled commandments for this food-obsessed age. He deals once and for all with questions like whether it is ever okay to covet thy neighbour's oxen (it is), eating with your hands (very important indeed) and if you should cut off the fat (no). 

IRELANDthe world of the happy pear

World of the Happy Pear by David & Stephen Flynn: The latest from the authors of the No. 1 bestselling cookery book in Ireland for two years running, The World of the Happy Pear is inspired by the Flynn's family, friends and the international team at their legendary café. By showing that vegetarian food is endlessly varied, packed full of flavour and amazingly easy to prepare they want to spread the love for fruit and veg!

 

 

AUSTRALIA and NEW ZEALAND

cookbook collageWholefood from the Ground Up : Nourishing Wisdoms, Know-How and Recipes by Jude Blereau: If you want to improve your diet and eat more wholefoods, but not sure how, then Jude Blereau, one of Australia's most authoritative, long-established wholefood advocates, will help you achieve your goals with her new book. In addition to 120 wholefood recipes there is clear information about what constitutes 'good' food, where to source it and how to use it to its best effect. Also advice on how to build your wholefood pantry from scratch as well as practical tips for planning and preparing food ahead.

It's All About the Food Not the Fork! 107 Easy to Eat Meals in a Mouthful by Peter Morgan-Jones and Lisa Greedy and Prudence Ellis: At some stage we may all be faced with having to prepare food for friends and family who may not be able to eat 'normally'- older people and people with dementia, swallowing difficulties or other disability. This book will be invaluable for ideas for preparing finger food without compromising taste, textures and aromas.

100 Desserts to Die For: Quick, Easy, Delicious Recipes for the Ultimate Classics by Trish Deseine: For some, desserts are not the priority when entertaining (for some they are!) This book provides 100 simple, inventive recipes, with tips, shortcuts and good advice for uncomplicated desserts that will still impress your guests.

Chocolate: Luscious Recipes and Expert Know-How for Biscuits, Cakes, Sweet Treats and Desserts by Kirsten Tibballs: Australia's 'queen of chocolate' (what a great title!) wants to give you the confidence to be more adventurous with chocolate. She gives detailed explanations of steps and techniques, so you can create decadent treats - such as knockout chocolate mousse cake, sticky chocolate doughnut or the best brownie you've ever tasted.  

cookbook collageGather: Fresh, Tasty Recipes for Sharing by Tim Read: The latest MasterChef NZ winner delivers his first cookbook featuring the type of recipes that he became known for on the show.  He loves relaxed eating and entertaining using fresh seasonal produce, that he's either grown in his garden, fished or hunted - you can go to the market!

Melie's Kitchen by Amelia Ferrier: Only 18, Amelia manages university studies, a busy baking schedule fulfilling weekly cake orders, sharing her creations on social media - and creating a cookbook! She shows us how to recreate her amazing creations sharing recipes for cupcakes, stunningly decorated cakes and indulgent pastries, cookies and slices, as well as her signature flavour-packed fillings, icings and toppings.

Edmonds the Best of Baking: Most New Zealander's have their favourite Edmonds recipe - this new collection of 130 baking recipes combines old favourites, Anzac Biscuits, Coffee Cake and Pavlova, with new recipes such as Macadamia Nut and White Chocolate Biscuits, Panforte, and Feta, Olive and Sundried Tomato Calzone. diabetes cookbook The book is divided into four sections: 'Biscuits & Slices', 'Cakes', 'Pies, Pizzas, Breads & Buns' and 'Christmas Treats' - with every recipe photographed.

The latest from Australian Women's Weekly:

Food for the Soul (The Australian Women's Weekly)
Diabetes: Food for Life

Review of Mexican Today by Pati Jinich

Mexican TodayPati Jinich's first book, Pati's Mexican Table, received accolades including the Best in Books from the New York Times, listed in Best Cookbooks of the Year from the Washington Post, and Top 20 Best of the Year Cookbooks from Amazon. It was well received with good reason: fresh, no fuss recipes that can be thrown together quickly and still be delicious and good for you. Jinich is back now with her second title, Mexican Today: New and Rediscovered Recipes for Contemporary Kitchens. This cookbook's focus is on new flavors and traditions from other parts of the world while still sharing generations-old recipes from Mexico.

I have learned over the past few years that Americanized Mexican food is totally different from authentic Mexican cuisine. With Jinich's recipes, minimal frying is involved and heavy sauces and excessive cheese are avoided. The recipes in Mexican Today are typically lighter dishes utilizing fresh ingredients and produce. I also find her recipes can be made relatively quickly so that they can be created on a busy weeknight. The chef herself is a mom of four and has a tight schedule - she can appreciate that the person cooking family meals has the same type of busy days.

The author provides tutorials on Mexican breads, cheeses, chiles and other ingredients. There are other helpful tips including how to find the right achiote paste. For instance, her thoughtfulness in pointing out that we need to choose achiote paste in bar form and not in the jars helped me at the grocery and is beneficial to anyone not familiar with Mexican ingredients. Recipes that stood out as I paged through the book were, Garlic Shrimp with Fennel, Orange and Avocado Salad, Shredded Beef with Vegetable Salad, Potato and Chorizo Tortas with Quick Pickled Onions, Shrimp Mango and Avocado Rolls and Meatballs in Guajillo Sauce with Zucchini - all can appear on our weeknight dinner tables. A full index of recipes can be found here.

Examples of recipes that play on the fusion aspect by combining flavors from other countries include Chipotle Peanut and Sesame Seed Salsa, Mexican Pizza with Poblano Rajas, Corn, and Zucchini, and Creamy Mac "N" Cheese Mexicano. I love to experiment with different cuisines coming together in one meal - it results in delicious unique flavors.

Chapter Four is my favorite chapter - Spreads, Guacamole, Salsas, Adobos and Garnishes. These can add flavor and something special to any menu - a salsa on top of a grilled chicken breast can elevate the dish. Drunken Prune Salsa with Pasillas and Orange sounds like a great accompaniment to a pork tenderloin for another quick meal.

Desserts are sometimes not featured in some international cookbooks, at least not in equal coverage, but in Mexican Today there are fourteen tempting treats for us to try: Five-Spice Plum and Apricot Empanadas, Chardonnay Mango Cinnamon Rolls and Cajeta and Pecan Cinnamon Rolls are some of the offerings.

Chicken PibilI tested the Fast-Track Chicken Pibil and the Pickled Cabbage and Onion and was incredibly surprised at the depth of flavor in such a relatively quick dish. The pickled cabbage and onion - seriously the best pickled onion and cabbage I have eaten. It's comforting to know that after a roasted Sunday chicken, Monday can hold this meal. You can pick up a rotisserie chicken and a few fresh ingredients and make this dinner tonight (special thanks to Houghton Mifflin for sharing this recipe below). I made tacos out of my pibil but the next time I will serve it with rice and black beans. The pibil sauce will show up in other dishes because it truly is wonderful.

Mexican Today is an exciting new look at Mexican food keeping it fresh and flavorful.

Photo for tested recipe by Jenny Hartin.  Jenny 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.

Fast-Track Chicken Pibil - and Day-After Thanksgiving Turkey Pibil (Pollo Pibil Rápido)
Serves 4-5

8  ounces ripe tomatoes
¼  red onion
3  garlic cloves, unpeeled
½  teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or to taste
2  cups chicken broth
2  tablespoons canola or safflower oil
¼  cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
¼  cup freshly squeezed orange juice
¼  cup freshly squeezed lime juice
¼  cup distilled white vinegar
½  teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
¼  teaspoon ground allspice
1⁄8  teaspoon ground cumin
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped achiote paste (the one that comes in a bar, not in a jar)
6  cups cooked shredded chicken
Pickled Onions and Cabbage (recipe follows)

1. Preheat the broiler. Line a small baking sheet or roasting pan with foil. Place the tomatoes, onion, and garlic cloves on the foil, set under the broiler, 3 to 4 inches from the heat, and broil for 4 to 5 minutes, until charred on one side. Flip over and broil for another 4 to 5 minutes, until the skin is blistered and completely charred; the tomatoes should be very soft with the juices beginning to emerge. Remove from the heat.

2. Once they are cool enough to handle, quarter the tomatoes and place in a blender, along with any juices in the pan. Peel the garlic cloves and add to the blender. Add the onion, salt, and 1 cup of the broth and puree until completely smooth.

3. In a casserole or soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Pour in the puree, cover partially, as the sauce will sizzle and jump, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 to 8 minutes, until the sauce thickens and darkens considerably.

4. Meanwhile, combine the grapefruit juice, orange juice, lime juice, vinegar, oregano, allspice, cumin, pepper to taste, achiote paste, and the remaining 1 cup broth in the blender and puree until completely smooth.

5. Stir the juice mixture into the tomato sauce, bring to a simmer, and simmer for 5 minutes.

6. Add the chicken, stir together well, and cook, uncovered, until the meat has absorbed most of the sauce, about 5 minutes. The dish should be very moist but not soupy.

7. Serve the pibil with pickled onions and cabbage (recipe follows).

Pickled Onions and Cabbage (Cebolla Morada y Col en Escabeche)
Makes a generous 4 cups

1  large red onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
¼  cup extra-virgin olive oil
2  jalapeño chiles or to taste
¼  cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
¼  cup freshly squeezed orange juice
¼  cup freshly squeezed lime juice
¼  cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1¼ teaspoons kosher or sea salt or to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups finely shredded green cabbage (about 12 ounces)

1. Place the onion in a small bowl, cover with cold water, and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes; drain well.

2. In a small skillet, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the jalapeños and cook, turning a few times, for about 2 minutes, or until lightly browned on all sides. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

3. In a large bowl, combine the grapefruit, orange, and lime juices with the vinegar, salt, and pepper. Add the oil from the skillet and whisk to combine well. Toss in the onion and cabbage and mix well. Add the jalapeños and toss. Let the mix pickle at room temperature for 20 minutes to 1 hour, then cover and refrigerate.

Text excerpted from Mexican Today, © 2016 by Pati Jinich. Reproduced by permission of Rux Martin  Books/HoughtonMifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved


Q&A with the authors of Batch

Dana Harrison Joel MacCharles and Dana Harrison are the duo behind the popular website WellPreserved.ca. Dana's love of great food is only matched by her love for tasty design. She is the Creative Director at WellPreserved, where she makes sure everything looks as good as it tastes. Joel is a home cook and writer. He loves to cook a great meal, but beyond that he is passionate about learning, understanding the impact of our food choices, getting to know where food comes from and the people who help bring it to the table. Joel MacCharlesThis passion has resulted in over 1700 articles and recipes shared through several online communities. Joel and Dana have recently released Batch: Over 200 Recipes, Tips and Techniques for a Well Preserved Kitchen, their first cookbook. (Enter our contest for your chance to win a copy of the book - US & Canada only.) We caught up to the busy pair to ask them a few questions about Batch:

You have a very popular website (WellPreserved.ca). How different was the process of writing the cookbook from writing for the website?

Thank you for the kind words! There were a lot of differences between the two - writing on our site is something I've always thought of as a journal or a diary. It's casual, informal and more stream-of-consciousness than writing a book!

When Dana and I started WellPreserved I published new content for 1,500 consecutive days. WellPreserved was created on-demand! We often wouldn't know the topic of the day until the alarm clock went off at 5:00AM and I started writing or until after a farmers market and we came home with a flat of strawberries or other fruit.

Unlike our site, the book required almost as much planning as it did writing. Dana and I had to spend a lot of time up-front trying to figure out what the book as going to be like before we could start writing or designing. Dana recently looked at our book pitch (from 3 years ago) and it was a good reminder of all of that planning - the book is almost identical to the planning we did before we wrote a single recipe.

I see that you recently ran a series of live classes on your website, teaching the fundamentals of preserving - making pickled onions, preserved lemons, sauerkraut, etc. How did they go and are you planning more?

Those were so fun! We did 10 days of live broadcasting from our home kitchen. The feedback was awesome; we had a lot of interaction and around 12,000 views in those 10 days. It was also ridiculously fun to see photos in the following days of people making their own hot sauces, krauts and infusions.

We will absolutely be doing more this summer once our calendars free up a little more. There is something so invigorating about being able to use technology to interact with people in real-time and share our passion for preserving and show just how easy it can be!

How many preserving jars do you get through in a year and do you have a preference for which jars you use?

Great question! Many people are surprised to hear that we never fully empty our pantry. We see preserving as a year-round activity and often preserve ingredients to store for up to 2 years. Because some jars are filled once every two years and others are filled 3 or 4 times in a year it's tough to keep count! We figure we live with about 800 jars of preserves.

And which lucky people get all the preserves that you make?

My Mother says we never share but I argue that our pantry is an open shelf to her and she isn't grabbing enough!

We enjoy sharing preserves with friends and family and love to host preserve swaps with our community as well (imagine going to a local bar and meeting 30 or 40 people who preserve and swapping jam, pickles, bacon, sourdough starters, kombucha and more!)

Preserves are more than condiments to us - we see them as ingredients of a pantry with nearly endless combinations. It's a lot of fun to be able to bring a few of them as a host/hostess gift or to add to a friends meal that allow them to experience something unique as well.

Many people just think about preserving as making jams, jellies and pickles in Mason jars. What other types of preserving do you cover on your website and in the book?

Thank you for asking this! We're on a mission to remind people that there is so much more to preserving than jam and pickles (though we make both and love them too). So many people start preserving with strawberry jam without knowing it's one of the more difficult preserving methods and is often associated with hot, hard work (it's really not that bad!). If you're willing to wait 10 days you can make bacon in minutes and learning to make mead (honey wine) or homemade soda isn't that much more work. Many are further surprised that most preserving doesn't require specialized equipment or ingredients as well.

In Batch we look at making 7 styles of preserving accessible: fermenting (sauerkraut, mead, crème fraiche, kimchi), salt and smoke (lemon pickles, bacon, chili salt), pressure canning (canned peas, beans, stock and soup), infusing (booze and vinegar), dehydrating (fruit leather, dried mushrooms, and chili peppers), cellaring (using your fridge, freezer and cool spaces of your house) and waterbath (jams and vinegar pickles).

With having so many preserving projects, how much have you found that your food shopping has changed?

We became seasonal eaters almost by accident. I'm writing this in June and imported hot peppers are around $4 per pound in Toronto right now. We're still eating preserved peppers (dehydrated, roasted and pickled and frozen as a puree) from last fall when we bought 30 pounds of them for $20.

We didn't set out to build a pantry like this; it just sort of happened. In the process we found that it was relatively easy to buy products in bulk and preserve them as long as we were willing to find new ways to cook some of our favorite meals. For example, our pasta sauce is likely to be cooked with roasted pepper puree that we froze instead of chunks of peppers. Because most of our preserves are made with ingredients from their peak season our meals tend to taste better than what we could buy 'fresh' today.

Are there any recipes you have created to use up preserves that you've been thrilled by? And have you included any recipes using preserves in the new book?

The book has 150 preserving recipes (using the 7 techniques) and 50 recipes which feature preserves as 'center of the plate' meals.

When we started preserving I made almost 300 jars of jam and don't eat toast and didn't know what to do with them -it turns out that many people who want to preserve have had similar experiences so including casual meal recipes was important to us. For example, instead of using Blueberry Maple Jam as a toast topper we use it as a core ingredient for a sauce for salmon in the book. Using preserves as ingredients is a lot of fun and creates combinations of flavours we wouldn't have tried otherwise.

When writing the book we wanted to make sure that we were equally proud of each recipe. I really feel like I can stand behind each one and find that my 'favorites' change often. I really dig the fact that many of the recipes are directly inspired by people in our lives and that we were able to share tiny pieces of our lives and community through the stories of the recipes in the book.

Dana and I are always excited by the tomato chapter - tomatoes mean family to us and bring back so many memories of time with my parents when we made tomato sauce for a weekend (we still put up around 160 jars of tomato sauce with them every year) so those recipes have special meaning for me. I am also a giant fan of spicy food so the hot pepper chapter is one I go to often.

Many people are put off home preserving by fear of food safety. How do you help people get over these fears?

I remember being scared of almost everything I didn't know. Seriously! I can remember being petrified of skiing, riding a bicycle, driving a car and public speaking. Your experience will be different than mine of course but I really encourage people to think about the things you once feared and how a little knowledge brought a lot of comfort.

Botulism (the most feared health consequence of canning) is a serious fear for many and it's important that you learn a few basics to protect yourself (we share these in Batch and on our website but any reputable canning site or book will guide you through that) but you'll find there is little to fear.

The latest statistics I have show a total of 139 cases on Botulism occurred in the USA from 1990-2014. That's 5.8 (avoidable) cases a year on average and not all are fatal. Compare that to the 450 people per year who die falling out of bed or the 13 people who die from vending machines. I'm not making light of these deaths but the contrast is striking.

All food carries some risk. Our commercial food system has shown that - the number of people getting sick from commercial produce shows that there is risk in any food we eat. By learning how to preserve you can control the process yourself and will find it's not nearly as scary as it sounds - after all it's knowledge (and not the lack of it) that will help us get over any fear!

Cookbook giveaway - Batch

BatchChef Curtis Stone calls Joel MacCharles and Dana Harrison masters in the world of preserving. Their journey into preserving began with an innocent lesson in making jam. Almost a decade later, their website (WellPreserved.ca) is an extraordinary resource for both beginners and experts alike.

Their much-anticipated first cookbook, Batch, showcases seven different preserving techniques-waterbath canning, pressure canning, dehydrating, fermenting, cellaring, salting & smoking, and infusing. You can learn more about the book in our author Q&A with Joel and Dana. We're delighted to offer five copies of Batch to EYB Members in the US and Canada only. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post:

What food are you most eager to learn how to preserve?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends July 25, 2016.


Do these dining alternatives spell doom for restaurants?

 restaurant

Technology startups like Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb have disrupted the traditional taxi and hotel business models, and in some areas are proving to be stiff competition. Now several startups that operate in major cities around the world are aiming to do the same thing in the restaurant industry.

Killian Fox at The Guardian reports on five different dining apps, each of which offers a slightly different service. One version called EatAbout is akin to old-fashioned supper clubs, linking diners to chefs for private meals in the chef's home. Once you settle on a date and the number of diners, all that's left is to work out the menu. Usually this involves a short back-and-forth with the chef to determine the diners' preferences. Meals are prepaid and you and your friends show up the appointed time for a fine dining experience. It differs from the afore-mentioned supper clubs in that you aren't dining with strangers; the meals are all private events.

Another option investigated by Fox more closely resembles traditional takeaway. He tried a service called DishNextDoor, which "links you up with talented cooks in your neighbourhood who do everything from their home kitchens. You browse the website for tempting dishes nearby, arrange a collection time (it could be as little as 20 minutes after the order is placed) and pick up a freshly cooked meal from your neighbour's door."

These services are still too new to have much impact on restaurants, but some industry experts perceive them as a threat to both sit-down and takeaway establishments. While the apps have advantages over brick-and-mortar businesses, including greater creative freedom and lower costs, restaurants still have a lot to offer diners. They are available to anyone and can provide an ambience not found in a more home-like setting.  Fox, for one, isn't likely to give up traditional dining any time soon: "I'm too addicted to the buzz of restaurants and sometimes I'd much rather sit among strangers in a public space than know everybody in the room," he says. 

Have you tried any of these or similar services? What do you think of them?

Sensational sour cream

 borscht salad

Sometimes we overlook basic ingredients in our quest for the new and exotic. The good news about forgetting how good an ingredient is that you can have fun rediscovering what made them kitchen staples in the first place. That's what Ruth Reichl is doing right now with a basic dairy product - sour cream. Her Twitter feed has featured the humble ingredient in a series of tweets.

The most recent tweet involved a posting photos from a 1939 cookbook that she has been savoring, Fit for a King, which is a collection of recipes from Merle Armitage. Reichl calls Armitage "the Benjamin Franklin of LA modernism," and notes that in addition to being an art collector and passionate home cook, his first love was typography. The book, not surprisingly, is gorgeous and includes illustrations in addition to wonderful Art Deco fonts. Reich gives us a sneak peek into the vintage cookbook and shares a few recipe from the book's "mini theme" of recipes highlighting sour cream.

One of her favorite sour cream recipes is the Borscht salad (à la Fergus Henderson), pictured above, from her recent cookbook, My Kitchen Year. You can find more great sour cream recipes in the EYB Library, including these favorites:

Sour cream sandwich bread from The Guardian The Guardian by Dan Lepard  Caramelized onion dip  from MarthaStewart.com by Martha Stewart Living Magazine
Sour cream pastry from Maggie Beer's Summer Harvest by Maggie Beer 
Roast pork with braised red cabbage and horseradish and sour cream mash from Cuisine Magazine by Celia Harvey
Sour cream coffee cake with brown butter glaze from Joy the Baker Homemade Decadence by Joy Wilson

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

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