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31 ways to enjoy your morning cuppa

Iced Vietnamese Coffee

Coffee is enjoyed (some might say required) by millions of people every day. It's interesting to see how different cultures have put their distinctive mark on this stimulating beverage. Food Republic shared an appealing infographic that lists 31 different coffee drinks from around the world. While the last such photo depiction published here stirred a bit of controversy, this graphic doesn't make any bold claims. Instead, it shows one or two popular coffee drinks from various countries or regions.

Many places seem to have a sweet tooth for coffee drinks, like Germany with its Eiskaffee that includes ice cream and chocolate chips. Many Asian countries are shown using sweetened condensed milk in coffee drinks, while the Italians are thought to prefer their java unsweetened, with milk generally only in the morning coffee and not later.

An interesting sidenote about infographics like these is that they rarely seem to be created by a food website or company. This particular graphic was made (or commissioned) by a discount airfare website. While these fluff pieces can be entertaining, we probably shouldn't rely on them for accuracy - there are at least two country names misspelled on the graphic, which does not inspire confidence in the remainder of the information. (To be fair, this infographic does list sources for the information, while many others do not.) But even if it isn't completely accurate, many of the drinks look like they are worth a try.

What do you think of these infographics? Do you use them for inspiration or reference or has graphic fatigue set in for you?

Photo of Iced Vietnamese coffee from Bon Appétit Magazine and the EYB Library

Underappreciated summer vegetables

Roasted okra chips

Summertime brings a plethora of vegetables. Many people eagerly await the first corn, tomatoes, and melons of the season. But as this articles explains, there are other great vegetables that get overlooked in the shadows of these more popular foods. Break out of your routine and try some of these delicious vegetables, starting with kohlrabi. Sometimes thought of as "the alien in the CSA box," kohlrabi is "a versatile, nutrient-dense veggie. Naturally fat-free, it's loaded with fiber, potassium and immune-boosting vitamin C. Crisp and juicy, it's a member of the brassica family (such as cabbage and cauliflower) and actually has a similar flavor if eaten raw."

Another underappreciated vegetable is okra, which has a reputation for being slimy. However, if prepared properly, okra can be a delight. It's great sauteed with other summer vegetables, and wonderful if you "roast it, whole, with oil, salt, pepper and seasonings like smoked paprika. Browned and slightly crisp, you can eat it as is or add it to a salad or side dish."

Kohlrabi and apple saladMustard greens, eggplant (aubergines), and cabbage round out the list of overlooked vegetables. Which of these (or which other underappreciated veg) is your favorite?

Photos of roasted okra chips and kohlrabi and apple salad from the EYB Library

B-List cocktails make a comeback

East India
Many factors have spurred the renaissance of classic cocktails over the last few years. Recipes have gone viral on social media, hipsters have brought back fashions including cocktails, and distilleries have brushed the dust off old recipes and reissued classic spirits (and other distilleries have reimagined them). Most bartenders can now make a proper Manhattan and martini, but those cocktails only scratch the surface of the classic cocktail genre. Now mixologists are digging deeper to find other lost gems, reports the online magazine Punch.

So what is a "B-list" cocktail? Drinks like "the Martinez, the likely precursor to the Martini, before maraschino and orange bitters were subtracted from the formula. Or the Aviation, which brought chalky purple crème de violette, a violet-flavored liqueur, back to bar stocks." Other cocktails like the Last Word or Vieux Carré would also fit the bill.

And why are these drinks finding their way back into the spotlight? Part of it is like a badge of honor for bartenders to know these authentic and historic drinks. And in a chicken-and-egg-style situation, the folks on the other side of the bar rail are demanding these formerly obscure classics. "Some consumers have adopted cocktail-spotting as a full-time hobby, seeking out the newest and best watering holes with the same fervor restaurant junkies pursue new openings."

Once rediscovered, these B-list drinks can be elevated to A-list status. Noted cocktail expert Jeffrey Morgenthaler (author of the recently published Bar Book) notes that when he started in this business, "a perfect example of a second-tier cocktail would be a Negroni. Now my mom knows what a Negroni is."

The article notes three up-and-coming classic cocktails: De La Louisiane, Bamboo, and El Presidente, the last being "a combination of rum, dry vermouth, orange curaçao and grenadine-which is said to date back to 1920s Cuba." Do you fancy any lesser-known classic cocktails? 

Photo of an East India cocktail by Darcie Boschee

Why it's better from scratch

Ivy ManningIvy Manning is a Portland, Oregon-based food and travel writer, food stylist, and cookbook author. Her work has been featured in magazines such as Cooking Light, Sunset Magazine, Fine Cooking, and Bon Appétit. Although her home base is in Oregon, Manning travels the globe studying the cuisines of diverse countries including Thailand, Italy, France, and Mexico. The author of last year's book on homemade crackers is back with a new book featuring recipes that you may be able to use on those crackers. Better from Scratch (Williams-Sonoma) includes dozens of do-it-yourself recipes inspired by everyday food products that most of us purchase instead of making. The cookbook also includes advice on storing foods and tips on making food gifts, trendy sodas and cocktails, and completely homemade snack platters. (You can enter our contest for your chance to win one of three copies of the book.) We asked Ivy about the inspiration for the book and which recipes are her favorites:

How did you come up with the idea for this book?  What was the light bulb moment?

I started making crackers while working in catering and was amazed at how easy and delicious they were. Later, I wrote a book called Crackers and Dips. Since then, I've been looking at how to make everything from scratch, especially things that we would never thing of. It's great fun to reverse-engineer packaged foods, take out all the junk, and make them better just by doing it yourself.

What is the "from scratch" recipe that you think will surprise readers?  The one that they might never have considered making themselves?

Bacon! It's takes a few minutes to put together, and then a few weeks of curing, and smoking on a gas grill is so easy! And the results? Let's just say I have a lot of new friends that "drop by" whenever I mention I'm making bacon.

Better from ScratchWere there any products that you tried making from scratch and decided it just wasn't worth the effort?

Miso. I love the stuff, but messing with koji (the mold used to ferment the soybeans), stirring, and storing the stuff for months in the fridge proved a little too technical. Plus, there's an artisan miso maker in my city, so I'm set.

And any that you tried and decided the store-bought product really couldn't be improved on?

That depends on your subjective taste. I love the chipotle ketchup and classic ketchup recipes in my book, but my friend's little kids wanted the sweeter, saltier stuff in the squeeze bottle because that's all they've ever known. I blame it on "happy meals."

What are the top three reasons that you think make homemade products better than store-bought?

First, homemade just tastes better! The ingredients are fresher and better quality because when you're making small batch from scratch foods you're not worried about your bottom line and shareholders. Second, you don't need to use scary preservatives, anti-caking agents, and food coloring when make homemade foods. If you're at all concerned about what you're putting into your body (and you should be), it's better to control as many of your own food sources as possible. Third, it's fun! Homemade Cracker Jacks, good quality chocolate Ande's candies, scratch sriracha, Better From Scratch is full of fun little projects that are perfect for folks who love to putter around in the kitchen. That said, I was shocked at how easy it is to make so many of these things. Time and again I said, "Why haven't I made this before? It's not hard and it's so much better!"

What is your current favorite homemade food/drink to give as gifts?

It's berry season, so I've been making homemade nutella and bringing it with pints of ripe berries to dinner parties as a hostess gift. The homemade margarita mix has been a big hit at barbecues.

The cocktail trend is huge right now and it is very expensive to stock a bar with all the cordials and liqueurs you might need.  What homemade bar items do you use?

I make my own tonic syrup and it makes all the difference in my gin and tonics. I also make my own limoncello and clementinecello and serve it chilled as a digestif. Oh, and my spiced cranberry-pomegranate syrup makes the best cosmos in the world.

This is your fourth cookbook.  What do you have coming up next?

I just finished up another book for Williams-Sonoma called Weeknight Vegetarian that comes out in January. It's a book on how to make really satisfying meals quickly on meatless Monday, or any other day of the week, for that matter. 

Cookbook giveaway - Better from Scratch

Better from Scratch cookbook

Better from Scratch (Williams-Sonoma) is chock full of recipes for everyday food items that many of us purchase, like ketchup and bacon. You can read author Ivy Manning's views on why it's better to make these items from scratch in our author interview. In addition to the recipes, the book includes tips on food storage and how to make delicious DIY gifts.

We're delighted to offer three copies of Better from Scratch to EYB members. Enter soon - the contest ends on August 15, 2014.

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 & baking everyone!


From magazines & blogs:


Bulgur & Lentil Salad by Andy Harris from the June issue of indexed Jamie Magazine


Homemade "Magic Shell" from Good Housekeeping, added with the Bookmarklet



4 blueberry recipes from the July/August issue of indexed Vegetarian Times Magazine

 
From UK books:


29 recipes from Tessa Kiros: The Recipe Collection


Malt Loaf from Simply Good Bread by Peter Sidwell, indexed by an EYB member

 

And don't forget to enter our contest for a chance to win a free LIFETIME membership!
(Ends July 31st)


 

Me and my cookbooks - Diana Henry

We are back with another installment of the "Me and my cookbooks" series. Many EYB members have told us they enjoy meeting members and special guests through this feature. We'd love to introduce more people, so if you'd like to be featured, just email us at info@eatyourbooks.com.

Today we highlight author and cookbook collector Diana Henry. Diana is no stranger to EYB Members; her cookbooks can be found on hundreds of member Bookshelves. The EYB Member Forum also features a topic on cooking with Diana Henry recipes, so after exploring the 131 recipes by Diana Henry available online or while awaiting delivery of the new cookbook that this article may inspire you to buy, you can wade into that discussion.

Diana's latest book, A Change of Appetite, was published earlier this year in the U.K. and is now available in the U.S. In addition to her well-regarded cookbooks, Diana has been The Sunday Telegraph's food writer since the early 2000s and also contributes to various magazines. What follows are excerpts from a touching article that Diana posted on her website about her love of food writing and cookbooks.

Diana Henry's cookbooks

About seven years ago I got divorced. Of course the reasons given as the causes of a divorce are never the real ones. 'He never puts the lid on the toothpaste' isn't really about the toothpaste, or the lid, or even general untidiness. So cookbooks didn't exactly cause my divorce, but books - and in particular cookbooks - were a contributing factor simply because they are so important to me.
 
At one point my ex husband and I stood on the landing of our home, the shelves of which housed about 4000 books, most of them cookbooks. 'Really you have to get rid of some of them. There's just too many,' he said. I was amazed that somebody could ask me to do this. It was almost as if he'd said 'Get rid of your past.' Because to me these weren't just books. They were loved and used, but they were also, in a way, a map of my life. They reminded me of particular phases and they also chronicled the previous 30 years through food styles and food photography. There were, admittedly, a few that I rarely opened, such as Anton Mosimann's Cuisine  à la Carte, his hymn to nouvelle cuisine. But as soon as I look at those pictures, food graphically arranged on hexagonal plates, I am back in the London I arrived in during the mid 80s. There's a book called The China Moon Cookbook by Barbara Tropp that I don't use much any more. But that reminds me of all the Asian/Californian dishes I cooked in my early 30s. There was no way any of these books were going anywhere. It would have been like throwing out chunks of my life.

I was given my first cookbook when I was about 6. It was the My Learn to Cook Book by Ursula Sedgwick, published by Hamlyn. I'd hate to lose this because the illustrations give me the same frisson of excitement now as they did then.

It looks fun, it's colourful, but what I loved most were the illustrations for the instructions. I could see exactly what I had to do, and how my dishes were supposed to turn out. The tomatoes with eggs baked inside them seemed to me a genius idea, and the picture of the finished dish made me hungry. It was one of the first savoury meals I ever made.....

Cookbook coverThe most profound book-buying experience, though (and it was something that really did affect the course of my life) was in north London in the autumn of 1986. I had moved to London to do post graduate studies in journalism. Moving there overwhelmed me. There wasn't a food ingredient that I couldn't find and there was a restaurant, somewhere in the city, for practically every cuisine you could think of. One day after college I was mooching around the bookshop near my flat and found a book called A New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden. I had never heard of her, but the food sounded good. And the writing in it took me to the Middle East, a place - since coming to London with the Edgware Road and all the Middle Eastern groceries near my flat - that didn't feel so far away.

On a shelf nearby there was a book by a woman I had heard a little about - Alice Waters. Her book, The Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook, was actually marked down in price, but when I flicked through it I knew I would give almost anything to take it home with me.

It is difficult to explain now how very different Alice's approach was to anything that had gone before. It was so simple. It showed a Mediterranean spirit applied to American ingredients. The menus went like this:

Goat's cheese with baked garlic and sourdough
Bourride
Chargrilled pork with roast peppers and griddled leeks
Plum sherbet

There were other menus - some more elaborate, some celebrating the garlic harvest, or the new season's lamb. But all of them were about simplicity and purity and just valuing good food. The book and its menus actually sent a shiver down my spine. Nobody was cooking like this - we were in the middle of nouvelle cuisine - and it seemed so fresh. These two books - Roden's and Water's - are very different but they had a huge impact on me. I loved Claudia because her writing was so personal, because she put food into a cultural and historical context, because she painted vivid pictures and made me want to travel. I loved Alice, because her outlook was so fresh. It's a common chant nowadays, but 'simple and seasonal' was a new mantra when Alice started to voice it. I had no intention of being a food writer then but these books were constant companions both in my kitchen and on my bedside table. Claudia Roden has the power to transport any reader, as well as make them hungry.

Continue reading on Diana's website.

Cookbook store profile - The Cook Book Stall

It's time for another installment in the EYB series highlighting independent cookbook stores. Discover (or get reacquainted with) a store near your home - or plan a new target destination when you travel.

To keep this feature vital, we're asking our members to help us. We already know of many great stores, (you can view the full list here), but we'd love to learn about more - especially those treasured by our members. So please share the names of independent cookbook stores that you know, love, admire, or are just plain crazy about. Add a comment to this posting, or email us at info@eatyourbooks.com with the name, address, and owner (if you know it). We'll do the rest.

The Cook Book Stall

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is home to the Reading Terminal Market, a vibrant and historic public food market located in the heart of the city. Tucked away between food and tableware vendors you will find The Cook Book Stall, an independent cookbook store specializing in interesting and unique titles not readily seen in the chain stores. This gorgeous shop, a feature of the market for over 30 years, has been highlighted in Saveur magazine as one of the ten best places in the world to buy a cookbook. Owner Jill Ross answered questions posed by EYB about the store. 

Two cookbook stores have closed down in the last year - The Cookbook Store in Toronto and Salt and Pepper Books in Maryland. How does The Cook Book Stall stay competitive in the current trading environment, where online stores offer low prices and free home delivery? 

I am sad that two bookstores closed; it is a tough business. I have an awesome location in the Reading Terminal Market. It is a historical landmark and a destination for tourists. We are close to the convention center and that helps. I also have an online shop that I promote in the store and I offer a discount from there. I have a great sign in my store that says "find it here, buy it here, keep us here" and most people like it and it makes them think. I also allow no cell phone pictures, either of the bar code or the cover of the book. That kind of pisses people off, but I explain to them the reason and they are usually cool about not taking the picture.

Why do the customers in your store prefer to come to The Cook Book Stall rather than stores such as Barnes & Noble or online shopping?

I think that people like to shop here because I try and make it very inviting. I also hear people say that they like it because they have never been in a cookbook-only shop. I always have interesting titles out and try to find cute things to catch their eyes. I think that people like the attention that I can give them and the time I put in trying to find the perfect book.

Do you specialize in any particular areas of cookbooks? 

I don't specialize in any specific type of cookbooks; I try to have titles that you wouldn't find walking into a Barnes and Noble. I have a nice section for making food for pets and a great selection of kids' cooking books.

Do you import many books from overseas?

I don't import any books, but I do carry a magazine from Sweden called Fool, which is amazing!

What currently are the big sellers at The Cook Book Stall?

The big sellers right now are fermentation and preserving books. My local books are always a big seller for me too.

Are many of your customers professional chefs? What are the books that they are buying now? 

I have a lot of chefs that shop here, usually on Mondays; their selections can range from butchering to tapas. They all love the Phaidon books and other chefs' books. Fool magazine is a big hit.

What type of books do you like to cook from yourself? Do you have a favorite cookbook of all time?

They are all my favorites! I could never pick just one. My go to book when I am stumped is Heidi Swansons' Super Natural Cooking.

What events to you have at the store in the next couple of months? 

I have a couple of events coming up, I have a signing/demo with Priya Krishna author of Ultimate Dining Hall Hacks, that will be on 18 September. I am also planning on a waffle demo in August, to coincide with a new book coming out called Will it Waffle. I want to have some fun with that.

The cilantro cuisines

I sometimes think of it as the "Cilantro belt" - the band of nations falling between 15 and 30 degrees north of the equator.  You know, Mexico, Cuba, Morocco, India, Thailand, and many many more.  It's not that all dishes from those countries use cilantro - they don't.  And it's not that other countries don't use cilantro- they do.  But they're all countries where you'd be surprised to go a week without tasting cilantro in your food, somewhere.   And if you look at a cookbook jacket from those cuisines, chances are that flash of green you see is cilantro.

Anyway, summertime is when I personally eat a lot of cilantro, and I've always figured it's because those subtropical nations have a way with dealing with cooking in warm weather.  But I don't really know that that's it - I mean, make enough salsas and curry pastes and layered rice dishes and you definitely get the feeling that staying cool and out of the kitchen is not all that high a priority.

For me, I think it's just that over many summers, that bright, fresh green taste of cilantro - and lime - and mint - has come to be associated with the sound of lawnmowers and the smell of sunscreen and the promise of ice cream more than twice a week, if not daily.  Cilantro on the garnish, cilantro root in the paste, coriander in the dry rub, cilantro bolting in the garden...it's all there in the culinary soundtrack to summer.

The frustrating thing is that whenever I do go to the garden for some fresh cilantro, it always seems to be between-times - either frondy and flowery and bitter and tall, or barely past the two-leaf seedling stage.  I try to remember to plant some at least once a month, but somehow it just doesn't always work out.

How about you?  Do you also have a fair-weather relationship with cilantro, or is it a year-round resident in your fridge, like the carrots?

Grain vs. grains

Two salads

During the hot days of summer, cool salads feel just right and news feeds buzz with recipes for salads made with grains and grain products. The LA Times sings the praises of grain salads. Meanwhile, the NY Times is promoting cool noodle dishes as perfect summer food. This has all the makings of a classic East Coast/West Coast rivalry, in this case heavyweights Russ Parsons (Team Grains) vs. David Tanis (Team Pasta).

Parsons, the advocate for grain salads, notes the variety and "range of new flavors and textures" you can get with by substituting different grains like farro, quinoa, and barley. What's more, you can make a big batch of the grain on one day and vary the add-ins to make each salad unique. Tanis, advocating for pasta salads, points out the many ethnicities that feature cold noodle salads: you can easily make Italian, Japanese, Korean, and Middle Eastern variations. Interestingly, both men think couscous belongs on their side. Russ Parsons notes that couscous "looks like a grain and acts like a grain," so he wants to claim it. Tanis does not make such a statement; he quietly assumes the claim by describing a salad made with Israeli couscous. 

Of course, the only real rivalry here is between our own taste buds for tonight's dinner; we can enjoy both types of salads all summer long. And let's not forget another salad featuring grain: bread salad. While you chew on that, here are a few popular grain and pasta salad recipes from the EYB Library:

Couscous and mograbiah with oven-dried tomatoes from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook
Roasted broccoli and farro salad with feta from Fine Cooking Magazine
Kale and quinoa salad with ricotta salata from Smitten Kitchen
Chinese noodle salad with roasted eggplant  from Orangette
Double tomato pasta salad from Tinned Tomatoes

What is your favorite salad made with grain (or a grain product)?

Photos of Couscous & mograbiah and Chinese noodle salad from the EYB Library

 

 

 

 

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