Best Cookbooks for Home Cooking

Recently, Epicurious published their list of the 100 best home cooks of all time. Now the editors have derived a list of cookbooks recommended for the new collector pulled from that list with The Food Lab being given the coveted position of number one. 

In July, I complied a list of books that I recommended to elevate your cooking game based on my thoughts and those of other cookbook lovers with The Food Lab being a top contender and probably my number one pick as well. 

If I am being honest, I disagree with many of their selections - especially for a new cook wanting to build a repertoire of go-to guides. While I have some of the books that have made this list, I wouldn't recommend them to a novice cook or someone who wants to actually utilize the books they acquire. I know many cookbook collectors love The Joy of Cooking and Betty Crocker books but I've never used either and recently just donated my copy of Joy of Cooking which I was holding onto merely for sentimental reasons.

I whole-heartedly agree with suggestions such as The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, Small Victories, Dinner Changing the Game and My Kitchen Year for someone wanting to build their library for home cooking - while I understand they are building their recommendations from their greatest cooks list, many aren't logical to me. Certain titles on their list focus on international cuisines and some home cooks aren't ready for diving into unchartered waters, other titles focus on food writing which I feel most dedicated cooks would only enjoy and while I would surely recommend the classics on this list (Julia Child, Marcella Hazan and Paula Wolfert) down the road in a culinary adventure, I wouldn't go right out and buy for a newbie.

In my opinion, The Food Lab, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat and Taste & Technique help explain the core basics in an exciting and modern way and other books such as Food52 Genius Recipes, Food52 A New Way to Dinner and any of Diana Henry's titles are my go to for adding some oomph to my dinner rotation.  

What cookbook would you recommend as the best for home cooking? 

 

Friday Flashback - Pok Pok

Any lover of Thai food more than likely has Pok Pok: Food and Stories from the Streets, Homes, and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand on their bookshelf. Even those who don't own the book, have heard of Ike's Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings or as I call them one of the best wings in the world.

Andy Ricker, James Beard Best Chef of the Northwest 2011, is the chef and owner of Pok Pok which opened in Portland in 2005. Since the flagship location, Ricker has spread the his style of Thai cuisine across the country with nine other bars and restaurants. Andy, please come to Denver .....(now the Dave Loggins' song in my head).

Ricker is an expert in northern Thai cuisine having honed his knowledge spending several months every year - for years - studing the food and culture in Thailand. Pok Pok, the cookbook written by Ricker and J. J. Goode, is one of those titles that I always know exactly where it is. I have made the famous wings, the Papaya Salad with Coconut Rice and Sweet Pork, the Spicy, Sweet, Tart Noodles with Pork, Peanuts, and Herbs and a few others - all of them killer good - and now I want to make those dishes again.

The Fall is bringing so many incredible titles including Ricker's second book Pok Pok Drinking Food of Thailand also written along with Goode. This new title brings the same level of authority as the first book, with a more laid-back approach reflecting the spirit of his Whiskey Soda Lounge location. Accessible and detailed recipes like lao saparot (pineapple-infused "whiskey"), kai thawt (Thai-style fried chicken), and thua thawt samun phrai (fried peanuts with kaffir lime, garlic, and chiles) are examples of what we will find in this title.

Ricker's recipes never disappoint and I can tell you right now - I'm ready for October! 

Neighborhood - Hetty McKinnon - Review, Recipe and Giveaway

Neighborhood: Hearty Salads and Plant-Based Recipes from Home and Abroad by Hetty McKinnon is a must-have collection of show-stopping yet simple vegetable-packed global recipes, delivered against a backdrop of charming stories of food, family, and friendship. Based on the beauty of this book, I had to track down her first title, Community (both are keepers).

Hetty's salads can turn the strictest carnivore's head with recipes like Warm Goat's Cheese Croutons with Roasted Beets, Figs, and Apple-Mustard Dressing (which we are sharing today); Shredded Collard Greens, Baked Sweet Potato, and Pinto Beans with Paprika-Buttermilk Dressing; and Eggplant with Haloumi, Beet Tzatziki, and Yogurt Flatbreads. The Thai Carrot and Peanut Salad was out of this world delicious and her Spicy Peanut Sauce will be my go to from now on.

Hetty started making salads out of her Sydney home on Arthur Street in 2011. Soon she was pedaling her salads around her neighborhood calling her project Arthur Street Kitchen. She states that the "phenomena of sharing salads soon went national, with the release of my first cookbook Community, which told my story of sharing salads in Sydney and featured sixty of my hearty, plant-based salad recipes." Hetty and her family now live in Brooklyn where she continues to make salads. She has an event scheduled in New York on the 20th.

Special thanks to Roost Books and salad maker extraordinaire, Hetty, for sharing the following recipe with our members today. Please be sure to see our giveaway below.

WARM GOAT'S CHEESE CROUTONS WITH ROASTED BEETS, FIGS, AND APPLE-MUSTARD DRESSING
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A trip to Paris invariably means high salade au chèvre chaud consumption, which is fine by me! In a city where vegetarian food can still be hard to come by, this hot goat's cheese salad has saved me too many times to recall. This is such a beautifully simple salad with the most harmonious flavors. My version includes roasted beets, figs, and a divine apple-mustard dressing. Use whatever salad leaves you have on hand for this.

SERVES 4~6

  • 6 small beets (about 1¾ lb; 800 g), peeled and cut into small wedges
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ⅓ lb (150 g) baguette, sliced into 1 in (2 cm) thick rounds
  • 7 oz (200 g) goat's cheese log, rind on
  • 5 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
  • 2 teaspoons chopped rosemary leaves
  • 3 cups watercress
  • 3 cups mache (lamb's lettuce)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 4 figs, each cut into 8 segments
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted and crushed
  • Sea salt and black pepper

APPLE-MUSTARD DRESSING

  • 3 tablespoons apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 small garlic clove, very finely chopped
  • Sea salt and black pepper

SUBSTITUTES

Mache (lamb's lettuce): baby spinach leaves

Watercress: baby arugula leaves

Preheat the oven to 400˚F (200˚C).

Spread the beets on a large baking tray, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast for 30-35 minutes until tender.

Preheat the grill to high. Place the baguette slices on a baking tray, drizzle over 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and place under the hot grill for 2 minutes, or until golden. Remove the croutons from the grill.

Slice the goat's cheese into as many rounds as you have croutons. Place a slice of cheese on the un-grilled side of each crouton and top with a few thyme and rosemary leaves. Return to the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the goat's cheese is soft and golden.

To make the dressing, whisk together all the ingredients and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Toss the salad leaves together with the chives. To serve, arrange the beet slices and figs on top of the leaves, drizzle over the apple-mustard dressing and season with salt and pepper. Top with the goat's cheese croutons and the walnuts.

 

Roost Books, the publisher, is offering five copies of this book to EYB Members in the US and Canada. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you like to try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. Please be sure to check your spam filters to make sure you receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on September 19th, 2017.

From Neighborhood by Hetty McKinnon © 2016 by Hetty McKinnon. Photography © 2016 by Luisa Brimble. Reprinted in arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boulder, CO.



Sweet by Ottolenghi

The UK release date of Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh is less than a month away! It feels like we have been waiting forever, right?

As the publisher did with Nopi's release, if you preorder Sweet from any online retailer in the UK  you will receive a digital access code with the book. This will enable you to review the recipes and content digitally once the book is published.

If you wish to pre-order, using our BUY BOOK option and choosing Amazon UK or Book Depository UK, will provide EYB with a small affiliate fee which assists in our indexing efforts. For those fans who would like a signed copy, you can order one through the Ottolenghi store.

Fresh, evocative ingredients, exotic spices and complex flavourings - including fig, rose petal, saffron, aniseed, orange blossom, pistachio and cardamom - to indulgent cakes, biscuits, tarts, puddings, cheesecakes and ice cream are the foundation for this title. The recipes range from simple mini-cakes and cookies that parents can make with their children to fancy layer cakes and roulades that will inspire the most accomplished of bakers.

Sweet includes over 110 innovative recipes, from Blackberry and Star Anise Friands, Tahini and Halva Brownies, Persian Love Cakes, Middle Eastern Millionaire's Shortbread, and Saffron, Orange and Honey Madeleines to Flourless Chocolate Layer Cake with Coffee, Walnut and Rosewater and Cinnamon Pavlova with Praline Cream and Fresh Figs.

Any book by Ottolenghi is highly anticipated in the culinary world, but this title has everyone buzzing including those who profess to be non-dessert lovers!

September 7th, we're ready!

La Latina - Review, recipe and giveaway

When spunky Grace Ramirez was a guest on The Chew a few months ago promoting her work and cookbook, I had to find out more.

I reached out to Grace about La Latina, her brilliant cookbook published by Random House New Zealand in 2015, and she immediately responded by mailing out a copy to me.

La Latina takes us on a cook's journey of Latin America from Mexico in the north to Argentina in the south, and shares a beautiful array of dishes from almost every country in between. Each country's culinary history and background is nestled in the recipes and gorgeous photographs making this a full immersion into Latin American cuisine.

Grace is a Miami-born chef who was raised in Venezuela and her food style can be described as comforting Latin American soul food mixed with her own culinary chic. When the former Masterchef USA contestant isn't creating dishes, she's a judge on one of New Zealand's highest rated shows: My Kitchen Rules which airs in New Zealand, the UK and Asia. She's also the host of Food Network LATAM: DESTINO CON SABOR, currently airing throughout Mexico and Latin America.

The book is broken down as follows: Grains & Soups; Poultry & Eggs; From the Sea; Meats; Dishes with Fillings; Rice; Salads & Vegetables; Sauces, Condiments & More; Something Sweet; Drinks and Feasts with the country of origin listed at the beginning of the recipe. Dishes include Lomo Saltado (Beef Stir-fry Peruvian-style), Mandocas (Anise, Panela & Cheese Fritters (Venezuela), Llapingachos (Kumara & Cheese Patties with Peanut Sauce) from Ecudaor. and Pupusas Con Curtido (Cheese-filled Corn Pupusas with Curtido Slaw) from El Salvador. 

Special thanks to Grace and Random House New Zealand for sharing the following recipe with our members as well as providing copies of this book for our promotion below.

CHORIPÁN - LATIN SAUSAGE ROLLS
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Serves: 4
Time: 10 mins prep, 10 mins cook

4 chorizos or sausages of choice
4 ciabatta pockets
1 tbsp butter
1 cup guasacaca (see below for recipe)

METHOD

Preheat a grill pan or cast-iron skillet to a medium-high heat.

Grill chorizos or sausages on all sides until fully cooked, about 5-7 minutes depending on size.

Slice open ciabatta pockets, spread with butter and lay on grill to lightly toast for about 1 minute.

To assemble, tuck chorizo or sausage in and top with guasacaca.

GUASACACA - CREAMY AVOCADO & HERB SALSA
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Makes: 1¼ cups
Time: 10 mins prep

4 large garlic cloves, peeled
1⁄2 cup olive oil
1⁄4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf
parsley with some stems
1⁄4 cup finely chopped coriander
with some stems
1 ripe avocado
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 fresh green chilli, or red chilli flakes to taste (optional)
flaky sea salt

METHOD

Using a mortar and pestle, crush garlic with a pinch of salt and then muddle it with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When a paste has formed, add herbs and combine.

Halve avocado, remove stone and scoop out the flesh. Combine with herbs, mashing with a fork. Add lemon juice, vinegar and chilli (if using), and season to taste with flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Chef's note: Some people make this in a food processor or blender, but I prefer the chunky, rustic consistency you get from a mortar and pestle.

The publisher in New Zealand is offering one copy to members in New Zealand. The generous author is offering three copies of this title to our EYB Members in the US, UK, Australia and Canada. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you like to try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. Please be sure to check your spam filters to make sure you receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on September 18, 2017.

Recipe excerpt from La Latina published by Random House New Zealand, 2015. Food Photography by Garth Badger.


Around the World in 120 Salads - Review, recipe and giveaway

Katie and Giancarlo are a dynamic duo that met in 1997. He was a restaurateur and she an artist. He loved her painting, she loved his pasta and now the pair have two restaurants, a cookery school, have written over a dozen cookbooks and have two sons.

One of their newest titles, Around the World in 120 Salads: Fresh, Healthy, Delicious delivers globally influenced salads that are perfect for any time of day and occasion.

The book is divided into the following chapters: Dressings, Rise & Shine, First Things FIrst, Salads From the Farm, Salads From the Sea, Salads from the Garden, Simple Little Sides and On the Sweet Side.

First Things First hits on the basics for making a perfect salad, tips and techniques for textures and serving. Dressings, of course, lists myriad dressings, sauces and more to make our salads more flavorful and exciting. Then we get into the salad chapters with Rise and Shine - yes you can make a salad for breakfast! Doesn't a Spinach, Bacon, Avocado & Tomato Salad with Poached Eggs or a Saffon Peach & Mint Salad with Banana Pancakes & Lemon Crème Fraîche sound like something to make even the sleepiest head jump out of bed?

The middle chapters include recipes with seafood, proteins and produce with Middle Eastern, Greek, and other global flavors. Simple Little Salads is one of my favorite chapters - I love the addition of a fresh element on a plate and there are recipes for small pops of flavor in the form of sides such as Ginger Vichy Carrot Salad, Smashed Cucumber Salad and more.

Of course, any good meal ends with a sweet bite and On the Sweet Side includes recipes for Raspberries & Red Currants with Whipped Ricotta, Lemon Curd & Ginger Crumbs and Roast Black Fruit Salad with Amaretto & Cashew Lime Cream for a healthier alternative to an indulgent dessert. Frankly, those sound as decadent as any other dessert - sign me up.

Special thanks to the publisher for sharing a recipe our members can try now and for providing three copies of this book in our giveaway below.

Pan-fried halloumi & roasted fennel salad with orange dressing
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serves 4 to 6

Giancarlo learned how to make this punchy orange dressing in Bistrot de Venise restaurant in Venice, and now we use it all the time. Reducing the orange juice makes it zing with color and sweetness. The dressing can be made in advance but cook the halloumi just before serving.

2 fennel bulbs, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
a large handful of watercress, arugula, or lettuce leaves
a handful of seedless green or red grapes, halved
8 ounces halloumi cheese, cut into 1/4-inch slices
a few fronds of wild fennel or dill, stems discarded
salt and freshly ground black pepper for the dressing
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (approx. 2 small oranges)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add the fennel slices and boil for 5 to 10 minutes or until just tender, then drain.

Lay the slices onto a baking sheet, brush with the oil, and season.

Roast for 20 to 30 minutes or until they just start to burn. Little crispy areas are good. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, put the orange zest and juice in a small frying pan over medium heat, and leave it to bubble gently until reduced by about half. Leave to cool. When cool, mix with the oil, salt, and pepper.

Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

Lay the leaves on a large platter, and top with the fennel and grapes.

Dry-fry the halloumi slices, in a nonstick frying pan, on each side for a couple of minutes or until just golden, and add to the salad. Drizzle with the dressing, season with black pepper and scatter the fennel or dill fronds. Serve immediately or the halloumi will harden.

The publisher is offering three copies of this title to our EYB Members in the US. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you like to try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. Please be sure to check your spam filters to make sure you receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on September 18, 2017.

Recipes taken from Around the World in Salads by Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi, published by Kyle Books. Photography by Helen Cathcart.

Sri Lanka The Cookbook - Review, Recipe and Giveaway

The Sri Lankan Civil War raged for over a decade due to ethnic tensions between the Buddhist Sinhalese majority and the Hindu Tamil minority. An estimated 80,000 to 100,000 citizens lost their lives and hundreds of thousands of civilians were displaced. But in the pages of Sri Lanka: The Cookbook, husband and wife team, Prakash Sivanathan (who is Tamil) and Niranjala Ellawala's (who is Sinhalese) love for their homeland cuisine and each other comes together with the melding of recipes from both ethnic groups coming to the table as one.  

This beautiful book shares a collection of authentic and vibrant recipes including feather-light hoppers (rice pancakes), fiery sambols (relishes), curries and unique 'vada' (fried snacks). 100 recipe celebrate the island's wonderful ingredients, from okra and jackfruit to coconut and chillies, and explore its culture through original travel photography of the country, its kitchens and its people. 

As you know, I am an avid fan of cookbooks that share more than the recipes of an area - I love to study the photographs of the people, markets and landscapes to soak in that region's unqiueness. The terra cotta pots that line a galvanized metal store front or the the shoulder-high stacks of bananas in a marketplace all provide me a glimpse into the scenery of Sri Lanka. 

The couple, who moved to London in the seventies, use to own a restaurant and would fight over who will do the cooking both there and at home. They find it is easier to take turns in the kitchen to avoid tensions finding a way to balance  their slighly different styles of cooking.

The recipes in Sri Lanka: The Cookbook are approachable but some have a long list of spices and ingredients such as the chicken biryani. I have made the Spicy Baked Chicken which was super easy to throw together and full of flavor. As always, you can browse the index here at Eat Your Books to see the recipes that are available in this title. 

Special thanks to Frances Lincoln for sharing the Devilled Prawn recipe with our members today and for offering three copies of this book in our giveaway below.  

ISSO BADUMA  Devilled prawns (shrimp)
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This is a bar food originally served in drinking clubs during the era of the British Raj, and it has found its way into the homes and hearts of Sri Lankans. As a nation, we're also fond of devilling squid, cuttlefish, pork, potato…you name it.

Serves 4

  • 400g (14oz) raw prawns (shrimp), shell on
  • 1 green (bell) pepper
  • 1 red (bell) pepper
  • 1 medium onion, cut into quarters
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 2 tbsp ketchup (tomato sauce)
  • 1 tbsp medium soya (soy) sauce (not dark)
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp sesame oil

Wash and clean the prawns (shrimp). Remove the head and most of the shell, leaving it just on the tail. Wash them again, drain and set aside. Remove the stems from the (bell) peppers, quarter and remove the seeds. Halve each quarter and cut them into about 1cm (½-inch) chunks and set aside. Loosen the layers of the onion quarters and set aside. Put the oil in a large frying pan (skillet) or wok over a very high heat, and immediately add the onion. Stir-fry for 30 seconds, then add the (bell) peppers and stir-fry for a minute. Tip in the prawns (shrimp) and stir-fry for just over a minute, then add the rest of the ingredients and stir-fry for another minute. Serve immediately.

Note: When making other devilled dishes, the main ingredient will need pre-cooking with a pinch or two of salt, before adding into the (bell) peppers and onions. You can use this method with prawns (shrimp), but they do not need to be cooked for long.


The publisher is offering three copies of this title to our EYB Members in the US. and Canada. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you like to try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. Please be sure to check your spam filters to make sure you receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on September 17, 2017.


 

The Joys of Jewish Preserving, Recipe and Giveaway

Emily Paster is the voice behind the blog, West of the Loop, and co-founder of the Chicago Food Swap, one of the most active and dynamic food swap groups in the country. Her first book Food Swap shared her advice for starting up swaps, recipes that work well in the swap environment and happens to share the best salted caramel sauce recipe ever (I have made it several times).

In The Joys of Jewish Preserving: Modern Recipes with Traditional Roots, for Jams, Pickles, Fruit Butters, and More-for Holidays and Every Day, Emily is back with 75 recipes that range from fruit jams and preserves, to pickles and other savory preserves, and recipes to use the preserves you make in other dishes (love that!)

Chocolate Babka with Jam, Dulce De Manzana (apple paste) and Lemon Walnut Eingemacht are a few examples of the types of recipes you will find in this book and of course you can browse the entire index here. Be prepared to pull out the canning jars once you look these recipes over. Emily has a number of events promoting this book. 

Thanks to Harvard Common Press for sharing Emily's Apple, Honey, and Rose Jam with our members today as well as offering three copies of this book to our members in the US and Canada (see giveaway below).

Apple, Honey, and Rose Water Jam
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This is a special preserve that combines traditional foods and flavors for Rosh Hashanah in both Ashkenazi and Sephardic cuisine. Apples, of course, are a fall crop and thus plentiful at Rosh Hashanah. Beginning Rosh Hashanah dinner by dipping apples into honey, to symbolize the hope for a sweet new year, is nearly universal among Eastern European Jews. The Sephardim often end their new year's celebrations with sweet jams and preserves made from quince, figs, dates, and apples.

Rose water, which is made by distilling fresh rose petals in water, is featured in many Sephardic desserts and pastries. It can be purchased at Middle Eastern grocers and specialty food stores. Rose water has a very strong flavor and should be used sparingly or it can overwhelm your palate. Here it adds a haunting floral note to this unusual, pale yellow jam.

Makes four 8-ounce (235-ml) jars

  • 3 lb (1.4 kg) apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ½-in (1-cm) dice (6 to 7 cups prepped)
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice
  • 1½ cups (300 g) sugar
  • 1 cup (340 g) honey
  • 1 teaspoon rose water

Prepare a boiling water bath and heat four 8-ounce (235-ml) jars.

Place the apples, ½ cup (120 ml) of water, and lemon juice in a wide, deep saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stir, and cover the pot. Lower the heat to medium, and cook until the apples are soft, about 10 minutes, stirring once or twice to prevent sticking or burning. Mash the apples coarsely with a fork or potato masher.

Add the sugar and honey to the pot, stirring to dissolve. Return to a boil over medium-high heat.

Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is thick and mounds up on a spoon, about 10 to 15 minutes. It will splatter, so use caution. Remove the jam from the heat and stir in the rose water. Ladle jam into clean, warm jars, leaving ¼ inch (.6 cm) of headspace at the top.

Bubble the jars and wipe the rims with a damp cloth. Place the lids on the jars and screw on the rings just until you feel resistance. Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Allow to cool in the water for 5 minutes before removing. Store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.

The publisher is offering three copies of this title to our EYB Members in the US. and Canada. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you like to try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. Please be sure to check your spam filters to make sure you receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on September 16, 2017.

 

Excerpted from The Joys of Jewish Preserving by Emily Paster, © 2017 Quarto Publishing Group. Used by permission from the publisher, Harvard Common Press, an imprint of Quarto Publishing Group. QuartoKnows.com. All photographs by: Leigh Olson.

 

 

Two Kitchens - Rachel Roddy - Review, Recipe and Giveaway

Two Kitchens: Family Recipes from Sicily and Rome by Rachel Roddy, the award-winning Guardian Cook columnist and winner of the Andre Simon and Guild of Food Writers' awards, delivers a glorious book highlighting the food that comes from her two kitchens - one in Sicily and the other in Rome. (Because we index every recipe from the Guardian Cook, you can add any of Rachel's 137 recipes from there to your Bookshelf as well.) 

Rachel's first title Five Quarters (also published as My Kitchen in Rome) shares the story of her love affair with Italy that blossomed when first visiting the neighborhood of Testaccio, the wedge-shaped quarter of Rome that centers around the old slaughterhouse and the bustling food market. With that visit began a new life. In Five Quarters she journals a year in her small Italian kitchen, shopping, cooking, eating, and writing. It sounds like a dream, right?

In her latest book, Two Kitchens, Rachel's beautiful writing, stunning photographs and scrumptious recipes makes this title a must have. Simon Hopkinson provides a quote on the front of this book "I want to live under Rachel's kitchen table. There are very, very few who possess such a supremely uncluttered culinary voice as hers." I don't want to live under her table - I want to stand next to her, make a lovely meal and sit at her table to soak in her culinary wisdom. Since this is unlikely to happen, I will take the next best thing - cooking her recipes and enjoying her stories as if at her table. 

I have made four recipes from Two Kitchens and my family, guests and I loved them all. Those recipes were: Meatballs in white sauce (Polpette in bianco) - was my favorite and we are sharing that recipe with you today, Spaghetti with garlic, oil and lemon (Spaghetti aglio, olio al limone), Potato and aubergine cake (Gattò di patate e melanzane, and Sausages with grapes and red onions (Salsiccia all'uva e cipolla). The only suggestion I would do next time is to add additional seasoning to the potato dish - it was great but I would love it a bit more with a little onion or garlic in the mix. We had guests over when I made the meatballs and potato cake and they used some of the sauce from the meatballs on the potatoes - there were raves all around. 

If you remotely enjoy real Italian cooking, you need Rachel Roddy in your library. If you remotely enjoy beautiful writing, you need Rachel Roddy in your library. If you remotely enjoy beautiful photography - well you get the picture.  Her style of cooking is what has transformed me into an Italian food lover. 

Rachel and her publisher, Headline, are sharing the Meatballs in White Wine Sauce with us today. These may be my favorite meatballs ever - something about the sauce does it - almost a piccata like flavor. Headline is also offering three copies of this title to our members in the UK (see giveaway below).

Polpette in bianco (Meatballs in white sauce)
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Serves 6

250g minced beef
350g minced pork
75g soft fresh breadcrumbs
75g Parmesan, grated
1 heaped tablespoon finely
chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 eggs
fine breadcrumbs, for rolling
6 tablespoons extra-virgin
olive oil
2 garlic cloves
200ml white wine (you may
need a little more)
salt and freshly ground
black pepper

A friend calls it the 'blessed curse of mamma's meatballs'. The meatballs are, to the person describing them, the best, their taste inimitable; just the thought of eating them is to be transported home. Italians take this idea to quite an extraordinary level, which I have learned to appreciate, love even, despite being English. The curse is that no meatballs will ever come close, even those made by other relatives. Vincenzo's family have proved this. Uncle Liborio, who is a chef and technically a much better cook than his mother, Sara, has made meatballs with meat from the same butcher, breadcrumbs from the same bakery, the same pan and water, and standing on the same patch of floor in front of the stove. The meatballs were good, but not Sara's, and therefore disappointing. The other part of the curse is that we all have to hear about everyone else's blessed meatballs.

This recipe is for meatballs in white (bianco) as opposed to red (rosso), i.e. tomato, sauce - but you could simmer them in tomato sauce if you wanted to. There is a moment of stove-top alchemy when the escaped breadcrumbs, meat juices, wine and olive oil come together into a thickish gravy that clings to the meatballs.  Served on a wide platter with the gravy poured over the top and a handful of parsley, they make for a pleasing and, due to their pop-in-the-mouth size, irresistible dish. Potatoes and greens (see page 100) or mashed potatoes make good partners.  

Knead together the meat, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, parsley (reserving a little for later), eggs, a generous pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Work the mixture, kneading and then squeezing the ingredients together into a soft, consistent mass.

Pour more breadcrumbs on to a plate. Take walnut-sized balls of the meat mixture and roll them firmly between your palms into small, neat balls. Roll the balls in breadcrumbs and sit them on a clean board or plate.  

Warm the olive oil in a large, deep frying pan. Crush the garlic cloves with the back of a knife so that they split but remain whole and add them to the pan. Fry gently until golden and fragrant, which should take a minute or so. Remove the garlic and add the meatballs. Fry the meatballs, increasing the heat a little and moving them around until they are brown on all sides.  This will take about 6 minutes.  

Add the wine, which will sizzle vigorously, and a good pinch of salt. Continue to cook the meatballs, nudging them around.  As the wine reduces into a thickish gravy, scrape it down from the sides of the pan and keep the meatballs moving so they cook evenly. You may need to add more wine. After about 5 minutes, taste a meatball to see how it is cooking. You may need to cook them a little longer; you may not. Adjust the seasoning if necessary and stir again.  Once cooked, turn the meatballs on to a warm platter, pour over the pan gravy and sprinkle over a little parsley to serve.

 

GIVEAWAY

Headline Books is offering three copies of this title to our EYB Members in the UK only and Eat Your Books is offering one copy worldwide. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you like to try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. Please be sure to check your spam filters to make sure you receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on September 16, 2017. 

 




GIVEAWAY: The Instant Pot® Duo Mini 3 Quart and the Instant Pot® Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook

 

Meet the new addition to the Instant Pot® Family - the Duo Mini 3 Qt 7-in-1 Multi- Use Programmable Pressure Cooker. She is super adorable and takes far less space on our counters or in our pantry. Perfect for smaller jobs, traveling, and for folks who have a smaller crowd to feed. For kids heading back to college, it is the perfect appliance to keep them eating more home cooked meals and far less Instant Ramen or cafeteria food. Darcie recently wrote an article sharing some tips for taking advantage of this appliance.

Instant Pot® is a 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Cooker-Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Saute/Browning, Yogurt Maker, Steamer & Warmer and includes a three ply bottom stainless steel cooking pot, rice measuring cup, stainless steel steam rack with handle, rice paddle, soup spoon, and measuring cup. Instructions, recipes, and cooking time tables in multiple languages are included.

This new model's compact size allows me to keep it in the kitchen where I am more prone to use it daily - the six quart version is perfect for bigger jobs, but for every day cooking this one will be my to-go. 

I am excited to try the 9-in-1 model this Fall that adds a program button for eggs, cake and sterilizing too. We will do a promotion featuring it and other Instant Pot® related cookbooks that are being released during that time.

Instant Pot® not only saves time and calories (at least for me - less oil and fats needed for great tasting meals) - it also saves money (no more take-out food, or processed food because time is of the essence) and now the three-quart version saves space. No more convulsing knobs, spurting steam and threatening noises. When I first used my pot, it was so quiet - I thought it wasn't working and rice is effortless and perfect every time. Instant Pot® has revolutionized the pressure cooking world. 

The kind folks at Instant Pot® want you to try their new baby (more on that below in our giveaway) and Race Point Publishing would like you to win a copy of the Instant Pot® Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook (An Authorized Instant Pot® Cookbook): Quick & Easy Recipes for Everyday Eating by Sara Quessenberry and Kate Merker. This cookbook delivers 79 tempting recipes to make your Instant Pot® your go-to for weeknight menu planning.

Spinach and Herb Lasagna; Balsamic Beef Short Ribs; Pulled Pork Sandwiches; Vegetable Green Thai Curry; Spice-Rubbed Cauliflower Steaks; Bone Broth with Fresh Ginger; Crème Brûlée; and Double Chocolate Cheesecake are the type of recipes included in this title. 

From healthy breakfasts and sides to scrumptious mains and decadent desserts, the low-maintenance recipes in Quick & Easy Recipes for Everyday Eating will help you get a meal on the table in a fraction of the time of conventional cooking methods. With easy-to-follow instructions and full-color photos throughout, discover all that your Instant Pot® can achieve with this go-to pressure cooking cookbook.

GIVEAWAY

And now for the giveaway, we are pleased to offer one Instant Pot® Duo Mini 3 Qt 7-in-1 Multi- Use Programmable Pressure Cooker to a grand prize winner (along with the cookbook) and two other winners will receive a copy of of Instant Pot® Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook (An Authorized Instant Pot® Cookbook): Quick & Easy Recipes for Everyday Eating to our EYB Members in the US and Canada. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you like to try first? and for an additional entry leave a second comment letting us know how an Instant Pot® would help your menu planning.

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. Please be sure to check your spam filters to make sure you receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on September 15, 2017

 

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