The latest food trend is hundreds of years old

 Egg clouds

If you have an Instagram account and follow anyone who is into food, chances are high that you have seen dozens of photos of "cloud eggs", the latest craze to make the social media circuit. Golden yolks nestled in pillowy whites certainly are photogenic, but the recipe is nothing new. In fact, the technique dates back to the 17th century.

In those days, of course, there was no Instagram to capture the results, but there is a cookbook that chronicles the dish. Le Cuisinier François, a seminal cookbook published in 1651, includes a recipe for Oeufs à la Neige  (eggs in snow), and the directions are strikingly similar to today's version, although the equipment has changed over the years. Instead of an oven, chefs used "a cooking tool called a salamander - basically, a hot fire shovel held over the dish. (Think of it as a 1600s version of a butane kitchen torch or a form of controlled broiling.)" 

The recipe transformed throughout the intervening centuries into a different dish with the same name, oeufs à la neige or snow eggs a delicious dessert of poached meringue served with custard.

The first "cloud eggs" were made for the same reason as today: they look gorgeous. Not everyone is a fan of this dish, however pretty it may be. Heath Goldman, writing for Real Simple, found that it was easy to end up with tasteless, dry whites and an egg yolk that was nearly cold. So if you haven't rushed to try this new trend, you may want to give it a closely read the recipe.  

Photo of Baked egg clouds from Baking Bites by Nicole Weston

Cookbook Giveaway - My Greek Family Table

My Greek Family Table: Fresh, Regional Recipes by Maria Benardis is a re-release of the 2009 edition.

This book shares the stories of her summers cooking at her grandmother's elbow on the Greek island of Psara, and places an emphasis on eating for health and well-being. As Maria says, "This book is as much about the importance of the family and friends who share our table as it is about food." 

For more information on this cookbook, please see our review post, which shares a recipe for Lamb Filo Parcels.

We are pleased to offer five 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. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on June 24th, 2017

 

My Greek Family Table - Maria Benardis

My Greek Family Table: Fresh, Regional Recipes by Maria Benardis is a re-release of the 2009 original edition.

This book shares the stories of Maria's summers cooking at her grandmother's elbow on the Greek island of Psara, and places an emphasis on eating for health and well-being. As Maria says, "This book is as much about the importance of the family and friends who share our table as it is about food." 

Recipes for Chicken with Herbed Feta Crust, Deep-Fried Artichokes with Yogurt and Walnut Dip, and Lamb with Avgolemono (egg and lemon sauce) along with others will tempt you to plan a Greek feast soon. The recipes also share sidebars detailing the specific health benefits of each ingredient. 

The "Sweets and other Special Things" chapter includes such recipes as Koulourakia (Greek butter cookies), Loukoumades (Greek-style doughnuts) and Greek Yogurt Cake with Ouzo and Lemon Syrup and of course Baklava. I particularly love that a number of her recipes begin with "My Aunt's....". It is so important to have family recipes that are shared and passed down. Food made from the recipes of loved ones helps us to keep those memories close. Maria has an event planned in New York on the 27th of June, more information can be found on our calendar.

Special thanks to Countryman Press for sharing the Lamb Filo Parcels recipe with our members. Be sure to head over to our contest page to enter our giveaway for five copies of this title. 

Lamb Filo Parcels
Serves 4

I love filo pastry. When I am unsure of what to cook, I toss together all the ingredients I have in the fridge (in this case, leftover baked lamb) and wrap them up in filo. A few minutes later I have a meal made in heaven! These parcels are main-meal size, but you can make smaller ones in any shape for a meze. 
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
1 pound cooked lamb, trimmed and finely diced
1 teaspoon chopped thyme
Sea salt and cracked pepper
1 tomato, finely chopped
3 tablespoons red wine (I use merlot)
1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons double cream
3-4 ounces Greek feta, crumbled or grated
8 sheets filo pastry

Heat the olive oil in a skillet or frying pan over medium heat and sauté the onion, garlic, carrot, and bay leaves for a couple of minutes. Add the diced lamb, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook until lightly browned, stirring the meat to avoid clumping.

Add the tomato and wine, reduce the heat, and simmer for about 15 minutes until almost all the liquid has evaporated.

Remove from the heat and discard the bay leaves. Stir in the parsley and cream, then set aside to cool to room temperature. Once cool, mix in the feta and divide the mixture into four portions.

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Lightly oil a baking tray or line with parchment paper.

Place one sheet of filo flat on a clean work surface and brush lightly with olive oil. Place a second sheet on top and brush again. Spoon one portion of the lamb mixture onto one end of the fi lo and fold the bottom edge of pastry over the filling. Fold in the two sides and roll up to make a firm, neat parcel. Place on the baking tray seam-side down and brush with olive oil. Repeat with the remaining pastry and filling to make four parcels. (Remember to cover the filo sheets you are not using with a damp tea towel to keep them from drying out-any leftover pastry should be rewrapped tightly and refrigerated.)

Sprinkle the parcels with water and bake for 20-25 minutes or until they turn a deep golden brown.

Your guide to the many types of chili paste

 Nam prik pao

Not sure what type of chili paste to use in a recipe? Indexed blog Food52 can help. They have put together an excellent primer on the many varieties of chili paste. It turns out that there are dozens to choose from; you just need to know the general type to make the right selection.

Chili paste can be simply chili peppers ground into a paste, or it can mean a more complex seasoning base that has a few or many additional ingredients.  Food52 groups the sauces into five categories:  hot, fishy, spiced, fermented, or sweet(ish). Since most chili pastes have some level of heat, when they say hot, they mean fiery. These are the kinds of pastes that give a real kick to food. Examples of this category include Piros Arany, a Hungarian paste that is based on paprika, and the Peruvian Salsa de Rocoto.  

Many Southeast Asian sauces end up in the "fishy" category. Most have a hint of fish flavor, mostly added for the umami that things like shrimp paste can bring to a dish. Nam prik pao is one type of "fishy" chili paste. The "spiced" category includes the more familiar harissa along with the Egyptian shatta and adjika, which hails from the Caucus region. 

Fermented pastes like gochujang and sambal offer complex, earthy flavors. Rounding out the list are the "sweet(ish)" sauces, and Food52 places sriracha in this category, noting that once you "push past the heat,  this chili paste is indeed sweet." 

Photo of Nam prik pao from Mark Bittman's Kitchen Matrix by Mark Bittman

Twenty Years of Better Baking - Author Profile - Marcy Goldman

Marcy Goldman started her website Better Baking.com back in 1997 and has built a baking empire stoked by her passion for sharing her well-tested recipes. Currently, she is in the process of moving things over to Marcy Goldman's Better Baking.

When I look through Marcy's baking books, I am always amazed by the uniqueness of her recipes and thoroughness of her instructions.  Marcy is truly a baking icon that doesn't often have the spotlight pointed at her - but she surely deserves to be brought out of the shadows.  She continues to bring her fans quality recipes twenty years after starting her website.

In the ever challenging publishing world, Marcy has turned to self-publishing - and states "Self publishing has changed my life. I think it was my destiny. It is freeing and creative and for me, restorative."

Late last year, Marcy published the first in her Baker's Dozen Series, Best Holiday Cookies. She is baking and testing as fast as she can for the next title - Biscotti which she hopes will be out this month.

One of my dear friends, Laurel Eden, has been a recipe tester and long time fan of Marcy. Laurel shares, "Marcy Goldman is an innovative baker. I had the wonderful opportunity to be one of her recipe testers and it was an incredible experience. I put together ingredients I never thought possible to result in fantastic results. I wouldn't hesitate to try a Marcy Goldman recipe nor recommend one. In addition, my experiences with her have been positive, delightful, and inspirational. Marcy Goldman is a baker, a cook, and a great person."

Below I share a few thoughts on her books. I hope you take some time and explore these titles - all of which I highly recommend - especially the titles devoted to baking for they will add variety and foolproof recipes to your arsenal. 

Spice support: cinnamon and cassia

Cassia sticks

Cinnamon is one of the most recognized and widely used spices in the world, flavoring everything from drinks to meats to breads and desserts. You might be surprised to learn that much of what you think is cinnamon is in fact a different spice. In the US, nearly all of the spice jars labeled as cinnamon actually contain cassia, which has a similar taste but is less expensive. 

As you can see from cassia's Latin name, Cinnamomum cassia, it is is classified in the cinnamon family but differs from 'true cinnamon', Cinnamomum zeylanicum. (Some experts consider Cinnamomum verum to be 'true cinnamon' as well.) Both cassia and cinnamon come from the bark of tropical evergreen trees related to bay laurel. China is the ancestral home of cassia, and The Book of Spices notes it was cassia that first traveled to the West on what became known as "the cinnamon route". 

The differences between cinnamon and cassia are subtle and are mainly a matter of preference. While cassia is not as fragrant as cinnamon, some people prefer cassia's stronger flavor, which has a slightly bitter undertone. Saigon or Vietnamese cassia contains more oil and is more pungent than that grown in Indonesia, China, or India. Cinnamon's flavor is considered warmer but sweeter than cassia's often sharp taste.

Cassia bark is thicker than cinnamon bark (the photo above is of cassia), and the latter has a flakier appearance. Most true cinnamon comes from Sri Lanka, where, according to The Encyclopedia of Spices and Herbs, generations of "cinnamon peelers" pass down the skill of peeling the delicate bark and deftly rolling it into quills. 

Color differences also distinguish cassia and cinnamon. Cassia bark is darker than cinnamon bark, and ground cassia has a reddish-brown hue, while ground cinnamon is a pale tan. Cassia is harder than cinnamon and is difficult to grind at home, but cinnamon can be easily ground using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. The quills of both spices are often used whole in poaching liquids.

Some countries have made it illegal to label cassia as "cinnamon", but not the United States. Most of what is sold as cinnamon in the US is actually cassia. Most reputable spice merchants will offer additional information so you can tell which product you are buying. True cinnamon is frequently called 'Ceylon cinnamon'. Another clue is the country of origin - if it comes from Sri Lanka, it is probably true cinnamon. 

A Year of Picnics - Ashley English

While Ashley English's A Year of Picnics: Recipes for Dining Well in the Great Outdoors is, in theory, a cookbook and guide that shares the keys to a perfect picnic, the great selection of recipes can be used for any occasion - basket and blanket optional. 

The chapters are organized seasonally with dishes featuring ingredients that are fresh and at their peak. The bonus here is that Ashley gives pointers on what elements in nature to take in while you are enjoying the outdoors. Instructions are given for such activities as making a DIY utensil holder or creating a mushroom spore print.  Spring and Summer offer such delights as Cardamom, Rose Water and Berry Coffee Cake, Zucchini Gratin, and Quinoa and Pecan Casserole as picnic-perfect dishes but also would be lovely for any meal.  Fall & Winter delivers Pumpkin Whoopie Pies, Dijon Mustard Pork Chop Sandwich, and Twice- Baked Potatoes.

If themes are your thing, themed picnics such as the Bird Watching Picnic, The Tea Party or The Romantic Picnic are set out for you with ideas and recipes to set the mood. Beautiful photographs of the food and nature are plentiful and the stimulus one needs to get off the couch and try something adventurous (yes, at this point in my life - having a picnic is adventurous). 

Roost Books and the author are sharing the recipe for Trail Mix Blondies - which are amazing. Head over to our giveaway for a chance at one of five copies of this book open to US and Canada members.

 

Trail Mix Blondies

A playful nod to trail mix is my final take on classic hiking edibles. I've nestled granola and chocolate chips into a blondie bar, creating a highly transportable food that can be eaten with your hands, no need for utensils. Do be sure to select a somewhat fatty granola.

SERVES 9 TO 12

You will need:

1⁄2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3⁄4 cup packed light brown sugar
1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
1⁄2 cup chocolate chips
1 cup granola

To make:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8 × 8-inch baking pan and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, beat together the melted butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape down the beaters with a spatula.

3. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until well incorporated. Scrape down the beaters again.

4. Add the flour and salt, beating until just incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips and granola.

5. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and spread out evenly using a spatula. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is golden and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

6. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.

 

From A Year of Picnics by Ashley English © 2017 by Ashley English. Photographs © 2017 by Jen Altman. Reprinted in arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boulder, CO. 

 

 

Cookbook Giveaway - A Year of Picnics

While Ashley English's A Year of Picnics: Recipes for Dining Well in the Great Outdoors is, in theory, a cookbook and guide that shares the keys to a perfect picnic, the great selection of recipes can be used for any occasion - basket and blanket optional.

For more information on this cookbook, please see our review post, which shares a recipe for Trail Mix Blondies.

We are pleased to offer five 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. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on June 21st, 2017

Cookie dough craze sweeps the nation

 Cookie dough

A recent tweet about a new food truck in my city made me do a double-take. Dozens of food trucks line up along several city blocks in the downtown area, but this one is serving something that none of the others have attempted: cookie dough. This is just the latest in a craze that has swept across the US in the last several months. Early this year Thrillist posted about a new cookie dough dessert shop, appropriately named DŌ, that opened in New York City

As most trends do, this one has worked its way into the Midwest from the coast. The concept is simple: make safe-to-eat cookie dough and serve it like ice cream in cones, cups, or sandwiches. This is one trend that is extremely easy to duplicate at home. Buy pasteurized eggs (or make your own), heat-treat your flour by baking it in a low oven for an hour or at higher heat for a shorter time, and use these ingredients in your favorite cookie recipe.

If you are in need of inspiration to find a good cookie recipe on which to try this technique, the EYB Library has everything you need. Start with several online recipes from The Cookie Dough Lover's Cookbook, like the Inside-out cookie dough pictured above, or browse the many cookie recipes available online. Here are a few favorites to get you started: 

My best chocolate chip cookies from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
Compost cookies from Momofuku Milk Bar by Christina Tosi
Chewy malted milk chocolate cookies from Serious Eats
Confetti cookies from Smitten Kitchen by Deb Perelman and King Arthur Flour
Peanut butter cookies from A Free Range Life by Annabel Langbein

Featured Cookbooks & Recipes

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

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

Happy cooking and baking everyone!

 


Member Photo of the Week:

Green Bean Salad with Cherry Tomatoes and Haloumi from Marie Claire: Crisp by Michele Cranston

Photo submitted by member MarietNL. Have you uploaded any of your own photos yet? Learn more!

 

 

From websites:

Feta-and-Herb Phyllo Tart from Ottolenghi at The New York Times

 

 

From AUS/NZ books:

7 recipes from The Vegan Kitchen: 130+ Wholefood Recipes for a Plant-based Diet by The Australian Women's Weekly

 

 

From UK books:

6 recipes from Mountain Berries and Desert Spice: Sweet Inspiration from the Hunza Valley to the Arabian Sea by Sumayya Usmani

Enter our Mountain Berries & Desert Spice GIVEAWAY! (US/UK only)

 

 

From US books:

1 recipe from Bread Toast Crumbs: Recipes for No-Knead Loaves & Meals to Savor Every Slice by Alexandra Stafford

Enter our Bread Toast Crumbs GIVEAWAY! (US only)

 

10 recipes from King Solomon's Table: A Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around the World by Joan Nathan

Enter our King Solomon's Table GIVEAWAY! (US only)

 

6 recipes from Field Peas to Foie Gras: Southern Recipes with a French Accent
by Jennifer Hill Booker

5 recipes from  Dinner Déjà Vu: Southern Tonight, French Tomorrow
by Jennifer Hill Booker

Enter our Jennifer Hill Booker cookbook set GIVEAWAY! (US only)

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