Cookbook Giveaway - Dinner Changing the Game

Dinner: Changing the Game by Melissa Clark delivers 200 recipes in her newest release each promising a fantastic dish that is so satisfying and flavor-forward it can stand alone - or be paired with a simple salad or fresh bread on the side.

Melissa's previous titles and her two newspaper columns, A Good Appetite and What's for Dinner are indexed for our members. Two clicks and all the recipes from both columns can be added to your bookshelf. Be sure to check out our events calendar to learn where Melissa will be promoting her title.

For more information on this title, please see our review and recipe post

We are pleased to offer 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:

What title from the index would you 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 April 29, 2017

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 do this even if you have a free membership! 

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

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

Happy cooking and baking everyone!


From blogs:

Cardamom Vanilla Bean Toasted Coconut Shortbread from indexed blog Savory Simple



From AUS/NZ books:

5 recipes from Smith & Daughters: A Cookbook (That Happens to Be Vegan) by Shannon Martinez & Mo Wyse

Enter our Smith & Daughters GIVEAWAY! (US only)



From UK books:

5 recipes from Provence to Pondicherry: Recipes from France and Faraway by Tessa Kiros

Enter our Provence to Pondicherry GIVEAWAY! (US only)



From Canadian books:

9 recipes from Araxi: Roots to Shoots: Farm Fresh Recipes by James Walt & Andrew Morrison

Enter our Araxi GIVEAWAY! (US/CAN only)



From US books:

10 recipes from Gather by Gill Meller (first published in the UK)

Enter our Gather GIVEAWAY! (US only)


4 recipes from Onions Etcetera: The Essential Allium Cookbook: More Than 150 Recipes for Leeks, Scallions, Garlic, Shallots, Ramps, Chives and Every Sort of Onion by Kate Winslow & Guy Ambrosino

Enter our Onions Etcetera GIVEAWAY! (US only)


7 recipes from My Master Recipes: 165 Recipes to Inspire Confidence in the Kitchen with Dozens of Variations by Patricia Wells

Enter our My Master Recipes GIVEAWAY! (US only)


10 recipes from My Two Souths: Blending the Flavors of India into a Southern Kitchen by Asha Gomez

Enter our My Two Souths GIVEAWAY! (US only)

Building a better bagel

 Homemade bagels

Yeast breads intimidate many otherwise competent home cooks. There are so many variables that can affect how the bread turns out: humidity, ambient temperature, proofing times, kneading issues, and more. This is especially true when it comes to bagels, which have a stiff dough unlike any other. Despite these issues, you can make great bagels at home, promises Stella Parks. She offers a guide to troubleshoot the most common bagel mistakes

Parks has developed a bagel recipe that she claims will overcome many of the pitfalls that can arise when baking these delicious golden rings. One of the problems that often perplexes beginners is how to achieve the best shiny, crisp crust. The dough needs to be stretched fairly taut to achieve the "crispy, crackly micro-bubbles" that are the hallmark of a well-made bagel. 

You can make sure this occurs by shaping the bagel properly and by developing sufficient gluten in the dough. As to the latter, using the wrong flour is one common problem, but under-kneading is even more of an issue. It can be difficult to work the dough enough by hand or even with a stand mixer to achieve sufficient gluten devleopment. Unless you want a physical workout - it can take up to 45 minutes of hand kneading - Parks recommends using a food processor to achieve the same result in a fraction of the time. 

She also provides tips to help you avoid dense bagels and dull, matte crusts, plus how to avoid hitting a few other stumbling blocks. Read all of the tips at indexed blog Serious Eats

Photo of Homemade bagels from Serious Eats by Stella Parks 

The Making of a Cookbook Collector

Does this statement remind you of a country song? I was a cookbook lover before cookbooks were cool. When I first started The Cookbook Junkies over a decade ago - it was slow going. Comments such as "why do we need cookbooks you can get everything online" "you don't need them they just take up space" and then bang about four years ago we exploded everyone was in agreement - we need books to hold in our hands, to dream and be inspired by and mostly to feed and nurture our family and friends. 

From as early as I can remember - I have had an affinity for books. Books were an escape from parents that didn't allow me to have friends or be out of the vicinity of their twisted judgment and controlling minds. Gone with the Wind was the one book I owned. I read it over a hundred times - I would lose myself in those worn pages and it is one thing I still own from my early childhood - that tattered copy.

My love of cookbooks bloomed when I was a teenager. I graduated high school at seventeen, moved out of mother's home and was working full time for an oncologist. To earn extra money, I started babysitting for the Doctor and his wife.  On those nights of babysitting the girls and doing my laundry, I remember the great leftovers that could be found in their fridge. I had never eaten anything that tasted like those leftovers - seafood and different vegetables - ingredients that were foreign to me.

My mom wasn't much of a cook. Never was there anything exotic in her rotation of chicken, meatloaf, spaghetti - and by no means were there any fresh herbs or spices in those dishes. Her ingredients of choice were always Ragu and copious amounts of salt.  I do remember she made great homemade fries….fried things were her specialty. It's hard to mess up french fries. There wasn't money to go to a restaurant or even order take out, so I was under the impression that food was genuinely bland and flavorless, processed and frozen.

When the doctor's wife went through her cookbooks to thin them out - she gave me a stack.  She was my gateway to becoming a cookbook junkie. I still have one of those books - Miss Hullings' Cookbook.  Miss Hullings' Restaurant was a famous restaurant in St. Louis, my hometown. One of my first jobs in St. Louis, after the doctor, was for a law firm and my boss was like a father figure and would take me to lunch at Miss Hullings and the French Onion Soup - was incredible. Trips to Charlie Gitto's on the Hill with other office staff were a treat as well. The first time I had pesce there I was blown away and then toasted ravioli - I thought I hit the big time.

Cooking became a therapy for me - a way to connect with people and something I was really good at with no training save those those cast off cookbooks I held onto. Now when I look at my shelves of cookbooks, I see a world of possibilities. I see travel to other countries, a connectivity to other cultures and people and a true love of the written word. Do these books fill our house? Yes, but I don't see them as clutter - I see them as opportunities. Surrounded by cookbooks and things I love (like French cookware), I feel like I belong to something. It may come from a background of being abused and doing without for so much of my early life - but having these things bring me comfort. There are not stacks of newspapers or magazines lying about or herds of cats roaming the house, just shelves of books and a few stacks as well. Life is fleeting and if we do not surrounded ourselves with things and people we love - what purpose is there? As my bio here at Eat Your Books states, "She spends her time writing, cooking, baking and hoping that she isn't discovered under a pile of cookbooks. Her tombstone will read "she was always buried in cookbooks."

A few months ago I wrote about the contributing factors that make a good cookbook and came across it again which spurred me to share this re-hash of a post I shared on my blog. I am also sharing the piece on The Cookbook Junkies from the Parker paper to explain why my little group of 42,000 cookbook lovers means so much to me and now my cookbook family has grown through Eat Your Books. Facebook statuses remind me of the connections I've made through food and cooking and also re-affirm that people who love to cook are good people.

What is your cookbook story? How did you begin down this delicious road? How many cookbooks do you have? I am working on a project and would love to collect as many stories as I can. I would so appreciate your comments here. Enjoy your weekend and cook something great for those you love. 


Ina Garten announces a new show

Cooking for JeffreyLooking for a good new cooking show to watch? Keep your eyes on Food Network, because Ina Garten has just announced that she's working on a new show that will air on the cable channel. It appears that the series, titled 'Cook Like a Pro', is already in production and will likely premiere in May of this year.

Garten, author of last year's blockbuster cookbook Cooking for Jeffrey (nominated for a James Beard award), shared the news via Twitter earlier today. She captioned a photo with "Fun today filming with Lidey for my new series 'Cook Like a Pro' on @FoodNetwork!"

There has been no official announcement from the network, nor did the chef elaborate on what to expect from the show. There may be clues in the photo Garten shared on Twitter, however. The picture includes the chocolate chevron cake she posted on Instagram earlier this month, in which she uses a simple technique to achieve sophisticated results with the cake's icing. Perhaps that contains a hint of what's to come in her new show. 

Scraps, Wilt + Weeds

Scraps, Wilt & Weeds: Turning Wasted Food into Plenty by Mads Refslund and Tama Matsuoka Wong embraces the no-scrap-left- behind culinary trend with recipes that will surprise and excite you.

Refslund, the talented chef and co-founder of NOMA along with Wong, author of Foraged Flavor, provide advice on how to throw away less - from preserving food to creatively using parts of ingredients that people commonly overlook. The authors give a whole new meaning to whole food cooking. For example Skillet-Roasted Cauliflower Cores & Leaves with Brie, Broccoli Stems with Lardo & Fresh Coriander Seeds, and Flat Bread and Day-Old Bread Porridge will have us envisioning new ways to throw out far less.

For a book on trash cooking, it certainly is beautiful with photographs of dishes that would rival any fine dining experience. What is most appealing is the permission to use less than perfect ingredients for instance - ugly garlic - shriveled is fine. As cooks we are often told to use the finest most perfect ingredients and I love being told that imperfect is not only acceptable but encouraged. The advice on how to forage and find uses for those riches found in nature is very interesting. In a world where so many people go hungry, this is a book and lifestyle more of us need to embrace. 

The authors were gracious enough to answer a few questions about their new cookbook and the trashing cooking movement. Please be sure to head to our contest page to enter our giveaway for one of three copies of this cookbook open to our members in the US and Canada. 

Q: First, let me thank you for allowing me to ask a few questions about your new book for our members. Scraps, Wilt + Weeds Turning Wasted Food into Plenty is a gorgeous book. How did the idea come about to do a cookbook devoted to Trash Cooking?

A: Thank you for your interest! The book stemmed from a common philosophy that we share about discovering the deliciousness of underappreciated "wasted" foods, whether a wild weed or an unused part of a plant or fish. It's at the core of how we each live in our separate domains: Mads as an innovative chef with respect for the whole produce as found in nature and Tama in making a living gleaning the unwanted weeds that people would ordinarily stomp on.

We've been working together now for years and it came up in a conversation and Mads said "oh yah Trash Cooking" let's do it!

Q: I love the concept of utilizing normally wasted food but I am a tad put off with the term Trash Cooking - are you finding any resistance with that terminology or are people embracing it like the Dumpster Diving movement?

A: Yes well there was an ongoing debate about the title of the book for that very reason. People have different reactions and we don't want them to be put off by choice of words.

The book is actually a push back on the use of language to make a value judgment about what we eat and what we don't eat:  what we choose to call "Trash": what food people "value" and what they throw out.  So what we really want is for people to question their own prejudices: why do carrot peels fall under the label of "trash" and fake baby carrots already peeled and reformed in a glossy plastic package fall under the category of "good produce"? And in fact to the contrary those peels that are thrown away may actually have more nutrition and flavor in them.

It's also to recognize that in other times and places in the world  what Americans may perceive as  "trash" is relished as great cuisine.

Q: I'm sure it is more difficult to write recipes that involve scraps than having an entire stocked pantry and refrigerator at your disposal. Did you find you had to dig deep in your creative minds to fill this cookbook - or did the process flow easily? I, myself, am a huge leftover wizard - I love recreating something new from yesterday's dinner.

A: Haha, frankly sometimes it was touch and go. Sometimes Mads would have "recipe" block and other times it would be "pumpkin marathon day". But it really wasn't that difficult because people have been cooking around the world from scraps forever: the "other ways to use" and the leftovers section are really just a compendium of time honored methods.

Q: How difficult a challenge was it to create recipes that would appeal to the masses utilizing these forgotten ingredients? In that vein, which recipe in the book was your biggest surprise success? Are there any recipes or ideas that failed?

A: Most of the recipe selection challenges ended up being ironed out through the testing process. Everything had to work in a timely manner in a home kitchen. There were definitely some flops or too difficult to recreate recipes such as one where Mads made a nuka pot with potatoes that took months. In countries where nuka is part of the regular culture it may be less of an effort to watch and turn nuka but when the testers forgot to turn it daily, and it got moldy, we decided to mention the method but not include the recipe.

The surprise success was the miso, sprout and banana recipe. Testers complained about why they had to make it and then ended up screaming about how they couldn't believe how good it was. Or the wheat bran ice cream recipe which is crazy good. It's another reason we included some of the testers notes in the recipes to the book so readers could experience along side testers actual reactions.

Q: For someone new to this idea of Trash Cooking which recipes would you point to first in the title? What tips would you give to the home cook on how to get started utilizing all of the components of a particular ingredient?

Try the celery scraps pesto. Its so easy and Tama's personal favorite. We made it so many times and the romaine lettuce bottoms recipe with the romaine lettuce sauce!

Tips are not to become too much of a slave to a recipe. We realized that a lot of waste is if you a recipe calls for ½ cup of parsley but you have only 1/3 cup and you don't feel you can make it unless you go to the store and buy more. Also, if you are cutting off the stem of broccoli to cook the flowerheads, put the stems back in the fridge  in a plastic bag and make it a few days later. You don't have to cook everything all at once.

Q: I appreciate the movement you have started - and have the utmost respect for you as chefs and writers. We here at, Eat Your Books, are cookbook lovers - can you tell us about your favorite titles or culinary heroes?

We don't wish to take any credit for starting a movement. Rather, our approach is to express humbleness for time honored traditions and cultures that do not waste food.  Our hope is that this book can serve as an initial blueprint to, give people some inspiring and practical tips as to how they can eat better, have an impact on an enormous world problem of food waste, and have a little fun doing it.

Tama: loves Ottolenghi's Plenty More!  Also Fuschia Dunlop's cookbooks. The Wongs cook a lot at home so we want books that are a bit "beyond basic". We also still cook from Foraged Flavor every year as the seasons come and go. The recipes are pretty classic and not trendy.

Q: Thank you again for your time and for creating this beautiful book? Tell us, are there plans for a sequel? 

We put so much content in to this book we are not thinking of any sequels!



Cookbook Giveaway - Scraps, Wilt + Weeds

Scraps, Wilt & Weeds: Turning Wasted Food into Plenty by Mads Refslund and Tama Matsuoka Wong embraces the no-scrap-left- behind trend with recipes that will surprise and excite you.

For more information on this title, please see our author interview post

We are pleased to offer 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:

What title from the index would you 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 April 27, 2017


What defines a pie?

 Steak and Guinness pie

Just a few days ago, Mary Berry riled some food lovers by adding unconventional ingredients to her ragu bolognese. She's stirred the controversy pot yet again, this time with her take on pie. In this instance, people took exception to calling her potato, leek, and cheese pie a pie because it didn't have a bottom crust. Angry tweets quickly followed the airing of this episode of 'Mary Berry Everyday'.

This is far from the first time social media has erupted in a firestorm of posts regarding the nomenclature of pies. Most of the time, the question debated is: can you call something a pie if it only has a top crust? Or, as in the case of shepherd's pie, one with no pastry crust at all? People are not shy about expressing opinions on the matter. In 2015, one irate man  launched an online petition to "make wrongly describing a casserole with a pastry lid a criminal offence". The petition collected 5,000 signatures. 

The dictionary definitions of pie vary between publishers, with some calling the bottom crust optional and some requiring a crust on both top and bottom, which would leave out delicious items like lemon meringue pie. 

The British Pie Awards subscribes to a very strict definition of pie. Only pies with 'a filling totally and wholly encased in pastry' can compete in its annual contest, which took place on 8th March 2017. British Pie Awards chairman Matthew O'Callaghan holds firm to the definition, suggesting that items like lemon meringue are more properly tarts than pies. 

Photo of Mary Berry Cooks the Perfect: Step by Step by Mary Berry

Cookbook Giveaway - Vibrant India

Vibrant India: Fresh Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Brooklyn by Chitra Agrawal, the chef and owner of Brooklyn Delhi, takes us on a culinary journey to her mother's hometown of Bangalore and back to Brooklyn. As I state in the review post, this book really blows up my skirt - I love it!

For more information on this title, please see our review and recipe post

We are pleased to offer three copies of Vibrant India 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:

What title from the index would you 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 April 26, 2017



Vibrant India

Vibrant India: Fresh Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Brooklyn by Chitra Agrawal, the chef and owner of Brooklyn Delhi, takes us on a culinary journey to her mother's hometown of Bangalore and back to Brooklyn.

In this gorgeous book, she adapts her family's South Indian recipes for home cooks using satisfyingly rich, bold and complex flavors. Grains, legumes, fresh produce, coconut, and yogurt - along with herbs, citrus, chiles, and spice - form the foundation of this cuisine, rooted in vegetarian customs. Vibrant India is a symphony of colors and flavors and a sign to me that a higher being loves us and wants us to be happy.  

Every recipe in this title appeals to me and will be a fantastic way to zhoosh up our meals to bring more exciting vegetarian options to our table. As my eighty five year old neighbor would say while as I was growing up "this book really blows up my skirt" (but she was usually talking about a man).  Potato Stir-fry with Onion and Ginger and Green Bean and Coconut Stir-Fry I have made already and I could totally go vegetarian with recipes like these!  Spiced Spring Vegetable and Coconut Polenta (which we are sharing here for you today) and Lemon Peanut Rice are next up from this book in my kitchen. I cannot wait until fresh corn is readily available to make the Stir-fried Corn with Basil and Leeks but this recipe looks so tempting I may make do with corn that has some miles on it.

Our thanks to Ten Speed Press and the author for sharing this affirmation of Spring in a bowl with our members. Be sure to enter our contest for a chance to win one of three copies of this title for our members in the US. 


Uppittu or Upma 
Spring • Serves 3 or 4

This is my gluten-free spin on uppittu or upma, a savory South Indian semolina breakfast or light snack. In Kannada, uppu means "salt" and hittu means "flour," so uppittu roughly translates to "salted flour" and is sometimes referred to as upma. In place of Indian semolina flour or farina, I use polenta and pair it with crunchy spring vegetables and traditional flavors of black mustard seeds, curry leaves, chile, coconut, and lemon. 
Feel free to substitute other vegetables like potato, green bell pepper, onion, grated carrot, peas, or tomatoes. Uppittu is usually served with a pat of butter or yogurt and hot pickle and sometimes a topping of fried cashews. In the past, I have used cooked quinoa or couscous in this recipe in place of polenta, so feel free to experiment with different grains as well. 
1⁄2 cup unsweetened grated coconut (fresh, frozen, or dried) 
1 teaspoon salt, plus more for sprinking 
1 cup polenta* or medium or coarsely ground cornmeal 
2 tablespoons unsalted butter 
8 ounces asparagus, tough parts of spears broken off 
1⁄2 cup snap peas, trimmed and stringed 
1 1⁄2 tablespoons coconut oil 
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds 
1⁄2 teaspoon chana dal 
1 teaspoon urad dal 
5 or 6 fresh curry leaves 
1⁄2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated 
1 Indian green chile or serrano chile, finely chopped 
2 or 3 scallions or seasonal ramps, both white and green parts, chopped 
1⁄4 teaspoon turmeric powder 
4 or 5 red radishes, trimmed and quartered 
Juice of half a lemon (about 1 1⁄2 tablespoons), plus more as needed 
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves 

Plain yogurt or butter 
Hot pickle or Brooklyn Delhi achaar 
*If using quick-cooking polenta, adjust cooking times accordingly. 

Thaw frozen coconut or place dried coconut in a little hot water to plump it up. 
Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a saucepan, and add the salt. Turn the heat to low and slowly whisk in the polenta until there are no lumps. Cook the polenta, partially covered, for 30 minutes, whisking it well every few minutes. When cooked, the 
polenta should look creamy. Add the butter and coconut and mix well. The polenta should become fluffy and lighter in color when you do this. 
While the polenta is cooking, cut the asparagus into 1-inch pieces on the diagonal. Cut the snap peas into 1-inch pieces on the diagonal. 

Put the oil in a wok over medium heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add one black mustard seed. When the seed sizzles and pops, add the rest of the mustard seeds. Keep a lid handy to cover the pan while the mustard seeds are popping. When the popping starts to subside (a few seconds), immediately add the chana dal and urad dal. Stir to coat with oil and turn the heat to medium-low. 

Continue to stir the dals so they evenly roast, until they turn a reddish golden brown and smell nutty, less than a minute. Rub the curry leaves between your fingers a little to release their natural oils, and drop them, the ginger, and green chile into the oil. Cover immediately, as moisture from the curry leaves will cause the oil to spatter. Then stir to evenly coat everything with oil and continue to fry until the ginger and chile are less raw, 10 to 15 seconds. 

Add the scallions and turmeric powder. Stir-fry for 1 minute on medium heat. Mix in the asparagus, snap peas, and radishes with a sprinkling of salt. Stir-fry the vegetables over high heat until tender but still crisp and just cooked through, about 3 minutes. During cooking, if the pan is looking dry, add a little water to it. Turn off the heat. Mix in the lemon juice and chopped cilantro. Taste for salt and lemon juice and adjust as needed. 

Serve the polenta hot, topped with the vegetables, a dollop of plain yogurt, and a spoonful of hot pickle. 
Seen anything interesting? Let us know & we'll share it!