After many years waiting tables and working in restaurants my only brush with bitters was as the staff cure all for hangovers. After a late night we'd all belly up to bar for our daily drink of bitters and soda. It cured everything from a headache to indigestion. Then it was only Angostura but now with the cocktail craze comes the bitters boom, and yes a book dedicated solely to this aromatic flavoring agent.
We have had such fun reviewing and sharing recipes from the avalanche of cookbooks published this year. These were some of our favorite recipes, including dishes from authors like Melissa Clark, Yotam Ottolenghi, and Jeni Britton Bauer of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams – all of whom appeared on our readers' top five cookbooks of 2011 list, too!
Home cooks have to be a careful when it comes to a cookbook written by a restaurant chef. There often can be a disconnect between what it takes to get restaurant food onto our home tables when we don't have exotic ingredients flown to our doors and a dozen employees to prep them, not to mention years of professional training and the extraordinarily high btu's of a huge, multi-burner professional stove. So when I picked up San Francisco chef Mitch Rosenthal's new cookbook Cooking My Way Back Home, I'll admit I was a little cautious. Was this going to be one of those books that frustrated me with hours of prep work, and too many ingredients and complicated techniques? Read on for what I discovered.
Here is a lady after my own heart. And, I'm thinking, yours. Jennifer Reese set out confidently and ambitiously, with grand intentions of crafting her own cheese and making pasta with eggs from her own chickens. She wanted to answer once and for all the question, "Where is that sweet spot between making and buying?" What she found, among other things, is that raising chickens isn't all it's cracked up to be.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that it is un-possible to pass by one of Milk Bar's four New York locations or read one of Pastry Chef Christina Tosi's recipes online and not feel an immediate sugar craving. Just opening this cookbook gave me a sugar rush.
Within these pages, Tosi breaks down how she makes all her now-famous recipes. Crack pie is here. Compost cookies are here. Her cakes and tarts and magic-seeming garnishes: yup, all here. You're going to love this cookbook.
The story of stone soup is a great story of cooperation: it teaches us that just a handful of shared ingredients can be transformed into a feast. But it also teaches us that nearly anything can be turned into soup — even a stone, a nail, a discarded bone. Soup can begin anywhere; we've shown you how to make soup from literally any vegetable, for instance (once you know that method, you'll never need a vegetable soup recipe again).
This recipe, from Melissa Clark's new book, takes the stone soup idea and stretches it out, starting with the bone discarded from a ham. It doesn't look like much but it's full of rich marrow, which infuses the soup with flavor. It's the most comforting thing I've eaten all week!
Cookbooks often make me feel inspired, and frequently very hungry. But it is rare that a cookbook will actually make me laugh out loud. A drawing of spacemen landing on a pile of toasted flatbread? Or a cartoon shark swimming in a bowl of creamy chowder? Now, that's funny stuff.
And it's indicative of the playful and welcoming tone of this latest cookbook from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall of River Cottage farm. These are the kinds of recipes I want to cook all the time: fresh flavors, simple to make, and tummy-rubbing good. This recipe for spicy lamb burgers on the grill is the perfect example.
A good friend of mine had a baby, her second, on Mother's Day. I don't know about you, but I like to cook for people when they have babies. Is this a dying tradition? When I had my daughter, I assumed people would be bringing lots of food, but it wasn't exactly a parade of casseroles. We ended up eating a lot of take-out. It shouldn't be that way.
My friend lived in Paris for years and since I know that Boeuf Bourguignon is one of her favorite dishes, I decided that this was the meal I should carry around the corner to her apartment. It's hearty, reminiscent of the good life in Paris, and gets better day after day. In other words, the perfect birthday dish for a hungry Francophile new mom.
So I turned to my grease-splattered Essential New York Times Cookbook, and discovered that it had not one but two Boeuf Bourguignon recipes. Score.
Let me cut to the chase of this book review. Are you looking for vegetarian meals, or just more vegetables? Want to bring more whole grains and legumes into your meals? Want to get inspired by bright, interesting food that doesn't break the bank or stretch your time too badly? This book, folks, is the nearly magic answer to all of those kitchen yearnings. Just trust me, and go buy it.
Here's a little more about this startlingly good cookbook, and a recipe I can't wait to make.
Over the past few years, when I've had a question about Passover or kosher cooking, I've turned to one person: Leah Koenig. She was the editor of The Jew and the Carrot for two years, and now she has just written a beautiful new book: The Hadassah Everyday Cookbook. Here's a quick review and a peek inside, with a delicious cucumber lamb salad — perfect for lunch or for Passover itself.