Sunday, August 31, 2014

Saturday Night Dinner -- New Cookbooks and Recipes

Another Saturday night and I just got a new cookbook or three or four...

I have been fortunate enough to review some great cookbooks -- the latest books I will be discussing in this post. 

Let's start with appetizers....Bacon and Rosemary Gugelhupf from Das Cookbook by Hans Rockenwagner which will be released in October by Prospect Park Books.  Hans combines German Cooking with California Style.


I made the bacon and rosemary gugelhupf for a cheese tray to be served as an appetizer.  It was really delicious and full of flavor.  The gugelhupf is the bundt like bread/cake in the photo above.  As Hans suggests, I served it with crème fraiche and chives.  Everyone enjoyed it and asked to take some home.  I'm checking with the publisher to see if I may share the recipe.  I will edit this post next week if that is permitted.

Das Cookbook is a beautiful book.  My German cookbooks are lacking in number - so I was thrilled to see Das as a Fall release.  There is a pretzel section which gives detailed instruction in pretzel making and forming.  Other recipes that caught my attention were a whole grain sunflower rye, buchteln which is an Austrian pull apart roll filled with jam, California hash with carrots, sunchokes and kale, pretzel knodel, apple walnut strudel, schnitzel, macaroni and cheese soufflé, spatzle, short rib goulash, Korean flank steak with daikon kimchee and German potato salad, an orzo "risotto" and potato almond croquettes.  There is a lovely chapter on Holiday baking as well as a chapter on desserts - the dark chocolate hazelnut cake and Hans' version of cheesecake looked lovely. Hans' finishes off with a pantry section covering basics. 

Das Cookbook is a beautiful book that has a little something for everyone.  Please check it out.

My next recipe came from Food and Life by Joël Robuchon which is coming out on September 30th.  This book encourages the celebration of food as an integral part of happiness. Joël Robuchon is world famous  chef who offers gourmet recipes while Dr. Nadia Volf provides detailed explanations of the nutritional virtues of foods —and their effects on our well-being. 

I made the Meatballs and Tomato Sauce for our entrée.  They were gobbled up by our guests and received wonderful reviews.  Assouline graciously agreed to allow me to share Chef Robuchon's recipe with my readers.  Check out more about Assouline here.
1 pound (500 g) ground beef
1 onion, chopped

1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped

1 heaping teaspoon ground cumin

1 heaping teaspoon paprika

1 level teaspooon ground ginger

1 pinch turmeric

1¼ cups (10 oz/30 cl) tomato puree or passata

1 bay leaf

3 eggs (optional)

Salt, freshly ground pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon (optional)
In a large bowl, mix the ground beef with the onion, herbs, and spices, and form into small
In a large saucepan or pot, warm the tomato puree with the bay leaf, salt, and pepper.
In a heated nonstick skillet, brown the meatballs, then add them to the sauce and simmer
5 minutes at most (too long and they risk becoming overcooked and tough).
The meatballs may be served this way, but another option is to crack three eggs into the
sauce before it finishes cooking, and serve when the eggs are done. 

This book is  gorgeous which is typical for books from Assouline.  It is perfect for the novice or the gourmet.  Recipes range from pasta dough and brownie cake all the way to celery salad with prawns, pear and raisin clafoutis, poached seabass with leek and cilantro, mushroom broth with scallop and ginger.  This book will be well used as a cookbook and reference guide in my kitchen.

We finish off with dessert from Extreme Brownies by Connie Weis.

Extreme Brownies will be released September 9th by Andrews McMeel Publishing. I am known in my circles (small as they are) as the brownie queen, the cheesecake queen and the macaroni and cheese queen. Extreme Brownies has recipes for Kitty Kat Krunch Brownies, Crunchy Candied Pecan Brownies, Mega Mallo Coconut Brownies, Peanut Butter Buttercream Brownies, Raspberry Rapture, Coo Coo for Coconut Marshmallow Brownies, Snickering Brownies which I made on Saturday for company -- oh my word - delicious. Then there is a blondie section - Caramel Crispie Blondies, Roasted Apple Walnut Blondies and the White Chocolate Raspberry Blondies look incredible. 

There are photos of each creation and they are gorgeous. I love when someone can introduce new brownie and blondie recipes that I haven't seen before - AND look like an elegant dessert to boot.

When I brought the tray of these brownies out, there were oohs and aahs.  Well, there were oohs and aahs when I brought anything out because all of these recipes are show stopping delicious.

My friends and I call October -- Cookbooktober -- it's our Christmas.  So many great releases! Please check out these titles -- you'll be happy you did.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

My Paris Kitchen - David Lebovitz

David Lebovitz is a popular blogger and writer who now resides in Paris. My Paris Kitchen is a tribute to all things Parisian and surprisingly has a truly international flavor profile for example with recipes for Tabbouleh, Egyptian Spiced Nuts, Indian Cheese Bread, Lemon Pistachio Israeli Couscous and more.

David is witty and I love his style of writing.  The recipes he shares include Comte and Ham wafers, Ham, Blue Cheese and Pear Quiche (which looks divine), Duck Fat Cookies (yes that is not a typo), Honey Spice Bread, Salted Butter Caramel Chocolate Mousse,  Coffee Creme Brulee and hundreds more.

David's book reads like a novel - you feel as if you are sitting in his Paris kitchen enjoying a class of Rose with ice -- he tells a story entitled Ice is Nice which brought me back to my honeymoon in London and Paris.  London was fine - somewhat like being in America - but when we arrived in Paris - Americans who love their ice - we had a really hard time finding any.  When we spoke to the hotel employee....he said something to the effect that "there is no ice in all of France".  We laughed and he did let us use glacier bags to make our ice for drinks when we returned from devouring the city while searching for ice!

I have never been disappointed in David's recipes.  They are well written, researched and tested and perform wonderfully.

I can relate to one statement David made in the book about people being afraid to invite him for dinner.  I have been told that.  I am by no means a great chef - I'd be frightened to wash one of David's pots....but I am a good cook.  We have a constant stream of dinner guests but no one ever invites us over.  I suppose I should take it as a compliment.

Enjoy this book!  I am.

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Chronicle's Trifecta of Greatness - Huckleberry, Brown Sugar Kitchen and Sweet Alchemy

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I'm going to rave.

A great deal.

First up - Huckleberry by Zoe Nathan with Josh Loeb and Laurel Almerinda -- has to be one of the most stunningly, gorgeous books I have seen.  Much credit goes to the marvelous recipes - but also to Matt Armendariz who is a genius of photography.

Huckleberry Bakery and Cafe opened in 2009 in Santa Monica and I am deeply disappointed I didn't know of it's existence while we were in California over the last few years.  I will be headed there in the near future.  

The cover - just look at the cover! Blueberry brioche.  First on my list to make is the brioche on the cover.  

I have never made brioche before.  I was a little intimidated.  I followed Zoe's instructions to the letter except I used raspberries and chocolate and I was afraid of overfilling and used half the amount.  Zoe knows what she is talking about use the full amount!  While my bread is not as stunning as Matt's photo - it is incredibly delicious and I will be making this bread again.  

Let me just go through some of the recipes -- I hope you have eaten breakfast or lunch or dinner depending on what time you are reading this post.  The muffin section - recipe after recipe of muffins with crispy, sugary tops - as muffin tops should be, gorgeous flowing glazes.  I'm a sucker for a glaze.   Fig brown sugar muffins, lemon cornmeal with lemon glaze (a tear fell when I saw that recipe and photo - beauty), bacon cheddar muffins. Then we have in another chapter maple bacon biscuits, lemon pistachio cake, apple buckwheat cake, chocolate, chocolate tea cake...oh my.

There is a small section on bagels - thank you Zoe.  Denver is a wasteland of bad bagels.  I'm from New York..I know bagels.  I will be making some bagels soon!  

The flaky dough section - beautiful instructions.  Tutorials on every technique and many, many photos. We have onion, potato and bacon galette, vanilla apricot tart both which look scrumptious.  There is a cobbler and crumble section. Maple bacon bread pudding, cornbread pudding and this incredible fresh corn cornbread which appeared to be moist and tasty.  Yes, that picture screamed "I am not a dry cornbread".   Huge cornbread lovers in our house. We have a fried chapter!  Doughnuts, beignets -- and a huge breakfast section with pancakes, frittatas, egg on top recipes and a sandwich section which includes beer braised pork on toast with "an egg on top" and a fried green tomato with bacon and spicy slaw tartine.  

You need this book.  Trust me.  I would not lead you astray.  I will be cooking and baking my way through this book and have started a group to share our experiences here.  Come join us.  

My next love from Chronicle is Brown Sugar Kitchen by Tanya Holland, Jody Horton, Michael Chabon and Jan Newberry.  Brown Sugar Kitchen is a West Oakland gathering spot - and again - so disappointed that we did not hit it up when we were in the bay area in July.  

So many books these days don't seem to bring something new to the table.  Brown Sugar Kitchen brings some great newness to the table and more.  I am the queen of macaroni and cheese - just ask my friend Pam...I haven't seen many mac and cheese recipes that make me think - I must try this version- Brown Sugar Kitchen has such a recipe!  I made the macaroni and cheese for dinner Sunday night and it was absolutely amazing!  

Some other recipes marked to make, and soon, are cornmeal waffles with apple cider syrup, bacon cheddar and green onion biscuits, the sweet potato scones with brown sugar icing (second tear of the day, beauty again), sticky buns, Virginia ham and fried apple croque monsieur, their famous breakfast potatoes with onions and eight spices!, Andouille gorgeres, vidalia onion soup with cornbread croutons, caramel layer cake with brown butter and caramel frosting and the black bottom maple pecan bars look wonderful too.  Brown Sugar Kitchen includes a great drinks chapter as well. 

The book is jam packed with goodness and comfort.  You will love this book!  I do.

The third book in the trifecta of greatness from Chronicle is Sweet Alchemy by the winner of Top Chef's Desserts - Yigit Pura.

Yigit brings us page after page of technique and narrative with beautiful recipes.  You will learn a great deal of dessert magic from this book.  Honey baked crispy phyllo dough, creme fraiche shortcakes, salty hazelnut and brown sugar crumble (just give me a pan of that), layered crepe cake and much more pastry greatness.

Thank you for reading and I hope you go out and check out these truly remarkable books!


Chronicle furnished me with copies of Huckleberry and Brown Sugar Kitchen.  I purchased Sweet Alchemy.  All opinions are truly my own.  Life is too short -- buy great cookbooks and make great food.  

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Extra Virgin...Recipes and Love from Our Tuscan Kitchen

Truth be told when Extra Virgin came to Cooking Channel - I didn't have any interest in the show.  About a year ago, that changed.  I've been growing weary of the state of food programming.  The competition shows, the fake reality shows - I dislike them immensely.

I love Heartland Table and I enjoy Farmhouse Rules and that is about I recorded an episode of Extra Virgin - and enjoyed it - soon I caught up with all the repeats and my son even loved watching the shows.  He has the theme song down pat.  Extra Virgin had me craving Italian food.  I think I never enjoyed Italian food -- because American Italian food is all cheese, tomatoes and pasta - and extra cheese!  I have learned that good Italian food is simple, rustic meals with fresh ingredients - and not everything is drowned in cheese and sauces!

Back in March, I was thrilled to learn that they had cookbook forthcoming and I preordered the book.  I even started a cooking group to cook through the book with Gabriele's permission.  I made several of the recipes - the Roasted Pork Loin, page 152 - I have made three times and it is perfect!  I even substituted chicken thighs once using the same method - delicious.  The Beef Stew, page 155 is great.  Last night, I made the Pasta Alla Gricia, page 71 -- this dish was phenomenal - first time ever that every bite of a whole meal was eaten-we always have pasta leftovers because I'm not a huge pasta eater - but man this dish was great.  Tomorrow I am making the risotto with tallegio and radicchio and am looking forward to that dish.

Roasted Pork Loin

Pasta All Gricia

I truly recommend this cookbook if you a lover of Italian food...and even if your not - Gabriele and Debi's recipes might change your mind.  They reformed me.

My friend Pam is having a great Italian giveaway including a copy of this book head over.  Link here.

Please check out my previous post here for links to several more giveaways!

I did purchase my copy but Blogging for Books sent me an additional copy which I will use as a giveaway in the future.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Magical Mystical Blog Tour and Down South Cookbook Giveaway

My good friend and jammer extraordinaire Renee of Freakin' Flamingo fame and writer of Flamingo Musings asked me to take part in a blog tour which was the brainchild of the sweet and talented Sherri Jo of Adventures of Kitchen Girl.  Renee featured my blog and my group The Cookbook Junkies on her post and now it's my turn!

I started my blog a few years ago - early one morning about 2 a.m. when an insomnia riddled brain told me I should begin to blog.  It was a way to corral the voices in my head.  I wanted to free my thoughts about autism, being a mom the second time around and sharing my love of all things cooking.  I have always enjoyed cooking and baking and happen to be quite good at it. I started adding some recipe posts to my blog because people would ask for a recipe of something I created.  I have no desire to be the next Pioneer Woman.  I don't have time for that because you see -- we eat what I cook. I don't have props - I have dishes.   I could put my plate of food in a light box - but in our house that would be a microwave.  Don't get me wrong, there are some incredibly beautiful photographers and bloggers out there, and I have the utmost respect for them, I am not one.  I do not have delusions of grandeur only expectations of inadequacy. 

I've been writing all my life.  I've written a few short stories (never published) and actually had a romance novel picked up by a publisher - they wanted massive edits - and I was going through a divorce - ironic right?  It never happened (the novel, that is).  One of my favorite pieces is here

Having a child with autism can be a very lonely life.  Family and friends tend to shy away from the awkwardness of a melt down or from our sheer exhaustion.  Writing, Facebook and a few trusted friends, even far away, help keep me sane.

As my friend, Pam has said before -- huge shout out to the Russian spammers out there that frequently leave comments -- Bolshoe spasibo.

Blog Tour Questions:

What am I working on?

I am working on many things - growing The Cookbook Junkies - I started my little group because of my love for cookbooks.  We have over 7,300 members!  My husband is helping me build a website to be more user friendly for people - to organize recipes and reviews and to include many more things that we wish we could share in the Facebook group.  I am excited about this process.  

How does my work differ than others of its genre?

Truthfully, I don't think anyone is "original" anymore - everything has been done before and probably better.  I have an "icy wit" I'm told, an old boss gave me that nickname - so I use it for user names and my e-mail.  I share tales about life with autism.  I share recipes I've dreamed up and I share reviews of cookbooks which I love with a dash of wit thrown in -- or at least I hope it's there.

Why do I write what I do? 

I write about things that interest me including cookbooks and cooking.  I write to rant about autism and injustice.  It's my therapy.

How does my writing process work?

I don't have a process.  I sit down and write - sometimes it is good, sometimes it isn't.  This blog is for me and if others find some spark that they connect with all the better.

My Featured Favorite Bloggers:

The three bloggers I will share with you today will be hosting their own blog tours next week Sunday (8-10), I hope you will take the time to visit them and learn a little more about them as well.  

Pam from Living Rancho Delux

First and foremost, one of my truly best friends Pam writes at Living Rancho Delux.   Pam and I met a few years ago.  She had a giveaway for the first Beekman Boys book and I entered.  I won and she sent the book along with some chocolate and hot cocoa for my son. The rest is history.  We've met a few times for a hug, a lunch.  We talk, text, share and love. She is Andrew's Aunt Pam and her hubby is Uncle Bill.  We're doing a 5K in November in Utah and she will be coming to Denver for a run.   And bonus  -- I love her daughter, Anna and her little dog too, Olive.  I'm a Capone groupie!

Pam shares great recipes on her blog along with some other pearls of wisdom.  She has won prizes for some of her recipes and posts her great photos from time to time.  I know you will love Pam as much as I do.

Pam has a cookbook giveaway going on for Down South here and a huge Italian themed giveaway going on here.  (I want to win the Italian giveaway!)

Blaise from Blaise the Baker

Blaise and I have become friends through Cookbook Junkies and he writes at Blaise the Baker.  Blaise shares his recipes and more on his blog and has dreams of publishing a cookbook with both sweet and savory dishes.   He has incredible energy and is a ton of fun.  He currently is running a giveaway for The B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery Cookbook here.  

Linda from Seasons to Seasonings

Linda and I  became friends through Cookbook Junkies but it feels like we've been friends much longer.  Linda cooks and blogs through 37 Cooks but also has a personal blog Seasons to Seasonings where she shares recipes and stories.  Linda's message is that life doesn't end because of illness which forced her into early retirement.  She went from being a mediocre cook because work was the center of her life to being someone who enjoys cooking.  Her meals have become better and healthier as a result.  

Lastly, my good friends at Blogging for Books would like to give my readers (and Junkies) a chance to win a copy of Donald Link's Down South.  

Pam did a great review of the book on her blog and I had to have a copy myself and I absolutely love it.  This book is a gem.  Just like Pam, the Uruguayan Spicy Baked Cheese - to die for, Parmesan Bacon Gourgeres, Crispy Pork Cutlets with Brown Butter, Lemon and Sage and oh my Spaghetti with Pork Jowls and Fried Eggs!   This book will be highly used and probably will replace several mediocre "southern cookbooks".   Please complete the form below and you will be entered - and Blogging for Books will ship the book directly to you.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Asian Pickles

I have never been a pickle person.  I think it all stems from when I was around ten years old and I had the mumps. Helen Keller could see I had the mumps, but my old Czechoslovakian grandmother told my mother "if it hurts when she swallows a dill pickle - she has the mumps".  Linda Lovelace would have a problem swallowing a dill pickle.

I have shunned pickles from that day forward.  That being said, I loved pickled foods - onions, ginger, garlic.
When you add pickled red onions to a burger, it's gourmet.  Pickled daikon and carrots on a Vietnamese fish sandwich - so good -- recently had that sandwich in a restaurant in San Francisco.

This book is so much more than a cookbook.  It's a wealth of information on pickling covering Japan, Korea, China, India and "beyond" -- I always wondered what exactly was in the "beyond" department. In Asian Pickles I think the author means Southeast Asia.

Sweet, sour, salty, cured and fermented preserves - right on the front page!  All my favorites.

I've started my five-spice pickled three days - I'll let you know how they are - they smell great already!  Today I'm going to pickle some garlic - that will be ready in 6 to 7 months.  If you want some instant gratification you can make Hot Pickled Pineapple and Peanuts - ready in 1 and 1/2 hours and looks and sounds great - doesn't it?

There are loads of unique recipes in this book (as least to me - thousand slices turnips) and a plethora of information about pickling but also included are recipes for chile-black bean oil, XO sauce, chutneys and "beyond"!

I'm very pleased with this book and look forward to exploring more in the world of pickling and international flavors.

My review on Amazon is here.  If you would feel so inclined to like it - I would appreciate it.  I want you to like it--really, really like it.

This book was provided by Blogging for Books.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Simple Thai Food

I am a fan of Thai food - actually I am a fan of all internationally inspired food.  I just received a copy of Simple Thai Food by Leela Punyaratabandhu and after reviewing it believe it is a must have for someone wanting to experiment with Thai flavors. 

A few of the recipes I have marked to make - Pork Toast with Cucumber Relish (my husband is not a fan of seafood so this will be something along the lines of shrimp toast I can make and he can still enjoy); Stir-Fried Chicken with Chile Jam (the book includes a recipe for chile jam - but I have a wonderful jar from my friend Marc that I can use in this recipe); the photos for Chicken Cashew Stir-Fry look better than any cashew chicken I have ever made; Pad Thai (of course!); and one of my favorite Thai dishes - Spicy Basil Chicken and Fried Eggs on Rice.  There are many seafood, rice and dessert dishes included as well as relishes, sauces and paste recipes.

I have many more complex and detailed Thai books -- but this book is approachable while giving complex flavors and professional looking dishes.

I received this book from Blogging for Books.

Thanks for stopping by.