Fresh and Seasonal

Heart of the Artichoke and Other Kitchen Journeys

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by Amy Sherman

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Imagine a chef who spends six months a year in a restaurant making food for the fussiest guests and six months in a tiny galley kitchen with a rickety stove and barely any counter space. Meet David Tanis of Chez Panisse. His recipes are mostly pretty easy, but rely on the best quality ingredients.

Bookmarked recipes: Celery, radish and watercress salad with walnut oil, Buckwheat galettes with ham and cheese, Black sticky rice pudding with coconut cream.

Why?
It's fascinating to see the way a restaurant chef cooks at home, when he wants to, to please himself and his friends.

Who?
Anyone who has access to fantastic quality ingredients and wants to learn how to make them shine.

Cooking Light, The Complete Quick Cook

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by Susan Russo

clqc_cover.jpgDid your New Year's resolution include losing weight or eating more healthfully? You're not alone. Millions of Americans have made the same resolutions. I just hope you don't go on a diet. Because if you go on a diet, you'll eventually go off a diet.

Here's my advice: skip the diet and buy a book instead, specifically Cooking Light The Complete Quick Cook by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough. Having written more than 20 cookbooks together, Weinstein and Scarbrough know how to develop recipes that work. If they say a recipe takes 30 minutes or less, is good for you, and tastes great too, then you can believe them.

In The Complete Quick Cook, you'll learn how to be a savvier shopper, faster cook, and healthier eater, all of which will help you lose weight and keep it off. The book includes over 200 healthy, quick-cook recipes organized into chapters including Fast & Fresh Salads, Convenience Cooking, Stir-Fry, Fast & Fancy, and Sweet Endings. Most are written in short, clear sentences, and have relatively short ingredients lists with easy-to-find ingredients. Nearly all recipes are accompanied by a color photo.

Chicken and Egg

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by Sue Doeden

ImageIt doesn’t seem that long ago that I visited with Janice Cole at an International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) conference when she told me she was working on a cookbook. She explained that this book would not be  just a collection of recipes. It would also tell the story about her experiences during her first year of raising her own hens. I was intrigued. I had no idea Janice Cole had chickens. She lived in the city, for heaven’s sake, in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota. Yet she was raising chickens in her back yard.

Now, I have the just-published book, Chicken and Egg: A Memoir of Suburban Homesteading with 125 Recipes,” by Janice Cole. It’s like a good novel that you just can’t put down once you start reading. Cole’s book holds nine chapters, following the seasons of the year, broken down by early spring, mid-spring, summer, late summer all the way through late winter.

Jamie at Home

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by Amy Ephron

jamieathome.jpg My son Ethan and I once tried to cook our way through Jamie Oliver’s Italy—he was going off to school and had some delusional fantasy that there would be a kitchen in his dorm (not!) and that he would be able to cook for his friends and his girlfriends and somehow simulate some of the cuisine he was accustomed to...  It was great.  Everything we made was perfect.  I don’t even like swordfish and Jamie Oliver’s swordfish is one of the best things I’ve ever had.  He thinks “fruit is lovely”, he uses words like “drizzle” and you sort of feel like he’s in the kitchen with you. 

So, I was really excited when Jamie Oliver’s new book “Jamie at Home” arrived in the mail.  And it’s xmas and it’s chaotic and I haven’t had time to even begin to cook my way through it.  But I’m really pleased that they’re allowing us to excerpt some of Jamie Oliver’s new recipes.

The Visual Food Lover's Guide

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by Amy Sherman

visualfood.jpgThe Visual Food Lover's Guide is a terrific resource that I can't stop leafing through. In fact, it has taken up residence next to my bed along with a few other treasured tomes. It has the basic information on how to buy, prepare, cook, serve and store over 1,000 types of food. It also gives you the rundown on nutritional information. It's nowhere near as personal or opinionated as "Jane Grigon's Vegetable Book", but with hundreds of entries it is much more comprehensive.

I really like that there's a color illustration of each item and some photos for techniques like how to make bread or pry open oyster shells. The entry for anise has an illustration of the flowering plant, star anise seeds and pods. That level of detail is what makes it so worthwhile. They've also done a great job making sure that produce and seafood from different geographic locations are included. My only complaint is that the mushroom section is a bit thin. I would have loved to have seen mushrooms such as hedgehog, lobster and lion's mane included.

Arboretum Zucchini Bread Offers Taste of the Season

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by Sue Doeden

cookbookcover_web.jpgI found a real treasure when I discovered “Flavors of the Arboretum: 101 Tastes of the Season” as I browsed through the gift shop during a recent visit to the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska.

Recipes in the book include signature classics that you might find on the menu in the Arboretum Restaurant, treasures from the old Tea Room, as well as recipes from cooking classes taught in the “Harvest Kitchen” at the Marion Andrus Learning Center on the Arboretum grounds and guest chefs who are invited to share their knowledge and skills as they teach classes.

Turn to page 29 in “Flavors of the Arboretum: 101 Tastes of the Season,” and you will be in the Summer/In Bloom section. That’s where you will find suggested summer menus from Twin Cities area chefs with all of the recipes needed to do some “Dining Al Fresco” and enjoy a “Summer Solstice Dinner,” as well as several other recipes.

The Sunset Cookbook

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by Amy Sherman

Image The Sunset Cookbook
I grew up with Sunset magazine, Sunset cookbooks and a philosophy of cooking that was influenced by living in "the West." This is a huge compilation of very contemporary recipes. Sustainable seafood, recipes to make on the grill, tons of salads, Asian inspired dishes and plenty of guacamole.

Bookmarked recipes: Shiraz-soy trip-tip, Frisee, tangerine and sesame salad, Kumquat bon bons

Why?
Because we want to make the most of our bountiful produce and healthy lifestyle

Who?
I don't know if this book will appeal to those not living on the West Coast, but for anyone who is, it will seem like a natural fit.

Bay Area Cookbooks

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by Amy Sherman

 

I always get excited about cookbooks with a connection to the Bay Area. There are so many things that make eating here special. Of course, it's the fresh produce, but it's much more than just that. It's also the vibe, the service and personality of our local restaurants. The latest crop of cookbooks capture much of that.

cookingmyway.jpgIt may sound odd to say I don't go to Mitchell Rosenthal's restaurants, namely Town Hall and Anchor & Hope (never been to Salt House) primarily for the food. Oh the food is good, some of it is outstanding, but I really go because those restaurants just feel so good and welcoming. It's like a party every night, at both places, not in a rowdy way, in a "I can't remember the last time I had so much fun at a restaurant" way. At Town Hall I always sit at the communal table, and I love it. You cannot eat there without making friends with your neighbors and chatting over your dishes. Rosenthal's new cookbook, Cooking My Way Back Home, manages to share a lot of the fun through stories and photos, not to mention recipes.

Thankfully my favorite dish from Town Hall is in the new cookbook, it's Faith's Warm Ham & Cheese Toast with Jalapeno Cream as well as my favorite bite from Anchor & Hope, Angels on Horseback with Remoulade. The recipes are a mix of Southern and Jewish/Deli favorites with a few Mexican, Seafood and barbecue recipes and somehow it all works. I'd call it comfort food meets party food. Bookmarked recipes to try include Hot Mixed Nuts with Truffle Honey and Maldon Salt, Sweet Onion and Funky Cheese Fondue, BBQ Shrimp with Toasted Garlic Bread and Lemon Chicken with Olive and Feta.

Recipes from an Italian Summer

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by The Editors

Excerpt from Recipes from an Italian Summer by The Silver Spoon Kitchen, a collection of 400 never-before-published recipes that capture the essence, ease and freshness of Italian cooking. With beautiful photographs of the Italian countryside and many of the dishes, this book will inspire you to create your own perfect summer event.

recipesitalian.jpgCooking outdoors is the perfect way to entertain during the summer months, and the scents and sounds of cooking on the barbecue create a wonderful appetite for a feast. Another advantage is that cooking on a barbecue means that nobody has to spend their time in the kitchen. A good barbecue should be very simple, and only requires good-quality ingredients to be grilled over hot embers, seasoned with salt and pepper, and perhaps drizzled with a little extra-virgin olive oil.

In Italy, the ancient Chianina breed of cattle produces steaks so highly prized that strict rules accompany the technique for grilling them, such as never pricking the meat with a fork so that tasty juices cannot escape. There are also many fish and vegetables that can be grilled very successfully, such as radicchio, eggplants, shrimp, and sardines. These are often cooked with fresh herbs and dressed simple with lemon and extra-virgin olive oil.

The recipes here can also be cooked indoors in a broiler, if a barbecue is not available. All they need to accompany them is a sald and some good bread.

 

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