3.HOMEBREWING (Alpha Books, 2015, 290 pages, ISBN 978-1-61564-8-290, $19.95 US soft covers) is a good basic entry level book for covering the homemade aspects of combining malt, hops, yeast and water. Daniel Ironside, the author, is a blogger at theapthomebrewer.com, specializing in small batches and limited spaces. The brewing process is explored, as well as adjuncts of fruit, sugar and spices. Basic equipment and sanitation are covered, as well as accuracy of notes. He's got 60 recipes for ales, stouts, porters, lagers, pilsners, IPAs, bocks, etc. As one of the Idiot's Guides, it lays bare all the essential details that you will need to produce a beer worth drinking. This is a good read.
Audience and level of use: beginners
The downside to this book: there's now a lot of competition in homebrew books.
The upside to this book: there's a list of print resources and an even bigger list of blog resources. The web is very useful here since it allows constant Q and As.
Quality/Price Rating: 86.
4.150 BEST SPIRALIZER RECIPES (Robert Rose, 2015, 224 pages, ISBN 978-0-7788-0522-9, $19.95 US paper covers) is by Marilyn Haugen, who had previously written (under a pseudonym) 150 Best Breakfast Sandwich Maker Recipes. Spiralizers began life as another thing to do with potatoes: turn them into spirals. Now, there are machines that can create noodle-like spirals out of all those fleshy veggies such as roots (beets, carrots, radishes, jicama, celeriac, potatoes and sweet potatoes, etc.), squash and zucchini (about 40 of the preps here), plus apples and pears. Veggie noodles can replace the carbs and calories of wheat pasta. You don't need to make a whole meal out of them: they can be used for stir-fries, soups, salads, sides, garnishes, and apps. Separate chapters deal with gluten-free recipes, paleo recipes, vegetarian/vegan recipes, and raw food recipes. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents. The index, though, in order to be accommodated has very teeny tiny typeface, which is a shame. [You could also forgo all of this and just buy spaghetti squash].
Audience and level of use: very useful to anyone with a spiralizer, or even contemplating buying one.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: twisted Thai salad with peanut lime dressing; sweet potato pizza; parsnip spaghetti with pesto sauce; spiralized fruit tarts; shrimp and squash vermicelli soup.
The downside to this book: it would have been nice to have had an illustration or product name for a spiralizer. They do come in different shapes and price ranges.
The upside to this book: a good equipment cookbook, revamping old fave recipes.
Quality/Price Rating: 88.
5.VEGETARIAN COMFORT FOODS (Skyhorse Publishing, 2015, 199 pages, ISBN 978-1-63220-332-8, $17.99 US hard covers) is by Jennifer Browne of Vancouver, who has a certificate in plant-based nutrition. In 2001 she was diagnosed with IBS but has been symptom-free since the fall of 2010 with her adoption of a plant-based diet. Previously, she had authored HAPPY HEALTHY GUT. Her 75 recipes in this current book are preceded by chapters on tools, pantries, and cleansing. Her sections include juicing, smoothies, sauces, breakfasts, nibbles, sides, salads, mains, and desserts. And she has 4 weeks worth of menus with recipes and page references. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Everything here is vegetarian and she has references to "vegan" and "gluten-free" in the recipe headers.
Audience and level of use: vegetarians, vegans, IBS sufferers.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: blonde muesli; Denver "eggs"; guacamole; figgy fruit parfait; crispy chocolate peanut butter bars; poached pears; cabbage roll casserole.
The downside to this book: "breakfast quinoa with honey and bananas" is mislabeled. Also, the recipe index is by recipe name only, and not by ingredient.
The upside to this book: good scholarly introduction complete with endnotes for documentation.
Quality/Price Rating: 85.
6.TRUE TO YOUR ROOTS (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2015, 231 pages, ISBN 978-1-55152-598-4, $26.95 CAN paper covers) is by Carla Kelly, author of three previous books (her latest was VEGAN AL FRESCO). Her preps concern roots, tubers, and rhizomes in lighter vegan versions of traditional soups and stews. As well she has juices, salads and desserts. She also has a lot of info about some of the less popular items such as kohlrabi, yuca, celeriac, and sun chokes. Then she has some new ways with parsnips, carrots, turnips, beets and potatoes. Many have a "root to tip" approach, using edible greens and the peels in the preps. She's got indications of which recipes are gluten-free, contain nuts, and/or are raw. The 150 preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements mixed, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: vegetarians and vegans.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: Christmas cheesecake; ground beet tacos; kalecannon and avocado; spinach-parsley and parsnip soup; golden borscht; roasted reds and whites and greens.
Quality/Price Rating: 87.
7.GLUTEN-FREE GIRL AMERICAN CLASSICS REINVENTED (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015, 320 pages, ISBN 978-0-544-21988-5, $29.99 US hard covers) is by Shauna James Ahern, who is a Beard Award winner (GLUTEN-FREE GIRL EVERY DAY) and also runs glutenfreegirl.com) and Daniel Ahern, her professional chef husband. These are all the tried and true comfort foods of the homeland, adapted to the gluten-free lifestyle. Indeed, fried foods and desserts cover about a third of this book, with another third being devoted to sandwiches, breads and breakfasts. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements mixed, but there is no table of metric equivalents. The breads and the flour mixes are all weighed out in grams.
Audience and level of use: those who cannot eat gluten.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting; fried green tomatoes; blackberry meringue pie; coconut cream cake; Texas sheet cake; shrimp and grits cakes.
Quality/Price Rating: 87.
8.DECOLONIZE YOUR DIET (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2015, 255 pages, ISBN 978-1-55152-592-1, $26.95 CAN paper covers) is by Luz Calvo and Catriona Rueda Esquibel, both academics in the San Francisco Bay area. They promote the health benefits of indigenous Mexican-American cooking, and thus this book supports Mesoamerican sustainable cuisine. Everything here is plant-based (replacing prepared foods), covering a wide range of courses from apps through soups, mains, corn dishes, beans, salsas, and sweets. The work concludes with beverages and breakfasts. Native ingredients and heritage crops are emphasized. The 120 preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: vegetarians.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: red pozole with medicinal mushrooms; amaranth corn tortillas; kabocha squash in pipian verde; chayote salad; scrambled egg and nopalito tacos; New Mexico green chile stew.
The downside to this book: the title was a little puzzling. At first I thought it had to do with clearing out the gut (colon). But then it hit me: it actually meant pre-Columbian food, as in "indigenous diet of over 500 years ago".
The upside to this book: there are 14 menu ideas for such as brunches, celebrations, parties, and meals of the day.
Quality/Price Rating: 87.