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Saturday, January 26, 2013

New Useful Food and wine books

POWER ENTERTAINING (John Wiley & Sons, 2012, 220 pages, ISBN 978-1-
26902-2, $21.95 US hard covers) is by Eddie Osterland, MS, America's
first Master Sommelier (1973). He has worked at top places in France,
and for the past 25 years, he has been conducting workshops on "power
entertaining" for corporate global businesses. The subtitle to this
book says it all: "secrets to building lasting relationships, hosting
unforgettable events, and closing big deals from America's 1st Master
Sommelier".  With log rolling from a few wine experts, corporate
biggies, and authors of other "success" books, Osterland presents some
breezy and chatty but informative information on how to succeed in
business with wine knowledge. Chapter 3 is the kernel: top twenty
secrets of successful power entertaining. I'm not going to divulge them
all, but I'll relate two: top tip is to think of entertaining as a
business development strategy; another is to open the event with
champagne. Most of the book is about finding choosing and serving wines
in a variety of strategies, with expert pairing of food with wine.
There is also some good material on tasting wine like a sommelier.
There's a concluding chapter on power entertaining at home, to impress
family and friends and even close business associates ("you live like
this all the time?"). There are a few appendices, such as one on the
major grape varieties commonly found on restaurant wine lists, with
pronunciation (but no viognier is listed). He also has some blank
tasting note sheets which can be downloaded from his website.
Apparently, there is also a collaborator, communications consultant
Richard Koonce, who is acknowledged at the very end of the
acknowledgements and has a separate page at the back of the book. It is
an interesting book, but it might also have been better suited for the
Dummies series, which Wiley also publishes and which also has business
oriented materials.
Audience and level of use: businessmen wishing to make an impression
with their social wine and food skills.
Some interesting or unusual facts: Caesar salad is too common to serve
with power entertaining; avoid boilerplate menus; offer a smashing,
unforgettable first course or appetizer.
The downside to this book: many wine and food matches, and most of the
tasting notes can be found in other wine books.
The upside to this book: a good assemblage for the busy executive who
wants a no-nonsense approach.
Quality/Price Rating: 85.

4. THE GLUTEN-FREE TABLE; the Lagasse girls share their favorite meals
(Grand Central Life & Style, 2012, 230 pages, ISBN 978-1-4555-1688-
9,$25.99 US hard covers) is by Jilly Lagasse and Jessie Lagasse
Swanson, siblings and daughters of Emeril Lagasse. In 2004 Jilly was
diagnosed with celiac disease. Jessie, at some point, needed to follow
a gluten-free diet. Both of course have been food-inspired by their
upbringing, so it seemed to be a no-brainer that a gluten-free cookbook
was in the shaping. They have taken their fave preps from childhood and
family and redeveloped them into tasty, celiac-friendly alternatives.
There's about 100 recipes, of family favourites, Southern classics, and
ten original preps from Emeril himself. It's all arranged by course,
from apps to sweets.  Preparations have their ingredients listed in
avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
There's a concluding list of resources and website.
Audience and level of use: those seeking gluten-free recipes.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: cornbread and Andouille
stuffed pork chops; baked halibut with creole tomato and Vidalia onion
vinaigrette; cheesy shrimp and crab grits; mini goat cheese and fig
The downside to this book:  it could use a few more recipes
The upside to this book:  some great Southern foods redefined.
Quality/Price Rating: 89.
pages, ISBN 978-1-77050-097-6, $29.95 US,  soft covers) is from the
Ontario Home Economics Association, and has been edited by Marilyn
Smith, a professional home economist who has appeared on TV and has
authored many other cookbooks. Here, she's got the definitive quinoa
book for vegetarians (most of the preps are vegan friendly as well). It
comes with some heavy duty log rolling from Cronish, Lindsay, and
DeMontis, all cookbook authors and speakers on food. Quinoa is a
complete food product, with all the essential amino acids and proteins
needed for a diet. It is now the most popular superfood around, with
about a dozen cookbooks published or announced. Here are 120 vegetarian
recipes, all less that 500 calories. There are details on what makes
quinoa so good and easy to prepare. Recipes have icons to indicate
which recipes are completely gluten-free, or use a microwave, slow
cooker or bread machine. There are sections from apps to desserts, plus
baked goodies, breads, and breakfasts. The mains cover stir-fries,
stews, Mediterranean tones, and egg dishes. Each prep has nutritional
information listed. About 58 identified members of the OHEA contributed
preps. At the end there is a list of online resources. Preparations
have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois
measurements, but there is no separate table of equivalents.
Audience and level of use: those who enjoy quinoa or would like to
start eating it.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: power granola; gluten-free
ancient grains bread; quinoa and edamame salad with Asian flavours;
Moroccan vegetable stew; savoury and sweet pilaf; orange-scented quinoa
with blueberries.
Quality/Price Rating: 89.

6. BEER, FOOD, AND FLAVOR; a guide to tasting, pairing, and the culture
of craft beer (Skyhorse Publishing,2012, 290 pages, ISBN 978-1-61608-
679-4, $19.95 US hard covers) is by Schuyler Schulz, a chef and
sommelier who also specializes in craft beers. He has a strong chapter
on tasting beer, followed by another on pairing beer with fine food and
creating menus. There's a 20 page chapter on matching beer with cheese.
This is followed by his choices for the best craft brewers in America
(all US) and details about the beer "community", such as RateBeer and
BeerAdvocate. There's also a nice bibliography and glossary.
Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements,
but there is a table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: American beer lovers.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: English toffee pudding cake
made with beer; braised Niman Ranch pork shoulder; spiced cashews; and
a recipe for Russian Imperial Stout homebrew.
The downside to this book: it is American in its coverage of brewers.
The upside to this book: great reproductions of labels.
Quality/Price Rating: 86.
7. THE EVERYDAY WOK COOK BOOK; simple and satisfying recipes for the
most versatile pan in your kitchen (Sasquatch Books, 2012; distr.
Random House, 145 pages, $21.95 US paper covers) is by Lorna Yee, a
food writer and presenter in the Pacific Northwest, and co-author of
The Newlywed Kitchen. Here she advises that the wok is the only pan
you'll really need in the kitchen. To most Orientals, that is a given,
standard basic fact. One can braise, steam, stew, deep-fry, and smoke
with woks. And a good wok gets better with usage and seasoning. There
are about 55 preps here, devoted to American comfort food and some
classic Asian dishes as well. The arrangement is by course, with
breakfast and brunch upfront, followed by mains, sides and desserts.
The list of ingredients is in bold faced caps, which I like.
Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements,
but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: non-Asiatic wok owners
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: chicken-fried steak with pan
gravy; red sauce spaghetti with bison meatballs; tailgate chili;
chorizo, harissa, and potato hash; chicken sausage and goat cheese
scramble; Asian-style BBQ pork scramble with coriander.
The downside to this book: only55 preps – I'd like a few more.
The upside to this book: a single purpose kitchen equipment book to
show the versatility of the wok.
Quality/Price Rating: 87.

8. THE DIABETES-FRIENDLY KITCHEN; 125 recipes for creating healthy
meals (John Wiley & Sons, 2012, 226 pages, ISBN 978-0-470-58778-2,
$29.99 US hard covers) is by Jennifer Stack, a chef that is a certified
Diabetes Educator and RD. She's a professor at the Culinary Institute
of America, teaching nutrition and food safety. She also writes for
magazines and appears on TV. It's a CIA book, with a primer on a
diabetic kitchen, glossary, bibliography, and nutritional
information/data for each recipe. Arrangement of the food is by course:
apps, soups, mains, sides and salads, desserts. She says: "This is not
another diabetic cookbook. It is a book with recipes and cooking tips
to improve your blood glucose control and reduce your risk for heart
disease while still honoring your love for food".
Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements,
but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: mostly pre-diabetic eaters.
Some interesting or unusual facts: diabetes-friendly meals provide a
consistent and controlled amount of calories and carbohydrates. Flavour
enhancement by searing, reducing, infusing and marinating provides the
maximum amount of flavour from the food.
The downside to this book: I think the preps really need metric
measurements or at least tables of conversion – for use in the rest of
the world.
The upside to this book: it is good that the CIA has weighed in on this
Quality/Price Rating: 88.

9. PIES, GLORIOUS PIES; brilliant recipes for mouth-wateringly tasty
pies (Ryland, Peters & Small, 2012; distr. T. Allen, 143 pages, ISBN
978-1-84975-261-9, $24.95 US hard covers) is by Maxine Clark, prolific
cookbook author for this publisher. The British love their pies, and
Clark, who lives in Scotland, details a useful primer on how to
construct different pie dough and roll them out. She gives us separate
chapters based on purpose: there are everyday pies, posh pies, portable
pies, and sweet pies. Preparations have their ingredients listed in
both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no separate
table of equivalents.
Audience and level of use: pie lovers and novice cooks.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: steak and kidney pie; lamb
shank shepherd's pie; ham and apple pie; simple sausage lattice slice;
ricotta and green herb torta; pasta, parmesan, and cherry tomato pies;
golden fish pie.
The downside to this book: I suppose for balance there could have been
a few more sweet pies.
The upside to this book: there are more savoury pies than sweet pies
Quality/Price Rating: 89.

10. SKIRT STEAK; women chefs on standing the heat and staying in the
kitchen (Chronicle books, 2012, 320 pages, ISBN 978-1-4521-0709-7,
$24.95 US hard covers) is by Charlotte Bruckman, a food writer who has
appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and Bon
Appetit. Here she interviews and talks with 73 American women chefs
about life in the restaurant's kitchen. It is arranged in 12 chapters,
by theme, with many glosses and quotes from the chefs. Her first topic
is "what is a chef?", and from there moves on to what it takes,
education, the "man cave", owning a resto, awards, competition,
discrimination, glass ceiling, media, salary, sexual harassment, and
more. But nothing on wine knowledge (or sommeliers/food and beverage
managers), drugs or alcoholism – that I could find. No recipes, except
for how to succeed.
Audience and level of use: those who want to know about women chefs and
how hard it is to survive.
Some interesting or unusual facts: "The career opportunities available
to those interested in food-related exploits have opened up. This
translates to a wider client base for schools to tap."
The downside to this book: I'd like more space on food and beverage
managers, or sommeliers.
The upside to this book: a good issue to tackle.
Quality/Price Rating: 88.

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