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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Some Interesting New Cookbooks


3. DUTCH OVEN BAKING (Gibbs-Smith, 2013; distr. Raincoast, 128 pages,
ISBN 978-1-4236-2562-9, $15.99 US spiral bound) is by Bruce Tracy, a
2004 winner of the World Championship Cook-offs held by the
International Dutch Oven Society. He has been cooking and competing in
such events for over 20 years. His Dutch Oven is meant to be on
a bed of coals; thus, for every recipe, he lists how many hot coals
will be needed. This may limit its usage in many places. For example,
the pita bread requires 36 or so hot coals, including 12 under the oven
and 24 on the top. In general, each coal will raise the temperature
about 20 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a basic baking book, with
adaptations for banana upside-down cake, Kaiser rolls, muffin apple
cake, bacon cheese onion rolls, and similar baked goodies. Gibbs Smith
produced a similar book, DUTCH OVEN COOKING, in 2011 which concentrated
on apps and main dishes. This one is all about baked goods.
Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements,
but there is a table of metric equivalents. The basic arrangement is by
Type: crusts, crisps, tarts, pies, cakes, cobblers, quick breads and
rolls. It all appears to be finger-lickin' good and authentic.
Audience and level of use: Dutch oven users
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: about 60 recipes, including
the above and apple walnut crisp, Hawaiian tart, chocolate zucchini
cake with banana chutney, and sausage with cheese and onion loaf.
Quality/Price Rating: 85.

nutrition & lifestyle (Robert Rose, 2013, 384 pages, ISBN 978-0-7788-
0452-9, $24.95 CAN and US paper covers) is by Johanna Burkhard, a food
writer and PR consultant for the culinary, wine and tourism sector, and
by Barbara Allan, an RD and a Certified Diabetes Educator. It has been
published in cooperation with the Canadian Diabetes Association. It's
actually a useful book for the pre-diabetic stage, where blood glucose
is elevated but not high enough to be considered diabetes -- yet -–
that is, by the medical profession which managed to lower the
hypertension levels a decade ago and created HBP scares in North
America. A change in lifestyle is needed to ensure pre-diabetes does
not become the real thing. That is an absolute given. The authors
provide a strategy of ten steps, including nutritious diets, exercise,
and stress management. The 150 preps here, designed to manage pre-
diabetic conditions, blood pressure and cholesterol, are extremely
useful when displayed in a 28-day menu program. You don't need to give
up red meats: just use moderation and eliminate meat fats. There are
bibliographic references, appendices with forms for recording diet
information, a resources list, and more. A nice modestly priced book
for the curious. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both
avoirdupois and metric measurements, but there is no table of
equivalents. Quality/Price Rating: 89.

5. HEALING FATTY LIVER DISEASE; a complete health & diet guide
including 100 recipes (Robert Rose, 2013, 285 pages, ISBN 978-0-7788-
0437-6, $24.95 US and CAN soft covers) is by Dr. Maitreyi Raman, a
gastroenterologist, and by Angela Sirounis, RD and Jennifer Shrubsole,
both RDs at Foothills Medical Centre. There different kinds of fatty
liver: one is caused by moderate alcohol (and can be cured by simply
stop drinking), there is NASH (nonalcoholic steatohepatisis, which can
lead to permanent damage), and there is cirrhosis (mostly from
excessive alcohol drinking). About 20 per cent of adults have fatty
livers, and many children do too. The most common causes of fatty liver
disease are obesity and diabetes mellitus. This is a lifestyle
management book, with guidance for exercise, weight loss, and dietary
fats in the first half. The 100 recipes are in the second half, and of
course it is all sensible food such as local veggie scrambled eggs,
tandoori haddock, Thai turkey stir fry, mango mousse, orange-cranberry
flax muffins, sweet and sour pork, and eggplant lasagna – many with
variations. It's not meatless, and there is plenty of choice. The key
apparently is high fibre, healthy fats and Vitamin D. Preparations have
their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements,
but there is no table of equivalents. Quality/Price Rating: 89.
6. THE VEGETARIAN PANTRY; fresh and modern recipes for meals without
meat (Ryland Peters and Small, 2013, 144 pages, ISBN 978-1-84975-344-9,
$24.95 US hard covers) is by Chloe Coker and Jane Montgomery. Both had
professional careers and then moved on to Leiths School of Food and
Wine for cheffing classes. Here they detail the use of seasonal veggies
with a pantry for condiments and the like. The whole range is here:
breakfast, brunch, small bites, dips, salsas, sauces, salads, soups,
mains and sweets. It has a slightly British orientation, in spelling
and words, but that's not a problem. A solid introduction: potato and
celeriac rosti with spinach and mushrooms and a poached egg; saffron
and pepper frittata with roasted garlic aioli; lemon and mushroom
risotto balls; roasted vegetable salad with grilled halloumi, arugula
and basil oil. About 65 recipes. Preparations have their ingredients
listed in metric weight and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no
table of metric equivalents. Quality/Price rating: 85.

7. THE VEGAN BAKER; more than 50 delicious recipes for vegan-friendly
cakes, cookies, bars and other baked treats (Ryland Peters and Small,
2013, 144 pages, ISBN 978-1-84975-351-7, $24.95 US hard covers) is by
Dunja Gulin, a cooking teacher and chef in Zagreb, who has also written
"Raw Food Kitchen" for the same publisher. She shows how to bake
without eggs, butter and milk (and without refined sugar too). Just
about every ingredient can be purchased now at larger supermarkets.
Chapters cover cakes and muffins, slices and bars, cookies and
biscuits, pies and tarts, breads and savoury baking. Special treats
include baked pancakes, pockets with sweet fillings, sugar-free Italian
Easter buns, crescent rolls, and plum dumplings. Preparations have
their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements,
but there is no table of equivalents. And there is the bonus of the
usual great RPS photography. Quality/Price Rating: 86.

8. PINOT ENVY; murder, mayhem, and mystery in Napa (Bancroft Press,
2013, 208 pages, ISBN 978-1-61088-089-3 $21.95 US hardbound) is by
Edward Finstein, my long-time colleague in the Wine Writers' Circle of
Canada. He's at where he dispenses wine knowledge.
Here, in his first novel, he is applying some of that skill in tracking
down, by investigatory work, rare artifacts in the wine business
through his op, Woody Robins, who practices in the Napa. In the plot,
Woody's been hired by a wealthy collector to track down a stolen
double-magnum red Burgundy that once belonged to Napoleon. He works
with a girlfriend and his Aunt Sadie, as well as a friend within the
'Frisco police department. There are the usual scandals and murders
along the way. It is well-plotted and moves from page-to-page. It
should certainly appeal to those mysteries' fans who are tired of twee
mysteries dealing with cooking subplots: here's a hard-driven, hard-
bitten story in the roman noir style, so much so, that it should
actually be called PINOT NOIR (but I guess that name has already been
taken). Quality/Price Rating: 87.

9. VEGETABLE OF THE DAY; 365 recipes for every day of the year (Weldon
Owen, 2012; distr. Simon & Schuster, 304 pages, ISBN 978-1-61628-495-1,
$34.95 US hard covers) is by Kate Macmillan, who runs a catering
company and teaches at Tante Marie's in San Francisco. She has also
authored a similar book on 365 days of soups for W-S. It is one of the
Williams-Sonoma cookbook series, so it would be prominently featured in
its stores. There's a veggie recipe for each day of the year, with lots
of plated photos. Arrangement is by month, and then by day, with a
calendar. Of course, you don't have to follow the dates. But it is a
chance to view seasonal foods and to choose for a weeknight supper or a
weekend dinner party. There are notes regarding leftovers, ingredient
substitutions, and garnishes. Other variations include type of crockery
use, upscaling or downscaling the dish, and types of herbs.
Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and
avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents. Not
completely meat-free since pancetta is called for in at least one
recipe. There are two indexes: one by alphabetical name of ingredient,
the other by type (Asian-style dishes, egg dishes, grain-based,
gratins, grilled, pickles, salads, stews, stir-fries, etc.)
Audience and level of use: vegetarians and those looking for new ideas.
Some interesting or unusual recipes: as I write this review, I should
be consuming (May 14) roasted broccolini with garlic and lemon, spring
veggie tart (May 15), or Sauteed fresh peas with shredded romaine. On
Friday, I get fava beans with pecorino.
The downside to this book: the actual listing of a recipe per a certain
day may seem a bit to confining to some. At least one prep uses meat.
The upside to this book: it encourages SLOFE principles (seasonal,
local, organic, fast, and easy).
Quality/Price Rating: 87. 

10. SMOKE & SPICE; recipes for seasonings, rubs, marinades, brines,
glazes & butters (Ryland, Peters & Small, 2013, 144 pages, ISBN 978-1-
84975-350-0, $24.95 US hard covers) is by Valerie Aikman-Smith, a food
stylist (film, TV, books) and writer (magazines, books). The 90 preps
here emphasize the flavours to be added to the BBQ grill. For example,
for pork, try the smoky chili BBQ sauce or the bourbon glazed pork
chops or the szechuan rub (also the Cajun crispy pork belly). Pork also
needs an apple cider brine. Moving to lamb, there's lavender salt
crusted leg of lamb, mint and lemon kebabs, pomegranate rack of lamb
with harissa sauce, or date lamb tagine. Preparations have their
ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but
there is no table of equivalents. The book is completed by a list of
online resources and some sharp photography.
Audience and level of use: the adventuresome BBQ fancier.
Some interesting or unusual recipes: in addition to the above, try
cherry-glazed duck skewers, Jamaican jerk chicken, spiced red snapper,
caramelized beet tatin with marinated goat cheese, or matahambre beef
The downside to this book: I wanted more, especially in veggies and
The upside to this book: good idea for a book.
Quality/Price Rating: 89.

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