Family, Love, and Vegetables

Vegan chef Edgar Castrejón nurtures the heart of his Mexican food traditions By Kristina Sepetys   Edgar Castrejón can count himself among a huge constellation of bloggers and media personalities who have parlayed popularity into a book contract. But while there’s no question that Castrejón’s posts @edgarraw are immensely popular, the pathway this 30-year-old followed…

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Reem Assil’s Arab Hospitality

  How this remarkable Oakland baker, restaurateur, and (now) author has grown her Bay Area community By Kristina Sepetys Reem Assil is committed to producing delicious food that honors her Palestinian-Syrian heritage as well as her Bay Area present. Fiercely passionate about promoting Arab hospitality, she brings equal focus to her pursuits in community building, social justice,…

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Frightful & Delightful

James Albon serves up the ultimate mushroom madness in The Delicacy Book review by Rachel Trachten   James Albon’s wickedly clever graphic novel, The Delicacy, tells the story of two brothers from Scotland whose dream of growing organic food and opening a restaurant in London spins into a tale of greed, selfishness, and ultimately, murder.…

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Our Daily Decisions on What to Eat

  Kristina Sepetys reviews We Are What We Eat: A Slow Food Manifesto by Alice Waters with Bob Carrau and Cristina Mueller Penguin Press, June 2021, Buy Local Link.   We are all part of nature’s cycles and rhythms, so slow food values are already inside every one of us. If we cook and eat and…

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A Harvest of Verse

Edible East Bay editor Cheryl Angelina Koehler reviews Too Many Seeds: Poems by Gabrielle Myers Finishing Line Press, release date December 3, 2021 I first got to know Gabrielle Myers in 2016 when she asked if we might like to review her just-published memoir, Hive-Mind. As a former chef in such notable East Bay establishments…

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‘A Dainty Feast of Almost Fairylike Perfection’

Anna Mindess reviews: At the Chinese Table by Carolyn Phillips WW Norton & Company, 2021, Buy Local Link Food and culture are inextricably intertwined. When the young Carolyn Phillips found herself in Taiwan, overwhelmed by the challenge of mastering Mandarin, it was food that provided the keys to learning and appreciating the language, history, and…

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A Winemaker Reflects

Laura Ness reviews: Lineage: Life and Love and Six Generations in California Wine by Steven Kent Mirassou Val de Grâce, release date September 7, 2021, Buy Local Link As a young man, Steven Kent Mirassou fancied himself a writer of novels. Despite his extensive family history of winemaking in California, Mirassou left his home in…

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Tomales Bay Feast

A book review by Kristina Sepetys   Table with a View: The History & Recipes of Nick’s Cove By Dena Grunt (Cameron Books, 2021) As businesses start to reopen and people tiptoe out for perhaps the first time in a year, many will take the occasion to discover (or rediscover) gems in their own backyard.…

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Comfort Food Essentials

 Kristina’s Bookshelf   This time of year, with lots of labor-intensive holiday meal preparation, I’m always happy to find collections of easy, satisfying meals that come together quickly and taste good even if I’m short an ingredient or don’t get the measurements quite right.   Sheet Pan Chicken: 50 Simple and Satisfying Ways to Cook…

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Foods for Winter Feasts

Kristina’s Bookshelf Here are three new cookbooks filled with hearty, satisfying recipes sure to transport you through the long, dark days of the winter holidays and beyond.   Cool Beans: The Ultimate Guide to Cooking with the World’s Most Versatile Plant-Based Protein, with 125 Recipes By Joe Yonan (Ten Speed Press, 2020) You may be…

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A Curious Baker Reinvents Traditional Favorites

Kristina’s Bookshelf Review by Kristina Sepetys   Fruit Cake: Recipes for the Curious Baker By Jason Schreiber (William Morrow Cookbooks, 2020)  “Fruit cake” conjures images of the alcohol-soaked, dried fruit and nut–studded firm loaves popular around the holidays. In perusing the 75 recipes in Jason Schreiber’s new cookbook, I found that it gives a big nod…

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Kristina’s Holiday Bookshelf 2020

Good Books by Local Authors for Reading and Giving By Kristina Sepetys J. Kenji López-Alt(photo: Aubrie Pick)   Every Night is Pizza Night by J. Kenji López-Alt, illustrated by Gianna Ruggiero Norton Young Readers, 2020 From Bay Area author and chef J. Kenji López-Alt and Oakland-based illustrator Gianna Ruggiero comes a charming children’s book about…

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From Olive Oil Sugar Cookies to Chocolate Basil Brownies

Purchase this book 100 Cookies: The Baking Book for Every Kitchen with Classic Cookies, Novel Treats, Brownies, Bars, and More By Sarah Kieffer (Chronicle Books, 2020) Celebrate the start of a new school year or add some cheer to family game night or a Zoom celebration by whipping up a delicious batch of sweet treats! A…

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Sweeten or Sour Up Your Meals

Learn to make a variety of easy Asian pickles. Asian Pickles at Home: 75 Easy Recipes for Quick, Fermented, and Canned Pickles Paperback by Patricia Tanumihardja (Rockridge Press, Copyright © 2020 by Callisto Media) Pickles—quick, fermented, canned, fruity Indian chutneys or fiery chile-garlic pastes—are a staple with meals in many Asian cultures, and they’re always a welcome…

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Soothe with Food

Kristina’s Bookshelf   Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering Volume 2 by Joanna Gaines and Marah Stets (William Morrow Cookbooks, 2020)   For now, cooking for gatherings means preparing meals for families or other groups with whom we’re sheltering in place. Judging from sales data showing U.S. sales of cheese, eggs, milk all…

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04:25:2020 04:00pm Tea-Time Reading

  Kristina’s Bookshelf   The Earth in Her Hands: 75 Extraordinary Women Working in the World of Plants By Jennifer Jewell (Timber Press, 2020) In The Earth in Her Hands, Jennifer Jewell—host of public radio’s award-winning program and podcast Cultivating Place—profiles 75 women working in botany, floral design, landscape architecture, farming, herbalism, and food justice. Among…

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Improvise in Your Kitchen

Kristina’s Bookshelf   Start Simple: Eleven Everyday Ingredients for Countless Weeknight Meals By Lukas Volger Harper Wave, 2020   Finding a recipe, making a list of ingredients, then shopping for them doesn’t make a lot of sense right now when many people are trying to shelter in place. In his new vegetarian cookbook, Lukas Volger…

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Discover the Magic in Canned Foods

Kristina’s Bookshelf Tin Can Magic: Simple, Delicious Recipes Using Pantry Staples By Jessica Elliott Dennison (Hardie Grant Books, 2020) If the empty shelves and lines at local food markets are any indication, many of you have cupboards full to bursting with canned foods. If you’re wondering what to do with all those tins of beans,…

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Plant-Based Dishes from Sri Lanka and Beyond

Kristina’s Bookshelf    Lands of the Curry Leaf: A vegetarian food journey from Sri Lanka to Nepal  By Peter Kuruvita  (Murdoch Books, 2019)  Despite the name, curry leaves taste nothing like those distinct-smelling, yellow-orange blends of turmeric, coriander, cumin, ginger, cardamom, chili peppers, and other spices we keep in our cupboards. The glossy green, resinous curry leaf…

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A Sweet Oasis

Kristina’s Bookshelf Kawaii Sweet World By Rachel Fong (Potter, 2019) Here’s a whole cookbook of perfectly sweet Valentine’s Day baking projects to entertain kids—and even some adults! YouTube phenom, blogger, Stanford University senior, and self-taught baker Rachel Fong began creating charming confections at her home in Piedmont before she was in middle school. Kawaii means…

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Staying Sweet with Less Sugar

Kristina’s Bookshelf   Half the Sugar, All the Love: 100 Easy, Low-Sugar Recipes for Every Meal of the Day By Jennifer Tyler Lee and Anisha Patel (Workman, 2019)   Looking to make something sticky, sweet, gooey, and yummy for your family for Valentine’s Day? Oh, and also trying to cut back on sugar and other…

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Vegan Curious?

Kristina’s Bookshelf 7 Day Vegan Challenge: Featuring Over 70 Tasty Recipes and Menu Plans By Bettina Campolucci Bordi (Hardie Grant Books, 2020) Maybe your new year’s resolutions include eating less meat or even going fully vegan. If you’re in the latter camp, The 7 Day Vegan Challenge cookbook is a great way to try a…

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Sweeten Up with Date Syrup

Kristina’s Bookshelf The California Date Cookbook A Collaboration Between Just Date Syrup and Rancho Meladuco Date Farm, 2019 Maybe you’ve noticed the squeeze bottles of Just Date Syrup alongside the sugar and cream at coffee and tea shops around town? The chocolate-brown liquid tastes just as you might imagine: all warm with dark sugar and…

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Baking that Suits Your Schedule

  Weeknight Baking: Recipes to Fit Your Schedule by Michelle Lopez (Simon and Schuster, 2019) As holiday obligations come in fast and furious, most people feel there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done. Thanks to a new book by Michelle Lopez, we have some much-needed assistance in the baking department.…

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A Joyful Revival

  The Joy of Cooking: The Trusted Kitchen Classic for a New Generation of Joy By Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, Ethan Becker, John Becker, and Megan Scott (Simon & Schuster, 2019)   Review by Cheryl Angelina Koehler For generations of home cooks, Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker’s Joy of Cooking has…

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Seasonal Recipes for Your Pantry and Table

Book Review Stone Edge Farm Kitchen Larder Cookbook: Seasonal Recipes for Pantry and Table By John McReynolds, Fiorella Butron, and Mike Emanuel Photographed by © Leslie Sophia Lindell Rizzoli (2019) This splendid cookbook will be treasured by any cook who respects the gifts that nature—by way of the gardener—offers for our table. Arranged by the…

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Book Signing and a Holiday Fair at Rockridge Market Hall

  Book Signing, Conversation, and Tasting with Catherine Fallis, author of Ten Grapes to Know: The Ten & Done Wine Guide Saturday December 7, 2–4pm Paul Marcus Wines, Rockridge Market Hall 5655 College Ave, Oakland   Want to boost your wine savvy? As part of the Rockridge Market Hall Holiday Fair, Paul Marcus Wines welcomes…

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Treats to Please Every Palate

Purchase this book Book review by Kristina Sepetys Sweet Vegan Treats: 90 Recipes for Cookies, Brownies, Cakes, and Tarts By Hannah Kaminsky Skyhorse, 2019 If the words “vegan desserts” make you think of hard-to-prepare, overly sweet recipes, Hannah Kaminsky’s new cookbook with 90 recipes for plant-based confections may change your mind. Desserts like the Chocolate…

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It’s One Cute, Sweet World

Rachel Fong’s Kawaii Sweet World success starts in a Piedmont Kitchen Interview by Kristina Sepetys Purchase this book Rachel Fong, a junior at Stanford University who grew up in Piedmont, loves all things kawaii (the Japanese word for cute). She’s high energy and as prone to smile as the winsome confections she cooks up on…

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Living Up to its Fiery Name: A Legal Suspense Story

Kristina’s Bookshelf Fire Cider! 101 Zesty Recipes for Health-Boosting Remedies Made with Apple Cider Vinegar by Rosemary Gladstar and friends (Storey Publishing, 2019)  Mixtures combining vinegar with sweet and spicy additions have long been used to aid digestion, boost immunity, and treat a variety of ailments, including leg cramps. In the late 1970s, Rosemary Gladstar,…

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A Baker’s Extraordinary Tale

Kristina’s Bookshelf   Poilâne: The Secrets of the World-Famous Bread Bakery By Apollonia Poilâne (Houghton Mifflin, 2019) As the seasons change, so too do the fresh foods filling market bins. Fall brings a dozen different kinds of apples; bright orange persimmons; corrugated, thick-skinned delicata squash; and the new, unfiltered olive oil called olio nuovo, which…

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Big Book Weekend at Rockridge Market Hall

November 2: Pastry chef, author and Tartine Bakery co-founder Elisabeth Prueitt signs copies of Tartine: A Classic Revisited. The book has been updated and expanded with 67 new recipes, including the most-requested recipe in Tartine history: the Tartine Morning Bun. Have your books signed and enjoy tastings of Cranberry Upside-Down Cake and Gougères (choux pastries…

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Autumn in the Orchard

Kristina’s Bookshelf   Apple: Recipes from the Orchard By James Rich (Hardie Grant Books, 2019) It’s that time of year when shiny red, yellow, and green apples turn up at markets all over town. Author James Rich has written a perfect and perfectly timely cookbook filled with 90 of his best-loved recipes for cooking with…

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Strozzapreti or Rotini?

Don’t miss the chance to enjoy pasta with Allison Arevalo, former owner of Oakland’s Homeroom, and the creator of Pasta Friday, a meal she put on 52 times for a large group of friends and family. Allison’s new book, The Pasta Friday Cookbook, offers pasta and salad recipes for each week of the year along…

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Marvelous Meals, Every Day

Kristina’s Book shelf   No Crumbs Left: Recipes for Everyday Food Made Marvelous by Teri Turner (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019) In No Crumbs Left, food and lifestyle blogger Teri Turner shares dozens of easy-to-prepare meat and seafood-focused recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner that are mostly low-carb and gluten-free. I used ingredients from Monterey Market…

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Sweets Inspired by the Flavors of India

Kristina’s Bookshelf     Milk & Cardamom: Spectacular Cakes, Custards and More, Inspired by the Flavors of India By Hetal Vasavada (Page Street, 2019)   San Francisco blogger Hetal Vasavada’s wonderfully inventive new cookbook is chock-full of spiced sweets and drinks. The recipes are inspired by her Indian-American heritage, and she creatively combines the best…

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Fostering Dreams in the Kitchen

La Cocina helps immigrants and low-income cooks create food businesses Book review by Kristina Sepetys   We Are La Cocina: Recipes in Pursuit of the American Dream By Caleb Zigas, Leticia Landa, with a foreword by Isabel Allende, photography by Eric Wolfinger, and contributions by Yewande Komolafe; Chronicle Books, 2019 Lamees Dahbour, an immigrant from…

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Noodle Like a Pro

Louis Kao and Other East Bay Chefs Show How to Stir the Pot East Bay Cooks: Signature Recipes from the Best Restaurants, Bars, and Bakeries By Carolyn Jung Figure 1 Publishing, September 2019 Wondering what East Bay chefs and food entrepreneurs are up to? Here’s a helpful guide along with a nice collection of dishes…

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Simple Dishes Packed with Flavor

Kristina’s Bookshelf     Ottolenghi Simple By Yotam Ottolenghi (Ten Speed Press, 2019) Israeli-born London chef Yotam Ottolenghi and his flavorful, herb-intensive Middle Eastern dishes need no introduction. The author of more than half a dozen cookbooks, Ottolenghi is well-known and much loved for his restaurants and cooking style. His latest cookbook includes 130 recipes…

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Waste Not!

Kristina’s Bookshelf   The Zero Waste Cookbook: 100 Recipes for Cooking Without Waste By Giovanna Torrico and Amelia Wasiliev (Hardie Grant, 2019)   According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 30 to 40 percent of the United States food supply gets wasted: a sobering statistic, considering the cost of food production and consumption and the…

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From Love Potions to PMS-Busting Brownies

Kristina’s Bookshelf     Well + Good: 100 Healthy Recipes + Expert Advice for Better Living By Alexia Brue and Melisse Gelula (Clarkson Potter, 2019)   A new cookbook by authors of the popular Well+Good website invites readers to try 100 recipes contributed by wellness advocates from various professions. Each entry is labeled with eating…

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Greatest Hits from the Queen of Cake

Kristina’s Bookshelf   Happiness is Baking: Favorite Desserts from the Queen of Cake By Maida Heatter (Little Brown and Company, 2019) “Whenever someone tells me they want to start baking, I tell them to turn to Maida Heatter.” That advice comes from baking guru Dorie Greenspan, written in her forward to Heatter’s new all-things-sweet cookbook. At…

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Wine Country Table: a book review with excerpts

WINE. FOOD. LAND Connecting the Dots a book review and excerpts Wine Country Table: With Recipes that Celebrate California’s Sustainable Harvest By Janet Fletcher Photographs by Robert Holmes and Sara Remington in collaboration with Wine Institute Rizzoli Publications, Inc., 2019 Expecting out-of-state visitors this summer or looking to spark your own California wanderlust? Here’s a…

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Astonishing Flavors in a Cone

Kristina’s Bookshelf Salt & Straw: Ice Cream Cookbook By Tyler Malek and JJ Goode (Clarkson Potter, 2019) With flavors like Roasted Strawberry & Toasted White Chocolate, Buttered Mashed Potatoes & Gravy, Pear & Blue Cheese, and Caramel Corn on the Cob, the ice cream makers from Portland’s beloved Salt & Straw prove that it’s possible…

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Create Your Own Italian Table

Kristina’s Bookshelf   The Italian Table: Creating festive meals for family and friends by Elizabeth Minchilli (Rizzoli, 2019)   Author Elizabeth Minchilli divides her time between Rome and Umbria, blogs about eating in Rome, and manages a phone app called Eat Italy. She also organizes and leads local food tours in Italy.    The author of…

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Quick Meals Packed with Flavor

Kristina’s Bookshelf   Milk Street: Tuesday Nights By Christopher Kimball (Little, Brown and Company, 2018) In the Introduction to his first cookbook, Christopher Kimball, the man behind the much-loved cooking school, bimonthly magazine, and television and radio programs called Milk Street, says “flavor is built with ingredients, not time.” This promise of tasty, quick-to-cook meals…

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Explore Palestinian Food and Agriculture

Kristina’s Bookshelf Zaitoun: Recipes and Stories from the Palestinian Kitchen by Yasmin Khan (W.W. Norton, 2019) Yasmin Khan describes herself as an adventurous eater. She’s also a human rights activist whose work took her to Palestine, where she explored the food and agriculture of the region and visited the kitchens of Palestinian cooks. She describes…

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Learn to Prepare Vietnamese Dishes in Your Own Kitchen

Kristina’s Bookshelf   Vietnamese Food Any Day: Simple Recipes for True, Fresh Flavors Andrea Nguyen (Ten Speed Press, 2019)   Bay Area food writer and cookbook author Andrea Nguyen (Into the Vietnamese Kitchen, The Banh Mi Handbook, The Pho Cookbook, Asian Dumplings, and Asian Tofu) was born in Vietnam and came to the United States from Saigon as a…

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Vegan Holiday Cooking

Kristina’s Bookshelf   Christmas holidays are filled with delicious foods like cheeses, roast beasts, grilled fishes, and desserts rich with butter. In short, typically not a lot of vegan fare. Three new books are stuffed full of delightful, creative vegan dishes to keep you covered for both big festive meals and casual at-home cooking.  …

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Simple Goodness from Local Author Cal Peternell

Kristina’s Bookshelf Almonds, Anchovies, and Pancetta: A Vegetarian Cookbook, Kind Of by Cal Peternell (William Morrow, 2018)   Looking for a charming little gift book or ideas for simple meals during the holidays? The latest release by Chez Panisse chef and devoted home cook Cal Peternell has 60 recipes that rely on three ingredients: almonds,…

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Inspiration From the Farm

Kristina’s Bookshelf   Earth to Table Every Day: Cooking with Good Ingredients Through the Seasons By Jeff Crump and Bettina Schormann (Penguin Random House, 2018)   Quick Bite: Slow Food advocates and chefs share 140 basic, seasonal recipes for everyday cooking that rely on easily-available produce.   What Looks Good: Apple and Walnut Salad with Radicchio;…

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Seasonal Inspiration

Kristina’s Bookshelf Ciderhouse Cookbook: 127 Recipes That Celebrate the Sweet, Tart, Tangy Flavors of Apple Cider By Jonathan Carr, Nicole Blum and Andrea Blum (Storey Publishing, 2018) Inside: A family of cider makers shares 127 recipes for dishes that incorporate cider in creative ways. Pantry basics like cider syrup, molasses, quick pickles, and vinegar add flavor…

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Small Press, Big Pig, Clever Hen

In the world of book publishing, small presses can introduce and take chances on new authors. They can publish smaller runs of books that may not, at least at first, draw a large audience, as well as shorter books that experiment with form and offer content that might be viewed risky by larger publishing houses.…

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Explore the Flavors of the Islamic World

Feast: Food of the Islamic World by Anissa Helou (Ecco, 2018)   Anissa Helou has lived and traveled extensively throughout the Mediterranean region and the Middle East, and she has written several cookbooks on cuisine from the area. Her latest effort, more than 500 pages, is perhaps the most extensive yet. It features breads, rice…

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A Baking Master Teaches the Basics

  Rose’s Baking Basics: 100 Essential Recipes, with more than 600 Step-by-Step Photos by Rose Levy Beranbaum (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, September 2018) Anyone with a sweet tooth, take note! Rose Levy Beranbaum, who has been baking for nearly 40 years and teaching others along the way, has a new cookbook that’s an excellent everything-you-need-to-know baking…

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Enter a World of Saffron, Rose Petals, and Family Stories

  Bottom of the Pot: Persian Recipes and Stories By Naz Deravian (Flatiron Books, September 2018) In Bottom of the Pot, Naz Deravian, a Los Angeles-based writer and home cook, shares her world of saffron, rose petals, pistachios, dried limes, tamarind, memories, music, and poetry to introduce over 100 recipes. She describes the book as “a…

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A New Look at Soul Classics

  SOUL: A Chef’s Culinary Evolution in 150 Recipes By Todd Richards (Oxmoor House, May 2018) Soul, a terrific new cookbook by self-taught James Beard Award–nominated Chef Todd Richards, is great inspiration for making use of the colorful abundance of late summer and early fall produce in markets right now. Richards’ mantra is that chefs…

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Baking Inspiration from the Garden

Kristina’s Bookshelf Sticky Fingers, Green Thumb: Baked Sweets that Taste of Nature By Hayley McKee (Hardie Grant Books, 2018) I love earthy recipes that let you pick your ingredients directly from the garden. Flowers, herbs, and edible plants abound in Hayley McKee’s cookbook, looking like they were just brought in from the yard (as they probably…

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Wine Words

Digging Deep on Terroir Book review by Derrick Schneider Wine and Place: A Terroir Reader By Tim Patterson and John Buechsenstein UC Press, January 2018 People who have pursued fine wine are probably conversant in terroir, the French word that connects a food’s flavors to a place of origin, even if only to notice the…

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Stone Fruits and Family Farms

Kristina’s Bookshelf Earlier this summer, I joined my friend Victoria for her annual pilgrimage to Wolfe Ranch in Brentwood, where she goes for Blenheim apricots. Located 40 minutes from Berkeley down a winding country road and across a small bridge, this family-owned orchard sells apricots, cherries, peaches, plums, and other fruits. The sunny morning we visited the quiet, bucolic…

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Kristina’s Bookshelf

Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees by Thor Hanson (Basic Books, 2018) Bees provide honey, contribute to the beauty of flowers, and supply as much as a third of the foodstuffs we eat. But they’re also at risk of disappearing. This is the topic of concern that Dr. Thor Hanson, a Guggenheim Fellow, Switzer Environmental Fellow, and award-winning…

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Kids in the Kitchen

Kristina’s Bookshelf New Favorites for New Cooks: 50 Delicious Recipes for Kids to Make By Carolyn Federman (Ten Speed Press, 2018) A new cookbook by Berkeley native Carolyn Federman might provide just the support you need to get your children busy in the kitchen. Federman has had a long tenure in food education, consulting on…

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Bryant Terry

Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean & Southern Flavors Remixed by Bryant Terry (Ten Speed Press, 2014). The chef, food justice activist and author of Vegan Soul Kitchen and The Inspired Vegan reworks and remixes some favorite ingredients and classic dishes of the African Diaspora to present more than 100 delicious new recipes. Notes include Terry’s insights…

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Black Women, Food, and Publishing

Kristina’s Bookshelf Last December, chef and writer Tunde Wey published an essay in the San Francisco Chronicle titled “Black Women Are the Future of the Food Industry.” The piece generated a lot of conversation and inspired the upcoming event, “Black Women, Food, and Publishing.” Oakland resident and vegan chef/ author Bryant Terry will moderate a…

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A Big Pig and a Small Press

Kristina’s Bookshelf In the world of book publishing, small presses provide a valuable alternative to large corporate publishing houses. With less overhead, small presses can introduce and take chances on new authors and publish smaller runs on books that may not, at least at first, have a large audience or generate a lot of revenue.…

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Look Sharp

Kristina’s Bookshelf Sharp: The Definitive Guide to Knives, Knife Care, and Cutting Techniques, with Recipes from Great Chefs By Josh Donald (with Molly Gore), photography by Molly DeCoudreaux Chronicle Books, 2018 Experienced cooks will tell you that good knives are fundamental to good cooking, and that’s certainly a message at Bernal Cutlery, a much-loved shop in…

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Eating My Way Through Italy

Kristina’s Bookshelf Eating My Way Through Italy: Heading Off the Main Roads to Discover the Hidden Treasures of the Italian Table By Elizabeth Minchilli (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2018) Elizabeth Minchilli’s new book, Eating My Way Through Italy, brings to mind the best qualities of the Lonely Planet guidebooks, which many of us discovered in the mid…

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New World Peppers

Kristina’s Bookshelf Peppers of the Americas: The Remarkable Capsicums that Forever Changed Flavor By Maricel El Presilla (Ten Speed Press, 2017)  When I’m shopping at Mi Tierra Foods or Monterey Market, I’m always intrigued by the assortment of El Guapo and El Mexicano brands of dried, whole peppers in cellophane bags with green, red, and…

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San Francisco’s Unique Flavors

Kristina’s Bookshelf A Little Taste of San Francisco: Recipes for Classic Dishes By Stephanie Rosenbaum Klassen with Illustrations by Courtney Jentzen (Blue Streak Books, 2018) Readers may recognize cookbook author Stephanie Rosenbaum Klassen as a frequent contributor to Bay Area food publications, including Edible East Bay. Her latest book is a charming little volume celebrating…

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Explore New Tastes from Near and Far

Kristina’s Bookshelf The Berkeley Bowl Cookbook: Recipes Inspired by the Extraordinary Produce of California’s Most Iconic Market by Laura McLively with photos by Erin Scott (Parallax Press, 2018) Oakland resident and registered dietitian Laura McLively, an avid home cook, is also a devoted shopper at Berkeley Bowl, the green market known and revered in the…

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Growing Food as a Way of Life

Kristina’s Bookshelf Grow What You Love: 12 Food Plant Families to Change Your Life by Emily Murphy (Firefly Books, 2018) Emily Murphy’s new book is a simple guide to finding success as a gardener by growing vegetables and herbs that you love to eat. The “12 Food Plant Families” refer to the following: tender herbs;…

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Cooking Anything Food52 Style

Kristina’s Bookshelf Several years ago, Food52, the online crowd-sourced food community and recipe hub, came down from the ether to make some old-fashioned hard copy cookbooks. Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, former New York Times columnists, originally founded the website as a space where cooks could come together to exchange recipes, offer one another support,…

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Comfort Chicken

Kristina’s Bookshelf Maybe it’s the time of year and the cold, rainy weather, but roasted chicken recipes are sounding awfully good these days. Whole chickens are easy to cook and offer the added benefit of leftover bones that can be used to make stock for soup. Poulets & Legumes: My Favorite Chicken & Vegetable Recipes…

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Pretty Simple Cooking

Kristina’s Bookshelf A Couple Cooks: Pretty Simple Cooking by Sonja and Alex Overhiser (Da Capo Lifelong Books, 2018) Popular husband-and-wife bloggers and podcasters Sonja and Alex Overhiser share 100 whole-food vegetarian recipes with 75 vegan and 90 gluten-free options. Dishes include combinations like Cherry Almond Breakfast Cereal; Chickpea Shawarma Flatbread; White Cheddar Leek and Greens Millet…

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Juhu Beach Club Cookbook

Juhu Beach Club Lives On in Memoir with Recipes This is a bittersweet note: As I type, Juhu Beach Club, feisty former Top Chef Preeti Mistry’s Anthony Bourdain–sanctioned Oakland restaurant, has served its last supper. The colorful Temescal spot, which got its start (in concept) as a pop-up in a San Francisco liquor store, closed…

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Make Those Valentine Sweets Yourself!

Kristina’s Bookshelf Chocolate may be the surest way to a loved one’s heart. If that special someone is vegan, intolerant to dairy or gluten, or just enjoys creative chocolate confections made with natural sweeteners, you’ll want to check out some of these new books. Bliss Bites: Vegan, Gluten- & Dairy-Free Treats from the Kenko Kitchen…

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The Monk of Mokha

Author and McSweeney’s founder Dave Eggers takes to the road for the launch of his new book, The Monk of Mokha. But this is no ordinary book tour: Dave will be traveling alongside Mokhtar Alkhanshali, the subject of the book, and their conveyance will be a San Francisco Public Library bookmobile, which they’ll park in front of five…

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Why Are Sprouts and Yogurt Part of Our Diet?

How did organic staples like sprouts, tofu, yogurt, brown rice, and whole-grain bread become commonplace in our grocery stores and homes? Food journalist and former line cook Jonathan Kauffman talks about funky food history and cultural change in his new book Hippie Food: How Back-to-the-Landers, Longhairs, and Revolutionaries Changed the Way We Eat. Hear him…

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Comfort in a Deep, Round Dish

Kristina’s Bookshelf Cold, rainy days call for something warming and filling in a bowl: think soups, stews, salads, and vegetable combinations. In the words of Molly Watson, author of Bowls! Recipes and Inspirations for Healthful One-Dish Meals, “bowls represent everything you want in a meal: easy to make, tasty to eat, and, more often than…

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Finding Inspiration from Afar

Kristina’s Bookshelf New Year’s resolutions are frequently about mixing things up and exploring different places and new ways of doing things. I enjoy food books from overseas publishing houses, especially those that feature a locale’s chefs, restaurants, produce, and food products. They can provide inspiration for new ways of cooking and an introduction to other…

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Sweet

Ottolenghi Cooks Sweet My daughter Charlotte and I were in England last summer, exploring London and the northern countryside, and discovering the revival of good cooking now in full swing there. Even the traditional foods like bangers and mash, fish and chips, and Cornish pasties were tasty and well-prepared. A highlight was taking the Underground…

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The Gourmand’s Way

Six Americans in Paris Create Culinary History The Gourmands’ Way: Six Americans in Paris and the Birth of a New Gastronomy By Justin Spring Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017 If you don’t know how a gourmand differs from a gourmet, this is a good book to read just for that bit of information, but it…

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Autentico

Kristina’s Bookshelf   It’s the Little Things that Count Autentico: Cooking Italian, the Authentic Way By Rolando Beramendi St. Martin’s Press, 2017 Rolando Beramendi, enthusiastic cook and founder of Oakland-based Italian food importer Manicaretti, has published a very good cookbook that’s about much more than pasta. Drawing on his experience as a trusted purveyor of…

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Kristina’s Bookshelf

Market Cooking: Recipes and Revelations Ingredient by Ingredient by David Tanis (Artisan, 2017) David Tanis built his reputation during 25 years at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, but this highly regarded chef is perhaps most passionate about cooking at home. Fans of his New York Times column or his cookbooks, A Platter of Figs, Heart of…

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Kristina’s Bookshelf

L’appart: The Delights and Disasters of Making my Paris Home by David Lebovitz (Crown, 2017) East Bay residents may know David Lebovitz as a former chef at Chez Panisse, author of much-loved cookbooks My Paris Kitchen, The Perfect Scoop, The Sweet Life in Paris, and three others, and creator of a popular food and living blog at…

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Kristina’s Bookshelf

Spice Up Your Celebrations with Mexican Tastes for Halloween and Día de Los Muertos The end of October and start of November bring Halloween and Day of the Dead celebrations. A passel of new books provide dozens of recipes for Mexican and Mexican-inspired dishes that can be prepared quickly and easily to feed those hungry…

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Kristina’s Bookshelf

Robin Sloan Reads from Sourdough on October 12 in Berkeley Berkeley-based author Robin Sloan is well known for his novel Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. On October 12, Sloan’s East Bay fans have a chance to hear him read from his new novel, Sourdough, at Mrs. Dalloway’s Bookstore in Berkeley. Buy a copy to reserve your seat by…

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Kristina’s Bookshelf

Eat Your Way to Good Health I’ve read many books in which someone evangelizes about their experience sliding into a terrible health crisis and turning around all their problems by radically changing their diet to remove sugar, carbs, gluten, and any number of other products. Accordingly, I was a little ho-hum when I received yet…

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Cheese: The Ultimate Companion to Beer

Review by Kristina Sepetys Cheese & Beer By Janet Fletcher (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2017) The same hearty, flavorful qualities that make beer and cheese a popular combination can also make for challenges when pairing the two. Janet Fletcher is the publisher of the Planet Cheese blog, former San Francisco Chronicle columnist, and author of more than…

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Kristina’s Bookshelf

The Endlessly Versatile Sweet Potato Sweet Potatoes: Roasted, Loaded, Fried, and Made into Pie By Mary-Frances Heck (Clarkson Potter, 2017) Sweet potatoes are a staple food in many cultures for good reason: They’re loaded with vitamin A as well as a good amount of vitamins B, C, and fiber. And they’re lower on the glycemic…

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Kristina’s Bookshelf

On the Road through the Sierra Nevada Touring the Sierra Nevada by Cheryl Angelina Koehler (University of Nevada Press, 2007) It’s been out for a decade, but it’s still my favorite guidebook to the Sierra Nevada, that iconic mountain range rising to the east of San Francisco. By Cheryl Angelina Koehler, editor/publisher of Edible East Bay, this…

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Kristina’s Bookshelf  

Fighting for Real Cheese Reinventing the Wheel: Milk, Microbes, and the Fight for Real Cheese by Bronwen Percival and Francis Percival (University of California Press, 2017 ) Cheesemaking was once a simple, earnest craft. Farmers, homemakers, food crafters, and others used fresh milk from healthy, pasture-grazed animals to make flavorful cheeses without chemicals or additives.…

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Kristina’s Bookshelf  

Equal Opportunity Cooking and Eating I learned to cook my first dish—an egg fried in butter—when I was in second or third grade. Decades later, I still remember the satisfaction of that newfound independence. I’d heat the stove, cut a hunk of butter and drop it onto the small frying pan, watch it sizzle and…

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Crumbly, Baked Goodness

  When doesn’t a baked, bread-y offering—sweet or savory—seem appealing? We’re all spoiled by those really well-made and tasty items found at coffee and tea houses around town. Some shops bake their own, but many get them from local artisan bakers like Berkeley-based Third Culture Bakery, where the creative Taiwanese and Indonesian duo of Wenter…

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Kristina’s Bookshelf

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme Herbs have been used for cooking and healing for centuries. They’re one of the easiest things to grow in a garden and use to flavor foods. Recipes from the Herbalist’s Kitchen: Delicious, Nourishing Food for Lifelong Health and Well-Being by Brittany Wood Nickerson (Storey, 2017) Herbalist Brittany Wood Nickerson subscribes…

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Kristina’s Bookshelf

Sweet, Cold Cream  Local favorite I-Scream on Upper Solano in Berkeley scoops flavors that taste like the farm-fresh ingredients they’re made from. Popular flavors include creamy, buttery rich Salted Caramel (or even better, the Burnt Caramel, when it’s available). Daily offerings change and might include Strawberry (always made with ripe berries), Honey Lavender, or Wild…

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Kristina’s Bookshelf

Living the French Country Dream For many readers, award-winning cookbook author, journalist, and entrepreneur Georgeanne Brennan needs no introduction. Brennan, who lives with her family in Northern California, is well known for spreading the gospel of French food in the United States. Brennan has a special appreciation for French dishes that are made from a…

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Burger Bliss

  It’s burger season! What makes the burger especially appealing is that it’s easy and intuitive: a seasoned patty on a bun with whatever additions and condiments strike one’s fancy, no recipe required. But with local markets overflowing with summer produce, it’s the perfect time to experiment with different additions and special flavors, and to…

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Kristina’s Bookshelf

Lamingtons & Lemon Tart: Best-Ever Cakes, Desserts & Treats from a Modern Sweets Maestro By Darren Purchese (Hardie Grant Books, 2017) A lamington is an Australian sponge cake that’s draped in chocolate and rolled in coconut. Australian pastry chef Darren Purchese, who makes a particularly good lamington, is known throughout his native Australia for his…

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Kristina’s Bookshelf

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking By Samin Nosrat with illustrations by Wendy MacNaughton (Simon & Schuster, 2017) Chef, writer, food visionary, Chez Panisse alum, and Berkeley resident Samin Nosrat says it up front in her new book: “As you can probably tell, this isn’t your typical cookbook.” And she’s right.…

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Meat-Less

Kristina’s Bookshelf Meat-Less: Transform the Way You Eat and Live – One Meal at a Time by Kristie Middleton (Da Capo Lifelong Books, 2017)  Oakland resident Kristie Middleton, senior food policy director for The Humane Society of the United States, is a passionate advocate for animal welfare. Part of her passion is a commitment to…

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The Truly Memorable Paula Wolfert

Book review by Kristina Sepetys | Photos by Eric Wolfinger Unforgettable: The Bold Flavors of Paula Wolfert’s Renegade Life By Emily Kaiser Thelin Photography by Eric Wolfinger Published by M & P. 2017 Berkeley resident and two-time James Beard finalist Emily Thelin has long earned my admiration as a reporter who brings detailed, colorful perspective…

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Honey, Candy, or Ice Cream

Kristina’s Bookshelf Taste of Honey: The Definitive Guide to Tasting and Cooking with 40 Varietals By Marie Simmons Andrews McMeel Universal, 2013 This book came out several years ago, but it’s still a good resource for anyone looking for recipes that use honey. Veteran cookbook author Marie Simmons helps readers to understand things like how…

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Creative, Delicious Dinners Made Easy!

Dinner: Changing the Game by Melissa Clark (Clarkson Potter, 2017) Melissa Clark is a staff writer at The New York Times, where she writes the food section’s column “A Good Appetite.” The recipient of both IACP and James Beard awards, Clark appears frequently on “Today” and on public radio. With her new cookbook, Clark wants to make…

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Food and Memory

Kristina’s Bookshelf Unforgettable: The Bold Flavors of Paula Wolfert’s Renegade Life by Emily Kaiser Thelin, photography by Eric Wolfinger (Copyright 2017 ©. Published by M & P.) Berkeley resident and two-time James Beard finalist Emily Thelin has long earned my admiration as a reporter who brings detailed, colorful perspective to her writing and knows how…

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Gluten-Free: A New Normal? 

Kristina’s Bookshelf It used to be that a cookbook featuring recipes for dishes without gluten was something of a specialty item, intended for a small contingent of people who need to avoid that protein in wheat, rye, barley, and other cereal grains which gives dough its elasticity. But that small niche market is evolving. Even people…

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Kristina’s Bookshelf

Greener Diets: A new cookbook offers creative ways to prepare healthy greens. I feel so lucky to live in a place where beautiful, leafy green vegetables—curly kales, paddle-leaved collards, spicy red-tinged mustards, firm cabbages, dark-green stemmed broccoli—are available year-round and can be grown easily in backyard gardens. Springtime brings to the local markets an even…

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Anything on a Taco

Kristina’s Bookshelf I love tacos. I’m a fan of all the traditional versions, especially when prepared by experts. I would go out of my way for al pastor (a flavorful pork slow-cooked in adobo and pineapple) at Berkeley’s Casa Latina; de pescado (freshly caught fish with mayonnaise made from just-laid eggs) from a beach vendor in the…

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An Apple a Day . . .

  Kritina’s Bookshelf Whether it’s sauerkraut delivering probiotics to the gut or bone broths providing vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes, some doctors and health practitioners are looking to food, rather than pharmaceuticals or even vitamin supplements, to address patients’ health issues. Two new books tackle eating to prevent and control fatty liver disease and osteoporosis.  Skinny…

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Alternative Baker: Reinventing Dessert with Gluten-Free Grains and Flours 

Kristina’s Bookshelf Can Gluten-Free Mean More, Not Less? Many desserts and other confections described simply as “gluten-free” get sold short. Baked goods made with a gluten-free flour can offer much, much more than simply being free of the protein that gives dough its elastic texture. Depending upon the ingredients— specifically the flours used—they can be…

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Garden DIY

Harvest: Unexpected Projects Using 47 Extraordinary Garden Plants By Stefani Bittner and Alethea Harampolis Published by Ten Speed Press, February 2017 Discover the surprising usefulness of petals and leaves, roots, seeds, and fruit in this beautifully photographed guide written by two local authors and just now out from our beloved local Ten Speed Press. Projects…

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Harvest: Unexpected Projects Using 47 Extraordinary Garden Plants

Kristina’s Bookshelf Captivating Flowers, Perfumed Herbs, Curved Branches: Love’s Truest Language Celebrate Valentine’s Day with beautiful and delicious things beyond the traditional chocolate! For inspiration, look no further than your own garden or the out-of-doors around your house. Flowers, branches, petals, leaves, roots, and seeds can make striking arrangements, flavor food and drink, and mix…

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Celebrate the Year of the Rooster!

Kristina’s Bookshelf Many years ago I lived for a time in Taiwan and Hong Kong and traveled extensively throughout China. The food I discovered was remarkable: almost always fresh, locally sourced, flavorful, and characterized by a special regional ingredient or preparation method. Every place seemed to have a special dish tied to some historical event…

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Street Farm

Kristina’s Bookshelf Meet Michael Ableman, Author and Transformative Farmer Michael Ableman is coming to town! This is a great opportunity to meet an engaging early visionary from the urban agriculture movement. Home for Michael Ableman is Salt Spring Island in British Columbia. That’s where he grows food on the 120 acres he calls Foxglove Farm. A cofounder of…

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Reset and Recharge with Clean, Healthy Meals

Book reviews by Kristina Sepetys Clean Soups: Simple, Nourishing Recipes for Health and Vitality by Rebecca Katz (Ten Speed Press, 2016) Nothing sounds more appealing in this chilly weather than a steaming bowl of soup. Chef and author Rebecca Katz shares 60 recipes for flavorful, cleansing soups made from wholesome stocks to help you detox…

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Meet the Sea Forager

The Sea Forager’s Guide to the Northern California Coast by Kirk Lombard with illustrations by Leighton Kelly (Heyday Books, 2016) Author and fisherman Kirk Lombard shares fish-filled tales at the Berkeley Public Library: Saturday January 7, 2–3:30pm 3rd Floor Community Meeting Room 2090 Kittredge St, Berkeley Event info: here Book review by Kristina Sepetys Moss…

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Spirited New Year’s Celebrations!

Book reviews by Kristina Sepetys A raft of new titles provides loads of inspiration for mixing up intriguing and tasty cocktails to ring in the new year! Amaro: The Spirited World of Bittersweet, Herbal Liqueurs, with Cocktails, Recipes and Formulas by Brad Thomas Parsons (Ten Speed Press, 2016) Brad Thomas Parsons, author of the James…

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Gift Books for Your Favorite Cooks

Kristina’s Bookshelf Reviews by Kristina Sepetys It’s the rare cook who isn’t delighted to receive a book full of recipes and photographs. Here are some of the latest titles to raise your game in the kitchen. Perfect for the holidays! Taste & Technique: Recipes to Elevate Your Home Cooking by Naomi Pomeroy (Ten Speed Press,…

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Spice it Up!

Kristina’s Bookshelf Book reviews by Kristina Sepetys Good quality salts, fresh spices, and a grinder are essential parts of any kitchen. They also make wonderful host or holiday gifts, and one of the following books would be a great guide to choosing and using these items. If you are near Lake Merritt in Oakland, take…

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Reflections on Food Culture 

Kristina’s Bookshelf Best Food Writing 2016 edited by Holly Hughes (Da Capo Lifelong Books, 2016) Book review by Kristina Sepetys For anyone who enjoys food writing, this 300-page paperback is one of the leading publications of the year. For 17 years, Holly Hughes has compiled an annual best-of, a robust mix of top pieces from the…

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East Bay Bookshelf

Mystery and Magic in the Kitchen Book Reviews by Sam Tillis Set aside the clean-living and healthy diet books for the moment. It’s time for some magic. We have all heard that the moon is made of cheese, but it took Berkeleyite Anthony Kosky to give us The Mouse and the Moon. The tale features…

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The Macanese Melting Pot 

Kritina’s Bookshelf The Adventures of Fat Rice: Recipes from the Chicago Restaurant Inspired by Macau by Abraham Conlon, Adrienne Lo, and Hugh Amano (Ten Speed Press, 2016) Abraham Conlon and Adrienne Lo are the chefs and co-owners of the cult favorite and very popular Chicago restaurant Fat Rice. Hugh Amano is a writer and former…

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Dorie’s Cookies

Review by Kristina Sepetys Dorie’s Cookies  by Dorie Greenspan (Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016) Dorie Greenspan has created more than 300 cookie recipes, many of which are included in her latest 500+ page book, which features cookies for all occasions. Greenspan is the author of many acclaimed cookbooks including Around My French Table, a New…

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Warm and Sweet Autumn Reads

Book reviews by Kristina Sepetys Grilled Cheese Kitchen by Heidi Gibson and Nate Pollak (Chronicle Books, 2016) Wife-and-husband duo Heidi Gibson and Nate Pollak own the popular American Grilled Cheese Kitchen based in San Francisco, where melted cheese between slices of toasted bread—the ultimate comfort food—reigns supreme. Their new cookbook features 39 grilled cheese recipes…

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Foragers Companion

Book review by Kristina Sepetys The Flavors of Home: A Guide to Wild Edible Plants of the San Francisco Bay Area by Margit Roos-Collins (Heyday Books, 2016) Berkeley forager, writer, and attorney Margit Roos-Collins first published this much-loved foraging guide more than 20 years ago. The new, updated edition introduces readers to the Bay Area’s…

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Devoured

Book review by Kristina Sepetys Devoured: from Chicken Wings to Kale Smoothies— How What We Eat Defines Who We Are by Sophie Egan (William Morrow, 2016) Sophie Egan is the director of programs and culinary nutrition for the Strategic Initiatives Group at The Culinary Institute of America. Based in San Francisco, Egan writes about food…

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Bittman on Baking

Book review by Kristina Sepetys How to Bake Everything: Simple Recipes for the Best Baking By Mark Bittman (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016) While browsing the 703 pages of Mark Bittman’s latest cookbook, I’m struck by a question: How does he manage to pull together these massive, information-rich cookbooks in such quick succession? One in the…

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The Rye Baker: Classic Breads from Europe and America

Book review by Kristina Sepetys The Rye Baker: Classic Breads from Europe and America By Stanley Ginsberg (WW Norton, 2016) Stanley Ginsberg co-wrote the award-winning Inside the Jewish Bakery: Recipes and Memories from the Golden Age of Jewish Baking. He also owns The New York Bakers, a website selling professional baking equipment and supplies, including…

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The Troll Cookbook

Review by Kristina Sepetys   The Troll Cookbook: A Taste of Something Different: Simple Foods Any Troll Can Make by Karima Cammell and Clint Marsh (Dromedary Press, 2016) Author and painter Karima Cammell is the founder, owner, and creative force behind Berkeley’s beloved Castle in the Air. This stationery and art supply store on 4th…

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Exploring Unusual Tastes

Review by Kristina Sepetys Dandelion & Quince: Exploring the Wide World of Unusual Vegetables, Fruits, and Herbs by Michelle McKenzie (Roost Books, 2016) Michelle McKenzie is the program director and chef at 18 Reasons, the nonprofit community cooking school in San Francisco’s Mission District. She’s known for making simple food that’s both special and healthy.…

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Bowls of Deliciousness

Book review by Kristina Sepetys There’s something very satisfying about food in a bowl, whether it is a soup, stew, salad, grain mixture, or other dish. Maybe it’s that the contents of a bowl can be consumed as easily on a couch as at a table, or that a bowl is capable of holding a…

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Late Summer Feasts

Book reviews by Kristina Sepetys Labor Day always brings a flurry of barbecues and other outdoor gatherings with friends. Four great new books offer recipes for delicious seafood and meat dishes and celebratory desserts.   Around the Fire: Recipes for Inspired Grilling and Seasonal Feasting from Ox Restaurant by Greg Denton, Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton with…

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Waste Not, Want Not!

Book review by Kristina Sepetys Eat it Up! 150 Recipes to Use Every Bit and Enjoy Every Bite of the Food You Buy by Sherri Brooks Vinton (De Capo, 2016) Sherri Brooks Vinton is well known for Put ‘Em Up, which walks readers through the canning process and teaches us to be confident food preservationists.…

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Quick and Easy Cooking

Book review by Kristina Sepetys I love to cook. And I especially love to cook with fresh, seasonal vegetables and fruits from my local market. But when I get home late on a weekday evening, tired and hungry, facing an equally tired and hungry (and can we say cranky?) family, it can be hard to marshal…

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Camping and Cooking Under the Stars

Book review by Kristina Sepetys Headed into the beautiful California outdoors for a camping trip before the kids return to school? If so, you’ll enjoy this new guidebook with lists of essentials, activities, tips, colorful photographs, and most important, delicious recipes to help you get the most from your trip! Camp Sunset: A Modern Camper’s…

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Inspired Cooking with Vegetables

Book reviews by Kristina Sepetys With all the beautiful summer fruits, vegetables, and herbs overflowing from market bins, we’re all on the lookout for recipes and cookbooks to help us make the most of the colorful, aromatic, ripe bounty. Even better are those books that can offer tips for making quick work of the washing,…

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I’ll Drink to That!

Reviews by Kristina Sepetys Summer gatherings might include cocktails and drinks on the deck or by the water while watching the sun set or the spectacular full moon rise. Drinks that make use of the garden bounty of high summer are particularly delicious and can be healthful, too. As mixologist Jules Aron reminds readers in…

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Summertime Sweets

Reviews by Kristina Sepetys   The lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer make people think sweets, whether those of the chilly, frozen variety or shaped and baked. Even better if the ingredients can come from your garden!   Sweeter off the Vine: Fruit Desserts for Every Season By Yossy Arefi (Ten Speed Press, 2016) Food…

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Seeing the Beauty of Nature in the Urban Environment

Review by Kristina Sepetys In the mid-1960s, environmentalist Rachel Carson wrote a magazine essay titled “Helping Your Child to Wonder,” which later became one of my very favorite books: The Sense of Wonder. The book recounts Carson’s outdoor adventures along the Maine coast with her young nephew, exploring the natural environment, experiencing storms and inclement weather,…

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Strategies for Getting Meals on the Table

Reviews by Kristina Sepetys Looking for ways to get healthy, well-balanced meals on the table quickly? Most cooks know tricks like planning out meals at the beginning of the week and making shopping lists, keeping a well-stocked pantry, and cooking enough to include leftovers. These three new cookbooks give you some additional ideas by offering…

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Science In Your Kitchen

J. Kenji López-Alt teaches home cooks how scientific know-how leads to tastier food. Read our review, and hear López-Alt speak at the Bay Area Book Festival. Review by Kristina Sepetys The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science by J. Kenji López-Alt (WW Norton, 2015) James Beard Award winner J. Kenji López-Alt is an MIT…

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Super Efficient Irrigation for Spring Vegetable Gardens!

Review by Kristina Sepetys   Gardening with Less Water: Low-Tech, Low-Cost Techniques; Use Up to 90{94d79dd6af1e87a94e700e4c297236468333f22e27ed5757b44711974a9a4b91} Less Water in Your Garden  by David A. Bainbridge (Storey Publishing, 2015) For more than 30 years, David Bainbridge has studied and used innovative irrigation systems in gardens and desert restoration projects and authored books on related subjects. His…

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Eating Clean and Green

Reviews by Kristina Sepetys Eating clean means avoiding processed and refined foods in favor of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats. Skipping foods made with refined sugars and additives, and/or overly processed foods, can help to control disease, encourage weight loss, and just make for better tasting food. If you struggle to lose weight…

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Cooking with Belcampo’s Anya Fernald

Review by Kristina Sepetys Home Cooked: Essential Recipes for a New Way to Cook by Anya Fernald with Jessica Battilana (Ten Speed Press, 2016) Oakland resident Anya Fernald is CEO and co-founder of Belcampo Inc, which was created to further the goals of the sustainable food movement. The operation includes the organic and humanely managed…

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The Garden in Your Glass

Reviews by Kristina Sepetys   Forager’s Cocktails: Botanical Mixology with Fresh, Natural Ingredients by Amy Zavatto (Sterling Epicure, 2015) Amy Zavatto writes about cocktails and wine for a variety of publications, and she draws on that knowledge in her book exploring drinks made from foraged and homegrown ingredients. With lovely color photos, this handy guide…

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Read, Taste, and Explore: Special Occasions

by Kristina Sepetys Beautiful springtime weather inspires planned and impromptu gatherings for brunch, teatime, happy hours, picnics, and potlucks. A pantry stocked with specialty ingredients helps with quick assembly of a snack or meal. Grate a flavorful hard cheese from The Cheese Board or Country Cheese over a salad or fresh pasta, or spread a soft French-style…

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Glimpsing Spring

Ideas and book reviews by Kristina Sepetys Harbingers of spring are beginning to appear on farmstands and at local markets: bright red strawberries, tender ruffled greens, slender asparagus stalks, purple-tinged artichokes, aromatic herbs, young, flavorful garlic, and baby onions. East Bay cities together host more than two dozen farmers’ markets, where you can find some…

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East Bay Farmers, Millers, and Bakers Bring us Homegrown Grains

Book review by Kristina Sepetys While locally grown fruits and vegetables have always been fairly easy to come by in the Bay Area, locally grown California grains, particularly wheat, have been more difficult to find. Growing, milling, malting, and marketing grains requires a lot of land, equipment, and cooperation among farmers, processors, and bakers, along…

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CSA

As you peruse our new issue, don’t miss Jillian Steinberger’s multifaceted guide to picking the CSA program that’s right for you, with consideration to your values, your way of eating, and where you live. Find the article here. As the magazine was going to press, we learned about a beautiful new book that would be…

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Notes from an Underground Restaurant

A MUSICIAN IN THE VEGAN KITCHEN Book review by Cheryl Angelina Koehler Notes from an Underground Restaurant: Improvisations Through Food and Music By Phil Gelb Underground restaurants were a hot phenomenon in 2007 when I first attended one of Phil Gelb’s dinner and live music events, which he holds once or twice monthly in West Oakland…

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Early Spring Vegetable Gardening

Ideas and book reviews by Kristina Sepetys Recent rains have softened the soils and readied them so you can start digging and planting your spring vegetables. The East Bay is rich in local garden stores and urban farm shops with the supplies and know-how to help you get started. Here are some of my favorite…

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Sea Bounty

Book Reviews by Kristina Sepetys Among the many delights of East Bay living are the rich, varied offerings of seafood available year round. Salmon, halibut, albacore, Dungeness crab, mussels, clams, oysters, and a host of other edible creatures all populate our local waters at different times during the year and have been a feast for…

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Super Foods for Super Health

Book reviews by Kristina Sepetys In his preface to The Anti-Inflammation Cookbook, Dr. Bradly Jacobs, an integrative medicine physician based in Sausalito, reflects that “Although we have long recognized the importance of food in promoting good health, only in the past ten years have we come to appreciate how food can damage our health.” Increased…

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Warming Soups and Stews (and some sweet Maple Syrup) Reviews by Kristina Sepetys Now that the last of the fancy holiday leftovers have been eaten and the cold, dark, rainy days of January are upon us, one-pot comfort foods sound awfully good. Three new cookbooks with dozens of hearty chowders, chilis, soups, stews, and a…

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‘Tis the Season for Tamales!

Book reviews by Kristina Sepetys All holidays have special food associations. For many families, tamales—a bundle of corn-based dough cradling a savory or sweet filling wrapped in a corn husk and steamed—are central to their December feasts. The opportunity to gather with friends and family to mix the masa; slow cook meats and vegetables in…

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Gift Ideas for the Food Curious

Reviews by Kristina Sepetys For anyone on your list (young or old) who is curious-minded and enjoys reading about food, here are some suggestions for new titles to savor this holiday season.   Best Food Writing 2015 Edited by Holly Hughes (Da Capo Lifelong Books 2015) Da Capo’s terrific series anthologizing the best culinary writing…

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My Kitchen Year

My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes that Saved My Life by Ruth Reichl Reviewed by Kurt Michael Friese Sometimes just when we feel our lives are going along swimmingly, when our careers are on track and the future looks bright, the Fates snip a thread and everything spins out of control. Six years ago Ruth Reichl…

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Wandering Gypsy

Review by Kristina Sepetys   Kitchen Gypsy: Recipes and Stories from a Lifelong Romance with Food by Joanne Weir (Oxmoor House, 2015)   When Joanne Weir was a child growing up in Massachusetts, her father called her his “wandering gypsy” because he knew how much she liked to explore. Perhaps even in those early years…

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Afoot in Virgin Territory

Virgin Territory: Exploring the World of Olive Oil By Nancy Harmon Jenkins Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015 Reviewed by Cheryl Angelina Koehler, editor of Edible East Bay Surprisingly, in this year of drought, California producers of extra-virgin olive oil are seeing a record harvest. Their groves, many planted in the last decade, run extensively through our…

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Cooking with Pomegranates

Reviews by Kristina Sepetys Beautiful pomegranates are appearing in local markets, alluring with their hard reddish-pink skin and light brown freckling. Cuisines of the Middle East, where the fruit is plentiful, offer many enticing dishes made with the sweet fruit. Produce, herbs, and spices from Middle Eastern regions are similar to what we grow locally…

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A Baker’s Dozen

Reviews by Kristina Sepetys The fall season means more requests for baked goods: a dozen shortbread cookies for a school party or bake sale, a pumpkin loaf for a neighborhood potluck, a spiced tea cake for a reading group, or some chip-studded bars for a sporting event. Three new books will give you a long…

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Cooking Genius

Reviews by Kristina Sepetys Food52, the award-winning online crowd-sourced food community and recipe hub, has branched out from the ether into hard-copy cookbook publishing. After their two highly successful Food52 Cookbooks comes a newly established series titled Food52 Works. Beginning this year with Genius Recipes, and continuing with Vegan and Baking, the team plans to…

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Books to Help You Celebrate the Harvest!

Book reviews by Kristina Sepetys Harvest marks the end of the growing season for many crops. It’s a time to gather the bounty, preserve it, and store it for the colder, leaner months ahead when you can truly enjoy the products of your labor. These three new books will help you to make the most…

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Zen Kitchen

Review by Kristina Sepetys Finding Yourself in the Kitchen: Kitchen Meditations and Inspired Recipes from a Mindful Cook by Dana Velden (Rodale, 2015) There are 146,680 cookbooks listed for sale on Amazon. If you broaden your search to books about “food,” you get 295,406. And these numbers probably don’t include the scores of historical books…

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Guittard Chocolate Cookbook Review

Guittard Chocolate Cookbook: Decadent Recipes from San Francisco’s Premium Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Company by Amy Guittard (Chronicle Books, 2015) Review by Kristina Sepetys If you love chocolate, and it’s the rare person who doesn’t, and you also love to cook, it’s going to be hard to pass up a cookbook with cakes, bars, cookies, ice creams, and…

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Lunchbox Solutions

Reviews by Kristina Sepetys The Best Homemade Kids’ Lunches on the Planet: Make Lunches Your Kids Will Love with More than 200 Deliciously Nutritious Meal Ideas  by Laura Fuentes (Fair Winds Press, 2014) With seven chapters, recipes to suit every age, and sections to record likes and dislikes, Fuentes presents nearly a full school year’s…

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Sustainable Picnic!

Reviews by Kristina Sepetys Long, warm summer days are a great time to load up your picnic basket and head out to the seashore, mountaintop, or woodland glade to celebrate with friends or enjoy a quiet meal alone in the beautiful outdoors. These three new titles will help you to plan and pack a sumptuous…

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Kitchen and Garden Inspiration Book

review by Kristina Sepetys The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center Cookbook: Fresh-from-the-Garden Recipes for Gatherings by the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center and Olivia Rathbone (Chelsea Green, 2015) Out along the Bohemian Highway, on twisting, bucolic Coleman Valley Road in West Sonoma County you’ll find the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center. Established in 1994, the…

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Twelve Recipes Berkeley resident and longtime Chez Panisse chef Cal Peternell’s book Twelve Recipes (William Morrow Cookbooks, 2014), is a New York Times best seller and the recipient of the 2015 IACP Award in the General Cookbook category. It’s earned these accolades because it’s a thoroughly charming, personal book and a very useful and accessible…

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How to Save Water Inside and Outside Your Home

Reviews by Kristina Sepetys We’re all well aware of the drought conditions plaguing California by now, but learning more about how to use water in a sustainable way, minimizing waste, is a higher priority than ever before in many of our lives. Here are two books that provide ideas and instruction for using the valuable…

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What’s Old is New Again: Beyond Whole Wheat and Back to Ancient Grains

Reviews by Kristina Sepetys Shopping around the East Bay, you may be noticing more whole-grain choices like quinoa, Kamut (a long-cultivated Iranian wheat, Khorasan, that’s been trademarked), teff (a highly nutritious Ethiopian/Eritrean gluten-free grain), three farro wheats (einkorn, emmer, and spelt), freekeh, millet, and a host of others. Many are called “ancient grains” because they’ve…

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Eating Plant-Strong!

Reviews by Kristina Sepetys The choice to follow a vegan or vegetarian diet might be for health reasons, such as to control weight, blood pressure, or cholesterol. For some, it might be to honor personal commitments to living sustainably. Many people who follow plant-intense diets are interested in choosing varied and balanced ingredients to ensure…

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Wild Local Flavor

Reviews by Kristina Sepetys We’re enjoying an exceptionally lovely springtime, especially for a drought year. Tender new shoots and colorful flowers are pushing themselves up through the ground on area hillsides, pathways, and even between cracks in the sidewalk cement. You might be surprised to discover how much of what you’re seeing is edible. There’s…

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Books for home gardeners

How does your garden grow? Reviewed by Kristina Sepetys   The Mix & Match Guide to Companion Planting: An Easy, Organic Way to Deter Pests, Prevent Disease, Improve Flavor, and Increase Yields in Your Vegetable Garden by Josie Jeffery (Ten Speed Press, 2014) Companion planting places two or more plants in close proximity to use…

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The Nourishing Homestead

Review by Kristina Sepetys As springs bursts out all over, thoughts turn to gardens, new baby chicks, the delights of young spring produce, and hand-crafting specialty foods. Some may wonder how to dig more deeply into these pursuits to honor the seasons, and to live and eat closer to the earth and in community. A…

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Food: The Best Medicine!

Reviews by Kristina Sepetys Deliciously Ella: 100+ Easy, Healthy, and Delicious Plant-Based, Gluten-Free Recipes by Ella Woodward (Scribner, 2015) London-based Ella Woodward writes the food blog Deliciously Ella. At 19, Woodward was diagnosed with Postural Tachycardia Syndrome, a breakdown of the autonomic nervous system, a condition she attributes to a poor diet. Bedridden, in chronic…

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Hungry for Satisfaction

by Kimber Simpkins I wrote my memoir out of a desperate desire to stop feeling empty all the time. I knew I had no good reason to be hungry, but that didn’t stop my belly from wanting more. I’d finish every bite of steamed greens, rice, and roasted vegetables—and even a bowl of hearty miso…

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Fabulous Ferments and Delicious Dried Foods!

By Kristina Sepetys People have been drying and fermenting foods for flavor, storage, and good health since time immemorial. Food preservation techniques offer inexpensive, easily managed ways to avoid letting food go to waste. Find yourself with more greens or fruits than you can use this week? Put ’em up! Sandor Ellix Katz’s The Art of…

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Good Food, Great Business

Good Food, Great Business: How to Take Your Artisan Food Idea from Concept to Marketplace by Susie Wyshak (Chronicle Books, 2014) Review by Kristina Sepetys Home cooks are often told their homemade sweet or savory specialty item is so amazingly delicious they should consider selling it. For those who let their imaginations travel down that…

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Bitter: A Taste of the World’s Most Dangerous Flavor, with Recipes

Review by Kristina Sepetys Bitter:  A Taste of the World’s Most Dangerous Flavor, with Recipes by Jennifer McLagan (Ten Speed Press, 2014) “Bitterness is a double-edged sword: it signals toxic and dangerous, but it can also be pleasurable and beneficial. In the kitchen, eschewing bitter is like cooking without salt, or eating without looking. Without bitterness…

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Drink Up! Books that take you way beyond soda

  Reviews by Kristina Sepetys Drink the Harvest by Nan K. Chase and DeNeice C. Guest (Storey Publishing, 2014) Many fruits, vegetables, and herbs can be concocted into delicious beverages that are healthier and more economical than their store-bought counterparts. Drink the Harvest shows you how to create juices, ciders, wines, meads, teas, and syrups…

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New Cookery Titles

By Kristina Sepetys These new cookbooks are full of comforting, seasonal treats. For breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between, you’ll find sweet, savory, and creative ideas to inspire your meal-making!   Brown Sugar Kitchen: New-Style, Down-Home Recipes from Sweet West Oakland by Tanya Holland with Jan Newberry (Chronicle Books, 2014) If you don’t already…

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Pack ‘Em Up!

Reviews by Kristina Sepetys Raise your hand: Who out there loves cooking, but preparing and packing school lunches…not so much? Maybe I’m in the minority, but the day-in, day-out effort of finding something nourishing that can be quickly prepared in the busy morning hours to entice a child’s palate can be a challenge. Leftovers are…

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Delicious Dinner Inspiration!

  Review by Kristina Sepetys Yummy Supper: 100 Fresh, Luscious, & Honest Recipes from a [Gluten-Free] Omnivore by Erin Scott (Rodale, 2014) Following from Scott’s award-winning blog of the same name, her new cookbook has the same clean, visual aesthetic and family-friendly recipes that emphasize naturally gluten-free ingredients to create easy, tasty meals. Scott likes…

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Summer Grilling: It’s all Fun and Flames!

  Reviews by Kristina Sepetys   People have been cooking with fire for thousands of years. Wood fires suggest comfort, fellowship, and celebration, and many chefs think they’re the best way to coax flavor out of foods. Whether you’re planning to grill up some goodness at a campsite, in your fireplace, over the grill on…

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It’s climate change, stupid.

  Reviews by Kristina Sepetys   Three new books use different lenses to examine climate change in the food and farming world. A fourth on summer grilling provides a recipe from a chef-author who lives the sustainability principles, working to restore our relationship with the ocean, the land, and community.   Local: The New Face…

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Meat: Slaughtering, Butchering, Curing,and Eating Like a Caveman

Reviews by Kristina Sepetys   Butchering Beef: The Comprehensive Photographic Guide to Humane Slaughtering and Butchering by Adam Danforth with foreward by Temple Grandin Butchering Poultry, Rabbit, Lamb, Goat, and Pork: The Comprehensive Photographic Guide to Humane Slaughtering and Butchering by Adam Danforth with foreward by Joel Salatin (Storey, 2014, paperback) In these two instructive…

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Blogger Cookbooks

  Reviews by Kristina Sepetys   According to Technorati, an Internet search engine for blogs, as of 2012 there were nearly 17,000 food blogs. One can only imagine how many more have debuted in the two years since. If they’re all publishing a recipe a day, that’s nearly seven million recipes per year! Some of…

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Cooking with Neighbors and Friends

  By Kristina Sepetys   As the weather warms and we spend more time outside and in our gardens, a chat over the garden fence becomes an impromptu bring-what-you-have dinner around the barbecue. Or a bounty of tender new produce discovered in the garden becomes an excuse to assemble a bowl of fresh-clipped greens and…

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A Hole Bunch of Good Book about Doughnuts!

Reviews by Kristina Sepetys   The Donut: History, Recipes, and Lore from Boston to Berlin by Michael Krondl (Chicago Press Review, 2014, paperback) One of the most recognized and beloved pastry treats, the doughnut dates back over 2000 years and can be found in a variety of jelly-covered, frosting-dipped, and sweetened forms throughout the world.…

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Cheese and Wine Book Reviews

Good reading to go with your wine and cheese! By Kristina Sepetys   The New California Wine: A Guide to the Producers and Wines Behind a Revolution in Taste by Jon Bonné (Ten Speed Press, 2013). On many favorites lists for 2013, this book by Bonné, the much-respected wine editor at the San Francisco Chronicle,…

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Root to Stalk Cooking

Root to Stalk Cooking: The Art of Using the Whole Vegetable by Tara Duggan (Ten Speed Press, 2013) Produce from the farmers’ market, a CSA, or your garden is usually so much more lush and bountiful than what you find at big supermarkets. Freshly cut or dug with full, robust greens, firm stalks, and long,…

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Real Food Fermentation

Real Food Fermentation: Preserving Whole Fresh Food with Live Cultures in Your Home Kitchen by Alex Lewin (Quarry Books, 2012) Real Food Fermentation is a helpful primer for beginners, offering practical skills for making cultured foods. Through step-by-step photographs, Lewin explains everything you need to know about the fermenting process, including how to choose the right tools…

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Put 'em Up!

Put ‘em Up! (Storey Publishing, 2010) and Put ‘em Up! Fruit (Storey Publishing, 2013) By Sherri Brooks Vinton Farmers and home gardeners are currently resting their hoes for a moment as they come up with strategies for putting up all the delicious late-season fruits and vegetables to hold on to those summer delights as long as possible.…

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South Italian Desserts

Southern Italian Desserts by Rosetta Costantino (Ten Speed Press, 2013) Review by Kristina Sepetys If you like your olive oil baked into delicious sweets of the Italian variety, grab a copy of the beautiful new cookbook, Southern Italian Desserts, by Rosetta Costantino. The 76 recipes from Costantino’s homeland in the very southern region of Italy…

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The Art of Fermentation

The Art of Fermentation: An In-Depth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes from Around the World by Sandor Ellix Katz (Chelsea Green, 2012) In his latest publishing effort, Katz outdoes the huge scope of his previous book by bringing us nearly 500 pages covering the history, concepts, and processes related to fermentation. You’ll find more narrative than…

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Preserving Wild Foods

Preserving Wild Foods: A Modern Forager’s Recipes for Curing, Canning, Smoking, and Pickling by Matthew Weingarten and Raquel Pelzel (Storey Publishing, 2012) Matthew Weingarten and Raquel Pelzel’s captivating book is focused on preserving wild ingredients foraged from the sea, fields, forests, fresh water, and even urban landscapes, so it covers more than just fermentation techniques. Inspired…

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Mastering Fermentation

Mastering Fermentation: Recipes for Making and Cooking with Fermented Foods by Mary Karlin (Ten Speed Press, 2013) This beautifully photographed guide offers more than 70 recipes covering a wide variety of lacto-fermented foods. You’ll be enticed by such concoctions as Plum-Raisin Mustard, Wild and Creamy Muenster Cheese, Worcestershire Sauce, Pickled Sardines with Fennel, and Ginger Mint Shrub.…

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