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Kristina’s Bookshelf

Kids in the Kitchen

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 policy and program development for the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation, co-founding the Berkeley Food Institute, producing UC Berkeley’s Edible Education course with Michael Pollan, heading up Alice Waters’ Edible Schoolyard Project, and founding the Charlie Cart Project, a nonprofit that provides curricula and other resources for food education in schools. On top of that, she has two kids of her own. In short, she knows a lot about how to teach children about food and what’s good to eat.

New Favorites for New Cooks is suitable for kids of all ages and includes tasty recipes together with advice for choosing the best ingredients and the most valuable tips and tricks for using a knife. The Introduction contains excellent guidance like “Read the whole recipe before getting started,” “If a word or ingredient is unfamiliar, look it up,” and the all-important “Wash your hands.” Recipes are easily managed by young cooks and satisfy their appetites, likes, and dislikes, but also appeal to adult sensibilities.… Read More

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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 about building community around food, and suggest world music tracks and books to enhance the cooking and eating experience. Find recipes like Smashed Potatoes, Peas, and Corn with Chile-Garlic Oil, a recipe inspired by the Kenyan dish irio; Cinnamon-Soaked Wheat Berry Salad with dried apricots, carrots, and almonds, based on a Moroccan tagine; and Crispy Teff and Grit Cakes with Eggplant, Tomatoes, and Peanuts, combining the Ethiopian grain teff with stone-ground corn grits from the Deep South and North African zalook dip. Finish meals with desserts like a Caribbean-inspired Cocoa Spice Cake with Crystallized Ginger and Coconut-Chocolate Ganache.



Smashed Potatoes, Peas and Corn,
with Chile-Garlic Oil

Reprinted with permission from Afro-Vegan by Bryant Terry, copyright © 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. Photography © 2014 by Paige Green

YIELD: 4 to 6 servings

SOUNDTRACK: “Ndiri Ndanogio Niwe” by Mbiri Young Stars from Kenya Special: Selected East African Recordings from the 1970s & 80s

Smashed-Potatoes,-Peas-and-Corn,-with-Chile-Garlic-Oil2CHILE-GARLIC OIL
4 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1/3 cup peanut oil
1 large clove garlic, minced

3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 ½ teaspoons coarse sea salt
12 small yellow potatoes (about 2 inches in diameter)
2 ½ cups shelled green peas (about 2½ pounds fresh peas in the pod)
2 ¼ cups sweet corn kernels (from about 3 ears of corn)
¼ cup packed chopped flat-leaf parsley
Freshly ground white pepper

To make the chile oil, put the red pepper flakes in a small heatproof bowl.… Read More

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Kristina’s Bookshelf

Black Women, Food, and Publishing

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 panel including Tracye McQuirter, author of the just-published Ageless Vegan: The Secret to Living a Long and Healthy Plant-Based Life, chef and blogger Jenné Claiborne, author Jerrelle Guy (Black Girl Baking), and Rachel Bolden-Kramer (My Foodstamps Cookbook). Cost: $20 general admission; $15 MoAD members. Info and tickets: here

Black Women, Food, and Publishing
Saturday July 7, 2–5pm
Museum of African Diaspora Salon
685 Mission St, San Francisc0

Read Kristina Sepetys’ interview with Bryant Terry on food justice and inspired vegan cooking: here

Read Kristina’s review of his book Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean & Southern Flavors Remixed including Bryant’s recipe for Smashed Potatoes, Peas and Corn, with Chile-Garlic Oil: here


Ageless Vegan:
The Secret to Living a Long and Healthy Plant-Based Life

By Tracye McQuirter (author) and Mary McQuirter (contributor)
Da Capo Lifelong Books, 2018

Longtime vegan educator and public health nutritionist Tracye McQuirter teams up with her mother, Mary, to present 100 of their favorite whole food, plant-based recipes, together with advice for preparing nutritionally balanced meals.… Read More

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Kristina’s Bookshelf

A Big Pig and a Small Press

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. Rather than focus on big bestsellers, they can publish shorter books that experiment with form and offer content that might be viewed risky by larger publishing houses. Edible East Bay has reviewed many books from small local presses like Parallax Press, Ulysses Press, and Counterpoint Press, in part because their focus on niche topics and individuals often lines up with the magazine’s focus on hyper-local, seasonal food and the people who
produce it.

Spring the Rescue Pig
By Leslie Crawford
(Stone Pier Press, 2018)
Sprig the Rescue Pig is the first book published by Stone Pier Press (SPP), a new San Francisco–based nonprofit small press focusing on environmental books and food systems. The press is partnered with Chelsea Green Publishing, a publisher in Vermont that will distribute books produced by SPP.
Sprig, intended for children ages 4 to 7, is the first in a series on farm animals.… Read More

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Kristina’s Bookshelf

Look Sharp

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 San Francisco specializing in all things knife. Owner Josh Donald is now opening an Oakland outpost, and if that weren’t enough to excite East Bay cooks, he’s also just published a comprehensive guide to knives featuring 15 recipes from notable chefs. Sharp has been described as “a knife skills class in book form.” It highlights dishes enhanced by specific knife cuts and also provides an overview and history of some of the best knives from around the world, with advice on how to purchase, care for, and use them. I particularly enjoyed the book’s introduction as Donald (a native Los Angeleno) describes his childhood fascination with knives and how that passion took him around the world and into his retail business. Although the book will certainly have wide appeal, it’s a particularly valuable resource for locals who appreciate all that Bernal Cutlery and its specialists have to offer.… Read More

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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 1980s. We loved these guides because they recommended great places—many off the beaten track—to stay, eat, and explore on the cheap. Written in a candid, opinionated style, like a friend giving advice, they were a refreshing contrast to more mainstream guidebooks dispensing general advice to reach as large an audience as possible. The Lonely Planet books were bibles for travelers with little money but lots of curiosity. Although my days staying in $2 group dormitories with shared bathrooms are mostly behind me, my interest in local, personal, and authentic are not. I often find myself wishing for guidebooks like those old favorites, written with the candor of real people with specific interests.

Author Minchilli divides her time between Rome and Umbria, blogs about eating in Rome, and has created a phone app called Eat Italy. She also runs well-attended and highly regarded local food tours in Italy, if the more than 100 reviews on are any indication. 

The author of nine books about Italian life, Minchilli writes in her latest guidebook about how to eat well in Italy.… Read More

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Kristina’s Bookshelf

New World Peppers

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 white banners along the top. Oaktown Spice Shop (on Solano in Berkeley and across from Lake Merritt in Oakland) also carries a wide selection of dried and ground peppers. Their constantly changing selection typically includes one or two dozen varieties, like the fruity, all-purpose aji amarillo and aji panca; New Mexican green chilis; and the chile pasilla de Oaxaca, a smoke-dried pepper that cooks love for its deep flavor. Oaktown helpfully puts a Scoville heat listing on the packaging for most of their peppers. I’ve used some of the better-known varieties like chipotle and chile negro, hydrating them in warm water and then pulsing them in the blender or food processor to add to soups and salsas. But I’ve wondered about the flavors and uses of some of the others, so I’m pleased to see this new book.
Maricel El Presilla’s Peppers of the Americas is a useful volume for anyone who would like to know more about the fruits of the capsicum family.… Read More

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Kristina’s Bookshelf

San Francisco’s Unique Flavors

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 some of the drinks and dishes associated with San Francisco. Among the more than 30 recipes inspired by our beautiful local produce or served at iconic San Francisco eateries, you’ll find the popular Mai Tai drink, which originated at Trader Vic’s, the Bay Area’s original tiki bar; Irish Coffee from Buena Vista Cafe; the Gilroy Garlic Fries sold at Giants baseball games; Crab Louie from Swan Oyster Depot on Nob Hill; Roast Chicken with Arugula and Bread Salad from Zuni Café; and Balsamic Strawberry Ice Cream, inspired by a Bi-Rite Creamery recipe that makes use of the jewel-like strawberries found in farmers’ markets this time of year. Colorful, winsome illustrations by Courtney Jentzen capture the fruits and vegetables used in the dishes as well as the mood and spirit of San Francisco and its landmarks. A perfect gift for someone from out of town or anyone who would enjoy some of the spirit and flavor of the Bay Area.… Read More

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Kristina’s Bookshelf

Explore New Tastes from Near and Far

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 East Bay and beyond. She chronicled her visits and discoveries at “the Bowl,” as it is known locally, in her popular blog My Berkeley Bowl, trying many of the hundreds of exotic fruits and vegetables she’d see at the market but didn’t know how to use. Now, she’s assembled many of her best recipes in her new cookbook to encourage readers to try cooking with things like the wiry haired fruits called rambutan; crunchy, spindly sea beans; African horned melon; and Indian bitter melon. Recipes are original, tasty, and easily prepared in a few steps. Try options like Matcha Mousse with Opal Basil Syrup; Banana Blossom with Glass Noodles and Crispy Garlic; Grilled Cheese with Mizuna, Dates, and Goat Brie; Green Garlic Soup with Lemon Cardamom Yogurt; and Sweet & Sour Tofu with Gooseberry. I quite liked Falafel Waffles with Armenian Cucumber Slaw.… Read More

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Kristina’s Bookshelf

Growing Food as a Way of Life


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; perennial herbs; tomatoes; summer greens; winter greens; hardy greens; root vegetables; cucumbers and summer squash; pods and beans; edible perennials; berries; and edible flowers and companion plants. Murphy, a garden designer and teacher living in Mill Valley, maintains that the simple act of growing things yourself opens the door to making other changes, like connecting with nature. Murphy keeps a food and garden blog called Pass the Pistil. The book includes some of her best recipes, like Greens and Fresh Herb Toasts; Best-Ever Blueberry Pie; and Spring Greens with Jicama, Cilantro, and Lime. A nice volume for anyone looking for inspiration and motivation to start a garden.
The author presents Grow What You Love: 12 Food Plant Families to Change Your Life in a hands-on demonstration to celebrate Earth Day. To reserve your seat, purchase the book in advance by calling 510.704.8222 or ordering online: here
Meet Emily Murphy at Mrs.… Read More

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