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Kristina’s Bookshelf

Make Those Valentine Sweets Yourself!

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
By Kate Bradley
(Hardie Grant Books, 2018)

For super-sweet confections made without dairy or refined sugar, Kenkō Kitchen blogger Kate Bradley’s new cookbook is the place to go. The collection includes over 60 gluten-free, vegan, and plant-based recipes made from nuts, seeds, and fruits, all designed to be put together quickly. Her Bliss Balls, which include a chewy base of dried fruits combined with various spices, nuts, and seeds, require no cooking. Turkish Delight Bliss Balls can be prepared in 10 minutes from rosewater, dried cranberries, goji berries, dates, honey, and flax, all combined and rolled in crushed pistachio nuts. Date Night Truffles are made from Medjool dates, crunchy peanut butter, dark raw chocolate, and sea salt flakes or coconut “bacon.” Get Ya Glow On Bliss Balls, another no-cook delight, are made from seeds, bee pollen, cinnamon, turmeric, dates, and other tasty ingredients.… Read More

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   Dave Eggers Sets Out on a Bookmobile Tour

 

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 local bookstores in the two-day tour after their kick-off event at City Hall. See details above and read our review below . . .

Kristina’s Bookshelf

The Monk of Mokha 
By Dave Eggers 
(Knopf, 2018)  

Given the breadth of topics Dave Eggers has addressed in his fiction and nonfiction work, it would seem there’s no subject he can’t write about. Following the success of his early work, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, which chronicles his experience raising his younger brother in Berkeley after his parents died, Eggers has gone on to pen more than a dozen books on subjects that range from the life of a Syrian-American house painter in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (Zeitoun), to the Lost Boys of Sudan (What is the What), to life in a tech start-up in Silicon Valley (The Circle).

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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 in conversation with writer Gordon Edgar, cheese buyer at San Francisco’s Rainbow Grocery Cooperative (the country’s largest retail worker co-op) at the Commonwealth Club. Cost: Non-members $35, Members $20, Students $10. Info and tickets: here or 415.597.6705
 
How Hippie Food Changed the Way We Eat: a Talk with Jonathan Kaufman on his new book
Tuesday January 30, 5:30pm (check-in), 6:30pm (program and book signing)
The Commonwealth Club
110 The Embarcadero, San Francisco

Kristina’s Bookshelf

Hippie Food: How Back-to-the-Landers, Longhairs,
and Revolutionaries Changed the Way We Eat
 
by Jonathan Kauffman 
(William Morrow, 2018)  

 
There was a time in the U.S. when dishes prepared with ingredients like tofu, whole grains, alfalfa sprouts, lentils, wheat germ, and even yogurt might have been described as “hippie food.” It was because they were thought to be foods enjoyed only by “counter culture” types with nontraditional tastes.… Read More
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Kristina’s Bookshelf

Comfort in a Deep, Round Dish

 
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 not, wonderfully frugal.” Head out to the market and stock up on heritage grains and beans, leafy greens, aromatic herbs, and some nice cuts of meat or fish, mix up a flavorful dressing, and settle in. If you really want to make your meal special, find an attractive, hand-thrown pottery bowl from a local artisan like Sarah Kersten Studio, Jered’s Pottery, or the Berkeley Potters Guild.
 


Bowls of Plenty:
Recipes for Healthy and Delicious Whole-Grain Meals

By Carolynn Carreno
(Grand Central Life & Style, 2017)

More than 75 grain-centric meals using hearty grains like quinoa, farro, millet, and spelt as the base for a variety of combinations of flavorful ingredients.

 

 

 

 

Nourish Bowls: Simple and Nutritious Balanced Meals in a Bowl
By Quadrille Publishing
(Quadrille Publishing, 2017)

Filling recipes for vegetable, meat, and fish bowls layered over greens, rather than carbs, together with guidance for creating balanced, nutritional combinations.… Read More

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Kristina’s Bookshelf

Finding Inspiration from Afar
 
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 parts of the world. Hardie Grant is an Australian press that publishes handsome books, including the two below, which I’ve been cooking from a lot in recent weeks.
 

The Tivoli Road Baker:
Recipes and Notes from a Chef Who Chose Baking

By Michael James with Pippa James
(Hardie Grant Books, 2017)
 
If you’ve been to Melbourne, you may have visited the small, much-loved Tivoli Road Bakery. If you haven’t been there, you can experience the restaurant at home through the cookbook, The Tivoli Road Baker, by owner and British-born pastry chef Michael James and his wife Pippa James. I particularly enjoyed it for the seasonal recipes and “British Bakes,” which include traditional Cornish pasties; Eccles cake; a scone recipe flavored with sultanas, buttermilk, and lemon zest; and a treacle and vanilla salt tart. Their sausage roll with pork, caramelized apples, and fennel, a shop standard, is an especially good savory. A handful of hearty, flavorful salad recipes, mainly relying on beans and grains, include combinations like roasted pumpkin and chickpea with barberries, feta, and dukkah.… Read More

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Kristina’s Bookshelf

Ottolenghi Cooks Sweet

It was hard to choose among the many delightful options at Yotam Ottolenghi’s cafe. Photos: Charlotte Peale.

 

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 from London out to Ottolenghi Islington. On arriving at this wonderful eatery, with its long communal tables bathed in natural light, we found glorious savories and alluring baked goods set out in sumptuous array among fresh flowers and greenery. After we selected two or three items (a hard choice with all the tempting options), the food was plated and delivered to our table. We chose from quiches, savory pastries and cakes, salads, and vegetables, all tossed, baked, roasted, or served with rich mixes of curries, cardamom, chilies, lemongrass, za’atar, sumac, dukkah, ruby-red pomegranate arils, full-bodied grains, fresh yogurt, cheeses, and a myriad of other delicacies. The abundant, colorful spread was as beautiful as it was delicious.
 
But the sweets—studded, sprinkled, and flavored with rose petals, pistachios, saffron, dark chocolates, cinnamon, aniseed, coffee, cardamom, and orange blossoms—were a whole different order of wonderful.… Read More

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Kristina’s Bookshelf

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 has much more to offer to anyone interested in food culture and history. Justin Spring’s biography chronicles six eclectic individuals, some cooks and some food and wine writers, whose lives and careers intersected in mid-twentieth-century France and in turn influenced how Americans came to cook and eat.
 
The six—A. J. Liebling, Alice B. Toklas, M. F. K. Fisher, Julia Child, Alexis Lichine, and Richard Olney—came to Paris and food from different backgrounds. Liebling was a war correspondent, reporter, and humorist; Toklas was Gertrude Stein’s life partner who reinvented herself at age 75 as a cookbook author; Fisher was a storyteller; Child was a cookbook author and television food celebrity; Lichine was a French wine importer and merchant; and Olney was a food and wine writer.
 
Spring describes the lives of these six epicures living and working along the Left Bank after World War II and during the 1950s, elaborating on the way in which their work served to popularize French cuisine in America.… Read More

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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 Italian foods, he focuses on the ingredients and preparations that can make Italian food so special and distinctive.
 
The 364 pages include a forward by Ina Garten, one of many chefs Beramendi has taken to Italy to meet the families and farmers from whom he buys his inventory. San Francisco photographer Laurie Frankel supplies colorful images of Italian landscapes, food, friends, and family. Extensive sections on what to include in your pantry are particularly helpful. Learn about the differences in canned tomatoes, the special taste of Sicilian pistachios, and the seven basic tools a cook should have on hand for preparing these recipes (Beramendi is a minimalist).
 
Among the 120 recipes, you’ll find Tellicherry Black Pepper Beef Stew, Pork Belly with Wild Fennel (includes more of those Tellicherry peppercorns found in many of Beramendi’s dishes), Risotto with Radicchio, and a lamb stew redolent with a rich mix of spices.… Read More

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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 the Artichoke, and One Good Dish, know that he likes fresh, high-quality ingredients simply prepared. His latest book, which takes its name from the French expression la cuisine du marché, is about cooking with what looks best at the market and, “letting the natural flavors of the ingredients shine.”
 
Tanis likes his garlic, onions, and scallion and features them both in dishes of their own and as flavorings for more complex combinations. The book is organized by vegetable types and includes a mix of recipes easily prepared on a weeknight. In his Broccoli Rabe Lasagne, Tanis pairs the broccoli’s tasty bitterness with a pungent garlic pesto. A Turkish Spoon Salad is spicy, flavored with lemon juice, sumac, pistachio, and juicy pomegranate seeds and molasses. Improved Creamed Corn is made better than the traditional cream-intense dish with the addition of cumin, jalapeño, and crème fraîche.… Read More

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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 ScoopThe Sweet Life in Paris, and three others, and creator of a popular food and living blog at davidlebovitz.com. Lebovitz’s departure after 13 years from Chez Panisse took him to Paris, where he lived for ten years in a rental before deciding to buy his own place. In his latest book, the author details with humor and the keen eye of a traveler his real estate ownership odyssey—including a lot of misadventures and mishaps—buying and renovating his new apartment together with his partner, Romain. The book includes about two dozen recipes, each included to illustrate a story: His Swedish Chocolate-Oatmeal Cookies were inspired by a meltdown during a frustrating visit to IKEA, and his delightfully toothsome Plum Raspberry Gratin is a recipe devised to bake in a toaster oven during renovations. An easy read, this book is sure to amuse and entertain any cook who’s ever undertaken a kitchen remodel or imagined living in Paris.
 
Meet Author David Lebovitz and sample flavors from his new book:

Thursday November 16, 6pm
Rakestraw Books
3 Railroad Ave, Danville
Info: here
 
Friday November 17, 4–6pm
Market Hall Foods Rockridge
5655 College Ave, Oakland
Info: here

Edible East Bay’s book editor Kristina Sepetys is eager to share her ideas and book recommendations with our readers. 

 
 
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