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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 elaborate, technically challenging sweets and what he describes as “a scientific approach to food and ingredients.” Purchese describes his new cookbook, Lamingtons & Lemon Tart, as one that “everyone can use,” with no super fancy ingredients and minimal special equipment necessary.
 
In a book filled with instructional color photographs and detailed text, Purchese takes classic desserts and puts his unique spin on them. His fruit-rich recipes work well for bakers in regions like ours, where abundantly available local ingredients can go into delicious combinations like hazelnut and chocolate; raspberry and rose; or almond, nectarine, and fig. Recipes are divided across eight chapters focusing on cakes, choux pastry, desserts, snacks, tarts, breakfast, confectionery, and frozen desserts. 
 
More than 250 pages of original recipes include tempting classic combinations like Jamaican Ginger Cake with Caramelized White Chocolate Ice Cream (Purchese loves everything caramelized); Banana, Chocolate, and Mango Bread served with chocolate ice cream; and Peanut Butter and Jam Chocolate Ice Cream Profiteroles.… Read More

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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. With a foreword by Michael Pollan, a charming layout, 150 illustrations (no photographs), lots of personal stories and anecdotes, and more narrative than recipes, Nosrat instructs readers on how to master four basic elements essential to good cooking: salt, fat, acid, and heat. Salt enhances flavor, fat delivers flavor and generates texture, acid balances flavor, and heat determines food texture. With the right balance, whatever you cook will be delicious.

Weighing in at over 450 pages, it’s a detailed book that includes 100 recipes and dozens of variations for putting the lessons into practice while preparing essentials like dressings, roasted vegetables, braised meats, and light, flaky pastry doughs. Especially engaging is the way Nosrat weaves together her cooking education and philosophy with her personal history—family outings, overseas travels, and work in the Chez Panisse kitchen. In Nosrat’s words, “This book will change the way you think about cooking and eating, and help you find your bearings in any kitchen, with any ingredients, while cooking any meal.”

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

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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 eating a meat-free diet. Her new book shares scientific and nutritional research regarding the negative effects on people and the environment caused by meat consumption. To give a human dimension to the facts she provides, Middleton presents stories of individuals who have changed their diets to eat lower on the food chain and shares her own advice for more plant-based eating.
 
Although it includes more than 60 recipes (no photographs or drawings), Meat-Less is less a cookbook than a book about the benefits—in terms of health, the environment, and sustainability—of eating less meat and fewer animal products. The small steps Middleton advocates for changing eating habits and behaviors, together with advice, tips, and recipes, will be helpful to anyone looking to make the transition to a diet with less meat.
 
Edible East Bay’s book editor Kristina Sepetys is eager to share her ideas and book recommendations with
our readers. 

 

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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 the terroir of a bee’s habitat influences both the color and flavor of the honey it produces, and how each honey has a different flavor profile that is best paired with certain ingredients. She includes over 60 sweet and savory recipes like Flatbread with Melted Manchego, Rosemary, and Honey; Honey, Scallion, and Cheddar Scones; Honey Glazed Beets with Cinnamon, Orange, and Mint; Roasted Eggplant Slices with Warmed Feta and Honey Drizzle; and Micki’s Special Honey Fudge Brownies. A comprehensive glossary describes 40 different varieties of honey.
 

Candy is Magic: Real Ingredients, Modern Recipes
By Jami Curl
Ten Speed Press, 2017

A candy-making cookbook from the owner of QUIN, a popular Portland-based candy company, features more than 200 recipes using natural ingredients including honey. Make marshmallows with honey and sea salt, lollipops with cherry honey vanilla, honey and hazelnut caramels, and dozens of other confections.… Read More

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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 a healthy, nutritious dinner easy and accessible for home cooks every night of the week. Each of the more than 200 beautifully photographed recipes in Dinner is a single flavorful dish, easily prepared on a busy weeknight. The book is organized by main ingredient and works well for cooking with seasonal produce. Special ingredients or finishes can make a standard dish really interesting, like charred lemon in pasta; creamy Caesar-style dressing on a bowl of grains; fresh ricotta and demerara sugar in macaroni and cheese; sheet-pan chicken laced with spicy harissa; curried lentils with poached eggs; and burgers made with chorizo. You’ll want to start at the beginning and cook through all the recipes in this practical book with recipes that can be managed by cooks of all levels.
 
Edible East Bay’s book editor Kristina Sepetys is eager to share her ideas and book recommendations with our readers. 

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Kristina’s Bookshelf

Food and Memory 

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 to tell a good story. In her latest effort, she’s turned her skills to creating a beautiful memoir and collection of recipes recounting the life of legendary California cookbook writer Paula Wolfert. 
 
Unforgettable explores Wolfert’s adventure-filled life and career, including her Brooklyn childhood, her travels through the Mediterranean, her life in New York and California, and her recent diagnosis with early dementia and Alzheimer’s. The book gives the backstory to Wolfert’s many achievements, sharing details from her personal life and drawing on interviews with Wolfert and dozens of food writers and chefs, from Alice Waters and Thomas Keller to Jacques Pépin. In addition to extensive biographical detail, the book features more than 50 of Wolfert’s best recipes, chosen from her nine cookbooks and numerous magazine articles. Most are gluten- and sugar-free and rich with fresh fruits and vegetables and lean meats, examples of the way Wolfert is currently cooking to support her brain health. 
 
Beginning in the 1970s, Wolfert traveled through Southwest France, Spanish Catalonia, Sicily, and the Middle East.… Read More

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Kristina’s Bookshelf

Gluten-Free: A New Normal? 

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 without celiac disease, allergies, or sensitivities are avoiding gluten, perhaps as a result of a choice to limit intake of processed carbohydrates. These days, most cookbooks and restaurants offer some gluten-free options, and cookbooks tend to provide a broader selection of recipes made with gluten-free grains or just fewer grain-based ingredients. Tartine All Day, from the co-owner of Tartine Bakery in San Francisco, delivers delicious, creative ways to eat gluten-free or make meals with reduced carbohydrates.

 

Tartine All Day: Modern Recipes for the Home Cook
by Elisabeth Prueitt
(Lorena Jones Books/Ten Speed Press, 2017)

Many East Bay residents know the much-loved San Francisco–based Tartine Bakery and Tartine Manufactory with its associated ice cream shop, Cookies & Cream. Co-owner Elisabeth Prueitt is in charge of producing all the delicious pastries and sweets while her husband, Chad Robertson, is responsible for producing the star-quality bread.… Read More

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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 greater variety of delicate, tender spring produce, like nettles and asparagus. A cookbook filled with recipes for preparing greens in creative, flavorful ways almost always attracts my interest, especially a collection that includes tips for preparing produce to maximize bioavailability of vitamins and minerals. 

Eat More Greens:
The Most Inventive Recipes to Help You Eat More Greens

by Zita Steyn
(Quadrille Publishing, 2017)

London-based nutritionist Zita Steyn wrote this cookbook for clients and friends who wanted to know how they could incorporate more greens (including sea greens) into their diets. Like many cookbook authors advocating less refined sugar, fewer empty carbohydrates, and more nutrient-density, Steyn works from beliefs that grew out of personal experience: Her mother learned to treat and manage symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome with a diet rich in dark, nutrient-dense greens. The recipes are simple, but Steyn uses intriguing combinations of herbs, spices, and fruits to give depth and complexity to her dishes.… Read More

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Kristina’s Bookshelf

Anything on a Taco

breddos-TACOS-images

 Breddos Tacos serves up unusual, creative combinations for tacos,
side dishes, and condiments.

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 little town of San Quintín on the Pacific side of Baja, Mexico; or lengua (beef tongue with salsa verde) from the Taqueria Sinaloa truck on International Boulevard in Oakland. But at home, I define “taco” loosely as just about anything wrapped in a corn tortilla, the great harmonizer of whatever meat, tofu, produce, or meal remnants happen to be kicking around in the kitchen. There’s no limit to the combinations of ingredients that taste good together piled on a tortilla and garnished with salsa, chili peppers, avocado, shredded cabbage, onion, fermented pickles, cilantro, and a splash of hot sauce. Here’s a book to get you started on your own home taco adventures.
 

Breddos Tacos: The Cookbook
by Nud Dudhia and Chris Whitney
(Quadrille Publishing, 2017)

Neither Nud Dudhia nor Chris Whitney are Mexican.… Read More

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Kristina’s Bookshelf

 

An Apple a Day . . .

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 Liver: A Proven Program to Prevent and
Reverse the New Silent Epidemic—Fatty Liver Disease 

by Kristin Kirkpatrick with Ibrahim Hanouneh 
(Da Capo Lifelong Books, 2017)

Award-winning dietitian Kristin Kirkpatrick and hepatologist Dr. Ibrahim Hanouneh explain all the ways we tax our livers (other than by drinking alcohol) and offer food strategies to eliminate toxins and improve general health. Fatty liver symptoms often don’t manifest until the liver is seriously compromised, so many people don’t even know they’re at risk. People with fatty liver disease are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, liver cirrhosis, and liver cancer. The authors set out a four-week program built around exercise, healthy eating, and other lifestyle changes designed to encourage optimal liver health. They include recipes for simple dishes like a Blackberry Freekeh Salad, Spicy Turkey Burgers, and Root Vegetable Gratin, as well as eating and exercise plans designed to boost liver health.… Read More

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