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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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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 deeply flavored, with a more interesting texture than is produced by standard all-purpose flours, making for a complex-tasting treat.

Alternative Baker: Reinventing Dessert with Gluten-Free Grains and Flours 
by Alanna Taylor-Tobin 
(Page Street Publishing, 2016)

San Francisco–based pastry chef, food stylist, and photographer Alanna Taylor-Tobin is the founder of the popular recipe website The Bojon Gourmet. Her latest cookbook features more than 100 recipes using gluten-free flours like corn, oat, chestnut, almond, buckwheat, sorghum, and others. These alternative grains possess a variety of intriguing characteristics that make for deeply flavorful baked goods. Headnotes to most of the recipes offer useful information about storage, complementary jams and other condiments, and suggestions for variations on the recipes. Find intriguing recipes like Roasted Banana Teff Scones with Muscovado Sugar Glaze; Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Matcha Cream Cheese Frosting; Mesquite Chocolate Cakes with Whipped Crème Fraîche and Raspberries; Chestnut Brownie Ice Cream Sundaes with Port-Roasted Strawberries; and Buckwheat Bergamot Double Chocolate Cookie.… Read More

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Kristina’s Bookshelf

Captivating Flowers, Perfumed Herbs, Curved Branches:
Love’s Truest Language

Harvest offers ideas for creating beautiful and delicious treats using items from your garden.

Harvest offers ideas for creating beautiful and delicious treats using items from your garden.

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 up into aromatic treatments and elixirs to excite the senses and welcome the early days of spring.

 

Harvest: Unexpected Projects Using 47 Extraordinary Garden Plants
by Stefani Bittner and Alethea Harampolis
(Ten Speed Press, 2017)

Authors Stefani Bittner and Alethea Harampolis own Homestead Design Collective, a local landscape design firm. The duo’s latest volume, filled with colorful photographs, describes how to grow 47 different plants and use them to create pantry staples, floral arrangements, fragrances, beverages, and beauty supplies. Lafayette resident Bittner also co-authored The Beautiful Edible Garden, and Harampolis co-founded floral design company Studio Choo and co-wrote The Flower Recipe Book and The Wreath Recipe Book. Organized by three gardening seasons, Harvest offers instructions for growing plants like cardoons, scented geranium, gem marigolds, Chilean guava, and chinotto orange to make lovely Marigold Bitters, Lemongrass Salt Scrub, Lilac Flower Cream, Vin D’Orange, Pickled Rhubarb, and Oregano-Infused Vinegar.… Read More

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Kristina’s Bookshelf

Celebrate the Year of the Rooster!

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 or ancient figure, or a special chili pepper or mushroom grown only in that village, or a pickle fermented with locally made wine or liquor. When I returned to the United States, I was disappointed to find that menus at many Chinese restaurants offered the same standard dozen or so dishes, often made from canned ingredients and heavy on the corn starch thickeners. In some measure, that was what their customers wanted. Thankfully, in the intervening 30 years, diners have become quite adventuresome and there are many more offerings to be had. One can find, particularly in this part of the country, restaurants specializing in a particular regional cuisine. And for cooks looking to prepare dishes themselves, items that were once considered exotic are now readily available. Many shops and markets offer ingredients (including seeds) to enable home cooks to prepare delicious, authentic dishes.… Read More

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Kristina’s Bookshelf

michaelablemanMeet 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 Sole Food Street Farms and founder of the nonprofit Center for Urban Agriculture, Ableman is also the subject of the award-winning PBS film Beyond Organic, narrated by Meryl Streep. As an urban and local foods system advocate, Ableman has created high-profile urban farms in Watts and Goleta, California, as well as in Vancouver. He’s also worked on and acted as an adviser for dozens of similar projects throughout North America and the Caribbean.

For over two decades, Michael Ableman has been telling the story of urban agriculture through his books: From the Good Earth, On Good Land, and Fields of Plenty. The scene of this new book, Street Farm, is the Low Track in Vancouver, British Columbia, noted as one of the worst urban slums in North America. Ableman narrates how the residents of this community worked to create an urban farm that could address chronic problems in their neighborhood.… Read More

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