Archive | Bookshelf

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 invite the neighbors to come by and break bread over a pot of something warm. Below are some new titles to inspire your community building. Happy spring!


Soup-NightSoup Night: Recipes for Creating Community Around a Pot of Soup
by Maggie Stuckey
(Storey Publishing, 2013).

Cookbook author Maggie Stuckey explains the history of the wildly successful soup night she started in her Portland neighborhood and shares practical tips and nearly 100 recipes for starting your own soup night. On a regular, fixed night of the week, the host provides two or three pots of soup. Guests bring their own dishes and silverware, and perhaps a salad or some bread. Neighbors get to know each other by name, people of all ages connect and socialize, and the neighborhood becomes friendlier and safer.


Soup's On!The 30-Minute Vegan: Soup’s On! More than 100
Quick and Easy Recipes for Every Season

by Mark Reinfeld
(De Capo Lifelong Books, 2013).… Read More

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A Hole Bunch of Good Book about Doughnuts!

Reviews by Kristina Sepetys


the-donutThe 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. In this delightful and toothsome guide to all things doughnut, Michael Krondl, culinary historian and chef, presents an entertaining history of the doughnut across time and cultures. Krondl also offers a mix of recipes and color photos of the more international varieties like Chocolate-Glazed Bismarcks with Marshmallow Filling, Nutella Bombolocini, Frittelle di Carnevale, and Dulce de Leche Raised Donuts with a Salty Caramel Glaze.


Techniques and Recipes for Making Sublime Doughnuts in Your Home Kitchen

by Kamal Grant
(Quarry Books, 2014)

Doughnut shop owner Kamal Grant shares step-by-step instructions for making creative, delicious doughnuts in your home kitchen. You’ll find simple, clear, well-photographed doughnut-making techniques, including rolling the dough, cutting, hand shaping, frying, and more. Experiment with dough formulas for yeast doughnuts, cake doughnuts, gluten-free, funnel cakes, fritters, biscuit-style doughnuts, and pie crusts to fry paired with a variety of creative glazes, ices, and fillings.… Read More

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Cheese and Wine Book Reviews

Good reading to go with your wine and cheese!

By Kristina Sepetys


TheNewCaliforniaWineThe 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, presents a comprehensive narrative on the California wine industry and its young, innovative producers who are challenging the rules of traditional winemaking.



TheGreenVineThe Green Vine:
A Guide to West Coast Sustainable, Organic, and Biodynamic Wineries

by Shannon Borg
(Skipstone/Mountaineers Books, 2013).

Borg explains what’s involved with sustainable wine-making and looks at the West Coast vintners relying upon such practices. Wine Spectator calls it “a book for eco-minded foodies who want to learn more about wine, or for wine lovers who’ve decided it’s time to know more about sustainable, organic, and biodynamic winegrowing.”



Launched in the fall of 2014, PUNCH is an online magazine devoted to wine, cocktails, and spirits. In a publishing collaboration with Berkeley’s Ten Speed Press, Brooklyn-based Talia Baiocchi (editor in chief) and Leslie Pariseau (deputy editor) bring stories and photos about alcoholic drinks together with dispatches from places around the globe where intriguing drinks are being produced, mixed, and consumed.… Read More

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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 and ingredients.

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Root to Stalk Cooking

Root-to-Stalk-243x300Root 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, curled roots, the vegetables still smell of the soil that nurtured them. You can almost feel the warm sunshine on the leaves. These full-bodied fruits and vegetables are so beautiful, you don’t want to waste anything. But sadly, I often do. Without inspiration or instruction, I sometimes find myself at a loss for creative ways to use the lovely and nutrient-rich parts that most often are discarded: feathery carrot greens or fennel tops, for instance, or those robust peppery leaves of the radish.

So I’m delighted for all the inspiration in the new book, Root to Stalk Cooking: The Art of Using the Whole Vegetable, from San Francisco Chronicle food writer Tara Duggan, who provides 65 recipes. Readers will enjoy close-up, appetizing photography by Clay McLachlan and nearly 200 pages of tips and guidance for transforming trimmings into tasty dishes and drinks like Apple Peel Bourbon, Beet Greens Strata, and Chard Stalk Hummus.… Read More

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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 include confections like Pitta ‘Mpigliata (pastry rosettes filled with walnuts, raisins, and cinnamon), Calzoncelli Con i Ceci (fried half-moon pastries filled with a chickpea-chocolate filling), Fichi Secchi al Cioccolato (chocolate-dipped dried figs filled with almonds and candied orange peel), and La Deliziosa (sandwich cookies filled with hazelnut cream). Besides olive oil, the recipes call for ingredients easily available to us in superlative form in Northern California: figs, honey, pistachios, almonds, cherries, persimmons, and citrus. Note that the simple and in some cases minimal, ingredients belie the complexity in both taste and preparation for many of these desserts.

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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. Author Sherri Brooks Vinton offers some excellent tips for drying, freezing, canning, and pickling in her two well-organized and information-packed books, Put ‘Em Up! and Put ‘Em Up! Fruit. You’ll find dozens of recipes for dried and frozen fruits, chutneys, gastriques, infusions, jams, pickles, salsas, vinegars, and delicious combinations like Blueberry Ketchup, Pear and Honey Preserves, Peach Melba Compote, Grapefruit Sections in Lavender Syrup, and Dried Orange Zest

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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 recipes, but this is possibly the most comprehensive, highly readable book on the subject available.

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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 by his love of the natural world and walks through the woods, chef-author Weingarten shares more than 60 recipes. Ferments include things like Pickled Fiddlehead Ferns, Pickled Garlic Scapes, and Lactic-Fermented Mixed Pickles. The interest in lesser-known and -used plants like Irish moss and stinging nettle, combined with evocative photographs, storytelling, history, lore, and descriptions of centuries-old preservation techniques make the book a transporting and delightful read. chamois

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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. Author Mary Karlin, a Bay Area resident, presents straightforward recipes that home cooks can easily master to create delicious fermented condiments, beverages, breads, cheeses, fruits, and vegetables.

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