Archive | Bookshelf

Delicious Dinner Inspiration!


Review by Kristina Sepetys

Yummy SupperYummy Supper: 100 Fresh, Luscious, & Honest Recipes
from a [Gluten-Free] Omnivore
by Erin Scott
(Rodale, 2014)
Following from Scott’s award-winning blog of the same name, her new cookbook has the same clean, visual aesthetic and family-friendly recipes that emphasize naturally gluten-free ingredients to create easy, tasty meals. Scott likes to experiment and cook with greens, herbs, and citrus harvested from her backyard garden. Sample her fresh, seasonal recipes like Watermelon Punch with Fresh Lime and Mint, Poached Eggs with Lemony Spinach & Crispy Hash Browns, Parmesan Polenta with Garlicky Rapini and Black Olives, and Peanut Butter Cups with Dark Chocolate and Flaky Sea Salt.

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Summer Grilling: It’s all Fun and Flames!


Reviews by Kristina Sepetys


People have been cooking with fire for thousands of years. Wood fires suggest comfort, fellowship, and celebration, and many chefs think they’re the best way to coax flavor out of foods. Whether you’re planning to grill up some goodness at a campsite, in your fireplace, over the grill on your deck, or in a cob oven, you’ll find lots of inspiration in these titles.



Cooking with FireCooking with Fire: From Roasting on a Spit to Baking in a Tannur, Rediscovered Techniques and Recipes that Capture the Flavors of Wood-Fired Cooking
by Paula Marcoux
(Storey, 2014)

Marcoux, a food historian and wood-fired cooking enthusiast, shares 100 recipes for preparing all manner of dishes, from meat and fish to breads and beverages. She begins with simple techniques, like cooking with live fire and food on a stick, and progresses to spits, skewers, grills, planks, pots, pans, griddles, and other more elaborate structures that harness heat and maximize flavor.



The Great OutdoorsSunset’s The Great Outdoors Cookbook:
Adventures in Cooking Under the Open Sky

by the editors of Sunset Magazine
(Oxmoor House, 2014)

More than 200 step-by-step, well-illustrated recipes and instructions for out-of-doors cooking adventures, including foods for the backpack, plants to forage, and techniques for using campfires, grills, smokers, Dutch and solar ovens, camp stoves, cauldrons, fire pits, and outdoor and pizza ovens.… Read More

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It’s climate change, stupid.


Reviews by Kristina Sepetys


Three new books use different lenses to examine climate change in the food and farming world. A fourth on summer grilling provides a recipe from a chef-author who lives the sustainability principles, working to restore our relationship with the ocean, the land, and community.


LocalLocal: The New Face of Food and Farming in America
by Douglas Gayeton
(Harper Design, June 2014)

Petaluma-based Gayeton, artist and co-director of the Lexicon of Sustainability project, examines local food movements and the way they can address climate change. Gayeton asked hundreds of thought leaders in sustainable food and farming like Alice Waters, Temple Grandin, Barton Seaver, Vandana Shiva, and Joel Salatin, along with farmers, fishermen, and dairy producers to give him one word to define the essence of their work. Their answers, more than 200 food and agriculture terms like “food miles,” “direct trade,” and “grassfed,” comprise this very readable, well-photographed dictionary of food literacy. Says Gayeton, “If people know what terms mean, if they can see complex principles rendered simply, in ways that apply to their own lives, if they can visualize not only a complex idea but its solution, then a transformative conversation about climate change will follow.”


Sustainable (R)evolutionSustainable [R]evolution: Permaculture in Ecovillages, Urban Farms, and Communities Worldwide
by Juliana Birnbaum and Louis Fox
(North Atlantic Books, 2014)

Anthropologist Juliana Birnbaum and filmmaker Louis Fox examine permaculture activism to document the growing international sustainability movement.… Read More

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Make Your Own Ice Creams and Desserts Using the East Bay’s Bountiful Summer Harvest! 


Review by Kristina Sepetys


Jenis Splendid Ice CreamJeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts
by Jeni Britton Bauer
(Artisan, 2014)

I’ve just returned from Nashville, and one of the many wonderful things I enjoyed was ice cream from Jeni’s Splendid. Author and proprietress Jeni Britton Bauer spins flavors like Askinosie Dark Milk Chocolate, Goat Cheese with Red Cherries, Wildberry Lavender, and Yazoo Sue with Rosemary Bar Nuts from whole, seasonal fruits, herbs, and nuts. Bauer began making ice cream in 1996 and now has shops throughout the Midwest and a thriving mail-order business. You can find her cold treats locally at the Pasta Shop, Andronico’s, Berkeley Bowl, and Safeway. Or grab one of her books and concoct her sweet treats yourself. Her latest, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts, follows her James Beard Award-winning Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home and includes flavors like Chamomile Chardonnay and Sweet Basil with Honeyed Pine Nuts, as well as cakes, tarts, biscuits, and other toothsome treats to pair with her ice creams. Try sundae combinations with sauces like Whiskey Caramel or Honey Spiked with Chilies. Her signature crunchy “gravels” (crumbly sundae toppings), like Salty Graham Gravel, are a wonderful finishing touch. And in case ice-cream making seems too ambitious, store-bought ice cream can be used for all the desserts in the book.… Read More

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Meat: Slaughtering, Butchering, Curing,and Eating Like a Caveman

Butchering Beef

Reviews by Kristina Sepetys


Butchering Beef: The Comprehensive Photographic Guide to Humane Slaughtering and Butchering
by Adam Danforth with foreward by Temple Grandin

Butchering Poultry, Rabbit, Lamb, Goat, and Pork:
The Comprehensive Photographic Guide to Humane Slaughtering and Butchering
by Adam Danforth with foreward by Joel Salatin
(Storey, 2014, paperback)

Butchering PoultryIn these two instructive texts, Adam Danforth shows you how to humanely slaughter and butcher cattle, poultry, rabbits, sheep, pigs, and goats, from creating the right pre-slaughter conditions to killing, skinning, keeping the meat cold, breaking the meat down, and creating cuts of meat you’ll recognize from the market. He also covers food safety, freezing and packaging, and tools and equipment. This comprehensive reference is an excellent guide for those who want to successfully, safely, and humanely slaughter and butcher an animal.




CharcuteriaCharcutería: The Soul of Spain
by Jeffrey Weiss
(Agate Surrey, 2014)

If you love cured Spanish meats like chorizo, morcilla, and jamón, the acorn-scented centerpiece of Spain’s charcutería, this book will teach you how to prepare them. Weiss, a professional chef, introduces authentic Spanish butchering and meat-curing techniques, together with more than 100 traditional Spanish recipes and straightforward illustrations providing easy-to-follow steps for amateur and professional butchers, and lovely full-color photography of savory dishes, Iberian countryside, and centuries-old Spanish cityscapes.… Read More

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Blogger Cookbooks


Reviews by Kristina Sepetys


According to Technorati, an Internet search engine for blogs, as of 2012 there were nearly 17,000 food blogs. One can only imagine how many more have debuted in the two years since. If they’re all publishing a recipe a day, that’s nearly seven million recipes per year! Some of the most popular food blogs have been created by home cooks without professional training. Though perhaps short on schooling and commercial kitchen experience, these bloggers are long on life experience and often really good storytellers. They have a distinct voice or special interest (pastry, gardening, specialized diets, the out-of-doors, relationship navigation), and include lots of lovely photographs; colorful, personal narratives; and tasty recipes that use fresh ingredients. Dishes are generally designed to enhance family life, spark social gatherings, or celebrate the seasons or holidays. As time passes, blogs evolve, recipes accumulate, and some writers move from the blogosphere into print. Below are some notable cookbook offerings from popular bloggers that use seasonal produce easily available to East Bay residents.


the Forest FeastThe Forest Feast: Simple Vegetarian
Recipes from My Cabin in the Woods

by Erin Gleeson
(Stewart, Tabori, & Chang, April 2014)

Food photographer Erin Gleeson and her husband moved from New York City into a tiny cabin in the woods south of San Francisco.… Read More

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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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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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