Archive | Bookshelf

Reset and Recharge with Clean, Healthy Meals

Book reviews by Kristina Sepetys


Clean Soups: Simple, Nourishing Recipes for Health and Vitality
by Rebecca Katz
(Ten Speed Press, 2016)

Nothing sounds more appealing in this chilly weather than a steaming bowl of soup. Chef and author Rebecca Katz shares 60 recipes for flavorful, cleansing soups made from wholesome stocks to help you detox and stay energized.



Run Fast. Eat Slow. Nourishing Recipes for Athletes
by Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky
(Rodale Books, 2016)

Hungry runners want delicious, wholesome meals to feed their bellies and fuel their runs. From world-class marathoner and Olympian Shalane Flanagan and chef Elyse Kopecky, a runner’s cookbook with more than 100 recipes without refined sugar and flour. 



The Naked Cookbook
by Tess Ward
(Ten Speed Press, 2016)

This small book with a plain cardboard cover and exposed binding features 60 simple and flavorful recipes composed of nutrient-rich ingredients, as well as a chapter on detoxing. Delicious, simple, low carb, refined sugar–free dishes support and fuel the body and encourage good health. 



The Perfect Blend: 100 Blender Recipes to Energize and Revitalize
by Tess Masters
(Ten Speed Press, 2016)

Blogger Tess Masters’s new cookbook is filled with recipes and tips for a more vibrant and healthy life with improved energy, boosted immunity, and reduced inflammation.… Read More

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Meet the Sea Forager

The Sea Forager’s Guide to the Northern California Coast
by Kirk Lombard with illustrations by Leighton Kelly 
(Heyday Books, 2016)

Author and fisherman Kirk Lombard shares fish-filled tales
at the Berkeley Public Library:
Saturday January 7, 2–3:30pm
3rd Floor Community Meeting Room 
2090 Kittredge St, Berkeley
Event info: here

Book review by Kristina Sepetys

Moss Beach resident Kirk Lombard is many things: writer, teacher, musician, actor, blogger, raconteur, commercial fisherman, puppet master, tenor, baseball historian, and maker of giant papier mâché faces. Having spent nearly a decade working for the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, he’s also passionate about marine resources. Together with his wife, Camilla Lombard, he founded Sea Forager Tours and Sustainable Seafood Subscription (a Community Supported Fishery program). On his “fun and crazy” San Francisco tours, he pulls out edible fish and seafood from local urban waters and discusses local regulations, sustainability, and the history of local fisheries, among other topics.
In his new book, The Sea Forager’s Guide to the Northern California Coast, Lombard’s enthusiasm of our local marine environments shines brightly. He combines his deep knowledge and experience with wry humor and colorful storytelling to profile the many species of fish and seafood found locally as he guides readers’ quests to hook fish, dig clams, and pick seaweed.… Read More

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Spirited New Year’s Celebrations!

Book reviews by Kristina Sepetys

A raft of new titles provides loads of inspiration for mixing up intriguing and tasty cocktails to ring in the new year!


Amaro: The Spirited World of Bittersweet, Herbal Liqueurs,
with Cocktails, Recipes and Formulas

by Brad Thomas Parsons
(Ten Speed Press, 2016)

Brad Thomas Parsons, author of the James Beard and IACP Award–winning title Bitters, explores the world of amari. Italian for bitters, amaro is a key ingredient in many popular cocktails. Parson starts with a tour of bars, cafés, and distilleries in amaro’s spiritual home of Italy, then offers more than 100 recipes for amaro-centric cocktails, DIY amaro, and amaro-spiked desserts. With handsome photos of drinks, snapshots from Italy, and loads of detail in recipe headnotes, Parsons discusses the dizzying range of amari available—from familiar favorites like Averna and Fernet-Branca to the growing category of regional, American-made amari.



Spritz: Italy’s Most Iconic Aperitivo Cocktail, with Recipes
by Talia Baiocchi and Leslie Pariseau
(Ten Speed Press, 2016)

Talia Baiocchi is the editor-in-chief of Punch and the author of James Beard Award–nominated book Sherry. Leslie Pariseau is the former deputy editor of Punch. In their introduction, the authors explain that the word “spritz” generally refers to an easy, casual “bubbles and bitterness drink” served as an aperitif, but the word may have evolved from “sprezzatura,” which doesn’t have a direct English translation.… Read More

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Gift Books for Your Favorite Cooks

Reviews by Kristina Sepetys

It’s the rare cook who isn’t delighted to receive a book full of recipes and photographs. Here are some of the latest titles to raise your game in the kitchen. Perfect for the holidays!



Taste & Technique: Recipes to Elevate Your Home Cooking
by Naomi Pomeroy
(Ten Speed Press, 2016)

James Beard Award-winning and self-made chef Naomi Pomeroy’s debut cookbook features nearly 140 lesson-driven recipes to improve the home cook’s understanding of professional techniques and flavor combinations to produce simple-but-artful meals.   




Food52 A New Way to Dinner:
A Playbook of Recipes and Strategies for the Week Ahead

by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs
(Ten Speed Press, 2016)

The founders of Food52 share instructions for planning, shopping, and cooking meals throughout the week. Their secret? Cooking ahead. As an example, blistered tomatoes are first served as a side, then become sauce for spaghetti with corn. Learn to cook more efficiently and reduce the stress surrounding meals. 




SymmetryBreakfast: 100 Recipes for the Loving Cook
by Michael Zee
(powerHouse Books, 2016)

SymmetryBreakfast began as a popular Instagram project and evolved into a cookbook featuring 90 internationally inspired recipes and handsome photography shot entirely on an iPhone.… Read More

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Spice it Up!

Book reviews by Kristina Sepetys

Good quality salts, fresh spices, and a grinder are essential parts of any kitchen. They also make wonderful host or holiday gifts, and one of the following books would be a great guide to choosing and using these items. If you are near Lake Merritt in Oakland, take the opportunity to visit the charming Oaktown Spice Shop. With helpful, enthusiastic staff and wooden shelves lined with spice-filled glass jars, it’s one of my favorite places to stock up on all things spices, from standard to specialty. You’ll find dozens of different kinds of chili peppers like the ebony-colored Urfa biber of Southeast Turkey; the sweet and spicy orange piment d’ville, a Basque pepper grown locally in Boonville, California; and the dark red-hued Syrian Aleppo chili pepper. They also offer many varieties of sea salts, like black truffle and ghost chili pepper, as well as blends like zahtar, barbecue rubs, and too many others to list!

Bitterman’s Craft Salt Cooking
by Mark Bitterman
(Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2016)

From Mark Bitterman, renowned salt expert and best-selling author of Salt Block Cooking and the James Beard Award–winning Salted, comes a detailed guide to enhancing your favorite foods with natural, healthful, hand-crafted salts.… Read More

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Reflections on Food Culture 


Purchase this book

Purchase this book

Best Food Writing 2016
edited by Holly Hughes
(Da Capo Lifelong Books, 2016)

Book review by Kristina Sepetys

For anyone who enjoys food writing, this 300-page paperback is one of the leading publications of the year. For 17 years, Holly Hughes has compiled an annual best-of, a robust mix of top pieces from the food writing world. Hughes has combed through magazines and newspapers, scanned websites and blogs, and foraged in bookstores to select pieces that highlight trends, document the particulars of everyday meals, and open a window on the lives of chefs and the people who eat their food. Taken together, the stories offer up an insightful reflection on the food culture zeitgeist, from the earnest to the odd.

The volume often features East Bay writers, and this year is no exception. Oakland resident John Birdsall contributes an amusing reflection from Bon Appétit titled “Brooklyn is Everywhere,” exploring the ways in which hipster artisan food culture is no longer the sole purview of well-known U.S. urban enclaves, but can be found from Tulsa to Chiang Mai. From food writer Dianne Jacob, “The Meaning of Mangoes,” which appeared in Lucky Peach, describes the pleasures of rediscovering some of her family’s former life in Shanghai in a crate of mangoes.… Read More

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The Macanese Melting Pot 

Review by Kristina Sepetys



Potstickers Royale with Crispy Crepe is one of many recipes to savor in this lively cookbook.

The Adventures of Fat Rice:
Recipes from the Chicago Restaurant Inspired by Macau

by Abraham Conlon, Adrienne Lo, and Hugh Amano
(Ten Speed Press, 2016)

Abraham Conlon and Adrienne Lo are the chefs and co-owners of the cult favorite and very popular Chicago restaurant Fat Rice. Hugh Amano is a writer and former sous chef at Fat Rice. Featuring 100 recipes, their new cookbook explores the vibrant food culture of Macau with a matching colorful, pop-art, comic-book style. A short ferry ride from Hong Kong, peninsular Macau is a melting pot of Chinese, Portuguese, Malaysian, and Indian foodways. For centuries, Macau was one of the world’s greatest trading ports: a Portuguese outpost and crossroads along the spice route, where travelers from Europe, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and mainland China traded resources, culture, and food. The Adventures of Fat Rice is the story of how two Chicago chefs discovered and fell in love with this fascinating and, at least until now, unheralded cuisine. Find recipes for dishes like Potstickers Royale with Crispy Crepe, Porco Bafassa (smothered and roasted turmeric pork shoulder), Minchi (a classic Macanese meat hash), Po Kok Gai (a Portuguese-influenced chicken curry with chouriço and olives), and Arroz Gordo (a paella meets fried-rice combination).… Read More

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Dorie’s Cookies

Review by Kristina Sepetys

Dorie’s Cookies 
by Dorie Greenspan 
(Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016)

Dorie Greenspan has created more than 300 cookie recipes, many of which are included in her latest 500+ page book, which features cookies for all occasions. Greenspan is the author of many acclaimed cookbooks including Around My French Table, a New York Times bestseller named Cookbook of the Year by IACP; Baking Chez Moi; and Baking: From My Home to Yours, a James Beard Award winner. Dorie’s Cookies offers everything from Portofignos (with chocolate dough and port-soaked figs) to lunchbox Blueberry Buttermilk Pie Bars. Each recipe includes a photo and detailed instructions. They Might Be Breakfast Cookies are packed with raisins, dried apples, dried cranberries, and oats, while Almond Crackle Cookies contain just three ingredients. Find dozens of choices for Christmas cookie swaps, including Little Rascals (German jam sandwich cookies with walnuts), Italian Saucissons (chocolate log cookies studded with dried fruit), and Snowy-Topped Brownie Drops. Unusual and intriguing offerings include Pink-Peppercorn Thumbprints or the popular World Peace Cookie (see recipe below). Enjoy this extensive assortment of all the cookie recipes you’ll ever need!


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Warm and Sweet Autumn Reads

Book reviews by Kristina Sepetys


Grilled Cheese Kitchen
by Heidi Gibson and Nate Pollak
(Chronicle Books, 2016)

Wife-and-husband duo Heidi Gibson and Nate Pollak own the popular American Grilled Cheese Kitchen based in San Francisco, where melted cheese between slices of toasted bread—the ultimate comfort food—reigns supreme. Their new cookbook features 39 grilled cheese recipes created by Gibson, winner of seven grilled cheese championships. Her classic Mousetrap is dripping with three kinds of cheese, while the Piglet wows with its thinly sliced ham and sharp cheddar. Grilled cheese makes a great breakfast—just add an egg! You’ll find 40 additional recipes for great accompaniments and side dishes—including hearty soups, many varieties of mac & cheese, spicy pickles, and tangy spreads—plus tips on choosing the best bread and cheese and techniques for grilling each sandwich at just the right temperature.


Purely Pumpkin
by Allison Day
(Skyhorse Publishing, 2016)

In her new cookbook, Purely Pumpkin, Allison Day, popular blogger and creator of the award-winning, serves up pumpkin in many different ways. Day treats readers to handsome photography and savory and sweet recipes for all meals of the day, and even includes a whole chapter on pumpkin dessert.… Read More

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Foragers Companion

Book review by Kristina Sepetys


The Flavors of Home: A Guide to Wild Edible Plants of the San Francisco Bay Area
by Margit Roos-Collins
(Heyday Books, 2016)

Berkeley forager, writer, and attorney Margit Roos-Collins first published this much-loved foraging guide more than 20 years ago. The new, updated edition introduces readers to the Bay Area’s abundance of edible wild plants and mushrooms and includes instructions for identifying 128 blossoms, berries, nuts, greens, mushrooms, and weeds. Detailed line drawings accompany each description of a plant’s appearance, habitat, seasonality, and taste. Roos-Collins includes recipes for a variety of dishes from seaweed kimchee to madrone berry pudding. An emphasis on ethical gathering practices encourages foragers to harvest responsibly and sustainably. In addition to the section on plants and identification, Roos-Collins includes chapters on teas, seasonings, and medicinal plants, together with information and a bibliography on other foraging resources in the Bay area. Iso Rabins, founder of Forage SF (and the recently opened Forage Kitchen in Oakland) writes in the forward, “Knowing what you can eat in your local landscape connects you to a place more than anything else I’ve experienced.”

Meet Margit, and hear her ideas, tips, and warnings about foraging.… Read More

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