Kristina’s Bookshelf

Here are three new cookbooks filled with hearty, satisfying recipes sure to transport you through the long, dark days of the winter holidays and beyond.

 

Cool Beans: The Ultimate Guide to Cooking with the World’s
Most Versatile Plant-Based Protein, with 125 Recipes
By Joe Yonan
(Ten Speed Press, 2020)

You may be done with beans after this year of nonstop home cooking, but if you’re among those still on the lookout for great bean recipes, you’ll appreciate this useful new book filled with 125 ideas for preparing just about any type of bean available (including those you have seen in the Rancho Gordo bags and wondered about). The author supplies a base recipe for cooking each type of bean using your preferred appliance, whether it be an Instant Pot, slow cooker, or a simple pot on the stovetop, but he also understands you might just empty a can (as I did in several cases). Creative ideas for using all those beans come in tasty recipes like Harissa-Roasted Carrot and White Bean Dip; Smoky Black Bean and Plantain Chili; a particularly delicious Roasted Tomato Soup with Lady Cream Peas; and a Cardamom, Lime, and White Bean Bundt cake! Yes, Yonan shows how beans can replace some flours, bind like eggs, or add crunch in more than a dozen desserts. This might be the only bean cookbook you’ll ever need!

 

 

Greenfeast: Autumn, Winter
By Nigel Slater
(Ten Speed Press, 2020)

Many readers know of Nigel Slater, the prolific British cookbook author and food writer. A lovely writer, he always captures the pleasures of eating with the seasons, whether it be in the perfect simplicity of ripe fruit from the market or the fresh vegetables just picked from your home garden. His latest effort presents 110 simple recipes for quick, filling, plant-based suppers made hearty for cold-weather eating with cheeses, cream, and other enriching ingredients. Recipes—mostly written to serve two—include dishes like ciabatta slices dipped in a mixture of eggs and spinach mixed with curry and spices fried briefly in butter; cabbage toasted with peas and breadcrumbs mixed with Berbere spices; roasted cauliflower with a creamy sauce seasoned with bay leaves, cloves, onions, and peppercorns. For dessert, try a nutty, seedy cookie topped with ricotta, blood oranges, and honey-thyme syrup; or a hot ginger and cardamom cake with maple spiced creamed syrup that’s sure to bring warmth and good cheer to a chilly evening.

 

 

Beyond the North Wind: Russia in Recipes and Lore
By Darra Goldstein
(Ten Speed Press, 2020)

Maybe it’s my Eastern European heritage, but I found this cookbook by celebrated food scholar Darra Goldstein utterly absorbing. Besides 100 traditional dishes from the far reaches of Northern Russia, the hefty volume includes beautiful photographs of the dishes, the environment, and interiors, together with stories of Goldstein’s experiences traveling throughout the region. Goldstein says in her introduction that she seeks to share an “astonishingly complex cuisine” born of austerity. She certainly succeeds, presenting a wonderful world of whole grain porridges, preserved and fermented foods, foraged mushrooms and berries for pickles and preserves, tangy kvass, homemade dairy cheeses, puff pastry hand pies stuffed with mushrooms and fish, and seasonal vegetable soups. She uses ingredients available at most grocery and health food stores, so don’t hesitate to try the Beef Stew with Horseradish (emphasis on the horseradish!); Barley Porridge with Almond Milk and Blueberries; Roast Lamb with Kasha; or the Black Currant Cheesecake. Inspiration abounds for both good food and intriguing travel.

 

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