So Good: 100 Recipes from My Kitchen to Yours

I picked up So Good: 100 Recipes from My Kitchen to Yours at the library and knew that the guy on the cover looked familiar. Then I read the first page and found out the book is written by Richard Blais, a contestant on Top Chef. I haven’t watched it in years, but I used to love Top Chef; and I had a vague memory of this really arrogant Richard guy. Anyway, I started to look through this cookbook, and I would say that my first impression of a pretty arrogant chef was correct. Blais introduces this cookbook by saying that these are the types of things he cooks for his family, and the recipes don’t include all the experimental techniques that he showcased on Top Chef or in his restaurants. But as I was looking through the recipes, I was not finding a lot that didn’t have unusual ingredients or techniques. My son picked up the book and asked for me make the fried chicken recipe. I have never fried a chicken in my life, but I thought I would give it a try. Unfortunately, this is a pretty time-consuming recipe, and I just haven’t had a chance to try it…

My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life

I love everything that Ruth Reichl writes, and her cookbook My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life is no exception. I was introduced to Reichel by reading her wonderful memoirs about growing up with a mother who had no interest in food. Reichel went on to become the New York Times restaurant critic and then the editor of Gourmet magazine. This cookbook was written right after Gourmet was shut down, and she found herself suddenly out of a job. It’s a unique cookbook. I have read novels and memoirs (including Reichl’s) that include some recipes. I have also read cookbooks that have well-written introductions to each recipe. But this really is a combination memoir and cookbook. It’s written as a journal of the year immediately after the demise of Gourmet, where she had worked for ten years. Arranged by seasons, the diary and the recipes are basically interwoven, and many of the recipes are stories in their own right. The recipes are also written up in a totally unique way. She lists the ingredients as either “pantry staples,” which she defines in the introduction of the book or “special ingredients.” And the recipes are written more in a…

Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook: Eat Like You Give a F***
Cookbook Overviews , Cookbook Reviews / February 26, 2019

OK, this is an interesting cookbook! I am always looking for good “healthy” cookbooks. I have problems with this category, because my idea of healthy is pretty broad. I just eat a lot of different things, including fruits and veggies, and I make most of what I eat, so not a ton of processed or restaurant food. But I do eat all the “bad” things, like meat, carbs, dairy, sugar, etc. Thug Kitchen, like the Whole Foods cookbook I reviewed recently, is vegan, but it’s completely different in attitude. It’s totally irreverent and fun, and it was much easier for me to get excited about the recipes in this book. So, let’s get at it! To Read: Yes, but only if you don’t mind a lot of cussing. There are bad words in every part of this book, so some of you might find this off putting. I live with two teenage boys and hear a lot of rap music, so I’m sort of past being scandalized by bad language. 🙂 To Look At: Sure, there are some photographs of recipes and then some random photos that I guess are supposed to add to the L.A. vibe of the cookbook….

Cook Like a Pro: Recipes & Tips for Home Cooks
Cookbook Overviews , Cookbook Reviews / February 12, 2019

Things have been crazy around here! The weather is terrible every other day, which means lot of missed school and work. My oldest son just turned 16 and got his license, which is very exciting, but also very stressful. And I just haven’t had the time to try out new recipes. But if you are a chocolate lover, you might like Martha Stewart’s Salted-Caramel Chocolate Cake. My son asks for it for his birthday every year. It’s a pretty serious cake, but I make it a little easier, by just making it a three-layer cake instead of the six layers that are in the recipe. Now back to the cookbooks, I was finally able to peruse Ina Garten’s lastest cookbook Cook Like a Pro. Like most cooks on the planet, I love the Barefoot Contessa. I already reviewed The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook last year. The premise of her latest cookbook is that she is sharing some tips of the pros with home cooks. So what did I think? To Read: Yes. She does share a lot of tips in this cookbook. Since I read so many cookbooks there was not a lot that was new, but there were a few tips…

Tasting Hygge: Joyful Recipes for Cozy Days and Nights
Cookbook Overviews , Cookbook Reviews / January 28, 2019

I picked up this little cookbook because it’s the time of year when I become obsessed with hygge. Hygge is a Danish word that basically means coziness, but seems to be describing a mindset or way of life that is enjoyed in Scandinavia. At this time of year, when it’s so cold and the weather is often terrible, all I want to do is stay wrapped in a blanket, drink some tea, and read a good book or watch some Netflix. But I still have to eat, and sometimes even see other people! So Tasting Hygge by Leela Cyd is full of recipes for that state of mind. Here’s my verdict: To Read: Yes. Just reading about these recipes made me feel cozy, even if I knew I wasn’t going to make most of them. The author describes the idea of hygge and has personal stories to go along with the recipes. She organizes the chapters into warm, spiced, smooth, calm, and bright. I don’t know if those categories make complete sense when describing recipes, but I think it gives you the sense that these are all important hygge concepts. To Look At: Yes. It’s a very pretty book, lots of…

The Whole Foods Cookbook: 120 Delicious & Healthy Plant-Centered Recipes
Cookbook Overviews , Cookbook Reviews / January 23, 2019

If I had tried, I couldn’t have picked two such completely different cookbooks to review for this week and last. In case you missed it, last week I reviewed Chrissy Tiegen’s Cravings: Hungry for More. That book is irreverent, with recipes that are full of flavor, but not guided by dogmatic nutritional rules. The Whole Foods Cookbook is all about nutritional rules. The ingredients that are not used in this cookbook include all meat, eggs, dairy and any type of sweetener (except fruit pastes, which I have questions about). Since this is the time of year when a lot of people (including me) are trying to up their game when it comes to healthy eating, I thought this cookbook by the founder of Whole Foods Market would be a good one to review. But TBH, this was not the easiest book for me to find recipes that I wanted to try. I have a few criteria for recipes. They need to be something that my family might want to eat (that they will at least try), and the ingredients, for the most part, should be things I would normally buy. Luckily, as I was flipping through the book, my oldest…

Cravings: Hungry for More
Cookbook Overviews , Cookbook Reviews / January 14, 2019

I was super excited to get a hold of Chrissy Teigen’s newest cookbook, Cravings: Hungry for More. Just to make sure everyone is up to speed, Teigen is married to the R&B singer John Legend. She was a model and still does some TV appearances I think, but she is now best known for her social media presence and her cookbooks. Her writing is very informal (yes, that means there’s some salty language), very funny, and very honest. I had read her first cookbook, Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat, but had never gotten around to actually cooking anything from it. But I had heard from lots of people that her recipes are actually really good. I was skeptical that a former model and wife of a celebrity was also an expert in the kitchen. Well, you should never judge someone by first appearances, because I have already made two recipes from this cookbook that were quite good. I also have put post-it notes on a bunch of other recipes. Right now I’m snowed in and flipping through the book to see if there any recipes I can make with what we already have in the house….

The Year of Cozy: 125 Recipes, Crafts, and Other Homemade Adventures

Happy New Year everyone! I enjoyed a nice, long break from work and the blog, but now I’m refreshed and ready to start cooking. I plan on changing up the format a little this year, and I hope to publish more regularly. There are so many cookbooks I am looking forward to trying out, so let’s get started! As part of my new format, I am going to introduce and review the cookbook in the same post. On Wednesdays (and sometimes Thursdays), I will share a recipe. Friday will be a bit of a grab bag, where I will share other things I’ve been cooking, reading, or watching, and some of my favorite kitchen things. The Year of Cozy by blogger Adrianna Adarme is a book that I’ve had quite awhile, but haven’t ever cooked from. As the subtitle says, this book has more than recipes. It also includes some craft projects (I haven’t done any of those either. 🙂 ), and just some ideas about having a cozy life. The book is arranged by seasons, so I tried out a couple of the winter recipes that I will share with you this week. Here’s my verdict: To Read: Yes….

Holiday Cookies: Showstopping Recipes to Sweeten the Season
Cookbook Overviews , Holidays / December 13, 2018

It’s Christmas cookie time! I love making Christmas cookies, and I make the same family favorites every year. But I like to try at least one new cookie, and if I could just bake all day long in December I would make tons of different types of cookies. Since I enjoy Christmas baking so much, I am super excited to try out a new recipe or two from Holiday Cookies: Showstopping Recipes to Sweeten the Season by Elisabet der Nederlanden. This cookbook is separated into the following chapters: Very Merry Classics, Cookie Exchange Party, Warm Holiday Spice, Around the World, Holiday Confections, and Decorated Delights. I think creating chapter ideas would be one of the hardest parts of writing a cookbook! The Around the World cookies look especially interesting. The author grew up in Sweden, so some of these cookies are her childhood favorites. In addition, there are recipes from other European countries and even a South American treat. I will be back tomorrow to share a Holiday Cookie recipe!

Thanksgiving Cookbooks
Cookbook Overviews , Holidays / November 14, 2018

Thanksgiving is only a week and a few days a way. Do you know what you’re cooking? If you want some ideas, you might check out one of these Thanksgiving cookbooks. I just picked these up from the library and haven’t had a chance to cook from them, but I still thought it might be fun to look through them and get some ideas. First up, is Williams-Sonoma The Best of Thanksgiving: Recipes and Inspiration for a Festive Holiday Meal. As you might imagine if you’ve ever looked at a Williams-Sonoma catalog, this cookbook contains beautiful photos of traditional recipes. The whole meal is covered, including recipes for leftovers. Chapters on  planning, wine pairing, and menus are included to provide inspiration. There is even a chapter called “Turkey Know-How.” I would say that my main complaint is that everything in here is pretty standard, and most of the tips included I’ve already read. That being said, I’ve always had good luck with Williams-Sonoma recipes, and there were several in here I would like to try, including Spicy Corn Break Stuffing with Chorizo & Pepitas, Bite-Sized Pecan Tartlets, and Turkey Panini with Blue Cheese & Chutney. The second book I picked up…

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