Sister Pie: Strawberry Pistachio Crumble Pie

I have had Sister Pie borrowed from the library for quite awhile (I checked it out right before my library closed because or COVID-19), and I kept avoiding it because I am not a pie baker. If I feel the need to make a pie for some reason, I usually just get a store-bought crust and call it a day. (My husband loves blackberry pie, and about the only baking he ever does is making homemade pie crusts.) But this book, which has a gorgeous cover, kept staring at me, and I finally decided to take on the challenge of making a homemade pie with crust from scratch. Sister Pie is written by Lisa Ludwinski who owns the Sister Pie bakery in Detroit. If you want a traditional pie cookbook, this is not for you. The basic pie crust recipe seemed pretty standard, but the pie recipes are full of non-traditional flavors like Concord Grape and Goat Cheese Pie or Rhubarb Rosemary Struesel Pie. As I read through the cookbook, I still found quite a few recipes that looked interesting, including some recipes that aren’t even for pies. There is a whole section about salads because Ludwinski said she makes…

Louisiana Real and Rustic: Shrimp and Okra Gumbo

So I already mentioned that i’m a big Emeril fan. The last cookbook of his I reviewed was all about comfort food. This cookbook is really the basics of Cajun cooking. I haven’t used it a lot, because my husband does most of the Cajun cooking in our house. The other day he make this gumbo recipe, but he always likes to tweak recipes, so I will provide info about that below. Six servings 2 pounds small okra 1/4 cup vegetable oil 2 cups chopped fresh or canned tomatoes 1 cup chopped onions 1 cup chopped celery 1 3/4 teaspoons salt 1/2 teaspoon cayenne 5 bay leaves 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 2 quarts water 1 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined Wash the okra in cool water. Remove the caps and tips and cut into 1/4-inch rounds. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Fry the okra, stirring constantly, for 10 to 12 minutes, or until most of the slime disappears. Add the tomatoes, onions, and celery and cook, stirring often, for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the okra and other vegetables are soft and the slime has completely disappeared. Add the salt, cayenne, bay leaves,…

Cook Something: Pimiento Cheese

Ok, so since we are all cooking at home a lot, I thought I would go ahead and share some recipes. Canal House Cook Something: Recipes to Rely On by Christoper Hersheimer and Melissa Hamilton is one of those basic recipe cookbooks that are great gifts for anyone who is just starting to cook. A lot of the recipes are just variations on a simple recipe. The one I tried out, Pimiento Cheese, is about as basic as it gets. This is something my husband makes a lot, but he doesn’t really have a set recipe for it. So the other day when I was hosting my neighborhood book club (remember those days when you were allowed to have other people in your house :-)) and wanted to make something, I looked up the pimiento cheese recipe in Cook Something. My only complaint about this book was some of the recipes seemed a little old-fashioned and not really the kinds of things I’m usually cooking. My two favorite basic reference cookbooks are How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman and the always reliable Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. In fact, I need to get updated copies of both of these! Anyway,…

Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day
Cookbook Overviews , Cookbook Reviews / August 23, 2019

Many of my friends and family have heard me complain about how hard it is to feed two teenage boys without going broke. Recently I found a couple of good sources for inexpensive recipes. I have been regularly using budget meal plans from the Budget Meal Planner. You can sign up for a free weekly email plan that includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack ideas for $5 per person per day. I especially love this because it plans out the meals for the week and provides a grocery list. The recipes are pretty simple and usually quite good. In addition, I tried out Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day. This cookbook by Leanne Brown includes lots of inexpensive recipes with estimated costs for serving. For example, you could make Pasta with Eggplant and Tomato, which my son made and was quite yummy, for $2.50 per serving or Broccoli, Egg, and Cheddar Empanadas for $.60 per serving. Brown says the she picked $4 a day because that is about how much money you would have per person, per day if you were on SNAP, also know as food stamps. I really admire her work on creating these recipes because it…

Buddha Bowls: 100 Nourishing One-Bowl Meals

I don’t know when we started to eat food (that’s not soup) out of bowls. Did this all start with Chipotle? No matter how it started, I am a big fan. Currently, I have been making my lunches by combining rice and a couple of store bought items (right now I’m liking Panera Black Bean Soup and ready-made guacamole). It’s not super difficult to come up with bowl ideas, but if you want some inspiration you should check out The Lazy Genius. She has a blog post and a podcast with lots of info on this topic. When I saw Buddha Bowls: 100 Nourishing One-Bowl Meals at the library, I immediately picked it up to get some more bowl ideas. As I read through this book, I saw so many recipes I wanted to try, especially all the great sauce recipes. Sauces are very important for making tasty bowls! Some of the recipes seem a little complicated since a big part of the appeal of a meal in a bowl is that it will be easy to make. But I did try out one of the simple breakfast recipes, and I will share it on the blog later this week.

From Crook to Cook: Platinum Recipes from Tha Boss Dogg’s Kitchen

Ok, stay with me on this one, because this cookbook is a lot of fun! If you are a huge Martha Stewart fan, like me, then you know all about Snoop Dogg’s domestic skills. Snoop Dogg, a rapper and television personality, was a guest on The Martha Stewart Show (oh, how I miss that show!) a couple of times. I guess they really hit it off in real life, and later they did a show together for VH1, called Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner. That show is hilarious, and while watching it, I even learned a new technique for making bacon from Snoop. Who knew? So when I saw that Snoop Dogg had a cookbook out, I knew that Martha Stewart was probably a big influence. And sure enough, she wrote the forward to the book. From Crook to Cook is a lot of fun just to read, but it’s not exactly PG. There are quite a few references to marijuana, but it’s all said in a joking manner. It’s a pretty basic cookbook, with some soul food influence. So if you’re a food snob, this will not be the cookbook for you. I had a lot of fun with…

Damn Delicious Meal Prep: 115 Easy Recipes for Low-Calorie, High-Energy Living

I am super excited about Damn Delicious Meal Prep! I am always trying to eat healthier and trying to plan ahead. This cookbook helps with both goals. I already reviewed Chungah Ree’s first cookbook, Damn Delicious: 100 Super Easy, Super Fast Recipes. In case you missed that one, Damn Delicious is a blog written by Chungah Rhee. Her recipes are simple but flavorful and include a nice mix of traditional American with Asian and Mexican inspired dishes. Just the type of food my family loves! So when I saw that she was putting out a meal prep cookbook, I was psyched! If you don’t know what meal prep is, it just means prepping meals ahead of time. Some people have elaborate meal prep systems which involve picking one day a week (usually Sunday) to cook and prep as much food as possible for the week to come. I actually did a meal prep system (where I paid for recipes and prep instructions) for awhile, and there were a lot of things I liked about it. I did enjoy spending most of Sunday cooking; that’s relaxing for me. And I loved not having a lot to do when I got home…

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….

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