Mission Chinese Food, Foster’s Market, the New Sugar & Spice | Cooking Reviews, November 15, 2015

Aikman-Smith, Valerie (text) & Victoria Pearson (photos). Citrus: Sweet & Savory Sun-Kissed Recipes. Ten Speed Pr. 2015. 192p. index. ISBN 9781607747673. $19.99; ebk. ISBN 9781607747680. COOKING

Focused more on savory applications than sweet, this cookbook from food writer Aikman-Smith and photographer Pearson can help readers to explore the versatility of specific citrus fruits, including blood oranges, key limes, pomelos, satsumas, and citron. These and other ingredients (e.g., makrut lime leaves, lemon thyme, edible flowers) may elude readers who aren’t near citrus-producing regions and farmers’ markets, but substitutions can often be found for them. In addition to breakfasts (tropical granola with candied lime), suppers (salt-crusted Cornish hens with lemon butter), sides (fennel, tangerine, and olive slaw), and desserts (orange and rosemary polenta cake), the authors share beverages (Havana mojito) and basics (preserved limes). All recipes are handily indexed both by course and by fruit. VERDICT A treat for anyone with access to specialty citrus, this title would pair nicely with Ellen Jackson’s The Lemon Cookbook.

redstarBowien, Danny & Chris Ying. The Mission Chinese Food Cookbook. Ecco: HarperCollins. Nov. 2015. 336p. photos. index. ISBN 9780062243416. $34.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062243430. COOKING

missionchinesefood111715Introduced by Momofuku kingpin David Chang as “a portrait of an artist still in progress,” this unconventional cookbook traces Korean American chef Bowien’s emergence as a major force in the restaurant industry. Bowien’s experiences growing up in Oklahoma and cooking in San Francisco and New York are relayed in captivating interviews conducted with Lucky Peach editor-in-chief Ying and other longtime colleagues. Interspersed with the narrative are challenging original recipes from Bowien’s acclaimed Mission Chinese Food restaurants, including kung pao pastrami, fried pigs’ tails with smoked cola barbecue sauce, and squid-ink noodles with minced pork and peanut sauce. A final chapter offers guidance on Asian spices, condiments, and pantry basics. VERDICT To hear Bowien in his own words is a treat, and his debut cookbook is not to be missed. Like Gabrielle Hamilton’s Prune, this will thrill foodies and aspiring chefs.

Charles, Dora with Fran McCullough (text) & Robert S. Cooper (photos). A Real Southern Cook in Her Savannah Kitchen. Rux Martin: Houghton Harcourt. 2015. 272p. index. ISBN 9780544387683. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780544385771. COOKING

Charles has extensive experience cooking for restaurants in Savannah, GA, including Paula Deen’s the Lady and Sons. Striking out on her own with help from seasoned cookbook writer McCullough (Living Low-Carb), Charles details her successes and struggles, some of which will prompt readers to confront complex racial issues. She follows her introduction with rich Southern recipes (e.g., hoecakes, tomato pie, jambalaya, daddy’s catfish stew), including offal dishes that are less likely to appear in similar titles. Most are from scratch, though a few incorporate shortcuts such as bouillon cubes, parboiled rice, Bisquick, and Pillsbury biscuit dough. VERDICT Filled with family memories and tips gleaned from decades of working without recipes, this is a compelling and unpretentious take on Southern cooking. Recommended for regional collections.

Foster, Sara. Foster’s Market Favorites: 25th Anniversary Collection. Story Farm. Nov. 2015. 336p. photos. index. ISBN 9780990520573. $30. COOKING

Once a chef for Martha Stewart’s catering company, Foster (Sara Foster’s Southern Kitchen) is a successful cookbook author and restaurateur. Her newest volume, the third to feature recipes from her eponymous market and cafe in Durham, NC, exhibits the same updated Southern flair as its predecessors while shedding more light on Foster’s background and career. There are appetizers, soups, salads, sides, and desserts, as well as main dishes in less-common categories (casseroles, family dinners, one-pot meals). Casual favorites such as hummus, muffins, and fried chicken are rendered temptingly unconventional, enlivened with surprise additions such as butternut squash, sorghum, and Sriracha honey. All feature simple preparations, and any that are time-consuming (for instance, a two-day cure for gravlax) are mostly hands-off. VERDICT If you love bakery/cafe cookbooks and easy entertaining collections from veteran tastemakers (e.g., Ina Garten, Martha Stewart), this is a must.

Lonely Planet. From the Source: Italy: Authentic Recipes from the People That Know Them Best. Lonely Planet. (From the Source). 2015. 272p. photos. index. ISBN 9781743607619. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781743609545. COOKING

For one of the first titles in a new series, Lonely Planet sent travel writer Sarah Barrell and photojournalist Susan Wright to capture authentic recipes from four Italian regions (northeast, northwest, central, south). They include 60 in total (e.g., trofie with pesto, endive and broad bean puree, sea urchin linguine), each plotted on a map and preceded by an introductory essay. Some are unfussy dishes that have been served for generations, while others are gastronomic feats by Michelin-starred chefs. The book’s format recalls regional and community compilations, like those in the Sterling Epicure’s “Edible” series, but its scope and scale are unprecedented. The contributors leave in details that others might omit, such as that one dish is traditionally made with three distinct types of Parmigianno Regianno. Grab a kitchen scale for the metric measurements. VERDICT This striking cookbook is a fascinating travelog that will inspire exploration, reminiscence, and travel planning.

McNamara, Laurie. Simply Scratch: 120 Wholesome Recipes Made Easy. Avery. 2015. 336p. photos. index. ISBN 9781583335796. $32; ebk. ISBN 9780698194670. COOKING

Though she was working full-time and raising two daughters, McNamara grew determined to cook all her family’s meals exclusively from scratch. She chronicled her attempts on a blog, Simply Scratch, whose success precipitated this debut cookbook. The author’s DIY basics—including ketchup, salad dressings, pizza dough, condensed cream soups, and more—are a cinch to prepare, and those that can’t be refrigerated long-term can usually be frozen. She keeps breakfasts, sides, mains, and desserts on the simple side, perfect for families who leave their shopping and meal planning for the last minute. Readers of McNamara’s blog will be pleased to see plenty of fresh content, including new variations on meat loaves, pot pies, stir fries, and other crowd-pleasers. VERDICT More accessible than Aimee Wimbush-Bourke’s Brown Eggs and Jam Jars and Alana Chernila’s The Homemade Kitchen, McNamara’s cookbook is a cheery guide to adopting a whole-food lifestyle.

Ray, Rachael. Everyone Is Italian on Sunday! Atria. 2015. 408p. photos. index. ISBN 9781476766072. $39.99; ebk. ISBN 9781476766089. COOKING

Food Network star and best-selling author Ray (Week in a Day) calls this cookbook the single most important work of her life. Like Emeril Lagasse’s Essential Emeril and other celebrity chef retrospectives, it swells with recipes she considers personally and professionally significant. These range from upscale brunch dishes (truffle eggs and grilled brioche with warm taleggio and honey) to hearty pastas (penne with pumpkin and sausage) to crowd-pleasing comfort foods (the ultimate pulled-pork sandwiches), a few credited to Italian cooking authority Marcella Hazan. Ray’s husband and sister contribute Italian-inspired cocktails and desserts. VERDICT Jam-packed with recipes for family gatherings, Ray’s latest offers her followers variety and abundance. Compared to her previous publications, this title is lighter on photographs and time-management advice. Public libraries should expect demand.

redstarSeneviratne, Samantha. The New Sugar & Spice: A Recipe for Bolder Baking. Ten Speed: Crown. 2015. 240p. photos. index. ISBN 9781607747468. $27.50; ebk. ISBN 9781607747475. COOKING

sugarandspice111615Eighty spice-infused desserts—from fragrant Sri Lankan love cakes to cardamom-scented Swedish cream buns—fill this engaging debut from food writer and recipe developer Seneviratne (lovecommacake.com). Each of the seven chapters (e.g., “Peppercorn & Chile,” “Nutmeg,” “Ginger”) begins with an evocative personal vignette, followed by background information on individual spices. Recipes such as s’more pie, frozen eggnog pops, and butter rum snack cake have “just enough sugar necessary for the best possible experience,” which will please health-conscious readers who find excessive sweetness unpalatable. With bright, unfussy photographs, this volume speaks effortless elegance. VERDICT Marked by a sense of the exotic, Seneviratne’s recipes will lure many home cooks, including fans of Alice Medrich’s Pure Dessert and Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course.

Snyder, Carla (text) & Nicole Franzen (photos). Sweet and Tart: 70 Irresistible Recipes with Citrus. Chronicle. 2015. 176p. index. ISBN 9781452134796. $19.95; ebk. ISBN 9781452139746. COOKING

With these zesty citrus desserts and snacks, Snyder (One Pan, Two Plates) offers bakers a wealth of traditional and contemporary recipes for cookies, pastries, breads, curds, and more. Novices will have no trouble executing such treats as grapefruit custard pie and lemon scones with blackberries, but they’ll need experience cooking custards and sugar syrups to undertake the more challenging heavenly lemon squares and mile-high lemon meringue pie. Gourmets will appreciate Snyder’s use of complementary flavorings, which can be boozy (limoncello, campari), herbaceous (basil, rose geranium), fruity (figs, roasted pears), or spicy (ginger, cinnamon). VERDICT Snyder’s fresh take on this topic will satisfy sweet-toothed citrus lovers and fans of Lori Longbotham’s Luscious Lemon Desserts.

redstarThomas, Anna. Vegan Vegetarian Omnivore: Dinner for Everyone at the Table. Norton. Apr. 2016. 496p. photos. index. ISBN 9780393083019. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780393285574. COOKING

Thomas (The Vegetarian Epicure), an accomplished vegetarian cook since the 1970s, is no stranger to dietary restrictions at the dinner table. Here she shows how to efficiently prepare holiday and everyday meals that will satisfy a wide range of eaters. She builds multicourse menus (e.g., My Christmas Eve, Taco Night at Home, A Salad for Supper for the Heat Wave) around showstopping vegetable or grain-based dishes that anyone can enjoy, complete with easy dairy, meat, or seafood options. Most of her recipes invite variation; a vegan fresh corn polenta, for example, can be dressed up with crumbled feta cheese or sauteed Italian sausage. Similarly, winter kale salad with Asian pears and celery root, satisfying on its own, can be paired with sliced smoked chicken breast. VERDICT Armed with nearly 200 of Thomas’s versatile recipes, hosts can feel confident cooking one menu for all their guests.

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