Cooking Reviews, April 15, 2012

Spring is here, and cookbooks like Nathalie Jordi and others’ People’s Pops, Brooke Dojny’s Lobster! , Jane Hornby’s Fresh & Easy , and Adam Perry Lang’s Charred & Scruffed will hasten your return to outdoor cooking and dining. If you’re looking for fresh ways to use ingredients from your farmers’ market or community supported agriculture (CSA) box, try Mona Talbott’s Zuppe or The Meat Free Monday Cookbook. [See also Mike Urban’s Lobster Shacks, reviewed on p. 98, and a grilling roundup in LJ 5/15/12.‚ Ed.]

Curry, Lynne. Pure Beef: An Essential Guide to Artisan Meat with Recipes for Every Cut. Running Pr. Apr. 2012. c.288p. photogs. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780762440887. $27. COOKING

Curry, a James Beard Award‚ nominated journalist and former vegetarian, explains where beef comes from, what it is, and how to buy and cook it. Like most recent meat books, this one begins with fact-packed guides on sourcing, butchery, nutrition, and other topics. The book’s second section, organized by cut and cooking method, includes 150 dishes ranging from classic (e.g., Perfect Grassfed Hamburgers) to exotic (e.g., Ethiopian Steak Tartare). Most techniques are covered, including charcuterie. VERDICT An informative look at mindful beef consumption that forgoes grisly industry exposés in favor of friendly facts and memoir. For carnivores looking to do some conscience-salving.

Dojny, Brooke. Lobster! 55 Fresh and Simple Recipes for Everyday Eating. Storey. Apr. 2012. c.144p. photogs. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781603429627. $14.95. COOKING

Dojny, who lives on the Maine coast, has authored more than 12 cookbooks (e.g., The New England Clam Shack Cookbook ; Dishing Up Maine ). Here, lobster is prominently featured in every course except dessert. Informative sidebars offer lobster facts, quotes, trivia, and cooking tips. Squeamish home cooks will appreciate Dojny’s friendly tone and clear, no-nonsense instructions for splitting and parboiling live lobsters. VERDICT With simple recipes that scream of summer‚ like Lobster and Mango Salad, Grilled Lobster with Basil-Lime Butter, and Best Blueberry Pie‚ this colorful cookbook will appeal to cooks of all skill levels.

Good Housekeeping Light & Healthy Cooking: 250 Delicious, Satisfying, Guilt-Free Recipes. Hearst: Sterling. 2012. 304p. photogs. index. ISBN 9781588168368. $24.95. COOKING

This is not the only light & healthy cookbook from Good Housekeeping, but it is the first to summarize the USDA’s latest dietary guidelines. Keeping with conventional formatting, each recipe lists yield, prep and cooking times, and essential nutrition facts. Graphic icons identify four clearly defined recipe categories: 30 minutes or less, heart healthy, high fiber, and make ahead. Readers can use the chapter headings and icon index to identify quickly dishes to suit their diet and lifestyle. VERDICT A good resource for cooks who want healthier versions of familiar favorites. Less useful for those avoiding all refined grains and animal products.

Hornby, Jane. Fresh & Easy: What To Cook & How To Cook It. Phaidon. May 2012. 352p. illus. index. ISBN 9780714863603. $45. COOKING

Beautiful watercolor illustrations and step-by-step instructional photographs adorn this follow-up to Hornby’s popular What To Cook & How To Cook It . After explaining the ingredients, techniques, and equipment you’ll need to use the book effectively, she offers dishes for a variety of courses and occasions. Try Sticky Fig & Ricotta Toasts for an elegant breakfast, then pack an afternoon picnic of Pans Bagnats and Gazpacho. VERDICT Intended for beginners, these speedy, concise recipes for spring and summer classics will have you quickly forgetting your winter blues; with metric and U.S. standard measurements.

starred review starJordi, Nathalie & others. People’s Pops: 55 Recipes for Ice Pops, Shave Ice, and Boozy Pops from Brooklyn’s Coolest Pop Shop. Ten Speed: Crown Pub. Group. Jun. 2012. c.128p. photogs. index. ISBN 9781607742111. $16.99. COOKING

Since opening in 2008, artisanal ice pop and shaved ice purveyor People’s Pops has grown into a thriving business with multiple Brooklyn and Manhattan locations. Here, founders Jordi, David Carrell, and Joel Horowitz share seasonal recipes featuring local, sustainably grown ingredients. Helpfully, they disclose the equipment used to test the recipes and offer advice on starting your own business. VERDICT Sure to be popular, this straightforward book makes it easy to achieve consistent, delicious results. Fruit flavors (e.g., Rhubarb & Jasmine, Corn & Blackberry, and Cantaloupe & Campari) dominate; for more variety, try Fany Gerson’s Paletas and Krystina Castella’s Pops!

Landis, Lindsay. The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook: Cookies, Cakes, Candies, and More! Quirk. Jun. 2012. c.160p. photogs. index. ISBN 9781594745645. $18.95. COOKING

Blogger and entrepreneur Landis ( cheerfully channels a lifelong passion for cookie dough into this charming spiral-bound cookbook, which she dedicates to anyone who’s been caught with a finger in the mixing bowl. In these easy recipes, eggless, raw cookie dough is shaped into candy-coated confections, sandwiched between whoopie pies, stuffed inside cupcakes, spread atop brownies, and otherwise transformed into whimsical desserts meant to tempt your inner child. There are flavor variations (e.g., Peanut Butter, Gingerbread, Mexican Chocolate) and gluten-free and vegan alternatives. VERDICT Essential for cookie-dough lovers and highly recommended for readers who enjoy creating edible gifts and dessert tables.

Lang, Adam Perry with Peter Kaminsky. Charred & Scruffed: Bold New Techniques for Explosive Flavor on and off the Grill. Artisan: Workman. May 2012. c.280p. photogs. index. ISBN 9781579654658. pap. $24.95. COOKING

Lang (Serious Barbecue ; BBQ 25), a classically trained chef and New York City restaurant owner, here turns his attention to barbecue innovation. His unconventional techniques‚ which include clinching (cooking directly on the coals), scruffing (roughing up meat to give it more surface area), and spackling (topping meat with bold, concentrated condiments)‚ may sound unfamiliar, but they are clearly explained and relatively easy to execute. Recipes for meat, fish, and fowl are followed by side dishes, condiments, and seasonings. VERDICT An elegant and inventive barbecue cookbook for readers who appreciate subtly seasoned meat.

The Meat Free Monday Cookbook: A Full Menu for Every Monday of the Year. Kyle: Kyle Cathie, dist. by National Bk. Network. Apr. 2012. 240p. ed. by Annie Riggs. photogs. index. ISBN 9781906868697. $29.95. COOKING

Founded by Paul, Stella, and Mary McCartney (who provide this book’s foreword), the UK-based Meat Free Monday campaign ( is one of many initiatives that promote the benefits of eating less meat. After introducing the ethical concerns and harrowing statistical predictions behind these movements, editor Riggs (Make, Bake & Celebrate ) entices readers with a year’s worth of beautifully photographed, seasonal menus that include contributions from chefs and celebrities like Yotam Ottolenghi, Twiggy, and Kevin Spacey. VERDICT This inspiring book has outstanding meatless recipes, but as a menu-planning tool, it’s more aspirational than practical.

starred review starTalbott, Mona (text) & Annie Schlecter (photogs.). Zuppe: Soups from the Kitchen of the American Academy in Rome, Rome Sustainable Food Project. Little Bookroom. Apr. 2012. 178p. photogs. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781892145970. $18.95. COOKING

Envisioned by Alice Waters and, until recently, led by chef Talbott, the Rome Sustainable Food Project (RSFP) is a teaching and production kitchen that creates local, organic food for the American Academy in Rome. Like its predecessor, Biscotti , this lovely little hardback pairs 50 of the RSFP’s favorite recipes with short headnotes that touch on history, ingredients, and the kitchen’s daily activities. VERDICT Cooks with time to soak dried beans, chop fresh produce, and attend to simmering pots will be richly rewarded by these wholesome Italian soups, which make for fabulous leftovers.

Tan, Leemei. Lemongrass and Ginger Cookbook: Vibrant Asian Recipes. Duncan Baird, dist. by Sterling. Apr. 2012. 224p. photogs. index. ISBN 9781848990135. $24.95. COOKING

Some modern Asian cookbooks over simplify. Others, in their quest for authenticity, become inaccessible to home cooks. Blogger Tan’s ( first book merits consideration because it bridges the gap between these extremes, offering delicious recipes that won’t have you tearing your hair out over obscure ingredients. Seven regional chapters cover a multitude of mains, sides, and desserts, like Korean Spicy Seafood Noodle Soup, Sri Lankan Sour Fish Curry, and Malaysian Madeleines with Coconut, Lime & Chocolate. Tan concludes with basic recipes (spice pastes, stocks, and condiments), techniques (such as deboning chicken legs), and an ingredient glossary. VERDICT A beautifully executed compilation of Southeast Asian dishes.


Atlas, Nava (text) & Susan Voisin (photogs.). Wild About Greens: 125 Delectable Vegan Recipes for Kale, Collards, Arugula, Bok Choy, and Other Leafy Veggies Everyone Loves. Sterling Epicure. Jun. 2012. c.240p. illus. index. ISBN 9781402785887. $24.95. COOKING

Greens are a side dish no more! Inspired by an overabundance of chard in her kitchen garden, Atlas created a full menu of over 100 internationally inspired dishes and dips starring cruciferous greens. A handy introduction includes the names, health properties, and flavors of all featured greens, as well as tips on buying, preparing, freezing, and dehydrating. Author of ten vegan and vegetarian cookbooks‚ including Vegan Holiday Kitchen and Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet ‚ and the creator of, Atlas is known for time-saving recipes with simple ingredient lists; featuring recipes calling for about six to ten ingredients each, her latest book does not disappoint. VERDICT Full of enticing, healthy recipes like Kale Chips and Collard-Wrapped Yellow Rice and Black Bean Enchiladas, this cookbook will attract vegans, vegetarians, foodies, and adventurous dieters. ‚ Elizabeth Hanson, Chicago P.L.

Rubinstein, Jonathan & Gabrielle Rubinstein with Judith Choate. Joe: The Coffee Book. Lyons: Globe Pequot. Jun. 2012. c.160p. photogs. ISBN 9780762778652. pap. $19.95. BEVERAGES

Pithy and colorful, Joe takes the reader into the community of specialty coffee from the view of small-chain owners of Joe in New York City. Aiming to offer a hip treatment, the authors adeptly explain technical topics within their experiences, and this makes the work informative and personal. For instance, the owners’ philosophy and beliefs are included but so are explanations of cupping, how professionals taste and evaluate coffee, and how to use a French press, complete with step-by-step instructions and photos. Also included is a brief introduction to the agriculture and history of coffee for perspective. The authors even explain how baristas make those patterns with milk. In addition to being richly illustrated and full of photographs, the book includes a glossary, resources, and a listing of other coffee shops (mostly in New York). VERDICT A great primer for those interested in specialty coffee and the specialty coffee business. There is enough well-written narrative to merit library purchase and ample images to qualify this as a great coffee-table book.‚ Lisa A. Ennis, Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham Lib.

Workman, Katie. The Mom 100 Cookbook: 100 Recipes Every Mom Needs in Her Back Pocket. Workman. May 2012. c.352p. illus. index. ISBN 9780761166030. pap. $16.95. COOKING

Workman (editor in chief, presents her top 100 recipes moms can turn to for feeding the family‚ she claims that in most houses, the mom is the cook. With a lighthearted tone, this cookbook is a welcome resource for the possibly harried parent. Fork in the Road notes include ideas for picky palates, and there are also tips like using no-boil lasagna noodles, making things ahead, and involving kids in the process. The nice stockpile of recipes features standards like macaroni and cheese, meatloaf, and lasagna, along with such dishes as Chickpea Poppers and Broiled Miso Cod Fingers. Workman also advocates for a well-stocked pantry to help out in a pinch.VERDICT This solid source of recipe ideas is good for anyone cooking for a family. For a more health-conscious perspective, try Beth Bader and Ali Benjamin’s The Cleaner Plate Club: More Than 100 Recipes for Real Food Your Kids Will Love. [Twenty-city tour.] ‚ Barb Kundanis, Longmont P.L., CO