Cooking Reviews, June 15, 2012

101 Cozy Casseroles. Gooseberry Patch. Jun. 2012. c.112p. photogs. index. ISBN 9781612810553. pap. $14.95. COOKING

Potato puffs, crescent rolls, shredded cheese, and canned cream of mushroom soup make multiple appearances in this spiral-bound collection of reader-submitted casseroles. Among these convenient, nostalgic favorites you’ll find Crescent Roll Lasagna, Meatball Sub Casserole, Sweet Potato Apple Bake, and Noodle Kugel. VERDICT Casseroles, which aren’t always attractive on film, have never looked better than they do here. For a more made-from-scratch approach, try Beatrice Ojakangas and Susie Cushner’s The Best Casserole Cookbook Ever or Emily Farris’s Casserole Crazy.

Falkner, Elizabeth. Cooking Off the Clock: Recipes from My Downtime. Ten Speed: Crown Pub. Group. Aug. 2012. c.224p. photogs. index. ISBN 9781607740308. $29.99. COOKING

Falkner ( Elizabeth Falkner’s Demolition Desserts ), whom readers will recognize from Top Chef Masters and Iron Chef America, shares the dishes she makes at home, like a refined Corn Soup topped with cocoa nibs, Pork Tenderloin Schnitzel with Plum Gastrique, and Cheddar Streusel Topped Apple Pie. Many recipes incorporate advanced techniques; for instance, a chicken salad requires readers to infuse homemade stock with aromatics and reduce it into a sauce. Consequently, readers should budget plenty of downtime for cooking. VERDICT Organized by course (e.g., Serious Soups. Snack Attack, Pizza, and Girl Meets Grill), this sophisticated collection will please passionate, unhurried cooks.

Feniger, Susan & others. Susan Feniger’s Street Food: Irresistibly Crispy, Creamy, Crunchy, Spicy, Sticky, Sweet Recipes. Clarkson Potter: Crown Pub. Group. Jul. 2012. c.224p. photogs. index. ISBN 9780307952585. $27.50. COOKING

Here, with restaurant partner and executive chef Kajsa Alger and writer/director Liz Lachman, Los Angeles cooking legend Feniger showcases the spicy tastes of STREET restaurant, her first solo venture in an illustrious career that’s included numerous books (e.g., Cooking with Too Hot Tamales: Recipes & Tips From TV Food’s Spiciest Cooking Duo ), television appearances (e.g., Top Chef Masters, Cooking with Master Chefs ), and restaurants (e.g., Border Grill). Shopping for these recipes‚ which call for shiso leaves, cactus paddles, black garlic, carob molasses, kokum plums, and other uncommon ingredients‚ is a major undertaking, but preparing them is well within reach of proficient amateurs. VERDICT A diverse collection of global street food. Highly recommended.

Ffrench, Rebecca Miller. Sweet Home: Over 100 Heritage Desserts and Ideas for Preserving Family Recipes. Kyle: Kyle Cathie, dist. by National Bk. Network. 2012. c.160p. photogs. index. ISBN 9781906868659. $24.95. COOKING

For food writer, stylist, and party expert Ffrench, dessert isn’t just an indulgence‚ it’s a means to strengthen relationships and preserve family history. Rather than expound on pastry technique, she emphasizes activities that can enrich family life, like recording an interview with a relative, starting a family recipe blog, or taking a baking class. More than 40 such ideas accompany her family’s recipes for cookies, cakes, bars, pies, puddings, and traditional Norwegian treats (e.g., Rosettes, Krumkaker, and Skoleboller). It also includes many helpful Internet resources. VERDICT Perfect for sweet-toothed readers looking to create new family memories. Highly recommended.

Floyd, Margaret & James Barry. The Naked Foods Cookbook: The Whole-Foods, Healthy-Fats, Gluten-Free Guide to Losing Weight & Feeling Great. New Harbinger. 2012. c.224p. bibliog. ISBN 9781608823185. pap. $19.95. COOKING

This helpful book provides everything readers need to put nutritional therapist Floyd’s food principles‚ first presented in her debut, Eat Naked: Unprocessed, Unpolluted, and Undressed Eating for a Healthier, Sexier You‚ into practice. With chef and nutritional consultant Barry, she encourages readers to trade junk and convenience foods for unpolluted, minimally processed, and ethically produced (i.e., naked) alternatives. Their first two chapters cover budget-saving staples like stocks, dairy-free milks, condiments, and cultured dairy. Other recipes (e.g., Eggplant Basil Salad, Noodle-Less Lasagna, Rustic Vegan Muffins) aren’t always gourmet, but they’re straightforward and nutritious. VERDICT Recommended for readers looking for a healthy eating guide that does not involve calorie counting.

Frost, Emma Jane. QuickCook Family Meals. Hamlyn: Octopus, dist. by Hachette. 2012. c.288p. photogs. index. ISBN 9780600624028. pap. $9.99. COOKING

Each colorful paperback in Hamlyn’s QuickCook series contains 360 recipes that can be prepared in ten, 20, or 30 minutes. This family-focused volume includes helpful meal-planning features: an easy-to-browse image gallery, lists of recipes grouped by course and cooking time, and instructions for emailing shopping lists to your mobile device. To save time, Frost (200 Recipes for Kids) makes frequent use of quick ingredients (e.g., dry, canned, frozen, and precooked) and techniques (e.g., hard-cooking eggs in a boiling pot of rice). VERDICT Filled with great ideas, this handy book recalls recipe magazines found in the grocery checkout, minus the advertising.

Monroe-Cassel, Chelsea & Sariann Lehrer. A Feast of Ice & Fire: The Official Companion Cookbook. Bantam. Jun. 2012. c.224p. photogs. index. ISBN 9780345534491. $35. COOKING

In this cookbook’s introduction, George R.R. Martin (A Song of Ice and Fire) confesses that his skill with meaty nouns does not translate to the kitchen. He’s left the task of realizing his elaborately described dishes to Monroe-Cassel and Lehrer, amateur cooks who publish The Inn at the Crossroads (, a popular blog that pairs medieval and modern recipes with passages from Martin’s best-selling series (the inspiration for HBO’s Game of Thrones). These ardent fans offer hearty recipes for Oatcakes, Onions in Gravy, Quails Drowned in Butter, Lemon Cakes, and more. VERDICT Expect demand from Martin’s legions of fans. The authors’ commitment is commendable; not even Honeyed Locusts are omitted.

Nash, Helen. Helen Nash’s New Kosher Cuisine: Healthy, Simple & Stylish. Overlook, dist. by Penguin. Sept. 2012. c.368p. photogs. index. ISBN 9781590208632. $35. COOKING

It’s easy to identify dairy, meat, and pareve dishes in teacher and lecturer Nash’s third cookbook (after Helen Nash’s Kosher Kitchen), which contains over 200 recipes for appetizers, soups, salads, fish, poultry, meat, desserts, and more. Some recipes (e.g., Gravlax with Mustard-Dill Sauce and Stuffed Cabbage Rolls) are labor intensive, but most are weeknight friendly, relying on dry, canned, and frozen ingredients livened with a dash of herbs and spices. VERDICT Including metric and U.S. standard measurements and notes on ingredients, equipment, and technique, this practical cookbook will please readers interested in updated kosher cuisine.

Simpson, Alicia C. Low-Cal Vegan Comfort Food: 150 Down-Home Recipes Packed with Flavor‚ Not Calories. The Experiment, dist. by Workman. 2012. c.272p. photogs. index. ISBN 9781615190423. pap. $17.95. COOKING

If you liked Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Appetite for Reduction: 125 Fast and Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes, turn to blogger Simpson’s ( third Quick and Easy Vegan cookbook for additional inspiration. Crispy Chile Peas, Fettuccine Slim-Fredo, Plantain and Black Bean Tamales, and Moon Dusted Donuts all contain less than 350 calories per serving. Along with a pantry guide, Simpson offers nutrition information and multiple sample menus for four different calorie counts. VERDICT Simpson’s plant-based dishes don’t skimp on flavor or indulgence, and they’re easy to incorporate into your everyday cooking repertoire. A must for the waist-watching vegan.

Tienzo, Joy. Cook, Eat, Thrive: Vegan Recipes from Everyday to Exotic. PM Pr., dist. by IPG. Jun. 2012. c.256p. index. ISBN 9781604865097. pap. $17.95. COOKING

Blogger, traveler, and pastry cook Tienzo’s ( approach to veganism ditches fake cheese and other imitation products in favor of natural ingredients such as nuts, seeds, and seaweed. The Chèvre in her Red Pepper-Chèvre Frittata is made from pureed raw cashews, agar flakes, and tahini. Likewise, her desserts are refreshingly free of strange-sounding egg and dairy replacements. For readers with special diets, there are symbols identifying raw, low fat, soy-free, and wheat-free recipes. VERDICT Readers tired of novelty or single-subject vegan cookbooks will appreciate this balanced collection, which provides menus for many occasions (e.g., Kid-Friendly Dinner; French Bistro Supper; Vegan Wedding Fare).

Additional Cookbooks

The Gluten-Free Cookbook. DK. 2012. 352p. ed. by Alastair Laing. photogs. index. ISBN 9780756682163. $25. COOKING

Here, DK delves into the gluten-free realm with a solid book of simple, approachable recipes. This is not a diet book in the sense of reduced calories and fat; rather, the emphasis is on providing gluten-free recipes based on taste instead of caloric counts. Each recipe is accompanied by basic nutritional information and indicates on a three-point scale how low or high the calories, saturated fat, and salt are. The index is arranged by ingredient. VERDICT A straightforward book with numerous recipes and colorful photos, but nothing to make it stand out from the current abundance of gluten-free cookbooks. Libraries that maintain large cookbook collections and are able to purchase numerous titles on special diet topics should consider adding this book to their collection. However, those that only want or need a single go-to cookbook should consider Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s Deliciously G-Free: Food So Flavorful They’ll Never Believe It’s Gluten-Free or Allergy-Friendly Food for Families: 120 Gluten-Free Dairy-Free, Nut-Free, Egg-Free, and Soy-Free Recipes Everyone Will Love by the editors of Kiwi magazine. ‚ Nyama Marsh, Frank L. Weyenberg Lib. of Mequon-Thiensville, WI