Cooking Reviews | March 15, 2014

Allen, Darina. 30 Years at Ballymaloe: A Celebration of the World-Renowned Cooking School with Over 100 New Recipes. Kyle: Kyle Cathie. Mar. 2014. 320p. photos. index. ISBN 9781909487130. $35. COOKING

30yearsatballymaloe033114Like Alice Waters’s 40 Years of Chez Panisse: The Power of Gathering, this cookbook presents a retrospective of a revered culinary institution. Here ­Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery School, established in 1983 in County Cork, Ireland, is richly remembered by its founder, students, and guests through chronologically ­arranged essays, recipes, and images. Memories from notable chefs and authors, including Skye Gyngell, Claudia Roden, Madhur Jaffrey, and the recently deceased Marcella Hazan, as well as more than 100 new recipes (e.g., pickled carrots with star anise, Oaxacan chicken soup, watercress, sorrel, and wild leek broth) representing a range of world cuisines and skill levels, fill the pages. ­VERDICT This fascinating read would make a spectacular gift book for gardener-cooks, slow food advocates, and lovers of elegant, seasonal cuisine.

redstarAsbell, Robin. Gluten-Free Pasta: More Than 100 Fast and Flavorful Recipes with Low- and No-Carb Options. Running Pr. Mar. 2014. 216p. photos. index. ISBN 9780762449675. pap. $20; ebk. ISBN 9780762451784. COOKING

gluten-freepasta033114Many single-subject cookbooks about gluten-free bread and pastry exist, but few about pasta. Freelance writer Asbell (Big Vegan) fills a niche with this title, which uses fresh and store-bought pastas and vegetable “noodles” (e.g., spaghetti squash strands, spiralized zucchini, sliced egg crepes) in international recipes like Korean kimchi noodle salad with tofu, Delhi-style greens and pasta, and sausage and spicy red sauce lasagna. Asbell’s suggested gluten-free pantry contains a manageable list of flours and binders (atypical for this genre), and her recipes contain mostly fresh ingredients, with a few premade condiments. VERDICT Essential for gluten-free collections.

Bialik, Mayim. Mayim’s Vegan Table: More Than 100 Great-Tasting and Healthy Recipes from My Family to Yours. Da Capo Lifelong. 2014. 256p. adapted by Jay Gordon photos. index. ISBN 9780738217048. pap. $21.99; ebk. ISBN 9780738217055. COOKING

This vegan cookbook from The Big Bang Theory actress and mom Bialik and pediatrician Gordon (Preventing Autism: What You Can Do To Protect Your Child Before and After Birth) seeks to convince readers to adopt a plant-based diet. The authors argue that veganism is more healthy, ethical, and environmentally friendly than other diets and spend considerable time describing the evils of cheese, ice cream, and other popular foods. They attempt approachability but come across as strongly biased; for instance, they denounce Oscar Mayer Lunchables, listing all their processed ingredients, but never examine the makeup of popular dairy substitutes (e.g., vegan mayonnaise). VERDICT Many readers will enjoy these easy, family-friendly recipes, but they should consult the dietary advice with caution.

redstarBishara, Rawia. Olives, Lemons & Za’atar: The Best Middle Eastern Home Cooking. Kyle: Kyle Cathie. Mar. 2014. 224p. photos. index. ISBN 9781906868840. $29.95. COOKING

oliveslemons&zaatar033114Bishara, owner of Tanoreen Restaurant in Brooklyn, was born in Nazareth to a food-loving family that produced its own jams, vinegars, and cheeses. In Arabic her name means “storyteller,” and, aptly, her debut is an engrossing tale told in words, photographs, and spicy Middle Eastern recipes (e.g., roasted fish, pickled stuffed bell peppers, rolled date cookies). Thanks in part to the popularity of Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s Jerusalem: A Cookbook, specialty ingredients such as freekeh and za’atar are easier to find, but they’ll still elude some readers. VERDICT Themes of food, family, and personal growth flow throughout this gorgeous cookbook, which balances both simple and challenging recipes.

Dimbleby, Henry & Jane Baxter. Leon: Fast Vegetarian. Conran Octopus. 2014. 304p. illus. index. ISBN 9781840916362. $29.99. COOKING

Dimbleby cofounded UK restaurant chain Leon, with 13-plus locations specializing in healthy, sustainable fast food. His latest Leon cookbook, cowritten with food writer Baxter, aims to provide easy vegetable recipes that aren’t smothered in sauce or composed of hard-to-find ingredients. Dishes like fennel, radish, and fava bean salad, stuffed eggplant curry, and piña colada meringue are presented in two parts: “Star Turns,” or stand-alone dishes; and “Supporting Cast,” comprised of small plates, sides, and desserts. The book also includes gardening advice, menu ideas, adhesive labels, and a wealth of clever collages and illustrations. VERDICT This would make a wonderfully quirky companion to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Veg: 200 Inspired Vegetable Recipes.

Fain, Lisa. The Homesick Texan’s Family Table: Lone Star Cooking from My Kitchen to Yours. Ten Speed: Crown. Apr. 2014. 288p. photos. index. ISBN 9781607745044. $29.99; ebk. ISBN 9781607745051. COOKING

On the heels of her best-selling debut, The Homesick Texan Cookbook, popular food blogger Fain ( offers a new collection of comfort foods with unique Texas twists. She updates traditional macaroni salad by adding cumin, chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, and homemade sorghum mustard pickles and reimagines banana pudding as a scratch-made jarred dessert with crumbled peanut butter oatmeal cookies and vanilla custard. The author claims she’s cooked these recipes in her tiny New York kitchen and assures readers they can also prepare them with minimal space and equipment. VERDICT Fain enlivens popular dishes with cheese, chiles, bacon, cilantro, lime, and other bold ingredients. Highly recommended.

Lucero, Claudia. One-Hour Cheese: Ricotta, Mozzarella, Chevre, Paneer—Even Burrata; Fresh and Simple Cheeses You Can Make in an Hour or Less! Workman. May 2014. 272p. photos. ISBN 9780761177487. pap. $14.95. COOKING

onehourcheese033114Entrepreneur Lucero sells DIY cheese kits through her website (­ and several other venues. Her debut cookbook includes 16 homemade cheese recipes (e.g., curried paneer, favorite melty mozzarella) that can be made in one hour or less with conventional ingredients and equipment. Lucero provides plenty of step-by-step photographs and troubleshooting tips and invites readers to email her for “curd support” when things go wrong. She also shares recipe variations, serving suggestions, easy accompaniments (e.g., homemade crackers and spreads), and creative presentation ideas. VERDICT A fantastic introduction for novices who want simple, delicious, DIY cheese.

Neely, Pat & Gina Neely with Ann Volkwein. Back Home with the Neelys: Comfort Food from Our Southern Kitchen to Yours. Knopf. Apr. 2014. 224p. photos. index. ISBN 9780307961334. $27.95. COOKING

In their follow-up to The Neelys’ Celebration Cookbook, Food Network stars Pat and Gina, along with food writer Volkwein (Guy Fieri Food: Cookin’ It, Livin’ It, Lovin’ It), present 100 more Southern recipes peppered with family anecdotes. There are few surprises among dishes like hot honey peach chicken and roasted broccoli with cheddar cheese sauce, making this title a good choice for home cooks seeking familiar comfort foods. Readers planning to entertain can choose from a great selection of easy preserves, snacks, cocktails, and grilled dishes. VERDICT The Neelys’ latest offers everyday fare with Southern flair. Public libraries should expect demand.

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