The Best Ice Cream, Coconut Every Day, Yucatán Cuisine, & More | Cooking Reviews

Clendaniel, Lindsay. Scoop Adventures: The Best Ice Cream of the 50 States. Page Street. 2014. 192p. photos. index. ISBN 9781624140341. pap. $19.99; ebk. ISBN 9781624140419. COOKING

Scoop AdventuresOn her blog Scoop Adventures ­(, ice cream fanatic Clendaniel chronicles her many ice cream–making adventures. In this debut title, she collects recipes either shared by or adapted from businesses such as Azucar Ice Cream Company in Miami, FL, and Purple Door Ice Cream in ­Milwaukee. Grouped by region, the chapters feature recipes such as chipotle raspberry ice cream and popcorn ice cream and are a survey of the latest flavor trends. A final section includes original recipes inspired by Clendaniel’s travels. VERDICT For ice cream lovers, this book offers plenty of flavor inspiration and culinary tourism destinations.

Elia, Maria. Smashing Plates: Greek Flavors Redefined. Kyle: Kyle Cathie. 2014. 208p. photos. index. ISBN 9781909487062. $27.95. COOKING

British chef Elia’s previous cookbook, Full of Flavor, included ingredients and techniques from many cultures. Here, the author narrows her focus to dishes inspired by her Greek heritage and recent travels to Cyprus. Some recipes, such as gigantes plaki (beans baked with tomatoes and aromatics), are rustic and traditional. Others, such as zucchini-coated calamari and tahini chocolate cakes with crême fraîche, are Elia’s own creations, informed by her personal preferences and professional expertise. Readers won’t find many of these dishes elsewhere, and while a few are challenging, most are doable and clearly explained. VERDICT A winning combination of distinct recipes and stunning photos makes this Elia’s best book to date.

Gabriel, Jean-Pierre. Thailand. Phaidon. 2014. 528p. photos. index. ISBN 9780714865294. $49.95. COOKING

French author and photographer ­Gabriel’s (Le Pain Quotidien) collection of 500 Thai recipes is massive and stunning—well worthy of any coffee table or display. Over three years, ­Gabriel traveled thousands of miles gathering regional recipes prepared by Thai men and women who cook every day. He’s arranged these recipes (e.g., chicken and banana blossom salad, stir-fried blue crab curry, corn and pandan pudding) by course, and follows them with celebrity chef contributions and an ingredient glossary. Numerous full-page photographs invite readers to take in a wealth of Thai foods and gorgeous scenes from Gabriel’s journey. VERDICT A wonderful gift for fans of Thai cuisine and culture, and highly recommended for regional and academic collections.

McTernan, Cinead (text) & Jason Ingram (photos). Kitchen Garden Experts: Twenty Celebrated Chefs & Their Head Gardeners. Frances Lincoln. 2014. 192p. index. ISBN 9780711234963. $30. COOKING

Kitchen Garden ExpertsMcTernan (garden editor, The Simple Things magazine) here profiles the kitchen gardens of 20 culinary destinations in the UK (e.g., River Cottage, L’Enclume), highlighting the relationship between chefs and their gardeners. Each section includes insider gardening secrets; the basics of how to sow, care for, and harvest select plants; and artfully plated recipes (e.g., sea kale with brown shrimps & lemon butter sauce, grilled mackerel with beetroot) that readers are more likely to admire than prepare. VERDICT Filled with lush photographs and behind-the-scenes information about successful chefs and horticulture experts, this is a great candidate for armchair travel and culinary inspiration.

Mediterranean Cookbook: Fresh, fast, and easy recipes. DK. 2014. 320p. ed. by Marie-Pierre Moine. photos. index. ISBN 9781465417619. $35. COOKING

In a collection of 300 recipes from Greece, Spain, Italy, Egypt, and other countries, food writer and former Taste magazine editor Moine introduces readers to a score of Mediterranean ingredients, from piquant olives and citrus fruits to rich meats and cheeses. “Essential” ingredients are prominently featured in photo spreads (e.g., essential lemons and oranges, essential figs and dried fruits) that appear within chapters of small plates, soups, pastas, and other courses. Individual country profiles (e.g., a taste of Sicily) offer readers a few facts and a portrait of a typical meal (e.g., lunch in Catania). VERDICT A beginner-friendly guide to Mediterranean food that blends recipes, reference, and how-to.

Metcalfe, Julian & Blanche Vaughan. The Itsu Cookbook. Mitchell Beazley: Octopus. Jun. 2014. 192p. photos. index. ISBN 9781845338985. pap. $19.99. COOKING

Leafing through this brightly colored cookbook it’s unclear whether itsu is a restaurant, a convenience store, a diet, or a way of life. It is, in fact, a London-based company developed by Metcalfe (founder, Pret A Manger) that specializes in Asian-inspired health food and comprises 40-plus locations. For readers unfamiliar with the brand, this book’s selling points will be simple and calorie counts. Light dishes (e.g., Vietnamese chicken salad, salmon teriyaki, green tea iced smoothie) contain fewer than 300 calories per serving and take less than 30 minutes to make. VERDICT These appealingly fresh recipes are ideal for lone dieters and couples. Most dishes serve two people, and portions are small.

redstarSeymour, Sasha. Coconut Every Day: Cooking with Nature’s Miracle Superfood. Pintail. Jun. 2014. 272p. photos. index. ISBN 9780143190745. pap. $20. Cooking

Cocunut Every DayCoconut milk and shredded coconut are well known and widely used, while other coconut products—coconut oil, sugar, water, vinegar, and flour—are gaining popularity. In her first book, Toronto-based food and prop stylist ­Seymour uses these ingredients to boost the nutritiousness of recipes such as crispy fried chicken, carrot cake, and egg-free “eggnog.” In breakfasts, salads, desserts, and other courses (often dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan), the author incorporates coconut with impressive versatility, using it as a frying and breading agent, and in ice cubes, marinades, and condiments. VERDICT Filled with delicious recipes (this reviewer recommends the shrimp tacos), Seymour’s book makes it both possible and desirable to eat coconut every day.

Solomon, Karen. Asian Pickles: Sweet, Sour, Salty, Cured, and Fermented Preserves from Korea, Japan, India, Indonesia, and Beyond. Ten Speed: Crown. Jun. 2014. 208p. photos. index. ISBN 9781607744764. pap. $19.99; ebk. ISBN 9781607744771. COOKING

Food writer Solomon (Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It) here combines her previously published Asian Pickles ebooks in a single print volume. In five chapters (“Japan,” “Korea,” “China,” “India,” “Southeast Asia”), the author covers a range of global preserving techniques that will acquaint readers with some very strong flavors (e.g., fish sauce, anchovy paste, tamarind paste). Unlike those that are canned for long-term storage, these pickles (e.g., preserved mustard greens, paneer-stuffed pickled chiles) are quick to prepare and meant mostly to be consumed within a few weeks. VERDICT Recommended for adventurous picklers looking to explore bold flavor combinations.

redstarSterling, David. Yucatán: Recipes from a Culinary Expedition. Univ. of Texas. (William & Bettye Nowlin in Art, History, & Culture of the Western Hemisphere). 2014. 576p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780292735811. $60. COOKING

yucatan063014Sterling, founder of the Yucatecan cooking school Los Dos, invites readers on a gastronomic tour of the Yucatán Peninsula, challenging them to try something new and undertake recipes such as lomitos de Valladolid (cubed pork loin in tomato/chile sauce with creamy strained lima beans) and chocolomo (beef organ-meat stew in peppery broth). Some recipes are multiday affairs, but they’re clearly written and intended for home cooks. An introductory index provides an invaluable reference to unique Mesoamerican ingredients. VERDICT The culmination of more than ten years of research, this is the definitive work on Yucatán cuisine and far more comprehensive than other books on “Mayan cooking.”

Yarvin, Brian. A World of Noodles: From Macaroni and Pad Thai to Melksynsels and Haluska. Countryman. 2014. 296p. photos. index. ISBN 9781581572100. pap. $19.95; ebk. ISBN 9781581576863. COOKING

Yarvin’s (A World of Dumplings) new collection of noodle recipes includes a wealth of historical, technical, and cultural information. He covers the basics of how to make fresh noodles at home and then shares recipes from around the world, from traditional American macaroni salad to Filipino pancit bihon (fried rice noodles) to Syrian macarona bi laban (spaghetti with yogurt sauce). Eclectic and entertaining sidebars appear throughout, covering such topics as how to augment instant mac and cheese and how to pair Italian pasta shapes with sauces. VERDICT Broader in scope and more clearly organized than Kirsten Hall’s The World’s Best Asian Noodle Recipes, this is a fun, approachable homage to noodles as global comfort food.

This article was published in Library Journal. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.