Lets Get Cooking! 10 New and Tasty Cookbooks

redstarAmerica’s Test Kitchen Eds. The Perfect Cake: Your Ultimate Guide to Classic, Modern, and Whimsical Cakes. America’s Test Kitchen. Mar. 2018. 432p. photos. index. ISBN 9781945256264. $35; ebk. ISBN 9781945256271. COOKING
Having already crafted The Perfect Cookie, the editors at America’s Test Kitchen now turn their attention to cakes. The ten chapters here cover cakes of all kinds, from classic layer cakes to chocolate-coated cake pops. Among the more than 200 recipes (including some vegan and gluten-free), there are such stunners as triple chocolate mousse cake, spiced pumpkin cheesecake, petit fours, and pear-walnut, upside-down cake. Thanks to meticulous instructions (the authors go so far as to specify the ideal temperature for softened butter) and photos of key techniques, even novices will be able to achieve a perfect result on the first try. VERDICT A one-stop shop for foolproof cakes, this comprehensive collection will delight all bakers.

Chapple, Justin. Just Cook It! 145 Built-To-Be-Easy Recipes That Are Totally Delicious. Houghton Harcourt. May 2018. 288p. photos. index. ISBN 9780544968837. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780544968851. COOKING
Working in Food & Wine’s test kitchen, Chapple (Mad Genius Tips) often adapts celebrity chef recipes for home cooks. Keeping the latter in mind in mind, he fills his second cookbook with doable crowd-pleasers, including French toast casserole with caramelized peaches, California-style fattoush, apple cider pulled chicken sandwiches, and chocolate-peanut pie. These recipes employ a variety of time-saving techniques and will entice readers who favor an easy gourmet style of cooking. Throughout, Chapple does an excellent job of balancing trendy foods such as cauliflower “rice” and avocado toast with timeless classics like pasta carbonara and roast chicken. VERDICT A solid collection of fast, good food.

Grier, Lauren. Modern Comfort Cooking: Feel-Good Favorites Made Fresh and New. Page Street. 2017. 192p. photos. index. ISBN 9781624144592. $21.99; ebk. ISBN 9781624144608. COOKING
Grier, founder of the popular food blog Climbing Grier Mountain, takes on comfort cooking with a twist in this cheery collection of recipe remixes and mash-ups. Most recipes merge two dishes or flavor combinations; for example, a recipe for Reuben rolls with buttered rye breadcrumbs joins a classic sandwich and a savory pastry snack. Similarly, lamb curry gnocchi marries a popular pasta with a takeout favorite. Grier’s instructions are occasionally vague, requiring readers to make judgment calls regarding size and thickness of store-bought puff pastry sheets or the meaning of directions such as “stir until the flour has cooked out.” Even so, her creative cuisine and captivating color photographs will draw a large audience. VERDICT Recommended for readers looking to revamp their dinner routine.

Hovland, Marit. Bakeland: Nordic Treats Inspired by Nature. Greystone. Apr. 2018. 208p. photos. index. ISBN 9781771643108. $30. COOKING
First published in Norway, graphic designer Hovland’s striking debut brims with unique nature-inspired sweets, including birch bark cookies, apple pie with caramel and chocolate leaves, and orange cake with white chocolate mountains. These and other desserts showcase clever decorating techniques that utilize simple tools, including toothpicks, parchment paper templates, and even stamps made from potatoes. Following Hovland’s instructions, readers can create stunning edible garnishes (e.g., candied cranberries, icing snowflakes, puffed rice flowers) that evoke Nordic life and the changing seasons. The recipes are beginner-friendly, apart from a few involving macarons, tempered chocolate, or hard-to-find ingredients. VERDICT With its artful, moody aesthetic, this book will inspire cooks who love to bake and decorate.

Knauer, Ian & Shelley Wiseman. The Farm Cooking School: Techniques and Recipes That Celebrate the Seasons. Burgess Lea. 2017. 256p. photos by Guy Ambrosino. index. ISBN 9780997211344. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780760360828. COOKING
Gourmet magazine alums Knauer (The Farm) and Wiseman (Just Tacos) run TheFarmCookingSchool.com, a teaching space on a working farm in Stockton, NJ. They’ve distilled the school’s confidence-building lessons into an attractive cookbook that emphasizes fundamental techniques and fresh, seasonal produce. Recipes such as chilled summer seafood-tomato soup, roasted whole carrot tarte tatin, braised lamb and vegetable stew with hand-rolled couscous, and plum lattice pie will attract readers who want to learn new skills while savoring the act of cooking. VERDICT Like Alison Cayne’s The Haven’s Kitchen Cooking School, this approachable book will encourage beginners to get cooking. Highly recommended.

Levin, Amelia. The Lake Michigan Cottage Cookbook: Door County Cherry Pie, Sheboygan Bratwurst, Traverse City Trout, and 115 More Regional Favorites. Storey. Apr. 2018. 288p. illus. photos. index. ISBN 9781612127323. $19.95; ebk. ISBN 9781612127330. COOKING
Food writer Levin (Chicago Chef’s Table) wants to put home cooks in a vacation state of mind with this summery collection of recipes from the shores of Lake Michigan. Focusing on popular tourist destinations, the author profiles local businesses and food producers and shares tempting regional dishes such as beer cheese soup, pasties two ways, panfried perch with tartar sauce, and Door County cherry pie. An index makes it easy to browse recipes by type, and there are plenty of full-color photographs to whet readers’ appetites. VERDICT Equally useful for cooking and travel planning, Levin’s latest will appeal to Lake Michigan dwellers, Midwesterners, armchair travelers, and coastal food enthusiasts. Essential for regional collections.

Sernaglia, Carlo & Julia Turshen. Margaritaville: The Cookbook; Relaxed Recipes for a Taste of Paradise. St. Martin’s. May 2018. 352p. photos. index. ISBN 9781250151650. $32.50; ebk. ISBN 9781250153395. COOKING
Jimmy Buffett’s iconic song “Margaritaville” is associated with numerous commercial ventures, including resorts, retail stores, and a restaurant chain. Sernaglia, concept chef for Margaritaville Holdings, LLC, teams with best-selling author Turshen (Feed the Resistance) for this tie-in cookbook, which takes inspiration from laid-back locales like Key West, the Gulf Coast, New Orleans, and the Caribbean. All the foods you’d expect to find on an island paradise are here, from lime and coconut-infused beverages and breakfasts to casual and sophisticated seafood dishes. In addition to easy recipes (e.g., spicy breakfast quesadillas, quinoa and mango salad with seared tuna, summer grill surf and turf, banana cream pie with caramel rum sauce), the book includes menu suggestions for parties, beach outings, tailgates, and other occasions. ­VERDICT Recommended for readers seeking foods that bring to mind vacations and island living.

redstarSyhabout, James & John Birdsall. Hawker Fare: Stories & Recipes from a Refugee Chef’s Isan Thai & Lao Roots. Anthony Bourdain: Ecco. Jan. 2018. 368p. photos. index. ISBN 9780062656094. $39.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062656100. COOKING
Syhabout, a first-generation Laotian chef whose family came to the United States in 1981, immerses readers in the Thai and Lao cuisine served at his Hawker Fare restaurant in San Francisco. With food writer Birdsall, Syhabout delves deep into his family history and career path, sharing flavorful recipes such as fried chicken with charred chile jam, pork and egg drop curry noodles, tart and aromatic fish salad laap, and banana and coconut milk rice pudding steamed in banana leaves. Most dishes are daunting, requiring home cooks to seek specialty ingredients and embrace frequent use of a large mortar and pestle. Those who persevere, however, will be richly rewarded. VERDICT An exceptional work; Syhabout’s first book blends substantial memoir with mouth-watering foods.

Weston, Nicole. Perfectly Creamy Frozen Yogurt: 56 Amazing Flavors plus Recipes for Pies, Cakes & Other Frozen Desserts. Storey. May 2018. 176p. photos. index. ISBN 9781612128801. pap. $16.95; ebk. ISBN 9781612128818. COOKING
Though not marketed as such, this is an expanded and repackaged edition of pastry chef Weston’s How To Make Frozen Yogurt. The introduction, techniques, FAQ, 56 flavors, and metric conversion chart are largely unchanged and don’t benefit significantly from a fresh color layout and photographs. What’s new are 50 additional recipes for frozen yogurt treats and accompaniments, such as cookie and brownie sandwiches, cakes, pies, semifreddos, popsicles, and sauces. These are conveniently cross-referenced; for example, the recipe for apple pie frozen yogurt can be used to make the apple cobbler pops in a later chapter. VERDICT If your frozen yogurt-making needs are purely practical, this book’s inexpensive predecessor will meet your needs. Choose the new edition if you can’t get enough of creative frozen desserts.

Whalen, Dan. Tots! 50 Tot-Ally Awesome Recipes from Totchos to Sweet Po-Tot-O Pie. Workman. May 2018. 160p. photos. index. ISBN 9780761189947. $12.95; ebk. ISBN 9781523503957. COOKING
Whalen (Stuffed: The Ultimate Comfort Food Cookbook) plays up novelty and nostalgia in this lighthearted cookbook dedicated entirely to tots: traditionally bite-sized cylinders of fried grated potatoes. The 50 recipes for appetizers, breakfasts, main dishes, and desserts feature tots in myriad forms. Defrosted and mashed, they form the base of a tot crust quiche with bacon and onion. Deep-fried and tossed in cinnamon sugar, they become tot churros ready for dipping in chocolate ganache. It’s easiest to make these recipes with store-bought tots, but motivated readers can try recipes for homemade versions. VERDICT This book explores new ways to prepare and serve a popular food and is similar to Daniel Shumski’s Will It Waffle?

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