Monday, November 23, 2009

Holiday Food

Author: Mario Batali
Pages: 144
Format: Hardcover

Tis the season of the green and... orange? That would be Mario on the cover in his trademark orange clogs with green sox (at least on the cover of my book) for the holidays. There is a great photo of a teen/20 something Mario on page 12! Holidays means Xmas and New Years Eve and Day. A little book packed with really good recipes. Not a fluff piece, this one is worth it.

Shrimp in "crazy water" - the addition of fennel gives this almost bouillabaisse some nuance
Baked crepes stuffed with cheese - ricotta, mozzarella, cacio and sopressata
Pickled Vegetable salad
Spaghetti with a hole, sheep's cheese and eggs
Cookie box
Mythic Pasta Dome
Linguine with Walnut Sauce

Verdict: It's cheap. Buy it!!

Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen

Author: Paul Prudhomme
Pages: 351
Format: Hardcover
It may seem old hat now but this was a groundbreaking cookbook. A regional, local restaurateur making a national and international impact. Now if it happens all the time from Mario to Nobu from Ferran to Ducasse. Paul and his eponymous restaurant K-Pauls was one of the first. His was the original 'bam' seasoning. There are multiple seasoning mixes utilizing garlic and onion powder, dried herbs and salt and many kinds of pepper. There pictures on how to really blacken food - this is before Red Lobster and everyone else did it. There are roux's from white to black, stews from gumbo to jambalaya and baked goods from jalapeno biscuits to pecan pie. Add butter, lots of it, add spices, lots of it and eat lots of it!

Recipes copied - too many to list - but here's a few.
Barbequed Shrimp
Red Beans and Rice with Ham Hocks and Andouille Smoked Sausage
Dirty Rice
Chicken and Seafood Jambalaya
Shrimp, Okra and Andouille Smoked Sausage Gumbo
Seven Steak and Okra Gumbo (I add shrimp, too)
Strawberry Pie
Pecan Pralines


This is the real deal. Buy it for the history and the recipes!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Win her with dinner; food, booze and tunes for cooking up the perfect evening

Author: Doug Veith
Pages: 154
Format: Hardcover

Witty, urbane, "pun"-y, but a cookbook for non cooks. Many recipes just tell how to bring prepackaged foods together in a tasty and, hopefully, romantic way. From What is it Really: Lamb Chops, Veggies and Salad to What to Tell her is it: Pan seared, rosemary infused Lam Rib Chops with oven roasted jams, blanched sugar snap peas and mesclun salad with feta cheese, the book is about easy menu design and does deliver a wow factor. A useful tool book for a non cook and for a date at home.

The best part of the book is the Play This list of dinner music. From Joe Jackson to Chet Baker to Charles Mingus to Tom Waits - an eclectic mix of music that sounds cool.

Recipes copied - just the play list of songs

Verdict: Get it from the library

Monday, November 16, 2009

Welcome to the Cookbook Reviewer

4 score and 20 cookbooks ago, this delusional chef wannabe set out to collect them all. He found that he could not afford them or store them all. So he used the public library, interlibrary loan, to review the books. The local librarians are now his best fans.

And so it came to pass that he decided to tell others about the books to get from library, make copies of recipes or ... buy.

Irreverant, to the point, quick and definately not definative - these reviews are from the heart, from the library and intended for consumption.

Title, Author, format, pages, review and recipes copied - that's it. Let's eat!

Holiday Baking: New and Traditional Recipes for Wintertime Holidays

Author: Sara Perry
Pages: 168
Format: Paperback

Short recipes and easy to follow. Good pictures for every recipe! Seperated into holidays like Boxing Day, Chanuka, Kwanza, etc.

Recipes copied (maybe 10%)
Cashew Caramel Cracker Bars - made with Saltines - now that is gutsy
Jerusalem Olive Oil Cake
Shortbread - the whitest cake I ever saw in the photo
Apple Puff Pancake - for New Year's late or Jan 1 brunch

Verdict: Get it from the library