29 November 2014

Weekend Cooking: Gift Ideas for the Cooks on Your List: 2

Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

Gift ideas for cooks from Beth Fish ReadsLooking for some good ideas for the cooks on your holiday shopping list? Here are three cookbooks that are sure to inspire some kitchen creativity in the coming year--and I love that they all rely on fresh, nutritious ingredients to help start 2015 off on a healthful note.

Green Smoothies for Every Season by Kristine MilesGreen Smoothies for Every Season by Kristine Miles (Ulysses Press; ISBN 9781612431727) The popularity of smoothies for breakfasts and snacks can't be denied, but so many of us are getting bored with the same old banana or blueberry drinks day after day. In Miles's lovely little book, you'll find a new smoothie for every week of the year, each one using seasonally fresh ingredients. The stars of the show are fruits and vegetables, which provide fiber, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. The first part of the book consists of information about nutrition, blending, storage, and ingredients. The remaining chapters contain the recipes, arranged by season. Start 2015 off with a Mandarin Mania (clementine, pineapple, spinach) and work your way through the book by making a spring Pina Colada (with mesclun mix), a summer Berry Blast (with romaine), and a fall Detox Diva (with endive). Most of the ingredients are easy to find, although a few (borage) may not be readily available in your area and some (macadamia nuts) may be expensive. Regardless, smoothie lovers will find plenty of delicious new ideas for their daily drink.

Drink the Harvest by Nan K. Chase and DeNeice C. GuestDrink the Harvest by Nan K. Chase and DeNeice C. Guest (Storey Publishing; ISBN: 9781612121598) The eye-catching photographs and design of this gem of a book will grab your attention, and the recipes and ideas for turning produce into beverages will inspire you to develop new kitchen skills. Chase and DeNeice provide everything you need to know about making and storing a variety of fresh drinks from vegetable juices and ciders to fruit syrups and herbal teas. There's even a chapter on wine, mead, and other adult beverages. Gardners, CSA members, and farmers market denizens will love learning new ways to preserve their summer bounty. I'm particularly interested in the Spiced Ginger-Bay Syrup, the Berry Juice, Luscious Limoncello, and Citrus Peel Tea. Cooks will appreciate that the authors don't leave them stranded; the book provides detailed information on harvesting, pressing fruit, canning, fermentation, and more. If you're lucky, the recipient of this beautiful cookbook will thank you with a bottle of homemade Mixed Berry Mead.

Homemade Condiments by Jessica HarlanHomemade Condiments by Jessica Harlan (Ulysses Press; ISBN: 9781612432236) Here's a great cookbook that you can either buy for someone else or use to create your own homemade gifts fresh from the kitchen. Why make your own condiments? As anyone who has a food allergy or sensitivity will quickly tell you, commercially made sauces, dressings, and other condiments are a mine field of iffy ingredients. Why worry if that mustard or chutney has stray nuts or gluten? Make it yourself and be sure. Plus, most store-bought sauces have too much sugar, too much salt, and too many preservatives. Harlan has collected a nice variety of easy-to-follow recipes for all kinds of kitchen staples, such as barbecue sauces, ketchups, mustards, pickles, salsas, vinegars, salad dressings, dessert sauces, and chutneys. A great feature is the "Use It For" list that accompanies each recipe: Try drizzling the Maple Tarragon Vinaigrette over grilled peaches, and stirring the Grainy Porter Mustard into mac and cheese. The book, which also includes information on safely storing the products, will be a welcome addition to any kitchen.


shelleyrae @ book'd out 11/29/14, 7:42 AM  

Handmade Condiments is something I'd like to browse.

Melynda Brown 11/29/14, 8:50 AM  

I am in the Homemade Condiments camp also!

Trish 11/29/14, 8:51 AM  

The condiment book caught my eye as well. We don't use a ton of condiments but I do like experimenting with BBQ sauce. Bet there's a lot of great inspiration in there!

Jackie Mc Guinness 11/29/14, 9:34 AM  

I have the Homemade Condiments book and love it.

Beth S. 11/29/14, 10:09 AM  

Homemade Condiments looks like an interesting book. I'll have to look that one up.

Daryl 11/29/14, 10:51 AM  

after all i ate on thanksgiving and all i ate yesterday of the leftovers i didnt think i could even think about food .. and yet i am

Beth Hoffman 11/29/14, 11:51 AM  

I've been on a healthy smoothie kick for months and I'm going to buy "Green Smoothies for Every Season" right away. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

rhapsodyinbooks 11/29/14, 11:55 AM  

I was looking at cookbooks this morning at the bookstore and as always was just astounded at how many there are!

Katherine P 11/29/14, 11:59 AM  

The Homemade Condiment book looks like a lot of fun. I love making different sauces and adding salsas, vinegars and chutneys to the mix sounds great. Drink the Harvest sounds like it'd be interesting as well. I like the idea of using up fruits and vegetables in unique ways. I'll have to look for those 2!

Laura Fabiani 11/29/14, 12:25 PM  

The Smoothie book looks good. I tend to make the same smoothies all the time. Or I experiment and sometimes mess up!

Carole 11/29/14, 1:28 PM  

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving. Cheers from Carole's Chatter

Laurie C 11/29/14, 2:48 PM  

Homemade Condiments is the one I want, too! I was planning to post my cookbook gift ideas list today, but I had an overdue cookbook review that I decided to post instead.

Peaceful Reader 11/30/14, 8:37 PM  

All of these books look interesting. Thanks for sparking my interest. Making my own condiments would be so much healthier. I'll have to add that one to my wish list.

Sue Jackson 11/30/14, 9:12 PM  

Interesting cookbook selections - all very unique topics! Keep the gift ideas coming - enjoying them!


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