Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. 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.
Custom Confections by Jen Besel is a cute cookbook geared for middle grade kids, but I can't imagine anyone who wouldn't have a lot of fun with it. The equipment and recipes are basic, but the decorations are amazing. The secret is to use cake mixes and store-bought cookie dough, pie crusts, and puff pastry and then use them in creative ways to make mini tarts, ice cream cone cakes, and (my favorite) a pile of books cake. Some treats are no bake (stuffed strawberries) and some are frozen (ice pops). Besel provides detailed but easy-to-follow decorating instructions for the main recipes as well as the icings and fondants. Those dark chocolate truffles (at top right on the book cover) are calling to me. (Capstone Young Readers, 2014, 9781623701369)
Mug It! by Pam McElroy is a great little book for teens and college students, although you'll find plenty of grown-up recipes as well. The recipes are heavy on breakfast, snacks, and desserts, but you'll also find a handful of dinner recipes. And despite its title and cover, this cookbook also includes several mason jar recipes, such as salads, fruit parfaits, and pickles. I'd be lying if I didn't admit that the mug-cooked breads, muffins, and cakes caught my immediate attention. I'm glad I looked a little deeper, however, because the pretty salads and creative dips look delicious too. Plus I know a few college students who would love to know how to make mug-size mac and cheese in their dorm-room microwave. (Pulp/Zest Books, 2015, 9781936976782)
The Cafe Spice Cookbook by Hari Nayak is perfect for cooks who want to expand their repertoire into the fragrant and delicious world of Indian cooking. Nayak starts with an introduction to spices, techniques, and suggested equipment for us novices. The recipes are geared (as the subtitle says) for everyday meals, meaning they're easy and generally quick to make. I love that almost every recipe is accompanied by a full-color photograph, which is especially welcome when cooking unfamiliar dishes. The directions are clear and informative, and most of the ingredients are easy to find. Vegetarians may want to look through the book before buying. (Tuttle Publishing, 2015, 9780804844307)
The Simple Art of Salt Block Cooking by Jessica Harlan and Kelley Sparwasser is for the adventurous cook, although the techniques involved are easy and mostly familiar. The book goes through the basics of grilling, baking, and serving using a special block of salt. Wait! I know your first question, and here's the answer: You can buy Himalayan salt blocks in many stores, including Home Depot. I can also answer your second question: The authors assure us that the dishes will in fact not taste too salty. Besides appetizers, sides, and main meals, you'll find recipes for breads and even sweets. What's more, the flavors are global, from Mexican to Asian to classic French. I definitely hope to give this intriguing technique a try. (Ulysses Press, 2015, 9781612434834)