06 January 2018

Weekend Cooking: 3 Good Cookbooks

3 good cookbooksI don't know about you, but I like to spend the week between Christmas and New Years getting organized. This year, as I was going through my books, I found a few cookbooks I really wanted to share with you but didn't--for whatever reason.

Before I find room for these cookbooks on my real or virtual bookshelves, I wanted to give them a moment in the limelight.

I'm starting today with three titles that are at the top of my to-try list. Let me know if you've explored any of them. Each cookbook has lots of promise, so I hope you find at least one to add to your wish list.

Homegrown by Matt JenningsHomegrown by Matt Jennings (Artisan, Oct. 17, 2017): Jennings has made a name for himself in the food world, catching the eye of the James Beard committee and Food & Wine, among others. He's currently located in Boston and is chef/owner of the brasserie Townsman. I'm always a bit hesitant to pick up a cookbook by a restaurant chef because I'm worried the recipes will require fancy tools, professional ovens, and/or expensive ingredients. Thus I was relieved to see that Homegrown's recipes are pretty straightforward, in a contemporary creative cook kind of way. The dishes are modern takes on the flavors of New England and most look doable for experienced cooks. Jennings includes tips and notes, full-page photographs, and even lists needed equipment (like a meat thermometer or a springform). The book is arranged by the source of the main ingredient (dairy, farm, orchard), and each section includes a "feast"--a complete meal to show off New England's best ingredients. Note there are (as can be expected) a number of seafood recipes, and there are also a handful of game dishes. Three recipes: Evie's Pub Cheese (for snacking), Maple-Lime Grilled Chicken Legs (with a bean salad on the side), Summer Tagliatelle ("like a BLT sandwich dressed in pasta's clothes").

Packed: Lunch Hacks and Recipes to Squeeze More Nutrients into Your Day by Becky Alexander and Michelle LakePacked: Lunch Hacks and Recipes to Squeeze More Nutrients into Your Day by Becky Alexander and Michelle Lake (Nourish, Feb. 14, 2017): If you've been following Weekend Cooking, then you know I'm on a never-ending quest for easy, healthful lunch ideas. I don't know why I have breakfast and dinner nailed, but I've always had a problem with lunches (except leftovers, of course), especially meals my husband can take to work. Alexander and Lake to the rescue! Their nutritious, easy, cost-effective, and "realistic" ideas are just what I need. The recipes, complete with packing and serving tips, are very appealing and come together quickly (though you may want to prep or cook on Sunday). I particularly love the section on "fork-free meals," which includes dips and nutritious sandwiches. If you're on a special diet (paleo, vegan, GF), you'll find recipes to suit you, though you should probably borrow Packed before you buy. Besides the recipes, you'll also find "healthy hacks" to make your lunch hour more enjoyable. I was relieved that most of the recipes require no microwave (but you'll want a couple of wide-mouth thermoses for the soup) and use everyday ingredients. Probably best suited to adults or teens. Three recipes: Pear, Hazelnut & Goat Cheese salad (perfect for fall); Coronation-ish Chicken Sandwich (curry flavors); Creamy Wild Mushroom Soup (store-bought mushrooms & almond milk).

Texas Slow Cooker by Cheryl JamisonTexas Slow Cooker by Cheryl Jamison (Harvard Common Press, Sept. 12, 2017): You might be surprised to learn I'm a huge fan of the slow cooker, considering I own three pressure cookers. Well, I also own a slow cooker or two as well. Jamison is a veteran cookbook author, and clearly knows her way around a recipe and how to get the most out of a slow cooker. Besides solid advice on how to buy the right machine for your needs, she also suggests four must-have items: specific baking dishes and a 3-inch ring biscuit cutter (for use as pan stand). The recipes take you from breakfast to dessert and absolutely have a Southwest, Tex-Mex attitude. I was looking through the starters and snack section, which I think would be great for any casual get-together (especially those dips and wings). As you might expect, Texas Slow Cooker has a number of chili recipes, but you'll also find German meatballs and creole flavors. More unusual ingredients are game and goat, but most of the peppers and spices are readily available in a good grocery or via mail order. As the entire USA is experiencing freezing weather and our friends in the other hemisphere are starting to think twice about turning on the oven, this cookbook would be a welcome addition to almost any kitchen. Three recipes: Chicken Breasts with Chipotle Cream (cheesy goodness), Chile Relleno Casserole (no stuffing or frying required), Praline Bread Pudding (need I say more?)

Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend 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.

NOTE: Mr. Linky sometimes is mean and will give you an error message. He's usually wrong and your link went through just fine the first time. Grrrr.


gluten Free A_Z Blog 1/6/18, 8:06 AM  

Dinner is always the meal that I need recipes for-
I seem to just grab a piece of cheese and some salad or cottage cheese and salad for lunch- or a leftover bowl of soup- but I'm always in need of a dinner idea ..

bermudaonion 1/6/18, 8:20 AM  

Those are all new to me but I like the sound of Packed.

Mae Travels 1/6/18, 9:13 AM  

Texas Slow Cooker : a good choice! Slow cookers are really the appliance of the moment -- since it's cold all over the eastern part of the country we obviously need that kind of comfort food and warm aromas spreading through the house. My slow cooker worked overnight and now I have beef with vegetables ready for several future meals. Some went in the refrigerator, some straight into the freezer.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Deb in Hawaii 1/6/18, 11:17 AM  

They all look like good and useful books. I don't use my slow cooker enough and like you, I can always use new lunch ideas. Thanks for sharing!

Unknown 1/6/18, 12:15 PM  

These refs all new to me but sound great!

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz 1/6/18, 5:06 PM  

I definitely need to take a look at the Texas Slow Cooker cookbook. I cook a lot of Texas foods.

Esme 1/6/18, 10:49 PM  

I would like to use my slow cooker more. I/m just hesitant to leave it on while I am at work.

Jackie McGuinness 1/7/18, 10:38 AM  

This will be my week to get organized!

I just put Packed on my wish list at the library. I need to get better organized about lunches as we seem to just grab whatever is around.

I should use my slow cooker more.

Les in Oregon 1/7/18, 1:54 PM  

You had me at German Meatballs! That Texas Slow Cooker sounds wonderful. After combining households with my 84-year-old mother, I discovered that between us we have 4 Crock Pots and 1 Instant Pot. And, we actually used all 4 Crock Pots on Thanksgiving Day, so I'm glad we didn't get rid on any! :)

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