24 July 2021

Weekend Cooking: New to My Cookbook Shelf

Abrams CookbooksIt's nearing the end of July, and if you been following me for the last few years, then you know what time it is--Abrams Dinner Party application time!

As you know, I've been working with Abrams for four or five years now, receiving every food and cooking book they publish. It's been an honor and a pleasure to partner with one of the friendliest, most flexible cookbook publicists around. Even better is the fact that I'm constantly amazed with their success rate with cookbooks.

If you want to apply for a place at the Abrams Dinner Party table, just fill out the application form. The web page has testimonials (one from me!) and a sneak peek at some of next year's titles.

Just to recap some of my top picks from the 2020-2021 year, take a look at the photo above. I'm not sure I could pick just one cookbook as my number one fav, but I am still cooking out of all the books shown.

I've also been blessed with review copies of several other cookbooks that are new this month. I've cooked out of only one of them so far, and I confess that I haven't yet tried either of the two baking books. After the Fourth of July and two (small, safe) gatherings with family, we're on a vacation from baked goods for a few weeks. Take a look at what's new on my July bookshelf.

New cookbooks for JulyFirst up is The Big, Fun Kids Baking Book from Food Network Magazine. As the cover says this book contains recipes for more than 100 sweet treats. The book is geared to young bakers, ages 8 to 12, but really, this is a book for the whole family.

One thing I really love about the book is that the recipes are for desserts anyone would be proud to bake, serve, and eat. The muffins, quick breads, cakes, cookies, and bars are grownup treats, and some recipes fit special diets, like gluten free. The cookbook is full of great tips, facts, variations, and color photos. The recipes themselves call for familiar ingredients and equipment and the directions are easy to follow. Pick this up if you have a young baker in your life.

New cookbooks for JulyNext, let's take a look at the other baking book. Nadiya Bakes by Nadiya Hussain (Clarkson Potter) is by a winner of the Great British Baking Show. This cookbook focuses on sweets but also includes savory items (like crackers, breads, and casseroles) and a whole chapter on "no-bake bakes."

The flavors run from the common (cinnamon swirl bread) to the more unusual (blueberry and lavender scone pizza). I have a ton of recipes marked to try, including a tart with onions and blue cheese, apple and tarragon crumble, cranberry and chile brioche, and focaccia stuffed with salmon and dill. I'll let you know how the recipes turned out.

New cookbooks for JulyI've already made a couple of recipes from Clean Eating Kitchen: The Low-Carb Mediterranean Cookbook by Michelle Dudash (Fair Winds Press). We love Mediterranean flavors and know it can be smart to curb our intake of simple carbs, so I was fairly sure this cookbook would be a winner. I appreciated the nutritional information presented at the beginning of the book, and trust it because Dudash is both a registered dietitian nutritionist and a Cordon Bleu-certified chef. And best of all, I was happy to see that recipe flavors range from Europe to the Mideast.

Each recipe is accompanied by a photo of the finished dish, nutrient breakdown, introduction, and (when needed) tips and hints. We made a roasted turmeric cauliflower dish that was tasty served with simple grilled chicken and have put the Mediterranean meatloaf with roasted red pepper sauce on permanent rotation. I saw a number of vegetarian dishes and at least one specially marked as vegan, but do note that most of the recipes I bookmarked included meat. I recommend putting this on your library or buy list.

New cookbooks for JulyAnother low-carb cookbook is The Anti-Inflammatory Diet Made Simple by Molly Thompso (Fair Winds Press). I was interested in this cookbook because it covers the gamut for special diets and each recipe is clearly marked with symbols for dairy-free, gluten-free, low-carb, paleo, refined sugar free, vegan, and vegetarian. Now that we have a faint hope of perhaps having friends over again (maybe??), I like to have a store of recipes that I can draw to meet my guests' needs.

I was unfamiliar with the author, but she is the person behind the blog/website What Molly Made. The recipes look reasonable and doable, though I didn't find a ton of "oh wow!" recipes that called to me. I suggest you try some recipes from her site before deciding whether you'd like to buy her book.

New cookbooks for JulyFinally, I couldn't resist taking a look at The Great Book of Grilled Cheese by Kim Wilcox (Fox Chapel). I'm a lifelong lover of grilled cheese but didn't realize one could write a whole cookbook devoted to the sandwich. The truth is, this book includes sides, soups, other grilled sandwiches, and desserts. Some of the recipes come from restaurants, and some are regional variations. I enjoyed reading through the beginning of the book which goes through the history of the grilled cheese, equipment, and techniques, including vintage photos.

Some of the grilled sandwiches were old favorites (the patty melt, for example) and some were totally new (sausage and gravy grilled cheese). As might be expected, the sandwich combos ran the full range from yum! (add bacon) to I'd try that (add tart apple slices) to huh? (add pasta). A few of the non-sandwich recipes looked good, and I had fun reading through the cookbook and picking up some ideas, and you might too. I'd put this one on your library list if you're curious.

Shared with Weekend Cooking, hosted by Marg at The Intrepid Reader (and Baker)


Deb Nance at Readerbuzz 7/24/21, 7:23 AM  

Cookbooks are one of my favorite genres. I can never have enough of them. I'm off now to add Nadiya Bakes, It's Not Complicated, Pizza Czar, and Pie for Everyone to my wishlist.

Tina 7/24/21, 7:50 AM  

Every one of those books would be great to cook with. The one for kids is especially interesting as I’ll finally get to visit my granddaughter in September and she likes helping in the kitchen.

Nadiya Bakes is on my list!

gluten Free A_Z Blog 7/24/21, 9:04 AM  

I have been following you through a few Abram's seasons and have enjoyed your reviews of some very interesting cookbooks. I've thought about joining but have hesitated because of having a vegan blog.
What do you think?

Jackie McGuinness 7/24/21, 10:15 AM  

Nadiya Bakes is a great book, loved her show. I can't find that anti-inflammatory book at the library but did find a couple of others I will check out.

Melynda@Scratch Made Food! 7/24/21, 4:33 PM  

Well, I never met a cookbook I did not want to read! I remember Nydia from BB, she was always a delight, but I have to be honest, lavender in my food is not my idea of a good flavor. I bought a large bottle of Herbs de Provence and found out right away a few decades ago...the grilled cheese book however would immediately become a favorite of my hubby, he loves grilled cheese sandwiches of all kinds!

Marg 7/25/21, 2:11 AM  

Oh, I have Nadiya Bakes!! I bought it a few weeks ago!

Greg 7/25/21, 1:58 PM  

I like the sound of the Low Carb Mediterranean Cookbook. I need to give that one a look.

Sherry's Pickings 7/25/21, 8:29 PM  

i always love a good baking book. But oh I have so many cookbooks already ...

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