If you do any gluten-free baking, you're fully aware that baking without regular flour requires some skill and patience in the kitchen. Thankfully, with gluten-free baking mixes, it's easy to make your favorite cookie and cake recipes without ripping your hair out in the process. Anne Byrn — aka "The Cake Mix Doctor" — is at it again with her latest cookbook, The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten-Free ($9), utilizing gluten-free baking mixes in all of her recipes. Always a sucker for gluten-free recipe books, I decided to see if Anne's reputation carried over into gluten-free recipes as well.
If eating healthy is one of your goals for 2011, I suggest investing in some quality cookbooks to enhance your culinary experience. Flipping through recipe books always inspires me to pull out an apron and get to chopping. The new cookbook Power Foods ($25) will certainly have you sharpening your knives and preheating your oven. Written by the editors of Whole Living Magazine, the cookbook educates while it motives. A quintessential health-food cookbook, the pages are filled with recipes featuring 38 potent ingredients. Just because the nutritional properties of the ingredients were the most important criterion for their inclusion doesn't mean that the 150 recipes included in the book skimp on taste. The bold photos of each recipe capture the flavor of each dish and the soon-to-be cook's imagination.
The 38 power foods that made the cut to be included in the cookbook are high in: vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, essential fatty acids, fiber, and more. It's not surprising that avocados, broccoli, and salmon made the list, but you'll find recipes for sweet potatoes, sable fish (high in omega-3 fatty acids), and pistachios. Power Foods is part reference book too. Each power food is given an informational page listing its health benefits, which are cross-referenced with recipes featuring the ingredient — handy! There's also a section in the back on how to use these power foods to combat different health issues like arthritis to hypertension.
The recipes are easy to follow and tasty. I recommend the roasted Brussels sprouts with shallots and pears. Yes, roasting pear with Brussels sprouts adds a whole new flavor dimension to the dish. You can purchase the book at Amazon.
If you're not sure what to do for Earth Day, raise a fork to Mother Earth today with a brand-new book title, Edible: A Celebration of Local Foods ($20), written by Tracey Ryder and Carole Topalian, the two founders of Edible Communities. Edible is an organization that publishes magazines throughout various regions of North America that focus on the local food industry; its just-published eponymous book gives readers a glimpse of communities across the United States. Is it worth buying? Decide when you read more.
Although Passover lasts for only a few more days, its occurrence is always a reminder (for Jews and non-observers alike) of how much Jewish culture has shaped contemporary culture and cuisine. What's the origin of dill pickles, and how did cream cheese come to be paired with salmon? Arthur Schwartz's Jewish Home Cooking ($24) tackles such questions, all while offering more than 100 traditional Yiddish recipes. Learn more about it after the jump
Upon realizing that March is National Noodle Month and National Sauce Month, I've been obsessed with learning more about Eastern noodle dishes and Asian sauces. So I swore it was culinary kismet when I got sent a copy of Easy Asian Noodles ($18). The title is by Helen Chen, a writer with three other Chinese cookbooks under her belt and the founder of an Asian cookware line. For an established Asian cooking figure like Chen, would this new book live up to its expectations? Find out when you read more.
If you're well-read in the food blog department, chances are you've come across Steamy Kitchen, a haven for East Asian-inspired recipes. A friend once described Jaden Hair, the mastermind behind the site, as "the Asian version of Rachael Ray," because her recipes are simple, straightforward, and speedy to prepare at home. Recently, she released her first-ever cookbook, The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook ($19), a compilation of 101 of her top recipes. Is her Eastern take on modern cuisine a good bet when celebrating the Lunar New Year? Find out when you keep reading.
I should have put self-control on my list of New Year's resolutions, because I haven't been able to resist temptation this month, especially when it comes to nostalgic candies, dragées, or any charming confection. At least one publisher appealed to my weakness when I received a copy of Peter Greweling's Chocolates and Confections at Home With the Culinary Institute of America ($23), I think my heart actually skipped a beat. Did it let me down? Find out and read more.
Call her what you will, but it's undeniable that Alice Waters is a pioneer in sustainable cooking practices. I personally had never even heard of eating locally or organic until I had a conversation about Waters's famed northern California restaurant Chez Panisse, which opened in 1971. Today restaurants and grocery stores are filled with the words "local," "organic," and "sustainable," as well as a laundry list of farm-sourced ingredients.
If eating simply prepared food culled from fresh ingredients is your thing, The Art of Simple Food by Waters is a must-have cookbook. There's nothing revolutionary about the 200 recipes within its pages — sauces, pastas, soups, veggies, meats, seafood, desserts, and so on, but when prepared the familiar recipes seem almost perfect in flavor, texture, and presentation. I also love that it's geared to the home cook and that most of the meals are extremely easy to prepare. If any recipe is remotely challenging, Waters does a good job of explaining proper technique thoroughly.
To hear why I love this cookbook, read more
The latest book from Food & Wine, Quick from Scratch Chicken Cookbook ($25), might be dedicated entirely to chicken, but it is by no means boring. We all know that chicken is a wonderful lean protein, but cooking a boneless, skinless breast can become awfully dull. This cookbook is the antidote to monotonous chicken. With lovely photos accompanying every recipe, it is easy to become inspired flipping through its pages. Many of the recipes seem healthy, but the cookbook doesn't include any nutritional breakdown of the recipes, which is my only criticism of this book. Since chicken is such a versatile protein and can be cooked a variety of ways, the cookbook is organized around all the different cooking techniques making it easy to find recipes to try. Being summertime, I was drawn to the section devoted to grilling. I made the Tandoori chicken, and it was a hit. My girls loved it and it impresses dinner guests repeatedly. The major bonus is it's easy.
Check out the recipe when you read more
Studies on health and the health of the environment continue pointing to the fact that eating less meat is beneficial. It is from the perspective that you can reduce both your carbon footprint and your long term health by cutting back on your carnivorous ways that the authors of Almost Meatless ($22.50) penned their new cookbook. A collaboration between a former vegan, Joy Manning, and a committed meat eater, Tara Mataraza Desmond, this cookbook is full of recipes that include meat, fish, and poultry in the ingredient list. The meat, however, is not central to the dishes and is used more like a spice for flavor, texture, and color.
The cookbook is divided into sections by animal proteins, including chicken, seafood, eggs, beef, and pork. The amount of meat in these recipes is small, often hovering around four ounces to create a final dish containing four to six servings. The photos of the dishes are inspiring, but I would love a shot of every dish — I am very visually motivated when it comes to experimenting with new recipes. There are many tempting dishes to make like Almond Gnocchi with Lamb Ragu and Sweet Potato Chorizo Mole. I cooked up the shrimp fried rice and everyone in my house plus two guests loved it, and I look forward to trying more recipes from this book. The authors provide great cooking and shopping tips — like how to freeze bacon so you can use a slice when needed. Yes, cooking with just a piece of bacon still packs a powerful tasty punch. The only problem I have with this cookbook — there are no nutritional breakdowns of the recipes. I believe that cooks interested in using less meat are also going to want to know the calories, protein, and fat per serving.
To check out the tasty fried rice recipe read more