Cookbook Reviews

Cookbook Review: True Food

True Food by Andrew Weil and Sam Fox, with Michael Stebner 9780316129411

truefood

 

This cookbook is proof that healthy food can taste like a 5 star meal without a heavy amount of cream, butter, and salt. I’m still working my way through the cookbook, but everything that I’ve tried so far tastes gourmet, yet I know I’m eating something that’s going to help my body thrive, not hinder it. Included in the book is an essay and food pyramid which demonstrates Andrew Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Mind you, this isn’t the “I want to look good in my bikini” type of diet, but one that allows your body to reach its optimal health. Though I don’t follow this type of diet at every meal (I love my butter here and there), his recipes have given me new ways to incorporate nutritional food into my everyday diet. Here’s a short sample of some of the recipes found in the book:

Immunity Soup
Curried Cauliflower Soup
Quinoa Johnnycakes
Chocolate Pudding
Kale Pesto
Corn-Ricotta Ravioli

And whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, or a meat-eater, you’ll find suitable recipes in this book (though you won’t find beef!). There’s really something in here for everyone.

 

Read More

Cookbook Review: Moosewood Cooking for Health

Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health 9781416548874

moosewood

I bought this for my mother once, and I borrow it every change I have. (Ok, I know, I should just buy my own.) It’s a wonderful collection of vegetarian and vegan recipes. Unlike a lot of cookbooks, it doesn’t have any photographs, so you really get a lot of recipes jammed into the 300+ pages.  It’s the perfect kind of all-around healthy cookbook to have on hand. Plus it also has a lot of essays about fats/oils, eggs, soy and so on. And it has a moose on the cover. Need I say more?

Some recipe examples (many of which I have yet to try but will):
Whole Wheat Banana Berry Muffins (I have tried these and they are wonderful)
Avocado Citrus Dressing
Vegan Cornbread
Greek Tomato-Yogurt Soup
Savory Mushroom and Asparagus Bread Pudding (Next on my list)
Chocolate Bark

And really, that’s a very tiny sample. It has over 300 pages of recipes.

Read More

Carrot Soup

 

carrot soup2

Though I enjoy carrots all year round, there’s something about spring that makes me think of this soup. Perhaps it’s the bright orange color, or the fact that I often associate carrots with bunnies, which makes me think of Easter, which makes me think of spring. The bottom line is that I love this soup and it works during many different seasons.

All credit for this recipe goes to Alice Waters and her amazing cookbook The Art of Simple Food.

simple food-1

 

It is a perfect cookbook, one everyone should have. I’m sharing her recipe here because a) I love it and b) to hopefully convince people to go out and buy/borrow this book. I really do love it that much.

Anyway, as for the recipe. As for most of Alice’s recipes, it allows for many variations. This is my variation:

In a large stock pot, melt:

3 tablespoons of butter

Add:

2 medium onions, sliced

Sauté for at least 10 minutes. This builds a ton of flavor. If you have fresh thyme, add that as well. Then add:

about 6 cups of sliced carrots.
Season with salt.

Sauté for another 5 minutes to build more flavor. Then add:

6 cups of homemade vegetable broth, or a combination of broth and water. 

Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Once the carrots are tender, puree the soup and season with salt, if needed. (Also add more liquid if the soup is too thick for your personal taste.)

For garnishes:

Alice gives many variations. My favorite combinations, so far:

mascarpone cheese, stirred into each bowl, or plain Greek yogurt
homemade croutons*
chives
freshly ground black pepper

This soup is so simple, yet so sweet and buttery. It is a refreshing soup even on a hot summer day.

Enjoy!

*How to make homemade croutons:

For this soup, I kept the croutons simple. I often put garlic and herbs on my croutons, but since this soup has such a delicate flavor, I didn’t want to overpower it with over-seasoned croutons. You can use any kind of bread, but for this soup, I loved the flavor of whole wheat bread.

Cut whole wheat bread into cubes, drizzle with olive oil and  sprinkle with salt and bake for about 8-10 minutes in a 350 degree oven, or until they are nice and brown.

 

 

Read More

Cookbook Review: The Silver Palate

The Silver Palate Cookbook

This is another family favorite. An endless number of the recipes have become part of our seasonal rotation. The entire book has a very New England feel to it, which is probably why we’ve loved it for so many years. And it really has everything, from soups and pastas, salads and seafood, desserts and baked goods. Every time I open it, I discover a new recipe that I can’t wait to try. If you want a good, all-around cookbooks, this is it.

silverpalate

 

The copy photographed above was my grandmother’s and now belongs to me. It is falling apart, but I love it because it has my grandmother’s notes inside (plus I love old books).

 

Read More

Homemade with Love: Lentil Meatballs

It’s time, once again, to review another cookbook.

Homemade with Love by Jennifer Perillo.

I don’t actually own this one, but I saw it at work and immediately knew that I had to try the lentil meatball recipe. It was amazing. I’ve tried making lentil meatballs before, but they were just okay. These are so perfect that I didn’t even change the recipe (and that’s saying something). I can’t wait to buy this cookbook and try even more recipes.

So go ahead and head over to Jennie’s blog and try her Lentil Meatballs. Just do it.

Here’s how mine looked:

lentil meatballs

Read More

Classic French Onion Soup. a.k.a The Soup that Requires a Box of Tissues to Make.

A fair warning. This recipe has a lot of steps. East steps, yes, but there’s a lot of them. See, I’m in my late twenties, I don’t have a family of my own yet, so on my day off, if I want to spend over four hours in the kitchen making soup, I can do it. In fact, when I saw this French onion soup recipe, its main appeal was how long it would take.

What can I say? I’m a sucker for old classic recipes that take hours to make.

The recipe is from Cook’s Illustrated Soups, Stews and Chilis. I’ve been searching for a good soup cookbook for years and can now say that this is the one I’ve been searching for. It’s perfect. So all credit goes to the wonderful editors of Cook’s Illustrated.

To begin the recipe you:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut 4 lbs of yellow onions into slices (cut with the grain). Spray a dutch oven with cooking spray, put the onions into the dutch oven, mix with 1 teaspoon of salt and 3 tablespoons of butter (cut into 3 pieces). Cover it and bake it for one hour.

Sounds simple, right? Except they forget to mention one minor detail in the recipe. You’re going to need an entire box of tissues to cut 4 lbs of onions. My eyes have always been sensitive to onions. They started watering after slicing 1/2 an onion. I still had 3 1/2 onions to go, so I knew I was in trouble. The process, for me, went like this: Cut an onion. Run to the bathroom and wipe eyes. Give eyes a minute to stop burning. Go back to the kitchen. Cut another onion. Try not to cut finger off while eyes are on fire and tears are blinding vision. Run back to the bathroom again.

By the time I was done, onions and tissues were all over the floor. I didn’t feel very French at this point.

This is what 4 lbs of onions looks like:

onionscutting-1

And this is what the onions look like after baking for an hour:

onions1-1

 

Next: stir the onions and scarp the sides of the pot. Put the onions back in the oven, covered partially this time (leave about an inch open) and cook for another 1 1/2 hours to 1 3/4 hours. When you take them out of the oven, they look like this:

onions2-1

 

This time, after you pull them out of the oven, you put them on the stove and cook them over medium high heat for about 20-25 minutes. Stir and scrap the pot until the liquid evaporates and there’s a brown coating on the bottom. They will look like this:

onions3-1

 

Add 1/4 cup of water and scrap up the brown parts from the bottom of the pan. Cook until the water evaporates (about 6-8 minutes this time). Repeat this process 2 or 3 times. By the end, the onions will look like this:

onions4-1

 

See how much darker they are? And to think it’s just water, onions, and butter! Anyway, stir in 1/2 cup of dry sherry and let cook for about 5 minutes. At this point I added 4 cups of chicken broth and 2 cups of water (the recipe called for beef stock instead of water, but I obviously skipped the beef). Also add thyme, a bay leaf, and salt. Scrap the brown bits and let the soup simmer for 30 minutes.

Finish it off by topping each broiler proof bowl of soup with a piece of toasted bread and a handful of Gruyere cheese. Put under the broiler until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

onionsdone-1

 

So the verdict? This soup is amazing! The flavor is worth every single step. With that said, this is not a soup I will be doing more than once or twice a year.

And also: buy this cookbook or get it from the library. It is an excellent soup book to have on hand. I will be definitely trying more recipes soon (just maybe ones that don’t take 4 hours to make.)

Read More