The Books We Cook From on Now That’s A Mouthful Season 1

The cookbooks we list and use for our podcast are carefully curated to bring a variety of different cuisines, and styles of cooking and baking to our weekly conversations. We are committed to creating an interesting cooking experience for our Recipe Testers and interesting conversation about that experience for our listeners Each cookbook is reviewed by your hosts, Chef Donna Desfor and Cherie Krause, to frame the point of view of the author, the experience our testing community has, and to help you decide whether this is a worthy addition to your own library. 

Now That's a Mouthful

A Modern Way to Cook by Anna Jones

Copyright © 2018.  Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.  Interior photography © 2018 by Andrew Purcell

From Chef Donna Desfor's Review

Unless you are a science geek, or someone that is fascinated by the science behind cooking, I suggest you open The Flavor Matrix, flip through the sharp black and white pages filled with photographs and graphics, find a recipe that sounds intriguing and dive right in. Most of the recipes you’ll find in this book contain a handful of ingredients, and are created with kitchen processes you're familiar with. But the combination of ingredients is what makes The Flavor Matrix intriguing.  The results? Almost indescribably delicious.  As you savor the delicious food, take a closer look.  What you’ll find is a science textbook woven in between the recipes.

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By Jessica Battilana

Copyright © 2018.  Published by Little, Brown and Company.  Photography provided by Ed Anderson and Molly DeCoudreaux.

From Cherie Krause's Review

In her first solo cookbook, Repertoire, Jessica Battilana shares her family secrets, the same ones we all have.  Guarded and sometimes never replicated, cherished family recipes, are little secrets handed down through generations, usually with a few key ingredients, weights and measurements missing.  Whether on purpose or just because, our relatives cooked with their hearts and souls and that part didn’t get translated to paper.  Battilana, in Repertoire makes sure we all have a collection of recipes reminiscent of times when food seemingly came effortlessly from stove top to table, and gave us divine mouthwatering memories.

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Now That's a Mouthful
Now That's a Mouthful

By Sam Talbot

Published by Oxmoor House, an imprint of Time Life, Inc. Books.  Photography credits Ó 2017 Ian Bagwell, Caitlin Bensel, Jennifer Causey, Greg Dupree, Victor Protasio, Hector Sanchez and Evan Sung.

From Cherie's Review

100% Real offers real solutions to healthy and balanced eating, and Chef Sam Talbot should know.  A Type I diabetic since early childhood, food has been his remedy for leading a healthy and balanced life.  He uses clean, fresh, sustainable ingredients with no artificial colors or flavors, and a five-step guide to “keeping it real”.  Talbot wants you to find the joy in eating, whether you find it in nutrient-dense real food or otherwise.  With considerable recipe choices for vegan, gluten-free and dairy free, Talbot makes 100% Real a resource not just for specialty diets, but for everyone who wants to eat more wholesome food.

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By Colu Henry

Copyright © 2017 by Colu Henry. Photographs copyright © 2017 by Peden + Munk. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

From Chef Donna Desfor's Review

Like many modern cookbooks, Back Pocket Pasta promises to help every busy person get a satisfying meal on the table in a short amount of time from the ingredients you have on hand.  Back Pocket Pasta, however, has the unifying, undeniably pleasing, central ingredient of pasta.  And, it’s not pasta you have to make.  Simply buy your favorite brand and style (though the author does suggest hers and a preferred style for each recipe) and you are on your way to a delicious pasta meal.

 

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Now That's a Mouthful
Now That's a Mouthful

By Theresa Gilliam

Copyright © 2013 Our Little Book Company. Published by The Countryman Press. Photographs copyright © 2013 Armstrong Pitts Studios.

From Chef Donna Desfor's Review

Bacon, despite its recent cult-like status, is a common ingredient in much of classic and contemporary cooking.  In Bacon 24/7  Author Theresa Gilliam captures our attention with recipes to take you from dawn to dark that naturally contain bacon in the list of ingredients. Just when you think this book is a bit too pedestrian to satisfy your love for this ingredient, she throws in a surprising twist (Bacon Redeye Gravy) or a new-fangled idea (Bacon Manhattan, anyone?) that makes you wonder why you ever doubted the value of this book.

 

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By Rocco Loosbrock, Sara Lewis and Dawn Hubbard

Copyright © 2016.  Published by Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by Bill Milne.

From Chef Donna Desfor's Review

If you subscribe to the belief that bacon makes everything better it is fair to say you’ll find the ideas and recipes in Bacon Freak worth more than a passing glance.  Authors Rocco Loosbrock, Sara Lewis and Dawn Hubbard demonstrate that the smoky aroma, crispy texture and savory taste is a logical and sometimes inspired addition to many of our home-style favorite recipes.  Complete with bacon basics, wine and beer pairings, and even a chapter on where to meet up with bacon lovers at home and abroad, Bacon Freak makes you glad you’re bringing home the bacon.

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Now That's a Mouthful
Now That's a Mouthful

By John Currence

Reprinted with permission. Copyright 2016 by John Currence. All rights Reserved. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

Available at Amazon.com

From Chef Donna Desfor's Review

Our Summary:

This cookbook’s opening reference to Genesis, and John Currence’s suggestion that “before God made heaven and earth, he surely ate breakfast, because that’s a lot of work for a guy to do in one day…” aptly sets the stage for just how irreverent and bold this book is going to be. But irreverent and bold describe more than just this author’s approach to cookbook writing, it is a metaphor for the fantastically mesmerizing recipes and the food you can create around “the most important meal of the day.” The only thing missing from Big Bad Breakfast is, perhaps, enough time and enough mornings to cook each and every one of these recipes.

What you need to know:

Get it: Published by Ten Speed Press, September 13, 2016; Hardcover $30.00 (Amazon (Paperback) from $18.07; Kindle $15.99) See it: 272 Pages with roughly 70 color photographs of finished recipes and photos of the restaurant, and Oxford, Mississippi, throughout the book. Make it: 213 Recipes with 16 additional cocktail and beverage recipes.

Our Review:

A few short pages into Big Bad Breakfast and you understand “bad” is a moniker for something so much more. More as in “badass,” more as in “college-town trash-talkin’ irreverence,” and more as in “can I have some more, please!” John Currence’s lively banter introducing each recipe and talking about his iconic breakfast diner in Oxford, Mississippi coupled with a dry sense of sarcasm is not for the pure of heart. Then again, neither are his recipes, which are laden with butter, bacon and sugar. But this is breakfast. And when one of the first photographs you tumble upon in the book is someone wearing a baseball shirt with the letters “BBB” and the silhouette of a pig, can you really expect Michelin-classes refinement?

But Big Bad Breakfast is more than entertainment. Sure, the prolific banter pulls you in, but the idea of the food – real honest to goodness southern breakfast diner food, is what seals the deal. When you land on pictures of crusty toasted bread slathered in butter, eggs oozing over ham and grits, and biscuits stacked high with fried chicken, eggs and hot sauce, hunger seizes you and regardless of the time of day you are craving, yes, breakfast!

Better still, this is the breakfast food you want to eat. Even dishes like The Pylon, a Belgian waffle that has everything “piled on it,” including hot dogs, pickled jalapenos and oyster crackers, or Fried Chicken Cathead aptly named because the biscuit is roughly the size of an average cat’s head, scream, “eat me!” The best part, though? Currence is clear and thorough in his recipe details. These dishes aren’t hard to achieve, though admittedly when you are standing in your kitchen in the early morning hours with a cup of coffee trying to wake up, frying chicken may not be such a good idea. Still, the recipes captivate you, intrigue you and make you find a way to cook-ahead, or shortcut it with maybe not-so-homemade ingredients.

There are few cookbooks worth devouring – both in terms of pure reading and cooking pleasure. Big Bad Breakfast is definitely on that short list. And whether you are looking to enjoy anecdotal or metaphoric intro’s to recipes – “…a killer vegetarian offering, while still achieving the ‘shit on a shingle’ excitement…” (from Creamed “Chipped” Mushrooms on Toast), or “…cooking it is a commitment, but the end product will be your legacy. Go forth and build and empire, my friend.” (from Fried Chicken Cathead), or you just really want to cook amazing food like Breakfast Sausage from scratch, or Homemade Pop-Tarts or Crispy Rice “Elvis” Treats, or omelets (Big Bad Breakfast Chili and Cheese Omelet), pancakes, waffles and crepes, breakfast sandwiches (Grilled Ham and Pimento Cheese Sandwich) or breakfast for dinner (Shrimp Gravy Biscuit Sunday or Sautéed Trout, Soft Scrambled Eggs and Chanterelle Mushrooms) this cookbook will never stay shelved in your library for long.

Even if you only ever want to make honest to goodness real Eggnog or a Bloody Mary that’s worthy of your best night out on the town, Big Bad Breakfast is worth its purchase price. You’ll start with the idea of something simple and pure in taste, and find Currence has taken it, and fortunately you, to a whole new level.

Recipes for Testing: Reprinted with permission from Big Bad Breakfast. Copyright ©2016 by John Currence. All rights Reserved. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

Sausage Cinnamon Rolls
Spicy Bacon Jam
Fried Chicken Cathead

By Leela Punyaratabandhu

Copyright © 2017. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photography by David Loftus.

From Chef Donna Desfor's Review

Jaw-droppingly delicious food may just be waiting for you between the pages of Bangkok if you have the patience to seek out the authentic ingredients.  For this food, your patience may be worth testing.  These are original recipes that hail from a nineteenth-century Thai kitchen and have found their way up through three generations into this book.  The recipes are updated for the modern American -kitchen and -cook, but they are as complex and exciting as any contemporary cookbook you’ll find penned by a Michelin-star chef.  This food also tells a story – a story of a culture and the memories of one Bangkokian, the author.  You’ll eat and know this is what Bangkok is like.  You’ll cook and be reminded that your kitchen is limited only by your willingness to try new ingredients and sometimes new, but manageable, techniques.

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Now That's a Mouthful
Now That's a Mouthful

By Jami Curl

Copyright © 2017 by Jami Curl. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photographs copyright © 2017 by Maggie Kirkland. Illustrations copyright © 2017 by Michelle Ott

From Chef Donna Desfor's Review

This is not an ordinary cookbook.  Candy is Magic is a confections cookbook with more than 200 recipes that use real, natural ingredients to make lollipops, marshmallows, caramels, drinks (of both the soft- and hard- varieties), chews and more.  Yes:  candy, natural ingredients, made in your home kitchen.  Beyond the candy-making magic, though, this book is a handbook of ideas about flavoring and building flavor and including or adding flavor to your favorite confections – be it candy, or cakes and brownies, ice creams and sauces.  Were you to never make any of the candy recipes between the covers, you’d still be glad you had the ideas and recipes to improve what you already consider your sweet treats.

 

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By Alexandra Stafford. Photographs by Eva Kolenko

Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

From Chef Donna Desfor's Review

Finally, there is an answer to your question, “what to do with that leftover bread?”  With Bread Toast Crumbs at your fingertips, the predictable answer “breadcrumbs” flies right out the window, and instead you’re thinking Bacon, Cheddar, and Onion Jam Panini or Mussels with Saffron, Crème Fraiche, and Grilled Olive Oil Toasts.  Or maybe that hunk is too small to wrap it into another dish so you settle for Green Gazpacho with Tomato Salsa or Zucchini Fries with Tzatziki.  Whatever the size or dimension, style or flavor, of your leftover bread you are headed for star-status with these recipes.  And if you actually want to make an easy no-knead bread, well, Bread Toast Crumbs has you covered there too.


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Now That's a Mouthful
Now That's a Mouthful

By Hank Shaw

Copyright © 2016. Published by H&H Books. Photography credit Holly A. Heyser, copyright © 2016.

From Chef Donna Desfor's Review

To suggest that everyone might like this book may seem far-fetched.  It is a book for meat-eaters, particularly the game type with antlers and horns.  That all said, Buck, Buck, Moose  is more than a manual on preparing and cooking venison.  Deer and their antlered cousins exist on 6 continents and, throughout the history of each, are celebrated in the hunt and the feast.  The majesty of that all is captured by Hank Shaw.  If you cook and celebrate a gathering around a table, then Buck, Buck, Moose is worth a lingering look, if not a slow delicious read.  Take away the venison and you’ll find, at its heart and soul, a well-written cookbook on a variety of cooking techniques and recipes that celebrate global cuisines.  The main ingredient just happens to be venison.

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By Desmond Tan and Kate Leahy

Photographs copyright © 2017 by John Lee.  Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

From Chef Donna Desfor's Review

If you like the cuisines of India and China, Thailand, and Vietnam, then you’ll be an instant fan of the flavors and food that come out of Burma Superstar.  Burma, now the country of Myanmar, boasts bold flavors.  Addictively savory and spicy, this cuisine is also salty and tart.  Curries are more subtle, and salads are an amalgam of texture and flavor.  This is a book to chew and digest, and savor over and again.  It’s an experiment in learning (and locating) new ingredients, and trusting that it’s okay to eat things like tea leaves (and it is!).  Between its covers, you’ll find familiar ingredients seasoned or cooked in unexpected ways.  You’ll learn to appreciate new and exciting flavor profiles.  And cooking these dishes?  The popular San Francisco Bay area restaurant’s recipes are streamlined for the home kitchen.

 

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Now That's a Mouthful
Now That's a Mouthful

By Danielle Walker

Reprinted with permission. Copyright 2016. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photography credit: Erin Kunkel, Copyright 2016

From Chef Donna Desfor's Review

Food brings with it some of our most cherished memories.  We can virtually recall – and long for – the tastes and the aromas from parties, holidays, and events that brought with them delicious food.  When your diet changes, for whatever reason, it’s these memories that leave people wishing and even longing for what they can’t have.  Danielle Walker, who suffered for years with a debilitating autoimmune disease, has remade classic dishes for our most cherished celebrations.  And though the collection is dubbed “gluten-free, dairy-free and paleo,” these recipes are flexible enough to satisfy vegetarians or anyone that is looking for a healthy alternative to traditional holiday fare.

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By Nuno Mendes and AndréBalazs

Copyright 2017 by Chiltern Street Hotel Ltd. Published in the United Statesby Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.  Photographs copyright 2016 by Peden + Munk.

From Chef Donna Desfor's Review

In our modern foodie world it’s safe to say there aren’t many originals.  Those that are, likely are the chefs at restaurants cloaked in stars, awards and accolades.  They’re honored because they seek perfection in their preparations; ingredients are transformed into ingredients.  This is cooking at the highest level.  Some might say unattainable for the home-cook.  But it’s not.  Really, it’s not.  It’s working through a collection of little recipes that come together to create something greater than the parts.  These are the recipes that fill the pages of the Chiltern Firehouse  cookbook.  Recipes most everyone can execute.  The thrill is working through each component and, through the course of a day or two or three, you’ll see the dish emerge.  Then you simply assemble the dish, and take your place among friends and family as a culinary god(dess).  Chiltern Firehouse  is the road to culinary nirvana.

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Now That's a Mouthful
Now That's a Mouthful

By Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson

Copyright © 2016.

From Chef Donna Desfor's Review

If you were to cook from Clean Soups, never knowing the recipes were created to help you eat clean, wholesome foods that renew, restore and even detox your body, you’d be none the wiser.  Robin Katz’s Clean Soups might as well be aptly named “delicious-,” “comforting-,” or even “everyday-” soups.  Most recipes contain common grocery-store ingredients, and even the odd ingredients such as kombu or kaffir lime leaves are easily sourced at your local ethnic market or online.  Sure, Clean Soups is written from the point of view of restorative health, but for anyone who loves soup, that’s just an added bonus.

 

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By Ina Garten

Reprinted with permission. Copyright 2016 by Ina Garten. Photographs by Quentin Bacon. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

From Chef Donna Desfor's Review

For anyone who believes the greatest reason to cook is to take care of those you love, you’ll find this collection of Ina Garten’s (a/k/a the Barefoot Contessa) go to recipes for friends and family, including her most constant fan and appreciative husband, Jeffrey.  These are the recipes that Garten has cooked for Jeffrey over the years, with a handful of new dishes inspired by new ingredients, or updated Barefoot Contessa classics.

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Now That's a Mouthful
Now That's a Mouthful

By Mimi Thorisson

Copyright © 2016 by Marie-France Thorisson. Photographs copyright © 2016 by Oddur Thorisson. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

From Chef Donna Desfor's Review

Written with a romantic nod to the discovery of the remote French town in the Médoc and the home that eventually becomes the centerpiece of her family’s life, Mimi Thorisson’s French Country Cooking is for cooks and armchair travelers alike.  It’s a vicarious look into a world where circumstance and food brings a community of personalities together.  People whom you feel as if you might already know, and food you know you’ve longed to taste.  With her gentle voice and easy style, cooking any of the 100 recipes from French Country Cooking makes it possible for a cook of any experience level to bring a little slice of the French countryside into their own kitchen – be it for the special hour (goûter) of snacking, a cocktail, a celebratory meal, and everything in between.

 

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By Melissa Clark

Copyright © 2017 by Melissa Clark. Photographs copyright © 2017 by Eric Wolfinger. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

From Chef Donna Desfor's Review

Who hasn’t asked the age-old question, “what to make for dinner?” and then begrudgingly cook the same-old-same-old wishing they had more choices, and possibly more time to cook.  Open the pages of Melissa Clark’s Dinner and you find the answers you’ve been waiting for.  Over 200 new recipes that have the range and the ease of changing up dinner just about every night of the year.  Organized by ingredient you need know little more than what you are hungry for, or maybe even just what you have on hand.  Without laborious introductions or instructions on what to do in your own kitchen, you simply begin and, Dinner is served.

 

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Now That's a Mouthful
Now That's a Mouthful

By Dorie Greenspan

copyright © 2016 by Dorie Greenspan.  Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, a Rux Martin Book.  Photographs © 2016 Davide Luciano

From Chef Donna Desfor's Review

A 500 + page cookbook may not be at the top of every home-cooks wish list.  But, when it’s a collection of recipes by Dorie Greenspan, it should be.  Dorie’s Cookies may quite possibly be the most exciting thing to happen to cookies (and your kitchen), in a long while.  The recipes, though long, are thorough and thoughtful; the flavor combinations and varieties she offers are exciting and tasty.  Whether this is your first attempt at baking cookies or you’re a seasoned veteran, you’ll find plenty of options with virtually flawless results waiting for you each and every time you open this new – perhaps even iconic – classic. 

 

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By Dan Goldberg

Andrea Kuhn, Jody Eddy. Copyright © 2016 by Dan Goldberg and Andrea Kuhn. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC.

From Chef Donna Desfor's Review

It’s only in recent memory that Cuba became the idea of a vibrant and culturally rich, food-centric destination.  But authors Dan Goldberg, Andrea Kuhn, and Jody Eddy take you into the real Cuba – vibrant and culturally rich, with a food culture inspired by the world and made delicious by the people who farm and raise their ingredients.  It is through the rich photos, intimate stories, and culturally diverse recipes – that the authors have translated into doable recipes stateside – that makes ¡Cuba! a celebration of a people’s food culture that was once taboo, but somehow almost familiar. 

 

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Now That's a Mouthful
Now That's a Mouthful

By The Editors of Martha Stewart Living

Copyright © 2016 by Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. Photographs copyright © 2016 by Ngoc Ming Ngo. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

From Chef Donna Desfor's Review

The Foreward of Vegetables is quintessential Martha Stewart: in her endearing-but-dismissive way, she references the transgressions of the supposedly provocative book that inspired her own, along with her preferred title.  Then, with unapologetic abandon she begins describing her own ideas of how the subject matter should be presented and even suggests that we will all be delighted – if not smart enough to know there is a difference – that fruits have been included in her vegetable book.  But for whatever reason you are drawn to Martha Stewart, you will thank her every time you open Vegetable.  In 328 pages she captures the essence of the vegetables that we have available to us and, perhaps, even more important, actually eat.  They are the star of the recipes, but there are plenty of main course proteins wrapped in that makes this much more than a manual for a seasonal side dish, or a vegetarian meal.

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By Irvin Lin

copyright © 2016 by Irvin Lin.  Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.  Photography copyright © 2016 by Linda Xiao.

From Chef Donna Desfor's Review

Baking picture-perfect desserts is like a quest for the holy grail.  Most don’t even attempt it; those that do often fall perilously short.  When you talk about home-bakers, there are those who have a knack for baking and just need a little nudge and a few ideas to achieve beautiful results.  Then there are those that need the fool-proof, no-nonsense precision of a clear recipe to achieve okay results.  With Marbled, Swirled, and Layered, if you’ve got a knack for baking this may be the road to your holy grail.  If you don’t, you’ll certainly have some fun and learn a thing or two, even if that road is a bit bumpy along the way.

 

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Now That's a Mouthful
Now That's a Mouthful

By Joy Wilson

Copyright © 2017 by Joy the Baker, Inc. Interior and cover photographs by Jon Melendez. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC

From Chef Donna Desfor's Review

If you were to imagine a cookbook filled with recipes for leisurely days, Joy the Baker Over Easy is probably what you’d come up with.  Chock full of deliciousness that doesn’t stress you for time – or even talent – this book is the manual for brunch whether at home or vacationing.  It’s there for you without much need for long grocery trips or planning.  For when long, lazy days alone or with friends let a solid, sturdy brunch become the reason to linger at the table, this book is your place to start.  With everything from sweet to savory, beverages (the kind we crave on those kinds of days) and coffee, this is your go-to book for people that you need only impress with your commitment to their comfort.

 

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By Michele Streit Heilbrun and David Kirschner

copyright © 2017.  Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LC.  Photography copyright © 2017 by Jennifer May.

From Chef Donna Desfor's Review

Who thinks of matzo as in ingredient?  Happily we all can with Michele Streit Heilbrun’s Matzo: 35 Recipes for Passover and All Year Long.  No longer will you wander past the matzo display in your market and wonder.  This smart, short, book will change the way you think of simple unleavened bread.  Even if you’ve never used matzo (or ate it) you’ll be reaching for it from your grocer’s shelf.  Filled with recipes that appeal to young and old, Matzo will keep you cooking well beyond the 8 spring days of the Passover holiday.  You might even begin to stock it as a pantry staple.

 

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Now That's a Mouthful
Now That's a Mouthful

By Gina Homolka

with Heather K. Jones, R.D. Reprinted with permission. Copyright 2016 by Gina Homolka. Photographs copyright 2016 by Helene Dujardin. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

From Chef Donna Desfor's Review

Skinnytaste Fast and Slow is like having at hand a home-cooks everyday eating manual.  With 140 dishes that are about as basic as it gets, this book spins that everyday hum-drum into quick or slow cooker, vegetarian, gluten-free or dairy-free options.  Portion control wins the day over flavor here, but that’s not to say these recipes lack appeal.  They get the job done.

 

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By Gonzalo Guzmán with Stacy Adimando

Copyright © 2017.  Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.  Photographs Copyright © 2017 by Eva Kolenko

From Chef Donna Desfor's Review

It’s never easy to convince someone to try a cultural cuisine, let alone cook it.  But if you were to consider Nopalito as California-style fresh cuisine with regional Mexican flavors and ingredients woven in perhaps just maybe you’d give this book more than a passing glance.  Inspired by his familial roots in Mexico and then his professional career in San Francisco, California , chef and Nopalito owner Gonzalo Guzmán takes you thoughtfully his family-style recipes that he cooks and serves in his restaurants.  Fresh and vibrant like the market foods they are prepared from, and wistfully nostalgic for the land and memories that inspire them.  You will cook and delight in it all.  And add a healthy dose of cultural cuisine to your kitchen repertoire.

 

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Now That's a Mouthful
Now That's a Mouthful

By Sarah Britton

Copyright © 2017 by Sarah Britton. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

From Chef Donna Desfor's Review

It should be a given that healthy delicious food shouldn’t be expensive, or complicated.  Life in the kitchen should be simple; it isn’t.  Enter Sarah Britton and her new book Naturally Nourished intended to prove that we can eat well, even on a budget, and even during the hectic work-week.  In Naturally Nourished, Britton gets down to the nitty-gritty, basic home economics- kind-of-stuff that glamorous cooking competitions and coffee-table cookbooks forget to show you.  If you’re up for rethinking the way you use your kitchen, your pantry, and your freezer, then you’ll be interested in this new thoughtful and surprising approach to healthy (vegetarian, vegan, raw and grain-free) eating.

 

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By Samin Nosrat and art by Wendy MacNaughton

copyright © 2017 by Samin Nosrat.  Illustrations copyright © 2017 by Wendy MacNaughton. Published by Simon & Schuster.

From Chef Donna Desfor's Review

There are books that are meant to help you learn to cook, and then there are books like Samin Nosrat’s Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat that make you a better cook.  This modern millennial approach to cooking is designed to make you think about what you’re doing in the kitchen and provides a canon of 100 essential recipes that demonstrate the science and understanding behind each.  This is the textbook for every home-cook that is committed to mastering their craft of home-cooking.

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Now That's a Mouthful
Now That's a Mouthful

By Fern Green

Copyright 2016 by Hachette Livre (Marabout). Published in the United States by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.  Photography by Deirdre Rooney

From Chef Donna Desfor's Review

If you’re a fan of fruit or vegetables or both, and you’re a fan of refreshing drinks, you’ll be a fan of Super Smoothies: 61 Recipes and 12 Detox Plans.  Though titled as if it were a guide to healthy living and detoxing, the recipes are more delicious-sounding than medicinal.  And while each of Fern Green’s 61 recipes are categorized to aid in your overall health, with chapters like Metabolism, Digestion, Stress Buster, Summer Booster and more, you’ll find the colors and ingredients appealing on their own.  That they are good for you and your body is the added bonus.

 

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By Charlotte Druckman

Copyright © 2016 by Charlotte Druckman. Photographs copyright © 2016 by Aubrie Pick. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

From Chef Donna Desfor's Review

Despite its name Stir, Sizzle, Bake, you may be somewhat surprised to learn this book is all about baking in a cast-iron skillet.  While the idea of baking and cast-iron may not be a common one, save the rustic cornbread, Stir, Sizzle, Bake makes a convincing argument that it should be.  If you’re still not convinced, the tour of world– and cultural- cuisine recipes should at least convince you that a sturdy skillet is the way to achieve delicious results on both your stove top and in your oven.

 

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Now That's a Mouthful
Now That's a Mouthful

By Lisa Q

Fetterman, with Meesha Halm, Scott Peabody. Reprinted with permission. Copyright 2016. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photographs Copyright 2016 by Monic Lo

Available at Amazon.com

From Chef Donna Desfor's Review

Our Summary:

Learning to cook sous vide, or “under vacuum,” challenges every home-cooks understanding and conventions about the traditional home kitchen – from cooking times, to temperatures and the idea of when and how to season foods. All of this, and more, is up for grabs when you set up an immersion circulator and water bath to cook your food. But what Sous Vide at Home promises is the ability to create inspired, restaurant-like perfection in your home. It promises control where modern cooking conventions cannot.

What you need to know:

Get it: Published by Ten Speed Press, November 1, 2016, Hardcover $35.00. (Amazon from $27.13; Kindle: $18.99) See it: 288 pages with about 10 information-packed pages on how to cook sous vide, including meal planning and entertaining strategies. Intensely colored and close up photographs of each finished dish. Make it: 75 recipes, plus 16 recipes for cocktails, bitters and infusion, plus 8 basic recipes for sauces and condiments.

Our Review:

For years restaurant chefs have relied on the technique of sous vide, or cooking “under vacuum,” to produce “cooked-to-perfection” results. More recently, popular television cooking programs and competitions have brought this process into our home kitchens in more affordable ways. Often called a “stress-free” way to cook, sous vide requires little more than placing food into a zip-top bag, squeezing out all the air, and placing it in a water bath with an immersion circulator set at a precise temperature. The circulating water cooks the food to the precise temperature without sacrificing the drying effects of the direct or indirect heat of stove-tops and ovens.

Stress-free, however, requires a bit of study and a lot of trust. While many of the recipes in Sous Vide at Home can be cooked in an hour or less (some as short as 10 - 15 minutes – it will take you longer to set up the equipment and get your water to temperature), there are just as many recipes that require hours and, in fact, days of cooking to achieve the “cooked-to-perfection” results. Though, you must remember, food cooked sous vide still requires you to finish the recipe: cook sauces, prepare component parts, sear off and finish the food you just cooked sous vide and put it all together on the plate.

The author, admittedly, writes this book in promotion of her own sous vide machine, the Nomiku, said to be the first affordable sous vide machine (available only on the Nomiku website and starting at $200 to about $250), though there are others on the market including the Anova Culinary PCB-120US-K1 Bluetooth Precision Cooker, 800 Watts (Amazon, about $150), which we have used with consistent and excellent results.

If you have gotten far enough to consider the upfront expense, and are comfortable with the idea that your food might take days to cook, then this book is a no-brainer with tempting recipes starting with breakfast and perfectly cooked eggs (eggs Florentine with no-whisk hollandaise sauce and fast-poached egg, right through proteins and vegetables of all types (scallop sashimi with grapefruit-yuzu vinaigrette, turkey meatballs stuffed with mozzarella and basil, stout-glazed short ribs, or kvell-worthy pastrami, or sweet potato tacos),and desserts (sous vide ice cream, anyone?) and cocktails and bitters (pumpkin spice bitters, homemade gin and tonic, dark and stormy) that will pull you into temptation without one minute of regret.

And it’s temptation that wins the day with this book. The mouth-watering photography alone makes you want to invest in this idea of perfection. Happily, it can be achieved, though it does take a bit of effort, a lot of trust, and just a bit of practice.

Chef Donna’s Note: You will need an immersion circulator for these recipes. Immersion circulators can be purchased in kitchen specialty stores or online. You can expect to pay from about $100 to $400 or more for the immersion circulator. I use the Anova Culinary PCB-120US-K1 Bluetooth Precision Cooker, 800 Watts (Amazon, about $150) with consistent and excellent results.

Recipes for Testing: Reprinted with permission from Sous Vide at Home, by Lisa Q. Fetterman, copyright © 2016, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photographs copyright © 2016 by Monic Lo

Dark and Stormy with Homemade Ginger Syrup
Salmon with Miso-Fennel Salad
Tri Tip Steak Chili

By Sue Quinn

Copyright © 2015 by Hachette Livre (Marabout), published in the U.S. by Ten Speed Press. Photographs by Victoria Wall Harris.

From Chef Donna Desfor's Review

As you might expect, kale, blueberries, chia seeds, cacao (chocolate) and seasonal squash are featured throughout Super Foods Every Day.  What you might not expect is that this book makes these ingredients fun to use and in combinations, you probably haven’t thought of.  And, while this book might not be among your “coffee table collection” it will get used at least long enough for you to get the idea how really easy it is to cook healthy, bright, naturally flavored ingredients.

 

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Now That's a Mouthful
Now That's a Mouthful

By Christina Lane

Copyright © 2017 by Christina Lane.  Published by The Countryman Press, a division of W. W. Norton & Company.

From Chef Donna Desfor's Review

In the world of food-blogger-turned-cookbook-author, there are plenty of books that disappoint.  Not so with Christina Lane’s latest Sweet & Simple: Desserts for Two.  Her third book coming out of her popular food blog, Desserts for Two, Lane once again is at work serving up tempting and diverse desserts that can be made in any home kitchen.  She uses – and cleverly organizes her book around – baking pans and tools most every home kitchen is stocked with.  And, if you don’t already have the mini baking sheets, loaf and cake pans, muffin tins or ramekins she’s cooking with, a quick trip to your local home goods discount store will satisfy a need for retail therapy, just as Lane satisfies your desire for dessert!

 

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By Yossy Arefi

copyright © 2016, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photographs copyright © 2016 by Yossy Arefi

From Chef Donna Desfor's Review

This book reflects the flavors of each season but balances each fruit ingredient with inventive ideas that range from easy, five-ingredient affairs to more complex and involved baking endeavors.  Regardless of what you choose to bake, Arefi’s recipes are thorough and colorfully descriptive.  You’ll find navigating the simple or complex to be a worthwhile effort, and the results no less than delicious.  Best of all, most of the recipes in Sweeter Off The Vine are rustic, home-style desserts, so you need not have the deft touch of a pastry chef.

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Now That's a Mouthful
Now That's a Mouthful

By Naomi Pomeroy with Jamie Feldmar

Copyright © 2016. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.  Photography credit: Chris Court © 2016

From Chef Donna Desfor's Review

In some ways, we are all self-taught cooks.  Somewhere, sometime, someone showed us something in the kitchen and from there we began.  Chef Naomi Pomeroy is much like us in that regard.  Her mother taught her how to cook with the little that they had.  From there she took it upon herself to learn about food – to cook and to create.  Pomeroy went on to open restaurants and close restaurants, and then open them again.  Through the highs and lows of her award-winning career, she always returns to her kitchen to learn again, then creates.  That is precisely what Taste & Technique is – a cookbook from which anyone can learn and create delicious food. 

 

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By Erin French

Photographs copyright © 2017 by Nicole Franzen. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

From Chef Donna Desfor's Review

The Lost Kitchen is more than a cookbook.  It’s part memoir, part kitchen handbook, and part motivational yes-you-can-do attitude adjustment.  With 100 recipes that are easily made from common ingredients, restaurant chef Erin French manages to translate her spectacular food into recipes that anyone can make.  In an ocean of farm-to-table, chef-authored cookbooks, it’s refreshing to find one that works as well in a kitchen in Maine, as it does in Idaho…or Oklahoma…and even California.   

 

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Now That's a Mouthful
Now That's a Mouthful

By Jenn Louis

Copyright © 2017. Photography by Ed Anderson. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

From Chef Donna Desfor's Review

For most, we limit our greens to a handful of grocery or market staples:  arugula, kale, spinach, and maybe cabbage.  But let your eyes fall across mustard greens or watercress, or spy some chard or dandelion greens, and what do you do?  If you’re lucky, you know of a recipe.  If you don’t, those greens may never get a chance in your kitchen.  Now, celebrated Portland, Oregon chef Jenn Louis can change that with her new cookbook, The Book of Greens.  Organized alphabetically by greens (agretti to wild and foraged greens), this reference book reads like an encyclopedia but works like a cookbook!  Whether you are choosing from fresh-from-the-farm or season-less staples, Chef Louis puts these greens on display in each recipe. 

 

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By Layo Paskin and Tomer Amedi

Text copyright © ZLC London Ltd 2016. Photography copyright © Helen Cathcart 2016. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

From Chef Donna Desfor's Review

When you open a restaurant in a city like London and by year’s end you’ve been named the best restaurant in that city by more than one source, the next step is to capture in recipes the colorful, inspired and flavorful food that you serve.  The Palomar Cookbook does just that with its melding of cultures in a fun expressive way.  But even better, this book allows anyone cooking from its pages to serve up utterly delicious foods without stepping too far out of their cooking comfort zone.  That the food relies on popular and familiar Spanish, African and Middle Eastern spices and ingredients make the experience new without being difficult and invites you back to its pages to cook again and again.

 

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Now That's a Mouthful
Now That's a Mouthful

By Stanley Ginsberg

Copyright © 2016 by Stanley Ginsberg. Published by W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

From Chef Donna Desfor's Review

Toss out those stale notions rye bread!  Whether you are a fan or not, you’ll find the recipes in The Rye Baker to be about as far removed from those dense, caraway-laden loaves we all remember from parents and grandparents get-togethers.  Stanley Ginsberg’s The Rye Baker is a handbook for homemade artisanal bread.  From classic rye loaves to sweet, crisped cracker-like bread to aromatic or robust breads, each of the 76 recipes is written to give even a first-time-bread-baker excellent results in their home kitchen.  And, whether you are looking for a simple yeast-risen dough or ready to dive into the week-long process of making your own sour culture to help leven your loaf, there are options – and many of them, in this book that will keep you interested and cooking a variety of loaves throughout the year. 

 

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By Marcus Samuelsson

with Roy Finamore and April Reynolds.  Copyright © 2016. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (A Rux Martin Book).  Photographs by Bobby Fisher

From Chef Donna Desfor's Review

To cook and be happy.  At the same time.  While it strikes one as odd that a celebrated chef could be in search of happiness in the kitchen, it seems Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s journey to Harlem and owning the Red Rooster was about just that.  In his latest of six books, Samuelsson celebrates re-discovering his joy for the kitchen in The Red Rooster Cookbook by sharing the stories, the music, and the cultures and influences on the food that brought him home.

 

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Now That's a Mouthful
Now That's a Mouthful

By Tess Ward

Copyright © 2016, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC

From Chef Donna Desfor's Review

Tess Ward in her The Naked Cookbook challenges every conventional notion about a diet cookbook, which this book, she says, is not.  Instead, Ward suggests we think of “diet” to mean a sustained way of eating that naturally supports our overall health and happiness.  With that, she dives right into her balanced approach to cooking and recipes, which she says is “food in its most naked form.”  Still, you will find that the foods and recipes in The Naked Cookbook are naturally low in carbohydrates, free from processed food and contain no refined sugar, but they are not gluten-free, dairy-free, or vegan.  What they are is appealing.  Chicken, salmon, and lamb stand toe to toe with cocktails, fruits, and vegetables, sorbets and smoothies. 

 

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By Chitra Agrawal

copyright © 2017. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.” Photography credit: Erin Scott © 2017.

From Chef Donna Desfor's Review

Light, fresh and satisfying vegetarian meals – many vegan and gluten-free – await anyone curious enough to indulge in the exercise of scouting some hard to find ingredients in Vibrant India: Fresh Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Brooklyn.  Adapting family South Indian recipes for the home kitchen, chef, blogger and owner of Brooklyn Delhi (an award-winning Indian condiments line) Chitra Agrawal shifts our conventional thinking of Americanized-Indian cuisine toward seasonal vegetables and fruits and unprocessed whole grains, nuts, seeds, oils, and dairy products.  The food is vibrant in color and flavor and diverse.  Patience and perseverance helps you get started.  Once you have, your sensed will be delighted and your appetite satisfied. 

 

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Now That's a Mouthful
Now That's a Mouthful

By Ronni Lundy

Copyright © 2016, by Ronni Lundy. Photographs copyright © 2016 by Johnny Autry. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

From Chef Donna Desfor's Review

As soon as you open Victuals, your grip loosens and your mood instantly becomes nostalgic.  Nostalgic in a way that makes you hungry for your youth where you played alongside siblings and relatives gathered on weekends or holidays because that’s what you did in those days.  And you ate.  You ate real food that came from your garden, or the corner market or butcher.  Food that was prepared with a nod toward your roots but still had a sense of evolving through whatever generation was cooking.  Ronni Lundy, who has for decades lived and cooked and written about cooking in the southern Appalachia region, connects the diverse cultures that resonate with this region, and seamlessly weaves them into a universal southern-mountain-way-of-cooking in Victuals.  She tells the stories and shares the recipes, of a region – modern and diverse – that honors the seasonality and sustainability of food, while connecting the earth with the table and the people around it. 

 

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