Book Review: Highlighting several new cookbooks
“Make it Ahead: a Barefoot Contessa Cookbook”
By Ina Garten
Thinking about holiday dinners and entertaining and cooking for a crowd? In her ninth cookbook, Ina Garten shares her techniques for making delicious meals for company ahead of time. It is so much more fun and relaxing not to be running around trying to finish cooking a meal while your guests are enjoying their cocktails.
I picked up this cookbook eager for uncovering the secrets to making a perfectly cooked Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner for 20 people without losing my cool during the last hour before dinner is served. But I also found her tips to be equally helpful when it comes to just thinking about that yummy dinner at home after a full day of powder skiing when you could eat your ski boots because you are so hungry.
But mostly, I just like her recipes. They usually call for basic ingredients and uncomplicated techniques.
After each recipe, she adds a sidebar of tips for making each of the recipes in advance if you choose. Hearty Wild Mushroom and Farro Soup can be made ahead, refrigerated or frozen and then warmed up slowly.
She even has a recipe for make ahead turkey gravy with onions and sage that can be refrigerated for as long as a week or frozen for three months. Guaranteed to simplify your next Thanksgiving dinner.
“Ovenly: Sweet and Salty Recipes from New York’s Most Creative Bakery”
By Agatha Kulaga and Erin Patinkin
The first recipe that I tried from this delectable cookbook was the vegan Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies. I served them to friends and even though I am neither a vegan nor a star baker, they were convinced that these were the most delicious chocolate chip cookies they have even tasted.
The authors love to experiment with unique flavors, combining sweet and salty with a touch of spice such as Bourbon Chocolate Chip Cookies with Tarragon, Mustard Spice Cookies (a chewy ginger cookie spiked with a bit of mustard), and coffee cake with a cashew butter and cayenne filling.
Under “Bar food,” they feature Spicy Bacon Caramel Corn, Peppery Pistachio Brittle and Maple Thyme Pecans. Or how about for your next birthday party trying the Black Chocolate Stout Cake with Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting? Ovenly was voted “best new bakery” in Time Out New York, 2013.
“Sweet Paul Eat and Make: Charming Recipes + Kitchen Crafts You Will Love”
By Paul Lowe
Raised in Oslo, Norway, Lowe is a food and craft stylist whose blog Sweet Paul evolved into a popular online magazine and print quarterly (http://www.sweetpaulmag.com).
Lowe, whose motto is “chasing the sweet things in life,” has created a beautifully designed book of simple recipes and crafts.
The recipes are rooted in his Scandinavian background and are easy and inexpensive, and the crafts are mostly made from found objects — pure inspiration for anyone who loves cooking and crafting.
Chris Painter is the director of the Bud Werner Memorial Library.
These books are available at the Bud Werner Memorial Library and at Off the Beaten Path Bookstore; e-books can be found at http://www.steamboatbooks.com.
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