cookbook review

  • Drunken blondies with pumpkin spice morsels and butterscotch chips Drunken blondies with pumpkin spice morsels and butterscotch chips

    Drunken blondies with pumpkin spice morsels and butterscotch chips

Drunken blondies with pumpkin spice morsels and butterscotch chips

“The Back In The Day Bakery Cookbook” is one of my most beloved titles. I have dozens and dozens of cookbooks, and this one is the kind I reach for when I am looking for the ultimate recipe. So when my good friend and kindred spirit, Jenn, brought me a bag of pumpkin spice morsels I knew I had to use them in something fantadiddlytastic. I’m hit or miss when it comes to brownies, either they are too cake-y or too dry. Or cookie-like. They rarely hit the mark with me, so I usually choose to indulge my allotted calories elsewhere. But – a blondie? I can never resist a blondie. And this one is something special. The recipe below has been modified from the Drunk Blondies recipe from the Back In The Day Bakery Cookbook. Ingredients: 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon fine sea […]

  • Cookbook Review: Barefoot Contessa: How Easy is That? Cookbook Review: Barefoot Contessa: How Easy is That?

    Cookbook Review: Barefoot Contessa: How Easy is That?

Cookbook Review: Barefoot Contessa: How Easy is That?

  I know this review is long overdue. I’ve had this book for a while now. But I’ve had bronchitis twice, the flu, and then a sinus infection, and I wanted to give this the proper attention. (Are you sick of hearing about me being sick? I’m sick of talking about it. Let’s move on, then.) I went through this book, page by page, as soon as I got my hands on it. I’m a big, huge fan of Ina Garten because her recipes are fool-proof. Some are more involved than others but the emphasis, in her latest book “Barefoot Contessa: How Easy is That?” is on “her easiest recipes ever.” Garten’s road to culinary celebrity was not the typical one. Once a White House nuclear policy analyst, she loved to entertain. Eventually, she left her career to purchase gourmet food shop the Barefoot Contessa. It was the right fit. She went on to release […]

  • Cookbook Review: The Gourmet Cookie Book Cookbook Review: The Gourmet Cookie Book

    Cookbook Review: The Gourmet Cookie Book

Cookbook Review: The Gourmet Cookie Book

    I’ll cut to the chase. This is hands down, the best baking cookbook for 2010. And I’ve been through at least a couple of dozen of the latest and greatest just in the past year. Despite all the cookie collections that have recently hit bookshelves, “The Gourmet Cookie Book”   (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) is not just any old compendium of cookies. This book lists the single best recipe for each year from 1941 to 2009, offering not only an archive of the best cookies over the decades, but documenting America’s history and evolving taste buds through its cookies.  Its honey refrigerator cookies, for example, were published in 1942 when the war was on and sugar was rationed and Gourmet did “its patriotic bit” by printing an article telling its readers how to use honey in place of sugar. The mocha toffee bars were published in 1987 when the stock market had just crashed […]

  • Cookbook Review: Nigella Lawson’s Kitchen Cookbook Review: Nigella Lawson’s Kitchen

    Cookbook Review: Nigella Lawson’s Kitchen

Cookbook Review: Nigella Lawson’s Kitchen

  Just when I thought Nigella couldn’t possibly produce another cookbook, she came out with this nearly-500 page heavyweight “Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home.” (Knopf Canada) Like many of her previous cookbooks, this one is meant to give us a glimpse into her household, by way of her feel-good food solutions for the harried weekday cook. Can this book live up to the high standard of past success? I’ve interviewed Nigella in the past and she was nothing if not utterly charming. Exactly what you’d expect. But lately, I will sadly admit, some of her recipes have been hit or miss. I am going to take partial responsibility for this though, because I don’t embark on any of her recipes without keeping in mind she is not a professional chef. Nor does she pretend to be. While I follow some pastry recipes with military discipline, there are some recipes, like Nigella’s, that I […]

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  • Cookbook Review: Bobby Flay’s Throwdown Cookbook Review: Bobby Flay’s Throwdown

    Cookbook Review: Bobby Flay’s Throwdown

Cookbook Review: Bobby Flay’s Throwdown

  Bobby Flay didn’t always rub me the right way – especially during his appearances on “The Next Food Network Star.” He was arrogant, abrasive even. But when I caught a few episodes of “Throwdown,” in which he goes head-to-head with chefs who have staked their claim as the best at making iconic dishes or desserts, he was humble, generous. His companion book, “Bobby Flay’s Throwdown” (Clarkson Potter) gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at how the cooking challenges went down, lists both recipes, and declares the winner. I’ll admit it’s a hodge podge of recipes with no apparent theme and I didn’t really know where to start. But when I review I book, I have to try at least three recipes, so I buckled down and chose a few. You’ll find my quick and dirty reviews below, but keep reading to get excerpts of other recipes thanks to the good people at […]

  • Cookbook Review: Around My French Table Cookbook Review: Around My French Table

    Cookbook Review: Around My French Table

Cookbook Review: Around My French Table

  I’m going to cut to the chase here. Dorie Greenspan’s “Around My French Table” is my favourite new cookbook. In fact, with just a couple of months to go until the end of the year, I am going to be so bold as to say this is potentially the best cookbook of 2010. I first came across Greenspan’s blog when I read one of her charming posts on Paris. Voila, I thought to myself, a kindred spirit. A foodie who loved Paris enough to live there for many years. Of course, I have never lived in Paris but I try to visit every few years and dream about a time in the future when I can retire there for part of the year. When I received “Around My French Table” in the mail, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I have several cookbooks proclaiming to be the ultimate French cuisine compendiums (Julia Child’s […]

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  • Cookbook Review: Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast Cookbook Review: Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast

    Cookbook Review: Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast

Cookbook Review: Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast

  Dear readers, forgive me for my short sabbatical from this blog. It wasn’t planned, between the trips to the pediatrician, pharmacy, and my general malaise over this hard job called being a mom, I let things slide. Going to sleep at 9:30 p.m. seemed more appealing than sitting down at my laptop. But I haven’t forgotten about you readers, believe me, I haven’t. And if it means skipping a shower to write a blog entry, so be it. I first bought “Everyday Food: Great Food Fast” as a newlywed. It’s not that I didn’t know how to cook, but when I did, it wasn’t rushed. I cooked for the sheer pleasure of cooking. And I realized that once I got married, and started cooking for two, I would need to plan meals and shorten my meal preparation times. (Once, as a newlywed, it took me four hours to make […]

  • Cookbook review: Giada at Home Cookbook review: Giada at Home

    Cookbook review: Giada at Home

Cookbook review: Giada at Home

  Years ago, when I first laid eyes on Giada Di Laurentiis, I was prepared to hate her guts. The cleavage-baring, toothy beauty who peppered her commentary with rolling Italian words was obviously the Food Network’s blatant response to the industry of food porn. But then I tried one of her recipes, and another, and another, and they all came out perfectly and won accolades from my family. I started reading about her life and found she had studied at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. And she grudgingly won my respect. These days, I am often turning to Giada’s recipes for dinner at my house. I have made her sauteed spinach with red onion recipe so many times I don’t even need to check the recipe anymore. So when my copy of “Giada at Home” (Clarkson Potter) arrived in the mail, I was estatico (ecstatic). Yes, it seems like it’s […]

  • Cookbook Review: The SoNo Baking Company Cookbook Cookbook Review: The SoNo Baking Company Cookbook

    Cookbook Review: The SoNo Baking Company Cookbook

Cookbook Review: The SoNo Baking Company Cookbook

  John Barricelli was a familiar face to me as one of the chefs on the show “Everyday Food.” But I didn’t realize until I got my hands on “The SoNo Baking Company Cookbook” (Clarkson Potter) that not only was he an affable personality but he had the baking pedigree to boot. I’ve really built up my cookbook collection over the past couple of years, so it’s not surprising that I already have a few baking cookbooks that promise to offer “the best sweet and savory recipes for every occasion” as this one does.That’s why I was rather halfhearted about diving into this book about Barricelli’s Connecticut bakery. until the Coconut Chocolate Chip Bars recipe caught my eye. My diet went downhill from there. Where these bars were irresistible, however; the chocolate mousse was delicious but forgettable, and the rugelach recipe was just m’eh and forced me to improvise as […]

  • Cookbook Review: Michael Symon’s Live to Cook Cookbook Review: Michael Symon’s Live to Cook

    Cookbook Review: Michael Symon’s Live to Cook

Cookbook Review: Michael Symon’s Live to Cook

  When I first got my hands on this new cookbook from Iron Chef America’s Michael Symon, I was skeptical. According to the publisher’s promo copy, Symon showcases the “heritage” food based on the recipes beloved by his Greek-Italian-Eastern European family and also tells the story of his meteroric rise to fame from working-class Midwestern boy to Iron Chef superstar in “Live to Cook: Recipes and Techniques to Rock Your Kitchen” (Random House). That’s a tall order for just one book. After all, how many more stories can we read about the American dream coming true? But the book cover did this cookbook no disservice. Not only does his personal story ring true with anecdotes about his humiliating mistakes and his mother’s home cooking, his cooking philosophy also shines through and through. Symon is adamant about using only the best ingredients, seasoning foods properly, and cooking at the right heat. […]