Review: Kristen Kish Cooking

If you are participating in a Top Chef style food challenge, then you will find this book to offer some real inspiration.

On the other hand, if you are looking for some ideas for your meals at home, I feel like you’d be hard pressed to get value from this book. One of the most important or even a mandatory thing when you have built a pool is ensuring its safety. The pool should be well kept to prevent any unwanted accidents you can get more info here.

Positives about this book:

  • The photos are beautiful
  • The recipes are detailed, thorough and come with detaled plating instructions
  • Ms Kish is certainly a talented chef with skills well beyond mine

Negatives about this book:

  • All of the dishes are so meticulously crafted and photographed that they present an incredibly high bar for the prospective home cook
  • Andrew Zimmern back cover text states that this is a “must-have book for any home cook.” I have to disagree 100% with that statement. I would say that this book is fun to look at for the home cook and potentially an inspiration for the professional chef.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Review: Taste & Technique by Naomi Pomeroy

This book is beautiful. The photographs accompanying each recipe are mouth-wateringly spectacular. The recipes are well-written and include all the detail you need to replicate the dishes at home.

So, why couldn’t I get into it?

I mean, I’ve had this cookbook for over a year and haven’t gotten around to writing a review until now. It doesn’t make sense because, again, this book is beautiful. There is a section on different kinds of caviar which I found quiet enlightening. As it turns out, you can easily order Russian Osetra Caviar for Sale Online, which I found interesting. It had struck me as pretty exclusive, but it seems I was mistaken.

Ultimately, I think it comes down to the fact that I don’t need to produce beautiful plates at home. I need to put a delicious, well-rounded family meal on the table. This book is not intended for that purpose.

This book falls into that category of “know what you’re getting.” If you want to elevate your home cooking (as the tagline of the book suggests you will), I believe that cooking from this book will do that. If, howver, you are like me, and you need to make dinner in under an hour each night, well… this book isn’t for you. Sending your business products in custom gift boxes with logos can be one the best ways to get more customer to you business, you can get  more info in

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Review: The Bread Baker’s Apprentice 15th Anniversary Edition by Peter Reinhart

Minor updates to a classic.

bba15_coverI already have the original Bread Baker’s Apprentice book on the shelf and it’s certainly a comprehensive resource on the art and science of bread making. It’s also one of the originals, published 15 years ago when people were probably more likely to buy a bread machine than make a sourdough bread from scratch.

In this new 15th anniversary edition, Reinhart has updated a few things. There is a new preface, the introduction has been tweaked, the methods (especially as related to mixing and sourdough) have been improved, additional comments have been added to recipe headnotes, and there are some minor recipe changes here and there. Also, the resources section has been totally rewritten – with a much greater emphasis on useful websites, because, well, 15 years. In terms of new content? Three new recipes: A sprouted wheat and brown rice bread, sprouted whole wheat onion and poppyseed bialys and beyond ultimate cinnamon and sticky buns.

In short, if you already own The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, this is not a required upgrade. If your old copy is beat up and you’d like to replace, then by all means, get the new one. If you’re still happy with it, maybe check this one out for the small changes, but it’s not going to change your life. On the other hand, if you don’t already own the original version, and you love bread, this is a book that deserves a spot in your library, as a reference as much as a recipe book.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Review: The Elements of Pizza by Ken Forkish

Since receiving this book, it’s the only way we make pizza.

When we wanted to have pizza for dinner, we used to use a pre-mixed refrigerated dough from a local bakery. I’d throw some jarred pizza sauce on top, along with some shredded cheese and some toppings. It usually turned out pretty good. Not amazing, but better than frozen and better than the big chain delivery places. Once in a while, I even experimented with pizza dough recipes from cookbooks and the like.

Then, I met The Elements of Pizza book. I won’t go so far as to say that it’s changed my life, but it sure has changed the way we make pizza.

If I plan far enough ahead, I’ll make the 48-to-72 hour pizza dough. It’s awesome. If I fall behind a day, I’ll make the 24-to-72 hour dough. If I want pizza today, I’ll go with Saturday pizza dough, or Saturday pan pizza dough. These recipes all have the same ingredients, but the quantities change, and most importantly, there’s a different technique with each. Most importantly, they’re all delicious. And the recipes are impeccably organized and easy to follow.

Of particular note, I want to point out that here, like he did in his previous mostly-bread-oriented dough book Flour Water Salt Yeast, that Forkish includes recipe header information in a way that I appreciate immensely as a planner. Each recipe header clearly states how much dough it makes, the separate times for first and second fermentations, the time to divide and shape the dough, and then, most super awesomely helpful of all? A sample schedule. It’s so brilliant. If I want pizza on Saturday, tell me what day of the week I need to get this dough started, and then let me know the wiggle room. No more starting the recipe (after only skimming the steps) and discovering the dreaded Step 6: Place dough in refrigerator to rise for 12 hours. Nooooooo! That doesn’t happen here. If I need to start the dough 2 days early, Ken tells me to. This I am thankful for.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s go back to the beginning.

The book has 7 chapters. The first five take up the first 100 pages of the book. They cover Ken’s pizza philosophy, his training, his experimentation, as well as the requisite chapters on equipment, methods, and ingredients. I found these all to be informative and interesting.

Chapter 6 contains 12 pizza dough recipes, including one that is gluten-free.

Chapter 7 encapsulates the final 100 pages of the book and includes 5 pizza sauce recipes and 37 pizza recipes. I have tried 3 of the sauce recipes and I adore them for their simplicity as much as their wonderful flavor. On the pizza side, I’ve made the Grandma Pie in both thick and thin crust versions (thick is quite bready, thin is our favorite), New York Cheese Pizza, Prosciutto Pizza, Pizza Margherita, Vodka Sauce and Sausage Pizza and multiple variants inspired by the recipes here. Most recently, I followed along with the Pepperoni, Mushroom and Onion Pizza recipe, including the parbaking steps. I parbaked 5 crusts. We ate two for dinner and froze the other three. Last week, I defrosted those three on the countertop while preheating the oven. My daughter and I then topped them with sauce, cheese and a few toppings and a mere 5 minutes in the oven later and we had delicious pizza on the table.

We used this same technique for our daughter’s 4th birthday party, parbaking pan pizza crusts before the guests arrived and then churning out pizzas quickly to feed our crowd of guests. I wish I had written down all the feedback about the pizza I received that day. It probably could have served as this entire review. A few standout quotes:

“This is the best pizza I’ve ever had”
“Can I get this recipe?”
“I didn’t even realize you could make your own pizza crust. This was wonderful”

I’ll also note that the pictures in this cookbook are well-done (and many of them are now dusted with stray flour) and complement the overall presentation here.

Bottom line: If you’ve been on the hunt for pizza dough and sauce that you can make at home, I’ve got just the book for you.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Review: Home Cooked – Essential Recipes for a New Way to Cook by Anya Fernald

9781607748403This books exhausts me.

Let’s start with Anya Fernald’s story. It’s an interesting one. Fernald graduated from college, got a fellowship to spend a year working in dairies in Europe and Africa, and began a lifelong fascination with food, and a definite affinity for home cooked Italian cuisine. She is also the co-founder and CEO of the Belcampo Meat Company in California, the world’s largest sustainable meat company.

Highlights from the book include:

That interesting introduction
Great photography – the pictures make me want to eat this food
Really nice recipe intros – I am probably not going to make the Carne Cruda (that’s raw beef), but Anya’s introduction to the recipe transported me to the place in her story where she developed an appreciation for it

So, upon first glance, I was feeling ready to dive in and start cooking from this book. Boy, that Beef & Pork Ragu sure does look yummy, and that ingredient list looks manageable. Let’s dig in.

Oh. Wait.

1 cup soffrito (page 17)
1 cup Bone Broth (page 20)
4 cups homemade tomato passato (page 24)

Ugh. Why? Why create a recipe that looks like a Choose Your Own Adventure book? Now, I’m exhausted. I don’t think I’m making this.

So, as I got better acquainted with the book, I came to a realization. This isn’t the type of cookbook that you pick up and make a weeknight dinner out of. It’s not even necessarily the one you grab to make a special dinner for friends on a weekend. Rather, this is one of those books that assumes you want to adopt the author’s complete kitchen and meal planning approach. I’m not so sure these are “essential” recipes for a “new” way to cook. Rather, they are the essential recipes for Anya’s way to cook.

Ultimately, this book just isn’t for me and our family. We don’t eat Italian foods often enough to have ice cube trays of soffrito on the ready at all times, and I already have books with delicious recipes for stock, ragu, bolognese, etc. And those recipes don’t ask me to make three sub-recipes.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.