Thursday, July 31, 2008

Unusual cookbooks

I'll be honest - picking out cookbooks for the library can be difficult. Until you've cracked open the book and tried to make the recipe, you don't know if it's any good: is it easy to follow? does it require hard-to-get ingredients? does it take 3 days to make? is it edible? And since there are really only so many ways to roast a turkey or grill a steak (sorry, Bobby Flay), I tend to lean towards getting cookbooks with very particular themes - a certain ingredient, a certain ethnicity, a certain cooking technique. Two of our newest cookbooks reflect this purchasing bias of mine.
Nuts: more than 75 delicious & healthy recipes by Avner Laskin presents many tasty ways to incorporate those yummy, high-protein little gems into your meals. Goat Cheese and Nut Spread, Couscous and Walnut Salad, Peanut Bread, Almond Shrimp Soup, Chocolate Macadamia Brownies and Marzipan Rounds are some of the delicious recipes in this book (which leans a little heavily on sweets and baked goods, but I don't have a problem with that). Don't the words 'crunchy, nutty goodness' just make your mouth water?
The New Polish Cuisine by Chef Michael J. Baruch introduces hearty Eastern-European cooking to those of us who didn't grow up in the Midwest (Baruch is a sixth-generation Pole from Chicago). Featuring a lot of soups, stews and starchy dishes, this is the perfect cookbook for the cold wet fall that will soon descend upon us (if it isn't here already). Dumplings, sausages, noodles and cheese might not be the healthiest of fare but these dishes will stick to your ribs and I bet they smell wonderful.

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