Friday, August 20, 2010

Cookbooks galore!

There's quite a range of new cookbooks on the shelf this week here at the public library:
Stir-frying to the Sky's Edge: the ultimate guide to mastery, with authentic recipes and stories by Grace Young.  Wok cooking is an art, and award-winning author Young starts her book off with a lengthy section about selecting, seasoning and heating a wok, as well as tips on how to prepare the garlic and ginger that are ubiquitous in Oriental cooking.  Her recipes are varied in both taste and ease of preparation, and she includes some interesting side stories about the history of wok cooking.  Try "Stir-fried salmon with wine sauce"....yum!
Just Five Ingredients: over 120 fast, fuss-free recipes by Ainsley Harriott, is a great book for cooks who are looking for simplicity and elegance.  You're probably not going to have some of these ingredients lying around your kitchen (pancetta, smoked chicken breast, duck fat, buffalo mozzarella), but you can either splurge or substitute.  No fresh swordfish?  Use halibut.  No Puy lentils?  Use green.  No harissa?  Don't know what harissa is? (I didn't).  It's a spicy paste of garlic, chilies, cumin, oil and coriander - easy to make.  Add an exotic touch to your table with a minimum of fuss.
Quesadillas by Donna Kelly offers a huge variety of fillings grilled between tortillas. Shrimp & fontina, gorgonzola & spicy beans, provolone & prosciutto, or cherries, cream cheese & coconut streusel.  If you have kids that love quesadillas (and I do), but you want to expand beyond taco meat and shredded cheddar, this is a good way to stretch their taste buds without pouting.
Recipes From the Root Cellar: 270 fresh ways to enjoy winter vegetables by Andrea Chesman is a fabulous book to get you through the winter.  When inexpensive fresh produce becomes limited, the staples of potatoes, parsnips, rutabagas, carrots and squashes can help you eat well during cold months.  Teamed up with slow-cooked meats or served by themselves with savory spices or nutty grains, these veggies epitomize Autumn .
River Cottage Preserves Handbook by Pam Corbin shows you how to save all those berries you picked and vegetables you grew and herbs you nursed all summer long.  Pickles, jellies, sauces, jams, chutneys, cordials, vinegars.....this book is from the U.K., and may have some ingredients that you won't get here in Alaska, but you can always improvise!

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