It’s June. Students are graduating and Dad’s are pleased to be honored. The flag flies high and cooks are gearing up for warmer weather cooking. Summer’s around the corner.
THE 100 MOST JEWISH FOODS: A Highly Debatable List by Alana Newhouse is a perfect gift book for any culinary or cultural Jew.  This collection chronicles the most significant Jewish foods both culturally and historically.  Using essays, recipes, and stories, the author presents a litany of Jewish food peppered with recipes and notes from Ruth Reichl, Joan Nathan, Gail Simmons, Yotam Ottolenghi, Amanda Hesser, and Phil Rosenthal in a wonderful volume that is a joy to read.  I learned a great deal including: “schmaltz, or rendered poultry fat, was once considered so valuable to Jews in Eastern and Central Europe as a critical cooking fat that they stored it in vessels secured with padlocks.  Who knew?

DARINA ALLEN SIMPLY DELICIOUS: The Classic Connection by Darina Allen, aka The Julia Child of Ireland, is a wonderful revised and updated version of her book with new photographs.  I was fortunate enough to visit Ballymaloe and see first-hand the garden and grounds where vegetables and herbs are grown, and eat at the amazing restaurant.  Favorites include: apple, celery & walnut salad; summer frittata; winter celery soup; turkey baked with marjoram; Ballymaloe Irish Stew; penne with fresh salmon; and orange mousse.

DAMN DELICIOUS MEAL PREP: 115 Easy Recipes for Low-Calorie, High-Energy Living from food blogger Chungah Rhee is a nice way to stay healthy but still savor recipes.  The author uses meal prep as a secret weapon to eating healthfully in our busy lives.  By taking the time to plan ahead, you have the edge to cook well every night of the week.  I particularly like the tips for meal prep including tips for cooking in bulk; meal prep containers which are BPA free and dishwasher-safe; what you need in your kitchen arsenal for big-batch cooking; and how to freeze and store.

WHERE COOKING BEGINS: Uncomplicated Recipes to Make You a Great Cook by the food director at Bon Appétit Magazine Carla Lalli Music is a cookbook for today’s home cooks.  The author guides one through the six essential cooking methods that will allow you to cook just about anything.  Ms. Lalli streamlines cooking techniques and combines them with innovative and mouth-watering recipes for a modern approach to cooking.  Standouts include: fresh figs with Manchego and wet walnuts: charred broccoli salad; omelet with whipped ricotta for two; chicken cutlets with spicy coconut dressing; pork steaks with snap pea and scallion salsa; and coffee crême caramel.

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