PNW VEG: 100 Vegetable Recipes Inspired by the Local Bounty of the Pacific Northwest by Kim O’Donnel is chock full of innovative, healthful, and delicious veggie recipes for family or entertaining highlighting the wonderful bounty in the Pacific Northwest.  I like the convenient gluten-free and dairy-free symbols noted on the recipes.  Standouts include: velvety asparagus –mint soup; fennel chopped salad; pan-fried quinoa patties with miso yogurt sauce; potato, onion, and stinging nettle frittata; and cranberry caramel-baked apples with honeyed mascarpone.

JULIE TABOULIE’S LEBANESE KITCHEN: Authentic Recipes for Fresh and Flavorful Mediterranean Home Cooking by TV chef Julie Ann Sageer with Leah Bhabha is an homage to Ms. Sageer’s Lebanese culinary heritage.  The recipes are clearly and written with step-by-step photographs for making dishes such as baba ghanouj (roasted eggplant dip); fattoush (Lebanese peasant bread salad; falafel (spiced chickpea fritters); mahshi malfouf (stuffed cabbage leaves); lahmeh b ajin (individual lamb pies); and baklawa (layered phyllo pastry with walnut filling.

ADVENTURES IN STARRY KITCHEN: 88 Asian-Inspired Recipes from America’s Most Famous Underground Restaurant by Nguyen Tran chronicles, with amazingly fun illustrations, the evolution of the Nguyen and his wife Thi’s Starry Kitchen, while parting with some amazing trademark recipes including crispy tofu balls; Singapore chili crab; garlic noodles (aka make-out noodles!); Malaysian chicken curry; ginger sesame rainbow roasted carrots (aka roast carrots with sweet soy glaze); and green tea lemon latte cookies.  Not for beginning cooks but definitely fun!

SWEET, SUGAR, SULTRY, SPICE: Exotic Flavors to Wake up Your Baking by Malika Ameen is an innovative and inspired treatise on baking.  The author pushes spices from savory to sweet where they can be used in a variety of desserts.  The photographs are beautiful and inspiring.  Favorite recipes include: Mexican hot chocolate cake; Watermelon jasmine sherbet; Lavender brown sugar crunchies; fudgy passion fruit truffles; and apple cheddar caraway scones.

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