NPR’s Cake Lady Melissa Gray offers her delectable cake recipes in her new cookbook All Cakes Considered. Gray’s recipes are easily read and practical for anyone who loves to bake. The book is divided according to each genre of baking and recipes according to techniques, ingredients, and supplies in order to make treats for the office, a party, or your family. With sensuously luscious illustrations of over 50 cakes including Brown Sugar Pound Cake, Peppermint and Chocolate Rum Marble Cake, Lord and Lady Baltimore Cakes, Dark-Chocolate Red Velvet Cake, just to name a few, this book is an essential for friends with a dessert fetish. All Cakes Considered is mmm mmm good and then some.
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“Holiday spirits. High spirits. Alcoholic spirits. ‘Tis the season for much spiritedness! In the spirit of extending the rest-of-the-year happy hour into a happy, oh, week or two with the help of some delicious, chemical-aided happiness PopMatters highly recommends these two books for the holiday season and for many, many days beyond, as the spirit (tee hee) moves you. Start with a classy selection of cocktail classics with The Essential Cocktail. Here you’ll find none of that overly sweet, headache-inducing stuff found in every-bar, America, but rather time-tested cocktails replete with anecdotal history lessons right next to the recipes that are in themselves far more informative than just ““2 parts xx to 1 part xx”“. I eagerly await my first foray into mixing Angostura bitters ‘just right’ with this book to guide me.
‘Tis not good to drink on an empty stomach. Best to sop up the above cocktails with booze-infused foods from Peterson’s Holiday Helper. Pumpkin pie with Amaretto? Why not? Chicken broth with vodka? I’ll give it a shot. Funny little vignettes about scenarios at office parties and scenes of house-bound, wound-up hyper kids on school holiday blink like Christmas lights from page to page. Whomever hosts parties inspired by these books, be prepared to have guests stay the night on the couch, in the bathtub, on the kitchen floor…”
For the wine collector or serious wine connoisseur, 1001 Wines is a challenge and a joy. You’re sure to discover something new here, there are 1,001 after all. The only thing you’ll be limited by is your pocketbook as a few of these can get quite pricey and fellow wine-hounds buying out the vintages. 1000 Foods is more of a general audience book with appeal to foodies and chefs. From fruit and cheese to fish and meat, grains and spices, the book covers every essential edible in a lifetime of eating. More than just a long list of stuff, 1001 Foods is also of use to creative cooks looking for new inspiration.
For the serious cook or those that aim to be, Page and Dornenburg have assembled a compelling toolkit that will allow culinary creatives to concoct their own recipes and develop ways to expand their repertoire. Indeed, there are no recipes here; rather there is a comprehensive encyclopedia of ingredients describing what they can be tastefully combined with. Each item is detailed by the season in which it is available, overall taste, weight, volume, cooking techniques and numerous tips. So, if you have ever wondered what to do with some of the more exotic vegetables, spices and meats you find at your local ethnic food store or Whole Foods, The Flavor Bible offers a cornucopia of ideas for fresh experimentation.
For students and those living on tight budgets (i.e. pretty much all of us these days), the idea of throwing a dinner party may seem financially impossible, both in terms of buying the ingredients and having the equipment to prepare the feast. Shook and Dotolo, chefs at Los Angeles’ new hotly tipped Animal restaurant, remember those lean days well and offer up 100 recipes to impress for those cooking in a small kitchen with limited means. Including are plenty of tips for assembling the bare bones of working kitchen. From salads to desserts, the focus is new American cuisine. [$24.95]