Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Sunday Salon and Cookbooks for the Changing Season

Welcome to The Sunday Salon! It's that time of the week where we can all sit down, relax and talk about books! So grab a cup a joe, find a comfy chair and let's talk!

The cold weather has started to slip into Connecticut. There have been a few flurries of snow, but nothing to speak of… yet. But when the weather changes from bright sunny warm summer days to crisp fall days and then into gray colder days, my reading changes… and so does my cooking. I put away those summer beach reads and find comfort in longer tomes, different kinds of stories, maybe a classic or two. There are usually wonderful children's books about the season to amuse myself with, and I start to cook more comfort foods. The crockpot comes out, soups become welcome friends, and christmas cookies start dancing in my head.

I love cookbooks. I always have to take a peek at them when I'm wandering a bookstore. Even if you have a hundred cookbooks, if you enjoy cooking you always are tempted to pick up another one, especially if you found a recipe that looked like something you'd want to try. So, since it's that time of year again, I thought I would talk cookbooks….

Slow Cooker Revolution: Volume 2: The Easy Prep Edition by America's Test Kitchen… The test cooks at America’s Test Kitchen have worked their magic again, developing and perfecting an all-new collection of 200 slow- cooker recipes.With this volume, we looked at this must-have appliance in new ways to truly maximize its potential.You’ll learn how to make a host of dishes like Garlicky Shrimp, Chicken Soft Tacos, and Flourless Chocolate Cake--recipes you’d never expect to see coming out of a slow cooker. The moist heat of the slow cooker is tailor-made to serve up flavorful stews, chilis, and braises, but with our smart strategies and clever ingredient selections, we were also able to pull off full-flavored cheeseburgers, spice-rubbed roast chicken, ziti with meaty ragu, rare roast beef, poached salmon, and even cheesecake.

I have never been disappointed with any recipe coming out of America's Test Kitchen. They are amazing in their approaches to discovering the nuances that make a recipe work and taste good. I actually received a review copy of this not too long ago and am so excited to try some of these recipes! First of all, I have a big 6 Quart Crockpot, which is hard to find recipes actually tweaked for it. Yes, you can always double, add a little more of this & that, but sometimes it just doesn't work. This cookbook has recipes for 51/2 to 7 Quart slow cookers, and explains about time differences. What is also nice about this cookbook is that it is designed so that the prep time before you throw everything into the slow cooker no more than 15 minutes!! And finally, no recipe requires stovetop cooking, although I did see some microwaving in a few to prep something. There are fish recipes, beef & chicken and amazing desserts including Chocolate Cheesecake. You get an education here too, because there is plenty of the hows & whys explained. Want to try this cookbook? Here are the links for the Softcover Edition and the Kindle Edition !

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays by Ree Drummond… is an all-out celebration of the scrumptious, mouthwatering recipes that define our favorite occasions throughout the year. From luck-inducing Hoppin' John on New Year's Day, to a perfectly savory/sweet Glazed Easter Ham, to luscious Caramel Apples on Halloween, to a crowd-pleasing Thanksgiving feast with all the fixins, these pages are positively brimming with recipes guaranteed to make your holidays deliciously memorable . . . and memorably delicious! Twelve different holidays are covered in delectable detail: From New Year's Day to New Year's Eve . . . and all my favorites in between. Host a party for the Big Game for your football-loving friends, make Mom a lovely Mother's Day breakfast-in-bed, invite your sweetie to a Valentine's Day romantic dinner for two . . . or ring in the New Year with a fabulous cocktail party. There's food, glorious food in this cookbook, and you won't run out of yummy things to make.

I have enjoyed watching Lee Drummond show me how to prepare some great meals on her television show. Her story is a fun one - vegan loving city girl goes back home, falls in love with a cowboy, marries him and starts raising a family and cows. She found out cowboys don't eat salad and learned to cook crowd pleasing meals. She always makes it look simple, and her books have beautiful full color photos to show you what's going on in the prep. This is her newest cookbook that was just published last week. Now the Kindle edition is sold as an enhanced version, with audio & video! I might have to go for the Kindle edition instead of the hardcover just to experience that! Interested? Here are the links for the Hardcover and the Kindle Enhanced Edition ! And you can learn more about Lee at her website: The Pioneer Woman.

Vegetable Literacy: Cooking and Gardening with Twelve Families from the Edible Plant Kingdom, with over 300 Deliciously Simple Recipes by Deborah Madison… from the dust jacket: From the dust jacket: In her latest cookbook, Deborah Madison, America’s leading authority on vegetarian cooking and author of Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, reveals the surprising relationships between vegetables, edible flowers, and herbs within the same botanical families, and how understanding these connections can help home cooks see everyday vegetables in new light. This groundbreaking new cookbook is Madison’s crowning achievement: a celebration of the diversity of the plant kingdom, and an exploration of the fascinating relationships between vegetables, edible flowers, herbs, and familiar wild plants within the same botanical families.

This cookbook has gotten rave reviews. I love cookbooks like this because besides some recipes, the author shares her passion about the subject matter. I learn things I never would just getting getting a vegetable recipe out of The Joy of Cooking. (Although that is a staple in our house too). Deborah Madison is a chef, cooking instructor and food writer specializing in seasonal vegetables. She encourages one to gather your veggies from farmers and use heritage varieties. This is also one of those cookbooks that would make a great gift to your favorite cook or your favorite gardener, because it may not be the "norm" when you are buying a cookbook for yourself. Published this year by Random House, it is available in Hardcover and here is the link for the Kindle Edition .

Weekly Recap… This week I finished Wild by Cheryl Strayed. What an amazing book and adventure. I would definitely recommend this book to any hiker, person who enjoys a great memoir, but also to all my female friends and acquaintances! This is girl-power to the tenth degree! Inspirational on a variety of levels. Here's my REVIEW from friday, Nov. 15th.

I also talked about The Pleasures of Buying a Book in a Brick & Mortar Store. I read on article on about 10 lovable things about a brick & mortar store and shared them on Sat. Nov. 16th. Here's the link to The Pleasures of Buying a Book in a Brick & Mortar Blog Post.

This week I also finished An American Bride in Kabul by Phyllis Chesler. Look for a review next week.

So, how does your reading change in the winter? And how about your cooking? And speaking of cooking, do you ever use an eReader as your cookbook? For me, I so use an iPad sometimes with recipes that I'm using that are also on the internet. Hmmm, sounds like another good subject!

Happy reading… Suzanne


Joy Weese Moll (@joyweesemoll) said...

The cookbook devoted to holidays sounds like so much fun to browse -- especially with video in the enhanced version.

Have a great week!

Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow said...

I have not done much cooking in recent years...but I am in the market for a great slow cooker recipe book.

I am fond of brick and mortar bookstores, even though I do a lot of shopping online.

I mainly go into Barnes & Noble and have coffee and read...and then browse a bit for the bargains.


Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I love doing Weekend Cooking posts but I haven't gotten around to it since I went back to school in August. Maybe because I haven't done any cooking since August!

Dani S said...

Lately all my slow cooker meals look like grey mush, so I am open to trying some new recipes!

I only own about five cookbooks and I haven't cracked them open in years. All my recipes these days come from blogs. I used to scratch down the ingredients on a piece of scrap paper so I wouldn't have to drag my laptop to the kitchen. Now I have an iPad and it makes using online recipes much easier.

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