Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Modern Salad

I love salad.

Yup. Love it. I'm perfectly happy with a big bowl of lettuce and other things, dressed wit something flavorful. Sometimes I eat salad as a snack.

So when I got The Modern Salad by Elizabeth Howes, you'd think that I'd run to the kitchen and start tormenting vegetables, right?


Although I liked quite a few of the recipes, the idea of following a recipe to make a salad seemed sort of ... too much work ... for me. Which is totally weird, but that's how I felt about it.

But ... I took a lot of the ideas from the book. The Charcuterie Board Chopped Salad reminded me that I should put some salami on my salads once in a while. The Shaved Asparagus Salad reminded me to put asparagus on salads once in a while. The French Lentil and Poach Eggs Salad reminded me to add beans to salads now and then. And it also made me think fondly of poaching or soft-boiling an egg rather than used hard-boiled eggs when I'm in and eggy mood. The Romaine on Romaine salad made me think about adding seafood to salads. That one has shrimp, but other seafood could work really well.

So, even though I didn't make any single recipe in the book as-is, it still motivated me to change up my usual fare.

Does everyone need a salad cookbook? Good question. If your salads are just some lettuce and tomato, maybe it's time to up your game, right?

I received this book from the publisher at no cost to me.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Remarkably Average Parenting

I've got a nice relationship with the folks at General Foods Cereals. They sometime send me fun stuff. Well, cereal, usually, but then there's usually something else, often from small independent folks, like when they sent me a personalized bowl.

This time, they sent me some Corn Chex cereal and a book.

I'm not sure what the cereal had to do with the book, but I like Chex. The book was about parenting and I have a friend who is about to become a parent, so I figured I'd pass the book along.

But first, I read it.  The Mommy Shorts Guide to Remarkably Average Parenting by Ilana Wiles isn't a how-to book. It's more of a humor book with some suggestions here and there.

Even though I'm not a parent, I thought it was well written and pleasant to read. I mean, I read the whole darned thing. So it must have been okay, right? And the photos are cute.

The book would be a great present for parents-to-be or new parents. And the photos are a hoot.

Thanks to General Foods for the crunchy stuff and the book!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Liberation Soup

When I opened Liberation Soup, the first thing I saw was a recipe for Cow Skin. Um ... I'm pretty sure I've never seen that at my local grocery store. I was a bit worried that I had a book in my hands that I wouldn 't be able to cook from.

I thought, well, okay, maybe the stories are good. The book is from The Whole Planet Foundation and the recipes are from families being helped by the foundation's microfinance program.

Each recipe is paired with information about the people being helped by the loans and what they do with the money. It's pretty interesting what a very small loan can do to help people in developing countries, and it makes my life look crazy luxurious in comparison.

After paging through the book, I realized that there were a lot of recipes I could make pretty much as-is, and there were more that would be easy enough to make with some substitutions.

The ones I had on my short list were a spiced chicken stew, a chickpea stew, and a rice and beans.

I'll be honest and say that it's pretty obvious that some recipes were written by people who never wrote a recipe before. The stuffed zucchini, for example, listed ingredients, but no amounts. And the instructions simply said to "cook the mixture" for the filling but didn't have any more details. But, let's be serious. Anyone making the recipe could probably work it out for themselves and make it to their own taste.

Most of the recipes are more detailed. No worse than a community cookbook in the US.

Overall, it's a nice book. Probably not what I'd suggest for a new cook, but definitely nice for people who love cookbooks.

I received this book from the publisher at no cost to me.