Showing posts with label recipes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label recipes. Show all posts

Early Book Review: New World Sourdough: Artisan Techniques for Creative Homemade Fermented Breads; With Recipes for Birote, Bagels, Pan de Coco, Beignets, and More by Bryan Ford

New World Sourdough: Artisan Techniques for Creative Homemade Fermented Breads; With Recipes for Birote, Bagels, Pan de Coco, Beignets, and More by Bryan Ford is currently scheduled for release on June 16 2020. Learn how to make a sourdough starter, basic breads, as well as other innovative baked goods from start to finish with Instagram star Bryan Ford's (@artisanbryan) nontraditional approach to home baking. With less emphasis on perfecting crumb structure or obsessive temperature monitoring, Ford focuses on the tips and techniques he's developed in his own practice, inspired by his Honduran roots and New Orleans upbringing, to ensure your success and a good return on your time and effort. Ford's recipes include step-by-step instructions and photographs of all of the mixing, shaping, and baking techniques you'll need to know, with special attention paid to developing flavor as well as your own instincts.

New World Sourdough offers readers exactly what the title promises, an accessible guide to sourdough and recipes to use the starter. The descriptions and instructions are well written and easy to follow, and the photographs of the dough and finished product are very well done. I am still not a fan of the ingredients list being off to the side rather than at the top of the recipe, but it worked better for me here than it has in other cookbooks. I like the approachable style of this book, and it has made me a little more comfortable with my attempts at sourdough, which was feeling a bit too much work after some less than successful attempts while home  maintaining social distance from the rest of the world. There are a few recipe that on my list of things to try out soon, and we will see if they turn out nearly as well as I hope.

Early Book Review: Procrastibaking: 100 Recipes for Getting Nothing Done in the Most Delicious Way Possible by Erin Gardner

Procrastibaking: 100 Recipes for Getting Nothing Done in the Most Delicious Way Possible by Erin Gardner is currently scheduled for release on June 1 2020. Sometimes you need to take a mini vacation from the demands of daily life, and the kitchen is the best space for it. How can you return those emails when there’s dough on your hands? It would be counterproductive to handle clean laundry after dipping chocolates all afternoon, right? Whether you’re avoiding work, the news, or just trying to keep your hands busy, baking offers the perfect escape.

The digital galley for Procrastibaking landed in my hands at the perfect time- as my family were stuck working and learning from home and not going much of anywhere. When better to turn math lessons into treats, or delay dealing with a problem that really should not belong to you than by producing edibles in the kitchen? I enjoyed testing and planning to try out some of these 100 recipes. Some call for an hour, some call for a weekend, and all end in something yummy to eat. I still have several of the recipes bookmarked for further testing. I enjoyed the small asides that were between the recipes. Sadly some of the suggestions, like running down to the store for the perfect fruit or gourmet chocolate were not a good idea when I was reading the book I still enjoyed the sentiment- and could spend that time to see if I could order the same things online for delivery. As a whole; the recipes were easy to follow, the tone of the writing was fun and conversational, and I really enjoyed this book.
Procrastibaking is a fun and well written collection of recipes to try, regardless of if you should really be doing something else.

Early Book Review: Northeast Medicinal Plants: Identify, Harvest, and Use 111 Wild Herbs for Health and Wellness by Liz Neves

Northeast Medicinal Plants: Identify, Harvest, and Use 111 Wild Herbs for Health and Wellness by Liz Neves is currently scheduled for release on May 26 2020. It is a guide to finding, identifying, harvesting, and using 111 of the region’s most powerful wild plants. Readers will learn how to safely and ethically forage, and how to use wild plants in herbal medicines including teas, tinctures, and salves. Plant profiles include clear, color photographs, identification tips, medicinal uses and herbal preparations, and harvesting suggestions. Lists of what to forage for each season makes the guide useful year-round. Thorough, comprehensive, and safe, this is a must-have for foragers, naturalists, and herbalists in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Northeast Medicinal Plants is a well organized and detailed guide. I like that the book takes the time to explain some of the most important, and sometimes ignored, factors of identifying and gathering plants, like making sure you have permission before harvesting from private property. The explanations of the use, preparation, and  the aspects of the plants that aid in identification. Even though I have made my own tinctures and grown my own ingredients in the past I found the information to be laid out in an accessible manner that lends itself to being referred back to as desired. I liked that the basics never read in a condescending tone, which sometimes happens when someone tries to talk about things that are second nature to them but might be new to others. I also liked that the importance of understand the nature of each plant is stressed, as some as very poisonous, some have very useful roots but problematic leaves or stems, and so on. The details about the individual plants and their use to be well done and comprehensive, and I learned quite a bit about some of my favorite, and least favorite, plants that can be found in my backyard and surrounding areas. I also really enjoyed that Neves included and comprehensive list of references and resources, as dedicated readers and wildcraft enthusiast can further expand their understanding and possibly lend a hand with conservation. I also found the photography to be very well done and worth enjoying in its own right.

Northeast Medicinal Plants is a valuable resource for anyone that is interested in the wild herbs of the area, and how to use them. I think it would be a good addition to public libraries and for the personal libraries of those that are interested in the subject matter.

Book Review: Beginner's Baking Bible 130+ Recipes and Techniques for New Bakers by Heather Perine

Beginner's Baking Bible 130+ Recipes and Techniques for New Bakers by Heather Perine walks readers through all the essential techniques they need to bake over 130 sweet and savory recipes.. For a beginner, baking might seem like magic: mix the right ingredients, add heat, and watch a transformation happen before your eyes. But you don’t have to be a sorcerer to bake a flavorful pie, decadent layer cake, or pillowy loaf of bread. Learn the tools and staple ingredients you’ll need for baking (don’t worry, it’s not as much as you think). Pick up building block skills like measuring, mixing, kneading, creaming butter and sugar, and whipping egg whites. Soon, you’ll impress your family and friends with muffins, cookies, cakes, pies, quiches, and even savory galettes. 

Beginner's Baking Bible is a well organized and written cookbook. I like that the author takes the time to share what different instructions in the recipes mean, like the difference between folding, mixing, creaming, and so on. So many people make the attempt to bake, follow the recipes as best they can, and little things like mixing technique or forgetting to grease a pan ruin their good efforts. I grew up in a house where baking and canning was the norm, so I have a good foundation and have been baking on my own for years and binge watch baking shows whenever possible. However, reading these reminders and basic baking information only served to refresh my understanding- it did not feel condescending or simplistic. There were also some measurement charts and information at the end of the book that readers might find informative. I also think that the photography is well done. I think the only change I would make is moving the possible substitutions or additions to recipes closer to the ingredients list to help bakers prepare accordingly- if you are missing an ingredient some bakers might just give up on the recipe rather than reading to the end to discover that they could still make it work.  I think that while this is a perfect book for those that have dabbled in baking and want some instruction to improve their skills and results. I think long time home bakers might get just as much out of a read through as new bakers. Sometimes we get moving too fast and forget some of the basics as we go about our day.  As I just got some new baking tools over the holidays, I have a list of recipes from the book to try out, for instance I see some garlic dinner rolls in my near future.

Beginner's Baking Bible is a solid resource for new and long time bakers alike, while knowledgeable bakers might want to check it out from the library and newcomers might want to add it to their home library. 

Early Book Review: Half the Sugar, All the Love: 100 Easy, Low-Sugar Recipes for Every Meal of the Day by Jennifer Tyler Lee; Anisha Patel

Half the Sugar, All the Love: 100 Easy, Low-Sugar Recipes for Every Meal of the Day by Jennifer Tyler Lee and Anisha Patel is currently scheduled for release on December 24 2019. Today children routinely consume three times the recommended daily allowance of added sugar, which puts them at an unprecedented risk for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, excess weight, and even nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Half the Sugar, All the Love is here to help, with 100 doctor-approved recipes that cut the sugar (by half—or more!) without sacrificing the flavors our families love. It’s an eye-opening education, a program of healthy eating, and a cookbook chock-full of easy, delicious recipes all in one. 

Half the Sugar, All the Love is a well organized, easy to follow cookbook. The text explains the various types of sugar and the science of how our bodies deal with the sugar we eat. I think this is a great resource for people trying to make the change to eat less sugar, and I think it will serve parents starting healthy eating habits for the whole family well. For those of us more set in our ways, and more resistant to making huge changes all at once I think the information and recipes here can help us make small changes in our lives, and make us more aware of how we can make some flavorful choices that could help us be healthier. I am glad to say that some of the substitutions are things I already do, but the book inspired some other changes in my regular cooking. So, even if you have no plans to go full tilt toward limiting the added sugar in your current diet, this book could inspire you to taking smaller steps towards healthier eating. I was inspired by some of the information and recipes to try some new things and mix things up a little.For readers like vme I would suggest borrowing from the library, however for readers that are invested in lowering the added sugar in their diet I fully support adding this book to your home library. 

Half the Sugar, All the Love is a great resource for readers new to cooking, or well established in their own home kitchen, that want to lower the amount of added sugar in their family's diet. 

Book Review: The Easy 30-Minute Cookbook: 100 Fast and Healthy Recipes for Busy People by Taylor Ellingson


The Easy 30-Minute Cookbook: 100 Fast and Healthy Recipes for Busy People by Taylor Ellingson is a collection of recipes that are budget-friendly, health-conscious, and super tasty—and all of them can be made in half an hour or less. No need to be an experienced home chef. This cookbook can show you how to make good, fresh food at any skill level and help you make your kitchen as convenient as possible, with guides to the best equipment and ingredients to keep on hand. Some of the included recipes are: Mixed Berry Pancake Muffins, Pesto Turkey Burgers, Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad, and One-Skillet Cashew Chicken. This cookbook includes recipes tagged with icons for No Cook, One Pot, 5-Ingredient, or Superfast (10-minute) meals.

The Easy 30-Minute Cookbook is a book geared towards helping people eat healthier, faster. I like that the book starts with the basics, the information and tricks that new cooks might need to make informed decisions and speed up their cooking time. I found all of it to be common sense, and things I had been doing for years, but those just striking out on their own or just moving past pasta and the basics. The recipes are easy to follow with, with clear instructions and good tips and tricks for substitutions and shortcuts when applicable. I like that while the recipes aim for healthy and using fresh ingredients when possible, there is still some fat and richness with lower fat suggestions rather than ignoring the fact that we can all treat ourselves to an alfredo sauce if the mood strikes. Some of the recipes looked fantastic, and gave me ideas of things I might try to mix things up in my own cooking. However, not much struck me as terribly new or original- perhaps because I spend way too much time watching the Food and Cooking channels. I do think that this might be a valuable book for those just starting to have an interest in cooking more, or cutting back on take out for whatever reason. 

The Easy 30-Minute Cookbook is a well organized and accessible cookbook. I think it would be the most valuable to those just starting to cook on their own.

Book Review: Starter Sourdough: The Step-by-Step Guide to Sourdough Starters, Baking Loaves, Baguettes, Pancakes, and More by Carroll Pellegrinelli

Starter Sourdough: The Step-by-Step Guide to Sourdough Starters, Baking Loaves, Baguettes, Pancakes, and More by Carroll Pellegrinelli is a cookbook to get readers started to more creative bread. For perfect sourdough bread, you need a healthy and happy starter—that yeasty concoction that gives sourdough its tangy, delicious flavor. Starter Sourdough helps you get the tricky starter process down pat, so you can have mouthwatering loaves, rolls, baguettes—and even cakes and cookies! This guide simplifies the process of making your own starter so it’s accessible to anyone, no matter your skill level. Keep your tasty new creation alive and thriving with the help of clear instructions accompanied by beautiful photographs. Then try your hand at baking Perfect Italian Sourdough, Sourdough Marble Rye Bread, Double Piecrust, Sourdough Pretzels, Sourdough Cinnamon-Sugar Doughnuts, and more.

As someone that had a cinnamon 'friendship' bread starter ruling her kitchen for years I initial dreaded the idea of another starter in my house. As much as everyone loved that bread, there just was not enough variety and I could just not stand to eat anymore of it.  Starter Sourdough is the book that broke me of my fear of starters, and got me cultivating a new batch because of the versatility of this stuff. The fact that I can freeze it for later use, or even dry it, means that I am less likely to become overwhelmed with the amount of dough in the house, and makes my prep work for my big holiday baking sprees so much easier. 

I found the instructions and explanations to be very easy to follow and well organized. I like that there was so much room for customization- such as changing types of flour for flavor or diet restrictions. I cannot wait to try out the Roasted Garlic Sourdough and the Honey Oatmeal Bread,  as well as the more traditional loafs. However, I am very excited to give the sweeter recipes a go once my starter it ready, like the chocolate chip cookies, cheese and garlic and cheese bialys, and pretzels.   

Starter Sourdough is a book I would recommend adding to your kitchen library for anyone interested in working with a sourdough starter. I see much weekend baking in my future.

Book Review: Cocktails Made Simple: Easy & Delicious Recipes for the Home Bartender by Brian Weber, Amin Benny

Cocktails Made Simple: Easy & Delicious Recipes for the Home Bartender by Brian Weber and Amin Benny is a recipe book to help readers craft forty iconic cocktails in the comforts of their own home. From finding the right glass to a flaming peel finish, learn how to build a functional home bar using cost-effective tips on the essential tools to mix with—and familiar alternatives to make the most of what is on hand. The book includes information on the art of crafting cocktails with terms to know and tools of the trade., how to stock your home bar and enhance everyday ingredients using simple techniques, and traditional cocktails categorized by spirit complete with a brief history of each drink and tasty twists.
Cocktails Made Simple is a great book for helping readers learn how to make the best drinks possible at home. I like that while the proper tools are listed, and explained- substitutions are suggested so that those of us that rarely need a tool can still make some of the more complicated drinks without going out and buying more equipment. I also liked the detailed information on all the possible ingredients, included recommending brands. As someone that is not a big drinker (preferring one quality drink I know I like rather than trying something in question) there are some things I have never tried, or at least variations I have not tried, so knowing some information on the drinks before diving in was very helpful.  Similar, seeing the drink ingredients and percentages made it easier to decide on which I might enjoy most, and be most eager to try. I found the instructions and related information to be very accessible. I liked the illustrations that detail the creation of each drink as well. It felt very easy to follow, and the tone was encouraging. My husband and I tend to stick with the same comfortable drinks, but now I think I might add a few new things to my repertoire. There is a trip to the store and some tasty cocktails in my near future. 

Cocktails Made Simple is a well organized and accessible guide for readers that want to expand their knowledge of cocktails for themselves, or to entertain and wow their friends. 

Early Book Review: Fresh Flavors for the Slow Cooker: Reinvent the Slow-Cooked Meal; 77 Mouthwatering Recipes by Nicki Sizemore

Fresh Flavors for the Slow Cooker: Reinvent the Slow-Cooked Meal; 77 Mouthwatering Recipes by Nicki Sizemore is currently scheduled for release on October 15 2019. This book is filled with slow-simmered main dishes, plus 35 recipes for sauces and sides, that replace canned ingredients with fresh vegetables, boost flavor with aromatic herbs and spices, and feature a tantalizing array of global tastes in dishes that span the menu. Overnight Pumpkin-Brown Rice Pudding with crunchy pecans is a wholesome, hands-off breakfast treat, Thai Curried Chicken with Rice Noodles gets a spicy kick from curry broth, and Shredded Mole Beef Tacos are accented with the sweet heat of Quick Pickled Jalapeños. Whether you’re feeding a family or entertaining a crowd, each recipe highlights prep work that can be knocked out days in advance, making serving meals worthy of every occasion easy and delicious.

Fresh Flavors for the Slow Cooker has a good variety of dishes, and taught me a few tricks for using my crock pot- even as I need to retire my old one due to seal failure after a solid ten years of use- and get a new one. While there are some recipes I do not see myself trying (only because if it only needs to be in there for an hour I do not see the point of using it) there are plenty they I fully expect to be trying in the coming months. I have one adult picky eater and one kid of a similar mindset, so it is easy to fall into a rut of eating the same meals all the time, because I know what everyone will actually eat. However, the rest of us get tired of the repeats, and I am looking forward to trying some of these recipes out to see what I can add to the rotation and to test out some of the ideas reading these recipes have given me. I really liked the basic information at the beginning of the book- laying out what type of slow cooker might be right for you, and why some of the preparations can or cannot be done in advance. In my need to replace my trusty crock pot I found the information to be helpful. 

Fresh Flavors for the Slow Cooker is a wonderful resource for tips and tricks in crock pot use, new recipes, and inspiration for further experimentation. I fully expect to be consulting this book many times in the future when planning family meals.

Early Book Review: Milk Soaps: 35 Skin-Nourishing Recipes for Making Milk-Enriched Soaps, from Goat to Almond by Anne-Marie Faiola

Milk Soaps: 35 Skin-Nourishing Recipes for Making Milk-Enriched Soaps, from Goat to Almond is a creative guide by Anne-Marie Faiola, which is currently scheduled for release on April 30 2019. Handmade soap can be extra-special with the inclusion of milk! Soaps enriched with milk can be creamier than those made with water, and milk's natural oils provide skin-renewing moisture and nourishment. In Milk Soaps, expert soapmaker Anne-Marie Faiola demystifies the process with step-by-step techniques and 35 recipes for making soaps that are both beautiful and useful. She explains the keys to success in using a wide range of milk types, including cow, goat, and even camel milk, along with nut and grain milks such as almond, coconut, hemp, rice, and more. Photographs show soapmakers of all levels how to achieve a variety of distinctive color and shape effects, including funnels, swirls, layers, and insets. For beginners and experts alike, this focused guide to making milk-enriched soaps offers an opportunity to expand their soapmaking skills in new and exciting ways. 

Milk Soaps is a well written and organized book for those that want to learn more about, and hopefully master, the art of making soap. I have dabbled before, and this book would be a wonderful resource for those looking to make a wide variety of milk based soaps, and to get more information and inspiration to help them become more comfortable and skilled in the process. I have to admit that I have not tried any of the recipes, because they are all cold process soap recipes, and the idea of working with lye water and the chemical processes involved honestly scares me- not just because I am a klutz, but also because of how interested my felines get with anything I am doing. However, having tried other styles of soapmaking I could easily understand and follow the recipes. I was inspired to try a few new things and learn a great deal about the techniques of cold process soap making. I found the information in the endpages to also be helpful, with common problems addressed and some resources that will come in handy to anyone looking to make soap.

Milk Soaps will be a valuable resource and inspiration for those looking to learn more about or master the process of making cold process soaps with milk as an ingredient. The recipes are well done, and leave room for further customization with offering insights and inspiration.

Book Review: 5-Ingredient One Pot Cookbook: Easy Dinners from Your Skillet, Dutch Oven, Sheet Pan & More by Linda Kurniadi

5-Ingredient One Pot Cookbook: Easy Dinners from Your Skillet, Dutch Oven, Sheet Pan & More by Linda Kurniadi offers readers a selection of one pot meals to help make meal planning and cooking easier, more enjoyable, and healthy. From waking up with a Tex-Mex Omelette to winding down your day with Chicken Cordon Bleu or a Ravioli and Spinach Bake for dinner, this cookbook offers low-effort, delicious dishes that need only one pot and 5 main ingredients to make. With most recipes requiring only 30 minutes or less to prepare, cook, and serve—and others that only take 20 minutes or less— the 5-Ingredient One Pot Cookbook gets you in and out of the kitchen in no time at all. The book also includes shopping and storage tips, along with an overview of cooking techniques for every piece of cookware. It is organized by cooking vessel and features skillet, saucepan, Dutch oven, sheet pan, baking dish, roasting pan, and no-cook bowl recipes.

5-Ingredient One Pot Cookbook was a well organized and useful resource. I like the way the book is organized, the information given on the different cookware, and how tips to adapt recipes to change ingredients or cooking tools can be done. Since I changed jobs this past summer, I have become more intent on meal planning and keeping the dishes simple, since my husband has had to take over the actual cooking part. I get the groceries, some of the prep work, and gather everything together for cooking ease. This also means a slow cooker meal about once a week. The recipes in the book help me get new recipes together, while not making my husband feel like a short order cook or under pressure to put together something complicated- while still mixing things up a little and making food the whole family will eat. It is hard to meet all those requirements in a single meal, but some of these recipes will fit the bill, or inspired me. The instructions and information is easy to understand and put into practice. I learned some great tips that I had never heard before, and am looking forward to trying out some new dishes.

Early Book Review: Double Awesome Chinese Food: Irresistible and Totally Achievable Recipes from Our Chinese-American Kitchen by Margaret Li; Irene Li; Andrew Li

Double Awesome Chinese Food: Irresistible and Totally Achievable Recipes from Our Chinese-American Kitchen by Margaret Li, Irene Li, and Andrew Li is currently schedule for release on February 9 2019. This book is from  three fun-loving, food-loving Chinese-American siblings--Margaret, Andrew, and Irene Li, the siblings behind Boston's acclaimed Mei Mei Restaurant and Street Kitchen--directly to your kitchen table. Their recipes take familiar dishes and add classic Chinese techniques, a fresh seasonal twist to beloved Chinese restaurant dishes, and layer of Asian ingredients into everyday family meals. Celebrate local veggies with a quick weeknight meal of Farmers Market Fried Rice or Summer Noodle Salad with Ginger Garlic Dressing. Invite all your friends over for an action-packed dumpling-making party featuring Sweet Potato, Feta, and Brown Butter Dumplings and the famous Double Awesome scallion pancake sandwich. Or go low-key and let the Five-Spice Pork Shoulder roast in your oven all day, transforming into a glorious meal for the whole family. The book offers a glimpse behind the scenes of a modern restaurant family, including start-up stories alongside go-to sauces to amp up any meal, and even vegetable-centric desserts. Packed with pro cooking tips, sustainable sourcing advice, and over 100 delicious recipes, Double Awesome Chinese Food will bring fascinating new flavors and crave-worthy dishes to your home kitchen.

Double Awesome Chinese Food starts with an introduction to the siblings that work, cook, and write together. I enjoyed reading about their family, philosophies, and how they got where they are. I also enjoy that they work so hard to be good to the environment and local food system, using local and sustainable ingredients. Including the use of quality and sustainable ingredients in their instructions to readers continues that trend. More experienced cooks might be tempted to skip the tips and tricks that are offered in the beginning of the book, but I highly recommend slowing down to read them. Some might seem obvious, like having a good knife and cutting board, but some others were so smart and simple I could not believe I was not already doing them. I found the information on finding the best ingredients useful as well, since have not been staples in my home and I want to make good choices when adding new things to the mix.

Now the important part, the recipes. I like that each section includes the story behind the dishes, and some options for changing things up a bit, as well as how to create the dish or sauce. The ingredient lists and instructions are easy to understand and leave readers hungry and willing to give it a try themselves. I have to admit to wanting to both run to the grocery store and get going in the kitchen as soon as I read each chapter, but had to hold myself back since I have to ease the picky eaters in my house into new flavors and trying new things.  I do plan on spending my next free day mixing up some of the basic sauces, and trying out a few recipes. There are some dumplings, fritters, and noodle based dishes that are the most likely (hopefully) to go over well with my family that I plan on trying. There are some great recipes that will just be for me, that I will gladly take to work with me and enjoy. I also liked the additional resources at the end of the book to help readers find what they need to achieve the best results. Readers that are looking to expand their cooking knowledge and skill set to include Chinese-n American cuisine will find what they are looking for here. 

Double Awesome Chinese Food is a well written and enjoyable cookbook to explore. I love Chinese-American food but have often felt too intimidated to give it a go. Even though I am no longer the primary cook in the house thanks to my work schedule, I fully plan on trying out a recipe (or two) for my next day off or inspired weekend of cooking.

Book Review: Drink Me: Curious Cocktails from Wonderland by Nick Perry, Paul Rosser

Drink Me: Curious Cocktails from Wonderland by Nick Perry and Paul Rosser offers readers a selection of twenty cocktails inspired by Alice in Wonderland as well as some cocktail bars that you might want to visit. Every page of this beautifully designed book includes charming illustrations for the completed madcap drinks .Drink Me! also includes definitive list of the "most curious cocktail bars" you need to visit, and the best ingredients to use with each recipe. 
Drink Me: Curious Cocktails from Wonderland starts off with a helpful guide to spirits, including how they are made and their variety of flavors. Tools and terminology is also explained, which will make cocktail making for novices like myself have an easier time successfully creating tasty cocktails. I am not a big drinker, and rarely experiment, but the combination of literature, whimsy, and alcohol made me want to try out this book. I like that everything is laid out and explained, so I have no surprises once I get started making the recipes. Not all of the recipes help appeal to me, in fact the idea of an "Off With Her Head" made me cringe because of the flavors it was described as having, but very next recipe (The Golden Afternoon) sounded very tasty. Like any recipe book, some results might take some practice and others are hits right off the bat. The batch recipes were the most interesting to me, since simple syrups and liqueurs can be used in a wide variety of recipes. I think this is a great way for novices to explore drink making, and those already experienced to expand their repertoire. An ideal book for those planning a themed dinner or cocktail party, or that simply want to learn to make these drinks and those like them.

Book Review: Dig In: 12 Easy Gardening Projects Using Kitchen Scraps by Kari Cornell, Jennifer S. Larson

Dig In: 12 Easy Gardening Projects Using Kitchen Scraps by Kari Cornell, with photography by Jennifer S. Larson, is an instruction book helping gardeners of all ages grow their own fruits and vegetables from nothing but kitchen scraps. Instead of throwing away leftover food in your kitchen, you can use them to grow more. Learn how to turn a single sweet potato into a pot full of them. Grow a salad from the end bit of lettuce and a lemon tree from a single seed. Several of these projects require nothing more than a jar, a windowsill, and a few pieces of food that would otherwise end up in the trash or compost. Step-by-step drawings and photographs make it easy to follow along, and fun recipes will help you enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Dig In: 12 Easy Gardening Projects Using Kitchen Scraps is not just for families looking to be more environmentally friendly or frugal. This book is also great for school or classroom use, and after school activities. Information like soil pH and other things important to the growth and health of plants is included- as are growing zones and the tools and supplies needed. The instructions for growing food include romaine lettuce, celery, leeks, lemongrass, herbs, pineapple, garlic, ginger, sweet potatoes, bell pumpkins, peppers, and lemons. I like that there were recipes to use the freshly grown food, and a full glossary or the words readers might not already know. I found the resources listed at the end of the book to be helpful for interested readers, and information for finding gardening supplies to be a great starting point for children, schools, and families that are getting ready to try some of these projects. I do wish that there were more experiments available, because my only issue with the book was that I wanted a slightly larger selection of food to grow and care for. 

Book Review: The Brew Your Own Big Book of Clone Recipes: Featuring 300 Homebrew Recipes From Your Favorite Breweries from the editors of Brew Your Own

The Brew Your Own Big Book of Clone Recipes: Featuring 300 Homebrew Recipes From Your Favorite Breweries from the editors of Brew Your Own Magazine offers readers 300 of BYO’s best clone recipes for recreating favorite commercial beers together in one book. Inside you'll find dozens of IPAs, stouts, and lagers, easily searchable by style. The collection includes both classics and newer recipes from top award-winning American craft breweries including Brooklyn Brewery, Deschutes, Firestone Walker, Hill Farmstead, Jolly Pumpkin, Modern Times, Maine Beer Company, Stone Brewing Co., Surly, Three Floyds, Tröegs, and many more.  Classic clone recipes from across Europe are also included. Whether you're looking to brew an exact replica of one of your favorites or get some inspiration from the greats, this book is your new brewday planner.
The Brew Your Own Big Book of Clone Recipes is well organized and offers readers well written recipes and suggestions for how to make the results even closer to their personal tastes. The recipes are divided into chapters on beer style (i.e. pale ale, British-style, pilsners, winter beers, and so on). The step by step instructions are clear and easy to follow for anyone that has the basics of home brewing down, but might be a little harder for those just starting in the process. The information offered might be able to be gathered by going through past issues of the magazine and searching online, but having all the recipes and information in one book with plenty of pictures and additional information that can help a home brewer hone their craft is very useful. I think any home brewer could benefit from owning, or at least reading, this book and it just might be the perfect gift for serious or emerging ho,me brewers looking to expand their knowledge.

Book Review: Make Your Own Ice Cream: Classic Recipes for Ice Cream, Sorbet, Italian Ice, Sherbet, and Other Frozen Desserts by Sarah Tyson Rorer

Make Your Own Ice Cream: Classic Recipes for Ice Cream, Sorbet, Italian Ice, Sherbet, and Other Frozen Desserts by Sarah Tyson Rorer is a reprint of a vintage book. The author passed away in 1937, so this book makes no mention of electric ice cream makers or microwaves, but was slightly updated for more modern kitchens. This book offers recipes for dozens of different types of ice cream and sherbet, the recipes cover frozen puddings, soufflés, parfaits, and mousses as well as tasty toppings. Numerous dairy-free options include sorbets, Italian ices, and fruit ices. It uses easy-to-find ingredients, which include a variety of fruits and nuts to the traditional flavors of chocolate and vanilla. Brief explanations identify the differences between ices, sorbet, and sherbet and offers the general instructions. 
Make Your Own Ice Cream: Classic Recipes for Ice Cream, Sorbet, Italian Ice, Sherbet, and Other Frozen Desserts is a good and varied collection of recipes for frozen treats. I have to admit that I was confused by some of the wording in the instructions, but that was solved when I realized that those instructions were for use with an old fashioned crank ice cream maker, which I am currently lacking. I did like there there is such a wide variety of flavors, and that they are all based on using the best, fresh ingredients. I might test out a few of these recipes this summer with the kids, but I will admit to being a little lazy and find that I enjoy the instant gratification of buying a half gallon of ice cream and having some to often being preferable to cooking and freezing some of these recipes no mater how tempting they sound.