On The Shelf: Cookbooks to entice your appetite

Published 8:00 am Sunday, July 30, 2023

This column was submitted by Evangeline Cessna, Local History Librarian at the Warren County-Vicksburg Public Library.

This week I thought I would feature some of the yummy new cookbooks that we have received lately. These may be found in our New Adult Nonfiction collection.

First, we have Ina Garten’s latest titled “Cooking for Jeffrey”. Ina Garten married her husband, Jeffrey 48 years ago and has been lovingly cooking for him ever since. This book is filled with recipes that Jeffrey and their friends request most often. It also contains lovely stories from the couple’s long marriage. Perhaps you prefer traditional dishes like Brisket with Onions and Leeks or Tsimmes—a vegetable stew with carrots, butternut squash, sweet potatoes and prunes. Or maybe you would like new favorite dishes such as Skillet-Roasted Lemon Chicken or Roasted Salmon Tacos. There are also recipes for new salads like Maple-Roasted Carrot Salad and Kale Salad with Pancetta and Pecorino. The desserts included here range from simple recipes like Apple Pie Bars to more fancy dishes like Vanilla Rum Panna Cotta with Salted Caramel. You’ll find everything from simple, satisfying lunches to elegant dinners, all of which Ina has tested over and over again with her family and friends.

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Alex Snodgrass has a new Whole 30-approved cookbook called “The Defined Dish.” Alex includes recipes from the blog of the same name (TheDefinedDish.com) that are gluten-free, dairy-free and grain-free and are tasty, healthy alternatives. Recipes include Chipotle Chicken Tostadas with Pineapple Salsa and Black Pepper Chicken which are easy to prepare and great for busy workdays. Included are variations, too, such as using lettuce wraps instead of taco shells so that these recipes will work for almost any diet. Each recipe is also clearly marked if it is Whole30 compliant, paleo, gluten-free and more. At least 60 of these recipes are fully compliant with Whole30, so you can stick to the plan for longer than 30 days if you wish.

“Cook Smart, Eat Well” is written by the Mayo Clinic’s Executive Chef Jennifer A. Welper. You will learn Jennifer’s expert tips, strategies and more than 100 recipes to make healthy cooking at home quicker and more flavorful. She also advises readers to go beyond the idea of quick and easy recipes to build smarter, time-saving habits in the kitchen. These more than 100 original recipes offer something for every meal, including salads and soups, filling breakfasts, hearty comfort foods, kid-friendly meals and yummy desserts. Recipes include Broccoli and Smoked Gouda Frittata, Savory Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Blackened Fish Tacos, Black Bean Burgers, Cranberry Apple Crisp and many more. She also includes a week’s worth of vegetarian-friendly dishes that are completely meat-free. Along with each recipe are notes that give ideas for variations and substitutions, as well as tips for maximizing flavors to make your homemade meals taste gourmet. You’ll also get the author’s tips for investing in essential basic equipment, finding quality ingredients, mastering prep methods and familiarizing yourself with a variety of spices and sauces. Finally, she gives advice on incorporating meal planning into your routine so you can streamline your shopping and cooking while allowing for flexibility and variety.

“Watermelon and Red Birds” by Nicole A. Taylor is the very first cookbook to celebrate Juneteenth. On June 19, 1865, more than two years after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston and issued General Order Number 3, informing the people of Texas that all enslaved people were now free. The following year in 1866, Black Texans congregated with music, dance and barbecues — the first Juneteenth celebrations. All-day cookouts with salads, dessert tables and toasting glasses of “red drink” are all essential parts of Juneteenth gatherings. This book contains over 75 recipes, including drinks like Afro Egg Cream and Marigold Gin Sour. Dishes include Beef Ribs with Fermented Harissa Sauce, Peach Jam and Molasses Glazed Chicken Thighs, Southern-ish Potato Salad, Cantaloupe and Feta Salad and desserts such as Roasted Nectarine Sundae and Radish and Ginger Pound Cake.

Lara Lee’s new cookbook, “A Splash of Soy” contains 80 recipes inspired by the simplicity and usefulness of soy. These recipes bridge the gap between classic Asian dishes and quick-prep family meals. Not only will you find recipes that only require a little chopping and a boiled kettle, but also 15-, 30- and 45-minute meals for weeknight dinners or easy dinner parties. There are creative brunch ideas like a Tom Yum Bloody Mary, zesty side dishes like Sambal Patatas Bravas, simple noodles like Cheesy Kimchi Linguine with Gochujang Butter, as well as dishes like punchy curries, stir-fries and rice recipes, glazed meats and delicious veggies. Also included in this book are pantry swaps and vegan substitutes that will help you adapt these recipes for your own busy kitchen.

Finally, we have a book I, personally have been waiting for; “Baking Yesteryear” by popular YouTube and Tik Tok creator B. Dylan Hollis. This cookbook contains “a decade-by-decade collection of wild, wacky and wonderful recipes from the 20th century.” If you follow Dylan on social media, then you know he has zanily baked his way through many a vintage recipe. He has baked hundred of recipes from numerous antique cookbooks and has collected the best of those here. He highlights some of the most unusual and delicious treats like Chocolate Potato Cake from the 1910s and Wacky Cake from the 1930s to Avocado Pie from the 1960s and Potato Chip Cookies from the 1970s. Dylan even includes some of the most hilariously disastrous recipes from his social media pages for you to try — if you dare. With a larger-than-life personality and wit along with a plethora of puns, he has curated more than a hundred recipes that will send you on a tasty journey through the past century. Candle Salad anyone?