Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Current Craving Reading List

The Current Craving Reading List
I feel uncomfortable if I do not have a book to read. Luckily some special people know this well and gave me quite a few books ov
er the holidays. Here are a just a few that are worth noting.

Williams-Sonoma’s Dinner Parties
Chuck Williams
Free Press



A helpful guide if you are trying to formally entertain the in-laws, impress the boss, or romance a loved one. Everything from making menus to how much wine to pour in a glass, I found this book informative for those who want finesse their entertaining skills.

As far as the food goes, I found the recipes slightly trite. I did find some recipes that are worth trying, but I believe this book is more of a posh, retail entertaining guide to answer all those how-to questions while advertising the Williams-Sonoma brand.

Some finds:
Strawberry Rhubarb Galette
Fried Artichokes with Aioli

Lemon Custards with Lemon Verbena Cream


The Produce Bible

Leanne Kitchen
Murdoch Books 2006


The word “Bible”has been a popular trend in cookbooks these days. I think I may be taking this word too seriously, but I find using the word Bible for cookbooks is a very ambitious statement claiming that this is “the guide” for everything.

The Produce Bible
takes a great attempt at proving this statement when it comes to produce. I say that because I could not find star fruit
and olives so I sense she missed a few others. I was initially overwhelmed by the abundance of information the book provides for everything from fruits to herbs. I find the book to be easily read by providing the harvesting seasons, unusual facts, storage information, culinary uses, and featured recipes for each kind of produce. I had a list of foods I wanted to share, but the list completely changed as I went through this book:

Kumquat - These little ones are not really citrus fruits until their center or genus has 8-15 segments inside it. On my list: Caramelized
Kumquats with Honey Parfait.

Blackberries - In British Folklore, if one does not want the Devil to blame them for their evil actions he or she has to eat these berries be
fore September 29th. On my list: Venison with Blackberry Sauce.

Strawberries - A symbol of Venus for its heart shape and can also cause allergic reactions to young babies. On my list: Strawberry Curd.


Hazelnuts - Historically known as a cure for the common cold and hair loss. The branches have also been used as a fertility rite. On my list: Chocolate Hazelnut Semifreddo.

Avocado - An aphrodisiac with its Aztec name meaning “testicle”. On the list: Avocado Salsa.


Cilantro - Dates back to 5,000 BC. On the list: Lamb Tagine with Quince. Overall, this book is truly an educational read if you want to know more about what is at your farmers market, grocery store, or corner deli.

Eat Shop Guide: Boston and Chicago
Kaie Wellman

Cabazon Books 2009



Want to get to know a city a little more locally? The Eat Shop Guide showcases locally owned restaurants and shops to both travelers and residents alike for go-to destinations. It includes concise city information, easy to read maps that thankfully do not pull out, and local hotel recommendations. Each listing provides general information, date of opening, pictures of products and decor, a small description, and a sample list of must-haves. Here are some restaurant listings I hope to try.

Boston

East Coast Grill: The combination of BBQ and a raw bar makes me determined to go as I have been raised on both.


Sofra: Middle Eastern Bakery. The Rhubarb and Mint Sharbat looked pretty appealing.

Ten Tables: Just cause.



Chicago

I found one restaurant practically on every tenth page so here are just a few.

Cipollina: Nutella and banana on ciabatta bread, 4 cheese panino, and marinated artichokes. Enough said.


Great American Cheese Collection: Just cause again.


Old Oak Tap: Beer and handmade pretzels always appeal to me for some strange reason.


The Bluebird: Chocolate dipped figs.


Every time I move to a new location, the first thing I really want to do other than unpack is walk around the neighborhood for restaurants and pick almost every to-go menu I can find. Just ask my sister. It is my personal first indicator of the surroundings. What I like about this guide is that it highlights some of the originally new and yet locally owned places that give you an idea of what the area is like today before you go or as you are there. In any case, they just might help me make my next move.

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