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Vibrant India

Wow!  The title of this book states it all.  This really is a vibrant book; if these recipes taste as good as they look, then everyone is in for a treat.  This book is an unusual one for me...I'm not a vegetarian and  while I like Indian food, I don't eat it often.  So, when I found this book on my doorstep, I settled down with a Perrier and began perusing.  I was really surprised, pleasantly surprised, that there are so many recipes that I am excited to make and sink my teeth in.....Lemon Peanut Rice, Green Chile and Herbed Cheddar Shortbread, Spicy and sour Tomato Lentil Soup, and Cardamon Oatmeal Cookies with Dark Chocolate and Golden Raisins.  YUM


Road Food

Where has this book been?  Why am I just discovering it now that it is in its 10th edition?  The Stern's have performed a wonderful service to everyone with this book!  No more fast food restaurants....the Golden Arches....bye bye!
MB and I recently took the back roads from our home in Charlotte, NC to Edisto Beach, SC for the weekend (a lovely place).  Friday night's dinner was from a Mexican fast food place; ten minutes later, we both felt as if we had eaten gut bombs (not a good thing).  This pas weekend, I cross-referenced our trek with Road Food and realized that we could have eaten at so many local spots, where the food was home-made and made with care.  This week I am driving to Williamsburg, VA for an art exhibit. Road Food will allow me to find the hidden gems along the way).  This book is a must have for anyone that travels by car and is tired of the fast food that one always seems to fall into.  Road Food is a little gem that is going to have a permanent place in my car!!


Amaro by Brad Thomas Parsons

Brad Parson's book on all things Amaro is a comprehensive journal that imparts Brad's knowledge to the reader. I, for one, knew very little about this class of bitters.  Learning the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) differences in the vast number of Amaro is significant - and Brad introduces the reader straight away to 'demystifying amaro'.  Next up, Brad walks the reader through various types of bitters, including the ingredients and the flavor notes.  I believe this is extremely helpful as one begins their journey into bitters.  Personally, I'm not a big fan of licorice so I now know which bitters to not gravitate towards.

This book also includeas a multitude of cocktail recipes, some classics and a number of modern recipes since the practice of using bitters is on the rise.  Towards the back of the book, Brad provides recipes for making bitters at home (which I cannot wait to try).

One thing that surprised me is that Jagermeister is considered an Amaro. 


Classic German Baking by Luisa Weiss

I have followed Luisa's blog, The Wednesday Chef, for some time.  I started following Luisa's blog during a very slow time in the dead of winter when I didn't want to be outside.  She drew me in.  I continue even now to follow her, some couple of years later. She brings an intimacy to her writings that allows you, as the reader, to believe that you are sitting with Luisa in a quaint coffee shop, sipping a nice hot cup of chocolate on a winter's day.  She brings this intimacy to her new cookbook, Classic German Baking.

The cover of the book is darling; I love the silver foiled bundt pan (and it doesn't hurt that bundt cakes are some of my absolute favorites....).  In my opinion, anyone that enjoys baking will enjoy this book.  My read of the recipes are that they are probably already some of your family's favorites; this book will provide a little spin on your current well-worn recipe.  I look forward to that. And, what I'm really looking forward to?  Is making the Christbolt.  I love Stollen; I really do.  And, it is one of the reasons that I look forward to the holidays but I've never made it - only have I bought it and devoured it.  Now, I can make a Stollen-like cake that mustn't rest for two weeks after being baked before it can be eaten.  I can eat it straight-away!
I'm also looking forward to the butter cookies, the Linzertortes, Zitronenbiskuitrolle (say that five times fast.....heck, say it two times fast!!!), and the Kinerken (Cardamom Snap Cookies).  My mom and I began a Christmas tradition a couple of years ago where we make many types of cookies and candies and wrap them up for neighbors.  I foresee many of Luisa's recipes making their way into the Christmas tins!


The London Cookbook

I have always thought of English food as being dingy gray if you didn’t happen to be eating fish-and-chips….which is beige. So yes, I thought of English food as dull.  You can then imagine how nice it was to find that London is going through a food revolution!!  Perhaps, this revolution has taken place quietly and over some time; but just now, a wonderful new book ‘The London Cookbook’ will be published on October 11. I can only imagine how it will be drawing attention and acclaim (and an increase in the number of flights) to London.

Aleksandra Crapanzano’s (whew, say that five times fast!!!), new book ‘The London Cookbook’ provides a series of recipes from the hottest and best “restaurants, cafes, and hole-in-the-wall gems” in London.  I must say, whether or not one has been to London, one will have heard of these places….The River Café, Ottolenghi, St. John, Duck and Waffle, Ivy, Tramshed, and Spring.

Aleksandra’s writing brings the reader into the restaurants as if they are a little fly on wall.  The reader gets the sense, or the feel of the place, of the care of the chef, and of the excitement in the food movement.   The stories or tidbit snippets prior to each recipe increases the interest of the recipe.  Most of these recipes, in my opinion, need no help in piquing my interest.  Mung and Haricots Verts (with a medley of spices), Roasted Corn and Chorizo Chowder, Risotto All’amarone della Valpolicella with Spiced Pumpkin, Pappardelle al Fegatini di Pollo e Salvia, Polenta with Chestmuts, Ricotta, Squash, and Fried Sage, and Chocolate Marmalade Pudding…to name just a few. Oooohhhh, and the recipe for the famous Chocolate Nemesis from the River Café is included in the dessert chapter – first recipe, front and center.

Two things came out of me holding this book:  1) I cannot wait to slowly absorb this book and cook from it and become it's friend, and…….2) I have set my sights on London so that I can eat my way through this book at the very restaurants that have shared their recipes.

There is something in this book for everyone.  French, Indian, Italian, American South, Spanish

Bravo, Aleksandra.  Bravo