Kristen Kish Cooking: Recipes and Techniques

From one of the most exciting young chefs in America today, a cookbook with more than 80 recipes that celebrate impeccable technique and bridge her Korean heritage, Michigan upbringing, Boston cooking years, and more.

Kish won legions of fans, first by helming two of Barbara Lynch’s esteemed Boston restaurants, and then by battling her way back from elimination to win season ten of Top Chef. Her path from Korean orphan to American adoptee, sometime model to distinguished chef, shines a light on her determination and love of food. Her recipes are surprising yet refined, taking the expected–an ingredient or a technique, for example–and using it in a new way to make dishes that are unique and irresistible. She sears avocado and pairs it with brined shrimp flavored with coriander and ginger. A broth laced with pancetta and parmesan is boosted with roasted mushrooms and farro for an earthy, soulful dish. Caramelized honey, which is sweet, smoky, and slightly bitter, is spiked with chiles and lemon and served with fried chicken thighs. The results are delicious, inspiring, and definitely worth trying at home.  – Goodreads

I’m torn on this one. I love cookbooks, and I love experimenting with new recipes and expanding my skillset. I’m not an expert in the kitchen, but I like to think I’m a little more than a beginner.

I was unfamiliar with Kristen Kish prior to receiving this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. I don’t watch Top Chef, and I’m not up to date on the contestants. However, a close friend came over and saw this on my coffee table and became very excited. So — if you know who Kristen is, you might appreciate it more than me 🙂

The recipes in this book are ballsy and modern. There were some simpler recipes I will be trying, such as Braised Baby Potatoes. However, much of the book featured odd ingredients and things that simply aren’t available to me. I probably won’t be making Bay Scallop Crudo or squab in little ol’ Boise, Idaho (I also raised pigeons and can’t stomach baking an entire baby pigeon for dinner).

The book is beautiful. It’s thick, the pages are fantastic, and the photography is gorgeous. The instructions and ingredients are laid out very well.

Personally, this was not my favorite book and I will rarely use it. I think the book will be a bigger hit for others, especially fans of Kristen and those who enjoy cooking more gourmet meals. I rated it a 3/5 on Goodreads.

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Gluten-Free for Good: Simple, Wholesome Recipes Made from Scratch by Samantha Seneviratne

27774473No meal should be defined by what’s not there.Gluten-Free for Good has 100 easy, healthful gluten-free recipes that are so delicious you’ll never miss the gluten.

Here are dishes you may have thought you’d never enjoy again—not without resorting to expensive packaged gluten-free foods that aren’t as delicious or healthful as the real thing. These quick-cooking meals are for any time of day, all made from scratch without hard-to-digest processed additives like xanthan or guar gum. – Goodreads

I am not Celiac, nor am I diagnosed with a gluten allergy or sensitivity. That being said, I do notice that I have a reaction when I eat gluten after a period of avoiding it. Does this mean I have a sensitivity? I don’t know. Does this mean I should eliminate it? I don’t know. Do I believe that gluten is the devil? No. I have been trying to make a more conscious effort of eliminating it from my diet, though, as the digestive issues and achy joints that I experience after consuming it are annoying and probably not normal as compared to how I feel when I eat other things.

So, long story short, I saw this on Blogging for Books and jumped at the opportunity to review it.

Upon first flip through, I noticed the bright photography, tons of recipes, and thickness of the pages. This book is constructed well, and I had a difficult time narrowing down what I wanted to make — everything looked so good!

One gripe: many of the recipes were things that wouldn’t have had gluten in them to begin with, such as chicken and potatoes or sweet potato spinach hash. The recipes that included gluten-subs made up for it, but it still seemed odd.

Recipes vary from simple/few ingredients to much more laborious endeavors.

For the record — the Miso Shrimp with Snap Peas was the bomb.com. This will be a permanent weeknight staple.

I rated this a 4/5 on Goodreads — many of the recipes didn’t seem very imaginative, but the photography was beautiful and I enjoyed the idea behind it—it’s not defined by what isn’t there. I received this through Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

L

Baking by the editors of Food52

A stunning collection of hassle-free recipes for baking cakes, cookies, tarts, puddings, muffins, bread, and more, from the editors behind the leading food website Food52.

This next book in the Food52 Works series features 60 baking recipes that won’t leave you with an entire kitchen covered in flour or every bowl–dirty–in the sink. Tempting, foolproof recipes like Brown Butter Cupcake Brownies, Peach Tart, and Black Pepper Popovers are approachable enough to turn to on weekday evenings (when there is little time or patience to fuss over buttercream or pie dough), don’t call for special equipment or obscure imported ingredients, and certainly aren’t run-of-the-mill. Exquisitely photographed and with ample variations and “baking confidence” tips, this is the new go-to collection for anyone who wants to incorporate something sweet into their every day. – Goodreads

First things first — if you haven’t checked out Food52’s website, you totally should. I’ve made several of their recipes before, so I was delighted to see their new Baking cookbook as an option for my next review on Blogging for Books (not as excited as my husband, though).

After flipping through the book and oohing-and-ahhing over the pages and pages of food porn, I finally decided to try one of the simplest recipes in the book (and one that made me very skeptical): cream cheese cookies. With only five super-simple ingredients, it shouldn’t be too hard to mess up, right? Right. And spoiler alert—they were amazing. It appears that most of the recipes in the book—magic espresso browniespeanut butter and jelly sandwich cookies, brown butter cupcake brownies—are available on their website. So, why buy the book? Because it highlights their easiest, best recipes in one spot.

cookies

Bad lighting, good cookies. I sprinkled some festive Halloween orange sugar on top. Mine are quite obviously the ones on the right.

Anyway, back to the cream cheese cookies. I was able to make the batter in the time it took the oven to preheat and I only dirtied a bowl, my mixer, a cookie scoop and the cookie sheet I baked them on. Easy to make, relatively easy clean up. There was no egg in the batter, so we licked the bowl clean. Even easier.

I used a cookie scoop, so I was able to get the 24 cookies out of it. I also used the cookie scoop to keep the batter licking husband at bay.

I tried a warm cookie and a cold cookie. Both were amazing.

I can’t wait to make more recipes from this book this holiday season—I flagged at least half of the recipes, so my recipients will be set. I rated this one a 5/5 and I can’t wait to see more collections from Food52.

L