Deborah Madison Shares From Her Own Cozy Kitchen


When searching for answers to life’s questions we like to defer to the masters, and Deborah Madison certainly falls into that category. She was cooking from an enlightened perspective long before it was fashionable or even acceptable in many circles. From the San Francisco Zen Center to Chez Panisse, Madison has taken every opportunity to engage in the deepest examination of vegetarian cuisine.  And now a lifetime of expertise has been condensed into her latest book, In My Kitchen, a collection of favorite vegetarian recipes she serves at home.

We must start by highlighting the mouthwatering Romanesco sauce inspired by a trip to Spain. This deep, complex, sunny blend is oh so satisfying. We added a big dollop to soup, but honestly we want to slather this winner on everything in the kitchen including the roasted cauliflower recipe she pairs it with in the book.

A crisp, sweet, spicy citrus and avocado salad with lime-cumin vinaigrette atop shredded greens is the definition of invigoration and the ideal accompaniment to heavier dishes of beans or animal protein. Deborah is not interested in pushing lifestyle choices down anyones throat and is thrilled that in this day and age one can choose to be vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian or omnivore on any night of the week it calls to them.

That is not to say that vegetarian and vegan dishes can’t be supremely satisfying.  Their hardiness is clearly demonstrated in her potato and chickpea stew with sautéed spinach. It’s a memorable bowl sure to warm the hearts of all who dive in.

Deborah’s rubarb-rasberry compote couldn’t be easier and the tangy, tart, mildly sweet flavor is a winner served with cookies, over ice cream or as a side dish, transforming any weeknight dinner into a special occasion. It is beyond scrumptious and all we had to do was throw a few easy ingredients together, 3 to be exact. We made a triple batch and enjoyed it for a full week before finally scraping the bowl clean.

Worried Deborah’s healthy style will deny you sweet treats? No need, her walnut nugget cookies pair surprisingly well with the rhubarb and raspberry compote.

While encouraging readers to nourish themselves in the fashion that best suits their mood, Deborah makes the process surprisingly easy and we greatly appreciate that. Those ready to dive into a healthy dose of mother natures best would be wise to pick up Deborah Madison’s, In My Kitchen and transform their cooking with instruction straight from the cozy kitchen of one of the shining stars of the culinary world. Bon Appetit.

 

The Perfect Blend Is Just That

Tess Masters, also known as The Blender Girl, always delivers an engaging wealth of information on eating healthy.  So it’s no surprise that her new book, The Perfect Blend, keeps up the tradition with one hundred blender recipes designed to energize and revitalize.

One of our favorite dishes from her stunning, image-rich book is, Gentle Lentils. This sensational soup is impossible to put down. The addicting qualities radiating from the bowl are due in part to the incorporation of her Basil-Is-The-Bomb sauce, which helps forward this transcendent pairing. Try this soup!

Tess puts a new spin on everything. The book is broken into chapters titled for what they can do for you instead of a more traditional organization. You can look up instruction that will help promote detox, energy, immunity, weight loss, probiotic formation, and so on. We love knowing how our meals are benefiting us. Bravo Tess.

Raw Broccoli Brilliance, transforms raw broccoli florets into a panoply of textures that complement the bright, tangy, sweet and spicy flavors of her dressing. You’ll find this one in the protein chapter. Be sure to check out the chart on page 2 of the introduction to discover which categories ingredients fall under. Produce, spices, herbs, seeds and nuts all play into a number of benefits and readers are introduced to a basic understanding of how each supports stellar health.

Cauliflower rice is a base which can be doused with a vegetable rich melange, featuring sweet potatoes, Swiss chard and roasted almond butter in Sustenance Stew. Supremely satisfying.

Tess believes that the blender is the greatest tool we have for making delicious, beautiful, healthy, fast food. This book enables home chefs at every level of expertise to easily incorporate plant power and body revitalization into everyday meals. Look for lots of unique produce like Melissa’s fresh coconut water, where the sweet, natural nectar runs circles around bottled alternatives.

There are also treats, from Classic Cheesecake to Chocolate Mint Mania, lest you think eating healthy is out of alignment with a sweet tooth. The two come together beautifully.

The Perfect Blend, dishes out practical step by step guidance and health benefits of blending, combining and cooking hero foods. Be prepared for a focus on eating well and having fun. What’s not to love about that? The Perfect Blend can be purchased on Amazon through the title links in red. It is definitely time to dust off the blender and enjoy mother nature’s delicious bounty.

 

Sara Moulton Makes Life Easy

Sara Moulton is sharing her best tips, techniques and secrets with the goal of making all of us better home cooks through guidance from her latest book, Home Cooking 101.  The TV Chef superstar incorporates step by step instruction and photos, giving readers a visual manual that instils confidence and promotes efficiency.  Fans can easily follow along and craft dishes that make dining at home a pleasure.

She decodes the mysteries of the culinary arts that prevent many of us from achieving success. Pointers in the details, various preparations, flavor pairing, timing, equipment and how to stock a pantry make the magic accessible.

Interested in traditional dishes like fancy stuffed eggs? Sara lays out uncomplicated and enticing versions with advice on fashioning stunning presentations of the melt-in-your-mouth standard.

Moulton points out that King’s Hawaiian rolls are the perfect, comforting foil for her Beef Stroganoff Burgers. If your family adores substantial, meaty dinners, try these.  Not to worry if carbs are not your thing, she gives alternatives such as sour cream, dijon mustard and porcini mushrooms which replace the bread and top the burgers beautifully.

Spicy creamed corn is a swoon inducing dish, uniting summer’s freshest (in winter frozen corn can be used) with Serrano chilies for a zesty kick punctuated by fresh lemon or lime. This heavenly combination is a winning side dish that complements everything you serve.

Chef Moulton takes into consideration dietary preferences, with her omnivore focused book giving nods to vegetarians and vegans through blissfully versatile menus.  Dishes such as root vegetable bourguignon highlight the rich umami found in the original beef based dish without a trace of animal derived ingredients.

Something Sweet, the last chapter of the book, simplifies all those gorgeous desserts we thought were too difficult to even attempt. Now we can impress with the best of them.

Robert Schueller, produce expert and director of public relations at Melissa’s Produce let us know that colorful, prepackaged, simplified preparations of fruit and vegetables are what’s trending in 2017.  We think color and easy to use produce are philosophies that are here to stay and in perfect alignment with Moulton’s message of ease and joy in the kitchen.

If simplicity and grace are what you’re looking for, Sara Mouton’s Home Cooking 101, delivers expertly to those of us who lack the training but still embrace the desire to put out stunning meals for friends and family. Thank you Sara.

Dorie’s Cookies: the Guidebook for the Season

The holidays could aptly be named cookie season, as the tantalizing bites seem to pop-up everywhere this time of year. Which makes Dorie Greenspan’s new book impeccably timed. Timing is a trait highlighted in chapter one, The Perfect-Cookie Handbook. This entree into her world delves deep into techniques, ingredients and gear, exploring the secrets she has amassed over her renowned baking career and lovingly corralled into Dorie’s Cookies.

Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security, these are not your standard cookie recipes. They span continents, ethnicities, cultures, occasions, creative expression, a myriad of textures, tastes, ingredients, the spicy, savory and of course the sweet. We were swept away by the Cocoa-Cayanne (pictured above) and couldn’t get enough of the brilliant Rosemary-Parmesian Cocktail Cookies (below).

The invaluable tips and tricks include achieving uniformity in your cookie size by using baking rings or placing them in muffin tins. Pretty clever in our estimation. Dorie is intent on making us all better bakers and on that she delivers big time.

Crisp French Vanilla Sables are simply divine and had us swooning at first buttery bite.

While Classic Jammers reminded us of grandma’s best.

A perfect holiday gift for all the talented bakers you know or those who aspire to be, Dorie’s Cookies guarantees superior treats for years to come. Check out the two day shipping opportunities at Amazon.com if you want to pick up a few copies of the best seller before the holiday weekend and be sure to luxuriate in the deliciousness of cookie season.

Rachel Hollis Makes Comfort Food Easy

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Rachel Hollis’ new cookbook, Upscale Downhome, is forcing us to come clean.  First, cooking is not one of our well honed talents and on top of that we love comfort food. So when the opportunity arose to witness Rachel’s cooking in person, we grabbed it and can honestly say we were amazed not only by how tasty everything was, but also by the abundance of short cuts she incorporates into her book. Upscale Downhome is just the home cooking cheat sheet we have been searching for.

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We found the charming presentation and vibrant pesto mayo of her BLT Bites (page 42) too adorable and delicious to refuse and admit to grabbing a few extra for the trip down memory lane they conjured. Perhaps a more seasoned chef would find a recipe for a BLT mundane, but we would proudly display and serve this particular version at all our festive gatherings for the delight they bring to everyone who sees and tastes them.

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One of the best features of this book is that each step is not only explained, but also clearly detailed in photos, so readers know they are on the right track all through the process, not just at the end when it is too late to make amends. Turkey Chili (page 105) puts the slow cooker to good use and we love dishes that practically cook themselves by simmering away for hours.

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Comfort food comes in all forms and there are plenty of produce based dishes to indulge in, including a snappy Fresh Green Bean Salad (page 121).

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But when we think hard core comfort food, we have to say we fell in love with Rachel’s Sticky Ham and Cheese (page 39) which combine the sweetness of King’s Hawaiian Rolls with salty and savory melted Swiss and ham slices. The enchanting miniature size of these beauties make them all the more irresistible.

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Creative ideas for pulling together a variety of festive events abound. Besides sections dedicated to dips, snacks, casseroles, slow cookers and dishes to bring to potlucks, Rachel also has a delightful dessert division. Her Cookie Pudding Pie (page 187) combines all our favorite sweets and serves them in divine, tiny canning jars.

For those interested in endearing recipes, party ideas and presentations for family-friendly comfort foods, Rachel Hollis’ Upscale Downhome is just the guide for you.