Literary & Recording Arts
TASTE & TECHNIQUE: Holiday Book List
December 29, 2016
A lively description of culinary methods and timing takes the mystery out of the kitchen in this easily readable cookbook. Raised in a family of foodies, Ms. Pomeroy holds food in high regard, but also sees it as a daily event that climb great heights in flavor with small tweaks.

Divided into sections that feature sauces, and pantry items as well as the usual starters, seafood, vegetables and lamb. Openly spaced writing makes the reading a pleasure as do the photographs by Mr. Feldman, but stars are the straight-ahead. but detailed recipes.

For the more adventurous cook, there are recipes like Creme Fraiche Tarts that carry everything from dried tomatoes and carmelized onions to Spring Pea Relish and fried Sage or the essential Demi-Glace.

But not everything requires time and concentration, because there's Quick Sauteed Greens with Garlic, Lemon Confit, and Chile Flakes that sparkles with the touch of heat; Porcini Braised Chicken Thighs exuding a woody perfume; plus a creamy Butter-Poached Halibut.

In a nod to Ms. Pomeroy's roots in French cooking, there's a series of souffles. Sweets and savory items share space featuring Apricot-Brown Butter Tart or Oat Thyme Crackers. At the end, there's a critical list of kitchen equipment and descriptions of culinary techniques. A great kitchen companion.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis

FOOD52: Holiday Book List
December 24, 2016
Simplifying the act of cooking sophisticated, but simple meals powers the new cookbook Food52: A New Way to Dinner--a playbook of recipes and strategies for the week ahead. Might sound like a football or basketball game plan, and in a way it is because chapters lay out food plans for the week. Now this might sound like assembly-line eating, but trust me, it's not.

To stay out of the "cooking rut" one recipe gets several outfits like "Farro with Mustard Greens, Almonds, Currants, and Shaved Cheese arrives as a main course one day and the next it becomes part of a ham and butter sandwich.Recipes come with little reminders like chopping all the onions at once that might be used in two dishes. Cleaning while you work allows you to re-use pots as a way of minimizing mess and blanch vegetables for added freshness while keeping stored in the the frig.

Sections are divided by seasons so there's Sprig, Summer, Fall, and Winter. One fabulous recipe for those carnivores is the "Overnight Roast Pork" that requires the meat to slow cook in a 200 degree oven for up to 10 hours. Then viola! Succulent pork. And for dessert there's a moist Chocolate Olive Oil Cake or sparkling Blueberry Ice. Put this book on your shelf.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis

BREAKING BREADS: Holiday Book List
December 20, 2016
For those who live in NYC, Breads Bakery at Union Square is a hive of activity. People rush in and out with Babkas and loaves, flatbreads and challahs. Now this very successful enterprise has produced a book by Uri Scheft, the master baker behind the outposts in Tel Aviv and NYC.

Out in time for any winter holiday, "Breaking Breads: A New World of Israeli Baking" Born to Danish parents in Israel, Scheft meshes two and actually more bread cuisine in the crafting of his tasty accomplishments.

Clearly divided into sections that range from Challha and Babkas to cookies and flatbreads, when you flip the pages to the "Stuffed Bread" section, fruits and vegetables appear.

There's a "Beet Hamantaschen" that uses a pie dough filled with a beet and feta mixutre. Somehow, it looks like something that's both tasty and good for you. Another savory section fills the Focaccias that sport spinach, or onions, zucchini flowers, eggs and peas.

In the crucial bread recipes, there's a whole wheat and flax challah that incorporates red quinoa (a grain and protein source), and flaxseeds along with the whole wheat and all-purpose flour. Ingredients are clearly listed in grams and ounces. Each action is numbered. That helps keeping track of the steps. Most importantly the clear, friendly instructions lead to a marvelous loaf of bread.

If you are hungry, I suggest you do not open this book, because the full-page photographs by Con Poulos will make you drool.
It's always a pleasure to read a cookbook that's actually written for regular cooks who like to experiment and appreciate a casual, warm writing style that makes everyone believe they can be a master baker.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis

TASTE OF PERSIA: Holiday Book List
December 20, 2016
Known for their exquisite cuisine and literary tradition, Persia -- comprised of people from Iraq and Afghanistan--come to life through the pages of "Taste of Persia" by Naomi Duguid. A James Beard Award-winning culinary anthropologist and photographer, issues over 125 recipes accented by Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, and Krudistan.

The introduction delivers an overview of the Persian geographic bowl along with traditional spices and rituals.Although there are plenty of meat, chicken and fish dishes, any vegetarian would be happy to indulge in this richly photographed book.

Pulling many of the recipes directly from the cooks, the ingredients are primarily dictated in ounces and common sense. Little is left out helping the reader move easily from one step to the next. Unexceptional tools are used like the backs of spoons, sieves, and she always describes the type of plate--whether it's a bowl, large platter, thin rimmed plate, or saucer.

A Persan Pebble Bread is rich in sesame seed and mixed flours is stretched like a sheet dented by fingertips and snipped. Requires a large table or bare, protected floor.

Tastes of the mideast abound in recipes like "Rose Water Pudding, "Pomegranate Molasses," "Emmer Mushroom Pilar" (this recipes abounds in mushrooms, emmer wheat berries, broth, fragrant tarragon and option chopped meats topped by yogurt. Topping cooked rice and grain dishes with a thick, plain yogurt is quite common in the mideast.

In the soup section, Purslane Soup mixes lentils and that twisty green weeds found in one's garden with the traditional tumeric and cumin. Again, this cuisine combines dried fruits like apricots with beans and meats.It's not uncommon to find a dish that tosses in potatoes, beans and wheat berries or grains.

As you peruse the book, pictures of the cities and markets meet the recipes adding a sense of time, place and people.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis

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