Polish Recipes, Grilling Basics, Vegan Variety, Seasonal Soul Food, & More | Cooking Reviews

A treasury of traditional and modern Polish home cooking; an excellent choice for beginners and most grilling collections; a vibrant vegan cookbook to keep on hand for tailgates and weekend ­parties; the expertly written and beautifully produced Soul deserves a spot in most collections

redstarBehan, Ren. Wild Honey and Rye: Modern Polish Recipes. Interlink. Jun. 2018. 208p. photos. index. ISBN 9781623719982. $30. COOKING

Food writer and former criminal lawyer Behan debuts a refreshingly contemporary Polish cookbook, packed with appealing recipes that embrace modern and global influences. Dishes such as fruit souffle omelet, venison with roasted pumpkin and thyme puree, and plum and poppyseed cake are enhanced by a tidy layout and stylish color photographs. Suitable for cooks of all skill levels, the recipes include a number of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free choices. There’s also an entire chapter dedicated to flavored vodkas. VERDICT A treasury of traditional and modern Polish home cooking that will intrigue and challenge home cooks. However, the partial dust jacket won’t survive heavy circulation.

Bittman, Mark. How To Grill Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Flame-Cooked Food. Houghton Harcourt. May 2018. 576p. photos. index. ISBN 9780544790308. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780544790827. COOKING

Head outdoors with the latest entry in Bittman’s decade-spanning “How To Cook Everything” series. Featuring more than 1,000 recipes for grilled foods (e.g., Madeira-style beef skewers, tofu steaks, rack of lamb with sesame dipping sauce, sugared peaches with candied ginger ice cream), the collection aims to meet the needs of both grilling experts and novices. Bittman’s introduction covers essential grilling concepts and techniques (e.g., buying a grill, direct vs. indirect heat, smoking) in a straightforward, even-handed way—readers won’t feel any guilt if they choose to save time by using a gas grill or charcoal briquettes, for example. VERDICT Offering value and practicality, this is an excellent choice for beginners and most grilling collections. Highly recommended.

Carlin, Aine. Cook Share Eat Vegan. Mitchell Beazley: Octopus. May 2018. 240p. photos. index. ISBN 9781784724122. $24.99. COOKING

UK-based Carlin (Keep It Vegan) is a best-selling author, lifestyle blogger, and former actress, whose latest stunning vegan cookbook brims with joyful, elegant foods suitable for social gatherings and everyday occasions. Recipes such as salsa-style panzanella salad with griddled nectarines, falafel shakshuka, and vegan pavlova with poached rhubarb and vanilla yogurt showcase creative ideas for preparation and plating. They also illustrate fundamental techniques, including smoothie-making strategies and how to create plant-based milks and creams. VERDICT Will enchant home cooks and foodies who love colorful, interesting meals. Despite the occasional vague quantity (two rice noodle nests) and hard-to-find ingredient (yuzu juice), it’s worth considering.

Dinner Illustrated: 175 Meals Ready in 1 Hour or Less. America’s Test Kitchen. Apr. 2018. 408p. ed. by America’s Test Kitchen Eds. photos. index. ISBN 9781945256301. $32.99; ebk. ISBN 9781945256318. COOKING

When you want to whip up a satisfying dinner in less than an hour, turn to this user-friendly collection from the editors at America’s Test Kitchen. Formatted for maximum efficiency, it contains 175 recipes for complete meals that don’t require separate sides (e.g., beet and carrot noodle salad with pan-seared chicken, chickpea and kale soup, Thai curry rice with cod). Concise ingredient lists that also work as shopping lists complement illustrated step-by-step instructions that are easy to read at a glance. Flavor-packed pantry items (e.g., kimchi, za’atar, tahini, harissa) keep dishes from feeling overly familiar. ­VERDICT This appetizing cookbook, which can help you plan dinner for a week, blends flavors of Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street and Melissa Clark’s Dinner with the practicality of Ree Drummond’s The Pioneer Woman Cooks.

Henry, Diana. How To Eat a Peach: Menus, Stories and Places. Mitchell Beazley: Octopus. May 2018. 224p. photos. ISBN 9781784724115. $34.99; ebk. ISBN 9781784725143. COOKING

At age 16, acclaimed food writer Henry began filling a notebook with menus she created. That notebook is the background for this collection of 20-plus set menus organized by season. Intended for entertaining, these multicourse meals consist of elegant dishes (e.g., white peaches in chilled moscato; partridges with red cabbage, blackberries & star anise; smoked haddock & celery root gratin). To make an entire menu requires considerable choreography; however, it’s not always clear which recipes can be prepared in advance. The format works well for leisurely reading but not quick browsing, given the lack of index. VERDICT Henry’s latest will thrill her dedicated fans, but some might prefer the convenience of Simple or A Bird in the Hand.

Hoffman, Brian Hart. Bake from Scratch. Vol. 2: Artisan Recipes for the Home Baker. 83 Pr. Mar. 2018. 400p. photos. index. ISBN 9781940772486. $39.95. COOKING

Hoffman (The Coupe) collects more than 600 recipes from the second year of Bake from Scratch magazine, including orange spice sheet cake, white chocolate tahini babka, blueberry and bitters strudels, and churro s’mores. Each includes an attractive photograph and measurements given both by weight and by volume. Despite the book’s massive size and scope, it never feels derivative. Even the most basic recipes offer a twist on the ordinary; for example, pumpkin pie gets a modern update with the addition of a goat cheese crust and brown sugar whipped cream. VERDICT This highly recommended baking bible will meet all your spicy, boozy, creamy, chocolatey, and fruity baking needs.

Meyer, Linda & Alex Meyer. Great Vegan BBQ Without a Grill: Amazing Plant-Based Ribs, Burgers, Steaks, Kabobs and More Smoky Favorites. Page Street. Mar. 2018. 192p. photos. index. ISBN 9781624144967. pap. $21.99; ebk. ISBN 9781624144974. COOKING

The mother-daughter team behind the vegan food blog Veganosity.com present plant-based versions of BBQ meats and classic grilled foods. Craveable recipes such as BBQ jackfruit with grilled pineapple, smoky mac ‘n’ cheese with coconut bacon, and Southern-style creamy potato salad can all be prepared indoors without a grill or smoker. They rely on easy-to-find ingredients, the lesser known of which (e.g., aquafaba) are explained in introductory notes. To achieve familiar flavor and char, the authors employ liquid smoke, homemade sauces, and a ridged grill pan. ­VERDICT A vibrant vegan cookbook filled with game day and weekend favorites. Keep on hand for tailgates and ­parties.

redstarRichards, Todd. Soul: A Chef’s Culinary Evolution in 150 Recipes. Oxmoor House. May 2018. 368p. photos. index. ISBN 9780848754419. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780848757182. COOKING

In this Southern Living cookbook, James Beard Award–nominated chef Richards debuts an intimate take on soul food that pays homage to his family and ancestors. In ingredient-focused chapters (e.g., collards, onions, tomatoes, stone fruit), he precisely explains how to make exciting seasonal recipes such as collard green ramen, salmon croquettes with grits croutons and chive aioli, pineapple-glazed spareribs, and blueberry fried pies with meyer lemon glaze. Gorgeous matte photographs and expert food styling provide inspiration. VERDICT Expertly written and beautifully produced, this deserves a spot in most collections.

Sizemore, Nicki. Build-A-Bowl: 77 Satisfying & Nutritious Combos: Whole Grain + Vegetable + Protein + Sauce = Meal. Storey. Sept. 2018. 192p. photos. ISBN 9781612129907. $18.95; ebk. ISBN 9781612129914. COOKING

Blogger and recipe developer Sizemore (The Food Processor Family Cookbook) shares a simple method for building quick and healthy meals from batch-cooked whole grains. Her recipes include sweet and savory options such as banana bread bowl, quick and easy Thai-style vegetable curry, and spicy coconut shrimp with kale and cilantro. These self-contained bowls rely on mostly conventional ingredients and can be customized to suit dietary needs and preferences. Instructions are mostly adequate, though some measurements provided in ambiguous quantities (e.g., one batch) require a flip back to earlier chapters. VERDICT Recalls Carolynn Carreno’s Bowls of Plenty and Sara Forte’s The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl and Spoon yet more informal, with a greater emphasis on fast family cooking.

Tuskadze, Tiko. Supra: A Feast of Georgian Cooking. Pavilion: Anova. Jun. 2018. 208p. photos. index. ISBN 9781911216162. $27.95. COOKING

Inspired by vivid childhood memories, Tuskadze, chef-owner of the London-based restaurant Little Georgia, describes a traditional Georgian supra (feast) and invites home cooks to create their own. Her cookbook begins with intriguing appetizers and small plates (many of them vegetarian), then transitions to main dishes and desserts. Walnuts, coriander, fenugreek, and ground marigold feature prominently in fragrant dishes such as green bean pâté, lamb and potato stew, baked salmon with pomegranate molasses, and Deda’s prune cake. A food processor, meat grinder, and mortar and pestle come in handy for these recipes, which are given in metric measurements and include some potentially unfamiliar British terms. VERDICT Recommended for skilled home cooks interested in exploring Georgian cuisine. Olia Hercules’s Kaukasis and Carla Capalbo’s Tasting Georgia are also solid choices.

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