One Pan, Two Plates—Great Idea for a Cookbook

Cover One Pan, Two Plates Carla SnyderMy husband and I are empty nesters and have been for  more years than I want to recall. Consequently, I’ve had to become adept at cutting recipes for four or six down to serve two. Imagine then my excitement when I spotted Carla’s Snyder’s newest cookbook, One Pan, Two Plates. Finally, I could dispense with the culinary math I go through on weeknights for here was a book with more than 70 special cooked-from-scratch meals prepared imaginatively with fresh ingredients designed for twosomes.

The Lamb Kebabs with Harissa, Chickpeas, and Summer Squash were a huge hit with my spouse who loved the spicy meat and vegetables

The makings for Catfish Tacos.

The makings for Catfish Tacos.

countered by cooling lemon-scented sour cream. Pan Fried Artic Char with Garam Masala, Broccolini, and Yogurt was another winner. My favorite, though, was Catfish Tacos with Chipotle Slaw—an uncomplicated dish that boasted big bold flavors and nicely balanced contrasts of texture.

Perpetually rushed, I appreciate that each recipe has a tag giving the prep as well as the start-to-finish times. Other bonuses include market notes on where to find unfamiliar ingredients and tips for wine pairings. Oh, and you won’t have a sink full of pots to deal with after cooking from this book—every recipe calls for only one large pan! Continue reading

A New Book Reveals the Secrets of French Joie de Vivre

If you would like to learn how to wine, dine, and romance like the French, you will love the new book, Joie de Vivre, written by my long-time friend, Harriet Welty Rochefort. More than thirty years ago, the author, an American from Iowa, arrived in Paris where she soon met and fell in love with a Frenchman. As a wife, mother, and journalist, she spent the next three decades discovering why the French savor their pleasures like no other culture, and how they have perfected the art of savoir vivre.

Would you like to know why Parisian women look so chic and stay so thin, or why they part so willingly Continue reading

Dearie – The Remarkable Life of Julia Child by Bob Spitz

I’ve read many biographies of Julia Child over the years, including Appetite for Life, the first, comprehensive one by my friend, Noel Riley Fitch (published in 1997 and reprinted this year with a new intro by the author). My library also includes Alex Prud’Homme’s My Life in France (an account of Julia’s years in Paris and Marseilles in late 1940s and early 1950s), As Always, Julia, (the fascinating correspondence between Julia and her pen pal, Avis DeVoto) by Joan Reardon, and finally Julie Powell’s Julie and Julia (the story of a fledging cook, making her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking I). Now comes a new volume–Dearie-The Remarkable Life of Julia Child by Bob Spritz. Continue reading

Lobster! 55 Fresh & Simple Recipes for Everyday Eating by Brooke Dojny

From the moment I first heard about Brooke Dojny’s new book, Lobster! 55 Fresh & Simple Recipes for Everyday Eating, I couldn’t wait to get a copy and cook from it. A long time contributor to Bon Appétit and the author of more than a dozen cookbooks, Brooke, who lives on the coast of Maine, gives readers 55 mouthwatering ways to prepare America’s favorite shellfish. Lobster pasta bathed in a rich tomato cream sauce, pizza topped with lobster and arugula, lobster and corn risotto, and much more will tempt you to pull out your lobster pot! Continue reading

Sunday Brunch by Betty Rosbottom

Guess what’s in my basket this month—my newest book, Sunday Brunch, published  by the wonderful people at Chronicle Books. This is the third in a series and follows Sunday Soup and Sunday Roasts. You’ll find a cornucopia of delectable dishes in this collection that should make you rush to the kitchen and invite friends over for brunch. There’s a chapter devoted to eggs–scrambled, pan-fried, poached, baked, or in omelets—and another that features Continue reading

Markets of Paris Second Edition by Dixon Long and Marjorie Williams

If you or your family or friends have a trip planned to Paris, you’ll want to purchase a copy of Markets of Paris Second Edition by Dixon Long and Marjorie Williams. First published in 2006, this paperback, with insider information on the legendary food, flea, antique, and other markets of France’s capital, has just been reissued with fabulous updates and additional information. Just the right size for travel, this petit livre with gorgeous photos, can easily be tucked into a purse, a tote, or a backpack. Organized by arrondissement, it’s also a snap to use. The authors lead you to Paris’ celebrated outdoor food markets Continue reading

Ancient Grains for Modern Meals by Maria Speck

Maria Speck, a popular cooking teacher who lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is an avid fan of whole grains, and in Ancient Grains for Modern Meals, she shares her enthusiasm for using them in everything from breakfast fare to main courses and desserts. Whether quick-cooking grains like polenta, buckwheat, and millet or those that need more time, you’ll find an amazing variety of dishes (many inspired by her European upbringing in Greece and Germany) in this collection. “Oat Berries with Walnuts and Gorgonzola” made a delectable and unusual side dish for a meal I served recently. Now, I’m anxious to try “Creamy Continue reading

Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

If you’re looking for a cookbook to inspire more vegetables on your menus, look no farther. Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi, a vegetarian columnist for London’s Guardian and the owner of four eponymous take-away food shops in that city, will make you want to rush to your nearest market and fill a cart with fresh produce. In his introduction, the author explains that his own creativity and passion for shaping recipes always comes from an ingredient, and so he has organized the collection by ingredients starting with “roots” and ending with “fruits and cheeses.” The dishes are all simple, yet stunningly original.

Reading through the book, I found myself tagging Continue reading

Basic to Brilliant, Y’All by Virginia Willis

Virginia Willis, author of the award-nominated, Bon Appétit, Y’All, in which she gives Southern recipes a French touch, has authored a stellar new book, Basic to Brilliant, Y’All. A Georgia native, she lives in Atlanta, but spent many years honing her cooking skills in France. In her latest collection, she offers 150 mouthwatering and innovative Southern recipes, all with a clever twist. Each recipe is presented two ways– as a soul-satisfying basic accompanied by a technique, garnish, or additional step that will transform (with just a little extra effort!) the dish into a show-stopper. What a practical idea for Continue reading

Sunday Roasts by Betty Rosbottom

Sunday Roasts is a collection of more than 75 recipes, including old-fashioned pot roasts, turkeys, racks of lamb, oven-roasted salmon, and much more. There is also a chapter on side dishes and another on seasoned butters, chutneys, and relishes. An incredible kitchen team spent months roasting with me until the recipes were fine-tuned, carefully written, and ready to go out to testers. Then, a group of volunteers Continue reading