Saturday, April 7, 2018

Cookbook Review: Vegan Comfort Food Classics by Lauren Toyota

YouTuber Lauren Toyota's vegan cookbook is a lot of fun, and I liked that this book, a rarity for vegan cookbooks, is not trying to be super healthy.  There are recipes for all of your favorite junk foods, and not just western ones, including Zucchini-Onion Bhaji, Ramen Burgers, Oyster Mushroom Po'Boys, Banh Mi Bowls, etc.  There are also desserts, like Raspberry Funfetti Pop Tarts, Apple Fritters, and Cinnamon Rolls.  These are creative, tasty-sounding recipes.  Humor, irreverence, and originality are this book's hallmarks.  

Saturday, March 3, 2018

YA Fiction Review: S.T.A.G.S. by M.A. Bennett

S.T.A.G.S. is a YA novel by British author M.A. Bennett.  It is very clearly inspired by Donna Tartt's beloved The Secret History, and it's a partial read-a-like.  It's about a smart and smart-mouthed teen from Manchester named Greer who gets a scholarship to attend a posh and very old boarding school.  She is ignored and sometimes bullied by the very wealthy and old-money students.  The school is ruled by The Medievals, six prefects who are the richest, snobbiest, poshest, etc., and are kowtowed to by students and faculty alike.  Greer thinks are turning around when she and two other outsider students are invited for a long weekend at the country house of Henry, the ruler of The Medievals.  But of course it turns out that the three of them are there to be hunted, rather than to participate in the hunt.  I am a sucker for stories about boarding schools, posh Brits and their terrible behavior, and secret societies, so needless to say, I enjoyed this book quite a lot.  It was a fun and very fast read, and  there was even a fair amount of social commentary about class.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Cookbook Review: Chloe Flavor: Saucy, Crispy, Saucy, Vegan by Chloe Coscarelli

Chloe Flavor is the latest cookbook from vegan cook Chloe Coscarelli.  This book, published by Clarkson Potter, seems like a step up from her previous books from Atria, and with its higher-end design, it appears to be a conscious reset for Coscarelli.  The production value (photographs, layouts, fonts, etc.) is much better, and it's a great-looking book.  It's a little confusing trying to figure out how this book differs from her earlier Atria books, except for the production value.  Like her book Chloe Kitchen, it includes a wide range of vegan dishes, from a variety of culinary traditions.  The recipes strike me as similar, although perhaps a little more sophisticated, but I do like the variety here, and everything sounds very tasty.  There's everything from brunch, appetizers, and mains to desserts and even cocktails.  

Friday, February 16, 2018

Cookbook Review: Power Plates by Gena Hamshaw

Blogger Gena Hamshaw's Power Plates is a beautiful vegan cookbook.  It contains 100 healthy vegan recipes, all of which are accompanied by lovely photographs.  Like all of Ten Speed Press' books, it is beautifully well-designed, with clear layouts and instructions.  And like pretty much any vegan or vegetarian cookbook I've encountered, it starts with a longish section about common ingredients and techniques.  I guess every vegan/vegetarian cookbook writer is hoping their book is the first and only one of its kind the reader has ever owned?  Power Plates is set apart from other vegan cookbooks I've seen because while its focus is on balanced proteins, which is suggested by the title, which I'm not super enamored of, as it makes it sound like a diet book.  Hamshaw explains macronutrients (basically complete proteins?) and how to get them by combining different types of ingredients.  Each of her recipes does this for you, but she also explains the principle so the reader can it apply to meals not made out of this cookbook.  The recipes all sound tasty, and photos are beautiful.  I really like the combination of flavors and dishes from all over the world she includes here.  For breakfast, you can make Steel-Cut Oats with a variety of suggested toppings (I love the pictured toppings of dried apricots and pistachios--yum), or kitchari, a rice and lentil dish.  The flavor combinations are sophisticated and complex, but not scary or difficult.  Beluga Lentils and Tomatoes with Tempeh Bacon and Turmeric Mustard Vinaigrette! Curried Tomato Stew with Chickpea Dumplings! Sweet Potato Falafel Bowls with Freekeh Pilaf and Roasted Cauliflower!  Almost every dish sounds and looks mouth-watering.  

Monday, January 29, 2018

Food Writing Review: L'Appart: The Delights and Disasters of Making My Paris Home by David Lebovitz

L'Appart: The Delights and Disasters of Making My Paris Home is baker and writer David Lebovitz's latest book, published by Crown Books.  Lebovitz is a wonderful baker and writer. I adore his blog.  As in his blog, he comes across here as charming, funny, talented, and humble.  His previous books, along with his blog, have provided excellent recipes for French food and baked goods, all explained beautifully, no matter how complicated. For anyone who has lived in a big city with expensive real estate, his addition of the details of the ordeals of making a home in Paris is the icing on the cake.  What a great combination of delicious details: French food + Parisian real estate.  The American expat details the humorous and stress-inducing trials of making a home in Paris, where he is renovating his apartment.  He of course also includes plenty of wonderful food writing, and many original recipes.  This is a delightful book for lovers of excellent food, real estate, and Paris.
(I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.)