Quickslide recipe and Cookbook review: The Home Bartender

#shanecarley #thehomebartender #cidermillpress


The Home Bartender is perfect for anyone looking for an easy peasy cocktail book. The cocktails have 4 ingredients or less (some are 5 if you count the garnish). The ingredients themselves are pretty normal, so if you have a basic bar, you wont have to hunt down a whole lot of specialty ingredients. <I had to add one bottle to my collection – strawberry vodka.> But, there’s all kinds of different drinks in here. The measurements are different from most books. Instead of ounces, he uses parts. One part lime juice, two parts rum…. I used an ounce as the unit for all the wet stuff. He does mention that if measurements are your jam, a dash is about 1 teaspoon and a splash is about 1 tablespoon. That works for liquid measures, but when he says a dash of cinnamon, use a tiny quick shake, not a teaspoon! Continue reading “Quickslide recipe and Cookbook review: The Home Bartender”


California Dreaming Board recipe and Cookbook review: Platters and Boards. Vegetarian and Flexitarian.

#plattersandboards #shellywesterhausen #chroniclebooks 

You’re a total foodie, you love artful plating, and you’d love to entertain, but you just aren’t into cooking?! I used to turn my head at that “confused dog” angle when I’d hear people say they don’t cook. How do you eat? So many of my friends are foodies that don’t love cooking, though. I found the perfect book for you!!! Platters and Boards.

61WvNwCFZLL._SX364_BO1,204,203,200_There is just so much to love about this book. Entertaining has never been so easy. For each platter, she has *one* recipe to make and the rest is artful, but not fussy, plating. It is the perfect answer for foodies who don’t want to cook. Or me when I just wanna chill on weekends. It reminds me of Donkey in Shrek talking about parfaits, “You know what everybody likes? Parfaits. Have you ever met a person, you say, “Let’s get some parfait,” they say, “Heck no, I don’t like no parfait”? Parfaits are delicious.” I think platters are the same way. Each one is visually appealing. People feel excited when they greet a generous platter. There are so many wonderfully creative platters in here. She’s an idea hamster.

This is my second Shelly Westerhausen book. I love Vegetarian Heartland. She’ll make you cook in that one, thp. She is on the foodie end of the vegetarian spectrum. In this book, she teams up with Wyatt Worcel, and he interjects meaty suggestions for the platters. Basically, everybody’s happy. Continue reading “California Dreaming Board recipe and Cookbook review: Platters and Boards. Vegetarian and Flexitarian.”

Fire Walk with Me cocktail recipe and Cookbook review: Texas Cocktails

#cidermillpress #texascocktails #nicomartini #stonesthrowhouston

71jw+epntWLI’ve been playing in a cocktail book that’s just the thing for when you want a really special cocktail, Texas Cocktails. I flagged so many interesting drinks to try! Some are quick, while others take some planning and patience. I did find that I needed to expand my bitters collection, but Amazon had everything. I generally used the preferred brands noted in the recipes, but subbed in where I needed to.

If you’re a candied jalapeño fan, you *have to* try this cocktail. Oh my gosh, is it ever wonderful! Thanks to Cider Mill Press for letting me share it with you! I’ll get to my thoughts on all the drinks we tried right after the recipe.
Continue reading “Fire Walk with Me cocktail recipe and Cookbook review: Texas Cocktails”

Camping weekend! Dutch Oven Old-School Lasagna recipe and Cookbook review: The New Camp Cookbook

#voyageurpress #quartobooks #lindaly #tpwd #caddolake #johnsonsranchmarina

“Ooooh, I wanna go camping for my birthday!” “I’d like to go hiking!” My daughter and husband have birthdays a week apart and their requests sounded like one fantastic weekend! The Texas State Park campgrounds fill up pretty fast, so I polled my Facebook buddies right away to get a potential list of parks with the best trees. Got the site!

A1ykYiZo5jLWe’re all foodies. Adding birthdays on top of that, I really wanted to make lovely campfire fare, so I ordered a copy of The New Camp Cookbook. I gave it a flip through and flagged a lot of potential weekend deliciousness, and then I saw it, Dutch Oven Old-School Lasagna. Haha! Lasagna and Potstickers are her two favorite food groups. Perfect! (We already did his birthday dinner and cake at home!)

It’s very cool. You will not be bored with the same old campsite (or backyard!) meals. The author’s intent is that you do all the prep right at the campsite. Measuring and dicing out in the woods, where I have no desire to have a full pantry or fridge to work out of, sounded pretty bad. I prefer to keep things as simple as possible out in the woods, so that we can concentrate on hiking, canoeing, and chillaxing, so I did all the prep work at home, and even froze what parts would freeze well to double as ice packs in our cooler <I spell out those details below>. It worked out so well, and I couldn’t be happier with the book. <If you normally read my stuff, you’ll laugh at the pictures. When we got to the site, our lantern wasn’t working, so I had to shine a pocket flashlight on the salmon to get a shot. The pics look like something out of Blair Witch Project. LOL!> Continue reading “Camping weekend! Dutch Oven Old-School Lasagna recipe and Cookbook review: The New Camp Cookbook”

Julia Turshen’s Scrambled Eggs with Cilantro + Coconut Chutney recipe and Cookbook review: Now & Again

#Juliaturshen #nowandagain #chroniclebooks

Now and Again_CVR_MechCorrex.indd

Julia Turshen’s new book, Now & Again, is absolutely amazing. I love everything about it. In one of her recipes she instructs, “Arrange the mango slices artfully-but not too preciously-on a serving platter.” That really captures the feel of the book. Everything has a breezy elegance to it and nothing is fussy. The recipes are global, and I adore that many of them are off the beaten path. I love being exposed to new things. The book is organized by season, and then menus for all different sorts of get-togethers. The recipes are casual, beautiful, interesting, nourishing, and delicious, and nothing’s difficult. She generally has you serving dishes right in what they’re made in. I’ve had the book in my hands for 3 days and I’ve made 4 meals from it already. <Minus the desserts. I already run 5 miles a day and don’t care to increase that – lol!> It’s a hard book to put down.

I don’t have a copy of her ridiculously popular book, Small Victories <I know!>, so I can’t make a comparison there. This has a gingham print detail running along the spine just like that one, so I’m betting it’s in the same vein. Feed the Resistance is a tiny book of hers focusing on food and activism, and that one’s terrific. And she worked with Gwyneth Paltrow on It’s All Good, another yummy, feel-good title.

My full review of the book with my pics and thoughts of all the dishes we tried so far, is at the bottom. But first I wanted to share with you her recipe for Scrambled Eggs with Cilantro + Coconut Chutney from her Sunday Morning Bangladeshi Breakfast menu. Continue reading “Julia Turshen’s Scrambled Eggs with Cilantro + Coconut Chutney recipe and Cookbook review: Now & Again”

Sushi rice, Step-by-step inside-out sushi rolls, New Yorker rolls with spicy sirloin, and Cookbook review: The Complete Book of Sushi


1st time sushwmi

My girlfriend, Tasha, invited me over to make sushi with her. You can make sushi at home?! Well, no, you’re not going to make professional level sushi. Sushi masters go through an apprenticeship that lasts about 10 years. But, making perfectly imperfect homemade sushi that you’ll be proud to bring to the table is definitely doable. Here’s that first sushi we made together.

I was hooked! I ordered a rolling mat kit to make my sushi and a darling little panda rice mold to turn the extra rice into cutie pie pandas for my kids’ lunchboxes. The second time I made inside out rolls and loved the way they turned out. I ordered a big bag of nori sheets to fuel my fun. The rolling kit is really the only equipment you need. I’ve had a Zojirushi 10 cup rice cooker for years, and I absolutely love it, but you don’t need one.2nd time sushwmi

3rd Maangchiwm

Later on, I was playing in Maangchi’s Real Korean Cooking and discovered gimbap, a delicious Korean dish with seasoned beef and vegetable rolls.

Then I found another type of sushi, hand rolls, in Mastering the Art of Japanese Home Cooking (Morimoto). They’re a much more casual handling, so I thought they’d have wonderful party potential. If you had all the ingredients plated, guests could make their perfect roll.4th Morimotowm

IMG_3491We were just down at Disney. The Japan pavilion has a few restaurants, drummers, a museum of cuteness, and a huge store. It’s fantastic in there. My husband and I enjoyed a little sake tasting and bought a beautiful sake set and citrus sake to take home. My kids ordered sushi so many times on our trip. They were in love and I wanted to step up my game for them, so I thought I’d order a stand alone sushi book, The Complete Book of Sushi.




I was so excited when I saw the range in the book. Composed sushi bowls?! I’d never even heard of that!

The book started with an interesting history lesson. Sushi, like so many wonderful things, started from the necessity of preserving food. They packed layers of fish and rice, and let it ferment for 9 months. They ate the fish and threw out the rice. When someone figured how to speed up the process, the rice could be eaten, too. The flavor was desirable, so someone figured out how to get some of that fermented flavor in less time by adding vinegar to the rice, the beginning of the sushi that we know and love.

Then the authors talked out etiquette. You probably know that the tips of your chopsticks must be separated from a table surface by a chopstick rest, your plate, or a napkin. But did you know that the tips of them must point to the left? It’s considered bad luck to have them right facing.

Okay, I’ll get to my full review of the book afterwards, but first I wanted to share a few recipes from the book with you to try. Thank you so much to Tuttle Publishing for giving me permission! Continue reading “Sushi rice, Step-by-step inside-out sushi rolls, New Yorker rolls with spicy sirloin, and Cookbook review: The Complete Book of Sushi”