Rustic Fruit Desserts by Cory Schreiber

Rustic fruit dessertsTart, cobbler, grunt, slump, crisp, crumble, betty, pandowdy, buckle, teacake, galette, fool, trifle and pie – all of the evocative names (some unique to different parts of the country), all meant for one thing – delicious fruit desserts. Rustic Fruit Desserts by Cory Schreiber collects some of the best of these simple and satisfying dishes in this charming book.

Recipes are arranged by season, so you can take advantage of the beautiful peaches, nectarines and apricots that are available now, open it again in the fall when the pears, apples and figs arrive and then again in the spring for ideas for strawberries, rhubarb and cherries. In addition to recipes for the more common fruits from blueberries to raspberries, some lesser-known fruits – huckleberries, currants, marionberries, plumcots and pluots – are also represented. Recipes are straightforward and unintimadating – even the beginner will find success. And what better way to take advantage of the changing seasons than with fresh fruit desserts?

Cooking with My Indian Mother-in-Law by Simon Daley with Roshan Hirani

CookingThis is a book about home cooking, but it’s also a book about family and the timeless tradition of passing down knowledge, from elder to child, mother to daughter or, in this case, mother-in-law to son-in-law. Daley has meticulously and lovingly recorded not only his mother-in-laws recipes, tips and advice, but also the the stories behind the recipes – family ancedotes, who passed the recipe on to her, influences from other countries and cultures, and which ones are favorites of guests and family alike. Keeping the project in the family, the beautiful photographs were made by Daley’s wife/Hirami’s daughter Salima.

You’ll find all of your favorites here, covering vegetables, lamb, chicken, rice, chutneys and sweets, all written for the home cook. There is special emphasis on the spices and techniques that make Indian cuisine so unique. While many of the dishes may seem exotic and difficult at first glance, closer inspection shows that even a beginner will soon be cooking authentic, delicious Indian food.

New Magazines!

home-powerWhat’s cool about magazines is that they teach you how to do really useful and practical things, but in a painless and fun way. The Main Street  library has two new titles that do just that.

Food Network Magazine is chuck full of recipes: check out the best burger in each state with Bobby Flay (in Iowa it’s the Famous Garbage Burger in Ames), peruse the recipes for “50 Summer Drinks,” and plan a Father’s Day cookout.

Learn how to save energy by browsing through Home Power Magazine. Recent articles tell you how to buy a wind generator, smarter power strips, energy saving digital TV converter boxes and investing in solar electricity.

Frugal Librarian #12: Joe is thicker than water

2207162644_bf88558cb2Those two cups nobody wanted from this morning have lost their aroma and flavor as a straight beverage. They’re not good for anything except tomorrow’s 6AM supercharge, with the characteristic post-slurp wince.

This neat tip from the May 2009 Consumer Reports’ Shop Smart magazine: “Coffee is a great flavoring, says chef Steve Petusevsky, of Roundy’s Supermarkets.”

-Freeze leftovers in ice-cube trays and add to iced coffee. This trick keeps your iced coffee from getting watery as the cubes melt.

-Substitute coffee for the water in brownie or chocolate cake mixes. It imbues a richer flavor.

-Replace part of the liquid in stews or barbecue sauce with strong coffee. Again, the coffee adds to the flavor, and you can save your wine for drinking!

-Substitute coffee for water in your favorite baked-beans recipe or add a litle when heating canned baked beans.

-Use coffee as a meat marinade. it imparts a subtle flavor, its acidity helps break down tougher cuts of beef or pork, and it adds a nice earthy flavor to poultry.

Gale Gand’s Brunch by Gale Gand

s-brunch“Brunch” always means something special – a celebration or gathering. Now you can make any occassion – like “it’s the weekend” – special with the help of  Gale Gand’s Brunch.

Gale includes the standards – eggs, pancakes, scones and muffins – but she also throws in some unexpected entries such as potstickers, lemony wheatberry salad and pretzles. Basic recipes for classic brunch dishes – omelets, waffles, pancakes, crepes, strata, quiche – are outlined, then fun and interesting variations for each are suggested. Recipes are straightforward and simple – because who wants to spend time in the kitchen during brunch? There’s  something for every taste from Peanut Butter and Jelly Turnovers to Almond Ciabatta French Toast to Apricot Chicken Salad. Now any day – and any meal – can be special.

A Platter of Figs by David Tanis

Celebrating the simple beauty of food, A Platter of Figs by David Tanis will tempt you with beautiful, unpretentious recipes, gorgeous photos and a simple philosophy – cooking should be a joy, eating should be a pleasurable experience and both should preferably be shared with friends.

The recipes are arranged seasonally, spring through winter, rather than by course, the idea being you should celebrate what each season offers. This fits in nicely with the current trend toward eating locally and sustainably, but it also has everything to do with flavor – fresh picked, in-season food is undeniably the best tasting.

Recipes range from the simple – Warm Asparagus Vinaigrette – to the more complex – Chicken Tagine with Pumpkin and Chickpeas – but all are clearly explained. Stories of Tanis’s life and travels (which are reflected in his recipes) are scattered throughout the book, adding a warm and friendly atmosphere to the cookbook. A beautiful book about beautiful food.