Tag Archives: recipes

Mix + Match Cakes: A Batter, a Syrup, a Frosting, by Caroline Wright

12 Nov
FIVE of FIVE stars

FIVE of FIVE stars

You guys, this book is going to make you fat. You and everyone around you. But you are going to be fat and happy. I just went through this entire book and now I’m both starving and paralyzed with indecision as to which cake to make first. Can I make five at a time? If I make twenty at a time, can I eat them all before they get stale? If I invite friends over will I be willing to give up any of the cake? And if not, how fat am I willing to get in order to sample each and every one of these cakes??

This book is 95% photos. Photos of seriously imaginative and mouth-watering cakes. An overwhelming selection of sugary dreaminess which fortunately (or perhaps not) are made up of ingredients already on hand in your kitchen, just waiting to be lovingly mixed together. Once you find the photo of the cake you want to bake, just head to the back of the book to get the three recipes variations you need: One for cake, one for syrup, one for frosting.

The cover claims 100 recipes, but with these 100 recipes you can assemble an infinite variety of baked yummies. The formula is simple: Pick out a cake mix and bake, pour a flavored syrup over the cake and let cool, frost with the perfect frosting. The recipes are even more simple: flour, sugar, eggs, etc, with varieties for both vegan and gluten-free needs. If you want to get extra fancy-schmancy, there are recipes for toppings to add to your creation to make it even more original and unique.

How about a Triple Citrus Cake? Bake up a Lime cake, add Orange syrup, top with Lemon pudding frosting.
How about the Elvis Cake? Make the Peanut butter cake, add bacon syrup, top with Nutella frosting.
What about a Chai-Pear Cake with Honey Frosting? Does a Zucchini-Thyme Cake with Lemon Pudding Frosting sound perfect for today?

There is a whole chapter of Coconut cakes. An entire chapter of Mocha cakes. One for Nutty cakes. Berry cakes. Etcetera etcetera.

These creations look and taste like they came from an expensive bakery, but are hardly more complicated than a Betty Crocker mix. As far as I’m concerned there is no need for another cake book. The possibilities here are endless, and the only drawback with this book is the uncontrollable NEED you will have to start baking immediately. And these are all so easy, you won’t be able to find a reason not to.

Thanks also to NetGalley for providing me with an early copy for review and also to get a headstart on gaining 50 pounds.

Chickpeas: Sweet and Savory Recipes from Hummus to Dessert, by Einat Mazor

1 Nov
Five of Five stars

Five of Five stars

I received an advance copy of this from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

This book really surprised me. I lived on a vegan diet for many years so I am no stranger to chickpeas or chickpea flour (MMmmmm). I was also pretty sure I’ve eaten every variation of chickpeas and chickpea flour ever to have been invented. But I was wrong!

I was also wrong about an original assumption I had about this book: this is not a vegan cookbook. It’s not even a vegetarian cookbook. Vegans are so used to subsisting on chickpeas that I never really thought about other diets including them. But this book is truly for everyone, every diet, and should help move those delicious little beans into a more mainstream kitchen, for both family meals as well as gourmet plans.

This is a very elegant cookbook with gorgeous pictures, and mouthwatering recipes. There are chickpea classics such as a Mediterranean salad, and a very flavorful Spinach & Chickpea Quiche which vegans would be familiar with, but will likely be new to anyone else. Non-vegetarian recipes include everything from Thai Chicken to Mediterranean Beef Stew. There is a good use of chickpea flour throughout the book, and if you’re new to this ingredient you should definitely go find some Bob’s Red Mill and get started – chickpea flour has a wonderful, savory flavor, and I try to incorporate it into anything I can.

There is a recipe for “Vegetable Muffins” which is less “vegetable” than it is delicious comfort food, and includes corn, dill, basil and mozzarella (vegans can substitute of course). A recipe for Spicy Sweet Potato Patties is TO DIE FOR.

There are even desserts, with my favorite being the “Surprise Cake”. I have not made this yet, but I cannot wait for a special occasion to do so.

As a former (and still mostly) vegan, it’s shocking to see dairy and animal products included in the recipes, but I cannot deny that many of those dishes still look delectable. However, most vegans may cringe at many of the recipes, so beware. Aside from vegans/vegetarians, this book is for everyone from the beginner cook to the gourmet, and definitely for anyone who likes to sample new flavors and experiment with different ingredients. It’s a bit too specialized for me to use this book every day, but it would still be a valuable addition to my cookbook shelf.

STIR, by Jessica Fechtor

2 Oct
FIVE of FIVE stars

FIVE of FIVE stars

What an incredible story. Thanks so much to Netgalley for giving me a copy to review.

This book is part love story, part medical tragedy, and part cookbook, yet it belongs in none of these categories completely. Jessica moves seamlessly between having a brain aneurism, to meeting her husband years earlier, to a recipe to macaroons, to having brain surgery. The reader never has to sort out what time period we are in, or which part of the story is being told, and the recipes are added in a way that feels like they belong. I was doing this and thinking of that, so I went to the kitchen and this is what I made because this is how I was feeling…

The story is riveting. Jessica runs in the gym one day and is randomly felled by a brain aneurism. Not because of genetics, not because she was sick, it just happened to her and it could happen to any of us. She details the surgeries and complications she went through as well as the recoveries. She also goes back in time to tell us of meeting her husband and eventually falling in love, and their early years together. It is ALL interesting. Along the way there are very subtle life lessons passed on, though there is absolutely nothing overt and I don’t think she even means to give advice on life. But she learned a lot about life, herself, and her loved ones, and so the reader does too along with her.

The recipes range from simply salting a salmon fillet and baking it, to complicated desserts. There are family recipes, recipes that were shared by her favorite cooks, and recipes from other cookbooks. And because every recipe is there for a meaningful reason, the dishes sound warm, delicious, inviting, and make you want to rush to the kitchen immediately. I would say this book is 90% memoir and barely 10% a cookbook, yet the recipes she includes would be worth the price of the book alone. I may have read a free Netgalley copy, but I’ll be purchasing this book for my kitchen shelf.