Easy home-made flatbreads with a flavorful butter you won’t be able to get enough of.
Every child, teenager and young adult should be taught how to cook. Period.
It empowers them, allows them to lead healthier lives, and makes them more resourceful, independent, and appreciative, not to mention even more popular with their friends.
If you can cook a meal for yourself, no matter how simple, you have a leg up on life.
I know some of my most cherished memories still revolve around stirring up scrambled eggs in a frying pan with my Dad when I could barely peer over the stovetop; and thumbing through cookbooks with my older brother to figure out which cookie recipe we would try out as he baby-sat me during summer afternoons.
Carolyn Federman of Berkeley knows the power and importance of such a life skill. She is the founder of the Charlie Cart Project, a nonprofit that provides resources for food education in schools through the use of a mobile kitchen. She previously led efforts by Alice Water’s Edible Schoolyard Project and consulted on program development for the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation.
Her new cookbook, “New Favorites for New Cooks: 50 Delicious Recipes for Kids to Make” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy, will inspire you to get in the kitchen with your kids, nieces or nephews to get cooking.
Not your usual sweet-and-sour pork.
This is not your battered to oblivion, deep-fried, unnaturally red, gloppy sauced sweet and sour pork that’s a standard at Chinese restaurants.
No, this is a home-style version that eschews all of that — and tastes even better as a result.
“Sweet-and-Sour Spare Ribs” is from the new cookbook, “Chinese Soul Food” (Sasquatch Books), of which I received a review copy. It’s by Hsiao-Ching Chou, a Seattle food writer and cooking instructor.
She grew up in Columbia, MO, where her parents settled in 1975. At the time, there were no Asian markets there. In fact, the family had to drive 10 hours to Chicago to stock up on decent soy sauce and other Chinese provisions. Her parents eventually opened a Chinese restaurant in 1980, which lasted for 23 years.
A chicken mole recipe that doesn’t intimidate.
Los Angeles’ food scene has definitely got it going on these days — from the opening of Eataly and Dominique Ansel Bakery, as well as Ansel’s first restaurant, 189, to the jaw-dropping, mind-blowing Vespertine.
Before any of them, though, there was — and still is — one of the most dynamic landscapes for Mexican cuisine in the United States. From taco stands to food trucks to mom-and-pop restaurants to celebrity chef-run fine-dining establishments, Los Angeles has a wealth of places to experience thoughtful, authentic, and cutting-edge food that takes influence and inspiration from every region in Mexico.
One couldn’t ask for a better culinary guide to all of that than Bill Esparza, a Mexican food expert who won a James Beard Award for his exhaustive and exhilarating coverage of the taco scene in Los Angeles.
His cookbook, “L.A. Mexicano: Recipes, People & Places” (Prospect Park Books, 2017), of which I received a review copy, is filled with profiles and stories of the Mexican chefs and restaurateurs who have made Los Angeles their home and their livelihood, and along the way, made the region all the more delectable.
Lamb steaks, barley, apricots and pistachios make this a one-dish wonder.
Since I do most of the cooking in my house, my husband graciously rolls up his sleeves for dish-washing duty.
Even so, he would be more than thrilled if the entire dinner could be made in one pot.
Yes, salad, roast chicken and apple pie all out of the same pan. Or jasmine rice, stir-fried pork, and ginger panna cotta all from the same pot.
That’s not gonna happen. But I will say we are both loving this latest craze of one-pan or sheet-pan cooking. For the cook, it’s a simplified way of getting dinner on the table. For the dish-washing spouse, it makes for a lot less clean-up afterward, too.
“Dinner’s in the Oven: Simple One-Pan Meals” (Chronicle Books), of which I received a review copy, exemplifies that philosophy. The book is by Rukmini Iyer, a former lawyer turned food stylist and food writer.
The cookbook is filled with recipes for one-pan dishes, with everything from “Olive & Pine-Nut Crusted Cod with Roasted Red Onion & Cherry Tomatoes” to “Paprika-Roasted Corn with Scallions, Feta & Lime” to “Rhubarb & Ginger Oat Crumble.”
Sweet, savory, and spicy — these aren’t your childhood Cracker Jacks by any stretch.
Juhu Beach Club in Oakland may be shuttered now, but its spirit lives on in “The Juhu Beach Club Cookbook”
(Running Press) by Preeti Mistry with East Bay food writer Sarah Henry, of which I received a review copy.
Mistry has vowed that Juhu Beach Club, which she ran with her business partner and wife Ann Nadeau, will rise again in some form, though details are scarce at the moment.
In any event, you can still enjoy her cooking at her very fun Navi in Emeryville with its unique pizzas, toasts and cocktails.
Born in London and raised in suburban Ohio, Mistry, a former “Top Chef” contestant, is an inventive, inspired cook who is adept at remastering comfort food with bold Indian flavors and flair. On her trips to her ancestral country of India, she fell in love with street food. There’s a playfulness in her food that reflects that.
That’s evident in recipes such as “Shrimp Po’Bhai,” “JBC Fried Chicken & Doswaffle,” “Chai-Spiced Bacon,” and “Bloody Meera.”
Take her “Desi Jacks.” This revved up version of caramel corn is featured at Navi. It’s even free during the daily Happy Hour, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
This is a snack that’s sure to get the party started.