Half the Sugar All the Love, a bookbook review

I know this doesn’t happen with everyone, but my tolerance for sweets has declined with age.  For example (and this is a true story), I drank chocolate milk every morning for probably 75% of my life. For most of those years, it was Nestle Quik.  Once I thought it was tasting too sweet, I started making my batches with cocoa powder and experimenting with things like black walnut bitters. And then, one day, I just couldn’t do it anymore.  I still like the occasional hot chocolate but it’s just that… occasional.

On top of that, I have a close family member with type 1 diabetes, so I try not to bake sweets for my family anymore.  (Instead, I’ll hoist my baking adventures onto my work colleagues.)

So with a title like “Half the Sugar, All the Love”, the latest cookbook by Jennifer Tyler Lee and Anisha Patel really got my attention.

The book is sectioned into:

  • Breakfasts
  • Snacks
  • Lunches and salads
  • Dinners
  • Desserts
  • Beverages
  • Basics and Condiments

 

I like that the book makes a distinction between naturally occurring sugar and added sugar.  There are nutritional guidelines, and explanation about the different kinds of added sugar.

Personally, I focused more on the recipes for breakfasts, snacks, and desserts.  I feel like they are the area where added sugar is the biggest culprit. The lunches/salads, and dinner chapters almost felt like “filler” chapters.  Don’t get me wrong, all the recipes sound good. Some of the recipes you’ll find in the lunches/salads, and dinner chapters are:

  • Salmon yaki onigiri
  • Alphabet soup
  • Fall harvest mason jar salad with creamy poppy seed dressing
  • Romaine and cherry tomato salad with miso dressing
  • Vietnamese chicken noodle soup
  • Beef and broccoli teriyaki bowl
  • Pineapple teriyaki salmon burgers with sriracha mayo

 

If you ate these dishes out, there probably would be added sugar.  But since these are all savory dishes, if you cook them at home, they don’t have much added sugar.  I think the only exception would be the teriyaki sauce.

I really wanted to make something from the dessert chapter.  The chocolate and peanut butter snack cake speaks to me personally, but I’ve been doing more baking more desserts than usual, so I ended up picking Blueberry Oat Muffins as my introductory recipe.

The muffin recipe does not use any granulated sugar.  It gets its sweetness from homemade date syrup. I also liked the amount of whole grain being used, which is a blend of oat flour, whole wheat flour, and flaxseed.  It’s actually quite a bit of ground flaxseed – a whole ½ cup! This is not something I see a lot of in muffin recipes, so I was quite curious.

I made a few minor changes that I don’t think had much of an impact on overall flavor.  I used raspberries instead of blueberries (because I had them and I’m trying to clean out my food stores right now), spelt flour instead of wheat flour (because commercial wheat flour generally tastes like cardboard), and I baked this in a dish instead of making individual muffins (I’m just lazy).  

It makes a lot of batter!  I can usually swap a 12 muffin recipe with my favorite baking dish and estimate the oven time without a problem.  This time I had to cook for a lot longer than I was anticipating. So, I think there’s a really good chance you’ll get more than 12 muffins out of this recipe.  That’s not a bad or a good thing. It’s just a comment.

The batter itself came together pretty easily.  Expect to take a little longer to put this together than other muffin recipes because you’re making your own date syrup and your own oat flour.  As for final results, I really liked this but it does taste very healthy. The sweetness from the dates is really mild. I wouldn’t be surprised if other people don’t like this muffin much.  I ate mine with some Fage Greek yogurt, and it made for a great breakfast.

Other recipes that I am interested to make are:

  • Cherry-oatmeal breakfast cookies (I love breakfast cookies)
  • Fruit and nut granola
  • Overnight French toast strata with raspberry sauce
  • Blueberry scones
  • Maple brown butter corn bread
  • Blondies with white chocolate and almonds
  • Double chocolate brownies
  • Pecan pie bars
  • Chocolate and peanut butter snack cake
  • Double chocolate layer cake with whipped chocolate frosting
  • Hot chocolate blocks

 

The book isn’t being released until Christmas Eve, so it’ll be difficult to gift it for the holidays but I think this is a great book for someone is health conscious or someone who is just looking for a good all-around family cookbook.  I look forwarding to baking from this book and feeling like it’s ok to share with my diabetic family member.

 

Disclaimer – I kindly received this book from Workman Publishing for this review.  I’m not getting paid for this post. The views and opinions expressed are purely my own.  

 

Reference Links:

https://www.52newfoods.com/half-sugar-cookbook/

https://www.workman.com/products/half-the-sugar-all-the-love

 

 

Power Spicing, a cookbook review

One skill that I constantly feel like I am trying to develop is flavor combining.  Growing up, the flavors I was most familiar with were soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, and scallions.  Cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves only made their appearance in a spiced apple cake that my mother would make on occasion because it was my favorite.  Anything beyond that can easily feel alien to me.

I think it’s the main reason why I am a tad obsessed with spices and spice mixes.  Power Spicing by Rachel Beller would have been the perfect book for me when I was getting into cooking.  It’s a cute cookbook with only about 60 recipes, and an overview of 25 spices. This is not Spice Master Lior Lev Sercarz level of cooking.  But that doesn’t mean that this book doesn’t have any value. One could argue that maybe it has more relevance to the average home cook.  

In the spice introduction, Beller mentions potential health/medicinal benefits of the 25 spices she chose to highlight.  For example, “studies show that cinnamon may help regulate blood sugars, improve insulin sensitivity, and reduce hemoglobin A1C levels.”  She also includes some general helpful information on each spice that varies from where you can find a certain spice to flavor substitutes.  She also offers from spice pairings based on absorption enhancers, synergistic actions, or doubling potential health effects.  

The book has seven main chapters:

  • DIY spice blends
  • Daily power beverages
  • Spicy and sweet breakfasts
  • Mains that pack a punch
  • Sizzling up your sides
  • Dressings and dips
  • Snacks and sweets

A lot of the recipes are plant based, but not all of them.  Some recipes that were of interest to me are:

  • Red-hot chili cocoa
  • Butternut squash and apple bake
  • Apple-zested muesli
  • Tzimmes oat crumble
  • Lentil salad with spicy vinaigrette
  • Vegan creamy brussels sprout Caesar
  • Warm fennel salad
  • Green goddess fenugreek tahini sauce
  • Spiced nut and date bars

Since the temperatures are dropping here in New England, I was mostly interested in the spiced warm drinks.  I made three of them (but only remembered to take photos of two). The first one I made was the golden choco-latte. The purpose of this drink is to help soothe inflammation and to balance your blood sugars.  Honestly, I just thought that it was pretty tasty.

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spice blend 🙃

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The second drink I tried was the saffron and cardamom latte.  This was the recipe that caught my eye first when I initially received the cookbook.  Made with saffron, green cardamom, cinnamon, and fennel, it’s supposed to boost your mood, strengthen your immune system, and help with bloating.  I was mostly curious about using saffron and cardamom as a blend. (I use cardamom today when I’m making masala chai.) Sadly, I was disappointed in this one.  Also, my efforts looked nothing like the photo. It just didn’t taste interesting enough to me. Maybe the fennel is a little too strong? I think I would have preferred just plain fennel tea (which is something I do from time to time).  Maybe I’ll play with the ratios of cardamom and fennel next time (if there is a next time).

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Matcha, cinnamon, ginger

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So then I made the stabilizing matcha in hopes that it would make up for the latte.  The stabilizing matcha says that the “combination of ginger, cinnamon, and matcha has been shown to stabilize blood sugar levels and decrease the risk of diabetes.”  I was a little worried that the cinnamon and ginger would completely overwhelm the matcha, but that didn’t seem to be the case. The spices hit the tongue first, but I think the matcha lingered afterward the most.  Final review? Yeah, I think this made up for the latte. I’m normally a plain green tea kind of person, but I think I can make an exception for this recipe from time to time.

While I recommend taking health claims with some skepticism, I don’t think there’s any harm in experimenting with whole and natural foods to try to increase benefits.  Especially if those experiments are tasty. Anyone with an interest in general spice blending or looking for a starting point in spice blending will find Power Spicing to be useful.

 

Disclaimer – I kindly received this book from Clarkson Potter for this review.  I’m not getting paid for this post. The views and opinions expressed are purely my own.  

 

Home Made in the Oven, a cookbook review

I got excited when I first found out that Yvette Van Boven was releasing a new cookbook in the US.  I had the pleasure of meeting her about a year ago during her book tour for Home Made Christmas. She and her husband Oof are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.  I really believe that her endearing personality comes across in her cookbooks: in the little recipe sketch drawings, and in the little stories she writes. I often skip recipe introduction when I flip through a cookbook, but I won’t skip hers.   

The latest book (available Oct. 15th) by Van Boven is “Home Made In The Oven: Truly Easy, Comforting Recipes For Baking, Broiling, And Roasting.”  There’s over 80 recipes, I believe, all meant to be cooked in the oven. The book is simply broken down by:

  • Vegetables
  • Fish and Meat
  • Baking

Each of these sections have recipes that are categorized by month, but don’t assume there’s an equal amount of recipes for each month. There are five January recipes in the Vegetables chapter, and nothing for July or August.  To be fair, those are hot months in the Northern Hemisphere and therefore turning on the oven is the last thing anyone wants to do. The reality is there are only three July recipes and one August recipe in the whole book.

Each recipe comes with a sketch of how to make it, and a little photo in the top right hand corner.  And I do mean little.  Without grabbing a ruler, I estimate the photos are a little more than an inch by an inch and a half.  The sketches are cute, and the recipes are fairly simple and straightforward (that does not equate to boring).  

Here are the recipes that I’m most interested in making:

  • Sweet potato and spinach gratin
  • Leftover focaccia
  • Cupboard cannelloni
  • Smoky butternut squash and papaya salad
  • Oven asparagus with cashew cream
  • Stuffed autumn portobellos
  • Comforting meatballs (I’ve never seen a beef meatball with shrimp in it before)
  • Salmon, fennel and lemon with spinach miso-mayo
  • Apple almond crumble
  • Clementine yogurt cake
  • Almond apple cake
  • Baked apples with blueberries
  • Royal carrot cake muesli bars
  • Peach scone pie
  • Blackberry ricotta cake
  • Yogurt cake with lemon and ginger
  • Chocolate nut cake

 

For now though, I made the veggie filo pie (which is technically a May recipe even though it’s currently October – but it’s fine!  There’s nothing very seasonal in this dish). I’ve never bothered making a filo pie on my own before so recipe testing seemed as good a time as any.  It has leeks, garlic, spinach, chickpeas, egg, ricotta, nutmeg, smoked paprika, and crumbled feta. You make the filling, pile some filo dough strategically in a pan, and then bake.

It was so easy to make!  It’s not unhealthy either, since Van Boven’s point to this dish is to eat more vegetables.

It seems pretty easy to customize.  Since I have some leftover ingredients, I plan on making a second time this weekend.  But I’m tempted to change the spices. While I love nutmeg and smoked paprika, I felt like nutmeg was the dominant flavor.  I have an overwhelming urge to try curry powder or ras el hanout? I haven’t decided yet. (Your comments will be considered if you have other ideas.)

In general, the whole book is very approachable.  I can’t really think of a recipe in it that’s too intimidating.  If you’re picky about high quality glossy cookbook photos, then maybe this book isn’t for you, but I think everyone else will enjoy it through and through.

 

Disclaimer – I kindly received this book from Abrams for this review.  I’m not getting paid for this post. The views and opinions expressed are purely my own.  
Reference Links:

https://www.instagram.com/yvettevanboven/

https://yvettevanboven.eu/

https://www.abramsbooks.com/

The Pasta Friday Cookbook, book review

Pasta is a food near and dear to my heart.  (I’m sure many people feel the same.)  During my last year of college, my dinner on most nights was a big plate of pasta and red sauce.   It’s cheap.  It’s pantry friendly.  It’s amazing that I didn’t get sick of it by the end of the year. 

I don’t eat like that anymore.  I don’t make pasta very often, not even once a month.  (It’s not like I’ve cut out simple carbs, as rice and noodles are in regular rotation in my kitchen.)  Pasta tends to be “emergency cooking” for me.  Something to make when I should make something but don’t have a ton of time.  So, it just isn’t part of my regular rotation of dishes.  But for a pasta dish that feels inspiring?  I can get behind that.

“The Pasta Friday Cookbook” by Allison Arevalo is collection of recipes from the weekly gathering of the same name that Arevalo created back in 2017.  The purpose of Pasta Friday is to share a simple meal of pasta and salad with a large group of friends and family once a week. Her cookbook is a reflection of her mission.  It has 52 pasta recipes and 16 salad recipes, divided up by season. It’s almost an instruction book for holding your own Pasta Friday, but while Arevalo feeds 30+ people, the published recipes serves 4 to 6 or 6 to 8.

I like how the book mixes traditional and non-traditional recipes.  Here are the recipes that I’m most interested in:

  • Pam’s Pasta with Sausage, Tomatoes, and Peaches
  • Farfalloni with Smoked Salmon and Creamy Corn Sauce
  • Trofie with Pesto Cream, Potatoes, and Green Beans
  • Cucumber Basil Salad with Anchovies and Croutons
  • Cacio e Pepe with Pici and Mushrooms
  • Mafaldine with Porcini and Eggs
  • Crispy Cauliflower with Kale and Rotini
  • Strozzapreti with Sunday Pork Neck Ragu
  • Papparedelle with Roasted Pork and Mushrooms
  • Lentils with Buffalo Mozzarella and Roasted Peppers
  • Gnocchetti with Chorizo and Fried Lemon
  • Asparagus and Cannellini Beans with Mint and Grana Padano

 

For this review, I went with Dad’s Famous Roasted Red Pepper Sauce.  Why? It has two of my favorite ingredients: roasted bell peppers and smoked paprika!  It also doesn’t hurt that this is a fairly easy recipe. The other ingredients are heavy cream, butter, roasted garlic, pepper, salt, and pasta.  You make the sauce. You boil the pasta. And then you finish the pasta in the sauce. Done.

Verdict?  I loved this.  I also love how Arevalo instructions you to add just enough cream to achieve a gold, orangey pink sauce.  It’s a perfect description, and the exact color I achieved.  The recipe instructs for a pound of cannolicchi pasta, but I went with penne. 

Every recipe in the book has pasta shape substitutions, and at least one of the substitutions will be one that is easy to find in any supermarket.  Every recipe also offers wine pairing suggestions, as well of what to serve the dish with.  In the case of the roasted red pepper sauce, the book says to serve with crispy/spicy prosciutto, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, a medium-bodied and spicy California cabernet franc, or an unoaked and crispy French Chardonnay.  This information is especially useful if you decide to entertain guests and/or host your own Pasta Friday.

I think I’m going to want this sauce all the time. (But I’m also thinking about lightening up of the recipe to make it a little more waistline friendly.)

Is this book worth its salt?  Yes! I’m sold on the roasted red pepper sauce alone.  What can I say? I’m a simple girl. I’m not sure I’m about to holding Pasta Fridays at my house every week, but I can get behind the message of building a community face to face.  Spending more time with my favorite people can never be a bad thing, and I like cooking for them so perhaps I’ll make pasta and salad for them next time we’re all together.

Reference Links:

https://www.pastafriday.com/

 

Disclaimer – I kindly received this book from Andrews McMeel Publishing for this review.  I’m not getting paid for this post. The views and opinions expressed are purely my own.  

Umami Bomb, a cookbook review

Umami…  One word with so many expectations!  Or rather, I tend to have high expectations when I see it thrown around.  The last time I reviewed a cookbook with the word ‘umami’ in it, I was underwhelmed by the recipe testing result.  Would “Umami Bomb” by Raquel Pelzel be equally underwhelming or will it pass expectations with flying colors?

The chapters are sorted by the main umami ingredient of the recipe.  The chapters are:

  • Parm and Other Aged Cheeses
  • Soy Sauce
  • Tomatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Caramelized Onions
  • Miso
  • Smoke
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Fish

What sets this book slightly apart from other umami focused cookbooks is that this one is (lacto-ovo and pescatarian) vegetarian.  For better user experience (ok, that’s the nerdiest thing I’ve said on this blog), recipes are marked if they are vegan, vegan-optional, and with a rating system based on the number of umami ingredients.  What makes this book possibly better than the other umami book I’ve reviewed in the past (based on appearance only) is how approachable these recipes are. Pelzel’s book isn’t asking for any specialty ingredients if you’re living in an urban area.  It’s not asking you to build a pantry of DIY pastes, seasoning, or sauces.  

And… there’s a wealth of recipes I want to try.  I just didn’t have time to make more than one in time for this review.

  • Killer Chocolate Cake (just because I want to put soy sauce in frosting)
  • Grilled Pan Con Tomate with Miso Butter
  • Tomato ‘Nduja
  • Sick Day Tomato Soup
  • Savory Mushroom Breakfast Porridge
  • Veg and Cornbread Bake
  • Falafel-Spiced Grilled Mushrooms with Miso-Tahini Dressing
  • Mushroom Gravy
  • Caramelized Onion Korean Pancake 
  • Miso Peanut Butter Cookies
  • Polenta with Smoked Cheddar and Kale
  • Eggplant “Meatballs”

In the end, I decided to make Toasted Sesame Granola with Coconut, Orange, and Warm Spices.  I’ve never tried using sesame oil in my granola before or fresh ginger. Or soy sauce for that matter.  I try not to meddle with recipes for review, but I had to leave out the orange for this. I forgot to pick it up at the store.  Another note, cinnamon is one of the ingredients, but Pelzel suggests smoked cinnamon if you can get your hands on it. And now that I’ve made this granola, I’m seriously considering sourcing some smoked cinnamon.  The flavors in this recipe are really bold, some of the other ingredients are sesame seeds, shredded unsweetened coconut, ground ginger and ground coriander. My taste buds couldn’t really taste the sesame flavors but the amount of saltiness from the soy was perfect.  For me, the main flavors were ginger and coriander so smoked cinnamon would have matched really nicely.

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Mmmmm granola

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Unadorned, the granola is almost overwhelming but I couldn’t stop eating it anyway.  (Isn’t that kind of the point of umami anyway?) But when I topped my plain yogurt with it, it was perfect in every way. Pelzel also suggests pairing it with chocolate ice cream so obviously I need to go pick up some chocolate ice cream, sooner rather than later.

Overall, I really appreciate how unique the granola recipe is.  It makes me excited to experiment with the other recipes.

The book doesn’t have photos for everything, but that’s ok.  The photos that are there are bright and appetizing.  I think the array of recipes nicely covers a little of everything from breakfast to dessert.  I also appreciate how approachable and functional the book appears to be.  It’s all very appealing.  I definitely recommend giving this book a try if you can.

Disclaimer – I kindly received this book from Workman Publishing for this review.  I’m not getting paid for this post. The views and opinions expressed are purely my own.  The book is released September 3, 2019.

Reference Links:

http://www.raquelpelzel.com/recipes/

https://www.workman.com/

 

Rustic Joyful Food, cookbook review

This week, I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing “Rustic Joyful Food, My Heart’s Table” by Danielle Kartes.  I can’t lie. I was really interested in the book for 1) the cover photo and 2) the title. The cover photo is of a ham and brie sandwich with green apple and mustard.  And it just so happens that one of my favorite sandwiches to pick up when I’m on the go is a turkey sandwich of similar construction. As for the title, it neatly compacts my feelings about good food and cooking.

Diving right in, the book is divided into these chapters:

  • Pantry Staples
  • Appetizers
  • Salads and Side Dishes
  • Soup’s On
  • The Main Dish
  • To Drink
  • Sweets
  • Simple and From Scratch

Many of the recipes from the Main Dish chapter that I originally thought about testing for this review didn’t happen this week because they felt more like cooler weather recipes.  There were also several recipes from the dessert chapter that I nixed for this review only because I’ve consumed a lot more sugar in the last few weeks than I normally do. (I made a layered birthday cake for a friend a couple of weeks ago.  I ate a lot during an overnight trip to NYC last week. Gotta live life a little after all.)

But just because I didn’t test them out, that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to mention them.  Here’s a list of recipes that I really want to make when autumn arrives:

  • Beef Barcelona Stew
  • Roasted Tomatillo Chile Verde
  • Sister’s Turkey Minestrone
  • Perfect Braised Chuck Roast
  • Spanish Style Braised Chicken
  • Almond Butter Brownies
  • Banana Bread Made with Greek Yogurt and Pepitas
  • Perfect Apricot and Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies
  • Buttermill Vanilla Pound Cake
  • Chocolate White Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Coconut Custard Macaroons
  • Frangipane Jam Tart
  • Plum Preserves

As for the recipe I did test… Surprise!  There were three:

  • Spicy Baked Hominy
  • Turkey and Chickpea Greek-Style Pitas with Dill Yogurt Sauce
  • Quick Balsamic and Tomato Jam

I had originally picked the baked hominy as the only recipe I was going to make but it was so simple that I thought it wasn’t fair of me.  Overall, I liked this, but I think I’ll cut back the salt next time. I’m not sure if it was the salt I used, the brand of canned hominy I used, or both, but it was just really salty to me.  (I don’t cook with a lot of salt day-to-day, to be honest.) I couldn’t get it to bake up crispy so I might play around with the oven temperature and baking time next time. Having said that, I found that it made for a pretty tasty sandwich filling.  I ate most it on bread with cheese, and I liked it that way.

So for a second recipe, I went with the Turkey and Chickpea Greek-Style Pitas with Dill Yogurt Sauce.  As you can tell by my photos, I was using bread that was too small. (Ok, I can’t lie. I used toaster sized naan instead of pita.  I’m slowly making my way through breads that I’ve stored in my freezer. I refuse to make or buy more bread until the current stock is used up.)  My patties didn’t look as nice as the photo and I realized later that I technically used too much chickpeas (my fault for reading the ingredient list too fast), and so my patties crumbled too easily.  Having said that, I’ll probably make it the exact same way next time as I hate having unused chickpeas around. It didn’t affect the flavor at all. With my leftover patties, I tried a plating of cabbage instead of bread.  Delicious either way! And it’s easy. You’re making patties with ground turkey, mashed chickpeas, egg, black pepper, garlic powder, salt, and onion powder. The dill sauce is easy too, just Greek yogurt, dill, milk, black pepper, garlic powder, salt, and onion powder.  

Not in the mood for a dill yogurt sauce?  Not a problem. When I was sitting down to write this review, I noticed a recipe for balsamic and tomato jam toward the back of the book.  I had all the ingredients (there’s only 3 main ingredients, not including salt and pepper), and the sudden motivation to cook at 9:00p on a work night.  It smelled a~mazing when it was done. Since it was an impulse cooking session, I wasn’t sure what to serve it with. In the end, I tried some on a turkey chickpea patty.  I have no regrets, and I think you should try it too.

My overall impression is that this book is a great collection of well crafted and functional recipes.  I highly recommend giving them a go.

One last item to address is that the introduction chapter has faith-based commentary in it.  If that’s not your thing, simply skip the intro.  

 

Disclaimer – I kindly received this book from Sourcebooks for this review.  I’m not getting paid for this post. The views and opinions expressed are purely my own.

Reference Links:

http://www.rusticjoyfulfood.com/

https://www.instagram.com/rusticjoyfulfood/

https://www.sourcebooks.com/

Atsuko’s Japanese Kitchen, a cookbook review

If I had to name a cookbook that both embodied home cooking and simple elegance, it would be Atsuko’s Japanese Kitchen by Atsuko Ikeda.  It’s the reason why I was looking forward to this review.

Back when I first started to cook, I was drawn to Japanese cuisine.  Shabu shabu, Japanese curry, miso soup with a proper dashi, etc. were the things I was trying to make in my home kitchen.  Somewhere, I stopped cooking Japanese food (with the exception of the occasional nabe). I’m not sure why. Maybe because it stopped feeling new to me?

But Ms. Ikeda does an excellent job of taking those familiar Japanese dishes and adding a modern flair, taking a familiar homemade dish and giving it a breath of newness.  Some examples are:

  • Smoked mackerel and dill onigiri
  • Mushrooms with blue cheese, yuzu ponzu, and truffle
  • Molten eggs with lightly seared marinated steak (molten eggs seem to be jammy eggs)
  • Mushroom and soy milk soup

 

That isn’t to say that there are no traditional recipes in this book.  For a few days, I couldn’t decide whether to test out her chicken and eggs on rice (oyakodon) recipe, or her beef and potato stew (nikujaga) recipe.  (And then I chose neither for this review.)

The book is divided into fairly standard chapters:

  • My Japanese kitchen
  • Regional Dishes
  • The secrets of Japanese cuisine
  • Small dishes for sharing
  • Soups and Noodles
  • Easy one-plate meals
  • Special occasion meals
  • Sides and Dressings
  • Desserts

 

The recipes I’m interested in making that I haven’t named already:

Glazed lotus root and chicken meatballs – I was introduced to this recipe years ago, and I may have lost the recipe.  I love renkon (lotus root) and you don’t see this stuffed renkon recipe in English written cookbooks often.

  • Ceviche-style scallops with citrus sauce – On paper, it reminds me of a dish from Tyler Kinnett, Executive Chef at Harvest (one of my favorite restaurants in the Greater Boston area).
  • Chicken in nanban seasonings with tartar sauce – Somehow, I never heard chicken nanban until recently.  It’s apparently the Japanese version of sweet and sour chicken.
  • Fried and steamed salmon in miso garlic sauce – The photo for this recipe really appeals to me.  It’s listed in the special occasion meals chapter but the ingredient list isn’t daunting, nor are the instructions.
  • Pumpkin salad – Kabocha squash, Japanese mayo, Greek yogurt, raisins, and almonds.  It sounds intriguing.
  • Azuki bean paste pancake sandwiches – It never occurred to me to make my own dorayaki.  I love red bean desserts!

 

And a shout out to the photographer, Yuki Sugiura.  Every recipe is accompanied was a gorgeous photo to inspire!

For my review recipe, I ultimately picked the chicken teriyaki with lime.  (The recipe serves it over quinoa rice, but it’s been hot here in the Greater Boston area so I chose not to cook another dish.  I ate it with store bought naan, and salad. I’ll make the rice next time.) I like Japanese teriyaki but I just never make it at home, but I was really curious how the lime matched the dish.

Aside from the chicken and the lime, I had all of the ingredients in the recipe.  (Full disclosure, I swapped the leeks with onion.) It was easy to make, so I can vouch that it’s a perfect dish to make at home.  Ms. Ikeda claims “after trying this recipe, you might never purchase ready-made teriyaki sauce again.” I’m inclined to agree! I thought this was delicious!  And the touch of lime elevated the recipe from being boring and ordinary.

If you’re interested in Japanese food, or if you’re looking for some new ideas that can be used for everyday cooking, I highly recommend this book.  I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. I wasn’t. In fact, I think I’ll make the fried ginger pork for dinner this weekend.

Disclaimer – I kindly received this book from Ryland and Peters for this review.  I’m not getting paid for this post. The views and opinions expressed are purely my own.

 

Reference Links:

https://rylandpeters.com/products/atsukos-japanese-kitchen?_pos=2&_sid=d98f195e2&_ss=r

https://www.atsukoskitchen.com/