New release! Butter: A Rich History

28110851Butter: A Rich History by Elaine Khosrova

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to read and review a cookbook that recommended using a high fat butter.  While that book went into a little bit of detail on what constituted high fat butter, I realized I still had a lot of questions after a discussion on my review about exactly what determines a butter to be high fat.  So when I requested this book, I hoped to learn more about how to choose a good butter for baking but got a whole lot more.

Butter: A Rich History, by Elaine Khosrova, explores not only the mechanics of making butter, but also the sociological, biological and the cultural aspects of butter and answered questions I didn’t even know I had.  Who knew cows self-medicate by eating different plants? Who imagined that the prohibition of consuming butter led many countries in Northern Europe to turn to Protestantism and separate from the Roman Catholic Church?  I never knew butter was so life changing and interesting. I loved the many stories about the history and folklore, including the story about the mjolkhare or milk hare:

“…a little woolly hare was woven out of sticks, wool, skin, clipped-off fingernails and human hair.  The milk hare was then “sent off” to a neighboring dairy to drink up all their milk, after which it raced home and vomited up all the milk into the thief’s own pails.”

Elaine Khosrova, Butter: A Rich History p. 74

The book answered many of my questions about butter, from which cows give the richest milk to the best way to store butter. The recipes included in the book sound delicious and look easy to make.  I knew a bit about some of the more unfamiliar ones (like Kouign Amann) from watching The Great British Bake Off and I can’t wait to give many of the recipes a try.

Overall, Butter is a very well researched and entertaining book that will make you better appreciate the rich, thick, creamy slab of butter you slather on your toast.  A great gift for any baker, this book would be a great addition to any cookbook collection. (Great Christmas gift idea!)

Thank you to Algonquin Books for the ARC to read in exchange for my honest review

Butter: A Rich History is available at book retailers or on  Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating:★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Publication Date: November 15, 2016
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/ePub/Hardcover
ISBN: 9781616203641
Genre: Culinary, Cookbook
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

New Release! Classic German Baking


Classic German Baking: The Very Best Recipes for Traditional Favorites, from Pfeffernüsse to Streuselkuchen by Luisa Weiss

Original Review date: June 07, 2016

I love baking and my family is half German; while we still have some family recipes floating around, I was very interested in finding some traditional German baking recipes.

This well-organized book is perfect for any baker, from novices (like me) to pros. The book details the history of each recipe before laying out the easy to follow step-by-step instructions. There’s an extensive glossary of ingredients that was very helpful because I was unfamiliar with some of them (Baker’s Ammonia? Almond Paste?) and it helped me to know what to look for. I did miraculously find almond paste at a discount store (of all places), but could not find baker’s ammonia anywhere; I may have to buy that online.  All the measurements given for each recipe have both a volume amount (in grams) and the equivalent for the rest of us that never bothered to get a food scale.

Armed with my almond paste, I decided to start small with Heidesand (Sandy Almond Sugar Cookies) .    These were easy to make, needing just a few ingredients, 1 bowl and no mixer.  Can’t get any easier than that!   Just work the wet ingredients together, and knead in the flour.  Then, roll into a cylinder, chill for a few hours, cut into slices, roll in sugar and bake.   How much easier can you get?

The result reminds me of Pecan Sandies (which are pretty much the same thing, a shortbread with nuts.  So these are kind of like Almond Sandies.)  Not too sweet with a nice, crunchy texture, they would go great with a cup of tea.   Or spread with Nutella.  Mmmm!

Overall, very enjoyable and I had a lot of fun with the first recipe I tried.  I recommend this book for bakers of all skill levels who are looking to try something different.  Thank you to the publisher, Ten Speed Press and the author, Luisa Weiss for the advanced copy of the book.

Classic German Baking is a great gift idea!  It is available at book retailers or online at Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating:★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Publication Date:  Oct. 18, 2016
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/ePub/Hardcover
ISBN: 9781607748250
Genre: Culinary/Cookbook
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Project Smoke

25810687Project Smoke by Steven Raichlen

Perfect gift for anyone in your life who loves to barbecue!

I’m a cooking show junkie, and Steven Raichlen’s shows on PBS (Barbecue University, Primal Grill and Project Smoke) are some of my favorites.  I love his straightforward, easy to understand style and his enthusiasm for all things grilling is infectious.

The Project Smoke cookbook is no different.  There’s a lot of information packed into this book, including tips on selecting the right woods, the equipment and tools you will need, and  recipes and tips for smoking all kinds of meats, fish, poultry, vegetables and even cocktails!  I plan on trying many of the recipes this summer.  I especially want to try the made-from-scratch bacon,  and my stepdad has been wanting to smoke a brisket for ages. The smoked potato salad looks like a pretty good side dish to go with it. Can’t wait to try it!

The only thing that would make this book better is if it was scratch and sniff.  Can you imagine?

I can’t wait for this book to come out so I can buy a hard copy.  I have a feeling this book will be well used in my family for many years to come.


Project Smoke is available at any book retailer,  or buy the Kindle version for Amazon