see those up there? i made them from my new favorite baking book. i think they are quite possibly the best peanut butter cookies i’ve ever tasted. made even better by the addition of my raspberry rose jam spread lasciviously between a pair of them, for one of the naughtiest cookies that have come out of my kitchen in a while.
but i’m not here to talk [only] about sexy cookies – i just did that to get your attention. i’m here to tell you about four books that i’ve been playing with in my kitchen for the last month or so.
|i couldn’t wait for grow, cook, eat to be released, as i’ve long been inspired by willi’s great blog diggin’ food. she knows her stuff when it comes to gardening – and cooking. this is a great big formatted book with beautiful photos and coverage of a wide array of garden veggies. each one with sections on planting, growing, harvesting, storing, cooking ideas, and willi’s favorite growing varieties. it’s the perfect book if you’re just starting to grow what you eat, or if you want to turn simple, tasty, garden fresh meals out of your kitchen. and it’s the perfect book for this time of year – when we are all plotting and scheming about what our gardens, windowsills, or pots will look like this summer.|
|i am very excited about expanding my bean plot this summer. but even if you’re not yet growing beanz, you no doubt have many awesome bean varieties available to you. i’m seeing heirloom varieties more and more at farmers markets, large selections in the bulk sections of co-ops and even supermarkets, and great mail order sources. if you are not yet cooking beans, first i say, what are you waiting for? and second, get bean by bean by the james beard award winning author crescent dragonwagon. her writing style’s got flavor, and so do her recipes. everything you ever wanted to know about the art of bean cooking is in this book. a few recipes do include meat, but this is an all around great book if you are looking to cut down on your meat consumption and eat more beans. and i personally love the authentic tasting bean recipes from around the world.|
|dan is my man when it comes to baking, i lived by his earlier book the art of handmade bread during my deep foray into bread baking a few years ago. and it’s still a go-to for me. but this book is a home baker’s bible. you could seriously be stuck on a deserted island with short & sweet (and flour, sugar & butter of course) and bake anew everyday until you see the ship come over the horizon many moons later. there is nothing missing in the realm of bread and baked sweets, and dan explains all in a clear and succinct style. there is no mystery here. the pages and paper are perfect for penciling in your own notes – a detail i appreciate. one caveat for americans; ingredients are listed by weight in the english system. so you will need a scale, but that’s better for baking anyway…and oh my, those cookies!|
|i try to eat a lot of whole grains, but must admit i usually end up boiling them and serving them plain as a side to the many curries and stews i make. i really needed a grain-cooking kick in the pants and this book is it. maria speck’s ancient grains for modern meals is clearly a labor of love. it is brimming with old-world flavors (the best kind IMO) due no less to maria’s greek and german background. that cover photo is of leek salad with grilled haloumi cheese and rye berries, and is a perfect example of what you’ll find throughout; heavy on the deep flavors of the mediterranean with healthy whole grains, many typical of eastern europe. but excuse me for using the word healthy, because maria said she didn’t write this book because whole grains are healthy, she wrote it because they are delicious and this is the way she loves to eat|
this post is the kick-off to the monthly series, off my larder shelf, enticing you to contribute to a very worthy cause while adding to your own larder shelf. please go to my amazon larder page for full details. amazon associates receive their fees at the end of the month for the time period two months prior. that means i’ve just received info regarding january sales. my january associates fee of approximately 6% of sales plus my matching of that amount does not equal $50. today i have contributed my minimum guarantee of $50 to the humane society of the united states’ farm animal protection efforts.
i love these books! if you are thinking beans, grains, baking, or gardening anytime soon, you will too! if you’re thinking of something else but still want to contribute, you’ll find many more recommended items on my amazon larder. even purchases made indirectly will contribute!
here, have a cookie.
off my larder shelf: a flavor of the month shout-out on books & kitchen things. why? ’cause your
purchase on my amazon larder contributes to a very important cause and I’ll match your contribution. go!